Picture from Disney.com
I love how patriotic Disney is. Every day, at 5pm at the Magic Kingdom, a special flag ceremony is held, the national anthem is played, and guests are invited to sing God Bless America. A veteran, is handed the flag to carry down Main Street U. S. A while musicians follow behind paying U.S. Military songs. It's a beautiful experience, and make's me feel proud that Disney recognizes our great Service Men and Women.
A screen shot from Disney's website is below, with their description. Click on the picture, it will take you right to the information page.
Have you ever watched the flag retreat? We've only ever caught the tail end, but one day, we hope to see the whole thing.
Now that the weather is warming up, and birds wake me up every morning, gardening has been on my mind! A few months back, we enjoyed watching the Disney special on Hulu called Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic. (It's still there if you want to see it) and it showed the incredible number of people and how much year round effort goes into into making Disney's parks so magical, but one area that really surprised me was the gardening department.
While every time we have gone to Disney, I've enjoyed the wonderful scenery, it's been just that, walking along, thinking how nice everything looks. I had no idea how LONG it takes to make it all look so wonderful!
Disney Horticulturists do so much, but today I am just focusing on the topiary.
Every Disney topiary starts with an idea, then multiple sketches. Once those are approved, a small statue is made, in the shape of the final product. Welders take over the next step, making a steel frame in the exact shape of the statue, and this part can take several months. Once the frame is made, the inside is stuffed with moss, then thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of plants are put on the frame. Once the topiary is completed, it still needs to be maintained to look it's best for guests, so they are constantly being taken care of.
Because it takes so long to make a topiary, once one is no longer on display (say, a special holiday made one), it is taken back to the Disney World Nursery, and taken good care of until it is needed again. If taken care of, the topiary can last for decades! Check out a few of my favorites!
I stumbled upon a really neat video where Martha Stewart gets taken into the Disney World Nursery, and gets to work with them to create a topiary. There you can see how it goes, from beginning with a sketch, then a statue, then a frame and the final product! For some reason, my computer is playing it funny, I have great sound, but the video is speed up a little. Hopefully it plays well for you! Here is the link.
If you'd love a few more pictures, you can visit Disney's website by clicking here, and get more information on their Flower and Garden Festival, where you can see old favorites, new creations and more flowers than you never knew, you never knew!
Stop by on facebook and share a few of your favorites, I'd love to see them!
Spotlight Sunday: Walt Disney Company $100M Plan To Reinvent Patient Experiences at Children’s Hospitals
A while back, I did a post on the incredible philanthropic acts that the Disney company and it's employees do. If nothing else it's worth a peek to see the surprise of WHO designed the Toys for Tots logo!
A few days back, I stumbled across this, and just knew I needed to share it.
Disney plans to reinvent the experiences that children and their families have when in children's hospitals around the globe. Over the next five years Disney's Imagineers are going to be working to make those stressful hospital visits more relaxing. Everyone knows you heal better, and faster when you aren't as stressed, and are in a comfortable atmosphere, and I can't say as I've ever been in any hospital where I felt comfortable and stress free. It's all so sterile looking, so pale and not the least bit relaxing so I am so excited to hear that this extra spacial magic from Disney, will be shared with these kids and their families!
My favorite of the ideas the Imagineers have is this:
The first Children's hospital to experience this will be in the Texas Children's Hospital. If you'd like to read the whole article, click here, it will take you right there.
Way to go Disney! I'm still a little mad about those new parking fees, but it's the stuff like this that reminds me you've got a good heart!
There has been a lot of talk in the last few weeks over the new Disney Resort policy. Disney staff have removed the "Do Not Disturb" door hangers and instead, are replacing them with signs that say "occupied" and even if a guest has refused room cleaning, Disney will be doing a quick room check once a day.
As you can imagine, this has raised a lot of questions, and many potential guests are concerned. Everyone is wondering, am I going to be walked in on when I'm changing clothes? When my child is sleeping? Why do they even have to come in? What if I'm in the bathroom?! I don't want them stealing my medicine/stuff/seeing what I have!
Before you start to panic, we want to point out that there are some positives to this new change, and I'd like to point those out, as well as ease concerns over Disney staff barging in.
So why is Disney doing this? Guest safety (and enjoyment) is the number one priority of Disney. Tragic events in Las Vegas in 2017 in part led to this decision I am sure, but as Disney is always changing they way they do things to provide a magical of an experience for their guests, I don't really see this as a bad change.
Have you ever been in a hotel room and someone's alarm clock has been going off for an hour, or three, and the hotel staff won't do anything about it? The room might be unoccupied, but the person in the room also might be hurt, or sick and a quick welfare check could possibly save their life, as well as your headache from that awful BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP that's been driving you crazy for hours.
Let's also bring up another point. Trash. Disney World is in Florida, and the bugs there are big and plenty, because of the humid conditions. They do the best they can to keep Jimminy Cricket in the parks where he belongs, and not in your room, but the people who are dashing from one park to the next, leaving bottles and food scattered in their room, or overflowing the trash cans are just encouraging the little critters. There's only so much magical "treatment" for pests they can do, and it won't work as well if the person next door isn't doing their part to keep their food trash disposed of.
Here's an example. On our 2015 trip, a woman was upset, and complained to us there had been a dead bug in her resort room and she was never staying there again. My husband and I just kind of shrugged, "better dead, than alive!" I said, but she wasn't amused. Meantime, she was pushing a stroller so filled with empty bottles and food wrappers, I had to kind of wonder if she had let them in to change her trash, or had bothered to throw any of it away herself. Let's be honest here...if you aren't letting them in to empty those teeny little trash cans at least every other day, there's going to be an overflowing, and possibly smelly, bug invitation situation.
Since Disney is also going to be allowing dogs on some of the resorts, wouldn't it be nice to have someone check on why the dog next door has been barking so you can enjoy your own room, without the noise?
But what about your concerns? Privacy? Naptime? First off, there won't be any barging in. If you have requested no housekeeping, you can still have the sign on the outside of your door, stating that you are in the room
Disney won't come into your room without knocking first. Let's let common sense prevail here... if you ARE in the room, have the added security latch on. No one can come in if the latch is on. If you do get a knock and the staff doesn't get a reply, because you are in the shower, or napping then I'm sure they will open the door, but if you have it latched, they can't come in, and will try again later. (Unless of course, you've let them in so they can ask if you need anything.)
What about your personal belongings?
Disney Staff don't have the time to riffle through your suitcase or drawers, really, they don't care what your underwear looks like. They've a ton of rooms to clean and check on, and only so much time to do it in. If you ARE worried about electronics, jewelry, money or medicine, then a simple solution would be to lock them in your suitcase, or the room safe. You might prefer to just leave everything out, but even if in the past you had requested no one come in your room, there's no guarantee that was honored.
I personally have never checked into a hotel where the fine print didn't say that the staff had the right to enter my room at any time. I've had people walk in (at non Disney hotels) while I was sleeping. I've had things stolen, that I didn't think needed to be locked in my suitcase for security, like food items, and that's just how it goes. When you are on someone else's property, you are there under their rules. Sure, the staff shouldn't steal, and most of them don't, but it only takes one, or perhaps a person walking past your room, and slipping in to steal something while the housecleaning is tidying up. Use your common sense, put anything important to you out of sight!
Disney isn't the only hotel changing their policy, but others have been doing it longer. An article I read recently had a quote from the chief executive of another hotel chain, who mentioned that if there was a do not disturb sign at one of their hotels for more than 12 hours, security would be investigating. It's a pretty interesting article, and you can click here to read it if you like.
While it's easy for people to get worried about changes they might not like, I honestly feel that this change is for the better, it gives a little more transparity to somthing that Disney had the right to do all along, and for the average person, it's not going to effect them at all on their vacatiopn.
I honestl.y think the biggest problem will be that everyone wants to take home those adorable little signs. I'm betting by the time we get there again, they will have changed them to boring old plain ones, because everyone keeps swiping them! They are awfully cute!
When you think about Disney, you think the castle, Mickey, the theme parks, maybe even how expensive it all is, but do you think about philanthropy? I'm a firm believer that giving should be year round, and Walt was too.
Walt was very concerned with helping others to build a better world, and that attitude hasn't stopped, even though he is gone.
Did you know, last year Disney gave over 400 MILLION to non profit organizations that helped communities, kids and families! In addition to the financial gifts, they've done a lot of other really neat things to give to the communities. Disney has played a huge part in all of the hurricane disaster releif efforts in 2017, donating millions to that. They’ve also been longtime partners with Feeding America, and this year teamed up with a cosmetic line for Disney products where 100% of the proceeds go to Feeding America but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Here are a few of my personal favorite things that Disney has done to help others!
In 2014, Disney illustrators designed comic books that also folded into posters to be delivered to almost 450 hospitals, and have kept up that annual tradition! This year's comic is going to be Guardians of the Galaxy! These comics are not just your usual comic you'll find on the comic store wall, but are specially designed just for these kids. Way to go, Disney! That's just awesome.
Click the photo below, to read the original article! At the end of the article, you can even read the digital comic, yourself.
Childhood literacy is so important to me, just ask Mr. Disney who just might tune me out when I get on my soapbox about school budget cuts, and reductions in products with Boxtops for Education that have make the school library suffer. While I don't do all of the fundraisers that come home, simply because we can't, I always, always do library fundraisers.
The importance of reading is so important to Disney too, they have donated over 34 MILLION books in 5 years. That's a lot of awesome stories out there for kids who might not otherwise get exposed to books. In this digital age, a lot is lost in translation without the feel of a real book, and the experience of turning the pages. I'm so excited Disney feels the same!
This next one makes me smile. You can click the photo below to read the article!
In November, Disney hosts the Holiday Share Joy Campaign. They partner with Feeding America, Toys for Tots, and their VolunteEARS do a day of community service, and make holiday comfort kits helping to make the holidays brighter for many children!
I learned, and was quite surprised (So yup, I'll be throwing this one around a lot this Christmas, all excited!) Disney's connection with Toys for Tots began in 1948, when Walt Disney and his animators designed the Toys for Tots logo, that is still in use today!! How amazing is that?! Maybe that's why that's always been my favorite charity to donate toys to, it was subconsciously sending those Disney vibes!
Mr. Disney Magic would be sad if I didn't mention Disney's Force For Change charity. The super, Star Wars themed fundtraiser, but Disney has done so many other amazing things for youth and adults, including recently supporting the opening of the New Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and partnering with the American Red Cross and Doc McStuffins herself, for the Pillowcase Project, preparing third through fifth graders for emergencies. I could go on and on, but I'm going to give you the main link so you can read some of these wonderful articles yourself so you too can be inspired to make a change in your community! It takes a village, but like Mother Teresa said, “If you can't feed a thousand people, feed one.” This year my goal was to loom knit 12 hats for our local Salvation Army seniors, but I'm feeling so inspired right now, I'm going to see if I can get that number a little higher! Let's all see if we can do just one thing this week to make things better for someone else!
For some reason, Disney doesn’t update everything they do on this particular website. I read many of the things that they do in their Disney Parks blog, so I’ve included a few of those links as well.
While there are many, many companies who give to their communities and disaster relief, I really think that Disney goes above and beyond, and in doing so, perfectly captures the way Walt would want it done.
This year, add a little of that Disney Magic to your holidays by helping someone. Grab a name or two off the Salvation Army tree, put a few toys in a shoebox, or the Toys for Tots bin that you see, and make someone experience the joy and warmth of knowing that they were remembered this Christmas.