Magical Blogorail: Celebrating at Disney – Honeymoons

Welcome to those of you joining me from Frontierland Station and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

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Camp 2014

Thursday I arrived back from almost a week at a summer camp with our youth.  Every summer for the past 7 or 8 years we have taken our kids to the same place: Lake Forest Ranch.  Many churches around the area take their students to Centrifuge camps or other conference type locations.  Lake Forest Ranch is a Christian summer camp that focuses on one-on-one ministry.  Also they minister to the leaders at the same time.  Lake Forest Ranch is located in between Louisville, MS and Macon, MS.  Lake Forest Ranch or LFR has been ministering to youth for over 50 years.

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Magical Blogorail: Review of Lou Mongello’s 102 Ways to Save Money at Walt Disney World

This review for 102 Ways to Save Money at Walt Disney World by Lou Mongello is part of a Magical Blogorail sponsored campaign. Copies of the book were received free of charge for a review. Opinions are those of the reviewer and do not represent those of the author.  Your opinion may vary.

When I first stepped foot in the Disney online community back in 2007, one of the first podcasts I began listening to was WDW Radio.  Since then I have been an avid listener and supporter of the WDW Radio host, Mr. Lou Mongello.  Not only has Lou’s show won Best Travel Podcast every year from 2006-2013, but he also is an author.  The Walt Disney World Trivia Books (there are two volumes currently) take trivia about Walt Disney World and turn that into fun for the whole family.  More about WDW Radio, The Walt Disney World Trivia Books, and Lou’s popular Audio Guides and Dream Team Project can all be found at WDW Radio.  So I have “known” Lou for many years and when I saw that his new project was a book about saving money at Walt Disney World, I couldn’t wait to take a look at it.

About the Book:
102 Ways to Save Money for and at Walt Disney World gives answers to that pesky question most people traveling to WDW have: how do I afford to pay for a WDW vacation?  Not only is this question answered, but it is answered with so much variety that any person who thinks WDW is out of the question for a vacation due to finances will seriously reconsider staying at home.  102 Ways to Save Money for and at Walt Disney World can be found at Lou’s website and is offered in digital form as well as paperback.

My Review:
I knew that I didn’t know everything about saving money at Disney World and for Disney World, but I didn’t realize just how much I didn’t know.  Reading this text was a journey through the mind of a true Disney “life hacker.”  The tips begin not as you step on property, but months (or even years!) ahead of your travel dates.  Lou meticulously explains tips that might be obvious: saving for a trip, booking a room, how to dine, etc. to the obscure: partial day tickets, laundry problems, pressed pennies, etc.  What I love about the book is the dedication to details and the feeling that every stone has been upturned for you.  102 Ways is separated into obvious sections of the vacation planning process.  For instance, the chapter that includes when to book a hotel room comes before the chapter on dining.  Also every chapter in the digital version offers links to online content that coincides to the tip in question.  My favorite part of this service is that Lou lists the episodes of his podcast that match the tip.  As I was reading, I tried to see just how many tips you could use out of the 102 on one single trip. This I found impossible, but that was the beauty of the text, because the variety of tips gives everyone reading, no matter the background or financial level, the opportunity to save money (and much more than a few dollars) when traveling to the Disney parks in Orlando.  The book is easy to read and is great as a reference for any and all decisions in the vacation planning process.  Two mouse ears way up for 102 Ways to Save Money for and at Walt Disney World!

My favorite tip:
While reading 102 Ways, I continued to audibly say, “oh thats a good idea,” and “wow, I never thought of that!”  Of course there were many tips that I knew about, but I am sure the typical traveler would probably never know without someone telling them.  No matter if it was a new idea or a known tip to me, this book organized and categorized them neatly in one volume for me.

Tip #87 Save Money at Table Service Restaurants included my favorite nuggets of information in the entire book.  Being a big fan of Disney dining at WDW, this tip included specific and detailed (including prices!) ideas of restaurants and items that could be shared by two people for a meal AND examples of where you can find the exact same item for a smaller cost in the park.  For example in the book Lou states, “Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom — a bowl of New England Clam Chowder is $6.99 at lunch.  Get the same chowder at the nearby Columbia Harbour House for $4.99 a bowl.”

Conclusion:
Lou Mongello’s new book 102 Ways to Save Money for and at Walt Disney World is a great read and very worth the cost.  Not only does the book contain details for each of the 102 tips, but it also includes 40 ideas of free things to do or have at WDW as well.  If you a Disney fan like myself this is a great addition to your Disney travel collection.  Check out our Magical Blogorail competition to win your own copy for free below!


Disney expert and podcasting pioneer, Lou Mongello, shares 102 ways you can have the most magical Disney vacation without breaking the bank in this comprehensive, detailed, 197-page guide.  102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World guide is a MUST HAVE for any family planning toward a Disney vacation.

Purchase the Book Here 

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Your Own + a Walt Disney World Audio Tour from Lou Monghello

If you would like a copy of Lou Mongello’s 102 Ways to Save Money at Walt Disney World please enter to win our giveaway below.  Please click here if the entry widget is not shown below.

I am your father

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.” – Tolkein The Hobbit

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” – Proverbs 3:11-12
“Train a child in the way he shall go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
“No….I am your father.” – The Empire Strikes Back

When I was born way back in 1986 many things in pop culture had already taken a foothold.  One was The Lord of the Rings trilogy and another was the Star Wars trilogy.  I knew nothing about these things in 1986 mainly because well I was an infant.  I used to love a good story read to me.  And I will always remember the night that dad either got tired of reading the same old stories or decided I was ready for something more and he brought in an old beat up looking book with yellow pages.  He said, “I read this book when I was young and I think you will like it a lot.”  It started like this:
“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.  Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
At that moment I was completely lost in the world of Middle-Earth.  And I would continue to be for the next few months as my father read me this story.  I remember the spiders, Gollum, Beorn, the Trolls, and of course The Battle of Five Armies.  Also the death of two of my favorite characters was the first time a book truly made me cry.  It was around that same time that my father told me about Star Wars.  I remember watching the first movie at our old apartment that we lived in while my parents current house was being built.  Again I was opened to a whole new world of adventure and good vs. evil.  I could feel myself using the Force to move things and I WAS Luke Skywalker and lets me honest, every kid took a stick/light saber and made the noises while we fought enemy Stormtroopers.  The very next night we watched The Empire Strikes Back and the ending was the biggest shock of my life.  I don’t think I have ever freaked out at a movie more than when those famous words were spoken.  We hesitated for a few months before watching Return of the Jedi, solely because my dad told me you saw Darth Vader’s face at the end and I was really not ready for that.  I had nightmares about it.  But these were the days of VHS recordings and our whole trilogy of Star Wars movies were recorded from HBO.  So when we actually did watch Return of the Jedi the recording cut out before I saw Darth’s face.  It took quite a few more years before I did and yeah it wasn’t so bad.
Why do I tell these stories?  Well most everywhere on the interwebs on Sunday there will be Father’s Day posts.  People will change their profile pictures to them and their dads, they will post great stories like the ones I tried to tell well above, and most of all people will eat Sunday lunch or dinner with their dads and then give him a giftcard, tool, or some other item of the manly persuasion.  I can’t be with my dad this year on Father’s Day because I will be at camp with our youth group, out in the middle of nowhere Mississippi, enjoying the fun and festivities that come with summer camp.  
The first thing that I must say about my dad out front is that he is nowhere near perfect.  That might always be the toughest lesson for a kid to learn growing up is that their dad is just like themselves….human.  But thats where I have to stop and say my dad is far from a failure.  He is a hard worker and has always provided for us way beyond the essentials of life.  Because of my dad’s finance savy mind, we were able to take long family trips together every summer and we never missed out on something at school, church, or community because of money.  My dad showed me how to love my family and heritage.  He taught me how throw a baseball, how to drive a lawnmower and weedeater, 
 how to grill the perfect burger, how to play poker, how to swing a golf club, and thats really only getting started.  He also helped to teach me how to give your time at a church, how to use your connections to help others in need, how to lose and win gracefully and with the highest sportsmanship (this is referring to our love of Mississippi State NOT card games, where my dad is an avid cheater:), how to appreciate the smallest of things in life, and how to use your talents for others.  
But one of the greatest gifts that my dad gave me was not in the above list, in fact, it is something that not many sons can say their dad did for them.  My dad showed me that cancer could be beaten.  15 years before I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma Stage 2B, my father was diagnosed with the same disease, same stage.  Because of the advancements of research and medicine my dad’s struggle was a lot worse 15 years ago than my struggle this year.  But the point is that when I was diagnosed, I was not afraid of cancer, because I knew it could be beaten.  Also I had faith that God would deliver me from it and if not, I would praise Him anyway.  My dad brought me up to give back and that is why he is running a half-marathon in my honor in January.  And because my dad knows me he is running the Walt Disney World Half-marathon.  So because I want to give back too we are both running as are our famillies.  We run to give back to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and help the next generation of cancer patients realize that dragons can be beaten.
So thanks dad, for teaching me how to love Bluegrass, a furry footed hobbit, Jedi, Bulldogs, family, God, and a good grilled burger.  And thanks dad for beating cancer and for loving me, while I did the same.  Happy Father’s Day.
Journey Strong

A Great Start to A Radiating Summer

“When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream, of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam.” – Olaf “In Summer”

It has surely been a few weeks since my last blog post.  If you are keeping score:  Bryce 1  Cancer 0
So after I graduated from MSU a few Saturdays ago, I rounded out the school year and closed up shop.  It is always a little sad to see my empty classroom with all the books packed up and the floors clear for cleaning.  But it is also exciting, because in summer I work for a non-profit housed in my home church.  It is called His Heart, most of you will know it if you live in the Jackson area.  We work with families and kids in the heart of the city of Jackson, MS.    It is some of the most rewarding moments of my year.  We do our best to be the hands and feet of Christ to those families.  
His Heart Website: 
I also took a surprise trip to Walt Disney World with my wife and our good friends Zach and Jordan.  It was great to be at WDW again.  It was my first time visiting New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom and so many more new experiences.  I took over a thousand pictures and most of them will be used for future travel blog posts.  I can’t wait to share the fun!  

Throughout the trip I wore a button that said, “I’m celebrating!”.  On the button was written, “I am Cancer Free!”  Everyone else had buttons that said, “Bryce is cancer free!”  The response was humbling and uplifting.  Everyone who noticed not only congratulated me, but most shared their story with me in line or passing by.  I remember one cast member on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority or TTA for you Disney fanatics, said “I am too!”  I responded with, “It’s great isn’t it!”  He said, “Yes, everyday you appreciate more and more.  Have fun!”  Indeed, when we are faced with our humanity and realize that everyday is a gift and could be our last, we sure do live a little better.  That sure is an odd juxtaposition.
I have now been back home for almost a week.  I am still getting back to “reality” and have been working at His Heart collecting forms for Arts Camp next week.  I have stressed over getting everything back in order and back on routine.  Also I have been catching up on podcasts.  One of the best ones I listen to is the Ransomed Heart Podcast hosted by John Eldridge of Wild at Heart fame.  He spoke on the end times and how we are living in the days right before Jesus comes.  He spoke with such urgency and it truly made me think back on my urgency through the cancer journey.  We are a procrastinating people.  We say oh I’ll share Jesus tomorrow or I’ll start that book when I am out of school.  If the Lord has something on your heart to do, don’t hesitate!  Start your dream today!  I am speaking to myself more than anyone.  There are so many things that I know I should do and yet I put it off.  Your life has a purpose.  Take it from me, I am not here to lead a nation or start a revolution, but I know that the Lord has great things in store for me to do.  I am just saying, be alert and be ready to act.  
Now for the radiation.  I met with my radiologist yesterday to discuss when radiation therapy will start.  Wow what a difference in cancer clinic visits.  Radiation is a whole other ballpark than chemo. The office staff was incredibly jolly and helpful.  We met with the business department (always fun) and then the nurse and the doctor.  I really could tell you details about radiation, but this was just an initial visit.  I will go back to get another scan with the Radiology department June 23 and then I will start radiation later that week.  Radiation will last 3 weeks!  That’s right only 3!  This was less than half of the amount I thought I would receive AND it allows me to take our youth to camp at Lake Forest Ranch as well!  Great news to start off a great summer.
Thanks for giving me some time off, but I will be back at the blog much more during the summer!  If you want to follow more of what my summer entails you can follow my #79daysofsummer on Instagram.  Follow me @yelverto.
Journey Strong