Feb 13

First Look at the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel

2013 Disney Parks Moms panel Walt Disney WorldDisney Parks has officially given a new name to the ever-growing Walt Disney World Moms Panel: the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Along with the change in title the company announced the website’s 19 newest members.  New for 2013, two Team Sports Moms will join the roster to assist guests with youth sports-related travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel, located at www.DisneyParksMomsPanel.com, is an online forum that serves as a resource for planning Disney Parks vacations. Whether guests are looking to kick it on the fields of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, find the best character dining experience for their family, jog around Disney theme parks with runDisney or discover the cultures of the world with Adventures by Disney, there is a panelist who can share authentic opinions and tips on almost anything and everything Disney Parks. Spanish-speaking visitors can also read and submit questions to a group of dedicated multilingual panelists.

“Since launching in 2008, the Disney Parks Moms Panel has answered countless questions from travelers considering a Disney Parks vacation,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. “Known for their sound and practical advice, the panelists continue to be a great resource, helping even more guests make unforgettable Disney memories.”

In September 2012, thousands of hopefuls from around the world submitted applications for a seat on the panel.  From the many passionate applications, 19 new moms and dads have taken their seat with the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Meet the first new members of the Disney Parks Moms Panel:

- Allison Lemme; Plano, Texas (Walt Disney World) – A hospitality management professional turned stay-at-home mom, Allison spends her days specializing in serving daily doses of magic to her family of five. She also enjoys blogging and donating her time to local organizations and charities.

- Angie Gregg; Hummelstown, Pa. (Team Sports Mom) – Busy mom to two soccer-loving princesses and wife of a professional soccer coach, it’s no surprise that team sports are a big deal in the Gregg household! When she’s not attending a game or working as a medical coder, Angie loves to exercise and participate in races.

- Audra Anders; Dunwoody, Ga. (Team Sports Mom) – From the gridiron to the pitcher’s mound, Audra loves to take on the role of team mom for her two athletic sons. The Anders family has made major-league memories at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and Audra looks forward to helping others do the same!

- Courtney Bautista; Fresno, Calif. (Disneyland Resort) – As a Southern California native, Courtney “grew up Disney,” making frequent visits to Disneyland Resort. Now as a parent, she looks to share the Disney lifestyle with her son and husband; as a family, they love to participate in pin trading and experience all the fabulous food options Disney has to offer.

- Derek Hoffman; Washington, D.C. (Walt Disney World) – Tax consultant by day and magic-maker by night, this Disney dad loves helping others plan memory-filled vacations. A self proclaimed “Waltophile,” Derek honeymooned at the place where dreams come true and has taken semiannual trips to his “happy place” ever since.

- Jackie Gailey; Savannah, Ga. (Walt Disney World) - A perpetual spreader of Pixie Dust, Jackie incorporates Disney into all aspects of her life, and that of her husband, son and daughter. Her Disney vacation experience spans from coast to coast, and she can’t wait to share her love of the Mouse on the Moms Panel.

- Jacqui Clark; Chicago, Ill. (Walt Disney World) – Jacqui lives her life by the mantra “Adventure is out there!” From domestic Disney resorts to Disneyland Paris and the decks of Disney Cruise Line, the Clark family has experienced memories and milestones a plenty with Disney. When she’s not planning vacations, Jacqui works as a substitute teacher and volunteers in her community.

- Kari Krueger; College Station, Texas (Disney Vacation Club) – The words “Welcome Home!” are dear to the Krueger family. Kari and her husband became Disney Vacation Club members before the birth of their two children, taking annual vacations around the world all on their points. By day, Kari is the executive director of a non-profit, helping people with autism and other disabilities lead independent lives.

- Kimberly Lucci; Bridgewater, N.J. (Walt Disney World) – A college professor turned stay-at-home mom, Kimberly shares her love of the Mouse with her husband and daughter. She can often be found sharing her personal park-planning tips on vegetarian eating and traveling with disabilities at Disney.

- Kristen deHaan; Puebla, Mexico (Adventures by Disney/Aulani) – Originally hailing from Ontario, Canada, Kristen lives an international life with her husband and three children. Between multiple Disney Cruise Line sailings, half a dozen Adventures by Disney departures and countless Disney Vacation Club excursions, Kristen is a pro at traveling the globe with Disney.

- Mandy Milhoan; Greenville, S.C. (Walt Disney World) – As the mother of five, Mandy knows the importance of vacationing on a budget. Whether it’s a romantic getaway for two, a girls weekend or full-out family vacation, Mandy uses her “bloodhound’s nose for bargains” to experience Disney as often as possible.

- Marcy Galloway; Cincinnati, Ohio (Disney Cruise Line) - From first sight of the life-sized pirate schooner in their backyard, you can tell the Galloway family is up for an ocean adventure! Marcy takes the helm of her home ship, leading her husband and two children on magical Disney Cruise Line vacations.

- Miguel Olmo-Rodríguez; Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (Spanish-language) - An environmental planning consultant by trade, Miguel is an avid researcher and meticulous planner – skills he uses to create unforgettable Disney vacations for his family. He is thrilled to be the first bilingual dad to answer questions in Spanish on the panel.

- Mona Leigh Guha; Columbia, Md. (Disney Vacation Club) - Her Ph.D. might be in Human Development, but most friends refer to Mona Leigh as “Dr. Disney.” When she’s not conducting research for the University of Maryland, Mona Leigh can be found planning Disney Vacation Club getaways for her husband and daughter.

- Raquel Cummings; Cedar Hill, Texas (Walt Disney World) – Special touches are a hallmark of every Cummings family Disney vacation. Whether they are sailing with Disney Cruise Line or enjoying Disney Parks with Disney Vacation Club points, Raquel knows that it’s the little touches and lesser-known experiences that can make for big magic.

- Sherri Cuda; Crete, Ill. (Walt Disney World) – Traveling with dietary restrictions? This Midwestern mom of two and property manager is your gal! She’s done Disney in every way – as a prior Cast Member, from solo trips to Grand Gatherings – sampling more than 70 dining options along the way.

- Stephanie Gibbon; Brantford, Ontario (Walt Disney World) – You can’t top this Canuck on traveling to Disney! When she’s not busy teaching third grade or spending quality time with her family, Stephanie loves giving advice on the best ways to cross the border and make magical memories at Disney. Parlez-vous français? She shares tips in French too!

- Wilma Norton; St. Petersburg, Fla. (Walt Disney World)  - Living just 90 minutes from the Magic Kingdom gates has allowed Wilma and her family to enjoy countless Walt Disney World vacations as annual passholders. She prefers to stay on-property and has visited almost every resort, eatery and attraction the park has to offer. 

- Yael Londoño; Dania Beach, Fla. (Spanish-language) - Yael is her name and pin trading is her game! This mom of three has visited Walt Disney World more than 100 times, with the goal of collecting a pin at each on-property resort. In Yael’s opinion, you are never too young to experience Disney – her daughter’s visit was at just 17 days old!

The new panel will be joined by select alumni panelists – representing all previous panels – to help answer the influx of Disney vacation questions submitted to the site each week. In addition to browsing answers, guests can access a variety of helpful how-to videos in both English and Spanish. Along with the new name, Disney Parks will look to revamp the Moms Panel website in 2013 with exciting new features, blog content and mobile-friendly options.

Feb 13

2013 Epcot Flower Power Concert Series Line Up and Schedule

Nelson TwinsDisney festival planners will boost floral fun and plant power to a whole new level during the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 6-May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort.

In all, more than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape. Speaking of “flower power,” the Flower Power concert series kicks off March 8-10 with Micky Dolenz (“I’m a Believer”)  and continues each weekend with pop favorites including:

March 15-17:              Chubby Checker & The Wildcats

March 22-24:             The Guess Who

March 29-31:             Nelson

April 5-7:                    The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie

April 12-14:                Paul Revere & the Raiders

April 19-21:                The Village People (new!)

April 26-28:                The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II

May 3-5:                     Tommy Roe (new!)

May 10-12:                 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone

May 17-19:                 Starship starring Mickey Thomas.

Feb 13

Running with My 14-Year-Old Daughter in Her First runDisney Half Marathon

Amanda Tinney Jeff da Runner Disney MarathonWe’ve been waiting two years for this moment to arrive!

In January 2011 my 12-year-old daughter and I voluntEARed at the Walt Disney World Marathon. The first day…or should I say night…revolved around us tearing mylar blankets off big rolls from 2am to around 7am…right about the time when all of the the elite athletes had crossed the finish line for the WDW Half Marathon. As non-runners, we both watched in awe as the first place winner arrived and was barely out of breath giving an interview at the finish line.  The real inspiration was to come the next morning.

On Sunday morning we headed back to the Finish Line, but this time had a different role. We were going to be handing out medals for the Walt Disney World Full Marathon Finishers. You know those moments that you can look back on that change your life? This would be one of those defining moments.

As runners crossed the finish line, we hung medals and offered words of congratulations to each. It was a bag of mixed emotions for every athlete. Some laughed and threw their hands in the air. Some cried and hugged us. Some hobbled over to Medical immediately. Some looked stunned that they had finished and some looked like they ran marathons as their jobs. With each medal hung, I thought in my head “This is the most amazing thing EVER! I think I might be able to do this!” Six hours later the real inspiration arrived in the form of runners who didn’t look like runners. The “back-of-the-packers”. All had been pounding it out for over 6 hours…and they were FINISHING! That was it! A new runner had been born. Right there in the Epcot parking lot. I signed up for the 2011 Wine & Dine Half Marathon shortly thereafter and the rest they say was history.

Disney half marathonFast forward to 2013. January 5th, 2013 my daughter Alexus finally turns 14, the minimum age to runDisney Half Marathons.  We had participated in almost every runDisney 5K from the time we handed out medals until this very moment.  I had watched her complete a 10K , a 15K and a the Tower of Terror 10 Miler so I knew she had it in her to finish her first half!

My family and I were staying at the Yacht Club Resort. We set our alarm for 3AM and we headed down to the lobby to board a van and head out to the starting line. Banana in hand…doesn’t she look excited? My child is NOT a morning person.  She was about to really perk up.

Fireworks! And we were off! I can not tell you how much I love running with this kid!  We keep the exact same pace for the most part (slow and steady). We made our way from the start and took the turn onto World Drive. Actually, she decided she was going to “go for it” and had run ahead of me and then had a change of heart and waited for her ole mom. Mile 2 and we were keeping a 15-minute-mile pace.

Mile 2 Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013

Excited to be passed by our good friend Kevin!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013

Just before the 5K point heading under the Magic Kingdom Toll Plaza! “Caution Runners…Speed Bumps Ahead!” and there’s that smile!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013

Best spectator sign at the Transportation and Ticket Center…

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013 best spectator

If you asked her, she would probably tell you this was her favorite spot on the course. Running under the water bridge right before passing the Contemporary Resort. What my camera failed to capture was the fella with the humongo Mickey Mouse gloves clapping at the top of the overpass.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013

Excited! Mile 5! About to head into the Magic Kingdom for our run down Main Street USA! At this point we have been texting our friend Marc who is apparently right behind us. Will we hook up in time to run through Cinderella Castle together?

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013

She did it! She made it to the Magic Kingdom! First time running thru the park! Such a treat to share this special moment with my kiddo.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013 Alexus Tinney

Loads of runners heading into Tomorrowland…

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013 tomorrowland

And we found Marc!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2013

The next mile Marc stuck with us. We got to run thru Cinderella Castle together as a trio. Something we had never done before. It’s so much fun to be able to run with friends during these events and the runDisney community is so amazing that we never feel like we are running alone.

After exiting the Magic Kingdom and heading past the Grand Floridian we heard a familiar voice coming up from behind. Our good friend Carrie! Her and her hubby Kevin (pictured in one of the photos above) have become great friends of ours because of our runDisney connection.

2013 walt disney world half marathon

Miles 7-11 are pretty uneventful. Just a straight shot back down World Drive and then the turn back into Epcot. We knew we were going to have to get a shot of her in front of the Mile 11 sign. This was a new record of ‘farthest distance run’. Up until this point, the Tower of Terror 10 Miler had been the longest distance run. #ProudMama

2013 walt disney world half marathon

Right after Mile 11 we were passed by another good friend to us…Katherine!

2013 walt disney world half marathon

Mile 13…Time for her photo finish!

2013 walt disney world half marathon

AND SHE DID IT!!! Officially a half marathoner at 14 years of age!

2013 walt disney world half marathon

runDisney…you changed our lives! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To find out more about any of the runDisney endurance events please visit runDisney.com

For more on our 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend experience check out My Story of Struggle and Enlightment in the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon

If you liked this story, consider giving DisneyEveryDay a follow over on Facebook!

A big thanks to Disney for hosting our stay at the Yacht Club Resort and providing us with meals. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Feb 13

Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco, MVP of Super Bowl XLVII, Honored at Walt Disney World

Joe Flacco Disney SuperbowlFresh from his team’s 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco made good on his “I’m Going to Disney World” proclamation by quarterbacking a gala celebration Monday at Walt Disney World Resort.

Smiling and waving from a red convertible alongside Mickey Mouse in the shadow of Cinderella Castle, Flacco – named the game’s Most Valuable Player — greeted cheering Magic Kingdom guests along a parade route lined with colorful red, white and blue balloons. Cheerleaders, Disney characters in football gear and a Florida blizzard – of confetti — completed the festive scene as Flacco quarterbacked another drive, this time down Main Street, U.S.A.

Flacco was one of the game’s standout players, firing three first-half touchdown strikes en route to 287 total passing yards. It capped a remarkable post-season in which Flacco connected on 11 TD passes, throwing no interceptions.

His “I’m Going to Disney World” – anchoring one of TV’s most enduring and iconic Super Bowl commercials – was captured seconds after the final whistle Sunday night. A produced commercial from that moment aired on networks just hours before Flacco’s appearance at the Magic Kingdom.

Flacco’s declaration became the 26th Super Bowl commercial aired in the Disney series that began in 1987 following Super Bowl XXI. The first “I’m Going to Disney World” commercial featuring New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms was considered a groundbreaking concept – a produced commercial involving a current event, airing on major networks within hours of its conclusion. Flacco joins an all-star lineup of heroes from sports and beyond who have celebrated milestone accomplishments in “I’m Going to Disney World” commercials.

Jan 13

Wheel of Fortune “Making Disney Memories” Week

Disney Memories wheel of fortuneIt’s “Disney Time” at Wheel of Fortune as the fun of America’s Favorite Game Show and the magic of Disney come together in the game show’s 30th season for a fully-integrated multiplatform collaboration including a week of shows and a sweepstakes for at-home viewers.

“Wheel of Fortune Making Disney Memories Week” airing January 28-Feb 1, 2013, will feature a custom set including three different scenes depicting “Sleeping Beauty Castle,” “Cinderella Castle” and the Disney Dream cruise ship. Additionally, Disney is providing iconic elements from the Disney Parks including a Disney teacup from the “Mad Tea Party” attractions, Lightning McQueen from the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure theme park, a pirate ship from “Peter Pan’s Flight” and a Dumbo car from “Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.” And show hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White will be greeted on set by beloved Disney characters.

During the week of shows, Wheel of Fortune contestants can win “Magical Vacations” to Disney Parks or on Disney Cruise Line. The cars available through the “1⁄2 Car Tag” game element will alternate between Honda and Chevrolet models, sponsors of Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, respectively.

Vanna White Wheel of Fortune Disney EpcotIn preparation for the broadcast, Vanna White and the Wheel of Fortune crew went on location to shoot customized segments at Disneyland theme park, Disney California Adventure theme park, Magic Kingdom theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, Epcot and the Disney Dream cruise ship.  Here’s a shot I snapped back in October 2012 of Vanna filming in Italy in Epcot’s World Showcase.

The “Wheel of Fortune Making Memories Sweepstakes” encourages viewers to watch “Making Disney Memories Week” on Wheel of Fortune and enter each night’s bonus puzzle solution at www.wheeloffortune.com. Ten winners will each enjoy a vacation for four to the winner’s choice of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California.

The sweepstakes will live on a co-branded mini-site, accessible via www.wheeloffortune.com that will feature links to various Disney websites as well as photo and video galleries from Vanna’s shoots.

Additionally, Wheel of Fortune will be able to offer its nearly 8 million members of their loyalty program, the Wheel Watchers Club, the chance to find their own “Happily Ever After” with Disney vacation offers.