Sunday, December 19, 2010

"It's Kind of Fun..."

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. – Walt Disney

What’s impossible for you?  What in your life feels like the impossible goal or dream?  Has anyone ever told you that something you want to accomplish is impossible?  I’ve been there, and I know so many people who have been there or who are there right now.  But who says anything is impossible?

Once upon a time…
A horse-less carriage was impossible.

Films with color and sound were impossible.

Putting a man in space or on the moon was impossible.

Instant access to friends and family via a world wide web was impossible.

Lifelike animatronics, four parks in one world, an international company based on a mouse…impossible. 

But it’s not.  Let me tell you my once upon a time.  I’ve never been the athletic type.  Reading books and studying hard has always been my speed.  I’ve wanted to be healthy and I’ve dreamed about being  more graceful and athletic, but for me, that was impossible.  Until this year.  I began running.  And I battled my way through it.  I felt like it would take forever before I could even run one full lap (1/4 mile) around the track.  Then one day, it happened.  One full lap.  Then two…three…four.  A full mile!  Then a mile and a half, then two.  Then the impossible happened, I ran a 5K race in the Magic Kingdom, and I will never be the same.  I came home and ran another 5K just a week later!  And I have to admit, Walt was right…”It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

So now I’m hoping to do another 5K or two this next year, then maybe a ½ marathon.  I also want to pay off all my debt, completely and totally (another “impossible”).  I want to write a book.  I want to start an amazing, uplifting company with my mom.  I want to visit Disneyland (both California and Paris).  “For nothing is impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37

What’s impossible or seems impossible for you?  Doing anything life-changing can be a frightening process.  Fear is what makes things impossible.  Challenge yourself to be fearless, and have faith that nothing is impossible…it’s actually kinda fun!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Mickey...

...slip some tickets under the tree
image from Photopass Photo Gallery CD
for me,
been a true fan all year;
Santa Mickey...and fly me to Orlando tonight!
Santa Mickey,
and how about some DVC too,
savannah view;
I've been an awful good girl.
Santa Mickey...a Magical Express ride tonight!
Think of all
the guidebooks I've read,
think of all the travel tips & joy I've spread.
I really do
miss Minnie & You
& Donald, & Goofy & Winnie the doo pe doo!
Santa Mickey
Don't forget to share
some good news
of a Cruise,
I don't mean in the car.
Santa fly me to Orlando tonight!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Memories have Arrived!

In this midst of the past crazy week (aka the week with no blog post), something wonderful arrived on my doorstep.  The photobook I had finally made, thanks to a really great coupon code, of our trip to Walt Disney World last December.  Yep, you read that right, December 2009.  What can I say, it took a little longer than expected to get a scrapbook/photobook put together.  Setting aside my obvious problem with procrastination, what I really wanted to share with you is how wonderful it was to be able relive those holiday memories from last year while getting into the holiday spirit this year.  It was such an amazing trip...our first during the Christmas season.  And although I can honestly say that it isn't my absolute favorite time of year to travel to Disney, it did spoil me just a little bit on how the holidays should be celebrated.  The best lights in town can't compare to the Osborne lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  And the White County Christmas Parade certainly doesn't have life size Gingerbread Men, marching Toy Soldiers, or Mickey Mouse!

So how do you have a Merry Christmas the "ordinary" way now that you've experienced the "Disney" way?

Well, you could attempt to drape your house in lights, much like Cinderella castle, and in the end, look like you belong to the Griswold family.  Or you could plan to set off fireworks outside around 10 pm on Christmas Eve, but you'd probably end up having a visit from your local law enforcement officers offering to let you spend Christmas downtown.

You could be part of a town wide effort to improve Christmas with all of your acquired Disney knowledge on how the Christmas holiday SHOULD be celebrated (and in the meantime suddenly find that all of your friends are too busy to take your phone calls).
All of these ideas are fine, but could definitely lead to some disappointments.  Many of us are prone to the "holiday blues" anyway, and sometimes that can be simply from expectations that are way too high to ever be met.  We go into the Christmas season thinking, I want to do this or that, and I want it to go this way or that way, and everything just has to be perfect!  But inevitably, something doesn't go just right, or something doesn't turn out as grand as we had hoped or planned, and without meaning to, we set our holidays up for failure.  Especially if we've had an amazing experience, such as a trip to Disney during the Christmas season, to compare our meager celebrations to.  So what should you do instead?  Enjoy reminiscing over those previous holiday memories, but recognize, nothing you do at home will be quite as grand as a Disney Christmas.  Keep things in perspective.  And if you just feel the need to experience a little holiday Magic, check out your favorite Disney websites and podcasts for the latest info on the Christmas happenings at Walt Disney World.  (Rikki has a great series on Christmas in the Parks going on her website and the Be Our Guest Podcast, WDW Today, & WDW Radio have all recently featured podcasts about the Disney holiday season...check them out!)

So be realistic about your holiday expectations, relive those special holiday memories, and finally, create a little magic of your own!  If you've just got to have some Disney in your Christmas celebrations, make it happen!  Trust me, I know what I'm talking about!

And if you'd like a full trip report from last December, with more pictures of our experiences with the Disney Christmas season, leave me a message in the comments and I'll see what I can do!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spirit of Thankfulness

If we knew how much the habit of being thankful might do for us, I am sure we would take time out every day to count up a few of our blessings.  When the spirit of thankfulness takes its place in our consciousness, we radiate life from the very center of our being to the world about us. – Author Unknown, “The Secrets to a Soulful Life.”

I was listening to a Disney podcast on my way home from work, as I often do, and was struck by the tone of gratitude that resonated throughout the conversation.  The couple, who had visited Walt Disney World for their honeymoon, mentioned so many times how cast members and others visiting Disney had taken the time to make their trip so magical, and how thankful they were for that.  You could just hear it in their voices.  And it stood out to me in so many ways. 
First, we are in the season of Thanksgiving, so naturally, that came to mind.  Many of us celebrate this holiday with family and friends and many take time during their celebrations to say what they are thankful for.
Second, from a therapeutic standpoint, the simple act of “counting your blessings” can do wonders for someone who is dealing with adversity in their life.  This is not to say that you stop to think about how your situation isn’t that bad, because someone else is worse off than you.  But more to stop and take in all the wonderful parts of your life.  In every life, I believe, there are true blessings.  And the act of focusing on those positive things, the things you are indeed thankful for, can transform your mood, your situation, and the world around you. 
I am thankful for so many things.  I am thankful for my beautiful, kind son who teaches me about life every day.  I am thankful for my husband, who loves me even though I drive him crazy, and who has willingly become a Disney convert.  I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends who support me in all that I do.  I am thankful for my amazing mom, who inspires me and gives me food for thought every time we talk.  I am thankful that I am allowed to do the important work that I do with children and families.  And yes, I am thankful for Disney:  for how blessed I am to travel there so often, for the magic it brings to my life and allows me to be a kid again, and for the amazing friendships I have made because of a mutual love for Disney.
So to all of you, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and I wish for you a spirit of thankfulness and a heart filled with gratitude.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Dining Experience

As a therapist, one thing I've noticed about so many people (sometimes myself included) is that we are too busy and too stressed out to really experience anything.  What do you think of when I say the word "experience"?  To me, to truly experience something is to take it all in with as many of your senses as possible.  See it, hear it, touch it, taste it, smell it.  Then use your senses to take all that information within yourself and create a memory or an experience.  So often, we rush through our lives and miss out on some amazing experiences.  One that we do this so often with is eating.  How often do you eat on the run?  My family does it way to much.  We are in a hurry to get somewhere or move on to the next thing on our agenda, so we grab a quick bite and really don't experience our food at all.  Sometimes I think that if we did that more often, we would realize that what we eat in a rush isn't that good! 

Disney truly gets the dining experience.  If you take the time to have a sit down table service meal in a Disney park or resort, you will find that if you allow yourself to have the experience, it will create lasting memories.  The sights, sounds, smells, texture and taste of the food is all enhanced by Disney magic as well as all the hard work of Imagineers who take the time to find a way to immerse you in your dining experience, just like they do in your park/ride experience. 

Take for example our recent visit to the newly opened Via Napoli, in the Italian pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase.  It is tucked into the back of the pavilion and looks like it has been there all along, even though it only opened late this year.  The building is beautiful, with some amazing details both inside and out, including a gorgeous outdoor patio seating area.  Inside you find beautiful decor and the amazing wood burning stoves used to prepare their wonderful pizza.

The whole atmosphere really added to the experience of a different kind of Italian eatery.  The Italian wait staff were wonderful, some speaking heavily accented English, others very little English at all.  They made you feel at home, were very attentive, and wanted you to have a great experience.  Then of course, there was the food.  We are pizza lovers in my family, and I have to say, this had to be one of the absolute best pizzas I've had in a very long time.  The salad had an incredible flavor, and dessert was not planned but once we read about it, we had to try it! 

As Remy, from Disney & Pixar's Ratatouille suggests, I savored every bite, eating as slowly as possible and really taking it all in.  And it was worth the time to have the experience. 
There are so many amazing Disney dining experiences, and I will definitely share more with you in future posts, particularly when talking about how Disney nourishes the mind, body and spirit.
So do you have a favorite dining experience?  If so, please share in the comments.  Thanks for reading and don't forget to take the time to experience your life!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time for a little Musical Therapy

Today let’s talk about music therapy.  Music is something that can trigger memories and emotions and is known to hold many therapeutic qualities, such as helping to calm, promoting wellness, and assisting in expression of emotion.  In relation to Disney therapy, sometimes having the musical triggers are the next best thing to being there!  When I can’t be at Disney, one of my favorite things to do to soothe the “Disney blues” is to listen to music from the parks and resorts.  Over my many trips to the World, I have built up a large collection of CD's that allow me to revisit through the music.  Background tunes from my favorite lands or rides, sounds from the resorts, and parade and fireworks music can transport me to Disney while sitting at my desk, driving in the minivan or cleaning my house.  I also use the music in DVD slide shows I make of our trips, connecting those memories with specific songs.  

Now if you don’t have these CD's, don’t worry, there are other options for getting your Disney music therapy via the internet.  About two years ago, I discovered Live 365, an internet site with independent radio stations broadcasting a wide variety of music.  During a Disney music search, I lucked upon several stations broadcasting music found inside the Disney parks (not just tunes from movies or television shows).  It was then that I became a huge fan of Magical Mouse Radio, Sorcerer Radio, WDW Live radio, and more.  I would highly recommend that everyone take the time to visit these stations and enjoy the sounds of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.  Not to mention the resorts.  My favorite musical loop on Magical Mouse Radio is the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  It brings back vivid memories of our stays at the Lodge and just makes me want to go “home” again.  

So get your dose of Disney music therapy today, and let the music take you to the most magical place on Earth!  And to those of you who engage in regular Disney music therapy, what song or music loop is the most therapeutic for you?

For those who are interested in the actual practice of music therapy, please visit the American Music Therapy Association website at or you can find them on Facebook at .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It All Started with an Office...

Any time I've started a new job, one of the first things I always have to find out is if I'm allowed to decorate my office.  Having a mother who is an interior designer means I know very well how important a fabulous office environment is to productivity and happiness on the job.  Needless to say, she and I have decorated more than our fair share of offices!  So, when I began my latest adventure as a Program Supervisor and Therapist in a new outpatient counseling division, naturally, it was time to decorate a new office.  I had a beautiful canvas to work with...a second story office with four nice windows having fantastic views, a larger than average space and hard wood flooring.  The walls were also a very light cream, so no primer necessary!  So with the basics in place, what would inspire this office?
Well, it turns out that Mom & I took our first girls only trip to Walt Disney World in the fall of 2008.  During that trip, we visited "One Man's Dream" at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  It was that look into Walt Disney's life, and a picture of his office, that in turn inspired mine.

After much careful study of this photo, as well as others I had found on the internet showing different angles of the office, Mom decided that we needed to go with a mid-century modern meets contemporary design.  I decided that it needed both subtle and obvious Disney references.  Well, here's what we put together...

So, how did we do?  The retro chairs and circle patterns of course play to that mid-century modern look.  The desk and chairs are on an angle, similar to Walt's office, and there are filing cabinets behind the desk, in place of the drafting table.  Some of the more obvious Disney references are the large picture wall, of course, and the clock collection.  None of the six clocks are on Central Time (current time here).  They tell me the time in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, & Hawaii...all references to Disney Parks and Resorts...meaning I'm always on Disney time!!

Just a few more little touches, for fun.  A very dear friend gave me the sign with Walt's quote, "If you can dream it, you can do it."  This is something that I try very hard to live by and to instill in my clients.  When they give up dreaming, they give up hope for the future.  And hope is a core component of healing.
So far, all of my clients love my office, and they all seem to love it for different reasons.  Many of them catch the Disney references right away, and it seems to put them at ease.  Many say it just feels good in my office, cozy and comfortable.  To me, it's my home away from home (the real one & the Disney one!).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Welcome To My Blog!

Welcome to this blog!  I’m so glad you decided to check it out.  As you read in the title, this blog is about my therapy, otherwise known as Disney therapy!  I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist, primarily working with children who are dealing with issues of abuse, neglect, depression, fear, difficult family situations, mental illness, and so on.  As you can imagine, it can be a very tough job, and I have always thought of Disney as my therapy…the thing that helps me to stay sane and to keep my focus on the joy in life.  I’ve always loved Disney, and every time I visit Walt Disney World, it renews my faith in magic, in innocence, and the pure joy within each of us. 

As a therapist, I know that one very useful therapy tool is a journal.  So this blog will serve that purpose for my Disney therapy.  I will journal about different ways Disney serves as my therapy, highlighting some of the amazing people in the Disney community, things everyone can do to bring the magic back into their lives, and just some really fun Disney related stuff!  I may also throw some true therapy stuff in there as well, especially information for parents about some of the issues children are dealing with now, in hopes that it will help you help your kids when they are facing tough times.  I hope you find something helpful, useful, or just something that makes you smile when you read it.  So, let’s get started!