Happiest Job on Earth


After my life changing experience on the Disneyland Resort's Dream Squad I returned to my role at The Walt Disney Travel Co. My management team asked me to use the connections, skills, and knowledge I had developed to become our Magic Maker. This new role would make extra magic for guest with special circumstances booking with WDTC for a Disneyland or Aulani Vacation.

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Animal Kingdom Welcomes a Big Bundle of Joy!


Animal Kingdom welcomes a new baby—a Nile hippopotamus! Born on January 13th at 10:00 pm, this is the first hippo birth in the park in 13 years. Tuma and her baby calf are doing well and have been given plenty of room to bond. This will slightly delay the opportunity to discover the calf’s gender and weight—which is typically between 60 to 110 pounds. Disney’s highly-trained animal care experts have been preparing for months for the latest arrival. Henry, Tuma’s mate, was chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan, overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The Nile hippopotamus has been subject to a declining population and this marks an important contribution to animal conservation. If you’d like to know more about hippos, check out DisneyAnimals.com

Guests will be able to fall in love with the newest edition to the herd with a closer look on a Kilimanjaro Safari or the Wild Africa Trek.


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DLR UPdate 17





Image result for disneyland dumbo the flying elephant

  • Splash Mountain <attraction/Critter Country> Closed for refurbishment, reopens Apr 14th.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant <attraction/Fantasyland>  Closed for refurbishment, reopens Apr 27th.
  • Main Street Vehicles <attraction/Main Street U.S.A.> Closed for refurbishment, reopens Mar 15th
  • "it's a small world"  <attraction/Fantasyland> Closed to remove the holiday overlay, reopens Feb 1st.
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train <attraction/Fantasyland> Closes Feb 5th for refurbishment, reopening date TBA.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats <attraction/Fantasyland> Closes Feb 5th–15th for refurbishment.


Disney's California Adventure

  • The Golden Zephyr <attraction/Paradise Garden> Closed for refurbishment, reopens Jan 25th.
  • The lockers in Disney California Adventure are currently closed for replacement. Lockers are still available outside the park entrance.
  • The Bakery Tour <attraction/Pacific Wharf> Closed for refurbishment, reopens Feb 2nd.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail <attraction/Grizzly Peak> Closed for refurbishment, reopening date TDA.
  • Grizzly River Run <attraction/Grizzly Peak> Closed for refurbishment, reopens Feb 1st.
  • Cove Bar – Closed as part of the Pixar Pier retheme. The location will temporarily reopen in April during Spring Break.

The following attractions are closed as part of the Pixar Pier retheme. No reopening date is available at this time, and most of the locations will have new names when they return:

  • Games of the Boardwalk
  • California Screamin'
  • Mickey's Fun Wheel
  • Boardwalk Bazaar
  • Sideshow Shirts
  • Treasures in Paradise
  • Point Mugu Tattoo
  • Don Tomas Turkey Legs
  • Hot Dog Hut
  • Ariel's Grotto
  • Cove Bar
  • Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company


Crowd Impacting Events 

 Image result for DCA Lunar new year 2018

**The 2018 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center this Thursday, January 25 through Sunday, January 27. This is the largest convention hosted in the Disneyland Resort area. Expect some convention-related crowds next weekend as a result.**

  • Lunar New Year Festival at Disney's California Adventure – Jan 26th through Feb 18th
  • Disney's California Adventure Food & Wine Festival – Mar 2nd through Apr 12th
  • Pixar Fest begins – Apr 13th. Debut of the new "Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular" fireworks show, as well as the first performances of the Paint the Night Parade in Disney's California Adventure, and Pixar Play Parade in Disneyland.
  • Dapper Day Spring Soiree – Apr 22nd. More information at the event website.
  • 2018 Grad Nites: May 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th; Jun 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th
  • Moonlight Magic after-hours event for Disney Vacation Club members – Nov 15th. Reservations open Oct 4th.
  • CHOC Walk – Aug 26th






Happiest NEWS on Earth!


For the First Time in Forever

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No snow, no diamonds, and no plastic! For the first time since 2014 we now see the turret roofs. This may not be the biggest or most ornate of the Disney castles but it is my favorite and, of course, the flagship of the company. Since the Disneyland TV show in 1954 Sleeping Beauty's Castle has made children's hearts sing and given adults goosebumps. Walking over the working draw-bridge (which has only official been used 3 times) and hearing "When You Wish Upon a Star" is a right of passage for millions of people over the last 63 years!


Happy New Year!

Image result for lunar new year pluto, goofy disneyland

The Year of the Dog begins this Friday, Jan. 26th, with return of the Lunar New Year festival at Disney California Adventure Park. The event includes food offerings from a collection of restaurants, themed decorations in the Paradise Gardens area, a street festival with Mulan and Mushu, and a pre-show to the World of Color. 

Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession

A colorful performance held in Paradise Garden. Mulan and Mushu preside over this processional, which features dancers, acrobats, and drummers. There is a fairly small viewing area available here, so you'll want to make sure to arrive early enough to claim a good spot. Check performance times on the Disneyland website before you go, or check the Times Guide or Disneyland app once you're in the park.

Hurry Home – Lunar New Year Celebration

This World of Color pre-show is presented nightly.


Lunar New Year Marketplaces

Korea Marketplace (The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure)

  • Kimchi Bokkeumbap – vegetable fried rice
  • Yachae Mandu – steamed vegetable dumpling with sesame-garlic soy sauce
  • Yang Gaeng – sweet red bean and raspberry jelly
  • Banana Ooyu – non-alcoholic banana milk
  • Mae Shil Ju – plum wine cocktail
  • Hite Pale Lager

China Marketplace (Golden Zephyr)

  • Xiao Long Bao – pork soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger
  • Sanbeiji – three-cup chicken
  • Dan Ta – egg tart dessert
  • Wuxiang Huasheng Tang – five-spiced peanut brittle
  • Baixiangguo Lucha – passion fruit green iced tea with lychee popping pearls (non-alcoholic)
  • Tsingtao Lager

Vietnam Marketplace (Golden Zephyr)

  • Banh Chu’ng – sticky rice cake with pork
  • Chao Tom – sugar cane shrimp skewer with sweet and sour sauce
  • Banh Khoai Lang Tim – purple sweet potato macaron
  • Ca Phe Sua Da – Vietnamese iced coffee (non-alcoholic)

Paradise Gardens Cart

  • Zhurou Bao – steamed bao filled with pork and served with sweet chili dipping sauce
  • Xìngren Qu Qi – three mini almond cookies

Paradise Garden Grill

  • Ca Ro Phi Chien Gion – whole crispy tilapia with chili-lime vinaigrette served family-style with soup, vegetables and rice
  • Japchae – sweet potato noodles, onions, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, spinach, snow peas, broccolini, and lightly sauteed tofu tossed with sesame oil and sweet and spicy sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds
  • Galbi – short ribs marinated and grilled Korean-style and served with steamed rice and kimchi
  • Pho Bo – beef noodle soup with seasoned beef stock, thinly sliced tri-tip and rice noodles with classic accompaniments of onion, jalapeno, basil-lime and hot sauce
  • Banh Mi Thit Nuong – marinated pork belly, pickled carrots and daikon with cucumber, cilantro, seasoned mayonnaise and jalapeno on a crispy baguette
  • Mango Pudding
  • Almond Milk Black Iced Tea with Pudding (non-alcoholic)
  • Black Beer Stout



Walk for the Children of CHOC

Image result for CHOC walk 2018

Children's Hospital of Orange County asks you to Save the Date for the 2018 CHOC Walk, which returns to the Disneyland Resort on Sunday, August 26.

This event is the largest fund raiser of the year for the hospital, and draws thousands of people to the Disneyland Resort during the for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) walk through Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Registration opens later this spring.




Outside the Berm



Iconic Toon, Finally Gets a Star of Her Own

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She may be turning 90, but film, TV and fashion icon Minnie Mouse is as em vogue as ever.

She has a starring role on a Disney Channel show, tirelessly greets fans at Disney Parks around the world, and has inspired top fashion designers well into her octogenarian years. She is a licensing powerhouse. And on Jan. 22, she received her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Minnie’s forever sweetheart, Mickey Mouse, was at her side when she received the honor. Mickey was the first cartoon character to get a star in 1978, when he was 50, and was later joined by other Disney characters. 

Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger and singer Katy Perry spoke at the 11:30 a.m. PST ceremony in front of the Disney's El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

"After 90 years of serving LOOKS & smiles as the polka dot queen, it's time she got that recognition!'' Perry tweeted. The star is the 2,627th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the first 1,558 stars. The ceremony was livestreamed on walkoffame.com.

Minnie Mouse was part of the first animated film featuring Mickey Mouse, "Steamboat Willie,'' which was released in 1928. This means Minnie's star is for the Motion Picture category. Minnie Mouse is known for her polka dot attire and the ceremony coincides with National Polka Dot Day!

Image result for minnie mouse star hollywood



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Win Tickets for Two to the Fifth Annual Field to Feast Dinner!

Win Tickets for Two to the Fifth Annual Field to Feast Dinner!

Edible Orlando and Walt Disney World Resorts are hosting the Fifth Annual Field to Feast Dinner taking place on February 17, 2018, and you’re invited! Disney World’s top chefs will be there demonstrating their culinary skills, using locally grown ingredients to create exquisite cuisine samplings that will be paired with wine, beer, and specialty cocktails. Master Sommelier George Miliotes, who is set to open Wine Bar George in Disney Springs in the Spring of 2018, will be arranging the pairings. This casual dinning event takes place outdoors at Long & Scott Farms in Mt. Dora, Florida, just north of the Disney Parks. There will be live music, farm tours, and much more!

Field to Feast benefits the Second Harvest Kids Cafe, an after-school meal service program that provides food to needy children in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties. Second Harvest has provided 287,266 meals to kids at 27 sites in Central Florida this past year.

Tickets are $175 each and space is limited, however Edible Orlando is giving away two free tickets! To win, share a photo of some aspect of your holiday feast—from the kitchen or the table—on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram from now until December 15th using #EdibleDisney AND #F2F18. Edible Orlando will narrow down the top three entries to be chosen by their Facebook followers on December 16, 2017. The winner will be announced on December 31, 2017.

Click here to see rules and conditions.

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Walt Disney World: A Haven in the Hurricane


Hurricane on the Way…

When my family and I learned that Hurricane Irma was churning its way straight toward us, seemingly growing more powerful and dangerous day by day and hour by hour, we knew our September 10th Disney plans were likely not going to happen. Our family from out of state cancelled their flight to Orlando, saying they hoped to come down another time. Our dinner reservations at Rainforest Cafe for that Sunday in Animal Kingdom were scrapped, too. My Disney-loving self was resigned to the fact that this was one WDW weekend that probably wouldn't happen and that my family and I may even need to evacuate the area. With Governor Rick Scott declaring a State of Emergency to prepare Florida for the impending hurricane, I concentrated on readying my family and our home.

By Sunday we were as prepared as could be: windows boarded, food and water ready and suitcases packed in case of evacuation orders. We hunkered down and waited. Meanwhile, the weather outside remained fairly calm, with a bright sun and just a slight, suspicious breeze. It was surreal, knowing what was barreling our way. The news was on nonstop; around lunchtime I checked the hurricane status; Irma would not hit us until the next day. So, I mentioned as nonchalantly as I could to my kids' dad, Bryan, "We're all ready...the hurricane won't be here until tomorrow. Do you want to try to go to Disney for just a couple of hours?" I added, "I'll bet the line for Flight of Passage is short…" His birthday was the next day and the Disney weekend was intended to be part of his celebration. Knowing that we had time to go there and come back, it was not a difficult decision to make. We got the kids together and started on our way.

Animal Kingdom Before Irma

There were still some light crowds at Animal Kingdom when we arrived, but I could see they were moving out as the sun went down. Parking and getting through security was quick. Modified hours were in place, too; the sign at the entrance read "The Park will be closing tonight at 7:00 p.m." The live animal exhibits were closed, of course, but a few rides were still open. Fortunately for Bryan, my teen Morgan and son Rowan, the Banshee ride was one. I took my youngest, Elowen, to Dinoland, since she is not tall enough for Flight of Passage (and it's too intense for her, anyway). Unfortunately the Boneyard, which was the one place she wanted to visit and play, was closed. We tried the Primeval Whirl next, but she wasn't tall enough for that yet. So, we spent some time in Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures shop, leaving with a triceratops toy. Thankfully (I guess!) my youngest enjoys shopping and perusing stuffed toys as much as going on rides.

Throughout Dinoland, we practically had the streets to ourselves, which was a bit eerie at times. Restaurantosaurus (my favorite paleontologist-themed eatery) was totally devoid of customers; it felt really strange being the only person in there, but needless to say the Quick Service was indeed quick service! As I walked around that section of the park with my little one, WDW cast members were at almost every corner, waving and smiling despite the gray clouds starting to move in. I talked to some who said they were ready for the hurricane; a few lived close by and others said they were staying at the resorts.

Soon Bryan texted me to say they were out of Flight of Passage. It was as exhilarating an experience as expected; the line was short, the exhibits in the attraction were fascinating and the "flight" itself was awesome. We met at the Tree of Life to watch "It's Tough to be a Bug" with all the kids, but unfortunately it was too scary for both the 7 and 4 year old! A very kind cast member escorted us out and we made our way to the park exit. As we walked out of Animal Kingdom, hurricane prep was calmly happening all around us. Loose items were secured and bags of sand now served as barriers in front of shop doors. If there was a sense of urgency among the cast members, they kept it hidden well.

Disney's Beach Club Resort Before Irma

Our last stop before going home was the birthday dinner. Bryan wanted to eat at Captain's Grill, one of the restaurants participating in the current 45th Anniversary Passholder Discount promotion. We still had plenty of time to get home and wait for Irma, and with the 30% discount promotion happening at the time, we decided to go ahead to the Beach Club (where Captain's Grill is temporarily located) and see if they had any availability for us.

At the Beach Club Resort, I could really see the efforts by cast members in creating a safe and entertaining environment for families as Hurricane Irma grew closer to Orlando. Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto played games, danced around, played jokes and gave hugs to children and adults. Cast members in the Beach Club garb stayed a constant, smiling presence, managing to add even more comfort and cheer, whether in the lobby or in the Marketplace shop.

It was crowded, but not unbearable; in fact, it seemed that the guests, both young and old, wanted to be around each other at that time. Parents who were stressed couldn't help but smile when their kids played peek-a-boo with Pluto or twirled hula hoops with a cast member. Guests walked around with their furry family members, too - dogs on leashes - and not just service animals...since Walt Disney World allowed guests who needed to evacuate their homes to bring their pets along. The atmosphere was busy for sure, but rather than looking stressed and scared, guests seemed relieved, comforted and happy.

Not surprisingly, the Captain's Grill was able to seat us very quickly. We were among a handful of tables getting service that night. The kind and cheerful service by cast members continued there; as servers stopped to chat with the little ones, even quietly dropping an extra (and very delicious) cake "Push-Pop" onto the table (see the pictures - and look for hidden Mickeys)! As far as birthday dinners go, it was nicely done. Although I didn't eat the desserts, I appreciated the presentation, with touches of Disney and Mickey and chocolates with "Happy Birthday" messages. I even had the pleasure of a chance meeting with one of my college students there, who was busy doing her best as a Beach Club employee, making sure that the Disney magic was all around during the hurricane preparations.

After dinner we walked outside as we headed toward the lobby to leave and go home. Outside was where the reality of the resort's hurricane preparation really hit, with chairs tied down, entries closed and locked and other evidence of emergency readiness underway. By this time it was dark and the wind was picking up. Back in the brightly lit lobby though, the atmosphere was the same as before: noisy, fun, slightly crowded with people, Disney characters and furry friends, with everyone together waiting for Hurricane Irma.

A Haven in the Hurricane

Now that Irma has passed through Florida, it is easy to look back and reflect on how the state dealt (and is still dealing) with such a catastrophic event. Most of us know how the hurricane devastated so many lives and homes. At Walt Disney World, and where I live in Orlando, I am beyond thankful for how fortunate we were this time. Miraculously, I was one of the few who didn't lose power. Walt Disney World also kept its power, but still experienced some minor damage throughout the parks and resorts, which is evident in the debris still needing clean-up and certain areas that remain closed (like the Jungle Cruise - my favorite ride). While Walt Disney World is engaged in its own recovery efforts, the Walt Disney Company has also committed $2.5 million to help aid humanitarian relief throughout Florida, the Caribbean and other areas impacted by Irma.

I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to Walt Disney World's hardworking and ever-smiling cast members. As Irma barreled her way toward us in Florida, locals and guests to the area were understandably scared and worried and didn't know what to expect, but were fearfully ready for the worst. At Walt Disney World, cast members did their utmost to mask their own concerns while striving to offer both entertainment and comfort to guests and their families, whether they were there due to already planned vacations or because of evacuations. Indeed, cast members certainly embodied Cinderella's famous words: "Have courage and be kind."

So, ears off to you, Cast Members! You were the ones who provided a haven in the hurricane to those of us there. Walt Disney World's magic can't happen without you, during calm or storm.

For more about Walt Disney World and Hurricane Irma's impact, view these other posts and sites:

Disney World Reopens After Hurricane Irma by Melissa Ariel

Behind-the-Scenes Pics Show How Disney World Prepared for Hurricane Irma by Suzy Strutner

Information on Hurricane Irma Walt Disney World 

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The Walt Disney Company Donates $1 Million to Texas Relief

The Walt Disney Company is no stranger to philanthropy, having donated over $400 million to various charities in 2016, alone, through The Walt Disney Foundation. They have recently committed $1 million dollars to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas as they are in severe need of assistance. This warms my heart to no end given that I was born and raised in Houston and it is filled with my family and friends.

Additionally, the Disney/ABC television group has dedicated Thursday, August 31st, as a  "Day of Giving."  Their programs throughout the day, on all Disney media platforms, will be devoted to this cause and all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief.  This "Day of Giving" was done in 2012 to support those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, raising over $18 million dollars. Disney also announced that they will be matching, dollar-for-dollar, any donations their employees make towards this cause. ​This is done through their Disney Employee Matching Gifts Program set up by the Walt Disney Foundation.

This is a time where everyone comes together to help their fellow man, where everything else that gets in the way of us all getting along is quickly forgotten. Because of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of Texas residents are needing rescue due to catastrophic flooding. Not only are the officials equipped to handle this situation aiding in these rescue efforts, but caring people like you and me, both far and wide. This is a time for coming together as a community and I am, personally, grateful that Disney is contributing to that unity.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross, please click on the link below.

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