Friday, May 27, 2011

Destination Disney: Kids Favorite Memories

This week our topic for Heidi's Destination Disney is our kids favorite memories.  Cman is too young to share his memories, but when I tell him friends are going to Disney World to see the castle and Mickey Mouse his eyes light up and he says "Jessie?  Woody?  Dummo?"  So, I think it's safe to say his favorite memory is riding "Dummo" and meeting Jessie and Woody.

I have so many favorite memories of my kids at WDW!  I think one of my favorites was when JAG met Snow White for the first time!  She signed his book and we got a picture.  Then she addressed him as her price and asked if she could kiss him.  Without hesitation, he said yes, puckered up his lips and leaned in for the kiss!  She laughed and said she would just kiss his cheek.  For years we would kid him about Snow White being his girlfriend.

When we ask him about this now, he either a) doesn't remember it or b) is still embarrased, so he pretends to not know what we are talking about! :)

When I asked JAG what his favorite memory was it wasn't Snow White!  It was riding the thrill rides- all of them-  Tower of Terror, Rock N Roller Coaster, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, & Expedition Everest at WDW and the Matterhorn and California Screamin' at DL!

Day 26-30: 30 Day Disney Photo Challenge

My 30 day photo challenge has come to an end.  I've enjoyed the 30 questions and trying to come up with the "best" photo I could!  Thanks to Randy and Wendy for starting this challenge!  I look forward to what is to come.

Several weeks ago, my friends Randy and Wendy with Your Highway in the Sky, posted a 30 Day Photo Challenge on twitter (@fluffedmojo) and encouraged others to participate.  I took him up on his challenge and you can follow my 30 days on "A Disney Moms Thoughts" facebook page!  Here is a recap of days 21-25 from the challenge!  You can catch up on the days 1-5 here, days 6-10 here, days 11-15 here, days 16-20 here and days 21-25 here!

Day 26, May 23, 2011: A picture of the way you keep Disney alive when you’re not at the park
This blog!!  I keep Disney alive by blogging, sharing my thoughts, reading other blogs and connecting with Disney friends through blogs, twitter, facebook and the Magical Blogorail!
Day 27, May 24, 2011: A picture of the person you most love sharing Disney with 
I kinda felt guilty not choosing my son, but I do love sharing Disney with my husband Jonathan!  We've had so much fun on all our trips to the world together.  I look forward to the trip we can go sans kids and drink around the world together! :)

Day 28, May 25, 2011: A picture of your favorite place to hide from the crowds
Honestly, it's been so long since we were at WDW with large crowds that this question has me a bit stumped!  My first thought is back at the resort, but I don't like that answer!  So I'll go with the trails at Animal Kingdom.  There are so many quiet, quaint paths you can wander around at AK.  Most people are rushing between Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest and Dinosaur that they miss the splendor in the trails all around them!

Day 29, May 26, 2011: A picture of something you dream about happening to you at a Disney park  
That's a no brainer for me.  I literally dream of the night our family will stay in Cinderella's Dream Suite!  In 2008 the family 3 doombuggies ahead of us got the night in the castle.  I saw the cast member whip out the DVD player to show the family where they were going.  Jealous doesn't even describe my feelings that morning!!

Day 30, May 27, 2011: A picture that always makes you think of Disney
Obvious?  Yes.  My husband and I were in WDW for the half marathon in 2008 and this was our time during extra magic hours.  We walked around, took it all in, searched for hidden mickeys, read the names on Main Street and enjoyed each other's company!  This was one of my top memories from WDW so each time I see this picture (sitting on my dresser) I'm reminded of Disney and the wonderful morning we had that day. AND, this was the morning we saw the family "win" the Cinderella's Suite stay (see Day 29).

Magical Blogorail Green: Outside the Parks

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as we share with you our favorite Disney activity outside of a theme park!
sorry for the bad photo! 
it was an old camera! 

I was so excited when this topic was chosen in our poll. This topic is a no brainer for me! While I do enjoy Downtown Disney, the Boardwalk, miniature golf, the water parks and all the other extras, the best activity at Walt Disney World outside of the 4 theme parks is at Fort Wilderness. I love the Campfire Sing A Long with Chip and Dale!

I first experienced this with my mom in November of 2006. We were down for a conference and decided to try something new during our down time. We bought, roasted and ate s'mores around the campfire, sang with Chip and Dale and watched Peter Pan under the stars. It was wonderful! We tried to do it on our last trip in 2010, but the movie line up for the nights we had available wasn't what my boys would enjoy. It's on my list for my September trip this year! It would be great if one of the Toy Story movies were playing the night I want to go. C-man would be in heaven!
Make your own S'mores before 
the singing and movie!
If you've never experienced Chip and Dale's Campfire Sing A Long and movie here are some details about this event. Every night near the Meadow Trading Post at Fort Wilderness you can enjoy a night of s'mores, sing along songs and a visit from Chip and Dale followed by a free outdoor Disney movie on the big screen. The activities usually begin around 7:00pm in the fall/ winter months and around 8:00pm in the spring/ summer months. The program begins with a 30-45 minute sing along lead by a cast member singing and playing a guitar. Prior to the sing along and during the sing along, you can roast marshmallows and make s'mores around two fire rings. You can bring your own supplies or purchase them from the Chuckwagon Snack Bar. You can also purchase drinks, hot dogs, pizza, nachos and beer at the snack bar. While the singing and s'mores making is going on, Chip and Dale make an appearance (for about 20 minutes) to visit with the guests, sign autographs, take pictures and "sing" on stage with the cast member. The songs are usually kid type songs: “If you're happy and you know it”, “the hokey pokey”, “the chicken dance”, etc. Following the singing, you can stay to enjoy a free Disney movie on the big screen. There are benches provided for you to sit on but feel free to bring your own chairs or blankets for your family.

You can find movie schedules at the beginning of each month on these web sites:
The Mouse for Less
All Ears

As with everything, there are mixed reviews of this activity. While I love it, others hate it! If you aren't staying at Fort Wilderness it can be difficult to get to the Meadow Trading Post. It is a long walk from the bus stop, the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue and the beaches (where you can watch the Electrical Water Pageant) to the Post. If there are a lot of people, it can be difficult to visit with Chip and Dale since they are there for such a short amount of time. Also, some families aren't friendly with the two fire rings! If you go, make room for others and don't set up camp hogging the fire! Also, print a map of Fort Wilderness before you go so you can navigate the area.

There are other great activities Fort Wilderness has to offer to families traveling to Walt Disney World. There is a petting zoo with small farm animals, pony rides at Circle D Ranch and a playground. There are trails for horseback riding, fishing in Bay Lake, bike rentals, boat rentals and fishing excursions. You can rent carriage rides that are themed during holiday seasons!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Walt Disney World: It's Not Just for Kids.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Hop: Star Wars

It's Thursday!  That means Blog Hop Day with Lisa from Babes in Disneyland!  This blog hop has become a weekly part of my blog and something I look forward to week after week.  But, when I read the topic for today's hop on Twitter last night I thought about not participating... Until I found out that my friend Chad from Days in the Park would be co-hosting!!  Then, I KNEW I had to participate!! :)

You see, the theme for today is Star Wars/ Star Tours.  Star Tours, the attraction at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios, has recently been redone and the opening weekend at DHS was last weekend and DL is having soft openings now.  Everyone is excited about this news... except me.  I won't say I'm not excited, because I'm always excited when Disney tries something new or makes changes and upgrades to attractions, but, I am not a Star Wars or Star Tours fan.  Honestly, I've never seen any of the movies all the way through.  I have seen bits and pieces of the first three (or is it the last three now?) and I know some of the basic characters (don't judge my spellings): Princess Lea, Luke Skywalker, Darth Veder, C3PO, R2D2, Chewbacca, Yoda, Jaba the Hut, Han Solo and the storm troopers.  I also know that Darth Veder is Luke's father- Emperor Zurg and Buzz Lightyear taught me that! :)  I did see the Ewok Movie in the early 80s, but I was made fun of on twitter when I shared that tid bit of information.

I've only been on Star Tours once and now I don't ride it because of the motion sickness I experience.  It's just not worth it.  But, I did print out my own Star Tours passport a few weeks ago... even though I'm sure I'll never ride the new Star Tours.   In fact, I don't even know who "Queen" is on this passport.  Sad?  Maybe.

After some ridiculing on twitter from some of my friends, I've decided I'm going to try to watch all of the Star Wars movies.  With the advice from Chad at Days in the Park, Melissa at Disney on Wheels and Beth at Pursuing the Magic I've decided to start with the original Star Wars first and progress in the order they were released.  I may even throw in the Holiday Special and Ewok Movie just for Chad!  :)

Maybe after seeing all 6 of the movies I'll have a better appreciation for this "cult" and for Star Tours... I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Disney Enchanted Calls

Did you know you can have a Disney character call your child for only $2.49?  I had no idea!  KK, C-man's grandmother told me about it today.  I have the mailing address to get a character to mail your child a postcard/ letter (however, I've never actually done it so I don't know if it really works), but I have never heard of the phone call.  While on vacation at Walt Disney World, we always schedule a wake up call, even if we don't need it, to see which character will call, but that's free! :)

If you want a character to call your child at home all you have to do is this:
Visit The Disney Enchanted Calls web site.
1. Choose a character from the list (Ariel, Mulan, Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, Bell, Pocahontas, Pooh, Mickey or Tigger)
2. Choose a theme (Congratulations, Good Night, Birthday Greeting, Holiday Greeting, Encouragement, or Good Morning)
3. Use the drop down menu to personalize the message.
4. Schedule the call with the date, time and location.  I'll assume you enter your phone number and credit card info at this time! :)

What a fun idea... if your child likes one of these characters!  Too bad Buzz and Woody aren't on this list.  We aren't fans Pooh or the Princesses at our house.  Mickey would be a hit, but not like Buzz or Woody!

Have you ever done the Enchanted Call?  What was your experience like?  I'd love to hear!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 21-25: 30 Day Disney Photo Challenge

Several weeks ago, my friends Randy and Wendy with Your Highway in the Sky, posted a 30 Day Photo Challenge on twitter (@fluffedmojo) and encouraged others to participate.  I took him up on his challenge and you can follow my 30 days on "A Disney Moms Thoughts" facebook page!  Here is a recap of days 21-25 from the challenge!  You can catch up on the days 1-5 here, days 6-10 here, days 11-15 here and days 16-20 here!

Day 21, May 18, 2011: The best place to take a picture at Disney

In front of Cinderella's Castle!  Cliché I know, but it's my favorite... along with all the other park icons: Spaceship Earth, Sorcerer's Hat and Tree of Life!  

Day 22, May 19, 2011: A picture from your favorite Disney movie
The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie.  It came out in 1989 when I was a sophomore in high school.  I loved it then and love it now!  When I went off to college in 1992, I took my mom's VHS copy of the movie with me.  I also had this poster on my dorm wall- dork? probably.

Day 23, May 20, 2011: A picture of the character you dislike most

I have to go with Pooh.  For some reason I've never really been a fan of Pooh.  I don't feel like he's very "Disneyish."  I can't give you a reason why I think this.  I just do.  While I "dislike" him most, I don't hate him.  I will eat breakfast with him at Crystal Palace, stand in line to get his autograph and I will ride his ride.  But, he's still my least favorite.  

Day 24, May 21, 2011: A picture of your favorite Disney-related possession or souvenir
There are so many, but right now, I'll have to go with my fleece pullover we got in 2008 while we were in Walt Disney World.  I saw one that I loved, but hated to spend the money on it.  Then I saw the same one in the boys department at World of Disney that was half the price of the one in the woman's department.  I looked at it and thought, a boys XL might just fit me... and it did!  I've worn that pullover OUT!  

Day 25, May 22, 2011: A picture of your favorite childhood Disney memory
While I don't really remember this photo being taken, it's still my favorite!  On our very first trip to Walt Disney World in 1983 we met Brer Fox on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.  Dad had his picture made with with him and I loved it!  I have had this picture framed and in my bedroom or house for 28 years!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Destination Disney: Favorite Time to Visit

Thanks to Heidi at Reviews & Reflections for hosting the Destination Disney topic this week!  I have linked up a few times using old posts with Heidi's blog hop, but I haven't written a post specifically for it until today.  How exciting! 

Today's topic is your "Favorite Time to Visit."  Since I'm primarily a Walt Disney World blog, I will share my thoughts on my favorite times to visit WDW.

Here are my top five times to visit the world:
1. Any time school is in session!  This means I stay away from holidays, summer and spring break!  The crowds are always high at these times so we do our best to visit when school is in.

2. Early December.  This falls right between Thanksgiving and Christmas so all the decorations are up... but school is in session so crowds are down!  Score!  Don't forget to make plans for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

3. February- with the exception of President's Day Weekend (remember that school being out brings the masses).  February is a great time to visit.  The temperatures are nice and rain hasn't been an issue for us in February.  There aren't any big events at this time to bring in lots of people.  The only down side is many attractions are closed for refurbishment, since the crowds are low.

4.  September/ October- with the exception of holiday weekends! :)  Are you starting to see a trend here?!  The weather is still great.  It can be warm during the day, but the evenings are nice.  The water parks are great at this time of year.  You can also participate in Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

5. New Year's Eve.  I know, this totally contradicts what I said above!  The crowds are INSANE for this night, but it's absolutely amazing!  I've been at WDW to ring in 2 New Years and both were so much fun.  If you go, don't have high expectations for getting a lot done.  Plan your meals and enjoy the day.  Don't stress if you can't ride everything and take full advantage of Fast Pass.  You also have to arrive EARLY to make sure you get in the park of your choice before they reach capacity.  

There ya have it.  While I LOVE summer and I LOVE holidays, I try to stay away from Walt Disney World at those times!  

Thanks for reading and if you have time, visit Heidi's blog and join in on the Destination Disney FUN!

Friday's Favorites- Pirates and Tosh.0

Everyone's talking about Pirates this week since the new Pirate's of the Caribbean movie is coming out so I might as well follow suite!   Back in February, I posted about the Pirate and Princess Party at WDW in 2008.  Yesterday, my family's photo made the Parade of Pirates at Disney Go To Girl and I posted about The Pirate's League at WDW with the Blog Hop.  While I was working on that post and looking at pictures, I ran across this cute kid from the WDW Pirate's League page.

What a great looking pirate!  It makes me want to participate in The Pirate's League myself.  But as I continued to look at this pirate I was reminded of something and it took a few minutes for me to figure it out.

Then it hit me.

This looks very similar to the Zombie Kid... "I like turtles."  Have you seen him on youtube?  Or maybe a few years later on Tosh.0 in a web redemption?  (I know, it's a horrible, horrible show.  But it cracks me up!)

Anyway, those are my Friday's Favorites thoughts about Pirates... and Tosh.0...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blog Hop: Pirates!

Today's Blog Hop hosted by Babes In Disneyland is a Pirate Theme in honor of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie that is coming out this weekend.  Lisa has been posting "piratey" things all week, so the blog hop will keep her theme continuing!  

To be honest with you all, I have not kept up with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  I saw the first one when it came out on DVD and I think I saw parts of the second one, but I'm not sure.  While I enjoyed the first movie, it wasn't something I wanted to watch over and over and it didn't get me excited about the future ones.  All that to say, my post today will be "piratey" but it won't be Pirates of the Caribbean Piratey!

Back in February of 2008, our family attended the Pirate and Princess Party at Walt Disney World.  You can read about our experience here  so I won't blog about that again!

Instead I'm sharing what I know about the Pirate's League at Walt Disney World.
"Captain Jack and his trusted mates are scouring the seven seas in search of treasure—and new recruits! At The Pirates League, select a pirate style and receive a makeover and training from the League's veteran pirates. Get a new name, learn some swashbuckling maneuvers and, after taking the official Pirate League Oath, be prepared to march in the Parade of Pirates in Adventureland." ~

The Pirates League is located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I found it as I was exiting the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  It was tucked in the corner off the gift shop.  I chose to walk through and take pictures of the guests receiving their makeovers instead of walking around like everyone else.  At the time, I didn't know much about the Pirates League.  All I knew was it was a very cool option for boys since the little girls have the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!  Even if I were a mom of girls instead of boys, I think I would still rather have the Pirate makeover rather than the Princess one...  But that's just me! :)

The first thing you do once you pay for your makeover is receive a Pirate Name from the Captain's Log. Then it's time for your makeover and you end your visit with a portrait session and a (weather permitting) Pirate Parade!  For $29.95 plus tax, you can choose from 2 options: "The First Mate" or "Empress".  It will take 30 to 60 minutes for your transformation and all packages include:
 Choice of facial effect (5 to choose from)
 Reversible bandana
 Earring and Eye Patch
 Sword and Sheath
 Temporary Tattoo
 Unique Pirate Coin Necklace
 Personalized Pirate Oath
 Official Pirate Name
 Removable Teeth*
 Participation in a daily Adventureland Pirate Parade

* Empress package does not come with removable teeth but does come with vibrant and bold makeup, plus nail polish and face gem!

Costumes, headwear, and imaging sold separately and are available at the location.

You can book reservations at The Pirates League by calling (407) WDW-CREW (939-2739). Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made 180 days prior to arrival (when you make your dining reservations, go on and book your Pirate League reservations as well!).  Theme park admission is required. The Pirates League is open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The last reservations will be taken at 3:30pm. Costume selection and sizing may vary.  Guests must be at least 3 years of age.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: JAGs first trip

February 2006, MGM Studios

Happy Graduation, Class of 2011

Disney Grad Nites were held for the final time at Walt Disney World April 29-30 and May 6-7.  This was a closed party for High School Seniors at the Magic Kingdom.  The party was from 10pm-4am on the select nights.   Graduates could enjoy their favorite attractions along with dance parties and entertainment throughout the park.

While I never attended a Grad Nite, I think it's a great idea!  When I graduated I went on a short trip with only one other friend.  Disney Grad Nite would have been perfect because we would have been able to be at the park with other Seniors and could have met people from all over the country.  Individuals, small groups or large groups could enjoy Grad Nite.  As I read more about the new Disney Senior Class Trip (see below), it seems like you can only really benefit from it if you are with a large group.  And it's only your high school group- you wouldn't have a chance to meet other senior classes...

Since Grad Nights have been cancelled, Walt Disney World is now offering Disney Senior Class Trip. Here are the details from the web site:

So seniors you've spent years working hard in school and you're finally graduating. But before you graduate you and your classmates deserve a senior class trip like no other!

Disney Senior Class Trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you and your friends get to create one final high school memory. After all these years of hard work, you've finally made it to your senior year. Before saying goodbye to all of your friends, it's time to create a high school memory at a place where we know how to celebrate life's special moments.

Organizing a trip to the Disney Parks for your SENIOR CLASS celebration is the best way to magnify this special moment that only happens once in a lifetime. Disney Senior Class Trip takes your senior class trip to a whole new level at a magical place made for celebrating. Senior classes or senior groups can purchase specially priced theme park tickets and enjoy Walt Disney World parks in Florida anytime throughout the year. We even have special event add-ons to make you your senior trip extra special!

Seniors... it's time to celebrate with Disney Senior Class Trip!

Enhancements to your Senior Class Trip

"Early-On" Experience in a Disney park
                Choose your park — Animal Kingdom, Epcot®, or Disney's Hollywood Studios®
                With Youth Group ticketed admission, seniors will get to experience a select attraction at park opening as the rest of the Guests are entering the park for the day.
                Depending on park hours, breakfast is 1 hour prior to park opening before the attraction experience or 1 hour at park opening after the attraction experience.
                Attraction selection may vary based on group size and date availability.
                Menu choices are varied.

IllumiNations Dessert Party at Epcot®
                Dessert Party with exclusive use of a venue located along the lagoon.
                Venues provide a wonderful view of IllumiNations reserved just for your senior class!
                Basic dessert menu would include: Cookies, Brownies, Ice Cream Novelties. Upgrades available.

Fantasmic Patio Reception at Disney's Hollywood Studios®
                Bypass the queue to your reserved patio location.
                Select from varied dinner or dessert party menus.
                Enjoy the Fantasmic extravaganza from a secluded venue.

Signature Events to your Senior Class Trip

Villain Party - "Club Evil"
                Private party themed with Disney Villains includes:
                Themed buffet menu with "Villain" beverages
                Lighting, music and décor to enhance the atmosphere
                Lots of unique custom options

Themed Dance Party
                Exclusive use of a Private Venue including Event Hosts/Greeters
                Food & Beverage would include an Italian based menu with a cake
                DJ, Club Lighting, & Haze
                Confetti Finale
                Characters may be included

Dinoland Party
                Private, after hours event for groups beginning at 200 people at Disney's Animal Kingdom Includes:
                Dinner Buffet for 1.5 hours
                Beverage Service throughout the event
                Theme Park Dance Party
                Attractions: number of attractions based on group size

What do you think about the new Senior Class Trip option at WDW?  Do you like it better than Grad Nite?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 16-20: 30 Day Disney Photo Challenge

20+ days ago, Randy with Your Highway in the Sky, posted a 30 Day Photo Challenge on twitter (@fluffedmojo) and encouraged others to participate.  I took him up on his challenge and you can follow my 30 days on "A Disney Moms Thoughts" facebook page!  Here is a recap of days 16-20 from the challenge!  You can catch up on the days 1-5 here, days 6-10 here and days 11-15 here!

Day 16, May 13, 2011: A picture of your favorite place to shop
This was hard. I'm not a shopper (at all) but I do love looking at all the "stuff" to buy at WDW! There are so many smaller, quaint shops I like inside the parks, but I think my favorite is World Of Disney at Downtown Disney. I can find just about anything there and so can the rest of my family!

Day 17, May 14, 2011: A picture of your favorite Disney character
Belle. I wrote about why here.

Day 18, May 15, 2011: A picture of your favorite guilty Disney pleasure
Cupcakes.  This one was from Starring Rolls at Hollywood Studios.  I think it was the marble one- the cake was chocolate/ vanilla swirl with white icing that had a dollop of chocolate fudge in the center- with Mickey head sprinkles on top and chocolate sprinkles rolled on the sides.  DELICIOUS!  And yes, I ate the whole thing.  If you are a cupcake fan, you gotta check this out from The Disney Food Blog!

Day 19, May 16, 2011: A picture of something in the park that deserves more attention
Journey Into Imagination immediately came to mind when I saw today's topic.  This attraction needs so much attention.  Following the ride, the "play area" is pitiful.  Most of it was blocked off with plastic and barricades.  Back in the day, that was my favorite part of Epcot!!

photo courtesy of

Day 20, May 17, 2011: A picture of the best way to beat the heat at Disney
Ice cream is definitely the best way to beat the heat!  My personal favorite is the Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich!  It's a must on a hot day at Walt Disney World!  It's even better eaten in air conditioning! :)