Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays from Plus the Magic

Wishing you a holiday season filled with peace, prosperity, and new possibilities...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

runDisney Wine & Dine Medals

As much as I love runDisney races, I haven't always been a fan of the character-based finisher medals. This year's runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend had a travel theme- and that travel theme carried over to the medals. The 10K medal was reminiscent of a luggage tag (complete with a leather tag "string"), the Half Marathon medal represented a plane ticket, and the Two-Course Challenge medal took the shape of a passport. 

The best part? 
The passport medal opens, to reveal stamps from all the countries around Epcot's World Showcase.

I've heard some mixed reviews on these medals, but I love them. The Half Marathon and the Challenge medals are right up there with the now-retired Expedition Everest Challenge compass medals as my all-time favorites from runDisney. 

Did you earn any runDisney Wine and Dine Weekend medals? What do you think of the designs? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

runDisney 2017 Wine & Dine Weekend: Costume Prep

I runDisney, and I run in costume. I've participated in nine runDisney events so far, and with the exception of Castaway Cay, they've all been in costume. Coming up with costume ideas (and then executing the plan) is all part of the fun for me. Preparation for my next runDisney adventure- the 2017 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend- presented something new: the need for two costumes instead of one. For the first time, I'm participating in a challenge event. Challenge events include multiple races back-to-back. I'll be running the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday, for a total of 19.3 miles.

The last runDisney race I was registered for was the 2017 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. As some of you may remember, that race was canceled due to severe weather. Even though I joined countless others in running it anyway in one of many unofficial halfs that day, I really wanted a chance to run an official race in the costume I prepared for that weekend. The two-course challenge provided the perfect opportunity, so I'll be channeling my inner Mary Poppins during the 10K next week.

As for my half marathon costume? I'm attempting an ode to Epcot's 35th birthday. It's still a work in progress, but you can probably guess the gist of it...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Dream Called EPCOT

As we approach Epcot's 35th anniversary, The Disney Parks Blog just released this 1980 promotional video- "The Dream Called EPCOT".  This is required viewing here at Plus the Magic.


From The Disney Parks Blog:
"This film, which offers a look inside WED Enterprises during the “Imagineering” of EPCOT Center in the 1970s, originally ran on a loop in the EPCOT Preview Center at Magic Kingdom Park. The purpose of the film was to introduce a new kind of Disney theme park to guests, showcasing exciting experiences they could have in the park’s Future World and World Showcase areas. The film offered sneak peaks at attraction models, renderings and animation for The Living Seas, Horizons, World of Motion, CommuniCore and Spaceship Earth, as well as early construction footage. It also offered a first-listen to some of the fun music composed for this new park, including songs like “It’s Fun to Be Free,” “Universe of Energy” and “Listen to the Land.”

Share your thoughts on The Dream Called EPCOT with us in the comment section. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Epcot's World Showcase- Left or Right?

You're visiting Epcot. You're done with Future World, and you head toward World Showcase. You find yourself standing at the X below, gazing out at the country pavilions surrounding World Showcase Lagoon.

Which way do you turn? Left or right?

                                           left                                                               right

There is a correct answer here!

(Just kidding. I suppose you could go either way- but I never do...)

So- left or right? Tell us in the comments!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Creatures in the Castle

No doubt you've admired the spectacular murals inside Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The murals, designed by Imagineer Dorothea Redmond and installed by a team led by artisan Hanns Scharff,  line the walkway that runs through the castle.

The richly-detailed murals tell the story of Cinderella, in carefully-crafted tilework. Small creatures play important roles in the story of Cinderella- so it's only fitting that they're well-represented here in tile. Have you noticed the animals in the mural? Creatures large and small are represented throughout the work. Next time you visit, see how many you can find...

Have you noticed the creatures in the castle? Look for them next time, and 
come back and tell us how many you found...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

runDisney: The Half that (Almost) Wasn't

I've been immersed in runDisney info these past few weeks, following along with friends running Star Wars Half Marathon- The Dark Side last weekend at Walt Disney World, and Tinker Bell Half Marathon coming up soon at Disneyland.

My friend Vanessa- badass runner and Dark Side devotee-
nearing the finish line during the Star Wars 10K

I've been working on plans for my next rD race (the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Challenge in November!), and I've been training for a local race happening in a few days, to get a proof of time for Wine & Dine.

All this race talk had me thinking back to (what was supposed to be) my most recent runDisney race. If you follow runDisney news at all, you've certainly heard about the cancellation of this year's official runDisney Half Marathon, scheduled for January 7, 2017. When fellow runner and blogger Patty at My No Guilt Life put out a call for stories about it for her Tuesdays on the Run series, I shared my sory of The Half that (Almost) Wasn't. Start reading it below, then click over to read the full story...

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Threatening skies over the boardwalk- Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Crescent Lake

We’d all been watching that extended forecast for weeks- hoping for a last minute change. Lightning and thunder were solidly hovering for the wee hours of January 7, right at the time that thousands of Walt Disney World Half Marathoners would be heading to buses, monorails, and cars, making their way over to corrals to await the start of the race....

... click here to continue reading about The Half That (Almost) Wasn't

Were you registered for the runDisney Half Marathon in January 2017? Have you ever trained for a race that ended up being cancelled? Have you ever had to run a race in extreme weather conditions? Tell us about it in the comments...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Attention to Detail: Masks

Masks. They're a universal part of human culture, found the world over and spanning history. They've held a variety of uses and meanings over time- sometimes artistic or ceremonial, sometimes functional or practical, always unique and distinctive to their respective cultures.

Much as you can find masks in all corners of the world, you'll find masks in all corners of Walt Disney World.

The first masks I remember encountering at Walt Disney World are the Venician masks found in Epcot's World Showcase, in the Italy pavilion.

In addition to the artisan masks in Italy's shops, masks are also featured in parts of the Kidcot children's area in this pavilion.

I started noticing masks in various places as I made my way through recent visits. Here's a sampling of masks I found in the parks...

African Outpost, Epcot's World Showcase:

China pavilion, Epcot's World Showcase:

Tusker House, Animal Kingdom:

Expedition Everest, Animal Kingdom:

Mitsukoshi, Japan pavilion, Epcot's World Showcase:

In addition to the parks, masks can be found featured at resorts across property...

Coronado Springs Resort:

Moon Mask, Animal Kingdom Lodge:

And let's not forget Mardi Gras! The masks below can be found on display (and for sale) at 
Port Orleans French Quarter:

Have you taken notice of masks in Walt Disney World? Where else have you spotted them? 
Tell us about it in the comments...


Here's a bonus shot, featuring masks on the wall of a study. Bonus points to anyone who can guess where in the parks this shot was taken. Do you think you know? Comment with your answer!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

What's next for Plus the Magic?

That 4 Year Itch...

If you spend any time on blogs dedicated to niche markets or specific realms of fandom- especially small blogs without a sponsorship/ad revenue model- you often see the same thing start to happen. As time goes by, it inevitably gets difficult to keep things fresh, to present content in a unique way, to do something different than a hundred other blogs are doing. Sometimes readership and engagement drop off, sometimes a blogger gets stuck in a rut and/or doesn't find the same joy in the process anymore. Sometimes a blogger's perspective or experience changes, and the original concept is no longer a good fit. Whatever the individual circumstances, a time often comes when things need to go in a new direction.

That's where Plus the Magic has been for a while.

I'm planning to change things up a bit in the coming months. I'm not exactly sure yet what that change will be, but getting to decide for myself is part of the fun (and part of the challenge).

I'm not planning a radical departure from my typical content, but I'm excited to explore some new avenues. I hope some of you stick around to see where the winds of change take us...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lost Traditions: The Vacation Postcard

With our ever-growing penchant for instant communication- messaging, texting, photosharing, email and social media posts- the time-honored tradition of the vacation postcard might just be in jeopardy. The act of selecting a postcard, then writing, stamping, and sending it- seems to have fallen out of fashion.

Let's not allow postcards to fall by the wayside! Who doesn't love getting a postcard in the mail?

Disney makes it easy to revisit this old school vacation mainstay. Postcards can be found in almost any gift shop, at both parks and resorts. There's usually a selection of individual cards, as well as sets in booklet form, like the Epcot example below.

Forgot to include stamps on your packing list? Never fear- you can buy stamps right at the register in most places that sell postcards.

You'll also find mailboxes in each park and resort. The mailbox below is in the Beach Club lobby, right next to Bell Services.

I mailed a postcard to my daughter during my recent visit (uh... wish you were here!), using Beach Club's mailbox. I dropped it in the box midday Friday...

...and it arrived at its destination with Tuesday's mail, after its 1200+ mile journey.

Do you still send postcards? Tell us about it in the comments...