Friday, November 30, 2012

Chip & Co- Tips for Flying

Check out the Tips and Tricks for Flying to Walt Disney World I shared on Chip & Company this week!

Magical Blogorail Green: Thankful at Disney

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as we share what we are most thankful for at Disney Resorts.

When I think about Disney, there are so many things I'm thankful for!  One thing I'm most thankful for is the friends I've made through my love for Disney.  This group, The Magical Blogorail, has almost become second family to me and I'm so thankful for the love and support they have shown me over the past few years.  But, this post isn't about friends, it's about Disney resorts so... on with the post!

One of the many things I'm thankful for at Disney Resorts, whether that is Walt Disney World or Disneyland (I've never been to the others) is how they take care of their guests.  Disney does an OUTSTANDING job looking out for people with physical and mental limitations, people with food issues and people in unique situations.  I have several friends who even write blogs solely devoted to traveling to Disney in wheelchairs, traveling with autistic children or special needs children and traveling with members who need special diets- gluten free, dairy free, nut free, etc.  It always makes me smile to know that Disney has taken care of these guests and I'm thankful for that.

I'm also thankful for the fact that Disney is always changing.  While I do miss several of the attractions of days gone by, I'm always looking forward to what is next.  Of all the trips I've made to Walt Disney World, no two have ever been alike due to new attractions, new restaurants, new resorts, special events, new races, etc.  There is always something new on the horizon at Disney and I'm thankful for that.

Having a place where my family can visit and not worry about all the things we've left behind is another reason I'm thankful for Disney.  When we set foot on Disney property we know we are in our happy place and things in the outside world seem to disappear.  When we travel to other places, that doesn't happen.  I'm not sure why this happens at Disney, but it does and I'm thankful.

The last thing I'm thankful for is Disney memories.  The memories I have over the years from Disney vacations top almost all of my other family vacation memories.  Maybe it's because we've been so many times.  Maybe it's just because Disney is THAT good at making memories!  Either way, I'm very thankful for the memories I have.

If you're curious what the rest of my family is thankful for at Disney, you can read about my husband here, my middle son here and the oldest & youngest boys here!  What are you thankful for?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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

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

Final Stop ~ Disney Living

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Magical Blogorail Teal: Disney Trip as a Christmas Gift

Welcome to those of you joining me from My Dreams of Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Are you getting or giving a Disney vacation for Christmas?  If so, you'll need to know what to do next! Here are the things I would do if I were giving my boys a WDW trip this December:

1. Start a countdown.  See exactly how many days you have until you arrive at Disney.  If you are inside 180 days, make dining reservations.  If you have more than 180 days, start looking at your dining options so you'll know what you want to book.  When you reach 25 days (or whatever your magic number is) start the countdown calendar!

2. Make your hotel reservations and buy your park tickets.  Visit Disney's web site or call your favorite travel agent.  Remember to ask if there are any specials going on for your time of travel (free dining, kids play free, etc).

3. Start looking at flight deals, if you are flying.  Keep an eye on this so you can hopefully get the best price.  Talk with your travel agent if they are helping with your vacation.

4. At 180 days out, start making your dining reservations.  If you want to dine in Cinderella Castle, with characters or at a dinner show, make sure you make your reservations at 180 days out.  These fill up quickly!  

5. Now, you should have the basics covered: flight, hotel, tickets and dining reservations.  If you have a Disney Visa Rewards card, start making purchases on it (or better yet, book your trip on it!) so you can earn 1% back in Disney dollars.  We also buy Disney Gift Cards at local drug stores when we have extra cash at the end of the month.  These can be used to pay for your trip, food, souvenirs and more while at Disney!

6. A few months/ weeks out start making a plan for your trip.  Look at crowd calendars and trends to see which park would be best each day of your trip and plan accordingly. 

7. Start your packing list!  Plan for different temperatures during the winter/ spring months and rain/ sun for summer and fall.  You'll need all types of clothing. 

8. Keep your eyes open at drugstores, grocery stores and "big box" stores for Disney themed gifts, trinkets and goodies.  These are excellent for travel, waiting in lines and gifts left on the beds each day.  It also helps us not spend as much in the parks on souvenirs- and it's much cheaper! :)

I hope this list helps you organize and plan your Christmas gift trip!  Have fun!

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Teal this month. Our next loop will be in December with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

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

1st Stop ~

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Maelstrom Hidden Mickey

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Turkey Legs

Slow down while you are touring the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.  When boarding the boats in Maelstrom, look at the Vikings.  One is wearing Mickey Mouse Ears!  Gotta love those Imagineers for adding these touches!

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Memories Software Review & Giveaway

Recently I was given the opportunity to download and review "My Memories Suite" digital scrapbooking software.  I'm still very new to the whole digital scrapbooking thing.  Once I downloaded the software, I had to play around with it before I figured out the basics.  While I was using the scrapbook software, I was able to see all the different options there are!  If I had the time, I could spend hours creating all sorts of Christmas gifts for friends and family: calendars, gift tags, photo albums, photo collages, recipe cards and more!  I look forward to creating more with this new software.

The first "creation" I made was a photo page of my recent trip to Epcot at Walt Disney World.  I know this is very basic and not real fancy, but I was able to add all the elements I wanted at this point: the location, date, a journal entry and photos.  It was very easy for me to change the font, size and color.  I was also able to add and crop the photos I wanted without any problems.  What excited me the most was finding a few kits on the My Memories web site  that reminded me of Disney!  I was able to download Main Street Magic to remind me of Magic Kingdom and Howdy Partner for my son's 4 year old "Woody" Birthday Party.

You can find more about My Memories Suite at the following places: 

My Memories Blog

If you are interested entering to win your own scrapbooking software from My Memories Suite, please follow the rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thoughts for the Week: November 18-24, 2012

It's been a great week around here!  I'm so glad blogger lets me schedule my posts or else I don't think I would have had any this week!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with your family, eat lots of turkey and watch movies and football.  I also hope you were able to slow down and remember to thank God for all you have.  That is what happened at our house.
Now, on to the blog!  Here is what happened on "A Disney Mom's Thoughts" this week:
  • Last Sunday, I shared three reasons you should use Garden Grocer on your next WDW vacation!  Really, you should use them to provide your snacks and food for your trips.
  • The Ashton-Drake Galleries has some adorable Disney Princess Dolls that would make a great Christmas gift for any doll collector.  See what they have to offer!
  • I finally caught up on my Destination Disney quotes on Monday!  I shared some thoughts on a quote from Sebastian about children.  
  • Tuesday brought us Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!  I found some great Thanksgiving Trivia for this week!
  • Paul from provided a guest post that shared some great information on Things to do in Disney World with a Baby.  See if your ideas made the list!
  • For Wordless Wednesday, I found an old photo of the Mickey Mouse balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Love it!
  • Thursday was Thanksgiving Day.  I linked up with Heidi with a Destination Disney quote and then realized I did the wrong quote. :(  oh well!  I also shared what dad is thankful for at WDW.
I'm very thankful this week that some of my Magical Blogorail friends have blog hops I can participate in!  I'm not sure I would have had many posts without their suggestions and hops.

Stay tuned for next weeks posts!  I'll be joining 2 Blogorail loops- Teal on Tuesday and Green on Friday!  I'll also be ready to participate in Tuesday Trivia, Wordless Wednesday and Thursday's Destination Disney hops.  There are also many other posts still in draft that may make their way to the blog this week! 

Are there any topics you want to see covered about Walt Disney World?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Disney Thanks: Dad

Happy Thanksgiving!

anniversary dinner at 'Ohana
Today you get to hear what my husband, or dad, is thankful for at Disney!  This was pretty easy for him.

1. Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.  Yes, he is thankful for the delicious steak and pretzel bread, but he's more thankful for Moosehead Pale Ale on draft.  Apparently, this is the only place in the continental US where you can get it on draft...  according to our waitress!

2. California Grill at the Contemporary Resort.   He was thankful for the food, the ambiance, and Wishes from the rooftop!

3. 'Ohana at the Polynesian Resort.  The reason he's thankful for 'Ohana is because "the food keeps coming and doesn't stop!"  (And I was thinking it was because 'Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind...)

4. Finally, he's thankful for the American Pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase because "it's American, man!"

So, there ya have it.   I married a deep man.  Almost all his "thanks" revolve around food.  No mention of family time, memories, or escaping from "real life!"

If you missed what my boys are thankful for, you can check it out here and here.  Stay tuned on next Friday when I share what I'm thankful for at Disney with my Magical Blogorail Green friends!

Destination Disney: Impossible Quote

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." 
~Walt Disney 

This was on the wall around the Fantasyland expansion back in February.   I wanted so bad to climb over the wall and see what was going on... but I didn't! :)

When I think about this quote, in Disney terms, I think of several things...

1) I actually finished the Walt Disney World marathon in 2003.  I had stress fractures in one shin and shin splints in the other.  I was told by my doctor not to run at all, but I did.  I had raised over $4,000 for the Leukemia/ Lymphoma society and was running in memory of my uncle.  I was NOT about to give up, so I did what seemed to be impossible at the time and low and behold, it was actually FUN!

2)  That first marathon was in fact so fun, I ran the half marathon in 2008 with my husband!  This time at mile 8 I pulled my IT band and was in quite a bit of pain.  After I got home and saw the doctor, I found out I also had a stress fracture in my foot at the same time.  Finishing those last 5 miles with a pulled IT band and stress fracture seemed impossible, but I did it.  Again, in the end, it was fun and I'm glad I did it!  Being in Disney made it fun... not sure running through a random city with those injuries would have been fun!

3) Finding a way to visit WDW when money is tight.  There have been several trips that seemed impossible financially, but in the end we found a way to make it work (staying off property with friends, camping, staying at a value resort, brown bagging our meals, bringing our own mini fridge for the room, getting discounted tickets, not adding park hopper, driving, etc).  When we thought going to WDW would be impossible, we found a way to make it happen and guess what??  IT WAS FUN to do the impossible! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things to Do in Disney World with a Baby: Exploring Disney World with a Baby in Tow

Disney World is one of the world's most beloved theme parks, annually drawing millions of visitors from across the globe. While older kids will be certain to love seeing the characters and experiencing the thrill of the intense rides, parents of a young baby can also enjoy all Disney has to offer. From snapping photos with Mickey and Minnie to enjoying the more mellow rides with the little one, Disney World has plenty to offer parents with children of all ages. Use the following tips to discover some of Disney's most baby-friendly activities.

Exploring the Magic Kingdom
Of the 4 parks located within the Walt Disney World Resort, the Magic Kingdom is by far the most accessible to parents with young babies and toddlers. In fact, almost all of the rides and attractions here are suitable for the youngest children, making it an ideal location to spend the day. From walking up Main Street U.S.A. to exploring the magic of the Cinderella Castle, there is plenty to see and do in Disney's most-popular park.

From the moment you enter the park, it's best to hit the ground running. Visitors who don't want to miss a single instant of fun will likely want to arrive early, as things can be slow going with a baby. Although a single day in the park is perfect for most parents with young children, some opt to spend a few days at the resort, allowing them to take a more leisurely pace while seeing all that Disney World has to offer.

Visiting Popular Favorites
Some of Disney's most popular rides are open to babies and toddlers. It's a Small World never fails to disappoint, with its animated characters and whimsical theme song. Parents can hold their child on their lap while traveling through this majestic world, and ride attendants will be happy to stow strollers and diaper bags during the ride. Depending on the size of the baby, the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride can be a fun attraction to enjoy. Moms and dads can hold their little one securely during the ride.

Even more intense rides, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin are open to young infants. Before riding one of these attractions, it is important to make certain a child will not be scared by the lights and sounds of the ride. Of course, certain rides will likely be a no go during the visit. Examples in this category include Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. For parents who don't want to sacrifice the thrills, the parent swap program is a valuable resource. Simply stand in line together, and tell an attendant that a parent swap is desired. One parent will hold the child while the other rides the attraction, swapping positions once he or she had returned.

Baby Amenities in the Park
At some point during the day, a little baby or toddler is likely going to need some special attention. The Magic Kingdom, along with every other park in the resort, offers a Baby Care Center. Located near the Crystal Palace restaurant, this care center has necessities like baby food, wipes, and diapers. A collection of equipment, such as baby rockers, high chairs, and toys can also be useful in keeping a small baby happy. Nursing mothers can use these rooms to feed infants, or take care of diaper changes and other issues.

Exploring Disney with a young baby can be a great experience. By equipping oneself with the necessary tools and resources before the big adventure, parents can help ensure the trip is a success. The memories made on this special day will no doubt last a lifetime.

Patrick Wilson is a regular contributor to the blog at BabyStations, an online store selling diaper changing stations and helping companies make their facilities more family friendly.

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Thanksgiving Turkey

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Turkey Legs

On November 20, 2007, President George W. Bush granted a "pardon" to two turkeys, named May and Flower, at the 60th annual National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, held in the Rose Garden at the White House. The two turkeys were flown to Orlando, Florida, where they served as honorary grand marshals for the Disney World Thanksgiving Parade. The current tradition of presidential turkey pardons began in 1947, under Harry Truman, but the practice is said to have informally begun with Abraham Lincoln, who granted a pardon to his son Tad's pet turkey.

walt disney world
image from wdwnews

Monday, November 19, 2012

Destination Disney: Quote from Sebastian

Children have got to be free to lead their own lives. 
~Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid"

My boys make me smile.  They are my life.  The thought of them being free to lead their own lives scares me to death!  But, that's the goal.  To raise our children in a way that they will be able, confident, contributing adults who can lead their own lives.  

In raising my boys, one thing I do hope I can instill in them is a love for God, family, and Disney!  The best memories I have from growing up and from raising my boys are memories from our Disney vacations.  I hope and pray when they grow up and lead their own lives they continue to love Disney and will raise their families with Disney... and that they'll remember to bring the grandparents along when they bring their kids to WDW! :)

Disney Princess Dolls- The Ashton-Drake Galleries

Christmas is just over 5 weeks away.  Do you know what you are getting everyone on your list?  Are you including any Disney items?

Musical, Movable Cinderella Baby Doll
If you are buying for someone who loves collecting dolls I have the perfect Disney gift for you!  The Ashton-Drake Galleries has a great collection of Disney Baby Dolls that come in different sizes and price ranges.  The lifelike miniature dolls range in size from 5 1/4" high  to 14" long.  Prices start at $39.99 and go up to $149.99.  All of the dolls are available for purchase in installments.

A few of the characters that are available as babies are Tinker Bell, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel. All are crafted by master doll artist Cheryl Hill and are handcrafted in artist's resin or vinyl.  The dolls are accompanied by a certificate authenticating it is original.  Several are even licensed by Disney.

If you are interested in purchasing a Disney Princess Doll, I encourage you to visit The Ashton-Drake Galleries for your purchase.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Three Reasons Use Garden Grocer

Here are THREE reasons you should shop with Garden Grocer for your next WDW vacation!

1) Garden Grocer has successfully delivered more than 100,000 deliveries. It's obvious they are a great company with that many deliveries under their belt!

2) They have added more products including some specialty items such as Golden Hills Coffee Roasters Coffee and a wide selection of beer, freezable drinks and Copa Di Vino Wine.

3) They give back!  This year the team at raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and participated in their Light the Night walk in Orlando.

Holiday Meals Delivered

Friday, November 16, 2012

Master Moves Mickey Dance Party

A few weeks ago, Fisher Price sent us the new Master Moves Mickey for review.  We tried several times to have some friends over to join us for a "Dance Party," but kept running into glitches.  FINALLY we were able to enjoy a Mickey Dance Party with my nieces last weekend.  The three kids were ages 15 months, 3 years and 3 1/2 years old.  All three LOVED Mickey!  In fact, even my 2 month old enjoyed watching him dance around.

Along with Master Moves Mickey, we got four MM3 t-shirts and four MM3 "sweat towels" for when the dancing gets too intense! :)  My son, immediately LOVED MM3.  As soon as we got him out of the box, C-man was dancing around the house with him trying to copy his moves.  Speaking of moves, Mickey has 'em!  He comes programmed with 15 different dance moves that can be done in any combination.  Some of the "moves" are The Windmill, The Mouseka Mix, The Spin Cycle, The Sprinkler and The Handstand.  My son loves trying to breakdance with Mickey as he spins on his head!  Along with the funky dance moves are great beats and songs.  My son not only loves the dances, he loves the songs too.

My favorite part of this toy is obviously watching him dance!  It's amazing how he moves and changes positions so easily.  The funniest part is when he falls over.  Mickey says, "Woops!  I've over extended myself!  How about a little help?"  Or, "Uh oh!  Clean up on aisle 5.  How about a little help?"  Then after you put him back on his feet he always says, "Thanks Pal!"

I like this version of Mickey Mouse much better than Dance Star Mickey or Rock Star Mickey from years past.  I believe this will be a hit this Christmas for all kids!  If the reaction from the three at our "dance party" is how other kids will react, then everyone will want one under the tree!  

Thanks to Fisher Price for letting us play with the new Master Moves Mickey!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Disney Thanks: JAG & Big E

This week's "Disney Thanks" leading up to Thanksgiving comes from my youngest and oldest boys: JAG and Big E.

While Big E has not yet been to Walt Disney World and can't even talk, he is still very thankful for things at Disney~ Baby Care Centers and naps in strollers!  That is C-man in the stroller below, but Big E is still very thankful for Disney allowing us to use our own stroller for him to sleep in!

When we were talking about what we were thankful for at Disney as a family, everyone weighed in except JAG... So, I'm answering for him!  I know he LOVES the thrill rides at all the Disney Parks, so in no particular order, here is what he is thankful for:

Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios and The Matterhorn at Disneyland.

Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom.

Next Thursday, you'll hear what my husband is thankful for...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: President Bill Clinton

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Disneylands Splash Mountain
Did you know President Bill Clinton is the only president in Hall of Presidents to wear a Mickey Mouse tie?  
Hall of Presidents
photo courtesy of Disney
Also, according to D23, President Clinton likes to sing Disney songs!  :)

As the nation’s 42nd president stood before a microphone and video cameras — set up to film his gestures and facial nuances for Audio-Animatronics® programming — he remarked to an assistant, “Have you seen [The Hall of Presidents]? This is a great show!” President Clinton continued into the microphone, “I feel like I should sing a Disney song. Heigh ho, heigh ho…!”