It’s a small world after all: Visiting all the Disney parks

Some people loathe Disney theme parks, and I understand why. The artificiality, the standing in line, that infernal “It’s a Small World” song looping and looping — I get it.

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The opposite extreme was always more of a mystery. Some people love Disney theme parks so much that routine visits to Disneyland in California or the Magic Kingdom in Florida are simply not enough. Some people also make it a mission to visit Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. And Epcot and Typhoon Lagoon and California Adventure.

There are 13 Disney parks worldwide and the hardest of the hard-core Disneyphiles have visited them all.

What motivates men and women (usually traveling without children) to spend their time and money this way? It can’t just be that they really, really love Pirates of the Caribbean and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

What kind of person, having already ridden Space Mountain a few dozen times in Florida, flies to Paris and spends an afternoon riding Space Mountain? Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Deranged.

Or so I thought. Confession: Having visited all 13 parks, I am now a full-fledged member of this obsessive Mickey Mouse Club.

Like many people, I visited Disney parks as a boy. I had the time of my little life, but I also never completely bought in. Mouse ears? Over my dead body.

By 2007, when The New York Times hired me to professionally scrutinize the Walt Disney Co., I had not laid eyes on Cinderella’s Castle in about a decade.

Disney super fans

But assignments quickly took me inside Disney parks on both coasts, and I began to notice a rabid breed of visitor — people like Tony Spittell and his son, Andrew, who visited all six of Disney’s major North American parks in a single jet-setting day, or Roger Yamashita, a California engineer who had been to all 13 properties.

Yamashita, 53, cited completion anxiety. “Once I had done California, Florida and Japan, I started to really want to finish my dance card,” he told me. “It was like, ‘Well, I’ve come this far.”

Yamashita, a gold member of D23, the official Disney fan club, added, “Disney is also very good at keeping you hooked.”

Ah, yes. Good old-fashioned marketing. Nobody does it better than Disney. Attendance at the 13 parks last year totaled 132.6 million, a 5 percent increase from 2012, according to the Themed Entertainment Association.

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I relate to Yamashita’s addict-like thinking — more, more, more — but my 13-park adventure was primarily rooted in reportorial curiosity.

Disney haters have long criticized the company’s overseas parks as products of cultural imperialism: the evil Mickey Mousification of the globe. But Disney has aggressively dismissed that criticism as unfair and outdated.

“We made some mistakes early on, but we learned from them,” a senior Disney executive once said to me. “How can you judge us without seeing for yourself?”

So on a 2011 trip to Paris I persuaded my partner, Joe, to skip Sacré-Coeur and instead go to Marne-la-Vallée, a suburb of Paris where two Disney parks now sprawl across former sugar-beet fields. I wanted to see if Buzz Lightyear had really learned to blast off with a proper French accent.

The place certainly smelled French. Arriving around lunchtime, we decided to have a glass of Champagne at the ornate Disneyland Hotel, which is perched near the park gates like a pink and white Victorian bauble. Lovely. But the interior smelled as if it had been hosed down with Jean Patou perfume.

“I think I’m getting a chemical burn inside my nose,” I whispered to Joe, who rolled his eyes. (A Disney spokeswoman said the hotel no longer uses that scent.)

We were slack-jawed upon entering the main park. To compete with the splendor of Paris, Disney spent lavishly to open the resort in 1992, and its ornate landscaping has only improved with age: Austrian black pines, endless rhododendrons, pathways that hug serpentine streams. Of all the Disney castles, the one here is the most extravagant.

“Even I thought that was pretty cool,” a normally nonplused Joe said after a peek at an animatronic dragon residing in the dungeon.

Tokyo stampede

I hauled him to Hong Kong Disneyland by way of Tokyo Disneyland. At the end of a long trip to Japan last fall, I slipped in a day at the seaside Tokyo Disney Resort, which comprises two parks and a half-dozen hotels connected by a monorail. The excursion turned out to be a surprise highlight of our time in Tokyo.

Tokyo Disneyland may have the single best attraction in the entire Disney empire, but you won’t find it on a park map.

Disneyphiles privately call it the Running of the Bulls, and it takes place every morning on the entrance plaza. When the 20 gates open, roughly 40,000 people stampede through them in the first hour and a half (at least according to a Tokyo Disneyland employee) in an effort to beat the lines. And I do mean stampede.

Joe was nearly mowed down by two young women in Chip and Dale costumes. “Retreat!” he shouted, taking refuge behind a pillar. I was too busy happily soaking up the mania to offer a response. (If you stay at a Disney hotel you can enter the park 15 minutes early and secure a good observation spot.)

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland was next. It was at this point that I started to wonder if I had gone too far.

But the lines were short as a result of pouring rain, and we took cover inside the “enchanted” Mystic Manor, a twist on Disney’s Haunted Mansion that leaves out the ghosts (because the supernatural is viewed differently in Chinese culture, we were told). We loved it so much we rode it twice and picked up T-shirts adorned with the ride’s mascot, a fez-wearing monkey named Albert, on the way out.

On the subway ride back to Wan Chai, the bustling neighborhood where we were staying, I thought about what visiting the 13 parks had taught me about how Disney operates, particularly overseas. Far from monolithic, the company’s theme park empire is full of quirky surprises.

Yes, the notion of Disney as a cultural bulldozer needs to be retired — especially as it builds a 14th park in Shanghai that will be the first to do away with a Main Street-style entrance. (Instead there will be a vast garden that will accommodate Chinese cultural festivals.)

But Disney is Disney is Disney: Dumbo and Pinocchio and the “Frozen” princesses will always be there. At the end of the day, what makes a Disney park unique are the people who occupy it.

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Disney Mascot Costume is Much More Popular

Mascots add to the enthusiasm and momentum of an event in a dynamic way. Most people love to take pictures with a mascot. They admire them for their cute appearance and funny gestures. Most kids’ clothing stores use mascots to keep the kids happy during their shopping experience. It helps clothing stores to attract their cute customers. 
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There are a wide variety of costumes, ranging from the popular cartoon characters up to your personalized costumes. When we say personalized, it is same as saying that it comes from your own idea or what you want to be the necessary details about your own mascot costume. When it comes to mascots, nothing beats the popularity of these famous cartoon characters. They are called character costumes. These are the topmost favorites; starting from the very popular, a Walt Disney characterMickey Mouse mascot costumes, followed by the Looney Tunes canary birdTweety Bird, and the star of Bikini Bottom, Spongebob Squarepants, even the heroes in Justice League and so on and so forth.

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5 Things to Do for Christmas With Kids at Disney World

Believe it or not, the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida becomes even more magical during the holiday season. You can feel the magic in the air more than ever during this time of year. From the beautiful decorations to the special events, the holidays are a great time for a Disney World vacation.

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Disney starts the holiday season a little earlier than most places, by the first week of November. The holiday festivities last approximately two months, through the first week of January. There are festive decorations throughout the parks and resorts as well as special events and activities to help you celebrate the season.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held at Magic Kingdom on select nights from early November through the week of Christmas. This is the only opportunity to see snow falling on Main Street, U.S.A. The party offers a variety of exciting holiday festivities. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade marches down Main Street with toy soldiers, gingerbread men, elves and many of our favorite Disney characters. This year’s parade will even include Frozen characters Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff. The party also includes character dance parties, free hot cocoa and cookies, and a special holiday Wishes fireworks spectacular.

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Festival of the Seasons

Festival of the Seasons is the holiday celebration held at Downtown Disney. You can meet Santa Claus, pick up some Christmas ornaments, or enjoy live entertainment. There are holiday carolers, stilt walkers, street performers, and a holiday dance party. The area is also full of beautiful holiday decorations.

Candlelight Processional
Candlelight Processional is held every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas inside Epcot. Each night, Disney brings in a celebrity narrator to read the Christmas story. The celebrity narrator is accompanied by a 50-piece live orchestra and mass choir. The 2014 Candlelight Processional at Epcot will feature the following celebrity narrators:

• Jonathan Groff – December 3 and 4, 2014
• Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 and 6, 2014
• LeVar Burton – December 7 to December 9, 2014
• Edward James Olmos – December 10 to December 11, 2014
• Joe Morton – December 12 to December 14, 2014
• Chita Rivera – December 15 to December 17, 2014
• Ana Gasteyer – December 18 to December 20, 2014
• Marlee Matlin – December 21 to December 23, 2014
• Isabella Rossellini – December 24 and 25, 2014
• Blair Underwood – December 26 and 27, 2014
• Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 to December 30, 2014

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing LightsOsborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo Credit: Disney)

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights covers the Streets of America in Disney’s Hollywood Studios with millions of dancing lights. Every 20 or so minutes, the lights “dance” to music and there will be a snowfall on the Streets of America. You will find a Christmas tree, angels, Santa Claus, and even a spinning Earth made of lights. Plus, you just might be lucky enough to spot a Hidden Mickey or two in the lights.

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Resort Decorations
All of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels show their holiday spirit with incredible decorations ranging from floor to ceiling Christmas trees to larger than life gingerbread creations. All of the hotels have trees, wreaths and other decorations, but the deluxe resorts truly go all out for the holidays. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa features a life size gingerbread house in their lobby along with freshly baked gingerbread treats available for purchase for a snack or to send to your friends and family back home. Disney’s Beach Club Resort creates a life sized gingerbread carousel in their lobby. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge have spectacular Christmas trees that are a few stories high sitting in their lobbies. Plus, Disney’s Contemporary Resort will feature a new Frozen-inspired creation in their lobby this year. As a reminder, anyone can visit the Walt Disney World Resort hotels to enjoy their decor.

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party kicks off at Disney World

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. —It’s already Christmas time at Walt Disney World, as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party has begun.

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The party kicked off Friday.

Frozen characters Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf will accompany Santa Clause, Mickey and Minnie in the parade this year.

Make sure you grab an event map when you get there to check character greeting opportunities, special entertainment times and more.

The party requires a separate admission ticket, which costs $67.

The event takes place from 7 p.m. to midnight on November 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21 and 30; and December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19.

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The Secret of Mascot Costume and How to Build Your Own Style

f6a1bfacc1303a75f281e6b86c7f4447The secret of coming up with a very interesting and unique mascot is involving many people through a brainstorm session where a lot of ideas can be put to the table. Many ideas generate something solid to work on or you can hold a contest where contestants can draw a mascot for you and in turn they get rewarded.I would like to recommend you the most popular Disney Frozen Olaf Snowman Mascot Costume and Dottie Doc Mcstuffins Mascot Costume.


 
Mascot costumes were used to be quite expensive few years later, which made it possible to be employed only by large business group of profitable sporting teams to buy them. However, things are the same today as several varieties of mascot costumes are available that are also of high quality, which makes them the perfect choice for businesses and schools. Having a costume, which a person can put on to do the role of an icon for any business and school can surely serve a great deal of purposes and also act as a huge investment for both of them.
 
Many costumes come as a jumpsuit with a zipper on the back. Most of the time the head, hands and feet are separate. Most of these costumes have the head covered by special foam from the inside. While selecting your costume, just ensure that the sole of the feet is made of durable material, which is water-proof and skip-proof.
 
While purchasing mascot costumes online, you are highly suggested to focus on every part. These items are divided into four parts, including head, body, shoes and gloves. As for the head, you need to know which fabric it is crafted from. Certainly you will never want to put on an uncomfortable head. As for the body, can you choose the size according to your own measurement? Are shoes slip and water proof? Can you receive gloves together?