My First Disney Cruise: Six Revelations about Living on the Mouse’s Boat

When my parents were talking about taking everyone on a cruise, I did wonder what it would be like. I’ve never considered the idea of a cruise before. I’m either the kind of vacationer who likes to travel to a location or experience a location, I’m not the pampering kind of person. And that is how I imagined a cruise, me being pampered and lying down for a long time.

That is not a Disney Cruise.

Wait, let me correct that. I’m sure if people wanted to they could just lie down and eat all day. (There was sections of the ship “quarantined” just for adults and good food is everywhere), but I found the ship to be exciting with things to do every hour. The idea of lying down for more than an hour would feel like a waste for me.

From the 5K I ran on Castaway Cay (and I was pretty happy with my time) to the big slide on deck to the movies in the theater. A Disney Cruise is an adventure.

In typical Scott fashion, I have to get my thoughts about the experience down quickly, capture these great feelings I have about it… (Oh, and thanks mom and dad for the trip!)

Story vs. Celebration

Anyone who follows my blog, knows I have a thing about Disneyland. There is this post about my adoration for that little location in Anaheim, and this post that might be my favorite on the entire site about having a quiet moment alone in the park as it awakes. The reason for this love is very simple.

See, with Disneyland, I like to think that Walt found a new way to tell a story. The equivalent of the first person who decided to tell a story on a stage or put it on paper. He took stories from a sterile and controlled environment and put it around you. And when a ride (like Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion or an atmosphere (like Adventureland, Tomorrowland needs work) succeeds, it is as special to me as laying on a couch on a lazy Saturday discovering a great book for the first time.

With the cruise it is something different. It can’t be about a story, that would have been hard to pull off; what you get instead is a celebration of Disney and its history. Continue reading

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Putting Away My Disneyland Stuff

25_forwebWhen you get home from a trip, sometimes you slowly, slowly empty your suitcases as if a part of you doesn’t want to admit that the trip is over. It’s a thankless task as you have to decide what to keep as a treasure, a memory, or what would be better left thrown away. This decision is especially difficult after a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, especially if it dares to have the name “Disneyland” printed someplace on it.

That is where I am right now, doing my best to get back to normal life. Just look at last week on the site! To prove everything is back I wrote two articles on the art of writing. Two!

(By the way the art of writing is something I worked hard at NOT thinking about when I was on the trip.)

So… now that I am home and the suitcases are empty, as a final little bit of goodbye to that time, I thought I would share the links to some of the articles I have written on Walt’s park below. After this I am going to take a break from the mouse and Fantasyland (even though normal life can sometimes feel so boring without rides and jungle cruises).  I hope you enjoy them.

Disneyland’s Silent Gift

ResortThere is this time when you are staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotel when you can have it all to yourself.

It’s quiet, with the faint hint of music playing in the hotel lobbies in the background. I first discovered it when I offered to grab my wife one early morning a coffee at the shop in the hotel. But the moment I exited the elevator (and the haunting overture from The Jungle Book was playing in the speakers), that I realized I had discovered something unique.

It was still dark outside and I was alone.

I walked along the pool, passed the Tangaroa Terrace restaurant (with its fireplace still ablaze). There is a smell to Disneyland that I have yet to put my finger on, but the blossoms around the hotel and the restaurant added to its intoxication.

It was so peaceful that I almost felt a tinge of regret when the coffee shop finally opened at 6 AM and I had to make my purchase and return to the room and the excited kids. Dawn was approaching, a new day of adventure. Holding sweaty palms, wondering about bathroom breaks, and taking a lot of pictures.

That pre-dawn walk became a little ritual for me during my stay, and I picked up a coffee for my wife every morning at the same time. She always said thank you, but she didn’t need to.

It was for both of us. Continue reading

NovelTravelist.com is sharing “Visiting Austen”

Jane's HomeMy article “Visiting Austen” is being shared today on the NovelTravelist.com. In the article, I share how a visit to the Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton led to a breakthrough for me in understanding Jane and how I would write her in my novel A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM. You can read the piece here.

The Novel Travelist is a fun site for those that love experiencing the world and the impact it can have on one’s perception and fiction writing.

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM will be released exclusively through amazon.com on April 30. It will be available in print for $14.95 and $3.99 as an eBook. You can learn more about the book via the A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM page as well as other articles around the book on it. I hope you like the article (and the book too).

Visiting Austen: Introducing My New Novel A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

A Jane Austen DaydreamA JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is published by Madison Street Publishing and can be purchased in print and as an eBook for only $3.99 via amazon.com here.  

I went to England to find Jane Austen.

To be honest, I also went to find Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Elliot, John Keats, William Shakespeare (or whoever wrote his plays), J.R.R. Tolkien, and Winnie-the-Pooh.

(Winnie-the-Pooh? Yeah, with some research, I figured out where the real 100-Acre Woods is located and spent a day wandering the fields, visiting Roo’s Sandy Place, sitting at the Enchanted Place, finding the north pole, playing poohstick on the actual poohstick bridge. As a kid who has fond memories growing up with A.A. Milne’s classic books, I was in children literature heaven. It is a magical and natural place, please don’t tell Disney!)

That was me at age 23, Scott the explorer, the new college grad, future “bestselling” author (in my mind), chasing down the legends, my heroes. I’m not sure what lofty goals I had, per se, in making the six-week solo trip to England. I mean, I wasn’t expecting any “haunting” encounters or secret treasures to discover, but it was a voyage I needed to take. I needed to escape the confines of my small West Michigan world, and chase down the locations that made my heroes… well… heroes. Continue reading

An Editorial on the Novel Travelist

A Jane Austen DaydreamToday, to help support the release of A Jane Austen Daydream in April by Madison Street Publishing, I am pleased to have an article up on the Novel Travelist. The Novel Travelist is a fun site for writers hoping to explore the world, writers, and history.  Here is the beginning of my post, Writing Advice – Leave Home:

We writers are isolationists, introverts. How else do you explain the fact we spend our time alone creating friends and worlds?  We are not made for the outside; we’d rather stay inside, thank you very much.

When I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, as much as I cared about the degree, I was more interested in something else. It was always my dream to be that young traveler/writer by himself going through Europe, with nothing but a notepad and a few paperbacks in a bag. I saw myself sitting under trees in Jane Austen’s garden, opening my soul to the romantic poets, or wandering the halls of Charles Dickens’ home hoping for a message from beyond. I even sometimes thought about smoking a pipe (I didn’t, but wouldn’t it look cool?)

What I actually experienced though really was not at all what I expected. The rude awakening of being thrown out of my “universe,” my norm; well, I had to adjust for that in a major way.

There were no little safe places to go, like I could when I wanted to write or just read at home; here everything was new and different (as well as the people around) and for an introvert it can make one’s hair stand on the back of one’s neck… permanently.

Still, I know that this experience made me a better writer. I look at what I did before I went on that six-week trip and what I did later and I see a more imaginative, more creative, more introspective, and more worldly writer.

You can read the rest of the editorial here. I hope you enjoy it.