Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
As part of the Employee Summer Party Planning Committee (are you surprised?), we're checking out the location of our party in July.
I thought it would finally be clearing up around here, but typical Minnesota weather, it's rainy, gloomy, and cool. Not at all like it should be in June...or when one wears safari garb!
To see more about the area, click this link and check out the Wabun picnic area at Minnehaha Park:
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Then he asks me, “So how long have you been having these Disney spells?”
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Well, I'm not going to give you all the answers, other than you could find some on my website and if you follow me on Twitter. But since you found my blog, perhaps these clues will help you.
* I have more than 150 WDCC pieces.
* In high school, I saw 'The Empire Strikes Back' more than 5 times in the theatre.
* I don't like sitting in the back row of church.
That's all ye get, Matey!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
See my Personality Profile
The results for my college major was exactly what I took! And when you change the drop down for my "closest US state", while not CA, it did pick another top favorite.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I started looking for flights for my CEO, and he decided instead of coming in on Sunday, he'd fly in with me on Saturday. Oh the joy I felt. [That was sarcasm in case you missed it] His flight changed from $355 to around $500.
Having booked his flight, I was working on my own. He kept interrupting me about some stuff, so about 10-15 minutes later, I go to work on my flight. Take a look at how much it had jumped up. Yep, that's right. That says $1,004! Are you kidding me?!?!?
I had to do some creative booking, so without direct flights, I got my airfare to around $550. That's just insane!
Memo to me: The next time you're booking flights, close the door to your office. It can save you $500. And that's even without Geico.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
I gave Jeff Kober, the author of this article, positive feedback, and he provides great words of wisdom in today's 'gloom-and-doom' world!
Be the Napa Rose!
Be The Napa Rose
Thursday, April 30, 2009 Jeff Kober, staff writer,
One of my favorite places to take clients and friends when I'm at the Disneyland Resort is the Napa Rose restaurant at Disney's Grand Californian Resort. Many of you have enjoyed a terrific meal at Napa Rose, which celebrates the food and cuisine of the California Wine Country. Many are fascinated with observing the continual activity and bustle of the show kitchen. I prefer twilight views that overlook Grizzly Peak and Disney's California Adventure.
Few know, however, what a "napa rose" is and why the restaurant is named for it. What do napa roses have to do with winemaking? Napa roses are planted at the head of long rows of grapes. While in and of themselves they are very beautiful, their purpose is not centered on show.
Rather, they are sentinels for the grapes that follow down the vine. You see, Napa roses are very susceptible to disease, to pests, to fungus, and to other factors that could potentially harm grapes. Farmers need not study every vine to know the status of their vineyard. Rather, they simply have to look at the Napa roses planted at the head of the row. If the roses are faring poorly, it is a sign that they need to pay attention to the grapes located in that end of the field before things become worse.
So it is in business. Leaders must be the Napa rose of their organization. They must be the sentinels that observe the trends and patterns around them. They must be on the lookout for competitors or critics to those who would threaten the well-being of their organization.
In many ways, over the years, Disney has been the Napa rose—in some amazing ways. For instance, they are very prepared in the event of a major hurricane. They have a tremendous plan in place to not only prepare, but to monitor the storm, care for their guests, and get the operation back in business as soon as possible afterward.
More proactively, Disney has been the Napa rose in anticipating opportunities in the marketplace, such as getting into the cruise line business, or building the vacation ownership business. They saw possibilities, and they pursued new markets.
Still, one wonders who failed to watch the roses as the economic clouds moved in. There is no question that economic times are tough. And as armchair managers, it's always easy to look back and say what should have been done after the fact. But great leaders simply anticipate the challenges their organizations might face, and prepare for such situations long before they make an impact.
Critics for some time in and out of the Disney Company have talked about the layer of fat that existed—especially in management circles. This has been particularly true as parks on one coast managed matters almost entirely indifferent to what was being done on another coast. There was no sharing of knowledge, much less streamlining responsibility and accounting.
What if "One-Disney" had been thought through a couple of years ago when times were going great? What if organizations were streamlined, and unneeded personnel given opportunities to leave when there were more options for them, and more time to prepare for them to leave? What if existing personnel were directed toward new positions that better met the future needs of the organization, rather than hire additional personnel that would create excess in uncertain times?
Instead, the result is that such cutbacks come at a time people fear in finding work elsewhere. Therefore morale plummets, and people become anxious about the future. Even those who didn't get laid off are not focused on creating "One-Disney." Rather they are pondering what they're going to do to make sure it doesn't happen to them next time.
The result? Is anyone focused on what matters: Helping the resorts succeed in uncertain times? Creating great guest loyalty? Building new attractions that guarantee park attendance? Engaging cast members in being the best they can be?
That said, some say layoffs are not only intended, but would have been demanded, at times like this by share holders who want satisfaction in knowing that Disney is trimming things at a time when the company's fortunes are in reverse. But a better question would be: Shouldn't we have been satisfying shareholders all along with the knowledge that the organization was always running in a manner that is lean and mean?
Again, such reflection might be just armchair management. But, remember, this isn't about Disney. At the end of the day, it's about your organization. Be the sentinel that warns of impeding challenges before they happen, rather then after the entire vineyard is fraught with challenge.
Be the "Napa rose." It's how you lead the magic.
J. Jeff Kober consults with businesses and public sector organizations to improve customer service, teamwork and leadership practices. His keynotes, seminars, and workshops help people take best-in-business ideas from Disney and other great organizations and adapt them to their own practice. His newest book, The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney is available at PerformanceJourneys.com. Also, imagine having your company pay you to spend time at Walt Disney World, shop at Nordstrom, or spend the night at Ritz-Carlton!
Go to WorldClassBenchmarking.com to find out how you and/or your organization can benchmark great Orlando businesses on your next trip.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
But since I'm half-Dutch, I felt compelled to wish everyone a happy Koninginnen Dag! It would translate very loosely to President's Day, but on a much more grand scale.
My Facebook friend, Charlotte, sent me a link about a horrible accident in Apeldoorn, where I used to have family. I'll provide the link, but you'll have heard about it by now.
So here's the House of Orange, not to be confused with the House of Mouse, and 'lang zal ze leven!'
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Spacesuit Figment: Journey Into Imagination is being released today, and he is the fourth Figment as part of an unofficial WDW Theme Park Exclusive.
The artist signing with Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales of the limited 750 is sure to sell out, as the pieces have in the past. So to any of my friends in the WDW area who may be at the event today, please take pictures for me!
You've gotta love Figment!
More details can be found at The Duckman's Site:
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
On Monday, I popped into the Disney Store to buy myself a 100% organic t-shirt to wear on Earth Day. Not that I'm the "tree-hugger" my sister thinks I am, but it's fun to get into these "Hallmark Holidays" (Am I overusing the "quotes''?)
Anyway, they told me that if I came back on Wednesday with three plastic bottles, I'd get a special prize. So I told a few friends, and Jennifer and Adam went with me to the Disney Store on Earth Day.
The prize was you got a cool water bottle! Ironic that you bring in three bottles and they give you one. I also purchased the bag in the picture below, because Disney will plant a tree for every bag sold, and now I have a new bag for groceries. I also picked up another neat Mickey bag.
So what did the Disney Geek look like on Earth Day? You decide.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Anyway, for many years at the WDAC Conventions, I always put down that I'd like to see a piece from the "I Can't Wait To Be King" sequence of The Lion King. While Patrick Romandy-Simmons did a good job of the Simba, Nala and Zazu scene, it wasn't really the piece I had envisioned.
So when they announced the 2009 Spring Event Piece was Simba, I was thrilled to say the least. This was more along the lines of what I wanted, and leave it to Bruce Lau to truly capture the spirit of this playful scene in the movie.
And if the big wheels at WDCC are still reading, first, a great big thank you for continuing to do pieces from The Lion King (and Fantasia!), and secondly, I would really love to see either the scene with Simba and Nala on the ostriches, or the big finale of the animal pyramid. That would probably have to be a Signature Series piece!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
About two or three hours before the end of the day, I was told to find a nice restaurant that would accommodate the 12 people from our company, including three CEOs. Of course I scrambled trying to find a place, and as a last resort, I asked the Concierges for some ideas.
We tried a few places, but none could take the group of our size at short notice. The last place we checked was Red the Steakhouse.
If you've ever been to Ruth Chris Steakhouse, it's similar, but a little more laid back. Well, our corporate CEO ordered a magnum of wine, and then more wine, and a seafood appetizer. You get the idea.
I had a lovely rack of lamb, thinking it was about middle of the road as far as the bill was concerned. Some of the sales people think this is their one chance to live it up. One of the sales people (not in my division) didn't see the phrase "market price" near the lobster he ordered.
When the bill came, and usually the CEO doesn't really care, scanned the bill and let the group know that the lobster was four times as much as the rest of our individual orders. With the tip coming in at over $400, we knew his meal had to be around $125!
The link to Red is below, so be sure to check out the menu. The tater tots, yes you read that correctly, were awesome, and not at all what you think of when you hear tater tots.
Oh, they gave us cookies, and guess what I found on the cookie plate???
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Most of my friends know I love Gloria Estefan. And my Disney friends know that I love eating at Bongos Cuban Cafe at Downtown Disney in Orlando.
So when I found out that our hotel was close to the Bongos Cuban Cafe in Miami as well as Larios On The Beach, another one of Gloria's restaurants (yes, we're on a first-name basis), I was thrilled and pretty much told the Management team that we would be eating at one of the restaurants.
Since we've been putting in some long days, I opted for going to Larios On The Beach, since it was less than a mile from the Loews. Thinking we should walk instead of taking a cab, I schlepped the group down Ocean Drive past many an outdoor dining establishment. We even walked pasted a rather well-endowed mannequin. Since kids may be stopping by this site, you'll have to email me to request seeing those pictures!
Like having a bunch of kids saying, "Are we there yet?", we finally made it to our destination, with me arriving in one piece. I told the group that they were in for a treat, and they sure were pleasantly surprised.
The best part of the meal, besides everything from the Mojitos to the dessert, was when Dalyce ordered Cuban bread with Chimichurri sauces. Our waiter gave us the recipe, which I found online and have below, if you want to try it at home.
And the super nice lady at the counter gave me a magnet, along with the three glasses we were able to take home as part of our Mojito purchase, to help me commemorate this trip.
Oh, the picture of menu was a memento, too! (Even though our CEO said it looked like a toilet seat!)
1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
3-4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves (can sub 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
2 Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings.
Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a day or two.
The booth set up went well, with no major dramas or challenges to the super egos. Long hours at this show, so recaps probably won't happen until after the show.
But here's an image to help you visual what the Marketing Dude had in mind as some fun giveaways for St. Pat's. (Don't laugh. People did want the necklace...and they didn't have to do any "New Orleans" type of deal to get them!)
PS: My friend, Paul, says I look like I belong in the Haunted Mansion. I can't argue with that!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
So I'm taking all kinds of drugs to try and shake this thing before I head out tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed all the OTC medicine works!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Apparently, many of my friends and coworkers are unfamiliar with some of the more "tame" traditions surrounding Mardi Gras. Well, here's my chance to dump some useless information out of my head and into my blog!
And actually I'm going to use a terrific site that explains a lot about the King's Cakes I brought into work as well as some other traditions.
So enjoy y'all!
And don't forget...Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
While I'll never walk down the red carpet for anyone to critique what I'm wearing (Oh, that gets done all the time in my every-day life!), I can say I have been able to hold an Oscar.
At the Walt Disney Studios for the 2002 "Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics" Convention, we were given a backstage tour. Like other convention-goers, I held the actual Academy Award for the 1958 Disney documentary, "White Wilderness". Those suckers are heavy!
In the background are official portraits of Mickey Mouse painted by Disney Legend John Hench.
Now, on with the show!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Even though my family and friends decided not to give out gifts this year, I have to admit I did pick something up for myself. But with an over $100 savings and free shipping, I couldn't resist. I'm just glad that after looking at this for over 2 years, I finally have my own voice-activated R2-D2!
He responds to some basic commands, but I still have to figure out how he can follow me around the office. That is, I promised my CEO that R2 wouldn't disrupt the office. He's pretty cool! (I'm talking about R2!)