Disney’s Best Christmas Programming

One part of the holiday season that I looked forward to the most as a child and I still treasure today are watching “Christmas Specials”.  My father used to record Christmas themed programs onto VHS tapes (sometimes he even tried to edit the commercials out).   We would enjoy those tapes throughout the month of December into January.  DVDs, BlueRays, DVRs, and streaming content to our mobile devices, have made these programs more readily available today.

Although not all of my favorites are by Disney, here are the DWDads – Top 5 Disney Christmas movies:

1) Mickey’s Christmas Carol – (1983) as part of Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mickey Mouse – Currently steaming on Netflix; Airing December 18 @ 7:30PM on ABC Family

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2) A Muppet Chrismas Carol – Airing Friday December 6 @ 6:30PM on ABC Family

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3) The Santa Clause Series – Parts 1, 2 & 3  – Airing multiple times in December on ABC Family including all three starting @ 6:00PM on December 21st;

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4) A Christmas Carol (2009) Available on DVD @ Amazon for under $10

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5) Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999) – Currently Steaming on Netflix

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ABC family each year puts out a schedule of 25 Days of Christmas.  Be sure to DVR your favorites on this this.

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“The View” inside Walt Disney’s Apartment in Disneyland

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DWDads are not regular watchers of “the View” on ABC, but this week we have had a good reason for tuning in. All week, November 18-22, ABC’s “the View” has been broadcasting LIVE at 11am eastern or 10am central/pacific from The Disneyland Resort with a variety of guests and entertainers in order to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 85th birthday (November 18).  Although all of the programming on “the View” was in some way linked to ABC/Disney this week, the espisode I am looking forward to seeing most, is on Friday, November 22nd.

Fri., Nov. 22:  Kurt Russell, who had a 10 year contract in the 1970s with the Walt Disney Company, takes Barbara Walters on a magical walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps as they take a “step in time” into the past and tour never-before-seen places including Disney’s private apartment and a private club. Music sensation Pitbull appears. Singer and co-host Demi Lovato performs.  The hosts bid farewell to the Disneyland Resort during a magical finale celebration.

Since the show hasn’t aired, I can only assume Barbara will document the highlights of a tour that is offered daily at Disneyland called  “A Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps”.  This 3½-hour guided tour covers the life of Walt Disney and how his vision became reality.  Basically, this tour tells you stories about the man behind the magic and you will learn some behind-the-scenes secrets to the theme of the various lands, and special touches by the Imagineers and Walt himself. This show might give you a taste of what that tour has to offer or it may leave you wanting the to experience it on your own.  So if you want to book this tour as part of your Disneyland vacation or you would like a quote please contact us.

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 Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps:

  • Passage on the Disney Railroad and two other attractions
  • An exclusive look at the lobby of the famed Club 33
  • An exclusive look at Walt Disney’s private apartment
  • A private Lunch on Main Street USA
  • An exclusive collectible trading pin

Price:

$109.00 per person; Discounted to $87.20 per person for Annual Pass holders, AAA, Disney Visa, DVC members.

Tours are available every day at 9:30am and have a capacity of 15 people per tour. Not recommended for small children.

Insider Tips: Making Soarin’ Even More Magical

You are probably already a hero in the eyes of your child or grandchild, and taking them to Disney World just adds to that status.  In this series, we will give you a few insider tips and tricks that we have learned from our Disney friends. These will instantly increase your hero status and add to the magic of Disney attractions for your little ones.   Some of these tips require some planning prior to your trip and, depending on the child’s age, may be difficult to pull off, but the magic you will create for your child will be well worth it.

Catch a Golf Ball – Soarin’ (EPCOT and California Adventure)

Before your trip:  Obtain a white golf ball (1 for each time you intend to pull this off) and fill in three of the dimples with a black marker to make a Mickey head in the ball like this —V1241431_10151692258452912_1672996461_n

In the park: Make sure the ball is in your pocket (cargo shorts are great for this) as you board the ride.  When the ride is in progress, make sure you have the ball palmed in your hand (just after the hang glider is your cue) and when the golf ball flies past, (8:23 mark of the video below) reach up “catch” the ball.  The second time around I had to be even more convincing so I shouted – “I caught it again.”  After the ride is over, hand the ball to the child and the rest takes care of itself.  It was even magical for other kids who asked my son to see the ball and he explained how he got it.   To this day he still asks to see the “golf ball Daddy caught” whenever we are talking about rides in Disney.

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For months Jack said the ride where Daddy caught the golf ball was his favorite ride and to this day, I still have “rock star” status for catching this golf ball.

Money-Saving Disney Vacation Tips: Shop Before You Go

Let’s be honest: There are reasons why we are willing to pay when places like the Disney Parks overcharge us for things that would cost a fraction of the price in the real world.  For one, we are on vacation, so the money in our pockets may be considered a bit more disposable than when we are home.  Plus, it’s hard not to get caught up in the moment when we are living “in the bubble” for a week; suddenly, we forget that we usually spend $2.50 for an entire case of water at home, but in the parks it is the cost of a single bottle.  So, we have to rely on our “still at home” selves to save some money for the “on vacation” spendthrifts we become!  Here are some things that you can purchase while you are still at home that could potentially save you a bundle when you are in the parks.

1. Rain ponchos

"Look, kids, these 50-cent ponchos match Mickey's shoes!"

“Look, kids, these 50-cent ponchos match Mickey’s shoes!”

Florida is known for its daily rain showers, sometimes only lasting a few minutes, sometimes lasting all afternoon.  While looking through the photos from a typical family’s Disney World vacation, you would be hard-pressed to not see at least one picture of people in rain ponchos.  Disney charges a little less than $10 for a poncho, so a family of four is spending close to $40 for ponchos.  The good news is that these are destined to be family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.  OK, not so much.  They are plastic and they have a picture of Mickey Mouse on the back.  Also, if it rips, Disney will replace it free of charge.  Otherwise, there is no reason to have to pay that amount.  Most Targets, Walmarts and dollar stores sell ponchos, many times in a 2-pack for $1.00.  Honestly, these are trash bags with a few holes in them, and you are usually better off using them and throwing them away rather than trying to dry them and reuse them; but that sounds better than lugging around wet plastic for the week anyway, doesn’t it?

2. Bottled Water

Dealing with hydration, especially in Florida, is a top priority for any Disney vacationer.  Free water is plentiful in the parks, either at the tap or at counter service restaurants.  Many of us, however, have grown accustomed to bottled spring water.  Disney charges $2.50 for a single bottle in the park.  This isn’t too bad; the same bottle at a movie theater or a ballpark may cost you twice as much.  But it adds up.  Let’s say you drink 4 bottles a day, for 7 days: $70 multiplied by the number of people in your family.  Many online retailers (Amazon, Staples, etc.) sell cases of bottled water that can be ordered and shipped to your hotel prior to your stay.  These are usually priced higher than the case you would buy at your local supermarket, but they still represent a significant savings.  For example, a recent search on Amazon turned up a 35-pack of spring water for $22 with free shipping.  When you get to your hotel, you would have the water sent to your room with your luggage.  In the morning, everyone grabs a bottle or two and it will save you a few bucks (or some snack credits) in the park that day.

Purchase souvenirs before you leave home, so you can buy more expensive ones in the parks!

Purchase souvenirs before you leave home, so you can buy more expensive ones in the parks!

3. Souvenirs

Buying souvenirs is an important and fun part of many family vacations.  Chances are, all the money-saving preparations in the world won’t stop you from buying that really cool Epcot thimble when you see it and fall in love with it.  But, sometimes it can become frustrating to continue to spend money on things that are being sold back at home for a lot less.  Here are a few tips to help you out with souvenirs.  First, hit up the Disney Store before you leave.  Check out their clearance section for t-shirts, toys and other fun items.  Don’t tell the kids about them, and you can surprise them with little toys and gifts throughout the trip.  If you are into Vinylmation, check out that section of your Disney Store as well.  Many times, there are great deals (Buy 1, Get 1) or clearance sales (I’ve seen them marked as low as $2.99) on these collectibles.  The deals may not be on the type you want, but these make great traders in the park.  A couple of traders can keep a child collector busy for the whole vacation.  Finally, check out the dollar store for nighttime entertainment souvenirs, like glow sticks or other glow-in-the-dark toys.  Many of the toys sold during parades and fireworks can cost $15 or more.  You can be a real hero if you break out a huge package of glow sticks to give to your family (and maybe even your sidewalk neighbors, too!) while you are waiting for the nighttime parade to begin.

While these tips won’t stop you from spending (perhaps more than you wanted) while you are on vacation, they can help you avoid overpaying for some things, saving extra money for another Mickey Bar or  Dole Whip Float!