Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

The Grand Marshall Picker

26 Jan

Do you remember lining Main Street at Walt Disney World, waiting expectantly for the two o’clock parade? Finally you hear the music heralding the procession and leading the parade is the Grand Marshall.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Mike Thomas over at The Story Tell Almanac has a treat for you today. An interview with Dean Gaschler, the man who for twenty-two years chose who would be honored as Grand Marshall of the Magic Kingdom Main Street parade!


“Now retired, Dean was the person who used to choose who the Grand Marshalls would be for the afternoon parade at The Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Florida. He shares both some heartwarming and whimsical memories from his 22 year career with Disney.”

About Mike Thomas The Story Teller Almanac

I’ve been ‘clickin’ the shutter since I was about 16. I morphed into video production when I went to work for The Walt Disney Company many years ago. Currently, I still work for Disney. But my real passion and path is utilizing my photography and multimedia skill sets for the greater good. Translated, anything or anybody that deserves recognition, appreciation or documenting for future history, I’m all over it. Too many important things just slip away in a fast moving, fast paced world / society. ‘If ya’ wanna know where you’re going, ya’ gotta know where ya’ come from’ (Sir Lawrence Olivier – The Jazz Singer 1980). 

If you feel so inclined, I’d sure appreciate you subscribing to Storyteller Almanac on any of the major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. Really helps me grow the po

To contact me for any reason, please click or copy & paste: 



24 Mar


Judy Wills


 I really enjoy those serendipity moments in my life.  As I’ve stated before – I think they are God’s way of giving me a moment of joy from a simple thing.

For instance, one of my favorite things to do when we go to a Disney park, is to notice the things people are wearing.


Credit Disney World website


Some of the things they wear are completely indescribable…like wearing fur-lined knee-length boots to the park during the height of summer.

Credit Google Search and Ariat website


Or even wearing high-heeled shoes to the park –

Credit Google Search and BCB Generation


and having to walk those miles throughout the day through the park.  My feet just hurt looking at them!!

Our Karen and her daughter once started counting the little girls in “Elsa” costumes – following the release of the Frozen movie.  I believe the count was upward toward 100!

But at least that’s understandable, since it was a Disney movie!

Credit Google Search and Disney Store


Since one of our sons-in–law is from Columbus, Ohio, he is a HUGE Ohio State University football fan.  I mean H-U-G-E!!  Consequently, whenever I see someone wearing a shirt that has the Ohio State logo on it, I enjoy walking up to them and loudly saying “GO BUCKS” to them.

Credit Google Search and Ohio State University website


Ohio State’s mascot is a “buckeye.”  Wikipedia states:


The Ohio buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, and its name is an original term of endearment for the pioneers on the Ohio frontier…Capt. Daniel Davis of the Ohio Company of Associates, under Gen. Rufus Putnam, traversed the wilderness in the spring of 1788, and began the settlement of Ohio. Davis was said to be the second man ashore at Point Harmar, on April 7, 1788. He declared later that he cut the first tree felled by a settler west of the Ohio River, a “buckeye” tree. Additionally, Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, another founder of that same pioneer city of Marietta, had a tall and commanding presence; he greatly impressed the local Indians, who in admiration dubbed him “Hetuck”, meaning eye of the buck deer, or Big Buckeye.

 Subsequently, “buckeye” came to be used as the nickname and colloquial name for people from the state of Ohio and The Ohio State University’s sports teams. Ohio State adopted “Buckeyes” officially as its nickname in 1950, and it came to be applied to any student or graduate of the university.


Recently, while on facebook, an ad popped up for a t-shirt.  When I saw it, I knew I had to have one, so I ordered it, and enjoy wearing it.  Here is a picture of it.


Fred and I went to EPCOT last week, and I wore that shirt with my shorts.  While we were walking around, I heard someone say, “NEW MEXICO!”  I stopped in my tracks and faced this young couple.  I stated that yes, I am a New Mexico girl, and grew up in Albuquerque.  The young man stated that he was from Artesia, and his wife was from Hobbs.  I know both of those cities well.  They had just moved to Jacksonville, Florida.  We chatted for a few minutes, and then went on our respective ways.  They were just amazed to find someone from New Mexico in Florida.  I agreed with them.

I just LOVE this stuff!



JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.


Disney Springs and Resort Hopping

5 Sep

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix



As a Florida resident we have some privelidges when it comes to Disney.



Even with the discounts, the parks are very expensive and many of us have been to most of them. I am continuing to explore Disney in a much different way. .. Cheap…  So here is a fun thing to do for a day or even many days.

Our first stop is Disney Springs.



It is free including parking. This is a shopping and eatiing adventure that has been transformed recently. . Beautifully designed with unique shops, yummy restaurants and evening entertainment. The springs theme represents the many springs in Florida.



Two of the restaurants that are fun for families are T-Rex



and Rainforest cafe.



both will keep you entertained with it’s animated life sized creatures. You may even go through a thunderstorm.

Another great restauraunt is The Boathouse. Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests.



My favorite restaurant is the amazing House of Blues. I can’t stop taking pictures of this place. The art and designs are crazy cool. And the food is good too.





Disney Springs takes on a whole different look at night. Much more entertainment and fun.



If you have daughters that love princesses, they can be one too.



Disney princesses will transform them. It’s such an exciting day  and they will look absolutely magical.

Day two. You may need another day at Disney Springs. There is so much to see and do.




However if you are ready for more exploration here is your second plan. We are going Disney resort hopping.

Go back to Disney Springs and park in the Lime parking garage. Go to the Town Center where you will see the busses that go to most resorts and parks. The parking is free and so are the busses.


So let’s get on a bus that will take us to the Yacht Club.



The Yacht Club is one of four resorts that are side by side around a lake. From there you can walk or take the boat to The Swan and Dolphin. After that is The Boardwalk, then The Beach Club. In between are shops and restaurants. It feels like you have traveled to other parts of the world.

Swan and Dolphin was quite lovely and unique.



The Boardwalk. I love the look of this area.




The resorts welcome you to eat and shop. They cost anywhere from $300 to over $500 a night, so of course swimming in the pools or participating in planned activities are not allowed. To be in and explore this wonderful environment is a fun and entertaining thing to do, especially for free.

Day three

Drive to Animal Kingdom Resort. Tell the guard that you would like to look around the resort and have lunch. They will let you in and you can park for free. There are two buildings to this resort and you can travel back and forth free by bus or it’s walking distance.

This is the lobby.




When you look out this window you see a savannah with some animals.



If you like animals this resort has quite a few savannahs with animals. You can see them from most areas of the resort.



I plan to visit more resorts in the near future. I will share them with you when I do.




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

My Love Affair with Disney~Part 3

4 Sep


Judy Wills



Because Fred and I have Disney running through our veins, we have a LOT of Disney memorabilia around our house. Last time I shared some of our Disney memorabilia. I would like to share a bit more this time.

Fred’s sister and her husband came to visit us a few years ago. We did take them to EPCOT, which we all enjoyed. We also took them to (then) Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs). We usually enjoy taking visitors there – especially if they don’t really want to do one of the “parks.” It gives them a “taste” of Disney, without feeling like they must spend an entire day there, to justify the cost of the ticket. If they don’t want to purchase anything, that’s okay. We do enjoy showing them our favorite eatery there (the Earl of Sandwich), as it is probably the most inexpensive spot to eat within the Disney complex. And the hot sandwiches are GREAT!!




In any case, when they came to visit, as we wandered through some of the shops, Jim pointed out a Mickey Mouse figurine to Sally, and they purchased it for us as a thank-you for all we had done for them on their visit. A few days later, after they returned home, we went back to Downtown Disney and purchased another figurine – one that I’d had my eye on for a while. They aren’t a true match, but I like them both, just the same.




And then there’s the Precious Moments® figurine with Bambi in it. Really sweet.



Anyone remember those old “E” tickets at Disney? They are long gone now, but we remember those tickets from the 1970’s when we first went to Disney World (which only had the Magic Kingdom at that time). Little pieces of papers littered the ground just everywhere you looked. Disney finally got smart and stopped that nonsense! However, they have brought them back – as magnets! And so I have them on our refrigerator door. Gives us a great opportunity to explain them to our grandchildren.




And since we sail with the Disney Cruise Line as often as we do (our favorite cruise line, by the way!), we have reached the Gold level – five cruises with Disney. And we got this great magnet for it! We used to feel really honored to have sailed that many times with Disney – until we met a couple who had sailed 18 times with Disney!! Yikes!




One last magnet for this posting – we had seen this magnet on several cars, and liked it. When we finally saw it at Downtown Disney, we snapped it up. And now it resides on our refrigerator door. I think it’s adorable!





More next time.



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

My Love Affair With Disney~Part 1

21 Aug


Judy Will


I’ve been in love with all things Disney for about as long as I can remember. I believe the first Disney movie I ever saw was Cinderella – and I was sold! As I grew older, I kept wishing there was some way I could – personally – have a copy of Cinderella and watch it whenever I wanted to! Fast forward to this hi-tech generation, and I have Cinderella on my bookshelf! Of course, I don’t watch it all the time, but it’s there for the watching if I care to. I usually have to do it when Fred is gone!

When we moved down to Florida, it was more-or-less with the intention of either or both of us working for Walt Disney World, so we could visit the parks just any time we wanted to. God may have wanted us down in Florida, but His plans for us did NOT include working at Disney World! And His plans are so much better than ours!

So we content ourselves with annual passes to Disney World. Fred jokingly says they are our Christmas/anniversary/birthday (and any other special event in our lives) gift to each other. They are rather expensive. But we get free parking with them, and we can come and go just any time we want. Sometimes it’s for nothing more than to have a supper meal there. And we consider if we stay about two hours, we consider it a “visit to the park.”

In 1999, we thought it would be fun to keep track of how many times we went to a Disney park during that year (38 times). And we’ve kept on with that tradition. Our peak year was 2005 when we went 64 times! If it’s raining? We don’t go. We know we can go another time.

And on our anniversary each year, we stay at the Shades of Green resort, and go to each of the parks, one each day. So you can see – we REALLY like Disney!

Because we’ve been enamored with Disney for so long, we have quite a bit of Disney memorabilia around our house. And we thoroughly enjoy it all. Our youngest daughter, Janet, worked at a Disney Store once upon a time, and she supplied us with quite a bit of Disney stuff. One of my favorite things she gave us, were figurines of some of the characters from Disney’s 1939 original Fantasia. I enjoyed them so much, that I had a friend (who is a wood worker by trade), fashion a shadow box for them. That box and those figurines now grace a wall in our house. I think they are adorable! Unfortunately, I have broken one of the pieces, but have substituted another Mickey in its place. And another friend who worked for Disney, presented us with “Mickey’s House” snowglobe that rests upon the top of the shadow box.



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~





Optical Illusion

16 Feb


 Judy Wills

Judy Wills



I’ve always been fascinated by optical illusions.  Not that I can always “pick them apart” and figure them out, but I try.  There are several that I really enjoy.  Here is one of them.


Can you see the THREE faces in there?  Look again – there really are three.

1.  The young girl is facing away from you.

2.  The old woman is in the middle – her eye is the young girl’s ear, and her nose is the young girl’s chin – with a “wart” on it (the young girl’s nose).

3.   The man’s eye is also the young girl’s ear, and his mustache is the young girl’s fur collar, with his long nose coming down over his mustache.

The hat fits all three.  Such fun!

And then there’s the one with the elephant.  Does this beastie have three or four legs?  Perhaps five legs?


And then there’s the one with the faces in the vase.


One of my favorite artists, other than my sister-in-law, DiVoran, is Bev Doolittle.  She paints a lot of outdoor scenes, but there are usually “hidden” faces or things within her paintings.  One of the best examples is below.  How many hidden faces can you find?


But one of my all-time favorite illusions is a painting in the rotunda of the American Adventure at EPCOT.  If you are ever there – either waiting for the Voices Of Liberty to sing, or the American Adventure show – then check out the painting of the airplane on the wall.  Start at the left side of the painting, then move toward the opposite wall – toward the right side of the painting.  The airplane moves with you!!  Absolutely amazing!  (Sorry – I don’t have a copy of that picture to insert here)  How did the artist do that?  Whenever we are in that place, and we usually strike up a conversation with the people around us, we always point out that painting to them.  They are amazed, as well.

Some people are so talented, and I’m so glad that God made us all with different skills.  These kinds of things really delight me.  I feel like God just gives them to us to lift our hearts and let us laugh a little bit.

The American Adventure


To see more of the American Adventure artwork and history click HERE

How Do You Like Your Change?

15 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Change is one of those words that can be both positive and negative. Some people are not happy with change in any form. They like knowing exactly how to do something or exactly what to expect. This doesn’t mean they like what is happening, but they are comfortable with where they are.

On the other side of the spectrum are the ones who chase after each new idea or fad that comes along. For them change is exciting and the status quo is boring. They always know the cool places to go, the latest trends and seem to be very happy to “ride the wave of change” wherever it takes them.

I fall right in the middle. I love technology.  When I visited Walt Disney World in the 1970’s, The Carousel of Progresswas one of my favorite rides.

English: Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress in...

English: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to dream about instant communication and now I have not one, but multiple options for it.  I enjoy trying new foods and especially like trying new restaurants. I am always on board for a road trip or a cruise, but don’t expect me to get on an airplane, not happening.

On the other hand, I am not fond of the ethical changes I see around me. Truth is considered situational as is obeying rules and cheating. I could try to explain this with all kinds of theories but in the simplest form I believe it all boils down to too much “I”.  Change ME, might be the best change of all.

If you would like to read my daughter’s take on change, click the link on the right for Rebekah Lyn’s Kitchen

Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Philippians 2:3-4 The Message

%d bloggers like this: