Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sailing Disney with Dis-Abilities

Sailing Disney with Dis-Abilities
            You may be thinking you can’t do a cruise, Disney or not due to physical limitations. I’m telling you that is most likely not true. Most disabilities can be accommodated on all Disney cruise ships. If you’re physical disability requires ongoing medical care or excessive amounts of oxygen it is possible Disney will say no to you sailing with them.
            Medical facilities on Disney and all cruise lines are limited to basic first aid and short-term emergency care. They do not carry equipment or medications that you would find had land based facilities. Therefore, if the cruise line feels they cannot adequately ensure your medical safety and comfort while at sea they will deny you boarding.
            If you use a wheelchair or ECV have a mobility issue you can request a handicap cabin. These cabins have larger doors, 32 inches, walk-in showers, more floor space for moving around and conveniently located electrical outlets for charging your ECV. There are no wheelchairs were ECV’s available to rent on the cruise ship.
At the pool you can request the lift to help you get in and out of the pool if you cannot do it by yourself. Just be aware there are no lifeguards on duty at pool.
            All public areas of the Disney ships have Wheelchair access. Dining rooms, theaters and any other area staging a performance have wheelchair/handicap seating. These special seating areas are conveniently located and are good seats not back in the house or sitting in the corner. They also have a limited number of regular seats located with a handicap seating so guess companions can sit with them.
            The one problem that gas with mobility issues may face is getting off the ship while in port. At most ports Disney tries to get direct access to the port without tender boats involved. That is not always possible so sometimes you must be able to go down and up some steps by yourself or with the aid of your companions, not ship crew to get into and then out of a tender boat. If you cannot do that you will not be able to get off the ship at that port. Even if you can’t get off the ship there is plenty to do on board while in port.
For those with hearing disabilities assisted listening devices are available for all shows and performances. For the cabins there are also devices to let the hearing impaired know if the phone rings, someone is at the door, or some shipboard alarm goes off. These devices can flashlights in the room or even shake the bed waking you if you are sleeping giant fire alarm goes off.
If you have medications that need to be refrigerated all cabins have coolers in them capable of holding your medications.  You can request a mini refrigerator if you medication needs to be kept cooler than the in cabin coolers can handle.
Here is a list of special equipment the Disney cruise line offers for guests with disabilities the following is available upon request for use in any stateroom. I suggest that you make the need know before sailing. I would make the request when I book and then clarify and confirm the request again before sailing. These items are available, it board, Israel, portable toilet, raised toilet seat, shower stool, transfer bench, refrigerator, state room communication kids containing door knock and phone alerts, phone amplifier, bed shaker notification, strobe light smoke detector and text typewriter (TTY).
Disney’s private island Castaway Cay is specially designed to accommodate everyone! Starting with the fact the ship pulls right up to the island where you can walk or whole right off the ship onto the island everything is accessible. There are a limited number of sand wheelchairs available free to use on the island. All the pathways are designed to accommodate both ECV’s and wheelchairs. There are shuttles can also accommodate that will take you from one side of the island to the other. Of course not every activity can accommodate everyone. Use wisdom when choosing Port Adventures.
Children with disabilities can also be accommodated in these activities on the ship. Youth activities are open to children ages 3 to 17 that are fully potty trained, able to interact comfortably within the counselor to child ratio groups and with peers of their own physical size. Teen and tween activities are available in separate areas away from younger children.
Parents can make a request with the youth activities team for a child with disabilities to partake in modified participation for limited time during the cruise. Ability to fill requests will depend on the child’s needs, availability of counselors, program participation and other applicable considerations. Not all special requests can be accommodated.
Those with contagious disease or who show symptoms of illness cannot be accommodated, children that require one on one care, a child or adult wishes to participate in an age group much younger/smaller than the physical age/size, children who need attention of counselors with special training, or children who needs counselor assisted medical attention cannot be accommodated.
If you’d like on each request accommodations for guests with disabilities discuss your needs that time booking.
You can get more information by calling (407) 566–3500 (voice) or (407) 566–7455 (TTY).
Disney has an electronic brochure for those with visual available by the link below:
I sailed with my family, a group of 15 with three of the family being elderly and severely mobility limited. We had three ECV’s in the Disney Cruise Line went out of their way to make sure we were fully accommodated. Those with the ECV’s had cabins is larger doors and easy access walk-in showers. Our tables in the dining room were located in such a way to make it easy for the ECV’s to come right up to the table.
My family members had bicycle squeeze horns on their ECV handlebars and would squeeze the horns signaling back and forth to each other so they knew they were still together. The ship’s crew saw this in joined in the fun and would come running down the halls or across the dining room talk of horns as they escorted us down the hall, seating in the theaters or shows or to our dining table.
None of those with physical limitations felt in any way limited or left out any event. The only problem we had was at one port when we had to tender in to the island. Normally Disney pulled up to the dock book could not due to storm damage after hurricanes Francine and Janine 2004.
With those traveling with children or even the adult with ADHD consider this. On a Disney cruise, unlike most the parks where the constant noise and activity can over stimulate it is hard to find a quiet spot to refocus. You often must leave the park to find. On a Disney cruise all you need to do is take a short walk to find an empty lounge or other quiet spot. Also going back to your cabin is an easy alternative. This was a blessing for both my daughter, age 10 and ADHD on her first cruise and my severely ADHD husband would also need to find a quiet spot to refocus and calm himself.
Once again I say that a so-called “limiting disability” is no reason not to enjoy a Disney Cruise!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gratuities and Tipping on the Disney Cruise Lines

Gratuities and Tipping on the Disney Cruise Lines


We all know that when you go to a restaurant or stay at a hotel you should tip serving staff that provide good service. The same is true for Disney and all cruise lines.

You can choose to pre-pay gratuities before the cruise or they will be added to your onboard account at the end of the cruise. Now don’t panic! The amount is not out of line and in fact is reasonable when you break it down per day. You are only “required” to tip 4 servers, Dining Room Server, Dining Room Assistant Server, Dining Room Head Server and your Stateroom Host/Hostess.

There are others you can tip if you use them and feel the service deserves. That list includes the following people: Dining Manager, Room Service, Vista Spa & Salon, Babysitting and Port Adventures. The “cost” for eating at Palo’s and Remy’s is actually your Gratuity so no extra gratuity is expected/required.

Here is what the Disney Cruise Line has on their site as suggested tips per person in the cabin (adult and children pay the same):

Per Guest per cruise
Dining Room Server
Dining Room Asst. Server
Dining Room Head Server
Stateroom Host/
Dining Manager
Your Discretion
Room Service
Your Discretion
Gratuity included
Vista Spa & Salon
Your Discretion
Gratuity not expected
Port Adventures
not included in port
adventure price.
Total “Required” tip per person


If you get really great service you can increase the amount if you wish. If you wish to pay in cash or make changes to the amount just stop by the Guest Services Desk and make arraignments.

Here is the breakdown of the required gratuity by day:

Dining Room Serving Staff ~ $8 per person per day

For this you get 3 dedicated servers for your table. Each person’s meal may cost as much as $60 at a restaurant on land. At 15% the average tip would be $9.

If you have an allergy or other dietary restriction your dining staff will gladly make sure you are taken care of. They will have you order your next nights meal the night before so they can make sure it is safe for you. If they have any questions or find what your ordered has something you can’t have they will find you either after diner or early in the day to change your order so  you have no problems at diner the next night.

Stateroom Host/Hostess ~ $4 per person per day

Your Stateroom Host/Hostess comes to your room several times each day. They clean and make the bed in the morning. They bring in your Navigator (ships event/entertainment schedule) in the evening along with making you a towelgami and turning down your bed(s).

          You can always go to either your dining staff or stateroom host to solve many problems or get questions answered while on board. They are a fount of information!

A 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs. All gratuities can be charged to your room charge.

Cash is not used on the Disney Ships (except if you wish to leave an extra tip at the END of your cruise.) All purchases of merchandise, non-included drinks (liquor, specialty coffee and bottled/canned soda/water), non-included food items such as specialty items from some lounges/bars and Port/Shipboard Adventures.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Planning any Disney Cruise – How Early is to Early

Planning a Disney Cruise

How Early is to Early


          Planning and looking forward to Disney Cruises is always fun. But how soon is too soon to start planning a Disney Cruise? In my opinion the sooner you start planning Disney Cruise the better!

          Disney Cruises are slightly more extensive than cruises on other cruise lines. I believe the extra price is more than worth it for the quality of service and extras you receive. So the extra time is good to have for financial reasons. But, there are other reasons to book early than that.

          With other cruise lines if you wait to book until a few weeks or months before the date you wish to cruise you can often get a lower price. With Disney that does not happen. The reason for that is simply demand. Other cruise lines often have many cabins left unfilled near or at sailing. Disney runs an average of 110% to 120% full. 100% full means 2 guests in each cabin. Everything above 100% is more than two people in a cabin. Other cruise lines discount their unfilled cabins to try to fill them. Disney does not have to. Disney has few if any on booked cabins.

          If you watch the Disney cruise line website you will notice that the closer the sale date comes the higher the price for the same cabin. It is best to book early at the lower price. You will also get a better chance of getting a cabin in the area the ship you wish if you are picky.

          Here are some of the other reasons to book early. It gives you time to become part of a Fish Extender group and making your Fish Extender and goodies. Gives you time to plan how you going to decorate your cabin door, just remember no tape, magnets only.

          Booking early also gives you a chance to research the different ports you’re going to and the Port Adventures available at those ports. Booking early allows you to be ready when the date comes that you can finally book your Port Adventure. You know what you’re going to do and are ready to book it. Your desired Port Adventure may be booked if you wait until you get on the ship. Some of the more popular Port Adventures will fill up almost as soon as they become available. If you have never sailed with Disney before you can start booking your Port Adventures 75 days prior to your sail date. Even at 75 days prior you may have problems getting the Port Adventure you wish.

          If you have sailed with Disney Cruise Line before you are automatically a member of their Castaway Club. Castaway Club Membership lets you book Port Adventures early, how early is dependent on the number of cruises you’ve taken in the past. One – five cruises you are Silver level and can book Port Adventures 90 days prior to sail date. Six – 10 cruises you are Gold level and can book 105 days in advance. Over 10 cruises you are Platinum level and can book as early as 120 days prior to your cruise. Also the higher level you are in the club the earlier you can book your cruise. Castaway Club members get first chance of booking cruises and Port Adventures.

I know that for us the time flies waiting for the cruise to come. Whether we are working on Fish Extender, Fish Extender goodies, door decor or window clings the more time we have the better for planning.

I also find that planning an amazing getaway such as a Disney Cruise is a great way to deal with stress and build hope during dark times. As of today I have 348 days until our cruise. I’ve already started working on Fish Extender goodies and getting special close for the trip. I’ve even set aside a suitcase to keep this stuff in. In my opinion as soon as they sail date you wish to go becomes available book it! You don’t have to pay for it fully until 75 days before the cruise. Just be aware even if you are a Castaway Club Member you can book Port or Shipboard Adventures until your cruise is fully paid for.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Disneyland Flag Retreat

Disneyland Flag Retreat

          One often overlooked special treat at Disneyland is taking a few minutes to watch the Flag Retreat ceremony. If you are lucky you will see Security Guard and Disney Legacy Ernie lead the Color Guard to retrieve the Flag.

          Here is video of Disneyland’s Flag Retreat:

          The Disneyland Band and/or the Dapper Dans will come out to sing and play patriotic music that includes the National Anthem and the Hymns for each branch of our great nations military service. As each service’s hymn is played retired and active duty service men and women from that branch of service are invited and even encouraged to come stand around the Flag they helped keep flying. This is a deeply moving experience for those watching. It does not matter if you have ever served.

          The last time I had the pleasure of watching this amazing ceremony tears came to my eyes. I listened as the Army’s Hymn played and a few men stepped up. The Navy’s Hymn was played and more men stepped up and filled in the circle. The Marine’s Hymn sounded and more answered the call, The Coast Guard’s Hymn played and one of the Marine’s stepped back and once again into the circle because he served in both. As the Coast Guard’s Hymn ended a young man ran breathless into the Town Square near the Flag. As the Anthem for the Air Force started to play the breathless gentleman marched smartly up to the Flag and saluted. He sang the Air Force Hymn as if his full unit was there standing with him.

          After the ceremony I walked up to this, obviously proud youth and thanked him for his service. He told me no thanks was needed and thanked me for honoring him.
          Shortly after the ceremony ended Ernie came back with the Color Guard and the Flag to take pictures with people who wanted them. The Air Force gentleman grabbed his camera and looked for someone to take a picture. I was honored to step up and offer to take their picture. I took it with the Serviceman's camera so I do not have the picture.

          Now here is a little bit about Ernie. Ernie has worked at DLR for over 20 years. Most of that he has lead the Flag Retreat. He was a Marine before that. It is obvious his pleasure to honor his fellow Servicemen and our great country. Ernie recently was honored with a new and name tag. Ernie’s name tag is now blue instead of the standard white. It means he was honored with the Legacy Award. The Legacy Award honors employees at Disney Parks around the world that exemplify the standards of the company while performing their duties. This truly fits Ernie. If you see Ernie be ready to have your hand shook and/or be embraced by him. If you have served or are active military be assured he will give you a proper salute and honor.

          Here is a video in honor of Ernie’s 20 years of service at the Main Street Flag Pole:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Walt Disney and Ronald Regan Together . . . Again

Walt Disney and Ronald Regan Together . . . Again

            The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is hosting a temporary display, D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives! This incredible exhibit closes April 30th. If you get a chance to visit Simi, California and the Reagan Library before this exhibit leaves I highly recommend it. It is worth the $21 per person admission price. Besides the Disney exhibit you will also receive access to the complete Reagan Library including Air Force One.
          During our visit to the Ronald Reagan Library many times we heard other guests saying, “Why does Disney have a display here?” “Disney has no place here at the Reagan Library!” “Disney will do anything to make money.” Little did these people know there is a strong connection between Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney and the Disney Company. In fact Disney is one of the main supporters of the Ronald Reagan Library.
          Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan knew each other through the movie industry. Their lives would often cross at various industry functions and award ceremonies. Because the two men had a similar view of life and America they became friends. I do not believe that they often spend time together but there is evidence of correspondence and such proving more than just a business acquaintance.
          When Walt Disney opened his new amusement Park, Disneyland in 1955 he asked three of his closest movie industry friends to help out by hosting a live TV show showing the opening day celebration. The three friends were Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter and Bob Cummings. Several times throughout through the show you see Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan together talking about Walt’s new playground.
          These three men were more than just business acquaintances they were friends and supporters of Walt the man and his dream. All three accepted only SAG union wages, as required by union rules and I believe only one asked for and received anything above that. Art Linkletter asked for and received 10% of the profit from the Kodak film camera concessions in the park for several years.
          The relationship between Walt and Ronald Reagan went deeper than just the business side. Both were proud Americans and held the same optimistic view of America and Americans. They believed in ingenuity and never giving up. They both believed that with hard work and a positive outlook tomorrow can and will be a better day.
          They were both problem solvers. I’m sure any real Disney fan can come up with several examples of the problems that Walt solved from the multi-plane camera to the designing of rides such as the Matterhorn. Because of Walt’s desire we have tubular steel roller coasters and audio animatronic entertainment in the parks.
        Reagan also met problems head-on and solve them. Remember his famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev take down this wall!” But here’s a funny problem the Reagan solved after he left the White House. While overseeing the construction of his library in Simi Valley he instructed that an exact replica of the Oval Office be built. It was to have the same exact dimensions and the furniture and decorations would either be his original or reproduction of everything that was in the Oval Office while he was in office. Problem was the architect and construction chief came to Reagan and said, “Mr. President we have a problem, we accidentally made the ceiling of the Oval Office 4 feet to low. Because the roof is already on the building we cannot add 4 feet to ceiling.” Mr. Reagan replied, “If you can’t go up dig down.” So when you go to see the Oval Office display at the Reagan Library you will have to go down steps were around 4 feet because that part of the building is 4 feet lower.
          After going through the D23 Disney exhibit and then through the Reagan Library I realized that both men were one-of-a-kind. The world will never see two men quite like these again. Both were great communicators, visionaries and had great belief in America and its people. Both had seen the worst in life but chose to focus mainly on the positive while preparing to deal with the worst if it happened again. They did not let their negative past influence their positive hope for the future. There is much to be learned from both Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney. No matter how old you are, how much you earn or what lifestyle you live we can all be better by looking at the world through these two great men’s eyes.
          Both men believed that with a strong America the world’s future was hopeful. They also believed that if America was weak the world’s future was bleaker. They believed in the founding principles of our country that those principles should be upheld, protected and nurtured to be passed on to future generations.

Friday, February 22, 2013

House of the future in Disneyland's Innoventions

House of the Future in Disneyland’s Innoventions

            Inside Innoventions there is the house of the future. This wonderful, and often overlooked attraction shows technology that is available or will soon be available that can that could be used in everybody’s house.
            The living room has digital photo frames that change pictures frequently. One fun feature is presets for each family member so when you walk in you select the family member and their pictures and music choices are displayed and played.
            The kitchen has energy and time efficient equipment. All of the time-saving kitchen gadgets are available to use. The refrigerator will keep track of what you have put in the refrigerator and what you’ve used reminding you what you need to purchase when you go to the store next. A computer screen conveniently located in the kitchen can be used to look up recipes, play your favorite music, videos, surf the web or even watch TV while you prepare dinner or have a snack.
            The home office area is well-stocked with technology to make working from home convenient and easy. It also makes doing household business convenient and pleasant.
            The dining room has a unique dining table with a beautiful glass top. The tabletop becomes a set of video display screens. Phones with Bluetooth connections can be set on the table and connected to it to display pictures and other items on the phone.
            The teenage daughter’s room is a lot of fun with full wall video display screens where she can project favorite pictures, and posters, movie posters or school and sports logos. It has full conductivity to the Internet so she can surf the web and chat with her friends. It has a “magic” mirror where she can virtually try on her clothing and share it with friends so they help her can pick her outfit.
            I think my favorite room is a young son’s room. I’d love this room my own! It has a pirate ship bed (with its own Canon), desk, old-fashioned looking grandfather clock that is actually a wardrobe, bench seating around one wall and video screens around the room. Throughout the day a Cast Member will stop and do story time in the son’s room. They tell the story of Peter Pan while showing clips from the movie on the walls. They pick one of the guests to sit on the pirate ship bed and shoot the Canon at Peter and the kids.
            The next time you’re at Disneyland to stop by Tomorrowland and go into Innoventions. Enjoy your trip to Neverland!

Here is my video of the storytelling:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Are Cartoons Just Child's Play?

Are Cartoons Just Child’s Play?

            Cartoons are for children. They’re just a way to occupy a child for a time and keep them out of parents way while the parents are busy. There’s nothing important was special about them. . . Or is there more to a good cartoon?
            I recently purchased Peter Pan. It was a childhood favorite of mine and I enjoyed sharing it with my daughter when she was little. The fanciful thought of never growing up and always playing appealed to me even as a child. The idea of flying on to Neverland tickled my sense of fancy (in fact it still does). But is there more to learn from this whimsical story? I believe there is!
            The movie is called Peter Pan but who is the story really about? Is about a young boy refusing to grow up? Could it be about a little girl on cusp of becoming a young woman? Or could it be about a crotchety man who’s chosen to live in anger and frustration, making a fool of himself?
            What can we learn from Peter Pan? Peter is self-absorbed, impulsive and immature. He chooses to stay emotionally stunted. He does not really want to take responsibility for anything but controlling the Lost Boys. He does not want to be responsible for his actions. Even with all these negatives there is not a true “bad bone” in his body. He has no intention of hurting anyone. From Peter Pan we can learn that there are consequences to our actions. Though it may seem like fun to be irresponsible and never grow up you see you lose out so much. You see that Peter is actually very lonely and deep in his heart wants structure and a mother’s love.
            Wendy is a different story. From the very beginning she’s a picture of responsibility. Although Nana, the dog is the children’s “nursemaid” it is Wendy that actually cares for the boys. When she is brought to Neverland she continues her “mothering” of the boys and includes the Loss Boys as part of her responsibility. She is part mother/part wife in a child’s play sort of way to Peter Pan. In the end she chooses to grow up but yet still enjoy the whimsy of childhood.
            Hook is a different story entirely. He is an adult trapped in a child’s world by his own selfish and childish behavior. He is paralleled in the “real world” by Father. All bluster and hurt feelings he has chosen to hang onto the hurts. Hook is so focused on revenge he loses sight of the joy of life and true success. He loses sight of the friendship of the ever faithful Smee. He neglects his responsibility to his crew.
            Even all the boys, the Lost Boys, Michael and John show us choices we have to make. The Loss Boys have chosen to live like Peter and not grow up, yet they miss their mother. Even missing their mothers they still choose to continue to live this way. Michael and John on the other hand choose to go home with Wendy and grow up when the time comes.
            Overall I think this wonderful and whimsical story reminds me that life is a balance. In the end, like Father seeing the ship sailing away in the clouds and softening his heart we need to remember to hold onto childlike whimsy and faith still grow up. Also I hearkened to Peter Pan’s immortal words, “All it takes is a little faith, trust and just a little pixie dust.” It reminds me that with faith in God, trust in God and those He puts in my life along with the “pixie dust” of His many wondrous blessings I can succeed at anything.
            So are cartoons just child’s play? I think not. I think they are wondrous tools to entertain and educate our young and teach them morals and life lessons. I believe cartoons are a wonderful way for us jaded adults to be reminded to take time to laugh, play and remember the lessons of our childhood. It is all too easy to forget to be kind and hang onto hurts of the past turning us into Capt. Hook. Becoming Hook we lose focus on the good and end up with goals they keep us tied to port instead of sailing the seven seas enjoying life.
            So for me I will be part Peter Pan and part Wendy. I will never lose the desire for childlike play and hopefulness yet I have made the choice to grow up and take responsibility. I have chosen to reject becoming Capt. Hook. I will not live for revenge or stay stuck in hurts of the past.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Disney Cruise Website & Booking

Disney Cruise Website & Booking

It does not matter if you book your cruise yourself or with a travel agent you need to sign into the Disney Cruise Line website!
            If you have booked a cruise yourself with Disney you can go onto the website and make payments and make changes to your booking (change date, cabins, add air and/or ground transportation). It does not matter if you put yourself or with a T A, when it comes time book Port and Shipboard Adventures you can do that all online. I highly suggest you book those Adventures as early as you can! You can also shorten your time at the terminal when boarding by filling out all your paperwork ahead of time online in the comfort of your own home.
There’s a wonderful area that tells you a lot of useful information including the date you can start booking your Port and Shipboard Adventures and do your on line check.
            Once you sign in you can go and take a look at your reservation options. Just go to the Planning Center and My Reservations. Once there you will see a list of options. The options are, Your Reservation Summary (Gives you the days until your cruise), My Cruise Activities (tells you the earliest date you can book and keeps track of what you have booked early), My Online Check-In (case you the earliest date you can do your online check-in), Fun on Board (tells you about the amenities on the ship you’ll be on), Character Calls, Packing Lists, Air and Ground Transportation, Passport and Travel Documentation, Stay Connected, in Room Gifts and Shopping, Driving Directions and Custom Pre-Arrival Guide.
            Click on Reservation Summary, and it will show you all you need to know about your cruise. It will give you the dates, ship name, guest information, air/ground transportation and hotel information and your itinerary.
Click on My Cruise Activities and you are told the earliest date you can book Port and Shipboard Adventures. How far out from your cruise you can book Port/Shipboard Adventures depends on the number of Disney Cruises you taken in the past. First-time cruisers can book 75 days out. Silver level Castaway Club members (those who are on their second to fifth Disney Cruise) can book 90 days out. Gold level Castaway Club members (those who are on their sixth through 10th Disney Cruise) can book 100 days out. Platinum level Castaway Club members (those who are on their 11th plus Disney Cruise) can book 110 days out.
My Online Check-in is where you go to give Disney Cruise Line all the information they need to speed up your check-in at the terminal. Here you will give them you were Passport information, special needs, allergies and general information. On the main link has the earliest date you can do this. It is between 75 and 110 days from your cruise date depending on your Castaway Club level. The more Disney Cruises you’ve taken the further out you can do it.
Fun on the (your ship name here) is a link to an overview of what shipboard fun is available on the ship you will be selling on.
Character Calls! Here you can schedule 2 free character calls to any member of your cruising party. You can schedule it at any time from the date of booking to the date you sail. Think of your child’s or spouses face when they get a call from Mickey Mouse or Goofy telling them about their Disney cruise!
Packing list! What every new cruiser needs to know and what every seasoned cruiser needs to be reminded to take! All is listed here, but it is not a substitute for thinking about your personal needs and wants. This packing list is a good start. It does mention prescription medication but does not mention all the necessities you may need such as medical equipment. There is also a list of what you cannot take on the cruise. Pay attention to this list because what is not allowed they will take away from you and hold until the end of the cruise.
Air and Ground Transportation. Here you will find links to information on available air and ground transportation and Disney policies regarding them. You will also find links to TSA travel information on what can and cannot be brought on most airlines. Once again you’ll find a list of what you cannot pack for air and cruise travel.
Passport and Travel Documentation information section. Here you will find out what you need to know about passport and travel documentation needed for the cruise. For US citizens you will find a link to the US Government Passport site. A little extra bit of information, for US citizens going by cruise or car to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean all you need is a Passport Cart. You only need the traditional Passport Book if you are flying in or out the United States.
Stay Connected! Disney Cruise Line wants to keep you informed. Here you can give them your email or cell phone number (optional!) so they can send you important updates by email or text message. It is up to you how you received the message. They will text or email you a reminder when you can book Port/Shipboard Adventures or do your Online Check-in. Also if for some reason (such as bad weather or problems at the port) your departure time is delayed they will send you an update.
In Room Gifts and Shopping! Here you can order something special to celebrate a birthday or anniversary with members of your sailing party. You can also order things such as DCL jewelry, shirts, food platters (fruit and cheese) and other goodies. These items will be delivered to the stateroom and be waiting for you and you arrive.
Driving Directions. Click here for general driving directions to the port. This area also gives you information such as pricing for parking and general safety information.
Custom Pre-Arrival Guide. This is a treasure trove for the excited cruiser! Here you can print or email a PDF file of your cruise information! This will have information on your reservation including your reservation number. Your sail date and cruise itinerary, important dates to know such as when you need to have your cruise paid for in full, earliest dates to book Port/Shipboard Adventures, Online Check-in and other fun information. If you’re surprising someone with the cruise printing this up and putting it in a binder and giving it to them is a great way to let them know.
So now you know why it’s important to sign up with the Disney Cruise Line website. The web address is:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Every Disney Hero Has a Voice ~ Fred McMurray

Every Disney Hero Has a Voice
The Absent Minded Professor
Fred McMurray ~ Professor Ned Brainard
August 30th, 1908 – November 5, 1991
       Over the years, Fred McMurray told interviewers he was “a personality that actor.” While Bill Wilder, who directed the affable Fred in such films as “Double Indemnity” with Barbara Stanwyck and “The Apartment” with Shirley McClain, summed up his personality well, when he called him “everybody’s nice fellow.”
“Fred McMurray,” Wilder said, “gives people the feeling that he’s kind two dogs, children, mothers and widows.”
A versatile actor, Fred could play every kind of role ranging from screwball comedy to romance to film noir. Yet, he is probably best remembered for the befuddled characters he made famous in such Disney films as “The absent – minded professor” and “Son of Flubber,” in which he plays Professor Ned Brainard of Medfield College. Seven new Fred say his bewilderment on, actually reflected his innate shyness off camera.
Born August 30, 1908, in Kankakee, Illinois, and raised in beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Fred was assigned of a concert violinist. After high school, he worked as a band saxophonist and vocalist to pay his way through Carroll College in Wisconsin.
In the late 1920s, Fred moved to Los Angeles, where he joined the California: regions with vocal ensemble. He traveled with the group to appear on Broadway in such shows as “Three’ s a Crowd” with Fred Allen, and later was cast as Bob Hope’s understudy in “Roberta.” A Paramount talent scout spotted the blue – I’d Fred and arrange for a screen test, which won him a studio contract. In 1935, he became a movie star, virtually overnight, when he played opposite Claudette Colbert in “The Gilded Lily.”
Walt Disney personally cast Fred in the Studios first live –action comedy, “The Shaggy Dog,” released in 1959, which was one of the biggest and most unexpected film milestones in Disney history. In all, Fred appeared in seven Disney feature films including, “Bon Voyage” with Jane Wyman, “Follow Me, Boys!” With the era Miles and Kurt Russell, and “The Happiest Millionaire” with the Greer Garson, which was the last live –action movie supervised by Walt before his untimely death in 1966. Fred’s last Disney film was “Charlie and the Angel” with Harry Morgan released in 1973.
In all, Fred played leading roles in more than 80 movies during his prestigious career and one a faithful television following, as well when he played the widower father Steve Douglas in a durable series “My Three’s Sons,” which ran from 1960 to 1972.
Fred MacMurray died in Los Angeles in November 1991.
Frederick Martin "Fred" MacMurray (August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991) was an American actor who appeared in more than 100 movies and a successful television series during a career that spanned nearly a half-century, from 1930 to the 1970s.
MacMurray is well known for his role in the 1944 film noir Double Indemnity directed by Billy Wilder, which he starred in with Barbara Stanwyck. Later in his career, he became better known worldwide as the paternal Steve Douglas, the widowed patriarch on My Three Sons, which ran on ABC from 1960–1965 and then on CBS from 1965–1972.

Early life

MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Frederick MacMurray and Maleta Martin, both natives of Wisconsin. When MacMurray was two years old the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and several years later settled in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where his mother had been born in 1880. He earned a full scholarship to attend Carroll College (now Carroll University), in Waukesha, Wisconsin. While there, MacMurray participated in numerous local bands, playing the saxophone. He didn't graduate from the school.


In 1930, MacMurray recorded a tune for the Gus Arnheim Orchestra as a featured vocalist on All I Want Is Just One Girl on the Victor 78label. Before he signed on with Paramount Pictures in 1934, he appeared on Broadway in Three's a Crowd (1930–31) and alongside Sydney Greenstreet and Bob Hope in Roberta (1933–34).
MacMurray worked with directors Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges and actors Barbara Stanwyck, Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich and, in seven films, Claudette Colbert, beginning with The Gilded Lily (1935). He co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in Alice Adams (1935), with Joan Crawford in Above Suspicion (1943), and with Carole Lombard in four films, Hands Across the Table (1935), The Princess Comes Across (1936), Swing High, Swing Low (1937), and True Confession (1937).
Usually cast in light comedies as a decent, thoughtful character (The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 1936) and in melodramas (Above Suspicion 1943) and musicals (Where Do We Go from Here? 1945), MacMurray had become one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors; for 1943, when his salary reached $420,000, he was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, and the fourth highest-paid American.
Despite being typecast as a "nice guy," MacMurray often said his best roles were when he was cast against type by Wilder. In 1944, he played the role of Walter Neff, an insurance salesman (numerous other actors had turned the role down) who plots with a greedy wife Barbara Stanwyck to murder her husband in Double Indemnity (1944). Sixteen years later, MacMurray played Jeff Sheldrake, a two-timing corporate executive in Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy The Apartment, (1960) with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In another turn in the "not so nice" category, MacMurray played the cynical, duplicitous Lieutenant Thomas Keefer in 1954's The Caine Mutiny.
In 1958, he guest starred in the premiere episode of NBC's Cimarron City western series, with George Montgomery and John Smith.
MacMurray's career was revitalized in 1959, when he was cast as the father in the popular Disney Studios comedy, The Shaggy Dog. From 1960 to 1972, he starred in My Three Sons, one of the longest-running television series in the United States. Concurrent with My Three Sons,MacMurray stayed busy in films, starring as Professor Ned Brainard in Disney's The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and in the sequel, Son of Flubber (1963). Using his star clout, MacMurray had a provision in his "Sons" contract that all his scenes be shot first. This freed him to pursue his film work and golf hobby. It's also interesting to note that two character names on "My Three Sons" were obviously nods to his real life children, that of Rob (as in Rob Douglas) and Katherine (Kate); he often referred to his TV son Robbie as 'Rob' and later TV daughter-in-law Katie Douglas as 'Kate.'
MacMurray was one of the wealthiest and, at the same time, most frugal actors in the business. Studio co-workers noticed that even as a successful actor, MacMurray usually brought a brown bag lunch to work, often with a hard-boiled egg. According to his co-star on My Three Sons, William Demarest, MacMurray continued to bring dyed Easter eggs for lunch several months after Easter so as not to waste them. Friends and business associates jokingly referred to him as "the thrifty multimillionaire." Over the years, MacMurray had proven to be a very skillful investor, particularly in California real estate. After the cancellation of My Three Sons in 1972, MacMurray made only a few more film appearances before retiring in 1978.
In the 1970s, MacMurray did commercials for the Greyhound Lines bus company. Towards the end of the decade, he also did a series of commercials for the Korean chisenbop math calculation program.

Personal life

MacMurray was married twice. He married Lillian Lamont, his first wife, on June 20, 1936, and the couple adopted two children, Susan (b. 1940) and Robert (b. 1946). After Lamont died on June 22, 1953, he married actress June Haver the following year; he and Haver adopted two more children, twins Katherine and Laurie (b. 1966).
In 1941 MacMurray purchased land in the Russian River Valley in Northern California and established MacMurray Ranch. He spent time there when not making films, engaging in, among other things, the raising of prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle. MacMurray wanted the property's agricultural heritage preserved, and it was thus sold in 1996 to Gallo, which planted vineyards on it for wines that bear the MacMurray Ranch label. Kate MacMurray, daughter of Haver and MacMurray, now lives on the property (in a cabin built by her father), and is "actively engaged in Sonoma's thriving wine community, carrying on her family's legacy and the heritage of MacMurray Ranch."
He was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party. He joined Bob Hope and James Stewart to campaign for Richard Nixon in 1968.


MacMurray suffered from throat cancer in the late 1970s and it reappeared in 1987; he also suffered a severe stroke at Christmas 1988 which left his right side paralyzed and his speech affected, although with therapy he was able to make a 90% recovery.
After suffering from leukemia for more than a decade, MacMurray died from pneumonia in November 1991, aged 83 in Santa Monica. He was entombed in Holy Cross Cemetery. Actor John Candy was entombed in the same mausoleum, two crypts above Fred MacMurray. In 2005, his second wife June Haver, aged 79, was entombed with him.

Awards and influence

In 1939, artist C.C. Beck used MacMurray as the initial model for the superhero character who became Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel.
MacMurray was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for The Absent-Minded Professor (1961).
MacMurray was the first person honored as a Disney Legend, in 1987.



·        Girls Gone Wild (1929)(*extra)
·        Why Leave Home? (1929)
·        Tiger Rose (1929)
·        Grand Old Girl (1935)
·        The Gilded Lily (1935)
·        Car 99 (1935)
·        Men Without Names (1935)
·        Alice Adams (1935)
·        Hands Across the Table (1935)
·        The Bride Comes Home (1935)
·        The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936)
·        Thirteen Hours by Air (1936)
·        The Princess Comes Across (1936)
·        The Texas Rangers (1936)
·        Champagne Waltz (1937)
·        Maid of Salem (1937)
·        Swing High, Swing Low (1937)
·        Exclusive (1937)
·        True Confession (1937)
·        Cocoanut Grove (1938)
·        Men with Wings (1938)
·        Sing You Sinners (1938)
·        Cafe Society (1939)
·        Invitation to Happiness (1939)
·        Honeymoon in Bali (1939)
·        Remember the Night (1940)
·        Little Old New York (1940)
·        Too Many Husbands (1940)
·        Rangers of Fortune (1940)
·        Virginia (1941)
·        One Night in Lisbon (1941)
·        Dive Bomber (1941)
·        New York Town (1941)
·        The Lady Is Willing (1942)
·        Take a Letter, Darling (1942)
·        The Forest Rangers (1942)
·        Star Spangled Rhythm (1942)
·        Flight for Freedom (1943)
·        No Time for Love (1943)
·        Above Suspicion (1943)
·        Standing Room Only (1944)
·        And the Angels Sing (1944)
·        Double Indemnity (1944)
·        Practically Yours (1944)
·        Where We Go from Here? (1945) – Bill Morgan
·        Captain Eddie (1945)
·        Murder, He Says (1945)
·        Pardon My Past (1945)
·        Smoky (1946)
·        Suddenly, It's Spring (1947)
·        The Egg and I (1947)
·        Singapore (1947)
·        On Our Merry Way (1948)
·        The Miracle of the Bells (1948)
·        An Innocent Affair (1948)
·        Family Honeymoon (1949)
·        Father was a Fullback (1949)
·        Borderline (1950)
·        Never a Dull Moment (1950)
·        A Millionaire for Christy (1951)
·        Callaway Went Thataway (1951)
·        Fair Wind to Java (1953)
·        The Moonlighter (1953)
·        The Caine Mutiny (1954)
·        Pushover (1954)
·        Woman's World (1954)
·        The Far Horizons (1955)
·        The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
·        At Gunpoint (1955)
·        There's Always Tomorrow (1956)
·        Gun for a Coward (1957)
·        Quantez (1957)
·        Day of the Bad Man (1958)
·        Good Day for a Hanging (1959)
·        The Shaggy Dog (1959)
·        Face of a Fugitive (1959)
·        The Oregon Trail (1959)
·        The Apartment (1960)
·        The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
·        Bon Voyage! (1962)
·        Son of Flubber (1963)
·        Kisses for My President (1964)
·        Follow Me, Boys! (1966)
·        The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
·        Charley and the Angel (1973)
·        The Swarm (1978)

Short subjects

·        Screen Snapshots: Art and Artists (1940)
·        Popular Science (1941)
·        Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 1 (1941)
·        Show Business at War (1943)
·        The Last Will and Testament of Tom Smith (1943) (narrator)
·        Screen Snapshots: Motion Picture Mothers, Inc. (1949)


·        My Three Sons as Steven "Steve" Douglas in 380 episodes(1960-1972)