Something To Be Thankful For – Free Stuff at Disney Parks!

Some of the giveaways at Disneyland Resort.

Some of the giveaways at the Disneyland Resort.

A lot of times when you think about a visit to a Disney Park, you think about the money you’re going to spend there.

Whether it’s on collectible merchandise or special dining options, there are always ways to entice you to part with extra funds at the parks. But there are also a surprising amount of free things you can get at the parks, too.

Here are a few of them…

Disneyland Resort


  • Stickers – whether they are thanks for taking research surveys, stopping at a Disney Vacation Club kiosk or just random giveaways from Cast Members, these are popular freebies at the park, but my favorite may be the one you can get from Farley the Fiddler in Frontierland at Disneyland that declares you’ve had “Fun with Farley!”
  • Beads – if you stop and listen to the Jambalaya Jazz Band in New Orleans Square, you may have festive Mardi Gras beads tossed in your direction as a token of appreciation
  • Jungle Cruise map – ask a skipper outside the attraction in Adventureland and they’ll hand you a printout of a map of the Jungle Cruise rivers if they haven’t exhausted their supply for the day!
  • Honorary cards/certificates – if you’re lucky enough to be picked by the Dapper Dans to join them for a song, they may give you a commemorative card signifying you as an honorary member of their quartet; you can also get a Pilot’s Certificate for riding in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain steamboat on the Rivers of America but I’ve never been lucky enough to have the opportunity!

Disney California Adventure: Continue reading


Towel Animals – Making Your Disney Resort Hotel Room Entertaining

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Hmm… there’s a familiar-looking shape to those towels…

One of the things I love most about staying on property at a Disney Resort Hotel are all the little touches that tell you exactly what “World” you are in!

Be that themed hotel rooms or little Disney soaps and shampoos in the bathrooms or the one thing that makes me feel like such a kid again every time I enter my room…

Towel animals!

Starting with the not so Hidden Mickey in towel form that greets you when you first enter your room…

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To the more creative shapes and creatures that you may find have visited your room while you were out playing in the parks! Continue reading

Tigger and G – A Magical Moment in the Park

Sometimes the best magical moments in a Disney Park aren’t even about you – they’re about what you see happen to other people.

I’ve witnessed my fair share of marriage proposals (and even a promposal!), for example, at Disney Parks. This is always special and exciting, even when it involves complete strangers.

But it’s not just about big events.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that can be so memorable, too – like spotting someone walking onto Main Street, U.S.A. for their very first time ever and enjoying the sheer wonder on their face as a smile spreads across it.

There is something about watching the magic at Disney unfold, either planned or spontaneous, that just fills your heart with joy.

One such spontaneous experience happened one day while I was sitting near the Firehouse on Main Street at Disneyland Park… Continue reading

Giving Back to Disney Parks Cast Members – Leave a Compliment at City Hall

In this week of celebrating what we’re thankful for, I feel so incredibly grateful for the many amazing years of joy that Disney Parks Cast Members have provided.

There have been so many special moments and acts of kindness that have touched my heart and while I can express my gratitude when it happens, there’s an even better way of saying thank you to a Cast Member who has gone above and beyond to make your day just a little bit more magical:

Leave a compliment for them at City Hall.

This is actually an official process in which Cast Members are recognized by their leaders and it goes on their permanent record with the company.

PLEASE DO THIS when a Cast Member does something that merits recognition. They really do appreciate the smiles (or even happy tears) when they can make your day better, but this is such a good, helpful thing for them to receive, that I cannot recommend it strongly enough!

Here is how it works: Continue reading

More Beauty and the Beast in New Fantasyland

Be Our Guest, while clearly the crown jewel of New Fantasyland (along with that gem of a Gaston!), is still just one third of this area dedicated to the classic film Beauty and the Beast.  There are two other important parts of this location that complete it.

Comparable in scope of theming only to Cars Land in Disney California Adventure, here you feel like you walked right onto the set of the movie itself! (Which really is an amazing Imagineering accomplishment considering both of these environs are inspired by animated rather than live-action films!)

Belle’s Cottage for Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Belle’s Cottage for Enchanted Tales with Belle.

The themed attraction here is Enchanted Tales with Belle – where guests meet in small groups with Belle and help re-tell her story by taking on various roles.

Outside Gaston’s Tavern is a fountain dedicated to… of course… Gaston!

Outside Gaston’s Tavern is a fountain dedicated to… of course… Gaston!

But for me the other true highlight of Imagineering magic is the quick service location, Gaston’s Tavern. Continue reading

Restaurant Spotlight: Be Our Guest

The exquisite entry to the Be Our Guest restaurant just prior to opening in the morning.

The entry to Be Our Guest restaurant just prior to opening in the morning.

Is this the greatest themed restaurant ever? Quite possibly. Although eating inside Cinderella Castle could still compete for that title.

But like that other royal location, while it clearly is worth visiting at least once just for the theming alone – is it worth a return visit?

I’ll break down that answer into a few separate sections based on order of importance to me:


I could have cried from happiness going into this restaurant for the first time – it was SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

One of the gargoyle lampposts outside of Be Our Guest.

One of the gargoyle lampposts outside of Be Our Guest.

From the entryway with its attendant gargoyles outside and in, to the massive stone foyer to the exit with the classic stained glass image of Belle and her Prince from the film – this venue was overwhelming and exquisitely designed. I could’ve taken endless pictures of the gargoyles and mythical statuary alone!

One of the beautiful statues inside the foyer.

One of the beautiful statues inside the foyer.

Walking past the hallway of suits of armor into the ordering area for the meal, it was wonderfully appropriately decorated for a castle.

But it’s entering two of the three eating areas here that will absolutely take your breath away! Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Gaston

Remember last week when I said there have only been a few occasions when I was actually “starstruck” by meeting a character?

Well, that word doesn’t even begin to cover what it was like to meet Gaston from Beauty and the Beast at his Meet & Greet in New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom!

Perfect Gaston is perfect.

Perfect Gaston is perfect.

A better term to describe it might be “gobsmacked”!

You may have seen some of the videos that have gone viral of both children and adults having awesome and hilarious interactions with Gaston – but I can tell you truly, the videos do not do justice to this amazing experience. And in fact, I would venture to say that meeting Gaston is very likely going to be the most memorable and FUN character experience you have in your entire trip!

A pure paragon!

A pure paragon!

Talk about “all about the attitude”. This guy has it – and then some! Continue reading