Sunday, February 28, 2016

Episode 63 of The Disney Exchange Podcast: Value Resorts at Walt Disney World

By Nick

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The main pool at All Star Movies

The Disney Exchange is David Hodges, Lisa Green and me, Nicholas Maglio.

Lisa can't be with us this week as she was just returning from a Disney Cruise when we recorded, but we are happy to have Dave's wife Anne join us!

We very briefly discuss the fact that Dave, Lisa and I finally got to meet during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World, a full report will be featured on a future show, probably next episode.

In line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, front: me, Anne, Dave's son Gabe
Next row, Lisa is waving, next to her is her husband Raymond. 
In back of Lisa is Dave's daughter Dannielle, Dave, and some random person.

Dave tells about the one day visit he made to Walt Disney World the day before and how insanely crowded it was at Disney Springs and Disney's Hollywood Studios despite the fact that it was a random Thursday afternoon in February. This could be because people just naturally gravitate towards Dave.

We launch into our main topic, discussing All Star Movies, Music, and Sports, Pop Century, and, although Dave believes this should be considered a moderate, Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

 Me with Mater in the Cars Land section of Art of Animation.

We share our thoughts on transportation, theme, food options, pools and rooms.

 The main pool at Art of Animation 

 One of the pools at Pop

 Themeing at Pop Century

 The fried chicken at Everything Pop
 Excellent and unique food choices can be found at AoA's Lanscape of Flavors

Meatball Hoagie, Sub or Grinder?

This week's Wheel of Distiny topic was inspired by Dave's son Gabe: Favorite light saber from the Star Wars Saga. This topic inspires a long discussion on Star Wars books and animated series. Welcome to the Star Wars Podcast!

Anne's choice:

Dave's choice:

My choice:

Thank you for listening to The Disney Exchange Podcast, and thank you very much for joining us Anne!

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

5 Tips For Raising Disney Children

Megan and Joseph all grown up 
By Lisa Green 
Our Disney Children - All Grown Up 

Here at Living a Disney Life, Raymond and I have reached the child-rearing promised land!  The children have both passed the age of 18 and are still alive and well and successfully Disneyfied!

For you young people just starting out, we have no advice for the terrible twos, potty training or meltdown-free bedtime rituals – but we did raise a couple of Disney fans as passionate about the Mouse as we are!  To do this successfully (it’s not as easy as you think, darn you Sponge Bob!), we offer you these pointers:

1.  Our home is our castle and we are the monarchy.  Yes, those darling children get to be prince and princess, but the King and Queen reign supreme – let there be no doubt.  Democracy is great as a form of government and all, but in a Disney home…..the King and Queen RULE!  We have final say on where our vacation dollars are spent.

Sweet Megan and Mickey Mouse 1992

2.  Total Disney immersion from birth.  Brainwashing is such an ugly term, don’t you think?  I prefer to think of it as, hmmmm….guidance.  You don’t have to go crazy with the themed d├ęcor or anything, but introducing Disney early and often sets the right mood from the get-go.  So, I might have sang a few Disney lullabies, soothed skinned knees with a Disney bandaid or two, served milk with a Mickey silly-straw…where’s the harm? Oh, and if there’s a Disney prize in a box of sugared cereal…it’ll be okay to buy it.  Promise.  What’s wrong with a few Disney Halloween costumes or Mickey-shaped baked goods, I ask you?   Hedging your bets if you’re not sure if you have a girly-girl or a tomboy doesn’t hurt either.  For example:  Megan received both a princess gown and a Buzz Lightyear for Christmas one year.

Pirate Night Costume on Disney Cruise Line 

3.  Gentle steering towards Disney merchandise, movies, party themes.  When they’re really little, they don’t care what toys and movies they’re being exposed to, why not make them Disney?  As they get older, just take them to those party supply stores that go heavy on the Disney-themed decorations.  Disney bubble bath, pajamas, underwear, sheets, towels, lunch boxes…you don’t have to go overboard, but there’s absolutely no harm in making sure those items are in your home.  Need ideas?  Hello, Pinterest!

4.  Associate Disney with happiness.  The Thanksgiving Day Disney movie tradition is an important one for our family.  Start babies on their way to Disney fandom with some Disney books and bathtub toys.  Disney bedtime stories are a great way to share the Disney love.  Disney sing-alongs on car rides are a lot of fun.  If YOU are calm, relaxed, and happy on Disney family vacations – the memories of quality, joy-filled family time are worth more than you can possibly imagine – and will nearly guarantee your offspring will be very pro-Disney.

Buzz Lightyear and Princess Megan

5.  Change it up – Disney is easily incorporated everywhere.  The teen years are especially critical – if there’s any hesitation at all about going to Walt Disney World, try something new and different!  Disney Cruise Line sails to many exciting ports and offers incredible opportunities for new adventures all within the Disney bubble!  Don’t forget about Disneyland, Adventures by Disney,  and the Aulani, Vero Beach, and Hilton Head resorts.  Heck – those foreign Disney parks offer all kinds of new experiences.

Have little ones?  Stay the course, friends…the results are worth it.  If you need me, I’m here for you.

Disney Snacks at Home

What tips do you have to share for raising Disney children?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Please be sure to check out Lisa along with me and David Hodges on The Disney Exchange Podcast!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Disney's Polynesian Villas

By Nick

Ever since I started going to Walt Disney World in the early 1990's, I thought about how great it would be to stay at the Polynesian Resort, but could never bring myself to pay $400 plus for one single night.

Enter the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) and Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, which afforded me the opportunity to finally stay here!

And it was, well, it was okay. (queue wahwahwah sound effect)

Right up front here I'm going to say that there are a few things that are absolutely clouding my judgement, and that I would certainly consider staying here again, if things lined up properly.

The first thing preventing this stay from being more magical was the fact that I was solo. I would absolutely have had a better time with my wife.

Secondly, I didn't have enough points available to book a Lake view room, instead getting a standard view, which wasn't bad...

...but due to the railings, if you did decide to sit out, your view would be:

Then there was the room itself. It was nice, but I didn't feel that as much high quality touches were put into these rooms compared to The Villas at the Grand Floridian.

And even though they solved a design flaw in the under the bed storage I'd found at the Grand, there is even less room for clothes!

And finally, something that didn't have that much of an effect on me, but one I would certainly warn about in case you get a standard room in the next few months. The construction tarps, which stretched over a rather large portion of the grounds. I was told that this was going to be a refurbished pool and counter service restaurant, or the pool and a barbecue area. Perhaps both?

All things considered, however, there is much to be said for staying at the Poly. The top 3 things on the list being location, location, location. I especially liked the location of my building, Moorea.

While it was a bit of a hike to the Great Ceremonial House, which contains the main lobby, restaurants and lounges, it is very close to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). It's also fairly close to the bus stop. So I had several options when it came to getting around.

And though the Great Ceremonial House is far-ish, the walk along the water is wonderful.

And you can watch Wishes from the beach!

Speaking of views, the grounds in general are lovely, even during rather cool January weather, they help convey a feeling of warmth.

The pool looks nice with a volcano themed slide, but I did not go for a swim during my stay.

While I didn't feel the rooms felt as posh as others on property, the double bathroom is a great touch.

The bed and pillows are super soft. I slept better on this trip than any other before!

Then there are all the food and drink options, from the newer Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, to the classics, Kona Cafe and O'hana, to the fact you a monorail ride from all the options at the Grand, Contemporary and Magic Kingdom, this is maybe my favorite thing about the Poly.

Which I suppose goes back to location, location, location.

So, to recap. Yes, it didn't live up to my expectations, but really, several of the reasons why were not the fault of the Polynesian.

In other words "It's not you Poly, it's me."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Little Mermaid WDCC: Seaside Serenade

By Nick

While these pictures were  obviously not taken at the Seaside, looking at this terrific Walt Disney Classics Collection piece, I can hear the waves crashing on the rocks, and hear Ariel singing of her longing to be part of our world.

This was the 2006 Walt Disney Collectors Society Membership Sculpture.

Her tail is painted with opalescent paint.

She measures 6 inches tall.

I think this may be one of the finest WDCC sculpts, as I feel it captures the emotion of this pivotal scene perfectly.

I am not sure why this sculpt doesn’t have a production mark.

I really don’t have enough Little Mermaid pieces, despite it being one of my favorite Disney movies, so I was really happy to find this on eBay for a very reasonable price, and make her part of my world.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Episode 62 of The Disney Exchange Podcast: Hidden Spots in Walt Disney World's Parks

By Nick

Episode 62 of The Disney Exchange : Hidden Spots in Walt Disney World's Parks

The Disney Exchange is David Hodges, Lisa Green and me, Nicholas Maglio.

We start off with some discussion on The Princess Half Marathon Weekend, which is happening as this episode releases!

We'll be posting plenty of photos and videos all over social media so please check Facebook and Twitter.

We give a shout out to listeners #2, #14, #15 and #16 as well as the folks sending us fan mail! Thank you for the love!

We launch into our main topic which is a look at some of the less visited areas and attractions in the parks, such as the Liberty Square Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom.

There are some great views of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Haunted Mansion to be enjoyed from this vantage point, so be sure to ride outside.

Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Lisa likes the kiosk by Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular which has Indy themed items for sale, a break from many of the cookie cutter offerings at many other stores on Disney property.

Photo: Lisa

At Epcot, Dave suggests you spend some time in the store inside the China Pavilion in World Showcase, while Lisa touts the attributes of the lettuce munching yet rotund Manatees located in The Seas With Nemo & Friends.

We all agree the paths around Disney's Animal Kingdom are not to be overlooked, my favorite being the Discovery Island Trails.

Wheel of Distiny topic : Favorite Walt Disney World resort lobby.

Thank you for listening to The Disney Exchange Podcast

If you have a show topic or Wheel of Distiny idea, or just want to tell us how much you love me us, please send an email to: info@thedisneyexchange or visit us on social media.