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May 2009 Archives

May 5, 2009

Online Check-in for Disney Vacation Club

I finally had a chance to experience the online check-in process for Disney Vacation Club Members.

You must first login to the Disney Vacation Club member website.

On the top horizontal nav bar, click on Vacation Planning Tools

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Then on the right vertical nav bar under My Membership click on View Vacation Details. Up will pop your reservations. For those who are within the Online Check-in Window you will see a rectangle that says "Enter Edit Check-in Information" Click there.

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If you wish to enter Celebration Information, click on that link and do so now.

Otherwise click on Enter Edit Check-in Information

This screen will appear:

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And this screen pops up a lot during the process:

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Fill in the pertinent information and click continue to the next screen:

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If you click on the link for "View Itinerary Details" you'll see the following:

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OK, now to the actual online check-in process. You'll see another opportunity to add Celebration Information.

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I clicked on the Add Celebration Information and got this screen. However when I clicked on "add more about this celebration" there was no active link.

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Now it's time to simply add your arrival :)


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Time for Credit Card Information and an opportunity to sign up for a Disney Visa Card:

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Check-in Information to fill out:

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Another screen that didn't quite work for me was the Room Requests link:

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I got to this screen, but then couldn't add anything no matter what I tried.


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Time for Credit Card Information:

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An email address for confirmation:

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Terms and Conditions must be agreed to. Be sure and scroll down to the bottom of the terms and check the box.

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Your Online Screen with Confirmation for Printing:

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And this is followed by a recap of all your information: Guests, Credit Card Information, Email Address, Check-in and out estimated times, and phone number.

By the time I finished and checked my email, a confirmation was there as well.

Part 2 -- We will see how much of a time-saver this turns out to be when I actually check in later this month!

May 7, 2009

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Part 1

The 2009 Washington DC Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is over and now it's time to let everything settle in and reflect on the weekend. As always, the event is an amazing gathering of several thousand folks - all working hard for a single purpose - to fight breast cancer. And as always, it's very difficult to put the emotions of the weekend into words.

This was my 10th major Breast Cancer event since 2001. Each one has its own character and energy. It's a weave of threads of various shapes, sizes, colors that all blend together to create an amazing tapestry of smiles, tears, sadness and triumph!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


For me, the journey began last June, a few weeks after the 2008 Avon DC walk ended. I made the decision to walk again, signed up and quickly began my fundraising and awareness drive. I really hope that my efforts help make people more aware of breast cancer and the fact that it can strike anywhere at any time - and not just women. I saw a couple women walking for their husbands!

This year, in addition to my wonderful teammates, the Seneca Sisters, a friend from NY was coming to town to walk the event. Mary Newell is a 3 year survivor. If her name sounds familiar to some of you, she is Mike Newell's wife (Mike of the WDWToday podcast and MouseWorldRadio). Mike and Mary have visited the last 2 years and cheered all the walkers on. I did my best to talk her into Walking this year -- I think she's glad she did!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


From the moment one arrives at Event Eve, a transportation of spirit takes place. Suddenly you have thousands of strangers who have become your friends and support for the next 2 days. People you have never seen before and may never again will smile at you and offer words of encouragement, support and understanding. There is a huge buzz of activity: people checking in, last minute fund raising, turning in donations and much more.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

During the Event Eve activities I scurried around looking for friends from previous years. Plus, I had several things to accomplish!

I had additional donations to turn in! Another $700!!!!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

I received my Avon Breast Cancer Fundraising Ribbon for raising over $5,000!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

And I needed to sign up for 2010!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Friends, who I see every May, walk quickly towards me as I walk quickly towards them to hug in support of the fight that brings us together.

Barbara Jo Kirshbaum is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She began doing the Breast Cancer events in the year 2000, when they began. She knew no one who had been touched by breast cancer. Since that time, she has walked in every single Avon and Komen weekend events (over 100 now!) and has raised over ONE MILLION DOLLARS for the cause. She is one of my heroes and someone provides inspiration to me as I continue my fundraising efforts. Visit her website!
2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


Here I am hugging Seneca Sister Team Captain Helene Block. This woman has led the Seneca Sisters since 2000! She has amazing energy and a great spirit. She is another one of my Breast Cancer heroes!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

I was so happy to see Allison on Friday afternoon. We walked into the Closing Ceremony together in 2008. I almost didn't recognize her because last year, she walked during her treatments and was bald. I've thought of her often during this past year - hoping all was well. Indeed - she is doing fantastic and it was a very happy reunion.


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


The walk is much different than training. Most of the time the pace is much slower since you are bunched up with hundreds of folks, walking thru residential area sidewalks or near main highways. But that also gives you time to get to know the people around you and hear a bit of their story.

Saturday was a very cloudy day. Fortunately for all of us, only a few brief sprinkles of rain.

Some photos from Opening Ceremony:

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

There are around 30 of us on the Seneca Sisters Team. Here are the 4 Breast Cancer Survivors: Hetty, myself, Elaine and Thuy.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


I wore 2 signs this year which got lots of attention and enabled me to meet many new folks. On the first sign, I had the names of all your loved ones that you sent to me.

The other had the number of folks who generously supported my walk and the total raised and my years of survivorship! Many many (over 800) folks donated to my walk and most of the donations were $5 - $25. I think it is quite powerful that together we CAN and DO make a difference!!!!


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

When I got to the first Rest stop I was pleasantly shocked to find a Porta-John with my name on it LOL! Names of all the top fundraisers had their own place of honor :) It gave me a huge huge smile!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Proud Mike smiles at his wife Mary, who just completed 26 miles on Saturday!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Carol is a long time walker buddy from the Needwood Solemate days!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Finishing up the day!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Part 2 of this blog will share stories of our rain-filled Sunday!

Part 3 has final thoughts, reflections, and an announcement!

May 9, 2009

Kidani Village All Ears Tour Meet

Friday May 8th a group of All Ears fans gathered as Jack Spence took us on a tour of Kidani Village. We had a great group of very friendly folks from as far away as Brazil!!!!

All Ears Team Members Jack Spence, Andrea (Anita Answer) McKenna, Linda Eckwerth, Mike (Dizney Mike) Bachand and myself were present. Linda is missing from the photo because she was taking the picture.

AllEars Kidani Village Tour


Jack showed us around Kidani Village lobby, animal viewing areas, the Library, Community Hall, Sanaa, and the pool area. Our room had just become available before the tour so we invited the group to see the One-bedroom Villa as well.

It was great meeting everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful time!

AllEars Kidani Village Tour

AllEars Kidani Village Tour


AllEars Kidani Village Tour


AllEars Kidani Village Tour


AllEars Kidani Village Tour


AllEars Kidani Village Tour

AllEars Kidani Village Tour


AllEars Kidani Village Tour


We've got more meets scheduled this month. Hope you can join us!

May 14, 2009

Online Check-in for Disney Vacation Club Resorts Part 2

Previously I blogged about the DVC online check-in process.

When I got to Kidani Village, I was greeted by a Cast Member. I explained I did the online check-in and she told me anyone at the front desk would help me. They were very well staffed so there was no wait. At this point Kidani doesn't have a separate designated area for those with On-Line check-in.

Jill checked us in quickly and efficiently and soon we were on our way.

Kidani Checkin


As we visited other resorts, some had signs and special areas and some didn't. Clearly this is still being rolled out.

Here is a sign in the Beach Club Lobby:

Beach Club Online Checkin


And the On-line Check-in Counter:

Beach Club Online Checkin

Feel free to share your experience with Disney's Online Check-in by leaving a comment at this blog.

May 17, 2009

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Part 2

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington DC took place May 2-3.
Day 1 Blog


Day 2!

Sunday was a much more difficult day. I walked in the pouring rain for over 6 hours.

When I got to camp on Sunday morning about 7am, it had rained on the campers overnight. Plus, the drizzle was just starting to fall. There was a grey cloud over the bright blue tents, but that did not damper anyone's enthusiasm for the day ahead.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Mary went to the med tent to have her leg looked at and I went off to find some of the Seneca Sisters. Soon Mary and I met up to start our walk.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

It didn't take long for the rain to really start coming down. I was glad I was prepared for the bad weather. I had a pair of Target rain pants on, my LL Bean Gortex rain jacket and a pair of Sloggers on my feet. The Sloggers fit right over my shoes and did a great job keeping my feet dry -- well, until about mile 9.

Mary and I walked from camp to the First Stop at Mile 1.5 and we parted ways. I had to make a "pit stop", Boy it was hard to do with all the rain gear on!

If you are wondering what's on my head, I wore a shower cap to keep my hat and head somewhat dry.

I captioned this next photo: Walking in the Rain is No Fun! But Then, Neither was Chemo!"

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

We walked and walked, not sure exactly where. I know we took one of the major bridges over to Virginia.

Mile 6 was in Arlington at the WJLA TV building. There was a large group of folks out there playing drums and in the dragon costumes. It made a REALLY nice diversion from the rain. I remember here seeing a woman cheering us on with an Avon 3 Day Shirt from 2002. It was great to see a fellow walker from the early days :)

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

At Mile 6.4 there was a rest stop and time for me to hit the porta-johns. Here was the line of folks as we waited our turns.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Mike and Linda had set up cheering at the National Cathedral stop which was a little over 7 miles from the start.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Here's Mary and Mike:

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Eventually I got to the National Cathedral too

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

I can't even begin to tell you how nice it was to stand under the umbrellas for 5 minutes. Just to have a break from the rain pelting on my body was so great!!!

When I got to the lunch stop I took my sandwich to go. Only thing was each bite had more water from the rain than the bread and chicken from the sandwich.

Just before Mile 8, a woman and 2 young girls were at a gas station under cover. The girls had a rap song for the walkers so I stopped for a couple minutes to listen. It brought a huge smile to my face.

A bit after that there was a huge overhang to take cover under. Lots of walkers were using this opportunity to change socks and dry off for a bit. I snapped this photo of walkers going by.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

From this point we headed over Key Bridge and into the Arlington Cemetary. This was a tough stretch of the walk between the winds and the rain really coming down. We were driven and just kept moving!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Mile 10 - I paused to give thanks to all the men and women that keep us safe and free.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Somewhere around Mile 11 Mary and I joined back up (thanks for waiting for me Mary!) so we could walk the last part of the trail together.

We started to hear the noise of everyone cheering the walkers on for the last few hundred feet! Our spirits were lifted high as we approached the final portion of the walk!

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

This is a photo of Team California! I spoke about Barbara Jo (left) in Part 1 of this blog. She's done over 100 walks and raised over ONE MILLION dollars in the fight against breast cancer.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Here are 2 of my Seneca Sister Teammates: Elaine, a fellow survivor, on my left. Helene, our captain, on the right

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AllEars® Senior Editor and my dear friend Debbie Koma surprised me by coming to the Finish Area to congratulate me on walking 26 miles! (Thanks so much!)

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2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

I did amazingly well walking 13 miles in such yucky conditions. Many times I felt all your words of encouragement and support and the thoughts of all your loved ones and that kept me focused on the task at hand and kept me walking forward. Even when I became soaking wet, even when the temps dropped and I got very cold, even when I looked up at hills to climb and puddles of mud and water to walk through. I met many amazing folks along the way.. some still in treatment, others recently finished, long time survivors and those walking for a loved one.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

Part 3 has final thoughts, reflections, and an announcement!


May 18, 2009

Avon Breast Cancer Walk Part 3 - Final Thoughts.

Avon Breast Cancer Logo

In case you missed my first 2 blogs:
Part 1 - Event Eve and Saturday

Part 2 - Sunday

It takes weeks to really absorb everything that happens on the Walk. Here I am 3 weeks later and the memories still fill my mind remembering people, stories and images... they stay with me for a long long time.

The Walk is a very emotional experience... from laughter to tears and all the emotions in between. One aspect I really really like is that this is NOT a race. It is a walk. We are all winners. From the moment you sign up for the event your personal experience begins and you have done more than most of the people you know to help fight a terrible disease.

For the first time ever, I signed up at Event Eve for 2010. What really surprised me were how many folks I met who signed up for 2010 and had never done a walk before, 2009 being their first. What drive and commitment.

Some folks are concerned about the fundraising. I know people for whom this has been the deterrent from signing up. I can only encourage you to face this fear and just DO IT. People will surprise you. For some, the money comes rolling in. For others, it requires more work. But hard work is part of the journey. We are not only raising funds but we are raising AWARENESS. There are lots of fundraising ideas out there.... and some take the extra effort. But, you CAN do it!

For others, the thought of walking so many miles is daunting. The simplest advice is to just take one step at a time. On my 2nd walk in 2002, we walked from Baltimore into Washington DC. When I look at the map I am blown away. If I had looked at the map before I started, I may have been scared and wondered, Can I Do This? Instead, I just started training; one step at a time. Find a team if you can.. they will help you a great deal and share their experiences with you. It IS very doable. Each year, thousands of people of all shapes and sizes walk many many miles to support the cause. You can too!

One of my teammates took this photo. No idea who these ladies are -- it really shows the true grit and determination of those who walk.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


This year, one of my Seneca Sisters, Denise, had done something to her ankle playing volleyball a couple weeks before the event. She was in a pink cast. That would have stopped many people, may have even stopped me. But Denise went out and rented a small scooter. She walked many many miles, with her cast resting on the scooter and her good leg pushing her along. She could have chosen not to walk and no one would have thought less of her. Instead, she went out and walked. Even on Sunday in the pouring rain, she did 5 miles like that. There are no words to describe her courage and devotion to this cause.

In this photo, Helene is giving Denise a short break and pushing her along the route.

Denise and Helene


I suppose if I had any disappointment, it was not being able to stay for the Closing Ceremony on Sunday. For me, this is always the culmination and closure to an incredible weekend. As I mentioned in my Part 2 blog, it had poured rain most of the day. I was not only soaking wet but very cold. Had the weather been warm, I would have stayed. But I had been sick the week leading up to the walk with a bad cold. Even still, I did all my mileage. But, I didn't want to end up with pneumonia, so I left before closing. I know many of my Seneca Sister teammates stayed and represented those of us that needed to leave.

2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC


The monday after the walk, the Seneca Sisters have a luncheon - it's usually the first time we see each other in "real clothes" not training clothes. It's a wonderful opportunity to share stories.

At the luncheon, one of my fellow survivors, Hetty said it best: " Most people at the walk are not survivors; yet, you wouldn't know that because of the dedication and energy that you have that makes it so much easier for us survivors to keep on going!"

I want to thank everyone once again for all your support, financial and emotional! It means the world. To the over 870 donors we really kicked it up a notch this year! Thankyou.

I set a very very ambitious fundraising goal this year, especially considering the economy, $50,000! I am now 90% to my goal at $44,870! I will keep fundraising a while longer in hopes of reaching that goal. I should! I just sent checks in for over $2,500. I am so very very proud to be the #1 fundraiser in Washington DC - 3rd time in the last 4 years.

TOGETHER WE CAN AND DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Over 870 of you supported my Walk with donations from around the world - US, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan! That is amazing!!!!

I thank every person who thought of the walk, who donated, who sent emails and cards and who sent good thoughts and prayers.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Team AllEars®. This is a group of 50 people who have signed up to run the Walt Disney World full or half marathon in January 2010. Led by co-captains Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa, each person on the team has committed to raising $500 for my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. When Mike and Michelle approached me with the idea, I was humbled. What an amazing opportunity. I also knew I couldn't let these folks commit to this undertaking without joining them. So today, I am publically announcing that I have signed up for the January 2010 Half Marathon! I will be joining my fellow teammates, Team AllEars as we embark on this journey. While I have walked 13 miles, I had the leisure of time. The half marathon has a time limit you must finish in to get a medal. I have lots of work to do to improve my speed. But I take with me the memories and experience of 10 Avon walks and all the folks I have met on this journey. I'm sure you'll hear more about it in this blog over the next several months.

I would not have been able to raise this incredible amount of money without my business and Disney Community sponsors. I thank you SO much for joining me in this fight against Breast Cancer: MEI and MouseFanTravel, Gaylord Palms, Owners Locker, All Star Vacation Homes, MagicMeets fans, Celebrity MagicTunes, WDWToday Podcast, DVCbyResale, Celebration Magazine, Happy Limo, Koma Writing Services, Kissimmee Guest Services, Maple Leaf Tickets, DIS Community, Cruising Co, Effortless Events, Yesterland, and Tagrel.

Special thanks for all my friends (especially Linda) who support me every step of the way. A very special thanks to my dear friend Ms. Dee Vah who has been raising money for me each December on the Disney Wonder cruise ship! Here she is with Mike and Matt of WDWToday.com Podcast:

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One never knows the people they touch with their lives. You also never know when breast cancer will touch someone you know! After the walk in 2001, the captain of my training team was diagnosed with breast cancer. She jokingly said "Haven't all these walks given me a Pass Card?"

Just in the time between finishing this walk and now, a dear friend of mine has been diagnosed. Good news is it was caught VERY early. Too many people, men and women, get breast cancer. The fight must continue!


2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Washington DC

My heartfelt thanks to all of you!

May 29, 2009

American Idol Kris Allen Spends the Morning at Disney's Hollywood Studios

American Idol Kris Allen


American Idol's latest star, Kris Allen, fulfilled his announcement last week, "I'm going to Disney World".


American Idol Kris Allen

The park was very crowded, between Star Wars Weekend festivities and Kris Allen's appearance.

American Idol Kris Allen


Prior to the motorcard down Hollywood Blvd, Kris taped a promo spot with some lucky fans.

American Idol Kris Allen


Mickey accompanied Kris down Hollywood Blvd.

American Idol Kris Allen

After arriving at the Stage outside the American Idol Attraction, Kris said a few words.

American Idol Kris Allen


American Idol Kris Allen

He then sang "Heartless" and played guitar

American Idol Kris Allen

Minnie came out and fawned all over her American Idol.

American Idol Kris Allen

We went inside the American Idol Attraction for the 11am show. Arriving about 40 minutes prior, we were able to see the show's contestants practive their songs and get all set up.

Kris came out briefly and then left while the contestants sang their best.

Kris reappeared to announce the name of the contestant that will sing in tonights final American Idol show and win a "golden" ticket to an American Idol show audition.

American Idol Kris Allen

Afterwards, a media question and answer session took place on the Sounds Dangerous Stage.

American Idol Kris Allen


American Idol Kris Allen


American Idol Kris Allen


American Idol Kris Allen

An American Idol Star Dedication was on the schedule, but cancelled. Maybe weather concerns?

No word on how first time WDW visitor Kris Allen will be spending the rest of his day, although he did indicate he wanted to try Rock n Roller Coaster!


Disney's Official Press Release

More information about the American Idol Attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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About May 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in May 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2009 is the previous archive.

June 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.