Walt’s Imagination: The Life of Walt Disney- Available now in stores. Also available on Amazon Kindle.

waltHave you ever wondered the struggles Walt Disney experienced before becoming the Walt Disney we know today?  Walt’s Imagination: The Life of Walt Disney written by Doreen Rappaport shares the secrets of Walt’s life that many of his admirers may not already know.  From life on the farm to Disney’s early days as an animator.  We are given an open window into the struggles that this one man overcame and how he succeeded in leaving a magical legacy that will live on for ages to come.

 

Read more from Disney Hyperion Books:

“Walt Disney ‘s name is synonymous with family entertainment. Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Disneyland, and numerous other creations have inspired generations of children the world over.

From his childhood in rural Missouri to his legendary stature as a film and television icon, Walt governed his life with imagination, ingenuity, and scrupulous attention to detail. Faced with both public failures and massive success, he revolutionized the art form of animation, always seeking innovative solutions, cutting edge technology, and new ways of storytelling.

Charting Walt’s progression from farm boy to actor to artist, animator, director, and entertainment celebrity, Walt’s own words are presented and contextualized within Doreen Rappaport’s signature compelling prose. Illustrated with vivid authenticity by animator/painter John Pomeroy, this stunning entry in the award-winning Big Words series reveals a man of deep and varied passions with a constantly evolving vision, and a storyteller above all.”

Truly an inspiring piece that will live long in the hearts of everyone who reads it.  Imagination is the spark in all of us; breathe life into it and the end result is something magical.

Thank you Disney Press for the complimentary copy of Walt’s Imagination: the Life Of Walt Disney.

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Tales from the Haunted Mansion Volume 1: The Fearsome- Book Review

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This book review is written by my daughter, Allison.  She is also known as Duffy’s Doodles on Instagram.

“Welcome foolish mortals, to the lonesome library of the Haunted Mansion”. In this hair raising book, you will be reading the frightening tales of the Fearsome Foursome. The Fearsome Foursome are the four main characters who try to out-spook each other with grim fictions of their own.
This blood curdling book is crafted around the narrator and librarian of the Haunted Mansion, Amicus Arcane. Arcane tells and narrates the stories of the four friends, as well as enticing the reader.
The plot of the story revolves around middle school friends Tim, Willa, Noah and Steve. With a common bond of seeking out and crafting ghost stories, the four form a club for telling of such tales of terror – The Fearsome Foursome. A mysterious accident destroys their club house and lands each with an invitation to visit a particular haunted mansion. There they meet the spirited home’s librarian Amicus Arcane. He regales them with his own tales of terror from one of the many ghostly tomes in the old library. Very special tales, about each of them.
The stories themselves, come across as fun campfire tales of terror woven around a loose connection to the Haunted Mansion itself. References (like a secondary character named Rolly) and use of familiar Haunted Mansion lines remind the reader that this IS a tome from the Mansion’s own library.
I actually was very entertained by the story line and illustrations that appear on every other page. Peppered with deliciously dark drawings (along with fun ghostly images), Amicus Arcane’s first volume is a feisty macabre read and the perfect pick for those tweens who enjoy a good ghost story. I personally would recommend the book for ages 10-13. The read is light, but can a little graphic. (But no more than a PG horror film).

 

 

Thank you to Disney Press for the complimentary copy of this book for this review.

The Story of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

51EFkO5FeeLThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a classic poem originally written in 1797 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  In the 1940’s this spellbinding poem made it’s Disney debut and became one of the most beloved stories from Walt Disney’s classic film Fantasia.  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is beautifully retold in the latest Disney Press Book release adapted by Brooke Vitale and magically illustrated by the Disney Storybook Art Team.  The illustrations are classic and inspire one’s imagination to spark.  It is a classic story retold:  Mickey Mouse is an apprentice to a great and powerful sorcerer. When Mickey tries on the Sorcerer’s magic hat, he casts a magical spell to finish his boring chores. But things start to go very wrong. Will Mickey be able to stop the magic he’s unleashed?  To find out pick up your copy today!  Available on Kindle and hardback cover.  Release date:  January 2, 2018.  Targeted age group: 6-8.

Thank you Disney Press for the complimentary press copy of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  It is beautifully illustrated and a captivating story.  Perfect read for Disney fans of all ages.

Share the “Magic of Storytelling”:  readers who purchase a copy of this book at Disney Stores or participating retailers during the promotion period  running from January- March 31st will be delighted to learn that a new book is donated to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to educators and organizations serving children in low-income communities.    For a list of participating retailers please visit www.magicofstorytelling.com 

Life is Full of Whimsical Things

Life is full of whimsical things…so shouldn’t your closet be too? Well, hot dog (said in my best Mickey Mouse voice),  do I have a treat for you!  Today I am featuring tee’s that will make your wardrobe squeal with delight. Whimysland Designs are the most magical tee’s in the kingdom and feature the art of  shop owner, Tasha .  Tasha is a student by day and artist by night.  She enjoys creating whimsical tee shirt art inspired by all your Disney faves.  From Churros to Disney Villains you will find the perfect tee’s to make your Disney Day the most perfect day!

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All shirts are available online at Tee Public.  Tee’s are available in crew neck and v neck styles.

 

10 Steps to Your First Dopey Challenge

Ken (Mousehacking.com) and his wife Emily (LattesAndRunways.com) blog about Disney and world travel. They’re here to share their tips for running the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge.

 

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Follow our steps to earn your finisher photo with Dopey himself!

 

In April, Holly wrote about her first 5K, the Disney Princess 5K. As with all Disney things, once you get a taste, you’re sure to want more. The ultimate RunDisney goal? The Dopey Challenge. 48.6 miles run over four days—a 5K (3.1 miles) on day one, a 10K (6.2 miles) on day two, a half marathon (13.1 miles) on day three, and a marathon (26.2 miles) on day four. Having each run six marathons and two Dopey Challenges, Emily and I are here to give you 10 Steps to Your First Dopey Challenge.

1. Get Excited

Even before signing up, get excited. You’ll need that excitement to get the courage to sign up. A Dopey Challenge is an amazing (but grueling) experience. You’ll have four straight days of running through the parks, cheering fans, snapping pictures with sometimes-unique characters, and accomplishing something you probably didn’t think you were capable of. It’s going to be a Magical time, and you should be excited.

2. Sign Up As Soon As Possible

We always sign up for major races as soon as possible, usually at the moment they open. The Walt Disney World Marathon is one of the most popular races in the United States (and the world, for that matter). The past few years, Dopey Challenge availability has been a little better, and RunDisney has opened up more slots as time went by, but if you are certain you want to run the Dopey Challenge, plan to be at your computer when registration opens.

3. Try to Compartmentalize This Trip

For most of us, a Dopey Challenge comes with an additional Magical challenge: planning a great Walt Disney World trip. If you’re running the Dopey Challenge, the first priority of your trip should be the Dopey Challenge. You could run the Dopey Challenge and have an amazing four days filled with parking hopping and new restaurants, but it would exhaust you across the board.

 

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Instead of running every which way, just take a stroll around the park to show off your gear!

 

If you can make an extended stay of it, splitting your stay between park-focused and Dopey-focused days is a good plan. Combining Dopey with New Year’s Eve is ideal. If you can’t make an extended stay of it, that’s okay! Consider a resort day, a guided tour of one of the parks, or anything you don’t usually do (Fantasia Gardens, anyone?).

The caveat to this is that 5K day and 10K day you’ll be done with the races in time for a full day of adventure. So you will have time to enjoy the parks. But remember, you’re waking up near 3AM and you have two big races ahead of you—don’t go overboard.

4. Run a Half Marathon Race

Yes, there is running involved in preparing for the Dopey Challenge (sorry!). You can’t run a marathon if you can’t run a half marathon, and running a half marathon race, not just a training run, is a great way to understand some of the basic challenges of long-distance running. You’ll learn about how your running gear handles over longer distances (good 5-mile gear might not be good 10-mile gear). During a half marathon, you’ll get some early tastes of how your body holds up over longer distances. You might start to learn about fueling on the run.

By the way, when Emily and I finished our first half marathon, she immediately said she didn’t want to run a marathon. This is a classic reaction—you’ll get past it. A few weeks later, we had signed up for two marathons, including the Dopey Challenge.

5. Run a Marathon Race

People do the Dopey Challenge without marathon experience, so it can be done, but I don’t recommend it, especially if you want to fully take in everything Dopey has to offer. Training runs, even up to 20+ miles, don’t give you a true sense of how tough the marathon can be on race day.

 

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The end of a non-Disney marathon, plenty of lessons learned.

 

Training runs (if done properly) are also useless for understanding your limits. Almost all first-time marathon training is broken into two concepts—running long and slow to know what running for hours and hours is like, and running short and fast to know what running at your goal speed feels like. You combine these only on race day. This means until race day, you don’t really know what you’re capable of, and that’s going to matter when it comes to enjoying the Dopey Challenge, as we’ll see.

Training runs also don’t give you any sense of how enjoyable a marathon can be. The energy of the other runners, the cheering of the crowds, the hilarious signs, and the joy of finishing—a training run has none of these. At several marathons I’ve wondered during training why I do it, only to be reminded during the race of how truly great it is. You’ll want those memories when training for Dopey.

6. Plan Your Costumes

Costumes are a much bigger part of RunDisney 5Ks and 10Ks than half marathons and marathons, but plenty of Dopey Challenge runners wear costumes all four days (Emily does, I usually do 2-3 days). This takes major planning. You’ll need to include the costumes in your packing plans. You’ll need to make sure the gear is acceptable to run in (a bigger issue for the longer races). You’ll need to account for weather (we’re Chicagoans with 6 total marathons behind us, and the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon starting feeling under 30 degrees was our coldest). And you’ll likely need to make at least two costumes from running hear (Halloween attire simply won’t be good for running a half or full marathon).

7. Expect to Take it Easy…

If you read Jeff Galloway’s marathon training program and Dopey Challenge training program, you might notice a big difference between the two — Dopey Challenge has only a single training plan for the goal of surviving. There is no “run your fastest marathon” or even “run your fastest Dopey Challenge”, your goal for your first dopey, at least, should be to survive. Race-by-race, this means:
• The 5K and 10K are going to be especially boring. From the front corrals, you can easily walk the 5K, including character stops (more below), and finish with time to spare.
• For the half marathon, run your first 10 miles a little slower than your Dopey marathon pace, or at marathon pace, treating it otherwise exactly as you will the first 10 miles of the marathon, including when you’ll walk, how many character stops you’ll do, when you need an aid station or bathroom, and when you need to fuel.
• For the marathon, plan to run slower than your typical marathon pace.

8…But Not Too Easy

Character stops. They’re a huge part of a RunDisney race. They’re the most important part for some runners. They also can take a long time. The longest we waited in line for a character stop was 15 minutes for patriotic Mickey, Goofy, and Donald at the 2017 10K. That’s over 30 seconds per mile added to our pace if the race were a marathon. Most lines are only three minutes, though. RunDisney doesn’t announce stops ahead of time, so you won’t know when they occur or who will be there, making planning for them impossible.

 

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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?? YES PLEASE!

 

The easiest way to deal with the uncertainty of character stops is (1) to understand your capabilities and marathon plan ahead of time (see steps 5 and 7) and (2) to adjust your plan as you go through character stops. The second part of this is critical. If you wait in line for 15 minutes at miles 9.5, don’t then take a walk break at mile 10!

Character stops are partly why we think running a marathon prior to Dopey is so essential. You do not know what to expect for a marathon until you’ve done one, and if you don’t know what to expect, you won’t be able to adjust it for the added complexity of character stops.

9. Stay Loose at the Parks Between Races

There is a lot of Dopey debate about this one, but we’re fans of staying loose at the parks between races. You’re at Walt Disney World, enjoy the scenery! Walking a few miles will not ruin you for marathon day (don’t exhaust yourself, though), tight legs will. This shouldn’t be a big problem if you follow the above tip for taking it easy the first three days.

10. Have Fun!

Your goal for Dopey is to survive, not to survive miserably. During a Dopey Challenge, you can take photos with characters, enjoy treats handed out my generous fans, spend time with live animals, give high-fives to kids with mickey gloves cheering you on, maybe ride rides, and stop for Disney treats along the way. One of my favorite Dopey moments was Snow White having to ask me to put my beer down at mile 25 of the marathon before taking a picture with her. That happened, and it wouldn’t happen anywhere besides the Walt Disney World Marathon.

 

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Thanks for your patience with these beer-drinking runners, Snow White!

 

Few marathons are setup to offer you a better time than the Walt Disney World marathon. Even if you’re pressed for time, take a minute to snap a picture while you’re in Animal Kingdom. Grab a Mickey Ice Cream bar from a vendor during a walk break in Hollywood Studios. Do something you can’t do at any other race! Because it’s not a true Disney experience without just a touch of Magic!

Do you have RunDisney Dopey Challenge or marathon tips or questions? Sounds off in the comments!

 

Mahalo, Ken (Mousehacking.com) and Emily (LattesAndRunways.com) for sharing your experience and tips on how to prepare for the Dopey Challenge!  It has been an honor to have you both as guest writers on my blog!  Hope to see you on the course at the next Run Disney event.

The Hillbilly Rock Shack on Etsy!

COUPON ADDED!!!

The Dole Whip Press

Get ready to gaggle over these new lava stone beaded bracelets found on Etsy by the Hillbilly Rock Shack!  Made with genuine lava stone and gemstones to create prosperity, peace, and patience.  Each  bracelet is delicately handmade by this mother/daughter team and promotes positivity and good health.  The Lava Stones are perfect for diffusing your  favorite oils for aromatic purposes.  Just place a couple of drops of the oil on  the lava stone.  Believe me, a couple of drops go a long way!  Don’t have essential oils The gemstones are believed to enhance balance, strength, and patience among other healing properties.  The Hillbilly Rock Shack is new to Etsy and will be adding new designs very soon!

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Get Shamrock’s Glory for a limited time!  Now available on Etsy!!!

SAVE 10% with code SAVE10!  Expireis 3/18/2016….so giddy up!

Don’t have your own oils you can upgrade your order for only…

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