Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly DDL Post

This week on the Disney Driven Life, I talk about a temporary lunch option that I really really hope becomes more permanent in the future!! To find out what it is, check out my article at The Disney Driven Life, winner of a Top Disney Blog Award for 2010!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Arcade Excitement!

When I am on a Disney vacation, there is just so much to do that I typically do not think about spending time in the hotel's arcade.  This past trip though, my sister and I decided to use our points and check out the arcade.  The All Star Sports Arcade is located inside the main building across from the End Zone Food Court.  You walk in and there are air hockey tables to your left, a ride simulator to your right and rows of arcade games in front of you.

The first thing Emily and I tried was the ride simulator, which was pretty wild! You pick a track to ride from several tracks and then you just hang on. There is a fan to simulate wind and while the chair cannot go as wildly as the cart on the screen, it definitely still simulates the wild ride well. Just watch your head, there isn't much of a cushion and it can get pretty bumpy as the ride goes on.

Emily and I played some other arcade games, including the classic Crazy Taxi.  I was walking around, deciding what to play next, and stumbled upon a game called Go Ballistic! It was a large machine with a screen that was far in the back and there were a lot of colored balls in the front tray.  I swiped my game card and 5 options came up on the screen, 5 different games to play: Crazy Kitchen, Counter Attack, Wood Chuckers, Sweet Shop, and Paintball Fury. I threw a ball at the one labeled Crazy Kitchen and the game started! The point of the game: destroy as many things in the kitchen as possible in 30 seconds! You had to throw the plastic balls at the screen and it made stuff break in the kitchen! It was so cool! I called Emily over and her and I spent the rest of our tokens playing this game!

Ya know, a picture is worth 1000 words, and a video is worth even more! Check out this Factory video about the game:

Cool huh?! It was a lot of fun to play! Make sure to check out the arcade at your next Disney hotel and see what cool games you can find!

Miles and Miles of Magic: The Results

As I said before my trip to Disney, I would be wearing a pedometer for the trip and calculating how many miles I walk every day.  This worked for the most part, but I did run into a couple problems. There were a couple days that my pedometer was not working so well, but luckily my sister had a back up pedometer to help me keep track of the steps. I was surprised at the lengths, they were less than I thought they would be. 

Here are my approximate totals for the trip (All numbers rounded to the nearest whole number):

Sunday - Driving/Hollywood Studios/Downtown Disney - 3 miles
Monday- Animal Kingdom/Resort Hopping/Magic Kingdom- 5 miles
Tuesday- Hollywood Studios - 3 miles
Wednesday- Blizzard Beach/Resort Hopping/Downtown Disney- 3 miles (Miles not including Blizzard Beach)
Thursday - Magic Kingdom - 5 Miles
Friday - Epcot - 5 Miles
Total - about 24 Miles

I definitely think that I will be tracking the miles I walk on my next trip to see if they differ or not from this trip, I thought I would have walked a lot more than this in Disney. Maybe it just feels like a lot more.  I would be interested to hear from you; Have you ever tracked your miles that you walked in Disney? What was your results? Feel free to comment below and let me know!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Videos of the Magic

For my family's trip to Walt Disney World last week, we had bought a brand new digital video camera and had a lot of fun taping lots of the Disney Magic! I am slowly working on editing the videos and will be adding them to my youtube channel. If you would like to see some of my videos, visit my Youtube Channel, The True Disney Fan's Channel at  I will put quick updates on here when I do add new videos, so keep a look out for those!  So far, I have put up a Soarin' video and Living With The Land. Below is the Soarin' video!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reading Writing Thats the Rule

This time next week, I will be going to Neumann University, and beginning the classes that lead off my very final year of school.  Yes, my senior year of college begins next Tuesday, with an 8 am Classical Music class no less.

Being a senior year, there will obviously be harder classes as I come closer than ever to my major, but there will also be some extra challenges.  The first and hardest will be entering my last semester participating in Neumann Music.  This music program has been amazing and I have learned so much, I will dearly miss it.  And this last semester of Music comes directly after learning about the departure of a dear music teacher and friend.  Her family has to move to Morocco, so it will make the department at the University very different.

This first semester will have a very challenging class in it, Senior Sem, where I will be learning about everything I will be doing in the spring during Student Teaching.  I know I will be blogging about the crazy stuff I will have to do there, so look for those.  The other challenge for this semester will be working on my Honors paper.  These are usually written in the spring semester, but because of student teaching, I have to write the paper this fall.

It shall be an interesting 10 months, so look for the occasional update as to the status of my classes and the challenges I face with Student Teaching.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: J Pat O’Malley

This next actor in our unKNOWN Actors series is a British actor whose voice can be heard all over, and I do mean all over, several Disney films. This man is J Pat O’Malley, born in Burnley England on March 15th 1904 and dies in San Juan Capistrano, California on February 27th, 1985.

When you first research the name J Pat O’Malley, billed several times as Pat O’Malley, you will notice that he was involved in a lot, it seems as though he made a cameo in just about every television show from the 60’s and 70’s! He played a variety of characters, and not only in television, but in his Disney appearances as well. There was movies where he voiced multiple character and, while he only voiced a couple main characters, his voice helped to make the characters he did bring alive memorable!

One of his first Disney productions was The Wind and the Willows doing the voice for Cyril Proudbottom, which was heard once again the same year with the combination release of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in 1949.

Disney liked Pat’s voice so much, he had him do not 1, not 2, not even 3, but 4 voices for Alice in Wonderland (1954). He was the voices for Tweeledee and Tweedledum, The Walrus and The Carpenter.

In Goliath II (1960), he provided the voice for Goliath I.

During Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, there was a series called Swamp Fox. In this series, the story of Francis Marion was told, a farmer who tricked and frequently ambushed the British during the Revolutionary War. In this television series, Pat played Sergeant O’Reilly.

Pat went back to voicing multiple characters in 1961 for One Hundred and One Dalmatians. He provided voices for the bumbling villain Jasper and the Colonel, the fuzzy dog who helps the puppies escape from the old De Ville Place.

I think that Pat gets an award for his many parts in Mary Poppins (1964): The Award for Most Characters Voiced with the Shortest Amount of Screen Time. All the characters that he voiced appear on screen in about a 20 minute time span, during the cartoon sequence of Mary Poppins. He voiced one of the penguins, the Master of Hounds, Huntsman, Hound, Horse, Pearly Drummer, Reporter and Photographer!

His voice in The Jungle Book (1967) is very much like the voice he used when playing The Colonel in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. This is not surprising since he is playing another Colonel, Colonel Hathi to be exact, the elephant!

Pat’s last Disney movie was a small part in Robin Hood (1973). He played Otto the Blacksmith, a dog in the movie.

As I said, although Pat O’Malley did not have many huge parts, he still has a memorable voice, providing us Disney movie lovers with many wonderful memories. And isn’t that what Disney is all about?? If you have any ideas for actors you would like to see covered in this series, just send me an email and let me know!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekly DDL Post

This week on the Disney Driven Life, I look at a couple Disney rumors that were found in the Orlando Business Journal. To find out about these rumors, look for my article on

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One VERY Happy Year!

Just a little happy personal note to share:

I met Chris Reid for the first time in person exactly a year ago! He flew all the way from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to see me and we had the most wonderful first week together, visiting New York City, Wildwood New Jersey, and Hersheypark! One year ago today Chris and I began dating and it this has been the most wonderful year! We have so much in common and have so much fun, whether we are just talking on the computer or we are together in person. He has made me very happy and I hope to be this happy for a very long time! Love You Chris!

Chris and Jess in Epcot

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wizards of Wavery Place for Nintendo DS

Released today by Disney Interactive Studios is a press release talking about the all new game for Nintendo DS based on the Disney Channel hit show, Wizards of Waverly Place.   The video game, called "Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound" has levels that are based on 5 different television shows from the series. Players can play the game as Alex, Justin or Max Russo and will be interacting with other familiar characters and places from the show. In the game, you will be able perform several spells, including moving and freezing objects and traveling at turbo speed.  Another fun addition so the game is the ability to collect many different outfits for Alex and having fun changing around her clothing. This game will be released for Nintendo DS only and will be available this coming fall.

Cover Art for "Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Miles and Miles of Magic

I have joined this website called in order to help myself get motivated to work out and get healthy! It is a great website that allows you to meet other active people and help each other to work towards a goal.  I am signed up as a walker mainly, I am able log the miles that I walk throughout the day and during exercises.

I thought about how I could log the miles I walk during the week of my vacation in Disney, since there is OH so much walking there! I went out to the store and bought a pedometer. I have tested it out around the house and it is pretty accurate, so I will be using it during my days in Walt Disney World to see how much I walk. I have talked to some people who have used a pedometer on their trips before and the were surprised at how much walking you actually do! So throughout my trip, I will log the amount of steps I take and when I return, I will share here on the blog. I think it will be quite an interesting experiment!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekly DDL Post

This week on the Disney Driven Life, there were too many stories to decide on just one to write about, so there there are several stories and rumors to read about! Click here to read about a name change, price increases and a very interesting survey!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Really Cool Tilt Shift Magic!

I am not sure if you have seen these or not, but these videos are just so cool, I thought I would share them with you! It gives you the Disney magic in a few short minutes! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

unKNOWN Actors: Sterling Holloway

Continuing in our pursuit of Disney voice actors who you know, but may not know you know….if that makes sense….It is time to look at our next Disney Star: Sterling Holloway

Sterling was born on January 4, 1905 in Cedartown, Georgia and died November 22, 1992.  His main feature is a high pitched voice, and it was this voice that made him a staple in Disney history!

He is most known for voicing the “chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.” That’s right! Sterling is the original voice for Winnie the Pooh. From Pooh Bear’s first appearance in 1966 with Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree until 1977 in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Sterling covered the voice for this lovable character.  Though this is his most well known part, this was neither his first nor his only!

Sterling Holloway’s career with Disney started long before the “willy nilly silly old bear” (can you tell that I really like Winnie the Pooh?).  Like our last featured actress, Verna Felton, Sterling got his start in 1941’s Dumbo, providing the voice for Mr. Stork.

The following year, he provides the voice for Adult Flower in Bambi.

The years following Bambi introduced him into his second most popular role in film as the Narrator.  He provided the narrator voice for such movies as 1944’s The Three Caballeros, 1946’s Make Music Mine, 1947’s Mickey and the Beanstalk and 1960’s Goliath II.  He was also heard as the narrator for The Wonderful World of Color on television in 1957 and as the Sleeping Beauty Narrator for the 1978 Christmas in Walt Disney World.

In 1950, Sterling was once again voicing characters for Disney full length animated features, becoming the sly and devious Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.

In The Jungle Book in 1967, he voiced Kaa, the hypnotist boa constrictor who always wanted to wrap his coils around the man cub, Mowgli.

Sterling’s last Disney movie appearance outside of Winnie the Pooh would be in 1970 as Roquefort, the mouse that had befriended Dutchess and the kittens in The Aristocats.

There were a few Disney shorts that Sterling had a part in, including Peter and the Wolf (1946) as the Narrator, Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952) as the Narrator and Mr. Stork, and in Ben and Me (1953) as Amos Mouse.

As you can see, Sterling Holloway has been a huge part of the Disney Family. In fact, he was given the honor of being named a Disney Legend in 1991. 

I hope you are enjoying these actor profiles of some Disney classic voice actors.  If there are any actors you would like me to cover or if you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Special Website for Very Special Kids!

Josh, Ray and Jess in Magic Kingdom
For those of you who may be new to my blog and me, I am a senior at Neumann University working towards an Elementary Education degree, specializing in Special Education.  I have had a lot of experience with special needs children, everything from Downs Syndrome to Learning Disabilities.  I have even had experience with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but not nearly as much experience as my friend Ray and his family.  Ray's oldest son has Autism Spectrum Disorder, but this hasn't stopped this Disney loving family from enjoying multiple Disney trips! Check out the following article, seen in the Examiner and written by Ray, regarding Disney vacations with special needs family members:

Visiting Disney Parks with special needs

Planning a visit to a Disney Park can be overwhelming for a family. But for those families with special needs children or family members, the task of planning a Disney vacation can be downright daunting. From personal experience, we know that while planning a vacation with special needs in mind is difficult, you can do it and have a magical Disney trip.

My wife (Rachel) and I have been to the various Disney parks several times, my wife even more since she grew up in southern California not far from Disneyland. We took our first born child to Disneyland when he was very young, and had a pretty good trip. However, we discovered as he got older that he had Autism Spectrum Disorder. At this time, we had added a daughter to the family, and were worried that we wouldn’t be able to travel again. We wanted to take the family to Walt Disney World, but the thought of planning the trip seemed overwhelming. Rachel and I searched the web, finding bits and pieces of information that would help us ensure our son and our family could have a successful trip to Walt Disney World. With a lot of research and planning, we felt prepared for our trip and booked our vacation.

Ray, Josh, Chris Reid and Jess enjoying Splash Mountain! 

One way that Disney helps those with special needs is with a Guest Assistance Card (GAC). This card tells cast members what assistance you need, so they can easily help you. Now a word of caution: the GAC is not a pass to the front of the line, a fact cast members (the name given to the park staff) will remind you of when they issue the card. However, if you need an alternate entrance to an attraction, or a quiet area to wait for your turn, they will provide it if they have it. When you arrive at the park, take time to visit the Guest Relations booth and request the assistance. They will ask what your needs are and you can let them know what problems you may have.

The cast members are a very helpful resource for your trip. If you need a little extra help, talk to them. They will work with you to see what they can do. They can’t always fill every request, but more often than not they can give you the assistance you require. For us, our son does not do well in some theaters so we may have to leave early. We alert the cast member when we enter the theatre, and most have been able to help us find seats near an exit so we could leave easily if needed.

If you have family members with special needs, you will have to do extra planning to ensure you have what you need for your trip. There are some excellent websites that can help you. is a comprehensive website on both Disney Resorts. They also have a section for those with special needs, outlining what you can expect from the parks for different types of special needs (Autism, Pregnancy, Persons of Size, etc.). Another web is Disney for Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder at This is a website created and maintained by my wife and myself. It contains information on the parks and attractions and is geared towards persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It also features basic social stories and picture schedules to help you plan your trip to the park.

Going to Walt Disney World with my son has been a great experience. Disney does an excellent job of making it special for him. If you have someone with special needs in your family and you are considering making the trip, just know that it is possible to do it and you may find some magic on your trip."

Visit the page for this article by clicking here

Check out Ray and Rachel's site for information regarding visiting the parks with special needs family members and give their podcast a listen too at

Oh! And if you are on twitter, follow Ray at for his great tweets!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wonderful Book Release by Intrepid Traveler

Yes, I know this is a Disney blog, but that's no reason for me to not talk about one of my other passions.  I enjoy reading, especially fantasy books. One of my favorite fantasy novels is the Harry Potter series and because of this, I was naturally excited about the Wonderful World of Harry Potter opening up at Islands of Adventure, which has just recently opened. While I've not yet had the pleasure of visiting this park, I find reading information about it helps me to know more, and what better books to read than guide books, especially ones printed by a great publisher, Intrepid Traveler! Check out the amazing deal they have on the brand new Universal Theme Park Guide!

The Intrepid Traveler Celebrates the Opening of the
Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Half-price offer on 10th edition of Universal Orlando guidebook announced

(BRANFORD, CT) --- The Intrepid Traveler, the publisher of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide To The Ultimate Theme Park Adventure, is celebrating the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with a pre-publication special offer on the guide’s tenth edition.

For a limited time, readers can get the book for just $7.98, including free media mail shipping within the United States, by visiting

The book is scheduled for publication in November, but those taking advantage of this offer will receive their copies in August.

“The book is at the printer now,” said Associate Publisher Sally Scanlon. “Once we have the book in stock, we will be taking down this special offer.”

The new edition contains the first eyewitness reviews of the new Harry Potter attraction at Universal’s Islands of Adventure including the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which introduces a unique technology using robotic arms on tracks to fly guests through an adventure with Harry and his friends at Hogwarts School.

For the tenth edition, the book has been completely redesigned inside and out, with 24 additional pages, including 16 pages of color photographs. The book is written by Seth Kubersky, an arts columnist and former Universal Orlando backstage employee, and Kelly Monaghan, a travel writer who has been covering Orlando attractions for over 15 years.

The Intrepid Traveler publishes a wide range of travel books, from Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide To Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets, to Paris Movie Walks, to The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful, a collection of travel quotations. Their full line of books can be browsed at

For more information, to request a review copy, or to schedule an interview with either of the authors, call 203-469-0214 and ask for the publicity department.

Weekly DDL Post

This week on the Disney Driven Life, I talk about two changes that are coming to Magic Kingdom, including a new character meet and greet area! To find out more, check out the article here!