About the Column

For years, Jeff Heimbuch has been writing about Disney. Many of his articles have appeared in Celebrations Magazine. But Jeff has always had a little '626' inside him anxious to come out. Unlike his column's namesake, Stitch, he might not paint the Castle blue, but he will paint the park red with entertaining stories, fascinating insights, and daring ... experiments.

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FROM: The 626 Published Fridays

Top 5 Tips for People Not Attending D23

Not attending the D23 Expo this weekend? You're not alone. Most Disney fans, in fact, won't be there. But that doesn't make it any easier to imagine the lucky few having fun while you're just reading about it. Jeff has tips to make it better.

When this column goes live, I'll be sitting in my office at work. I know, you're not jealous of me at all. However, you probably ARE jealous of the thousands of other folks descending on Anaheim, California, for the second D23 Expo, taking place right this very moment.

Yeah. I'm jealous of them, too.

With my trip to the opposite coast still a fresh memory, it just wasn't economically feasible for me to make another trek out there so soon. Instead I'm tolling away at my regular 9-5, wishing I were amongst the throngs of Disney fans at the Expo.

Never fear, though! Just because you're not there doesn't mean you can't have a little Disney excitement in your life right now! Here's how:

1 Live Vicariously Through Others

I'm sure a few of you will be doing this already, much like I plan to do it myself. Many other bloggers and Disney fans will be at the event all weekend long, and most of them will be live blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, and so on as the event unfolds. If you can't physically be there, the next best thing is for you to find out who is, and read about their adventures. Follow their Twitter accounts! Read their daily blog reports! Stalk their Flickr feed for photos! Go crazy!

Or, if you're extra crazy, make friends! I have quite a few friends who will be in attendance for the weekend, and some will be sending me up to the minute text messages and photos throughout the Expo to keep me in the loop. Sure, it may not be as fun as being there, but it'll almost be like I'm there with them, enjoying the fun!

2 Listen to Audio and Watch Videos from the Parks

If you're like most Disney fans, you have your iTunes library filled with music from Disney's theme parks and films. And if you're like me, that music catalog is probably several days long! So, take a trip to your own, virtual Magic Kingdom! Make a playlist, close your eyes, and kick back to enjoy your imagined journey to the Parks. Sure, it may not be AS fun as being there, experiencing the thrills for yourself, but at least you'll have a little bit of the Disney magic at home with you.

If you really need that visual component, Youtube is a treasure trove of on-ride videos from almost every single Disney attraction. Who knows, this may be just the way for you to experience one of those rides you have never been on yourself!

3 Have a Massive Disney Movie Marathon Weekend

Who doesn't love a good Disney movie? We all do! Instead of spending hours pushing your way through the Expo floor, why not re-experience some of those classic Disney films you grew up watching? Maybe it's finally time to show your kids that film YOU loved when you were there age - or maybe it's time to re-discover a lost classic that you never thought you'd watch again.

Disney films are wonderful to watch at any age, and are a great way to have a "lazy" weekend with your family!

4 Go to Another Theme Park

ANOTHER theme park?! Blasphemy, you say. How dare you!

Well, yes, aside from Disney, there are TONS of other theme parks out there, most of them patterned after some (or many) aspects of Disney itself. I know of three near me: Six Flags Great Adventure, Hershey Park, and Sesame Place!

Maybe it's high time you checked out one of your own nearby theme parks. Sure, it isn't Disney, but they may just have a special something that reminds you of the Magic Kingdom and helps ease the pain of you not being there. I'm a thrill ride junkie, and while Disney does have a few to feed my fix, it just isn't enough. That's when I turn to Great Adventure, which has more roller coasters than you can imagine!

Go on and give another park a try. It's OK - we won't tell Disney about it!

5 Spend Time with Your Family

Walt Disney was all about family. One of his more famous quotes was "A man should never neglect his family for business," and I think that still holds true for families today.

Go out and do something fun with your family. Have a picnic. Visit a museum. Go to the park. Something. Anything! Just go and do it! I think you'll find that, no matter how much you love Disney, whatever you wind up doing with your family will be more rewarding than any vacation you will ever take.

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