What can I say? I love to run. I've run 4 full marathons and 6 halfs. But I love God more and I'm determined to run this race of life for Him to receive the ultimate prize of Heaven. I'd like to share my thoughts with you. You can agree or disagree. Comment or don't. You can read or not read. But it's here if you want it. Enjoy! .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Blog

Wednesday, September 30. 2:30PM.

Ok, not sure if there is a point to this, but I've decided to try my own blog. And I figured it should be based on what I really love the most. Problem is - I love a lot of things the most - God, family, friends, hobbies, teaching, kids, etc. etc. etc. But there is one thing I spend a lot of time doing. It is something I enjoy talking to others about and reading other blogs about. That would be running. I love to run. So that's what this will mostly be about, but I may throw the other stuff in here occasionally too. So feel free to read and comment as I talk about my running experiences.
Keep runnin',



2009 Mileage Totals



WEEK 1 (12/7/09)
Ok, so for my recent marathon, I put together a playlist of motivating songs to listen to. So I figured I'd write about the first song on that list this week. Not sure why it was the first one, but it played first when I started the playlist. It was "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood. I don't listen to a lot of Carrie Underwood but there is something about this song. Maybe it's the beat and the fact that's it's pefectly in line with my pace. I hope it's not the fact that the song is about a woman smashing her ex-boyfriend's car to pieces. I'm not saying the message of the song is a positive one and I'm not a violent person. But I do like that song. It does tend to make me run faster. So that's my first "What's on my Ipod". Feel free to comment under the latest blog post.

WEEK 2 (12/14/09)

Something I've been listening to a lot lately and definitely during my recent marathon is "Glee" songs. I know this show is very 'high school musical' and can be cheesy, but I'm sorry - I love the show. The music and especially the arrangements of popular songs is incredible. I have downloaded several of these songs and plan to do more. Of course their version of "Don't Stop Believin'" is the best one (You can listen to it here) and was the first song they really did in their opening episode. I ran 3 miles the other night and listened to nothing but Glee songs and it was the easiest 3 miles ever. I love this show and can't wait for it to come back in the Spring. But I love the music even more. Fills me with "glee". Ok, I know. Cheesy. But that's the theme here.

WEEK 3 (12/21/09)

With it being Christmas week, I have to be honest and tell you that I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately. I actually start listening to it off and on right after Thanksgiving. And I do have a pretty good selection of it on my Ipod. So occasionally, I'll listen to that while I run. Some of my personal favorites are Deck the Halls, Please Come Home for Christmas, Let it Snow, the Christmas Vacation theme song, and my very favorite - O Holy Night. But I have many many more that I will listen to. I love this time of year and listening to those songs gets me even more in the Christmas spirit.

WEEK 4 (12/28/09)

Another song from my marathon playlist this week. This is one of the first songs I listened to in my running that really motivated me. And it's funny - I just happened to be turning the channels a couple of weeks ago and noticed "Footloose" was on. Classic movie. But the scene that was playing was the tractor chicken scene where they are riding tractors towards each other. The song playing is "Holding out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler. It's a great song. It's always been one of my favorites and it's the perfect running song b/c of the beat and enthusiasm in it. Always makes me run a little bit faster. So that's what I'm listening to this week on my Ipod - among other things.

WEEK 5 (1/4/10)

I do listen to music a lot on my Ipod, but I also listen to several podcasts. I discovered podcasts about a year ago and enjoy searching for new ones, but I also have several favorites which will be mentioned here in future weeks. But this week I thought I'd mention the first one I think I ever listened to. It's the Running to Disney podcast put out by Gordon Harvey. Gordon has his own blog at runtodisney.com and a little over a year ago, he began a podcast as he trained for his first marathon at Disney World. Listening to his podcast has really motivated me and it was a big factor in my desire to run at Disney. Gordon is also planning to do the Goofy challenge in 2011 like I am. I enjoy Gordon's comments as he's very down to Earth and speaks his mind. We also have a lot in common. We are both teachers, have run 2 marathons, have 2 sons, love to run and love Disney. He recently did a couple of podcasts about the Disney marathon and what to expect. They were very good. You might want to give it a try. I find it very interesting, entertaining, and motivating. You might as well. You can download the podcast from his website or from Itunes.

WEEK 6 (1/11/10)

Another song from my marathon playlist this week. I remember while running in Memphis that when this song came on, it inspired me with a slight burst of speed and energy. It's a little random but I do like it. "Jump, Jive, and Wail" by the Brian Setzer Orchestra. I've always enjoyed that orchestra/big band style of music. My wife and I have been to a few Harry Connick concerts and I always enjoy his band and show. But that's the song that's on my ipod. It played again this week and I was back at the marathon once again.

WEEK 7 (1/18/10)

I've been listening to mostly podcasts this week. I'd rather hold off on mentioning those and spread them out a little bit so instead, I turned on my IPOD and hit "shuffle". I decided I would talk about whatever song popped up first. I like that and may do it that way from time to time. Anyways, this week's song is "Blue" by Eiffel 65. I know this is an "old school" song. In fact, I remember that it came out around 1999 or so b/c it was during my first year of teaching. I remember that class of 5th graders singing it during class. They used to make up lyrics b/c the chorus basically consists of da ba dee da ba dah etc. etc. etc. Anyways, used to be a catchy tune if I remember and somehow it ended up on my IPOD. I liked it when it came out and so if it pops up every once in a while, I'll listen to it.

WEEK 8 (1/25/10)

Shuffled the Ipod again tonight and what should come up but a little Pearl Jam. I'll admit I wasn't as in to Pearl Jam as some of my friends used to be, but I like them every now and again. The song that popped up was "Last Kiss". I know it's a remake but I do love the Pearl Jam version. Good classic song that I enjoy listening to every once in a while. I remember we had some middle schoolers do it in the talent show a few years ago and did a pretty good job if I remember correctly. Anyways, that's what's playing on my Ipod this week.

WEEK 9 (2/1/10)

Shuffling my Ipod today produced the song "My Life" by Billy Joel. There are so many Billy Joel songs on my Ipod. In fact, there are very few songs by Billy Joel that I don't like. He's one of my favorite all time artists. I got to see him in concert when I was in high school (or maybe college) and it was a great show. He's a classic. There are probably songs I like a little better than "My Life" but it's a good one.

WEEK 10 (2/8/10)

I've got a favorite NEW song. All my previous Ipod posts have been old songs or podcasts, but this is the first new one. I am loving the new Lady Antebellum song "Need You Now". They play it every five minutes on the radio so I'm guessing it's pretty popular. But I have to admit it's a great song. Every few months there's a new country song that I really like and this is it for the moment. I had to have it so I downloaded it and put it on my Ipod. So that's the song of the week!

WEEK 11 (2/15/10)

Ok, I'm gonna embarrass myself a little bit here. In addition to downloading the song from last week (Need you Now by Lady Antebellum), I also downloaded another one. I'm not sure why I did it. Maybe because it was on Glee, one of my new favorite shows. Maybe because it's catchy. Maybe because I saw it in a movie preview and a commercial. Who knows, but I did. And I'm admitting it. I just added "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)" by Beyonce to my Ipod. Does that take away some of my manhood? Probably so. Oh well.


This week I’m highlighting another podcast. I listen to several podcasts while I’m running, but I’d like to space them out instead of listing them all back to back. Besides the “Running to Disney” podcast that I mentioned a few weeks ago, this one is the other that I have been listening to since I discovered what podcasts were. In other words, this was one of my first ones. It is called WDW today. It features 4 regular guys and one girl as they discuss various topics surrounding Disney World. It is typically about 20 minutes long and is broadcast every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It is a GREAT podcast. The 5 regulars have great chemistry together and are hilarious at times. Plus they all know a lot about Disney. They all have regular jobs that revolve around the parks. Once a month, they will do a longer live show and it’s fun to listen to as well. This is a great podcast for anyone even semi-interested in Disney World, especially if you are planning a trip there soon. By the way, every Wednesday show they answer listener’s questions. They have answered several of mine over the last few months. Click here to visit their website and you can download the shows from there or from iTunes.


Ok, I did a shuffle on the Ipod today and the song "The Look" by Roxette came up. Random, I know. I don't think I know another single Roxette song, but I always did love this song. They are kindof a one hit wonder for me. To be honest, I don't know much about the group. I think they had a song on the Pretty Woman soundtrack. That's about all I know. But go listen to "The Look". It's a bit of a classic.


I just took a nap outside. Yep, outside. It's a beautiful day and the temp. here in Nashville is approaching the 60's. Anyways, while I was laying down on our deck, I was listening to my Ipod. I decided that I really wanted to hear Rich Mullins' version of How Great is our God because we sang that in church this morning. Our preacher did an amazing sermon on just that topic and he led us in that song to close. I don't think we had ever sung it in worship before but we had in youth devos and at school. It's one of my favorite spiritual songs and I love the Rich Mullins' version. Awesome song on an awesome day!


So, I was pressure washing our sidewalk today and decided to listen to my Ipod to make the chore a little more interesting. So technically, I wasn't running while I was listening to this song, but I'm still gonna use it because I've certainly heard it while running before. The song that really caught my attention and caused me to wash at a little faster pace was Karma Chameleon by Boy George. I know that's really old school - 80's, but that's classic if I've ever heard it. I used to love that song even though Boy George was a bit of a freak. Understatement.


This week is easy! This song was on my Ipod a lot this week due to the video that my son and his friend made. If you haven't watched the video yet, check out the recent post with the YouTube video included. They had a lot of fun doing it and I really enjoyed making it. We've gotten a lot of positive comments about it. So this week's song is Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield. Great, classic song from the 80's that both my boys have fallen in love with. Glad I could introduce them to it!


Well, my Ipod is fried (see post 3/29) so I'm not listening to anything this week, but before it died, one song that I recently discovered and downloaded is Company of Fools by Great Big Sea. This is the theme song to one of the podcasts I listen to and it's another very catchy song. I'd not really heard of this group before this song, but I might try to discover anything else out there by them.


The Ipod is still fried - planning to get a new one this next weekend. But I do have a cheapy mp3 player that I'm using. This week I was listening to a little Aerosmith - one of my favorite bands. I could listen to them all day long and the 2 or 3 concerts I've been to have been amazing. Classic, classic group. Today, it was Eat the Rich by Aerosmith, but I love all their stuff. It's all good motivating, running music.


I got a new Ipod!! I'll post about it soon, but I loaded my entire library on it and it was so nice to have one again for my long run this morning. While I listened to podcasts for most of the run, I did shuffle some songs toward the end. The last one to play was Shout to the Lord by the American Idol cast of a couple of years ago. It is such an inspirational song and it really gave me the runners high as I finished up my 14 miles. I've been singing the song for years at church and school, but I never really liked the song until I heard this version.


This week, I had to pull out some really old school music. My students are all caught up in Justin Bieber and NO, I didn't download one of his songs (yet), but they did want to watch the brand new "We are the World" song when Lil' Bieber sang the opening line. That got me thinking about the original (and much better if you ask me) version of the song. So I found it and put it on my Ipod. I loved this song when it came out. Who didn't? I even tried to play it on the piano. Brought back some memories. Good times!


On Mondays, I'm in charge of chapel here at the school where I teach. Every once in a while, I'll do "Student Spotlight" where a student or 2 can show off some talent. Last week, I had a student sing a Keith Urban song "Walk in the Country." Great, great song so I had to download it. It's my new favorite this week.


Bon Jovi was in Nashville last week for their annual concert. I didn't go, but I've been before. They always do a great show. Favorite song of all time by Bon Jovi is "Livin' on a Prayer." However, I have several favorites as they have put out many, many good ones. Maybe I'll highlight others in the future but since they were here last week, I decided they would be this week's "What's on my Ipod?"


I've been saving this one for a while but I listen to it nearly every time I do a long run. It's another podcast. I listen to very few podcasts so I've been trying to spread them out but this is one of the best and I can't hold it back any longer. It's called "Two Gomers Run a Marathon" and their website can be found here. It is 2 guys, Anthony and Stephen, talking about their upcoming first marathon. Anthony lives in Florida and Stephen lives in Arizona. They were best friends growing up and now train together in separate states only to meet up for a race. Last year they ran their first half marathon and started this podcast. I didn't listen then but somehow found it this year for their 2nd season where they are training for their first marathon which will be somewhere up north in about 5 weeks. They were originally scheduled to run the Atlanta marathon in March when Stephen got hit by a car a few weeks before the race. It was a little scary but they were very positive about it and turned it into some great material. The bottom line is they are hilarious and very entertaining and this is quickly becoming my favorite podcast. They put one out religiously every week and include regular features like "the week in review", "songs to run to", "the runners corner" and many others. I highly recommend this one.


Did a little shufflin' this week during a run and it landed on Marc Cohn's "Walkin' in Memphis." I had almost forgotten about this song. He has some classics but this is definitely one of his best. When I ran my marathon in Memphis in December, I remember thinking about this song and looking for things he talks about in the song.


Pulled out the IPOD yesterday while my boys and I were playing cards. I wanted to do a shuffle and listen to some different and unexpected songs. But why is that every time I play music, my boys want to hear Michael Jackson? They are obsessed. And the scary thing is that right now they are obsessed with the song "Dirty Diana" by MJ. Should I be worried? I didn't really like that song growing up listening to MJ, but b/c they like it so much, it's kindof growing on me. We're a weird family.


Since we just got back from Disney, I've got Disney music going through my head. I'm going to try and find some of it to put on my Ipod. I particularly love the themes from Soarin' and Fantasmic. But all those cheesy Disney songs (which we all secretly love) are on my mind this week. We had a great trip and so I'm going to enjoy it for a little while longer with some of the tunes.


No surprise here but I've been listening to a little more High School Musical this week then I'm used to. This is b/c I used the song "What Time Is It?" from HSM2 in our Disney video. So as we've watched the video several times, I've been hearing the song a lot. And yes, it's cheesy, but a catchy tune nonetheless.


Ok, I'll admit. I'm a Gleek. I love the show. I don't care who knows. I like that cheesy music. This past week was the season finale and I loved it. So I've been listening to a lot of Journey this week. You'll have to watch the show to see why. But songs like "Anyway you want it", "Highway Run" and of course "Don't stop Believing". All amazing. Big Journey fan - mostly b/c of the show.


Overheard a song in a restaurant on vacation this week that I had totally forgotten about and it's NOT on my Ipod. It's a little old school but I really liked it when it came out. It's "Just Another Day" by Jon Secada. I'm planning to download it soon. Good tune. Should make for a good running song.


Nothing special this week so just did a random shuffle. The song "Games People Play" by Inner Circle came up. Another classic yet catchy tune. Good song.

IPOD FOR THE WEEK OF 7/5&12/2010

I'm a little late updating this for this week but I realized this is for the next 2 weeks due to the fact that I won't be able to update this blog next week. This week, I've been listening to a lot of Acapella which is a local (but fairly popular) singing group. I've been listening to them since I was very young and I got the chance to see them perform last weekend at Lipscomb Univ. here in Nashville. They were amazing and it made me want to listen to them more. So I've pulled up a bunch of their stuff on my Ipod. Check 'em out!

IPOD FOR THE WEEK OF 7/19&26/2010

This post is delayed just like the last one. Sorry about that. This summer is just so busy I can't find the time to update these things. So I've decided to post for 2 weeks again this time. I just got back from a week of camp where I was a counselor to a group of high school boys. That's one reason why I've been so busy. It was a great week and ended up being a whole lot of fun. Being the oldest cabin, we always do a song & "dance" number. This year it was to "We're not gonna take it" by Twisted Sister. It turned out really good and after hearing that song over and over, I put it on my ipod to listen to. Another great hit of a few years back.


WEEK 1(10/26/09)

This first one is going to be obvious, but get there EARLY. Get to each park at opening time. Actually - we get there at least an hour before it opens to be first in line. We're crazy but it's a lot of fun to be first. Even if you don't want to get there that early, do be one of the first in line. I promise it's very beneficial. For this past trip, we had Fantasyland (5 rides) done in 35-40 minutes and didn't have to deal with those crowds the rest of the day. You can get so much done in the morning because most people are lazy and don't take advantage. Extra magic hours are especially important if you are staying on property. I realize that some people aren't morning people but believe me, just do it. You'll be glad you did. We put our boys right in the shower in the morning. Wakes them right up.

WEEK 2 (11/2/09)

Stay on site!! Now granted - we've never stayed off site except for one day visits from Daytona, but there are so many advantages to staying in a Disney hotel that I don't see why we'd ever stay anywhere else. We've stayed at the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and mostly Disney's All-Star Sports. We've loved them all. We choose the Sports because it's cost efficient. I can't believe an off-site hotel would be much cheaper. It's very reasonable and like I said, the benefits of staying on site are great. They include (but aren't limited to): free ride from the airport, getting to participate in the dining plan, free ride to the parks via the bus system, not having to deal with parking or a car, being close to the parks (no ride is a long ride), great pools, great food inside the hotels, great views, and finally - there's just something "magical" (if I can be so cheesy) about staying at a Disney hotel. It just adds to the trip and makes for a more memorable experience. I don't really see a reason not to stay at a Disney hotel. We would love to stay in a nicer one and maybe will one day, but for now, Sports is the one for us. By the way (Bonus tip) if you stay at one of the three All-Star hotels, stay at Sports for this reason alone: the busses come there first. We always have an empty bus pick us up and we are always the first dropped off in the evenings. Otherwise, the three are basically the same except for decorations.

WEEK 3 (11/9/09)

FLY IF AT ALL POSSIBLE! We have driven to Disney and we have flown to Disney. We have not driven to Disney since we've flown to Disney. Now granted, one day we may have to drive due to pricing, but if there is any way we can fly, we do and will. It is just so much easier. Depending on where you live, it's a long car ride. Anything over 7-8 hours and I'd say drive. Driving there is bad enough, but having to drive home that many hours after you're already depressed the trip is over is even worse! It is so nice to get off the plane and have the bus take you to your hotel and not have to deal with traffic or parking at any point. Plus, the Disney bus system will take you anywhere you want to go within Disney. Obviously if you are planning to do other things such as Universal or Sea World, this presents a problem. I believe there are shuttles but I would even look into renting a car before driving the at least 12 hours it takes us. Southwest usually has some pretty reasonable rates and if you keep checking back and find a better rate, they will refund the difference. Like I said, we've done it both ways and have found that flying to Disney is the way to go!

WEEK 4 (11/16/09)

This one is in conjunction (big word for Albert) with last week's. IF you fly, DON'T GO TO A PARK ON YOUR FLIGHT DAY. I don't know about you, but we are always a little worn out when we finally get to our hotel. We've driven to the airport, checked bags, flown to Orlando, gone through baggage claim, found the Magical Express bus, checked in to our hotel, unpacked, etc. etc. and can't imagine loading back up and going straight to a park. We have found it so much easier to make the flight the only thing we do that day and start fresh at the parks the next morning. Why waste a park ticket on half a day or less? I realize that some trips may not allow this due to time and days available for your trip, but I really do recommend not going to a park on your either your flight in or flight out day. We also found that the earlier flight into Orlando, the better. This past trip, we flew after school but took a slightly earlier flight leaving school a little early. We were at our hotel by 4:00 or so. It was nice to have a lot of time that evening to get settled, eat a relaxing dinner, and plan our next day. So if you want a slightly more relaxed schedule (hard to have at Disney - I know), don't do parks on flight days and get to Orlando as early as possible to take a breath before the fun begins.

WEEK 5(11/23/09)

TRY OUT THE DISNEY DINING PLAN!! I realize the Disney Dining Plan isn't for everyone, but we have found it very beneficial. We've also been surprised with how many don't know about it or don't understand how it works. Basically, you pay for your meals beforehand and don't have to worry about paying for any food during your stay. You just pull out your room key and they swipe it. Done. It's pretty easy. If you participate in the meal plan, each person gets one sit down meal, one counter service meal, and one snack per day. This is plenty of food. It's actually too much as we don't always use all the snacks. This is one complaint against the plan - that it's too much food. But we always use our leftover snacks on our last morning and stock up for the plane ride home. For your sit down and counter service meals, you always get a dessert too which is nice. Whether you do the plan or not, I strongly advise that you call the 180 days before your trip and make reservations for your sit down meals (typically dinner). In the coming weeks, I'll be recommending some restaurants for these "tips of the week" but many of them fill up very quickly. As a resort guest, it's very nice to be able to call and make these reservations. It's very important to call 180 days before the first day of your trip. There is a great website to figure out which day you can call. Click here to access it. The main reason we do the dining plan is to avoid having to carry a lot of cash and worry about how much we are spending for meals. We actually did price it out one year and we saved a little doing the dining plan as it is between $40-50 per person per day. The kids are a little cheaper. Consider the dining plan, especially if you've never done it. It's not for everyone, but it definitely works for us. Just another thing to make these
Disney trips well worth it!

WEEK 6 (11/30/09)

SNACKS AND WATER BOTTLES. Take both. To each park. Disney will let you bring in food and drinks and since Disney food is expensive, you'll want to take in something. Yes, we have a snack on our dining plan, but running around the park makes you pretty thirsty and it's nice to always have a water bottle with you. There are plenty of water fountains around the parks so you can keep filling your bottle up all day long. We also take snacks to have in line or anytime during the day we need a little something extra. We also take breakfast type snacks (pop tart, granola bar) to have as breakfast while we are waiting in line for the park to open (since we are typically first in line and waiting for about an hour). This gives us a free breakfast, lets us not worry about eating when the park opens up, and helps pass the time as well. Take a backpack or bag and fill it up. It'll get searched but food and drink are ok.

WEEK 7 (12/7/09)

STROLLERS ARE A MUST!! I've actually had someone recently ask me about this one so I thought I would add it this week. It's a good question - strollers or no strollers.

The disadvantages? Having to push around a stroller all day, carrying it on to the busses, monorail, train, it's heavy.

The advantages? Endless.

Remember, we are crazy. We run like an insane family to the first ride at each park. We can't wait around for Junior and Little Junior with their tiny legs to make it to ride #1. They're small and can't move as fast. We understand that. It's not their fault, but it can be fixed with strollers. Plus, kids get tired, quickly! It's nice to always have somewhere for them to sit. Our boys have fallen asleep more than once during the day at the park so it also makes a good place for a quick nap. We have used strollers for both boys every time we've went and have never regretted it. We even used one for our 7 year old on our most recent trip and will most likely use it again when he's 8 next year. Is he too old for a stroller? Most definitely. Do we care? Naaaah. And neither does he. The point is, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. We take our own but you can rent single or double strollers there for a pretty good rate. The only disadvantage to that is that at a couple of the parks, you can't rent them until the park opens and that would put us way back in line, wouldn't it? So we don't rent. Plus, we try to save any money we can and taking our own works fine. It's also nice to have them in the airports. So I would say strollers are a definite YES for small kids or those even approaching 10 years old. One day we'll let him walk...when he can keep up with mom and dad.

WEEK 8 (12/14/09)


This is especially a good tip if you are first in line at the parks (which was another tip). It helps to pass the time, makes you feel good and hopefully makes them feel good as well. If you have children, this tip is especially important. It's nice to talk to them just to be friendly, but it can lead to other advantages as well. You have no idea how many times we have been chosen to open the park or our boys have been given free "stuff" just for being there first and talking to the cast members. So far, we have yet to find an unfriendly cast member, especially at the turnstiles. They all seem eager to talk and will answer any questions. We have opened the Magic Kingdom, Epcot twice, have been given free fastpasses twice, have been given autograph books for the boys, and the list keeps going - just for being there first and striking up a conversation with a cast member. Give it a shot. Just another small thing that might end up being a favorite memory.

WEEK 9 (12/21/09)


Since this is Christmas week, I thought I'd throw this one in this time. Now, I stress the "at least once" part. This is not an every year thing unless you are just a crowd lover. It is very crowded at Christmas time at Walt Disney World, but it's worth doing at least once. The decorations and extras are just amazing. I have been twice at Christmas in my life and both times were great trips. No, it's not a great time to go at all if you are wanting to do a lot of the rides or avoid crowds. But I think you'll still have a great trip regardless. And I do think you should also try "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" at least once at the Magic Kingdom. It's expensive, but it's very special and will be the highlight of your trip. (Seeing it snow on Main Street is simply unbelievable). So make it a goal to go at some point during the Christmas holiday if at all possible.

WEEK 10 (12/28/09)


I know I alluded to this in an earlier tip when I talked about staying on site. But I just want to stress that IF you stay on site, take advantage of extra magic hours. Extra magic hours are extra hours either before the park opens or after it closes where you get to be in the park and the general public does not. It only applies to those staying on site but it allows you to ride MOST (not all) of the rides with lower crowds. I especially encourage you to take advantage of the morning extra magic hours. We always do this at the Magic Kingdom and we are able to get 5-6 rides done in that first hour due to low crowds. We try to plan our parks to take advantage of this perk each day. It's not always possible but we usually get at least a couple of days with extra magic hours. Evening extra hours are also fun but usually a little more crowded. There are extra magic hours at some park every single day so before you plan which park for which day, check it out and try it out. It's a great perk for those staying on site, at least it's worked well for us.

WEEK 11 (1/4/10)

2010 - 4 Parks Reviewed, 3 months each, following this format:

Month 1 (RIDES)
Week 1 - First Ride we go to
Week 2 - Rides to get a Fastpass for
Week 3 - Worst Ride(s)/ Attraction(s)
Week 4 - Top 3 Rides

Week 1 - Best sit-down
Week 2 - Best counter service
Week 3 - Restaurants I'd like to try
Week 4 - Other Restaurant tips

Month 3 (OTHER INFO.)
Weeks 1-4 - General Info. and other secrets/tips for that park


January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 1:Week 1

It has become our tradition (and I love it) that we always ride Dumbo first. This is for several reasons. First - the line later in the day is typically horrendous. Second - It's not one of the biggest thrill rides so most people don't go here first. Third - it's a sentimental favorite, has been around forever, and is just a great way to start our day at the MK. If you have young kids, I strongly recommend you do this ride first. You'll be sorry later if you don't. I know one day our boys will grow up and we won't do this ride first, or maybe at all for that matter, but for now I'm glad we do Dumbo first at the Magic Kingdom.

WEEK 12 (1/11/10)

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 1:Week 2

We typically try to get to the MK during early morning magic hours so this is before the big rides open. Even if they are open, we do try to get fantasyland (Dumbo, Peter Pan, Small World, Pooh, Snow White) done in that first hour. After that first hour, we go straight to Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. We get a fastpass for one and ride the other. Doesn't matter which. Once that fastpass has expired or 2 hours has passed (whichever comes first - that's when you can get another FP), we try to get fastpasses in tomorrowland. Space Mountain is usually a must. It's typically the most crowded ride in MK. We also use our fastpasses on Buzz Lightyear b/c we like doing that ride multiple times. We've also been known to get Jungle Cruise fastpasses b/c its line can get long. The trick is to watch the times and get a FP as soon as you can. Get as many throughout the day to maximize the advantage of it. If you do it right, you can probably get between 4 and 6 fastpasses during the day. So I would recommend in MK to get FP for the following in this order:

1. Splash Mt. or Thunder Mt. (you choose)
2. Space Mt.
3. Buzz Lightyear
4. Possibly Jungle cruise or another fantasyland ride to do it again (last time we got to do Peter Pan once again at night b/c we had nothing else to get FP for - we had ridden everything!!)

WEEK 13 (1/18/10)

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 1:Week 3

It's hard to specify the "worst ride" at Magic Kingdom. I'm usually so happy to be there that I'll ride anything. But if I had to skip a ride I guess the following would be my top 3 choices for the worst rides/attractions there.

1. Mad Hatter Tea Cups - I know, some people really like this ride, but I just can't do it anymore. It would be a vomit fest. Sorry, disgusting, I know. So I will not ride this one. Never. I mean never.
2. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse - Again, I know, some people love this too, but I just think it's outdated and needs to go. They could put something a lot newer and cooler in this spot. It's just boring to me since I've seen it many times.
3. Stitch's Great Escape - Now granted, I've never seen this, but I've heard so many bad reviews that it's not even funny. Plus I did do "Alien Encounter" which was there before Stitch and I don't think it's changed a whole lot, and that attraction was awful. They need to put something else there that's totally different and much better.
4. (honorable mention) Hall of Presidents - I know. It's a classic. I'm not saying it needs to go, but I will gladly skip it. Again, seen it once - that's enough. It does make for a nice napping spot. But I'd rather use my valuable time elsewhere.

So there you go - the worst rides at Magic Kingdom. But if the choice was ride those 4 or stay home, I'd be ridin' those 4 all day long. So you really can't go too wrong here, but if you're looking for rides to avoid, those are my choices.

WEEK 14 (1/25/10)

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 1:Week 4

Magic Kingdom is a difficult park to name my top 3 rides because there are so many!! MK has by far the most rides/attractions but here are my top 3 favorite.

1. Space Mountain - This has been one of my favorite rides for a long time, and not just in Disney World but in THE world. I've loved this ride since I was a kid. I always thought it was great to ride a roller coaster in the pitch dark where you can't see where in the world you are going. It's a huge classic and I'll always love it. Can't wait to see refurbishments in May.

2. Buzz Lightyear - This has quickly become one of my favorites in the last few years. I love the fact that you try to better your score each time. I love the fact that it's a continuous ride so the line goes very fast. It's just a great idea that led to a great ride at Hollywood Studios. We try to ride this one multiple times when we go.

3. Splash Mountain - I like this ride for the simple fact that it's long. It's over 10 minutes long and it's so relaxing and fun. There are multiple hills and of course the big one is very exciting. The music's great. It's just a nice all around classic Disney ride.

Side note - These were close to top three but didn't quite make it: Thunder Mountain, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

WEEK 15 (2/1/10)

2010 - 4 Parks Reviewed, 3 months each, following this format:

Month 1 (RIDES)
Week 1 - First Ride we go to
Week 2 - Rides to get a Fastpass for
Week 3 - Worst Ride(s)/ Attraction(s)
Week 4 - Top 3 Rides

Week 1 - Best sit-down
Week 2 - Best counter service
Week 3 - Restaurants I'd like to try
Week 4 - Other Restaurant tips

Month 3 (OTHER INFO.)
Weeks 1-4 - General Info. and other secrets/tips for that park

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 2:Week 1

Ok, it's month 2 for the Magic Kingdom so it's restaurant time. I'll admit that I don't know as much about restaurants in DW as I do rides for one reason. I've done all the rides. I haven't done ALL the restaurants. So my opinions are based on what I've done. We always try to do at least one new restaurant when we go either sit down or counter but there are still A LOT that I'd like to try. So feel free to comment b/c I'm sure there are some better or worse that I haven't experienced.

This week's topic is best sit down restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. There aren't a ton on sit down restaurants there. In fact, I'm only thinking of four: Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree, Tony's Town Square, and Cinderella's Royal Table. And I haven't been to the last two so that narrows my options down. I would like to try Cinderella's one day just to say I have, but haven't gotten there yet. I guess I could count the restaurants in the resorts close by, but I won't. I'll save that for another week. My favorite restaurant of the first two is the Crystal Palace. I love buffets and the fact that this buffet has a lot of food and the Pooh characters makes it better than Liberty Tree. Now, Liberty Tree does have good food, but since they took away the characters, it makes it less fun for our family. We typically try to go to the Crystal Palace each time unless we trade it for a resort meal close by. But I do really like Crystal Palace and would recommend it to anyone. The only downsides are the crowds and noise but it's Disney. You can't complain about that!

WEEK 16 (2/8/10)

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 2:Week 2

This week is 'best counter service' at the Magic Kingdom and like last week, it's hard for me to judge because I just haven't been to that many. I guess our favorite at the moment is Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland. We have been there the last several years simply because they have a lot of choices. My wife likes the fact that they serve baked chicken and vegetables while I like the burgers there. However, I do want to try some other options and plan to give Pecos Bills a try next time we go. I would also love to go to the mexican restaurant, but it's always closed when we go and I'm wondering if it'll every be open. But you really can't go wrong at Cosmic Rays and there is some entertainment there too, even though it's pretty cheesy. Very Disney, but very cheesy.

WEEK 17 (2/15/10)

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 2:Week 3

This week is 'restaurants I'd like to try' in the Magic Kingdom. I already mentioned last week that I'd like to try Pecos Bills which I plan to do in May. Here are a few others I'd like to just try:

1. Cinderella's Royal Table - I know it's girly, but I'd like to eat there just to say I've done it plus I think it would be great to go up into the castle even a little.

2. Tomorrowland Noodle Station - I've just heard good things about this one. I'm not a big noodle person, but it'd be worth a try.

3. Tony's Town Square - Since it's the other "sit-down" restaurant, I'd like to try it sometime. I really know nothing about it.

WEEK 18 (2/22/10)

January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 2:Week 4

For this final week of February, the topic is other Restaurant info. related to the Magic Kingdom. I wanted to mention a few other restaurants that aren’t actually in the Magic Kingdom but are very close by. They are the ones in the resorts on the Monorail and so they can be reached within just a few minutes of leaving the Magic Kingdom. My take on them is below:

  1. Chef Mickeys (Contemporary Resort) – Great restaurant. Great characters. I actually like this one better than Crystal Palace in the park. The food is great and the atmosphere makes it a fun place to go, especially with kids.
  2. California Grille (Contemporary) – Great view, nice setting, but overpriced. The food was good, but the service was a little slow and so it probably wasn’t worth going back to. But I’m glad I got to do it once.
  3. 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian) – We’ve done this once, a couple of years ago. It was pretty good. The characters were funny and entertaining. The food was not bad but nothing super special. I would do it again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.
  4. I have never been to any of the restaurants at the Polynesian Resort but I’ve heard some great things and would love to try some of them at some point.

The point of all this is to say that there are some really good restaurants just outside the MK. Check them out. If nothing else, it’s fun to visit those hotels and ride the monorail.

WEEK 19 (3/1/10)

Month 3:Week 1

OK, for the month of March, it's just random tips and hints for the Magic Kingdom park in WDW. This week, I thought I'd give you our order of rides/typical MK schedule. This seems to work really well for us. It's not perfect by any means, but pretty close :). Feel free to give it a shot and tweak as necessary.

Get there early, preferably on Extra Hour morning.

1. Dumbo
2. Peter Pan
3. Pooh
4. Snow White
5. Small World

That can all be done in the first 45 min - 1 hr.

6. Splash Mountain
7. Thunder Mountain (or get FP and come back later)
8. Jungle Cruise
9. Pirates
10. Aladdin's Carpets (? - depends on line)
11. Buzz Lightyear
12. Space Mountain (line? get FP)
13. TTA
14. Carousel of Progress
15. Indy Speedway (line? may skip it)
16. Haunted Mansion
17. Railroad

After this, we use fastpasses, ride things again or go back to those that had long lines. Again, this is not the only way to do it, but it usually works for us. Depending on time of year, you might have to use fastpasses to get this accomplished and adjust as needed. There are also some food breaks thrown in that I didn't put b/c people eat at different times. Good luck!!


Month 3:Week 2

A couple more tips for Magic Kingdom this week.

Tip #1 - I may have mentioned this a few months back, but get there early. Take advantage of extra magic hours if possible. Also, if you have young kids, be first in line. They pick a family each day to open the park and it's a wonderful experience. The kids get free gifts. You get an amazing picture with several characters and you get to wave to the crowd from the railroad station. It was an awesome way to start our day a couple of years ago. Talking to the cast members at the gate can't hurt as well!

Tip #2 - Go to Fantasyland first. We always ride Dumbo first, but if you'd rather, go to Tinkerbell's Treasures first. It's on your left as you come out of the back of the castle. If you are the first to go in the morning, you can let Tinkerbell out. I've heard it's great but never seen it.

More tips next week!!


January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 3:Week 3

More tips from the Magic Kingdom and this week is HIDDEN MICKEY WEEK. I'm a big fan of Hidden Mickeys. The last 3-4 trips we've been on, I've been searching the whole time. I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of the Hidden Mickey's book in any bookstore or even in WDW. It's a small yellow book but it provides a lot of fun. Even if you just find a few, it's so much fun to spot them. Our boys love trying to find them. There are soooo many in MK. I'll try to give my favorite for each park when it's Hidden Mickey week - so my favorite for the Magic Kingdom is....well there's way too many that I like so here's a few:

1. Plates on the dining table in Haunted Mansion. Far left, bottom setting. This is one of the first ones I ever saw.

2. On a tree in the loading zone for Peter Pan. Fourth tree. My boys remember this one and we always look for it in line.

3. On a plane during the Jungle Cruise. You have to look back and the three circles are all the same but it's still fun to find.

4. On a woman's belt buckle while riding the TTA. It's the only one on the TTA and we ride this over and over so we always look for it.

5. Mickey lying on his back in the clouds during Splash Mountain, the riverboat scene. You can also see this one from the railroad train so it's fun to see. So creative.

Those are just some of my favorites. There are so many more. I find new ones every time I go. Try it. I promise your family will enjoy it.


January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 3:Week 4

A couple more Magic Kingdom tips this week:

1. This is something we discovered a long time ago and I can't believe more people don't realize it. If you drive to the MK and leave at closing time, instead of riding the direct monorail back to the Ticket & Transportation Center, use the resort one. It is so much less crowded at closing time. Yes, you have to make one stop at the Contemporary Resort, but you will still make it to the TTC much faster. We've done this several times.

2. Here are the rides we try to ride twice or the ones we choose to ride twice if we have time and the crowds allow:

a. Buzz Lightyear - b/c it's just a fun ride, plus you want to see if you can better your score

b. Tomorrowland Transit Authority - because it's so relaxing and long. It's just a nice, easy ride. We may do this one 3 times!

c. Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain - these 3 all fall in the same boat as just being the thrill rides at MK so it's fun to do them twice.

Last set of MK tips next week!!


January-March - MAGIC KINGDOM

Month 3:Week 5

Here are my last 2 tips for the Magic Kingdom. I could give many more, but I'm kindof glad I'll be moving on to Epcot starting next week.

1. The railroad at MK is a great thing if you have small kids and/or you are tired. We always do it in the afternoon when we are hot and tired. We almost always go all the way around and sometimes even further. Our boys have fallen asleep on the train more than once and their dad almost has as well. It's just relaxing and you can almost always get a good seat with a row to yourself.

2. There is a great ice cream place in Fantasyland close to the Pooh ride. We have made it our tradition to go here in the afternoon. They have several choices and it's all good. Great snack option.


2010 Review of 4 Disney parks. 3 months each following this format:

Month 1 (RIDES)
Week 1 - First Ride we go to
Week 2 - Rides to get a Fastpass for
Week 3 - Worst Ride(s)/ Attraction(s)
Week 4 - Top 3 Rides

Week 1 - Best sit-down
Week 2 - Best counter service
Week 3 - Restaurants I'd like to try
Week 4 - Other Restaurant tips

Month 3 (OTHER INFO.)
Weeks 1-4 - General Info. and other secrets/tips for that park


April - June - EPCOT

Month 1:Week 1

It's EPCOT time!!! I'm finally done with the Magic Kingdom - well at least for 2010. For the next 3 months, I'll be reviewing Epcot. Epcot has become one of my favorite parks. It's funny, we were talking to someone today who hasn't been to Epcot in 16 years and he was saying how he remembered not liking it. We assured him that it's changed A LOT!! It is definitely worth doing, and to be honest, now that I'm older, I even enjoy the world showcase (a.k.a. the countries). It's definitely the park I could spend the most time in.

Since it's week 1, this is "first ride we go to".

This is a tough one. There are 2 GREAT rides at Epcot that are very popular and I love them both. They are Test Track and Soarin'. Test Track happens to be my wife's favorite ride in all of WDW so we do that one first for a few reasons.

1. It's her favorite so she wins.
2. It tends to break down more than Soarin' so we try to knock it out before that happens.
3. Soarin's line tends to go a little faster so if we have to wait for one, we choose that one.

We usually run to TT first then run over the Soarin', get a fastpast, and maybe get in line depending on the wait b/c it's one we like to do more than once. But either one of these would be fine to do first but I would definitely recommend doing them quickly b/c their lines fill up fast and their fastpasses sometimes run out.

More about Epcot next week!!



April - June - EPCOT

Month 1:Week 2

Back to Epcot this week and the topic is "Rides to get a Fastpass for." The obvious ones are Test Track and Soarin'. As I said last week, we always run to Test Track and ride it first and then run to get a Fastpass for Soarin'. But sometimes we'll go back and get a Test Track Fastpass later in the day. Some others that we've gotten a Fastpass for in the past:

1. Malestrom - This is the boat ride in the Norway pavilion and believe it or not, sometimes the line gets long. So we've gotten this one later in the day before.

2. Mission Space - I got a Fastpass for this ride one time b/c I wanted to ride it. Now I'm fine if I don't ride it so I don't do it every time. But it's line can get long so if you want to try it, you might want to use a Fastpass.

I'm not sure if any other rides use the Fastpass but those are the main ones we use it for.



April - June - EPCOT

Month 1:Week 3

So this week it's "Worst Ride(s)" at Epcot. This is tough b/c I love them all. I don't know if you count films as "rides" but some of the films, like Norway, are definitely worth skipping. If I had to skip an actual ride, it would probably be either Nemo (sorry, boys) or Mission Space. Nemo is just too basic for me. It was neat the first time but I couldn't believe it was over so quickly. I just think they could've done so much more with that. Mission Space makes me feel slightly nauseous. Again, I'm glad I did it once (I've actually now done it twice), but there's no need to do it every time. It makes me queasy for the next hour or so. I love the rest of the rides. And those 2 are worth doing once. Nemo's worth doing every time if you've got nothing else to do.



April - June - EPCOT

Month 1:Week 4

This is the final week of "Rides" for Epcot. Next week I'll start discussing Epcot restaurants. The topic this week is top 3 rides at Epcot. So here are my 3 favorites and why:

1. Soarin' - This one barely beats #2, but I do love it more. I have to be in the front row (very top) but I just love the concept, the feeling, the smells, and so much more. Such a great ride.
2. Test Track - My wife's very favorite in all of WDW. I like it a lot. Also a great concept for a ride and the outside part is amazing. I even love the pre-show video. Outstanding ride that we run to first.
3. Spaceship Earth - This was tough. I almost picked Ellen's Universe b/c I do love that ride for many reasons but Spaceship Earth is just cool. I love the recent updates where they use your face. Plus, I teach World History so this ride is my curriculum. I love the relaxation of it. Plus, I just love the face that you are up inside that big ball.

Many other favorites at Epcot but these are my top 3.



April - June - EPCOT

Month 2:Week 1

It's time to start talking restaurants at Epcot. This week's topic is best sit-down restaurant and it's an easy decision. Granted I haven't been to all of them, but I can't imagine that anything could be better than LeCellier which is the restaurant in the Canada pavilion. One of the things I look forward to every time we go to WDW is going to this restaurant. Every time we've gone the service and food have been excellent. The pretzel bread and cheese soup is amazing. The steaks are wonderful and the dessert is very creative and tasty as well. I would love to branch out and try other places but I would hate to miss out on LeCellier even once. I definitely recommend this place, especially if you've never been there. At this point, it's my favorite restaurant in all of WDW.



April - June - EPCOT

Month 2:Week 2

The topic this week is "best counter service restaurant" at Epcot. This is a tough one because I haven't tried nearly as many as I would like to so I'm sure there is something much better out there than my choice. I have basically only been to "Sunshine Seasons" and "Electric Umbrella". My wife likes SS but I really do not. I can't find anything there I've just loved even though I know a lot of people like this one. I'd choose the Electric Umbrella any day. It's your basic food: burgers, chicken, etc. but they do give free drink refills which is very rare in WDW. Plus it is usually not crowded (unlike SS) so we've done this one the last few times we've been there. But again, I'd like to try others in the future, especially some in the World Showcase (countries).


April - June - EPCOT

Month 2:Week 3

This week I'm discussing restaurants in Epcot that I'd like to try. There are 3 that I can remember right now. They are:

1. Biergarten - This is the restaurant in Germany. I have heard really good things about it.

2. Nine Dragons - The china restaurant. I love Chinese food and this one has gotten good reviews too.

3. Coral Reef - The one with the sea. I don't think I've ever eaten there but I think it would be a neat experience.

Epcot actually has several others I would be willing to try. Epcot is known for it's great restaurants. Hopefully I'll get to experience more of them in the future.



April - June - EPCOT

Month 2:Week 4

Other restaurant tips for Epcot?

I've got a couple:

1. Eat around the world. One of my favorite podcasts (WDW today) have done a couple of shows where they have eaten all the way around World Showcase, buying something from every country. And while they do it all in one day, I don't know if I recommend that. But I would suggest trying things from different countries. I haven't gotten to do this as much as I would like but I know there are some great snacks and meals out there.

2. I would also suggest trying the Garden Grill. This is the revolving restaurant in the Land Pavilion. It's down home American style food. I enjoyed it more than my family. I most enjoyed the atmosphere. I loved that the restaurant rotated and you could see the boat ride below. Plus, there is an awesome hidden Mickey in there. I would say try it once. I would enjoy going back.


April - June - EPCOT

Month 3:Week 1

Ok, for the next month (and this one's 5 weeks!), I'm going to give some tips we've learned for Epcot. I'll try to do a couple each week. Here's the first 2:

1. Try hard to get picked to open the park. Unlike the Magic Kingdom where getting picked is fun but holds you up, this one gives you a definite advantage. We've been picked at both and getting picked at MK put us behind but for Epcot, they let you in early and you get to go ahead when they finish the countdown while everyone else starts scanning tickets. (At MK, you are up on the train station and it takes a while to get down). So get there first and look cute. Bring a poster that says "I want to open Epcot". Plus, you get a free fastpass for any ride along with some other goodies.

2. If you go to the park for opening, they will let you in around 10 min. early. Run or walk very fast (who am I kidding? RUN!) past Spaceship Earth (the big ball). There will be a rope there holding you back until official opening time. If you want to do Test Track first (which I recommend) get to the far left side of the rope. If you want to do Soarin' first, get to the far right side. I would definitely do one of these 2 first and getting in those positions will help you to be one of the first. Don't be in the middle.

More tips next week!


2010 Review of 4 Disney parks.

April - June - EPCOT

Month 3:Week 2

A couple more Epcot tips:

1. I strongly recommend eating at Electric Umbrella or at least getting a drink there. Why? They give free refills! The machines are out in the restaurant. I don't know any other counter service in WDW that gives free refills so take advantage!

2. Don't ride Mission Space right after you eat. This is a ride that makes me a little queasy no matter when I ride it, but I definitely know I couldn't handle it after lunch or dinner. Maybe some could but I'd be impressed. It's a stomach turner.

More tips next week.


2010 Review of 4 Disney parks. 3 months each following this format:


April - June - EPCOT

Month 3:Week 3

2 more Epcot tips for this week:

1. Kindof a fun one here. When you ride Spaceship Earth (aka the "big ball") be looking for the camera at the beginning of the ride that will take your picture. You can see your face in a screen. They will use your face at the end of the ride for the interactive part where you answer questions. You can also send your face in an email after the ride as well as have it put up on the big screens. We have begun the tradition of making silly faces in the camera. It makes for a good laugh during the end of the ride. My boys love doing it.

2. This one is pretty simple. EXPLORE. Epcot is the best park to just do some exploring. I think I could visit 100 times and find something new each time, especially within the countries of World Showcase. If you are going to be in WDW for several days, I would recommend just taking a leisure day to explore the Epcot park. Look in the nooks and crannies and see what you can find. There's a lot there!

More tips next week.


2010 Review of 4 Disney parks. 3 months each following this format:

April - June - EPCOT

Month 3:Week 4

2 more Epcot tips for this week:

1. Try out Innovations. The last couple of years, we've discovered that our boys really enjoy Innovations. This is an inside area with lots and lots of interactive games and demonstrations. Some of the games and really neat and involve futuristic technology. For example, this year, the boys had their picture taken and then their bodies were placed into a video game. They loved it. If you have some time, check it out, especially with the kids.

2. Take a tour. Ride the Segways. One of the things you can do in Innovations is try out a Segway. I've never gotten to ride one myself but they give free demonstrations inside Innovations at certain times. You can also take a Segway tour of Epcot which I'd love to do at some point. This costs extra of course.

Two final tips next week.


April - June - EPCOT

Month 3:Week 5

Last 2 tips for Epcot this week. Next week, we move to Hollywood Studios for three months. Looking forward to that.

Epcot tips:
1. There are some great Hidden Mickeys in Epcot. I encourage you to get on hiddenmickeysguide.org to see where they are. Some of my favorites:
a. Soarin - on the golf ball that's hit toward you
b. Soarin - in the fireworks at the end of the film
c. Garden Grill - Mickey hidden in the painting on the wall. Very hard to spot but I finally saw it when a waiter pointed it out. Hidden Mickey's book author's favorite.
d. Test Track - there are a ton, too many to list
e. Small one etched in concrete outside Mouse Gear shop. Hard to find but very cool
There are so many others but it's a great park to search.

2. Stay for Illuminations. Even though Fantasmic is my favorite closing show, Illuminations is a close 2nd. It's a great show and well worth seeing over and over. Don't leave and miss it. Get a good seat early and be prepared to be wowed.

Feel free to share your Epcot tips with me. Click below.




Month 1:Week 1 and 2

Like I said above, I'm a little late updating this week but I realized that this will be for the next 2 weeks as I'll be unable to update next week.

I am starting the 3 month review of the Hollywood Studios park this week. Since this is for 2 weeks, I'll tell you the first ride we go to and rides to get a fastpass for.

We always go to Toy Story Mania first and you pretty much have to if you want to ride it. It seems to be the most popular ride in all 4 parks, at least at opening time so we run like crazy there first.

And as far as fastpasses, we get one for Toy Story before we ride it. This year it worked out perfect. I was first in line to get 4 fastpasses and by the time I got them and ran to the line, I caught up with my family in line and we were the 2nd or 3rd family in line. It was perfect.

You also want to get fastpasses for Tower of Terror and Rock 'n Roller coaster. These rides fill up pretty quick. Other than those 3, fastpasses aren't really needed for anything else. In fact, they are not offered for much else. I would recommend getting as many fastpasses for Toy Story as you can. You'll want to ride it more than once. We got to do it 3 times on this last trip but only b/c we got another set of fastpasses right when we could from the first set.

I'll discuss "worst rides/attractions" in a couple of weeks!

TIP FOR THE WEEK OF 7/19&26/10

2010 Review of 4 Disney parks. 3 months each following this format:


Month 1:Week 3 and 4

I'm a little late for this post as well so I'll just go ahead and hit 2 weeks again this time. For this post, I'm discussing the "worst rides" at Hollywood Studios and my "top 3" rides/attractions there.

As far as "worst" rides/attractions, there's not a whole lot there so it's not an easy pick. I would have to say:
1. Star Tours - only b/c I hate simulators. They make me queasy and I don't enjoy being closed up like that. I'm not claustrophobic or anything, but I enjoy an open air attraction where I can see everything that's going on.
2. Car stunt show - (aka Light's Motors, Action....) - This was neat to see once, but once was enough. It was a very loud show. Too loud, even for me. So I would say go see it once, but once is enough. It takes a lot of time as well.

As far as my "top 3" rides/attractions, it's an easy pick.

1. Toy Story Midway Mania - this is nearly my favorite ride in all of WDW. Love it. Best ride in HS by far.
2. Tower of Terror - classic ride. Love this one too.
3. Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster - Another classic. One of my favorite roller coasters in any park due to it being inside and the music. I'm a big Aerosmith fan.

Next month, we'll talk food at HS. I'll try to start posting weekly again!


2010 Review of 4 Disney parks. 3 months each following this format:


Month 2:Week 1 and 2

I've decided to stick with updating every 2 weeks instead. It's just easier with my busy life. So for these 2 weeks, it's the best sit down and counter service restaurants at HS.

Best sit down that we've tried is 50's Primetime Diner. We love it. Great food. Great service. Great atmosphere/decoration. It's just a fun place and neat place to go. The desserts are awesome also - gotta try the smores. I'd like to try Sci-Fi but we've hard so many bad reviews, my wife hates to give up the diner. We've been to Hollywood and Vine and I didn't like it, plus we had to wait way too long so it always gives me a bad taste.

As far as counter service, we always to go the Toy Story Pizza place. You get a lot of food for your money there. The Backlot Express is also good and has a good selection. Haven't tried much more than that. Tried the ABC Commissary once but didn't care too much for it.

Update again in 2 weeks.