5 on 5: Dream Meet and Greets

In honor of the 2013 theme of “Limited Time Magic” we dedicate this post to some of our long-lost (or never found) friends who meet and greet in the parks. With LTM rolling out different characters from the past it got us thinking about all the characters that never come out to play. Danny and I decided to come up with our lists of dream characters to meet and or get autographs from. No character was too large, hairy, or complicated for our dream lists!

Jaime’s 5 Meet & Greets
  1.       Genie from Aladdin. Yes, he is around, and performs daily at the Hyperion Theatre in California Adventure, but I think he would be a riot to get to interact with. I think he would be especially great at a character meal!
  2.        Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. You can meet Alice and the Hatter but we rarely see the Cheshire Cat off of a parade float and I think he would make for very curious conversation!
  3.       Dumbo from Dumbo. I love Dumbo and find him to be so sweet. I would really love to see him visiting with folks over in New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom or by his ride in Disneyland.
  4.       Ursula from the Little Mermaid. I think this sea witch has a great cult following and it would be so cool to see her out and about for the Unleash the Villains party on Sept 13th.
  5.       Oswald the Lucky Rabbit! I think many fan boys and girls would go crazy for this one. Judging by the uptick in merchandising they have for Oswald around the parks I think it would be a must-do meet and greet for many autograph collectors out there!

Danny’s 5 Meet & Greets
  1.       Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Again like Jaime, I would fan boy and girl over meeting Walt's first originally animated, major character!  If you know who I'm talking about, you get why this is number one, if not well...
  2.       Wilbur and Lewis Robinson - Yes you read this correctly, and yes you may have to google who they are, and yes that's fine by me!  Meet The Robinson's was the first Full Length Disney Animated Feature Jaime and I saw together and we loved it and all the quirky characters that came with the film!  To be able to meet Wilbur Louis would be so silly and so fun, just like Jaime and I's relationship and just like the film!
  3.       Lady and the Tramp - I'm pretty sure this meet and greet (like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) has yet to occur, but if it did, I think the chance to meet some pretty iconic characters from a film that rarely gets recognition in the Disney Parks would be great!
  4.       13 Disney Villains - Yes 13, but all at once, and only at once (to contain the evil forces).  The Villains are so good at being bad, and I love it!  The 13 I would choose would be: The Queen, Peg Leg Pete, Lady Tremaine, The Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Malificent, Cruella De Ville, The Horned King, Ursula, Jafar, Hades, The Bowler Hat and Dr. Facilier...  Muhaw haw haw!
  5.       The Entire Cast from Winnie the Pooh - Okay, I may be cheating in picking 13 Villains, Lady and the Tramp, Wilbur and Lewis Robinson...  But with this selection, I don't think I am.  The Winnie the Pooh story is classic.  The characters are timeless.  To meet all of the at once would be great (and yes I mean all of them)!  Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl and Christopher Robin too!  How epic would that picture be?! 


Alice in Wonderland 10K Pre-Trip Report!

We're getting excited for our upcoming trip and 10K over labor day weekend to the infamous Disneyland Resort! This will be our second trip to the Disneyland Resort this year, and we are throughly looking forward to it, as the Disneyland Resort is our place! 
This is the place where we have the most Disney fun, have the best eats (see our review on the Disneyland Corn Dog Cart here: http://themountainears.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-disneyland-corn-dog.html), and where Danny thinks we truly fell in in love (Jaime doesn't always agree, hahah)! We decided to post what we are looking forward to the most so we can keep ya' up on our adventures! See our list below!
- Traveling with our silly friends! - We are going with a huge group, around 10-12 of us, all from UNC and/or TTU, and we are all running in one of the runDisney Disneyland 1/2 Marathon events and going to enjoy Carthay Circle Resturant together (among many other eats)! We have 2 friends doing the Dumbo Double Dare, a few more doing the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon and we will be doing the Alice in Wonderland 10K! Overall, we are going to have some silly laughs, fun runs and great eats!

- Running in the inaugural Alice in Wonderland 10K - As stated above, all of our friends are participating in one of the many runDisney events this weekend, however we are excited to be participating in an inaugural run, the Alice in Wonderland 10K! As a group we have themed costumes, and lets just say we think they are pretty original, and we CANNN'T wait to share our team spirt with ya'! BUUUT, we don't want to spoil the surprise, so we will hold off for now!

- Limited Time Magic - We don't know whats coming, but the Disneyland Resort has been doing some phenomenal Limited Time Magic Annual Passholder events, and we can't wait for what will be happening when we are there!

- More Corn Dogs! - Well kinda! We are of course going to go to the Disneyland Corn Dog Cart, but we are also going to expand our palette and have a Hot Link Corn Dog and a Cheese Corn Dog... Can we say yum quicker?!

-. Celebrating our Ring-A-Versary - this may not be our 33rd Anniversary of our ring exchange (yes we're those weird hippies that don't want to get married until marriage is equal for all couples, gay and straight), but it is our 1st (read our post on our ring exchange last year here: http://themountainears.blogspot.com/2012/09/it-was-all-started-by-mouse.html) and Danny really wanted to take Jaime out to the Disneyland resort two weeks beforehand to celebrate, but Jaime talked him out of it because of the impracticallity of the trip, seeing as we would be out there again two weeks late... However Danny has a great surprise in store for this 1st Ring-A-Versary thanks to a very nice bunny!


5 on 5: What we do outside of Disney Parks

Here is how we climb through life outside of the Disney Parks (Dramatic, we know):

1.     Cooking – I love the gratification of being inspired and making something useful so cooking is right up my alley. The product my inspiration is practical and usually pretty tasty. We have tried our hand at Disney recipes (some better than others) and I love to read different blogs for new ideas.

2.     Reading – I really love to curl up with a good book. Being in grad school means I usually have most of my reading prescribed already, but when I get a break from homework I can be found reading fiction (young adult and adult contemporary), autobiographies, non-fiction historical, and even cookbooks.

3.     Camping & Hiking – recently we have taken up camping and hiking. Living in Colorado means that the entire state is one giant, beautiful backyard and we want to explore as much of it as we can. Last month we purchased an annual pass for Rocky Mountain National Park and made it a goal to go at least once a month for hiking, snow shoeing, camping, or other outdoor activity.

4.     Attending UNC events – We try to support our alma mater as often as possible by attending theatre productions, sporting events, and other fun activities. We both graduated from, and still attend, the University of Northern Colorado and live in Greeley where UNC is based so it is pretty easy (and cheap) to support our school. We have an excellent performing arts program, free NCAA DI sporting events, and have brought many wonderful speakers and performers to our campus so we usually attend many events throughout the year.

5.     Secret Shopping – I am an independent contractor for several mystery shopping companies, which usually require that I go someplace and interact with employees. We often do a lot of different dining shops where Danny can come along, too. I love this because it gives me a chance to try new places, learn about new products, or get a ‘free’ lunch during the workweek and get paid for my time. This is a fun way to pocket a little extra cash for the holidays or for our next Disney trip!


1.  runDisney Preparation - I have secretly become addicted to runDisney challenges since running the Expedition Everest Challenge with Jaime and Allie.  Since then I have challenged both myself and Jaime to complete a Coast to Coast Challenge, which we will complete this fall at the Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon.  

I also challenged myself to complete (and have completed) runDisney's women's focused events - the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon (which Jaime and I completed this past January) and the Princess 1/2 Marathon with a co-worker.  Now I know you're wondering why I wanted to complete runDisney's women's focused events, its because I like to support anything feminist and women's related (as a self identified feminist, this is important to me), and Disney really doesn't have many feminist focused events, but these two event's are women focused, so why not?!  Plus I work in women's healthcare, so why not support women's health related events, right?!

With all that, I stupidly signed up to run the Dopey Challenge, which will take place during the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and will involve running a 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon and Full Marathon...  Yes I'm Dopey!  Also I'm training which means I am some what not Goofy!

2.  Work - I know it sounds stupid, but I LOVE what I do!  I work in women's healthcare doing patient intake and administrative support, and love it!  Helping women and men in their reproductive and family planning is a joy for me and I wouldn't change it for the world! 

I also work as a part-time instructor in Sociology at Aims Community College and also love it!  Teaching is so fun and learning is so inportant to me, that I cannot help but love to see students learn and aid in that process!

I also want to recognize that I have two jobs that are so completely different from one another and wouldn't change them for the world!  I love love love what I do!

3.  Consume Pop Culture - Lets just say I spend a lot of time on my iPhone, read a lot trashy of celebrity gossip websites and watch a lot of stupid TV...  I owe it girlll!  With that said tweet me dumb worthless info @uheartdanny (PS I'm looking at getting a reservation at Club 33 between August 29 - September 2, send me some love)

4.  Watch my Girls - I LOVE watching The Golden Girls on TV.  Yes I said it.  I grew up watching that show with my Grandma and love every second of those sassy old ladies.  I also love watching Chelsea Lately with Chelsea Handler (I'm SOOO excited Lindsey Lohan is guest hosting tonight)

5.  Spending time with my loves, Jaime and Rocco - Awww...  Aren't I cute, and old lady like?!  It's true though!


5 on 5: Park Essentials

It seems like everyone has their own special list of things to bring along for a day at the parks. This month we decided to list our Top 5 Park Essentials!


1.      Small Purse
2.      Comfy shoes
3.      Sun glasses
4.      Small snack
5.      Electronics (phone & camera)

I have a special purse that I use just for the parks. It is on the small side – as in, it can pretty much only fit my pass, some cash, debit card, a snack, and my point-and-shoot camera – which stops me from carrying around a whole bunch of stuff I don’t need.

1.      Water bottle
2.      Dooney & Burke Messenger bag
3.      iPhone
4.      Water neutralizers (that is what we call Crystal Light/Powdered Gatorade, etc and offset the taste of Orlando water)
5.      Ibuprofen

Danny is the best at always having some Ibuprofen handy and something to wash it down with. Many folks who collect autographs, like Danny, will always have an autograph book and marker handy but that is something that Danny does only in Florida. We try to keep in cool in Cali and not chase down all the “celebrities”!


Tinkerbell Half Marathon, Part 2

A few months ago I began to tell the tale of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, but clearly become distracted...

Danny and I went back to our hotel after the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour and relaxed in the hotel for most of the evening. We did go out to dinner with two of Danny’s cousins which was very fun and a nice distraction from worrying about how the race would go the next day.

We woke up early (for us), got ready, and went outside to catch the race shuttle. Being on the shuttle was nice because we were able to scope out some of the other race outfits and start getting mentally ready. The shuttle dropped us off where the Disney busses normally drop folks off for a day at the park, but the race start area was all the way over by Paradise Pier Hotel so despite catching a shuttle we still had a bit of walking to do. The pre-race area was hopping with music, bag checks, and people warming up. We didn’t linger in this area long, but did manage to stop and take a few pictures of people with great costumes!

We then proceeded to the corrals. We hung out in this area wearing our trash bags to stay warm since it was still pretty early in the morning. Before we knew it the race was beginning and we made our way onto the streets on Anaheim. Running up a highway on-ramp was not very fun but I am happy we did it at the beginning of the race and not near the end. Eventually we ran into Disney California Adventure where Danny and I both took advantage of the bathrooms near the Carthay Circle Theater. Next came Disneyland and it was pretty magical to run up Main Street towards the castle! The sun had just started to rise at this point and just in time to go back stage. The backstage area housed the Disneyland Trains, some parade vehicles, and even a few extra parts to classic attractions. It was both disturbing and fascinating to see a hallowed out elephant body from the Jungle Cruise just hanging out. Danny tried to take a few pictures back here but we were in a good running groove – also a cast member was standing there. Oh well! The grounds crew for Disneyland was out in full force and had hung a banner encouraging the runners and cheering us on. This was yet another example of the pixie dust that Disney is known for! After exiting backstage it was time to refuel with Clif Blocks and get a few pictures. First we met Clarabelle Cow in Toon Town then we met the Lost Boys in Fantasyland.

After leaving Disneyland we proceeded to run around the city. This was not very enjoyable to me. There was nothing very noteworthy about this portion of the race. I did appreciate the local high school cheer/dance teams and bands but there were many long stretches of houses and businesses that were pretty boring. At Mile 8 I told Danny that I will finish this race and also do the Wine & Dine Half so that we could earn our Coast to Coast medals, but after that I didn’t want to do races greater than a 10k. This was just a little too long for my liking. Maybe if I trained and was able to run more (aka finish sooner) I wouldn’t have been so bored, but the reality is that I am not very fast and don’t think I have the patience to become faster. I like being able to complete my goals and it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

Getting back to the parks was the home stretch and we went back into Disney California Adventure where we ran past the Pixar Play Parade, World of Color Fountains, and then out to Downtown Disney. There was a little winding through parking lot action right before the finish line and I was happy to see the end approaching. As Danny and I crossed the finish line I held back a few tears of joy. I couldn’t believe that we did it! Having the medal placed around my neck felt great!

We finished the morning with Disney snack boxes, stretching, and end of the race pictures. The snack boxes came with cute little Peter Pan tote bags that Danny and I both use for lunch sacks from time to time. Walking back to our hotel on Katella was by far the worst part. After the adrenaline wore off I was pretty beat and even had to stop and sit down for minute to rub my feet. We also had to go through the park back check area which just seemed cruel to have to wait in line after running 13.1 miles! We both took a quick ice bath and nap after the race and then went to the parks for the rest of the day. The one thing I will never race without is Tiger Balm. Just a little over all our sore joints and muscles and we were mobile again. Our reward for finishing was lunch at the Carthay Circle! It was delicious as always but they did take my beloved pulled pork off the menu, boo!

My goals for the race were to not get picked up by the sweepers and to finish the race. I am proud to say that I was able to do both! Our time was not amazing, being just over three hours, but I feel it was very respectable for our first half marathon, especially since we didn’t train for it. One of my big worries was blisters and chaffing and I was pleased to not have an issue with either. I was really able to listen to my body and not hurt myself in a major or minor way.

If you are thinking to yourself – can I do a half marathon? The answer is yes. If you are worried, Disney is the perfect, encouraging environment to do it in, too! We will see how the Wine and Dine goes and if I really will give up half marathons or not. It has been cool to see Disney adding so many 10k races to the race schedule because I feel that is the right distance for me but Danny can do halfs if he wants to and we still get a Disney vacation out of it!


5 on 5: Pixar Films

Sorry for the delay in posting! Danny turned the ripe old age of 28 on the 5th and shortly after we were in Chicago for a wedding and just didn’t have a chance to get around to the 5on5. For this month we are ranking our favorite Pixar films. While their cannon is relatively small compared to Disney and other studios and would therefore have less to choose from this was quite a challenge. Pixar may only have 13 films out, 14 in a few weeks with the release of Monsters University, but each and every one of them have been examples of classic story telling and innovative animation. Without further ado:


Jaime’s 5:

1.       Up – I love the vibrancy of this movie, the story of adventure, and the whimsy that Up embodied. The opening sequence of Carl and Ellie is timeless and almost a film unto itself. The memes on the internet are right: Pixar did more and told a better story in ten minutes with no words than Twilight was able to do over an entire series.

2.       Toy Story 3 – While I love Toy Story for a lot of reasons I love Toy Story 3 just a little bit more. I cannot watch TS3 without a few tears and lots of laughs with my old friends from Andy’s room. There was something so pure in the way that these toys were able to finish their story.

3.       Brave – Pixar was able to break the mold with Merida, the Princess who didn’t need to be rescued and wasn’t looking for love. I really enjoyed the story but was mostly amazed with the animation and soundtrack. I felt as if I was transplanted to Scotland – bravo!

4.       Cars – Not everyone loves Cars, but I do. I love the sense of nostalgia that this movies brings to a current generation. The fact that I can visit Radiator Springs while in Disney California Adventure just makes it that much sweeter.

5.       Wall-E – The message this movie brings is one that everyone should take in regarding sustainability and global accountability. I appreciate that even though the title character has almost no dialogue he is able to communicate his feelings to the audience so clearly. Plus, who doesn’t love robots?


Danny’s 5:

1.       Toy Story – since that is where everything started for Pixar.

2.       Monsters Inc. – this movie is just so adorable, simple, and cute!

3.       Incredible – this was an original take on a not so original idea, with unique qualities only Pixar would think of.

4.       Toy Story 3 - *grabs heart* If this was Toy Story’s ending this did the film and franchise so much justice and gave closure to both my childhood and Andy’s.

5.       A Bugs Life – This kept things going for Pixar. If this wasn’t successful I don’t think Pixar could have continued. This isn’t my favorite movie, but I love what this movie was able to do for the Pixar dream. I also use this movie as a teaching aide in my Sociology class.


Disney Park Ticket Price Increases

As I am sure you are aware, Disney recently announced that they are raising the prices on park admission tickets. For most this comes as no surprise. Each year, around June, an announcement has been made that ticket prices will be going up. These increases are for regular park tickets and for the annual passes.

The Premier Annual Pass that Danny and I have loved so much for the last year – purchased May 2012 for $750, renewed May 2013 for $850 – will now cost nearly $1000 ($979 +tax)! We feel fortunate that we were able to renew our passes this year but know that next year will not be a realistic. On the bright side, this increase may mean an increase in us traveling elsewhere, maybe even saving up to visit one of the international Disney Parks – Paris, anyone?

Something Danny and I have discussed has been hypothetically purchasing several sets of Disneyworld no-expiration, hopper, water parks & more tickets while they still exist. That way when we have kids, and they are old enough to go to the parks we will have locked in some current prices. Since the water parks count as separate admissions we could in theory get 20 days of vacation out of one 10-day PHWP&M pass. After observing how friends with kids tackle their Disney vacations with more leisurely days, days off to spend at the pool, adding in other places to visit (the beach, non-Disney parks, etc), and doing non-park things on travel days like dinner at a different Resort or going to Downtown Disney, I think that this could be a very wise investment in our future family’s future vacation. One trip could use a few park days (3) and a few water park days (2) plus non-park stuff for travel days and you have a full week of vacation but have only used 5 of your 20 days. Using this rate of ticket use we could have one of the primary expenses of a Disney vacation tucked away for several trips.

In theory this all sounds like an amazing plan but since we are not quite in the having kids phase we aren’t sure how many we may need and this would be a huge upfront cost even if we are thinking of a modest family of 4. For now, we plan to just enjoy this second year of our awesome Premier Annual Passes with a trip late Aug/early Sept to Disneyland and two trips to WDW (Nov & Jan) and maybe swing a second trip to DL if we can in the winter or Spring for one last hurrah before the passes get retired.