Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Pocahontas Premiere

Did you know on June 10, 1995, over 100,000 people attended a free outdoor premiere of Disney’s Pocahontas on the Great Lawn in New York City’s Central Park?   It was shown on four 80-foot high screens and it is the largest opening ever for an animated film. A lot of the tickets were given away in advance in a lottery to those who responded to newspaper ads.
image from justfindit4u

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Animal Kingdom Celebrates 15 Years

Monday, April 29, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Playlist for Disney

This "Must Have Monday" list is ever changing.  When we went to WDW back in 2011, I made a playlist for the ride.  Since then, my son has aged a little, interests have changed, new songs have been acquired and "Big E" has joined the family!  So, depending on our moods, interests and ages, this list is ever changing.

So, for today, April 29, 2013, these are our favorite Disney (and non Disney songs that make us think of Disney) for our playlist.  My plan is to actually listen to this playlist on our way to WDW... this fall maybe?!?!
  • Good Life- One Republic
  • Kingdom in the Sky- Da Vinci's Notebook
  • Disney Freak- Armand and Angelina
  • Be Our Guest- Beauty and the Beast
  • Chip 'N' Dale's Rescue Rangers Theme Song
  • Duck Tales Theme Song
  • Tale Spin Theme Song
  • Kerry Butler's Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust album
  • All songs from The Never Land Pirate's Band from Jake and the Never Land Pirates
  • I Wan'na Be Like You- Jungle Book
  • Hakuna Matata- The Lion King
  • SIMP Squirrels in My Pants- Phineas and Ferb
  • I've Got a Dream- Tangled
  • You've Got a Friend in Me- Toy Story
  • Ev'rybody Wants to be a Cat- Aristocats
  • Under The Sea- The Little Mermaid
  • Meet Me Down on Main Street- The Mellomen
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious- Mary Poppins
  • Mickey Mouse March- Original TV show
What songs are on your "Must Have" Disney playlist?  I'd love to hear in the comments! :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Magical Blogorail Green: Top Foods at Walt Disney World

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as we share with you our top Disney foods.

Top Disney Foods.  Such a broad topic!  Can I choose just ONE food?  No.  So, I'm breaking it down into categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, Appetizers and Desserts!

I have two favorites in this category: Beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter (see right!) and Cinnamon Rolls at Main Street Bakery.  Healthy?  Not so much.  Delicious?  YES!  In fact, you can get these breakfast items at any time, so they can become a snack or dessert too.

Besides grabbing a hamburger for lunch (which I do quite a bit at home and at WDW) I like to get a cup of corn-dog nuggets from Casey's Corner at the Magic Kingdom.  I don't eat corn-dogs anywhere else.  But, there's just something magical about these things and our family must have these at least once on each vacation!

This was the easiest category for me to choose!  Two restaurants immediately come to mind: Le Cellier and 'Ohana.  The steak at Le Cellier was one of the best I've ever had in my life.  It was melt in your mouth good!  The entire meal at 'Ohana (see left) was fabulous.  We loved everything about this meal- the food, the atmosphere, the ambiance, the servers and the view.  We will definitely be returning on our next trip.

Honestly, I could survive only on snacks while I'm at Walt Disney World!  There are so many amazing snacks to consume.  But to keep this from being way too long, I'll list my top three: Mickey Soft Pretzel (right), Main Street Pop Corn, and a Mickey Apple.  While all soft pretzels are good, if they are shaped like Mickey, they are extra good.  All pop corn is good too, but if it's from Main Street, it's just that much better.  The Mickey caramel apples are my top snack though.  I love the "healthy" apple topped with the melty caramel and chocolate- the perfect combination for a snack!

In this category, both items come from the World Showcase in Epcot: Pretzel Bread from Le Cellier in Canada (left) and Egg Rolls from Lotus Blossom in China.  The pretzel bread is to die for!  Along with being a chocoholic, I'm a carb lover too and this bread hits the spot!  I would love to be able to replicate this bread at home.  These Egg Rolls really aren't anything special, but they are on my list of favorites and a must have while walking around the lagoon.

Many of the restaurants have amazing desserts on the menu, but I usually eat too much at dinner and don't have room for dessert!  But, my two favorite desserts can be found in numerous locations around Walt Disney World and Disneyland: Chocolate cupcakes (cotton top tamarin cupcake from Animal Kingdom to the right) and Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich.  I'm a sucker for anything chocolate, but a chocolate cupcake with white icing and Mickey sprinkles tops my cupcake list.  The Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich is a must have when we visit an ice cream cart.

So there it is.  My list of favorite foods at Walt Disney World.

What foods top your list?  I'd love to hear 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:
3rd Stop ~ Mouse on the Mind
Final Stop ~ Disney Living

Saving For Disney: 360 Checking Account

Since you've been following all the ideas for "Saving for Disney" you need somewhere to stash all this money you're saving!  Consider opening a 360 Checking Account through Capital One (formerly ING Direct).  When you open your account you'll get a $50 bonus deposited into your account!  Here are the details from their web site:
  1. Open 360 Checking and make a total of 3 Card purchases or Person2Person Payments (or any combo of the 2) within 45 days of account opening.
  2. Your $50 bonus will automatically be deposited into your account on day 50.
  • No fees & no minimums
  • Access to 38,000 free Allpoint® ATMs
  • Deposit checks from anywhere with our mobile app or from a computer
Another option is to open a 360 Savings Account and earn a variable 0.75% Annual Percentage Yield- earn money on the cash you are saving for Disney!

Here are some other Disney saving ideas:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Disney Animated Feature Awards

images from usatoday.com and wikipedia

Toy Story 2 is one of three Disney movies to win a Golden Globe for Best Picture. The other two are Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Toy Story 3 (2010) won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature along with
Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), and Brave (2012).

Thanks for the Trivia Hop Jodi, Mike, Heidi and Jenn!
Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: The Oasis

Monday, April 22, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Disney Vacation iPhone Apps

There are SO many apps out there for the iphone to help you with your vacation.  Below are just a few of the apps I find helpful in planning.  Several are similar so you may want to look at them all before deciding which is best for you.   There are other iPhone apps dealing with Disney trivia and games that I'll cover on another Monday!

What planning apps are your favorite?
  1. Countdown to Disney- This is an app that I love using to help count down the days to our Disney vacation!
  2. WDW Transportation Wizard- Your iPhone will suggest several routes involving cars, boats, buses, or monorails to get you from one point to another on WDW property with this app. It will even tell you how long it’s likely to take so you won’t be late for dinner!
  3. Buses, Boats & Monorails-  I have reviewed this app before and on our last trip, we used it quite a bit!  You can choose your location on property and the location you want to get to and it will suggest routes for you to take.  Very similar to the Transportation Wizard.
  4. Mouse Memo- This app holds all your important travel information- entertainment and dining reservations, flight info, restaurant information and more! 
  5. Disney Parks- This app is BY Disney!  You can find park hours, today's events in each park, map, ride descriptions, wait times, weather and more.  Once you arrive at each park your app will unlock more information!
  6. My Disney Experience- This is another official app by Disney.  You can find park maps, wait times, Fastpass return times, menus, hours and schedules.  You can also book dining reservations and share your itinerary with friends and family!
  7. WDW Lines (Touring Plans)- This is a great app that gives you park hours, wait times for shows and attractions, menus for restaurants and tips for when to use fastpass or not.
  8. WDW Wait Times- Exactly what it says- up to date wait times for attractions at WDW!
  9. WDW Wait Times, Dining and Maps from Undiscovered Tourist- With detailed maps and GPS Locator, this app lets you enjoy accurate wait times, integrated in real-time, with park maps for Walt Disney World. Also includes ride information, Disney dining, schedules and plans, ticket info, and a traffic light system to show which park to visit on which day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Saving for Disney: Tax Return

Since this week included "Tax Day" on April 15, it's only fitting that our "Saving for Disney" tip is to put all or part of your tax return in to a special account for your next Disney vacation.  This tip is only good for those who will receive a tax return! :)

Here are some other Disney saving ideas:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Pizza Planet Truck

Did you know the Pizza Planet Truck, that is present in all three Toy Story movies, has made a cameo in almost every Pixar film?  Here are a few examples:
  • In Finding Nemo, the truck can be seen whizzing by when Gill in planning the escape from the dentist's office. 
  • In Ratatouille, the Pizza Planet Truck can be seen on a bridge over the Seine during the scene in which Skinner is chasing Remy.  
  • In Cars, it can be found at the Los Angeles International Speedway at the title deciding race. 
  • In Up, it can be seen at the end of the movie, in the parking lot, behind the curb where Russell and Carl are sitting. 
  • In Brave, the truck is a wooden trinket on a worktable in the Witch's cottage

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: The Oasis

Monday, April 15, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Web Sites

I have many "go to" or "must have" web sites when planning my Walt Disney World vacations.  I could literally spend ALL day bouncing from Disney web site to web site reading about trip reports, restaurant reviews, Disney news, saving strategies, tricks and tips, crafts and more.

Here are just a few of my favorite, Must Have, Disney web sites, in no particular order:
  1. The Magical Blogorail.  This is a group of Disney bloggers who join together to share thoughts on a specific Disney topic. When they aren't participating in a Blogorail Loop, they all have fabulous blogs all sharing their unique love of Disney.
  2. Disney Parks Blog (and all of Disney's Site)  This is really a no brainer! If anyone loves Disney, they are most likely familiar with the Disney web site.  The Disney Parks Blog has great info about the history of Disney, food, attractions, current happenings, special events and more.
  3. Your First Visit While this is written for the first time WDW visitor, I still visit this site when planning my trips!  He has fabulous information about park crowds, when to visit, where to stay, how long to stay and more.  I suggest this site to anyone going for a first or ninety-first visit!
  4. Walt Disney World News  Exactly what the site's name says- WDW News.  You can learn all types of things about Walt Disney World travel, parks, vacation planning, upcoming events, facts, videos, photos and more.
  5. The Mouse For Less This site is full of great news and information about WDW, Disneyland, Disney Cruises and special savings.
  6. All Ears All Ears is one of my go to sites!  She has great info about Disney past and present.  Recipes, travel reports, hotel information, planning and so much more.
  7. MouseSavers This site offers amazing ways to save money on planning your Disney vacations.  If you want to take a Disney vacation without spending a ton of money, this is your site!
  8. WDWMagic You can find Walt Disney World news, info, videos, photos, reviews and even join in on discussions on the forums.
  9. Easy WDW This is a another planning site to help you with your vacation.  You can find information about when to go, where to stay and crowds.

Chip & Co: Staying Safe at WDW

Check out my recent post over at Chip and Company on staying safe at the hotels and parks at Walt Disney World!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Animal Kingdom 2005: 15 Days to 15 Years with :DisTherapy

15 Days to 15 Years

The year was 2005.  Animal Kingdom was 7 years old...  
You can read more about this year and the events from Animal Kingdom in 2005 at :DisTherapy.

Thanks to Didi from :DisTherapy and Beth from Pursuing the Magic and The Magical Blogorail for hosting "15 Days to 15 Years!"

Lucky the Dinosaur
image from disneyparks.disney.go.com

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saving For Disney: DVC Presentation

While I have not been so lucky in years past, I will pass on a tip that may help you save for a Disney trip!  When you are at Walt Disney World, sign up for the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) presentation.  If you choose to attend the roughly 3 hour presentation, you will learn about DVC, meet with a sales associate, see the DVC property, and gain information about the pricing- plus transportation to and from the presentation is provided.  You'll also get free ice cream at the end.  While the ice cream is a good treat, there have been other incentives in the past to get people to the presentation.  Those incentives have included free Fastpasses to attractions or Disney Gift Cards!

When you arrive at your WDW resort, ask the DVC cast member if there are any incentives for seeing the presentation and taking the tour.  You never know... you may earn a $100 Disney Gift Card to be used on the current trip or to be saved for a future trip!

Here are some other Disney saving ideas:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Walt Disney World Snacks To Take Home

On our last trip to Walt Disney World, we struggled to find a souvenir for our oldest son.  He was almost 12 and "too cool" for many of the surprises we were taking back for the little boys (t-shirts, stuffed animals, toys, etc.).  So we decided that some of our favorite Disney snacks would be the best thing to take home for him.  While we couldn't take a Dole Whip or Mickey Premium Bar home, we were able to take several great Disney snacks back home.

Here are a few suggestions of great snacks to take home to loved ones... or for a little bit of Disney Magic for yourself once you return home! :)

  • Churros from Downtown Disney kiosk 
  • Mickey Caramel Apple from Main Street Confectionary 
  • Popcorn in a Main Street bucket
  • Caramel Corn from Germany
  • Fudge from Goofy's Candy Co.
  • Rice Krispy Treat from Main Street Confectionary
What treats do you like to take home?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Toy Story and Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks provided the voice for Woody in all of the Toy Story movies.  In the first Toy Story, Tom recorded his dialog during the breaks of Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and A League of Their Own (1992).  He didn't want to record his dialog during the breaks of Philadelphia (1993) or Forrest Gump (1994) because he didn't want to do comedic roles during the breaks of playing serious roles.

left: image of Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) from imdb.

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Expedition Everest

Monday, April 8, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Books

Each Monday I'm going to try to post some of my "Must Haves..." dealing with Walt Disney World: planning, vacationing, traveling, experiences, etc.

Today, I'm sharing my Must Have Books for Walt Disney World (in no particular order!).

  1. Birnbaum's Walt Disney World- I have at least 8 of these books!  Each year we go, I buy a new book.  I love to look at the pictures and see what is new from previous trips.  I also love going back to past year's trip books to see what has changed. 
  2. Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World- This is a fabulous book that is exactly what the title says- hidden magic!  For anyone who loves Walt Disney World, read this book to learn all about the secrets at Walt Disney World.  Find where the hidden Mickey's are, learn the back stories to many attractions and more! 
  3. Kingdom Keepers- This fictional series by Ridley Pearson is about a group of young teenagers who have experiences inside the parks when the parks close.  They are all easy reads that make you look at the parks in a new light!  What if this really happened!?!
  4. Mousejunkies and Mousejunkies 2- These books are written by other Disney fanatics who share their own tips, tales and tricks for planning a great WDW vacation.  These are both great reads that have offered me tips even after almost 20 trips of my own!
  5. Disney on a Dime- For a frugal girl like myself, this book has been a HIT!  I love learning how to plan and pay for a cheap Disney vacation.  This book has all sorts of tips and hints for saving money and traveling on as little as possible.
  6. Magical Mouse Schoolhouse: Learn While You Play- While I don't homeschool my children, I am a former school teacher and I LOVE to find ways to incorporate education into my Disney trips.  Jodi's book has all kinds of creative ways to bring learning into the play of Disney!
  7. Disney's Encyclopedia of Animated Characters- This book is more for my boys!  They love looking at the pictures of their favorite characters while I read the information about each one.  We also take it to the parks with us and get the characters to sign on their page!  It's great for character interaction.  
  8. The Complete Walt Disney World- While this book has great details about all the restaurants and attractions, the photos are my favorite!  I love looking at the beautiful photos throughout the book.
These are my top 8 Must Have books dealing with Walt Disney World.  What are your "Must Have" books for Disney?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Save on WDW Dining With Your Disney Visa

Did you know you can get a 10% discount on Walt Disney World dining if using a Disney Visa?

The restaurants included in this deal are not the more popular places and mostly are for lunch. But, Sanna and Whispering Canyon Cafe would be good ones to visit for a family who is not on the dining plan or having to pay out of pocket for meals!

Receive 10% off at select dining locations below (meal period restrictions may apply)

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge:
• Sanaa (Lunch)

Disney's Contemporary Resort:
• The Wave (Breakfast and Lunch)

Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:
• Trail's End Restaurant (Breakfast and Lunch)

Disney's Old Key West Resort:
• Olivia's Café (Breakfast and Lunch)

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:
• Turf Club (Lunch)

Disney's Wilderness Lodge:
• Whispering Canyon Café (Lunch)

Disney's Yacht Club Resort:
• Captain's Grill (Breakfast and Lunch)

Downtown Disney® Area:
• Cap'n Jack's (Lunch)

Use your valid Disney's Premier Visa® Card, Disney Rewards® Visa® Card or Disney Rewards® Redemption Card and mention this offer to receive the discount

Save during your vacation while giving your family a delicious treat!

For help booking your Disney vacation, contact Carey Sutton with Sterling Travel (carey@sterlingtravel.com)!  Let her know Beth from "A Disney Mom's Thoughts" sent you!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Saving For Disney: A Percentage Of Your Paycheck

Some people take a percentage of their paycheck each month to put in a 401K, an IRA, or another retirement plan.  Others use a percentage to pay child support or insurance.  Others use a percentage to  pay off loans or debts.  If you don't ever "see" the money, you don't have it to spend, right?

How about taking a percentage of your paycheck each month and adding it to a savings account just for Disney?  When making your family's monthly budget, take out your necessities: bills, expenses, tithe, etc.  Then look at what is left.  Take a percentage of that and add it to your account each month.  Or take it out of your check first thing, head to Target and purchase a Disney Gift Card with your Red Card! :)

Here are some other Disney saving ideas:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Barbie and Ken

In Toy Story 3 Barbie and Ken's outfits are based on real outfits from the dolls worn in the 1980s.  Barbie's blue workout outfit is based on the 1983 "Great Shape" Barbie.  Ken's animal print outfit is based on the "Animal Lovin'" Ken from 1988.

images from www.reginasteele.com and www.manbehindthedoll.com.

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Disneys Animal Kingdom

Tuesday's Tip: Water from a Soda Gun

image from foodservicewarehouse.com
I've shared in the past how you can get free water in all of the parks.  Just head to a counter service restaurant and ask for a cup of water.  They'll gladly hand it over to you... but sometimes it tastes like "Florida Water."  You know what I mean!  Florida water has higher levels of sulfur than the water I'm used to drinking at home.  Even if I add flavor packets to the "Florida water," it still tastes funky to me!

But, I learned something new on my last trip!  We were there in the middle of July AND I was 32 weeks pregnant with "Big E!"  I was very thirsty and didn't want to drink bottled water that costs half of my paycheck.  While we were in Epcot touring the World Showcase, I asked the bartender in the Mexico Pavilion for a cup of water.  I was so thirsty at the time, I was willing to drink the "Florida water!"  But, to my surprise, this water didn't taste sulfury at all!  The only difference was it came out of a soda gun rather than a soda fountain or a water faucet.  I thought it was a fluke at first.  But, we continued to ask for cups of water at the bars around the World Showcase.  None of them had a sulfur taste!  But, the soda fountain water did.  Interesting!
delicious water from Rose and Crown Pub in the UK Pavilion
So, if you want free water that doesn't taste weird, try asking for water from a bar that serves it out of a soda gun rather than a water fountain!

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Start a Disney Blog

First, let me say by no means am I a professional blogger or even a blogger who knows what I'm doing half of the time!  I'm just a mom who loves Disney and wants to share my love with the world and record my memories.  I have been keeping my blog, "A Disney Mom's Thoughts" for 3 years now.  Crazy how time flies.  Over those 3 years I've "met" some wonderful Disney friends through blogging and have learned a lot!  I've also met some Disney fans through my blog, twitter and Facebook page who do not blog, but have a great love of Disney.  Several times I've been asked, "How do I even start a Disney blog?"  So, I'm going to share some of my tips and thoughts with you today!

The first thing you need to do is come up with your niche- what will you focus on?  Do you want to blog about Disney parks and news?  Food and restaurants?  Disney with kids?  Disney for adults?  Movies, TV and products?  What is it about Disney that you love?  What do you want to cover in your blog?  This is one thing I did not do in the beginning!  I just started writing and blogging.  Now my blog is a Disney hodgepodge!

Next, decide on your blog title.  Check a few names online to see if it's already taken.  Then once you have your name decide if you want to use Blogger, Wordpress or another blogging platform.  Once you have your platform, you may want to consider buying the domain name.  Originally my blog's url was www.adisneymomsthoughts.blogspot.com.  Once I purchased the domain name through godaddy.com, I was able to secure www.adisneymomsthoughts.com.  Another tip, that I didn't do, is to have your email address match your blog name!  I used bgwdw71 at gmail.com for my email, but wish that I had used adisneymom or adisneymomsthoughts at gmail.com instead.

Once you have your blog name, url and email set, go on and set up your social media accounts to use to promote your blog and posts.  Again, like with the email address, choose your social media names to match your blog!  Some suggestions for social media are Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  Other options are tumblr, youtube, flickr, google+ and linkedin.

One thing I did when I first started was make an outline of all the topics I may cover in my blog.  Think back to high school or college when you would write an outline before you started writing your report or paper.  That's what I did.  (Maybe I did learn something useful in high school!)  Some of the topics I added to my outline were planning a trip (when to go, where to stay, how to get there, tickets), packing,  travel tips, park info, extra things at WDW, hotels, restaurants, & attraction reviews, things for kids, things for adults, free things, bucket lists, and resources (books, web sites, magazines, etc).

When you have your blog up and running, start posting!  I would suggest getting a few good, solid posts in place before doing anything else.  Once you have several posts (that could keep a reader there for a few minutes reading what you have to share), start getting followers.  There are several ways to do this:

  1. Join blog hops.  There are several Disney bloggers who host Blog Hops each week.  A blog hop or a link up is when one blogger has a topic or theme for a "hop."  (S)he posts the theme along with a linky where you can  add your blog post to the list or hop.  Once you link up your post, you can visit the other blogs in the hop and comment on their posts.  Hopefully they will visit your site in return and you'll pick up a new follower.  A few Disney themed blog hops I currently participate in are Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia, Disney's Wordless Wednesday, and PINspiration
  2. Comment.  Visit other Disney blogs and comment on their posts.  When someone comments on my blog and they include their web address, I visit their page in return.  When people comment on your blog, try to respond. (I'm not the best at this because life gets in the way... :( )
  3. Guest Post.  Ask other Disney bloggers to guest post on your site.  They will write a post for your blog that you will publish.  Usually, those bloggers will post a link from their blog directing their readers to your blog to see what they wrote.  In turn, you will hopefully pick up a few new readers!
  4. Host a Giveaway.  Have a giveaway on your blog.  Pick up an extra Disney souvenir on your next trip or grab a Disney gift card on your next trip to Target.  Use rafflecopter to set up your giveaway and ask your readers to comment, follow your blog, follow your social media site or whatever you want!  This will help you gain new followers and fans.
  5. Interact.  Interact with your fans/ followers on social media and through your blog.  Encourage your followers to comment by ending your posts with a question.  On twitter or Facebook, ask questions to your followers to get them talking.  Post links back to your blog on your social media sites.  

What did I forget?  What would you add to this list for newcomers wanting to start a blog?