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About the Column

Ashley Metz keeps a special book in her South Carolina chateau. It's called the Disney Book of Stinkin' Love. Into that book she pours her passion for the parks, her devotion to Disney World, and from that book, every week, she'll draw forth with characteristic exuberance a chapter exclusively for Disney Dispatch. Ashley welcomes questions, but no matter what you ask, the answer will always be the same, and it will always be correct: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World!

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FROM: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World Published Thursdays

Mistake or Mouseterpiece, Part 1

People plan for their Disney vacations with all the diligence and attention to detail that made the Invasion of Normandy such a rousing success. But things can still go wrong. And things will go wrong. As they did recently for Ashley Metz...

Mistakes happen ALL the time.

Especially when you add in factors of the unknown. Vacation, in fact, is derived from the Greek word for unknown. (Just kidding. It's really of Latin origin, and means to vacate or gain freedom from something.)

Hakuna Metztada

Seriously, though, vacations are the playground for blunders. Someone always forgets their toothbrush or gets a bad case of sunburn or comes down with the flu.

So what should you do?

Well, I have a philosophy that applies equally to my everyday life and to my life on vacation. My philosophy even has a catchphrase, for which I'd like to thank Crush and his sea turtle friends: "Go With the Flow!".

My laid-back philosophy embraces simple, healthy maxims like "It's not the end of the world" and "Breathe". It has gotten me through the most stressful of times by helping me realize that I'm just a piece of this world, and like a vapor, my time on Earth will pass. So why sweat the small stuff?. It will be okay. It isn't worth the high blood pressure!

If you are planning a trip to Disney World anytime soon, I hope my column today will provide a glimmer of hope in the summer heat and packed-in crowds. Don't lose your cool over something so small. Just "go with the flow", kick back, and keep it easy.

Like this:

Ashley in the Abyss

This past November, my friends and I headed down to Disney World for a little pre-Christmas fun. We had about 2 days of pure November park magic before the Thanksgiving crowd seemed to roll into the parks in droves. It was busy, to say the least.

And, making it worse, Disney decided to overhaul the Dining Plan during out stay, creating computer glitches, especially at our resort, Port Orleans - French Quarter. Our Key to the World cards (our lifelines!) were going completely berserk.

Sometimes we could use them to 'pay' for meals on our dining plan, then an hour later they wouldn't authorize us a snack. At the turnstiles, the cards worked for some of us, but they scanned 'dead' for the rest of us. What in the world! To top it off, Disney's reservation system wasn't working properly, either.

We were on the brink of a full-out, toddler-style meltdown. We had to waste precious time rectifying each day's dining dilemmas at our hotel, usually in the wee hours of the morning - I'm talking 2:00 AM, people!). We were spent.

But do you know what?

Ashley on the Rebound

We chose to take the high road! The world is not perfect and neither is the World. Yes, we were stressed. But we treated Cast Members kindly, and of course, they smiled and kept doing their jobs, too. And there was even a silver lining, of sorts, when one of the people in our party got sick, and their unused dining plan credits become our extra dining plan credits.

It gets even better! (It always does.)

On our final morning at Disney World, we made dining reservations for the Grand Floridian Cafe, determined to use our last table-service credits. We planned to eat at the Cafe, then hop on the monorail to spend a couple of hours at the Magic Kingdom.

What a perfect way to end our romp in the parks!

Just as everything seemed to come together for our grand finale, something else happened, either the biggest mistake of the entire trip or else a true mouseterpiece.

Which was it? Come back next week and find out...


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