Thursday, January 22, 2015

Disney Side Multi-Generational @ Home Celebration Kit Reveal

My mom was born two years after Steamboat Willie premiered.  She is a Disney Side original.  She took my brother, sister and I to the New York World's Fair in 1964 and 1965.  Every Sunday thereafter, the Wonderful World of Color appeared on our black and white television and the planning for our very first Walt Disney World Resort vacation began,  In 1972 my mom made it happen; scraping and saving for those eight years.

And so it began for us.  My mom raised us with a Disney spoon in our mouths and as perfect offspring, we did the same for our children.  If I have done my job exactly as she taught, my boys will one day do the same with my (many) grandchildren.  Tee hee.  When the pixie-dusted Disney Side @ Home Celebration e-mail came to my in-box, it took all of  a few seconds for me to decide to honor my mother and her 85th birthday with this kit.  On February 7th, my brother, sister and I welcome our own children, cousins, step-grandchildren, and family friends to salute her Disney Side.

Take a look at the goodies we have to plan with.  On behalf of my entire family, thank you Maria Bailey, Mom TV and Disney Parks.  This Disney Side party is sure to be a dream come true!

Friday, January 9, 2015

15 runDisney Highlights in 2015

Welcome to the next stop on Magical Blogorail Red.  Today we are discussing one of my favorite topics- runDisney!

Happy New Year runners, walkers and distance dreamers!  Out with the old, in with the new; the runDisney brand is never static and fans are anxiously awaiting that next magical mile.  If you are in training, a dose of pixie dust always gives a pep to the step.  If you have not yet committed to this Disney phenomenon, perhaps I can entice you with just 15 baby laps...

1.   Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
This year's event was marked by BIG action at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo. The 10th anniversary of the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge brought a new medal and new designs for race wear.  Roll-out of the new, limited-edition 2015 New Balance shoes made retro fans happy happy.  Also notable were the new, limited-release runDisney logo MagicBands that were available for purchase at the Expo.  Compared to Dooney & Bourke bags, this $24.95 "wristlet" is a far cheaper mode of showing your colors at the parks!

2.   Runners and families participating in this weekend can add a dreamy "plus" to their accomplishments with one more piece of bling.  The inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge sets sail on January 12th with a 4-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream.   Castaway Cay 5K participants will run along one of the most beautiful, pristine beaches I have ever seen.  As if paradise is not reward enough, the dazzling Castaway Cay Challenge finisher medal will be their final treasure.

The stars and costumes are aligned for next week's Rebel Challenge.
3.   Characters like you've never seen them.  Really.  Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation will potentially appeal to an unexplored galaxy of runner fans.  Personally, it was the final motivation for me to take on my first runDisney challenge; one race to run, one race for photos with these otherworldly characters!  "We meet at last!"

4. The Wookiee Welcome Party marks  Disneyland's first runDisney special ticketed event for runners, their families, and fans. (Walt Disney World has offered the Pre-Race Taste, Finish Line Party, Disney Villians Hollywood Bash, for example.)  During this race kick-off, party-goers will be treated to a dessert reception, galactic character meet and greets, and exclusive access to Disneyland's Tomorrowland attractions.  No doubt cries of "let the Wookiee win" will be the mantra for the evening.

5.  A new, flatter course through Anaheim neighborhoods will make this runner very appreciative.

6.   Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals will for the first time offer its own Castaway Cay Challenge.  Such regal temptation!  I simply must work on the royal coffers for next year...

7.    This will be your last chance to spot that Yeti; the 2015 Expedition Everest Challenge is most likely its last, as it does not appear on next year's calendar.  Adventure-seekers have long-loved this obstacle course/run/scavenger hunt format.  As construction progresses at Disney's Animal Kingdom, look for another event that will highlight this park's new offerings in the future.  Can an Avatar "Fly with the Banshees" race be far behind??

Bring the bling!
7.   Faith, trust and jewelry.  The 2015  Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry marks a sterling silver, 14K gold alliance between runDisney and Pandora.  Honestly, runDisney medals are spectacular, but you can't necessarily wear them to the ladies luncheon.  That PANDORA bracelet, however, will be quite the conversation starter.  I call my Dooney & Bourkes "brag bags."  Imagine the attention these shiny baubles will command.

8.  This event was moved from January to Mother's Day weekend.  Can't you just imagine the scores of photos of moms crossing the finish lines arm-in-arm with their sons and daughters?  (And how many of those kids will be buying a Tinker Bell PANDORA charm for their mom??)  Tissue alert!

9.  More bling.  Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend will finally get its very own challenge.  And an inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge medal.  Airport metal detectors will surely be getting quite a workout on May 11th.

10.   The 10th anniversary of the Happiest Race on Earth is sure to bring with it some magical goodies.  Registration for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna opens on February 10th, so stay tuned.  **With the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration in full swing, who knows what surprises are in store.  At the very least, this will be an exciting time to visit these Anaheim parks!

11.   Sadly, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is not on the calendar either and Cars Land construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios is most likely to blame.

Running down the Streets of America in days gone by.
12.   Likewise, there may need to be some course changes made to Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  Running through The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights has been a true bright spot during the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, but this too may be difficult given park construction.

Cosplay along the 2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon course.
13.   A quite unexpected bonus at this year's Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend was the line-up of Marvel fans from Club Cosplay who lined the course enforce.  This novel alliance with non-Disney personnel seemed to work quite well and these mighty "characters" provided a much-welcomed distraction  along the cold, windy and dusty stretch of the Santa Ana river path.  These players were such a hit with runners that I would be shocked if they don't increase their "mission" in 2015.

14.  Could a challenge be coming the Alliance's way?  In November, I heard some grumbling that an Avengers 10K and "super" challenge medal would have been fitting and pretty Marvelous.

15.    The superstar of the 2015 runDisney race season is most likely something yet unknown and beyond our imagination.  While 2014 was the year of the runDisney 10K, race challenge medals. and the announcement of two new race weekends, we will have to be patient to see what really gets our runDisney juices flowing.  I still see several holes in the runDisney calendar.  A new race destination?  Aulani?  Disneyland Paris?  An additional themed race?  Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog after Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend fans.  runDisney knows a thing or two about forward momentum!!

Thank you for joining me today.  The next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Two Moms and a Mouse.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015 | An Easy Giveaway

Happy New Year!  Hopefully, you are busy planning your next Walt Disney World Resort for 2015.  Boy, do I have a giveaway for you!  If you remember my review of The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit you already know that I think co-author Dave Shute is indeed the Disney guru he is billed to be.  In An Easy Review of The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit, I endorse the authors' claim of "taming the Disney trip planning beast."  And now, their newly released 2015 edition ensures that the reader will keep abreast of every change, every update, every square rennovated inch of the Walt Disney World property.  For added pixie dust, dozens of "Jim's Gems" (pearls of wisdom written by the author of The Value of the Vault, Jim Korkis) are sprinkled throughout the book.

Find out for yourself why The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit is currently Amazon's highest rated Walt Disney World Resort guidebook of all time.  Enter to get your personal copy with this "easy giveaway"!

Thursday, January 8th through Tuesday, January 20th at Noon EST.  TWO winners will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter and notified via e-mail after entry verifications.  Winner must respond by e-mail within 48 hours of announcement.  The giveaway is open to residents of the Continental U.S. only, except where prohibited by law.  You must be 18 years of age to participate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rose Parade to Highlight the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015

Photo credit: Kimberly of Magical Memories with the Mouse

Are you ready for some football?!  Some inspiration as we charge into 2015?  The Pasadena Tournament of Roses has been a New Year's Day tradition for 126 years; an enduring pageant and kick-off to the yearly Rose Bowl Game.  The theme of this year's Rose Parade is "Inspiring Stories," which most naturally lends itself to recognition of the 7,000 athletes who will participate in the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.  I applaud Kaiser Permanente for highlighting these athletes with their 2015 Rose Parade float entry: "Together We Thrive."  How right they are.  See you in July Los Angeles!

Press Release: Kaiser Float

 December 17, 2014 — “Together We Thrive," the title of Kaiser Permanente’s 2015 Rose Parade® float entry, celebrates the 7,000 international athletes who will take part in the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) for nine days beginning July 25.  As a Founding Champion and Official Health Partner, Kaiser Permanente is honored to dedicate their float to an organization that shares their commitment to diversity, inclusion and total health for individuals and communities.

Symbolic throughout its design, “Together We Thrive” is a floral salute to the 2015 World Games.  The colorful float features a sculptured reproduction of the World Games torch, ablaze and sitting atop a rotating replica of the World Games logo.  A rotating hexagon with eight magnificently detailed floral-graphs will serve as the floats central focal point.  These inspiring photographic moments of past Special Olympics competitions were all taken by photographer Cory Hansen.  On the sides of the float are reproductions of the emblematic gold, silver and bronze medals.  A reproduction of the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the site for the World Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, stands tall as the float’s backdrop.
Riding on this year’s float will be 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist and Founder of the Special Olympics Southern California, Rafer Johnson.  He will be joined by 2015 World Games Global Messengers, Dustin Plunkett and Debi Anderson and 12 Kaiser Permanente members, including three Special Olympics Team USA athletes competing in the World Games: Swimmer Abby Reznek of  Special Olympics Maryland; tennis player Julian Hall of Special Olympics Colorado; and swimmer Chris McElroy of Special Olympics Colorado.  All of the riders will wear special edition eco-friendly outfits donated by Head To Toe, a sustainable apparel maker that uses recycled water bottles in designing its fabrics.
Walking alongside the float this year will be a group of Kaiser Permanente physicians and health care providers who have been active supporters of the Special Olympics and represent the more than 400 volunteer physicians and staff who will be providing care to the athletes at the seven venues of the 2015 World Games. The group will be led by Aaron Rubin, MD, and Thad Woodward, MD, who are coordinating all of the medical services that Kaiser Permanente will be donating during the World Games 2015.  Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and member of the Special Olympics LA2015 board of directors, will also be walking with the group along the parade route.
"Kaiser Permanente is honored to help bring the Special Olympics World Games to Los Angeles in 2015," said Dr. Ellison. "Our float will raise awareness of the 2015 World Games and the Special Olympics mission to promote acceptance and inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities by demonstrating and celebrating the joy, courage and determination of these remarkable athletes.  It is our privilege to provide them with high-quality medical care while they are here.”
“We continue to be inspired by the generous contributions of our corporate partners, including Kaiser Permanente,” said Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of LA2015. “This program celebrates Special Olympics athletes in a very visual way and advances our mission to create the awareness that leads to acceptance and inclusion of all people with intellectual disabilities with a worldwide audience."
"Inspiring Stories," the theme of the 126th Rose Parade, marks Kaiser Permanente’s 10th float entry.  Designed and built by Fiesta Parade Floats, the Kaiser Permanente entries have received an award every year, including:  Theme Trophy for excellence in presenting the parade theme (2013); Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful float entry from a non-commercial sponsor (2012, 2014); Director's Trophy for most artistic merit in design and floral presentation (2011, 2008, 2006); Extraordinaire Trophy for the "most spectacular" float longer than 55 feet (2010); Tournament Special Trophy for exceptional merit in multiple classifications (2009); and President's Trophy for most effective floral use and presentation (2007).
For additional information about the 2015 Rose Parade, please visit the Tournament of Roses website.   For more information about the Kaiser Permanente Rose Parade Float, “Together We Thrive,” please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  For more information about how to volunteer or support the Special Olympics World Games 2015, please visit  
About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, OUE, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, Panda Express, and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit and on social with #ReachUpLA on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Thank you Kimberly for photos straight from the Rose Parade:

Photo credit: Kimberly of Magical Memories with the Mouse

Photo credit: Kimberly of Magical Memories with the Mouse

Photo credit: Kimberly of Magical Memories with the Mouse

Read more about my own Special Olympics journey:

4 Simple ways to Support the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

Special Olympics and P&G Say Thank You Mom

10 Simple Ways to Support the Special Olympics

Top 10 Highlights and Lessons From the Special Olympics World Games