Throwback Thursday: Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, 2010

Giant Mickey Pumpkin
It's difficult to believe that the last time we visited the Disneyland Resort during the Halloween season was just 3 years ago.  It seems like a lifetime away!  Then again, for a 10 year-old, 3 years is an eternity, a third of their life.  So classifying these photos under #ThrowbackThursday is entirely appropriate, even though 3 years for us oldies is nothing.

Wordless Wednesday: Guess where we're going?

In front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Haven't quite gotten it?  Okay, I'll give you another clue....
With Snow White's stepmother

Don't know who she is? Okay, last hint. Surely you'll know this character!
Hello Mickey!

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Date Night? What's That?

Last Friday Alfie and I went to San Francisco to watch the San Francisco Opera's performance of Mephistopheles.  It was truly a magical night.  Mephistopheles is Alfie's favorite opera; he has been waiting over 15 years for it to come back to the West Coast, so it was truly a Must-See.  I'm not the world's biggest opera fan (the very first time Alfie invited me to the Opera, I tried to get out of it with the lame excuse of: "I have to do laundry".  Alfie still can't believe we ended up together after that.), but I thought it was brilliant.  The Opera House was beautiful, the production was lavish, the music was stirring.  I enjoyed everything about that night -- and I enjoyed the opportunity to go on a date with my husband most of all.

Disney's new Disability Access Service Card (DASC): yay or nay?

I do not have a child or other family member requiring special needs assistance, but like everyone I was outraged when the story of disabled tour guides for hire came out last May. I was disappointed that there were people who would "pimp" out their disability, and even more disgusted that there were rich people who think themselves so above the rest of the world that they would pay disabled people to help them skip the lines.

From a public relations perspective and from an ethical perspective I'm not surprised that Disney would have to take some kind of action to eliminate, or at least minimize, the abuse.  Last week I heard rumors about a new Disability Access card that would replace the current Guest Assistance card, and this Saturday I received information about the new system straight from Disney.

If you don't want to read through the whole thing, here's my takeaway, in a nutshell:  Previously, guests unable to wait in a queue were given Guest Assistance Cards that allowed them to enter an attraction from the exit side -- thereby eliminating all the queues and all the wait.  The new system requires eligible guests to get a FastPass style card with a return time -- which eliminates the queues, but not the wait.

How to Make a Homemade Harry Potter Wand

Homemade Harry Potter wands by Bonggamom
Can you tell which of the four wands are real and which ones are fake?

Sheet of printer paper: $0.01
Bottle of Elmer's glue: $2.50
Pack of glue sticks for hot glue gun: $2.50
Acrylic craft paint: $1.20

Giving your kid a wand to swish and flick and stupefy friends with, without having to worry about them losing or breaking their $30 Harry Potter wand:  Priceless.

Creativity is Universal: Restroom signs (and more) at the Universal Orlando Resort

Restroom signs at Seuss Landing

If you've read my blog over the years you'll know that I have a peculiar obsession with theme park restroom signs. I've always said the devil is in the details, and nothing says detail to me more than restroom signs that are consistent with a themed area.  Any old theme park can buy generic restroom signs, but it takes a special kind of theme park to realize that the immersive experience continues even when nature calls.

So whenever I visit a theme park, I like to keep an eye on the restroom signs.  If any strike me as particularly cute or clever, I'll snap a photo (you have no idea how many weird looks I've gotten while doing that, especially when snapping the one of the male signs!  And half of the time, those weird looks come from my own family!).

A walk through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Castle
I used to think that no other theme park in the world could rival a Disney theme park.  Their imaginative themes, entertaining attractions and attention to detail transport visitors into another world, in a way unlike any other.

But that was before I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The year my sons fell in love with reading

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” -- Diane Duane

You can't stop at just one.  Unless you don't really care for potato chips.  Strange as it may seem, there are people in this world who don't like potato chips.  Or maybe they just haven't found the right flavor....