Friday, February 3, 2012

Chat With a Disney Guru ~ The DVC Mom

Weekly series!

Welcome to a great new way to compare notes, pick up some helpful tips for your next Disney visit, and discover some fantastic Disney bloggers!  Each week I will be highlighting an interview with a certified, pixie dusted fan of The Mouse.  

WARNING:  Their enthusiasm for all things Disney is, in fact, quite contagious!  So come along for the ride with us ... you may learn something new, and it's sure to put a smile on your face as you read about the good, the really really good, and the "you absolutely can't miss this...."!

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This week: The DVC Mom!

Kristen at Citricos
Kristen, a.k.a. The DVC Mom, at Citricos

When I first discovered the joy of Disney blogs - Kristen's was one of the first I found, and loved!  It is gorgeous, features amazing photos, and has a very fun design theme to it - inspired by the Grand Floridian!  See the button link at the end of the article, and be sure to check it out.

She holds a special place in her heart for Disneyland, and we'll ask her about DVC at the end ... so let's get in on some of her thoughts!

Tell us a little about you, and your website (blog).
Thanks so much for having me today, it’s a pleasure to share my passion for the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) with you and your readers.   On my blog I try to share my love of all things Disney with articles and photographs from my travels and the occasional company information that I've been asked to pass along.  I have been a Disney Vacation Club Member since 2008, when we bought a membership for my birthday and it truly changes our lives.  I currently own at two DVC resorts; in Walt Disney World, I call Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village home and at the Disneyland Resort, home is the Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa.  I have worked closely with my DVC Guide in bringing new families to DVC and have co-hosted events at the Doorway to Dreams Center to introduce Chicagoland mom bloggers to the Disney Vacation Club.  I'm forever planning our next Disney adventure.

Which is your favorite Disney Park, and why?
Disneyland is my favorite Disney Park, because it's charming and intimate.  The feeling there is much more laid back than at WDW, there are so many wonderful little nooks to find where you can sit down for a rest and watch the crowds.  The details are amazing, and New Orleans Square is my favorite land of all.  Disneyland is the original, Walt's park, and it will always be my favorite.

Top 3 characters you’d like to meet, on an ideal day at Disney:
Mickey, Snow White and Jack Sparrow.  I love so many characters (oh!  Duffy too!) do I really have to limit it to three?  I usually try and do a couple character breakfasts to make sure that I get to see lots of characters.

Your 3 favorite Disney attractions, and why you love them.
Indiana Jones Temple of the Forbidden Eye (at Disneyland) is my favorite ride.  The themeing is amazing, even going through the queue is an adventure.  Then the ride is a fantastic, rollicking good time.  It's a great treat and one of the special things that's only at Disneyland.  I'm also a huge Pirates of the Caribbean fan, simply because it's a classic, the fun song is one of the things that keeps me returning there.  Honestly, I'm also a huge monorail fan.  Most people don't consider it an attraction, but it really is.  I love to relax and ride around the loop, maybe take a trip out to Epcot by monorail, even if i'm not going to the park.  My favorite hotel rooms have always been ones with a monorail view.

Favorite time of the year to visit?
Fall is my favorite time at Walt Disney World.  There is so much going on at this time of year.  Food and Wine Festival is so much fun, and the perfect way to snack around the world.  Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is one of my favorite events, and if we're down in the fall we always get tickets.  The weather in the fall is starting to cool down, it very warm, but not so crazy hot it's unbearable.  The crowds are also smaller which is important to my family.  I love traveling in the fall.

The Park snack your day is not complete without.
I'm not sure that I have a snack that I can't live without.  I love the rice krispie treats and dole whip.  I'm also a sucker for a soft pretzel, or a carrot cake cookie at DHS.  There are so many great treats to snack on at Disney, just like the Characters I can't just pick one!

Favorite Character Meal?
Cape May Cafe' Breakfast is hands down my favorite character meal.  The food there is amazing and always seems to be a higher quality to me than the other buffets.  It's not difficult to get and advanced dining reservation either.  The great food is only made better by the attentive service that I've had there from wonderful cast members.  To top it all off Minnie Mouse in her beachwear is adorable! 

Top 3 Disney on-property restaurants you like to eat at.
Cape May Cafe', California Grill, and Boma are favorites of mine.  However the past few years I've made it a priority to try different restaurants on every trip.  I'm trying to get a handle on a broader variety of Disney tastes and flavors.  When I blog I want to have experienced what I'm talking about myself so that I can give an honest opinion and not seem like I'm writing ad text.  The best way for me to do that is to change it up on every trip!

Kristen's Breakfast
Cape May Breakfast Plate

How do you keep the Pixie Dust flying at home, in between trips?
I'm always planning our next couple of trips.  I may go over the details a million times.  We watch Disney Channel in our house too.  The best way that I've found however is through the fantastic community of Disney fans online.  I have an RSS reader full of Disney Blogs that I wouldn't feel my day was right without stopping by to visit.

Any tips for people planning their 1st trip to Disney?
Yes!  You won't see everything, don't even try.  I always stress to vacationers that ask me about traveling to Disney how important it is to relax and have fun.  Rushing to and fro it's easy to miss the details; stroll down Main Street, don't run.  Disney is known for it's details, take some time to stop and soak them up.  The parks will be there another day, if you miss something that you wanted to see, just come on back next year!

How long have you been blogging about Disney?
I started the DVC Mom blog in April 2009.  I had try to start several blogs before, but they didn't really reflect me as a person as much as my Disney blog does.

Do you take all your own pictures – any tips for getting good shots?
I do take my own pictures, that's a huge part of the Disney experience for me.  My best photo advice is to not only get that basic wide shot.  Get close to your subject, find a dramatic detail, a unique angle, and never feel like you only have one shoot.  You can shoot that detail as much as you want, then you show off the one you feel turned out the best. I like to try and tell stories with my photos. 

Italian Detail

Detail Photography Example - EPCOT's Italy!
 Where do you find inspiration for blog topics to feature?
Finding topics is really difficult for me.  I'm not a natural writer at all and I struggle with what to write about every day.  I mostly find inspiration in the things that I do and love at the Disney Parks.  I occasionally get press releases that are sort of "give me" posts.  Press releases are a great place to gather information.  However, don't cut and paste that press release, that's not what it's for.  Find the things in it that peak your interest and write your own piece on the topic.   Press Releases are research material, you still need to do the work.

What is your motivation to keep blogging, or any final advice to share?
Oh, sometimes it's so hard for me to stay motivated.  I get wrapped up with my job or the kids and my blog suffers.  I guess that my advice as far as that goes is that it's ok.   If you get behind blogging, just start again.  Your readers know that you're human and understand that life happens. When I first started I was told by more experienced bloggers that I would have to post every day.  I'm here to tell you that that's just crazy.  Your blog is your personal thoughts and opinions on things that you want to share with the world.  readers follow you because they like your writing style or enjoy the thoughtful information, maybe they just like you.  Keep it light and fun, the less pressure you put on yourself, the better your blog with represent you.  Don't get caught up in the free stuff marketing trap either, a product review now and again is nice, but sometimes they can get overwhelming.  Be yourself and have fun.

And while we have a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) expert on the line, let's ask her a couple of quick questions about that, too ....

Could you explain a little about what DVC is?
The easiest way to explain the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is that it's Disney's version of a time-share.  However with Disney, instead of purchasing the same week in the same place ever year, you purchase a pre-determined amount of points.  Each year those points drop into your account, and you can spend them at any time of year at a wide variety of locations both atDisney and around the world.

How has your experience with DVC been thus far?
My entire family would agree that DVC has changed our lives.  We travel much more than we used to, and we're staying in wonderful deluxe accommodations. We've been members since 2008 and I've yet to have a problem with our membership.  We even added on points to our original purchase in 2010 so that we would have priority booking on both the east and west cost.  We also used our DVC point to cruise on the DIsney Dream, and that is something we would have never considered before we joined DVC.

Would you recommend DVC to everyone, what would be factors to consider, and if interested - what should be their first step?
I don't believe that DVC is the "right" choice for every Disney Fan.  If you normal only stay in the value resorts, or if you only go to Disney every few years, it may not save you any money.  However if your family travels to DIsney very frequently and stay at moderate resorts, or if you are a deluxe resort type of person than I think DVC is really worth looking in to.  We've found many benefits that are even beyond a monetary savings, but that have simply improved the quality of our travel.  If you're interested in DVC I highly suggest that you first do your homework about the program, checking out both and to get input from current members.  Once you have an idea of what you're looking for in a time-share program, meet with a DVC Guide. If you have a vacation coming up to WDW you will be able to schedule a DVC tour and meet with a guide while you're down there.  You will find DVC desks and Kiosks all over property.

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Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas, inspiration, and advice with us, DVC Mom! You will enjoy her site (Did I mention the photos?!  Stunning.) so be sure to check it out by clicking the button below.

Next week's guru:  Disney Fan In Colorado  (Sound familiar? It's not me... there's another one!)

Like the series?  Read more on these other Disney guru posts:


  1. Thanks so much for having me as a guest today!

  2. Tami- I really enjoy this series.
    Kristen- I enjoyed finding out about you and your blog. I agree with you on Cape May and California Grill. They are two or my favorites.

  3. This sounds so fun! I grew up in San Diego, and most years we had passes to Disneyland. My dad loves disney and even decorated our house with all the Disney lithographs we'd collected. I would love to do DVC when the hubs and I are on a slightly larger income.

    Thanks for the great post!



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