Saturday, 28 September 2013

Thank you to Zonta International Newsletter!

Google Analytics tells me click rate has been going NUTS today!

My hit rate chart for the past 24 hours
So why the modicum of attention and the thank you title?

If you have read your Zonta International email newsletter, you would have seen me included as one of four excited Convention attendees planning for Orlando 2014!! I was asked by Zonta PR to answer a few simple questions (you can read my answers here) and was given a free promo for Mrs. Banks in return. How sweet is that?

I was tempted to provide this photo:

.... but it's not Christmas yet.

What's that??

Dragging down the tone of their professional, internationally distributed newsletter?

Ummmmm .... maybe......

So perhaps you are landing on this page as a result of reading that article, then I offer you a

Welcome to Mrs Banks' blog, and Welcome Home to Disney's Boardwalk Inn - where I will be staying before convention
Mrs. Banks aims to get you to Orlando - to give you enough info to answer your questions and make your travel a bit easier.

Now Zontians, I don't have all the answers. But that's only because I haven't been asked all the questions yet.

And to facilitate the question asking and extra event planning around ZI Convention, I proudly launch the:

Mrs. Banks goes to Convention Facebook Group!!

Through this group I'll be better able to interact with others coming to convention, and organise special events for Mrs. Banks' Zonta friends. 

For example: my first offering is a Kayak tour with Central Florida Nature Adventures. I've already got a few people coming along, AND we are looking for more. I'll use the Facebook Group to co-ordinate such events.  Check out my earlier post and see what I'm rabbiting on about

I've invited a few people to join the group to start us off - we would love to have you come over and join in with us.

I promise it will be more exciting than kite flying ... not that there's anything wrong with that
It is time for you to get ready for Convention.

The latest version of The Zontian magazine is on its way to you right now. This mag will include a hard copy version of the Call to Convention and paper registration.  You can already register online, including your Marriott accommodation, meals and day trips

How much easier can we make this for you??!!

I am more grateful to my readers and supporters than any of you will realise. I write this stuff, sitting alone on my couch and have no idea where it will end up. My one reader in Poland is slowly developing into a growing band of regulars from across the globe. I recognise the privilege of taking your attention.

and thank you to ZI Convention Organisers, Jane Adams and Alick Chick and the ZI PR team.

Now back to your regular programming.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Daytripping: Keys to the Kingdom

UPDATE: 17 OCT Disney just released a new video introducing the tour guides! less than 2 mins

Just as Zonta went nuts with all their way exciting Convention announcements, I was in the midst of a mini-series on Day Tripping in Orlando.  About 3 posts back, I gave you a healthy list of backstage tours available at Walt Disney World.  Any of these could take your fancy, but there really is only 1 considered a MUST DO at Disney.

The Keys to the Kingdom tour.

My fellow tour participants were never this neat and tidy and smiley
This tour is your 'go to' experience if you want to:
  • learn about the underlying design of the Magic Kingdom (hint: it's an immersive movie theatre!)
  • peek behind the scenes and learn how the park operates
  • hear a bit of Walt Disney personal history
  • front of line access to a couple of the most iconic rides
  • visit the famous underground "utilidors"
The backside of Splash Mountain - check out the plumbing! (source: margaret and ian's website)

  • Only 4.5 hours, leaves first thing in morning, and gives you lunch at the end!
  • The tour guide uses small transistor earpieces - so you can wander a bit and still have the commentary in your ear.
The voices in head keep telling me to speak at the Pro microphone (source: a glass slipper

  • Start by walking down Main Street USA and learn about the key design principles, including the 'forced perspective'.
  • How Tinkerbelle 'flies' during the fireworks show every night.
  • Discover the history of the famous Jungle Cruise ride - how the animatronics work.
  • Go off stage to see the parade float storage sheds
Ahhh - the long lost Spectromagic parade. Enough fairy lights to blackout a minor city.(source: military disney tips)

  • Tell some of the secrets of how they keep everyone so safe with their security systems 
  • How they restock all the stores without a single van, truck, barrow travelling 'on stage'.
  • See their amazing vacuum driven garbage collection process
  • Go underground and take a walk through the famous utilidors (utility corridors)
The glamour of show business: Concrete! Underground tunnels! Safety signs! (source: margaret and ian's website)

This tour is fabulous for jamming in so much cool content! And lunch! and a gift souvenir.

Photography is supposedly banned on the tour - but I have scrounged some piccies for you. Google is my friend.  If you are really keen here is this old Oprah special where she tours the utilidors.

Just a heads up - you won't get the same tour as Oprah

The CONS of this tour - there is a lot of standing on hard concrete and precious little sitting. In the heat of June this may be a bit overwhelming.  And I suppose if you don't want to know all this 'behind the scenes' stuff, it may ruin the magic for you.

At $75 this is a reasonable for a half-day entertainment, with lunch. The tour runs every day, with multiple morning departures - I recommend the first session at 8:30am. You must have a park entry ticket. And GREAT walking / standing around shoes!

Of all the Disney backstage tours, this is the best.

So .... are you the kind of person who loves to find all the little details and discover how they make the magic? or would you rather not know?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

2014 Zonta International Convention Registrations now open!

Another milestone for the Convention organisers .... the opening of on-line convention registration.

Get ready to dive in and sign up
Registration is very easy and fast. I had pre-registered on the website months ago, and so just entering my name and email address brought back all those details - pre-populated in the online form.

Then I just worked my way through each of the questions and chose the bits I was after. For example, the Closing Banquet is a separate ticket.

Convention now offers daily registration rates. Can only drop in for the weekend? Then you can register and pay for only 2 days @ USD $150/day.

You can also order the Taste of the World dinners - or the approximation mustered by an international chain brand name hotel. I do suggest that you may want to attend one or two - as it will be a pain the rear to secure transport and go for a drive to another restaurant every single night.  AND ... you know you want to spend as much time as possible chatting with your international friends!! (geez I have the WHOLE of Facebook to meet in person!) I chose to attend Latin night.
I openly admit - the seafood stew was the draw card

I paid with a credit card and it was processed immediately. For non-USA Zontians, I recommend using a travel card style credit card to pay - or perhaps you have a card that does not charge a foreign processing fee? I used the world famous Travelex Cash Passport.

Extraordinarily easy and fast process. Go - DO IT NOW!

Hey Zontians - see how I care for you ... this post cost me $646. I hope it has been worth it.

Day tours and the cheesy dinner shows are not booked through the convention registration process. Access to this offerings are from Hello! Florida Destination Management!

Well ....Helloooooo .... do you come here often?

So Zontians, you know I'm right. and even I'm wrong I'm frequently right too - this is the action to take: book your seat for the hottest* convention tickets on offer!

*That's because it will be 35 degrees C everyday