This Blog Is Moving

*PLEASE NOTE: All posts are moving to I will continue to post in both places until the end of June. Begining July 1, 2011 I will post solely on the other site. I hope you will follow me there. Thanks!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - JL Knopp with The Disney Driven Life

Mentoring Mondays with JL Knopp TheDisney Driven Life
twitter: @DisDrivenLife

I am honored to have JL Knopp of The Disney Driven Life as our Monday Mentor today. You are all familiar with her website, it's so full of great Disney information. But I have to tell you she is one of the sweetest people. Thanks for sharing your wisdom JL, I am thrilled to have you here!!

1.  Introduce yourself and describe your blog.

My name is JL Knopp, and I was born and raised in South Florida.  Being so close to Walt Disney World, I grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks.  Noticing that my happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, I began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in my everyday life beginning in my pre-teen years.  Adulthood, thirteen years of marriage and three children later, I continue to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently work to pass my love for Disney on to my husband and children.  This lifestyle was the inspiration for the eventual vision of my blog, and the Neurotic Disney People community that surrounds it.  Through this venue I strive to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in my family life.
2.  What inspired you to start blogging?
Originally I wrote a Disney trip report that I titled “True Confessions of a Neurotic Disney Mom” and posted it on some of the boards of which I was a member.  Many people seemed to really enjoy reading the stories that I told about my family’s adventures in Walt Disney World, and I was encouraged to keep writing beyond the trip report.  This, along with a growing number of people who wanted to be associated with the principles for vacationing that I discussed in my trip report, prompted me to set up a blog.
3.  What do you think is the best way to attract new readers/followers?
I think that the best way to attract new readers is by being yourself and being personal.  People take interest in you when they can relate to you.  So when you write, allow your personality to be expressed through your words in order to make a connection.  Let your work reflect that you are a human rather than a just a report.  On the flip side, people also take interest when you take interest in them.  Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook now give us the chance to actually interact with our audience.  We have the opportunity to show that we don’t only care about them listening to us, but that we care about listening to them.  So when you tweet, engage your followers on a personal level, asking them about things that are happening in their lives.  Being other-centered rather than self-centered is always an attractive thing.
4.  What is the best/worst advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever received was to ignore the “peckers.”  It seems that there are some people that will do what they can to drag you down, especially when you are headed in the right direction.  Their motives are varied, but usually the appropriate response is the same.  Do not acknowledge their hurtful actions. Stay focused on your goal and walk towards it with dignity.
The worst advice I ever received was to keep the focus of my blog on me.  My blog did started off being solely about me and my family but transitioned into being about a community with a shared habit of bringing Disney into their homes.  The evolution of this has put a lot of “cooks in the kitchen,” and sometimes created difficult situations that have had to be worked through.  However, I won’t ever try to take center stage on my blog again.  I feel the impact that the blog has had on people’s lives has been far greater and more powerful because of the community aspect of The Disney Driven Life.

5.  What is the biggest mistake most bloggers make?
I know the biggest mistake that I made was not having a plan in place before jumping in.  I wish that I had sat down, made goals, set deadlines and thoroughly developed a vision first.  Instead, I “just did it” and figured I’d make it up as I went along.  Because of that I was not ready when the blog got some momentum, and I have always struggled to keep up with the growth of the blog.
6.  How important is social networking to blogging?
In my opinion, social networking is EVERYTHING to blogging. When I watch the analytics of my blog, it is obvious that it directly correlates with my social networking activities. During phases when I am active, the traffic on the blog greatly increases.  During phases when a personal break from being “plugged in,” the traffic on the blog begins to decline.
7.  How important are labels, and do you have any advice on choosing labels for posts?
I am far from an SEO expert, so I don’t have any great secrets to share concerning this other than to “tag” your posts.  I have no secret words or formula for getting a leg up in doing so, but if you don’t “tag” your posts, you are sure to never get that leg up.
8.  What is your favorite Disney resort?
I haven’t stayed in all of the Disney resorts yet, so I don’t know that I’m entirely fair in my pick; however, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is certainly the personal favorite of my entire family so far.  The ability to see such exotic animals right off of your balcony combined with the very unique theming and incredible restaurants is something that really appeals to my family.
9.  Do you have a Disney Vacation tip you would like to share with our readers?
Come prepared and with a plan.  A Disney vacation can be very overwhelming to people who just show up and expect to “experience magic.” Magic can certainly be experienced at Disney by even the poorest of planners because Disney property seems to be saturated with it, but the magic will be enhanced exponentially if there is a strategy for covering the activities that your family designates as most important.  My personal favorites for finding guidance in this area are the book, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and the site

Friday, May 27, 2011

Walking to Walt Disney World

You know, I am really ashamed of myself for not posting my progress each week. But, I want you all to know I have been walking at least 6 days a week. We have also changed over to a low fat diet at our house. While I cannot say I have lost any weight, I can tell a difference in how I feel. I think we are even walking our daily 2 miles a little faster than when we originally started. I have updated my ticker to show the miles we have walked since my last post. I will try to do better at posting about it. I have everyone has a Magical Memorial Day weekend!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

#20 - Dr. Facilier Princess and the Frog

#20 - Dr. Facilier
Dr. Facilier is very smooth and cunning, fooling people into thinking he wants to help them, only to use them as he wishes.  Facilier is a bokor: a voodoo magician who practices both black and white magic. His powers come from his "Friends on the Other Side" and he owes them a debt, which he plans to repay with the souls of New Orleans. The clip shows his demise, hope you enjoy it.  Have a Magical Day!!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#21 - Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame

#21 - Frollo

Frollo is the Minister of Justice and clearly thinks himself better than everyone, especially the Gypsies.  He can see the corruption in everyone except himself.  He is vindictive and intelligent, and has the power to do almost anything he wishes, except in the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  Using his faith as an excuse he tries to rid the world of sin, and he feels he can do this by destroying all of the gypsy race. When he met Esmerelda he felt an immediate attraction, the fact that he is attracted to Gypsy "witch"  almost drives him mad. One evening, Frollo is disturbed by his attraction to Esmeralda, believing a relationship with her will result in his eternal damnation, which he expresses in the song "Hellfire." Here is that clip from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Hope you enjoy it!  Have a Magical Day!!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Jodie of Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Mentoring Mondays with Jodi - Magical Mouse Schoolhouse
twitter: @magicalmousesch

It's time for Mentoring Mondays! Todays featured mentor is Jodi of Magical Mouse Schoolhouse. Her amazing website is full of ideas for bringing some Disney Magic into your home schooling. Her advice here is nothing short of fantistic. Thanks for being a Monday Mentor Jodi!!

Here's her logo, I love it!

  1. Introduce yourself and describe your blog.
Hi, Donna Kay! Thanks for inviting me to your Mentoring Mondays! I am Jodi Whisenhunt, a writer, editor, wife and mom of 3 kids, living near Dallas, Texas. I own Magical Mouse Schoolhouse (MMS), where Disney IS school. My friend Carol Beth Scott of 3D Travel Company and I established MMS as a way to help homeschoolers stretch the boundaries of the home classroom. We uncover educational tidbits that hide in Disney movies, Disney theme parks, Disney story books, Disney art and more. At the end of each post, we provide ways to enhance lesson plans with the fun, exciting appeal of Walt Disney entertainment. Though we’re geared toward home educators, really anyone with kids can have fun learning while they play.

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
I began blogging in 2008 as an extension of my freelance editing business. Magical Mouse Schoolhouse launched February 1, 2010, to offer homeschoolers more options. We didn’t want just a common, run-of-the-mill blog, though. That’s not the Disney way! The Walt Disney Company “plusses” everything they do; they take the standard and kick it up a notch. Likewise, with MMS we strive to plus not only the homeschool experience, but also the Disney experience.

  1. What do you think is the best way to attract new readers/followers?
Social media networking! No doubt about it. You cannot underestimate the power of that tool. It’s essentially the old word-of-mouth referral system, kicked up a notch—or plussed.

  1. What is the best/worst advice you have ever received?
Regarding blogging? Or life in general? LOL! Regarding blogging, I think the best advice has been to maintain my online presence and be professional but also be real. Can’t really think of any bad advice, because I try to seek out only what’s helpful. Now, regarding general life advice, I plead the 5th! That could just get me in trouble ;)

  1. What is the biggest mistake most new bloggers make?
They don’t post new material regularly. It’s very important to keep fresh material flowing on a regular basis or you’ll lose readers (or not gain them).

  1. How important is social networking (Twitter/Facebook) to blogging?  Any advice on getting followers/likes?
Extremely! As I said above, you cannot underestimate the importance of social media networking. It is FREE marketing. You have access to potentially thousands of readers. You connect with people who share your personal and/or business interests who are more than willing to spread word about your site. (Of course, it’s common courtesy to return the favor.) It really is the best way to let people know your site exists, to find people you can learn from, and really to make some great friends.

The easiest way to increase your following is to follow. Look over people’s Twitter lists, like my list of Disney Tweeters. Follow those who interest you. Many but not all will follow you back.

Participate in #FF (Follow Friday) on Twitter. Recommend the people you enjoy and follow others who are recommended.

Very important: Interact with your followers! Converse with them. Build relationships with them. Not only will you find some great new friends, but they’ll learn more of what you’re about and will be better able to recommend you to their friends and followers.

Participate in blog hops. Host or guest host them on your site as well. I host Tiggerific Tuesday! Blog Hop…or Bounce! every Tuesday. Stop by and link up. Email me at jodi(at)magicalmouseschoolhouse(dot)com if you’d like to guest host.

Leave meaningful comments on others’ blogs. And don’t forget to leave your URL!

Guest post on others’ blogs and occasionally invite them to guest for you. You’ll bring in some of their readers.

Join social media sites. For Disney bloggers, join Dismarks, the Disboards, Mouselinked, etc. Join theme groups on sites like LinkedIn, and be an active participant.

Study the market and educate yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for doing that right now by reading this post!

  1. How important are labels, and do you have any advice on choosing labels for posts?
Labels are important, but you need to make sure your site is set up correctly so that the search engine bots can find you. If you, like me, are technologically-limited, seek out someone to help you. Have them check your meta tags and run analyses of your labels. Search Google’s key word rankings, and if they’re usable with your blog’s theme, include them in your labels to help drive traffic to your site.

  1. What is your favorite meal while visiting Disney?
Wow, that’s a tough question! We really enjoy O’hana at the Polynesian Resort for its delicious food and fun atmosphere. Another place we always stop when we visit Walt Disney World, even though it’s a franchise eatery, is Raglan Road at Downtown Disney. Honestly, I can’t think of any Disney food we don’t like!

  1. Do you have a Disney Vacation tip you would like to share with our readers?
Try to go during off-peak times, take advantage of Fast Pass, order your Disney Photo Pass CD in advance of your trip (save $) and definitely get the Disney Dining Plan.

  1. Anything you would like to add?
When you visit Walt Disney World or any other Disney Resort, pay attention. Don’t be so rushed you forget to notice the details. Don’t stress over long ride waits; look around and learn from the queue décor. Stop and talk to Cast Members, and thank them for making your trip so magical. When you get home blog all about it! And if you have any requests or suggestions of things you’d like to read about at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, I’d love to hear from you at jodi(at)magicalmouseschoolhouse(dot)com.

Thank you so much for this opportunity! We are; on Twitter at; on Facebook at

Oh! By the way, we host Giveaway Wednesday on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Put your Disney knowledge to the test and you may win a Magical Mouse Schoolhouse T-shirt and/or other cool prizes!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Disney Blog Hop - Pirates of the Caribbean

Welcome to everyone visiting from the Disney Blog Hop hosted by Babes In Disneyland. This week's theme is Pirates of the Caribbean. I am currently counting down my favorite Disney Villains, so I chose to focus on the villain of this movie, Blackbeard. I can't really rank him on my list since I haven't seen the movie yet, but if this movie is like the previous three I will probably rank him high on the list. First of all, the choice of Ian McShane was brilliant. He's a wonderful actor and plays bad guys really well. Second, the storyline of racing to find the Fountain of Youth is an interesting one, (maybe they can find it for Keith Richards he needs it the most of any of the cast LOL).

Jack ends up on Queen Anne's Revenge, after he meets up with a former love Angelica (Jack doesn't know it but she's Blackbeard's daughter) and she has him drugged and brought back to the ship.   Blackbeard is a ruthless captain, he severely punishes any of the crew who dares stand against him.  Angelica has brought Jack to the ship to guide her father to the Fountain of Youth, he is looking for immortality to make sure a prophecy that his death will come at the hand of a one legged man doesn't come true.  We will have to see the movie to find out if the find the fountain and see how Jack gets out of this one.

I have attached the official Disney trailer for the movie to help get us pumped for the premiere tomorrow.  Have a Magical Day Mateys!!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#22 - Hades

#22 - Hades
In the movie Hercules, Hades is the villain, but also a good source of comedy. Watching him is like watching a used car salesman, or bad Hollywood agent.  He is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon and all he want is to rule Mount Olympus. When he finds out he has a chance by releasing the Titans 18 years after Hercules is born, he sends Pain & Panic to kill Hercules, needless to say they fail and a Disney Movie is born.  In this clip you will see Hades being Hades. Hope you enjoy it!  Have a Magical Day!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Amanda with Disney Go To Girl

twitter: @disneygotogirl
Facebook: DisneyGoToGirl

This weeks' Mentoring Mondays featured Mentor is Amanda with Disney Go To Girl.  I love Amanda's philosphy that a Disney World is her "Lavish Laughing Place". She is also the girl to turn to if you are looking for eco-friendly products with her  "DGTG Eco-Approved Products."  I know you are going to enjoy her interview and her pictures, so meet Amanda Ficili - Disney Go To Girl.

1. Introduce yourself and describe your blog.

Hi Everybody! My name is Amanda Ficili and I am the creator and Author of The Disney Go To Girl Blog, a travel blog focusing on Disney World as a luxury vacation destination.
I am married to my best friend, Rich whom I met at Downtown Disney in 2000, and I’m mom to 4 year old Princess Bella. We own a restaurant and wine bar in NC and reside in Northern California in the off-season.
We are self-professed foodies and our bags are always packed in preparation for the next adventure! Speaking of adventures, we leave for Disney on Thursday to experience Star Tours 2! YAY!

Topics covered at Disney Go To Girl:
  • Disney Dining Reviews and Recipes to make at home
  • Fashion and Shopping (the hottest buys in and out of the parks)
  • Disney News and official Press Releases
  • Tips on being Eco-Friendly while traveling and Reviews of Eco-Friendly Travel Items
  • Lots of Fabulous Reviews and Giveaways
  • Wine Wednesdays: I explore Disney as a destination for Wine Enthusiasts
  • Splurges: tips on pulling out all the stops on your Disney Vacation
2. What inspired you to start blogging?

I have nicknamed Disney World my "Lavish Laughing Place" and have made it my goal to promote Disney as a luxury vacation destination to those who may not see past the Castle and the parks. The DGTG blog is designed to showcase all of the finer things Disney has to offer, recognizing it as a fabulous venue for families seeking the "magical little extras" that only Disney can offer.
Disney Go To Girl is the product of "One Girl’s Dream." After making it to the 3rd and Final Round of the Disney Moms Panel search last year, I discovered the value of my love and passion for Disney and decided to take my personal blog to a whole new level. I realized that even though I didn’t make the panel, I could still help others experience Disney through my shoes, and alas DGTG was born!

3. What do you think is the best way to attract new readers/followers?

I have several answers to this one:
  • Host Giveaways
  • Promote other Blogs
  • #FF-Follow Friday
  • Participate in Blog Hops
  • Guest Post on other Blogs
  • Attend a Blog Conference…or 2 or 3!
4. What is the best/worst advice you have ever received?

The Best advice came from Chris Brogan, social media guru, during his presentation at Disney Social Media Moms last March. His message deals with "putting yourself out there" and I’d love to share a few of his valuable quotes with you:
  • "Be everywhere. Use all the social network sites and use your site as just a home base"
  • "If you are not connecting every day you are not building your brand. ALWAYS be connecting"
  • P is for Presence. you want to be places. Be everywhere. That’s how people get noticed. If you blog 2x per day you double your traffic in no time at all
5. What is the biggest mistake most new bloggers make?

To quote two of my favorite Disney Films:
  • "Whooooo-Rrrrr-Uuuuu?" It’s very challenging to discover your niche when first starting out, but it’s imperative that you define yourself as a blogger. Who are you? Who is your audience?
  • "Beeee Yourself": After you define yourself, stay true to who you are! Be unique and give your readers what they want!
6. How important is social networking (Twitter/Facebook) to blogging? Any advice on getting followers/likes?

Your Social Media Footprint and the success of your blog are dependent upon one another! Your blog should literally be holding hands with Twitter and FB at all times. This may sound redundant, but you HAVE to put yourself out there! USE these platforms to promote your blog. Build your Social Media Empire by making yourself visible: If you build it they will come.
And as far as gaining followers/likes, a great pointer: you reap what you sow. While self-promotion is fine and dandy, be sure to promote other blogs and they will do the same
for you! Support fellow bloggers by leaving comments on their posts and by giving them shout outs on Twitter, for example! It’s nice, and it gives you more exposure!
7. How important are labels, and do you have any advice on choosing labels for posts?

Labeling your posts is extremely important and makes your blog accessible through the search engines! It also makes it easier for your readers to find specific posts on your blog! I believe it is impossible to have too many labels.

8. What is your favorite splurge while visiting Disney?

Some Amazing Splurges:
  • Dinner at Victoria and Albert’s
  • A Day at the Grand Floridian Spa
  • A Private Fireworks Cruise
  • Cabana rental at Grand Floridian or Polynesian
9. Do you have a Disney Vacation tip you would like to share with our readers?

Take advantage of the Deluxe Dining Plan at least once. Disney Signature Restaurants are amazing, but can be pricey. With the Deluxe Plan you can try an appetizer, entrée, and dessert without worrying about the price! It’s a great way to go all out and experience the culinary Magic of Disney! If you happened to book "Free Dining" this fall, I would recommend upgrading to Deluxe Dining.

10. Anything you would like to add?

Thanks to Donna Kay for inviting me to be a part Mentoring Mondays! It has been an honor!
Please be sure to visit me over at Disney Go To Girl for more tips on splurging at "My Lavish Laughing Place." You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook!

Disclosure:  Amanda, The Disney Go To Girl is not affiliated with Disney.  All opinions in this posting are her own and do not necessarily represent those of the Walt Disney Company or any of its entitities.  She just LOVES Disney and enjoys sharing her opinions with her readers.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Disney Blog Hop - Disney Decor

Good Morning! Welcome to everyone who is stopping by for the first time and Hey! to all of you who are Disney Blog Hop regulars!  I am deviating from my Disney Villains list for this Blog Hop, very unusual for me I know. I thought we would look at some of the Disney Decor I keep around me in my office at work everyday. I spend more waking hours here than at home, I may as well have some Disney Magic at work, right?

The Mickey Mouse items in my office were all given to me by my bosses, I have trained them well. They even bring me Disney souvenirs when they go on vacation! The first item is the tin from a 75th anniversary Mickey Mouse watch they gave me for secretary's day, it's the first gift I ever got from them.

The next item is my Mickey Mouse magnet. It stays on my filing cabinet. It was on my birthday cake one year. My boss joked I like the Mickey Mouse better than I liked my present (which was true, I don't even remember what my present was). Mickey is so cute flying his plane in the clouds, the propeller spins!

The last item is my Mickey Mouse picture on the wall. I came into work on a Monday and it was hanging there and there were 2 books on my desk both with Mickey on the front. The books are at home, they are filled with Disney art and old comic strips. 

So here are the pieces of Disney that keep the Magic in my life at work everyday.  Note to self: you really need to get a Mickey desk set. Now I had better get back to work! Have a Magical Day!!

P.S. These pictures were all taken with my Droid, please don't think of these as an example of my photography skills!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

#23 - Disney Villains - Shan-Yu

#23 - Shan Yu

Shan Yu was the leader of the Huns, he was cold-hearted and ruthless. He just looks evil with his catlike eyes, muscular physique and large forehead. When the Emperor built the Great Wall of China he saw it as a challenge, and he loved a challenge. But, Shan Yu underestimated Mulan, Shang and the other soldiers. It's ironic that both times Mulan defeated him it was with fireworks, once causing the avalanche and once on the roof of the Emperor's Palace. Hope you enjoy the clip below. Have a Magical Day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Mentoring Mondays Has Taught Me.

Aside from the obvious information we are all getting from the interviews from the fabulous mentors featured on Mentoring Mondays, it has been a huge learning experience for me. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the things I have learned since the idea of Mentoring Mondays first entered my mind.

First, the worst thing that can happen is to never ask. The best thing that can happen is someone can say yes. Imagine sending JL Knopp a message asking for a favor when your blog has had less hits in it's existence than hers gets on a bad day. Yep, been there-done that. The most amazing thing, she said YES!! But, she couldn't have if I had never asked.

Second, if you don't believe in what you are doing why should anyone else. When I first thought of Mentoring Mondays I sat on it for a few weeks wondering is this a good idea? Will any bloggers be willing to do it? Once I believed in the project then things started to happen, and they happened fast. I am not afraid to send anyone an email anymore, if they say no I will pick myself up, dust myself off and go to the next potential Mentor.

Third, I've got to be me!! I am a nurturer by nature, I think that is part of the reason that Mentoring Mondays works for me. I love taking care of people, I love helping others be the best they can be. This is my goal with Mentoring Mondays to make all of us a better community of bloggers. I really care that readers get something out of reading Mentoring Mondays, I look at it as an opportunity for all bloggers to learn and improve.

Fourth, we are a community. I think this is the most wonderful thing I have learned, the community of Disney people (fans, bloggers, writers, podcasters, ect.) are a caring, giving, understanding group of people who really want each other to be successful. I've had other bloggers who have messaged me, as well as Mentors who send emails to say "It looks like things are going good. Please let me know if I can do anything to help." I just LOVE Disney people!! I truly feel honored to be part of this community!

Fifth, getting all this together takes a lot of organization!! Keeping who is mentor for which week, who have I sent interviews to, who is a potential Mentor for the future all straight is work (fun work though)! My hat is off to all of you who organize this kind of thing on a regular basis (Magic Bogorail, Disney Driven Life, WDW Fan Zone, ect.).

Lastly, I truly appreciate every person who comments, follows and reads this blog. I hope you are enjoying Mentoring Mondays as much as I am. Please let me know if there is someone you would like to see featured or if there is a particular question you would like answered. You can comment here, email, twitter @disneydonnakay, or facebook DonnaKay Disney(they wouldn't let me put Disney as my first name!) I would love to hear from you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Sarah with Magical Days with the Mouse

Sarah - Magical Days with the Mouse

Twitter: @MagicMouseDays
Facebook: Magical Days With The Mouse

First of all I want to say "Thanks!" for taking the time to share with all of us!  But then I have to say I am super jealous, Sarah was just at the black carpet for the Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides world premiere. You have to go to her blog and check out the post about the experience, it's loaded with pictures. If you don't already follow her on Facebook you need to go right now, she posts very regularly and there are always great pictures! This first picture I am posting is Sarah and her son at Mickey's Halloween Treat with Woody, she made the costumes!  What a talented lady!!

Introduce yourself and describe your blog.
My name is Sarah Gillanders, and I run the website Magical Days with the Mouse.
I started Magical Days with the Mouse as a way to share the magic at  Disneyland. As someone who frequents the park with her son throughout  the week, there is always something I see that I feel others might enjoy looking at too. Sometimes it's just random photographs around the Disneyland Resort, but other times I will share a new show, a new treat to eat, or a place in the park we like to visit. Magical Days with the Mouse is a look at Disney magic.

What inspired you to start blogging?
I've been blogging for several years, but about a year ago I found myself wanting to share photographs and information about Disneyland from my weekly trips. It was then that I started up Motherhood Magic. After a couple months, I realized my name was hurting me. I think the word "Motherhood" scared many away thinking it was a "mommy" blog, even though it was a Disney blog. I then changed the name to Magical Days with the Mouse, and people realized I was in fact a Disney blogger. It was the best move I made with my site.

What do you think is the best way to attract new readers/followers?
I think when you have a subject narrowed down, people who have the same interest will be drawn to you. Some sites try to cover many different things, myself included at one time, but if you can figure out what you're passionate about and stick to that subject, the readers will follow.

What is the best/worst advice you have ever received?
You have to blog for yourself and not for anyone else. Share the things you love and make you happy.
What is the biggest mistake most new bloggers make?
Not including photographs or having one small photograph I feel hurts your blog. I'm a visual person, so I like to see photographs that I can see clearly.

How important is social networking (Twitter/Facebook) to blogging?  Any advice on getting followers/likes?
I think both are very important. Not only do they allow you to promote your blog, but it's also great way to communicate with the people who are looking at it too.

My advice for gaining followers is to interact with the ones you already have. If someone takes the time to tweet a message to you, take a moment to respond. Word of mouth is a great thing, and you will see people suggesting you to their friends.

How important are labels, and do you have any advice on choosing labels for posts?
Labels are important for many reasons, but the two most important reasons are for quick access to related posts and for internet searches.

You want to make sure when you describe something, say at a Disney Park, you write out the full name. It's easy to get wrapped up in nicknames or abbreviations, but it will also lessen the number of search results to your site when someone does an internet search.

Another reason you want labels, is for easy access to related posts on your site. If you've written a couple of posts with tips for toddlers at Disneyland for example, by clicking on that label at the bottom of your post your reader can then have access to all the posts with that subject.
What is your favorite Disney Attraction?
I just wrote a post on this two months ago, and I picked Casey Jr. Circus Train (noticed I typed out the whole title not just Casey Jr. Pssssst labeling for internet searches). You can read it here , but the main reason I chose it is because I love watching the joy it brings to my son. He is all about trains right now.

My favorite adult ride would be the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and Indiana Jones Adventure.

Anything you would like to add?
I want to thank everyone who visits and comments on my blog each day. If you are on Twitter ( or Facebook (, say hello to me. I really like talking with people through both.

If you are visiting Disneyland by August 31, I have a contest using the phone app Gowalla. It involves you checking into a few of our regular stops at Disneyland and taking pictures. You can read more about it here.

Sarah, I just want to say thanks again! Please go visit Sarah at her website, Twitter or on Facebook. The pictures she has on there are more than worth the visit.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

#24 -Chef Skinner "Ratatouille" - Disney Blog Hop

Today is Thursday, so that means Disney Blog Hop! I look forward to this every week. Welcome to you if this is your first time visiting Disney Donna Kay, and Welcome Back if you are a return visitor.  Today's theme is food. So in keeping with the theme, and with my current countdown, I would like to talk about the movie Ratatouille. One of the things I love from this this movie is that Auguste Gusteau believed "Anyone Can Cook." If you want to learn to cook, you can. Looking back 20 years ago, my cooking skills were very limited. It's amazing what some good cook books and Food Network can do. Today there are very few things I will not attempt to make, some come out better than others but if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  With that, I now  introduce my #24 Disney Villain - Chef Skinner from Ratatouille.

#24 - Chef Skinner
Chef Skinner was so greedy wasn't he, all he cared about was money. He knew all along that Linguini was Gusteau's son. He worked very hard to keep that secret. I love the scene below when Remy finds out the truth and is determined to let Linguini know, and the chase ensues. Hope you enjoy! Have a Magical Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#25 - Hopper "A Bugs Life"

#25 - Hopper
"Hopper is a lean, mean eating machine who can squash an ant's head with his foot if the food's not on the offering stone. Hopper's tough exterior conceals an even tougher interior and a superior intellect." according to the official Pixar movie site. He knows the ants are small in comparison to the grasshoppers, but he knows they out number the grasshoppers hundreds to one. I think the clip below is Hopper in his true form.

While Hopper may not have underestimated the ants' strength in numbers, he did underestimate Flik's intelligence, and that was a BIG mistake. Hopper's false sense of superiority got him caught in the end.

My Next Disney List

Well, I certainly enjoyed Kristen's Mentoring Mondays interview and I hope everyone else did too. If you haven't read it you should go right now (it's the post after this one)!! Please be sure to follow her Year Long Culinary Challenge at Cooking With Mickey. Next Monday the featured Mentor will be Sarah with Magical Days With The Mouse. Follow her on twitter @MagicalMouseDays or "like" her on facebook - "Magical Days With The Mouse."

If you follow my blog you know I love listing things I love about Disney. My next list is going to be Disney Villains. As much as we all love Princesses, Princes and Heroes let's be honest we all love Villains!! And Disney does them better than anyone out there. Watch for my first Disney Villains post later today. Until then, hope you have a Magical Day!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Kristen Hoetzel Cooking With Mickey

Mentoring Mondays

Who: Kristen Hoetzel - Cooking with Mickey
twitter: @cookingwmickey
facebook: CookingWithMickey

Welcome to the first edition of Mentoring Mondays! I am thrilled to have Kristen Hoetzel of Cooking With Mickey here with us today to share some insight on blogging and social networking. She and her husband Aljon Go live in Nashville, TN and are currently in Disney Happily Ever After Contest. They are such a cute couple, their picture is in the middle of this post. Please go vote for them, it takes just a minute. Kristen's favorite classic movie is Alice in Wonderland, here is a picture of her with the White Rabbit.

Introduce yourself and describe your blog.
I'm Kristen Hoetzel, creator of Cooking with Mickey. is a blog about Disney dining information, recipes, reviews, how-to videos, news, vacation planning, travel deals, trip reports, cooking tips and more. 

What inspired you to start blogging? 
I had been making Cooking with Mickey videos for Sorcerer Radio to show people how easy it was to make their favorite Disney recipes. I wanted to share more than just my videos so I started my blog so I could write about everything I loved about Disney, share more of my knowledge about food and cooking and let people read about my visits to the Disney parks and what I loved the most.

What do you think is the best way to attract new readers/followers? 
Get to know people who have similar interest to your own. Chat it up with people online. You can join forums, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Just interact with people.

What is the best/worst advice you have ever received?
I haven't received much advice from others. I've always been someone who likes to learn the hard way. LOL! I would have to say that I've been told to contribute to as many blogs as possible and to have as many contributors to my own blog as I can find. I find that people get lost in blogs set up that way and you have no connection to your readers and they don't get to personally connect with you.

What is the biggest mistake most new bloggers make?
Trying to be someone they are not. You need to write your blog the way you are. Don't be afraid to inject your personality into it. Let your readers get to know you and be genuine. 

How important is social networking (Twitter/Facebook) to blogging?  Any advice on getting followers/likes?
I think it's a great way to get your blog information out to people and get to know others who have similar interests to your own and what you write about. There really is no key to getting followers or likes. If you write interesting information and interact with people they will follow/like you and spread the word to their friends about you and your blog. Some people like to use the apps that gain followers on Twitter however, those often get people who have nothing in common with you and many times some undesirables.

How important are labels, and do you have any advice on choosing labels for posts?
I'm very big on adding these to my posts. I find all of the key elements to my posts and include those words in my tags. So choose those things that stand out and include the name of your blog.

Who is your favorite Disney character?
This is a very difficult question! I have several favorites and I can't pick just one so I'll give 2 of my favorites. The first is Belle from Beauty and the Beast because she is smart, educated, wants more out of life - she has ambition and doesn't judge people. The second would have to be Remy from Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille. From the name of my blog it should be pretty easy to see why. He loves to eat good food and to cook. He finds fun in be creative and combining different flavors to create dishes. He also helps others and he believes in Gusteau's philosphy, "Anyone can cook!".

Do you have a Disney Vacation tip you would like to share with our readers?
Get the Disney Dining Plan. It will save you money. If you are someone who enjoys dining at different restaurants and you like two sit down meals a day and want to try the signature dining restaurants, get the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan. You'll find that it will save you a lot of money. On one trip my husband and I did the Deluxe plan and saved nearly $500, and it's nice not to have to worry about the price and order exactly what it is you want.

Anything you would like to add?
Thanks so much for asking me to be part of this Donna Kay! I hope your readers enjoy my interview and find it helpful. They can always find me on Twitter as @CookingwMickey or on Facebook as CookingWithMickey. Some of my videos can be found on my site but the others are on my YouTube channel, Cooking With Mickey. Thanks again!

Silly me, I got so excited when Kristen agreed to do this for me I forgot to ask her about her favorite Disney recipe. I asked her when she returned the interview and she was nice enough to answer for me.

My favorite recipe is easily the Curry Butternut Soup from Boma over at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. The soup is very easy to make and it's perfect for a cool, crisp fall day or cold winters night. It's got a kick to it and if you don't like things spicy you can always use less of the curry paste. I bring this to either Thanksgiving dinner as an appetizer or Christmas Day as lunch. It's also probably the Disney recipe that I've made the most because I find it to be perfect for those times of year and to be very tasty.

If you go to Kristen's blog she has a video showing you how to make it, look for it posted on April 27th! 

Kristen, thanks so much. You are so sweet to take the time to share your knowledge with us. Good luck with your Year Long Culinary Project, I will be following! I hope all of you will be following her too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Been A Crazy Week!

My week has been so busy and a little crazy.  I have been getting interviews ready for the Mentoring Mondays, which premiers tomorrow and the featured Mentor is Kristen of Cooking With Mickey and it's a must read. I am also starting a new Facebook group for Mentoring Mondays please join!  I will be making events for each Mentor as reminders so you won't miss your favorite bloggers.  I have been organizing everything hoping to make this an entertaining and informational series for all bloggers. Also, please let me know if you have someone you would like to be featured in a future Mentoring Mondays. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!