Thursday, May 30, 2013

Instead of Cinderella's Royal Table...

In 2006 our family visited Cinderella's Royal Table.  Honestly, we didn't have an outstanding experience.  The food was decent, the atmosphere was excellent, the character interaction was minimal.  We had a quick photo with Cinderella as we entered and while we were dining The Fairy Godmother, Suzy and Perla (the mice) made quick appearances as they "danced" by while the music was playing.  That was it.  I might give it a second chance, just because I've heard it's changed a bit in the past 7 years.  
This was the best picture we could get with the characters at
dinner because they flitted by so quickly in 2006!
However, if your child has his or her heart set on eating with Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table, but you can't get reservations, consider trying Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.  Your family can dine in a medieval castle with Disney Princesses for Storybook Dining. You will meet with several of the following characters as you dine:
  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Belle
  • Princess Aurora
  • Ariel
  • Mary Poppins
I will definitely be dining at Akershus before I dine at Cinderella's Royal Table again!

Monday, May 27, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Car Ride Items

Last Friday, I shared my "Saving at Disney" tip for buying treats and souvenirs at home before getting to Disney.  Many of the treats I buy prior to our trip are actually used in the car to keep my boys entertained.  Below is a list of items we always have in the car and are easily accessible!

  1. A way to watch movies: DVD player, Kindle, iPad or iPhone.  And the movies must be Disney!
  2. Headphones for the player if one kid is sleeping.
  3. Blanket and pillow for each kid.
  4. Snacks and Drinks.
  5. Candy and Gum.
  6. Kleenex and Wet Wipes.
  7. Small toys.
  8. Notebooks, crayons, pencils and markers.
  9. Stickers.
  10. Books.
  11. CD or iPod playlist with Disney songs.
  12. Stuffed animal, blankie or passy- depending on the son!
  13. Planning Guide, notes, notebook (all for mom!)
  14. Camera.
  15. Map, GPS or smart phone for directions.
What does your family have to have in the car as you travel to Disney?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Magical Blogorail Green: World Showcase Favorite

Welcome to those of you joining me from Disney Living and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Almost 2 years ago, Magical Blogorail Green posted about our favorite World Showcase Pavilion.  You can read why Italy is my favorite here.  And since I've already shared why I love the Italy pavilion so much, today I'm going to share with you why I love the America Pavilion almost as much.

The American Adventure is the focal point of World Showcase.  It's the center most pavilion located directly across the Lagoon as you leave Future World and approach World Showcase.  This pavilion is home to so many wonderful things!  You can listen to the Voices of Liberty perform in the Rotunda, hear the Christmas story during the Candlelight Processional or seasonal concerts (Eat to the Beat during Food and Wine Festival or Flower Power Concerts during Flower and Garden Festival) at the America Gardens Theatre, or watch the Spirit of America Drum and Fife Corps perform patriotic songs.  You can view the National Treasures Gallery where you can find over 40 pieces of artwork and artifacts on loan to Epcot for the guests to enjoy.  While inside the American Adventure pavilion, you can also watch a 30 minute stage show by the same name, The American Adventure.  This is a show that features Audio-animatronic figures, moving sets, filmed images, sounds and lighting showcasing the history of America.

While the dining options at this pavilion aren't my favorite, and the shopping is quite limited, everything else is near perfect.  You can grab a quick bite to eat at the Liberty Inn counter service restaurant that serves hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, salads, fruit and french fries.  It is a large dining area with air conditioning or you can sit under the umbrellas on the patio and fight the birds off your food!  You can also grabs snacks at the kiosks selling funnel cakes or espresso, coffee and pastries.  At the Fife and Drum Tavern you can purchase turkey legs, Sam Adams beer, popcorn and ice cream.

The only shopping in The American Adventure is the Heritage Manor Gifts.  This is a disappointing gift shop.   It's very small and you can purchase pins, America shirts, America memorabilia, coins, replicas of USA documents, and the Voices of Liberty CD (which is the best item in the shop!).  You can also find the KidCot Station located to the right of the Heritage Manor Gift shop.

The America Pavilion is where I have met some of my favorite Disney Characters too!  Through the years I have met the Country Bears, Bolt, Pluto, Mickey, and the Penguin from Mary Poppins.  All of these were found to the left of the pavilion (the Japan side) by The Liberty Inn or across the sidewalk by the America Gardens Theatre, still on the Japan side.

What is your favorite part of the American Adventure?  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:
1st Stop ~ Disney Living
Final Stop ~ Mouse on the Mind

Saving at Disney: Souvenirs from Home

I'm almost certain I've shared this tip multiple times here on my blog!  This is one thing I love to do!  For months leading up to our trip, I always have my eyes open to ANYTHING with Disney on it.  At grocery stores, dollar stores, drug stores, "big box" stores, convenient stores, book stores, and more, I'm looking for treats, trinkets, candy and gifts for my family that are Disney related.   I buy these items and hide them in my closet.  As we get ready to leave for Disney, I give my boys a bag for the car or plane that has Disney (and non Disney) items to help keep them entertained.  When we get to Disney I also have surprises waiting for them. Sometimes I put them in Disney themed party favor bags and give them one each morning before we go to a park.  At other times, I've been the last person to leave our room and I leave them by the bed for the boys to find when we return to the room.  Either way it's fun! AND it helps us save money in the parks on souvenirs.

Here is a list of things I've found in the past for my boys before ever getting to WDW:

  • T-shirts
  • bubbles
  • cookies
  • candy
  • washcloths
  • stuffed animals
  • stickers
  • silly bandz 
  • squinkies
  • notebooks
  • crayons
  • mad libs
  • coloring books
  • bandaids
  • sunglasses
  • lanyards
  • glow sticks

Walgreens drugstore is probably one of my favorite places to find cheap souvenirs or treats- check out the seasonal section as well as the toys.   Another good place to look is party supply stores.  You can find the section with your child's favorite Disney character and load up on fun cheap souvenirs.  Don't forget to check the dollar bins at the front of Target stores!

What special treats have you found prior to your Disney vacation?

Past posts on Saving AT Disney:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chip & Co: Chose Your Park Based on Weather

Have you ever considered choosing which park you will visit based on what the weather is doing that day?  Head over to Chip & Company and see which park I suggest for sunny, rainy, cloudy and blazing hot days!

Wordless Wednesday: Character Movie Stars

collage created with My Memories Suite 4.
To order your own, click the link on the sidebar 
and use the promo code for a discount!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Mickey and Minnie's Clothes

Did you know Mickey Mouse has more than 290 different sets of outfits, ranging from a scuba suit to a tuxedo. Minnie Mouse’s wardrobe contains more than 200 outfits, including everything from a cheerleader ensemble to evening gowns.

What's your favorite Mickey or Minnie outfit?

images from

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Citizens of Hollywood
Thanks to Jodi, Mike, Heidi and Jennifer for hosting this week's Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!

Monday, May 20, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Backpack Items

There are three different types of people who go to the parks~
1- The minimalist.  No need to go to bag check, because there is no bag.  Sunglasses, phone, ticket, money.  Done.
2- The moderate.  Some moderates will carry a purse, fanny pack or small bag, so bag check may be necessary.  Other moderates may wear cargo shorts or a vest with multiple pockets eliminating the need for bag check.
3- The "overkiller."  Bag check is a must!  This guest has thought of everything and is ready to take on the day.  This is where I tend to fall!

So, being the "overkiller," here is my list of backpack items for a day at a Disney Park with my family. If I were traveling alone, I would not carry this much! :)

1. Small flashlight for dark rides on a keychain
2. Chap stick
3. Sun block (travel size)
4. Hand sanitizer (travel size that hangs on a zipper)
5. Autograph book
6. Fat pen for autographs, or sharpie, but not green!
7. Safety pins
8. Penny album
9. Quarters and pennies in an M&M tube for penny squishing
10. Water bottle & powder drink mix
11. Candy and gum
12. Snacks
13. ponchos
14. camera and stuff
15. sunglasses
16. cell phone
17. glow sticks
18. trading pins/ lanyards
19. Disney World Bingo game w/ wipe off markers
20. mini fan
21. kleenex
22. guidebook & park maps
23. mini bugspray
24. anything a toddler or baby would need (diapers, sippy cup, snacks, change of clothes, etc)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Saving at Disney: Pin Trading

One thing my oldest son enjoyed doing when he was younger was buying and trading Disney pins with cast members.  All cast members wear a lanyard filled with various Disney pins.  If you ask to trade with them, they have to do so (as long as your pin is a Disney pin and in good condition.  See rules here).  You may also luck up and find another park guest to trade pins with you!  But, buying pins can get expensive in the parks.  One way to enjoy pin trading without spending a lot of money is to buy Disney pins off Ebay prior to your vacation.  That way you aren't spending so much once you get to Disney.  We have found a great assortment of pins on Ebay where they cost as little as 50 cents per pin!  Even if we don't like what we get, we know we can trade them for ones we like once we arrive at Walt Disney World!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Magical Blogorail Blue: Disney in the Rain

Welcome to those of you joining me from Cooking with Mickey and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

There are so many fun things to do at Disney when it rains.  Our family typically puts on our Disney Ponchos (and yes, I prefer to have the REAL thing rather than carry our own cheap ones from home- even though I suggest that in my blog to save money!) and presses on in the parks doing what we can.  We have been known to dance around, splash in puddles and ride rides.  But, we usually try to find the indoor attractions to enjoy while the rain falls.  It can be miserable being soaking wet when the rain stops!  But, there are several other options for those of you who don't want to get soaked or wear a fashionable rain poncho.

1) Find a restaurant or shop in the park and hang out until the rain stops.  All of the parks have great restaurants where you can grab a snack, small meal or drink and hang out.  There are also multiple shops in all the parks to keep you and your family occupied while the rain falls.  MouseGears at Epcot and the shops on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom are my favorites.

2) Head back to the resort for a nap.  This is always a good option if you have small children or if it's the end of your vacation and you could use some rejuvenation!  The rain showers at Walt Disney World tend to be short, so heading back to the resort to catch some zzzz's will fill that time nicely.

3) Head back to the resort to swim (unless it's lightening, then you need to stay clear of the pool).  Most people stay away from the pools when it's raining, but as long as there is no lightening, the pools are usually empty during rain.  What a fun way to have the pool all to yourself!

4) Go to Downtown Disney and shop, eat, watch a movie, visit DisneyQuest or go bowling.  Downtown Disney at WDW has so many options for families.  There are several sit down and counter service restaurants to choose from.  They now offer bowling at Splitsville- a 50,000 square foot facility with bowling, billiards, shopping, food and more and a movie at AMC- a 24 screen theatre complete with food and snacks.

5) Hop on the monorail and ride continuously until the rain stops- or hop off at the Monorail Resorts, look around and visit the lounge.  The Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian are all three deluxe resorts where I often dream of staying on a vacation!  I love visiting these resorts, looking at the food options and gift shops.  Each resort is uniquely themed and offers it's own magical touches.  During the rain is a great time to visit these resorts and stay dry!

What do you like to do at Disney during the rain?

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Blue this month. We will be back Friday, June 14 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 should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~  Pursuing the Magic
2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog

Wordless Wednesday: The Letter K

Focused on the Magic


Kodak Picture Spot

Kusafiri Bakery

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: CBS at Disneyland

On this date in 1992, I was exactly 1 week away from my high school graduation!

But more importantly, did you know on May 14, 1992, CBS This Morning had weatherman, Mark McEwen live at Disneyland.  He would talk about various Disneyland attractions, such as Fantasmic!, and then deliver the weather forecast.  Disney's Dapper Dans opened the segment of the show by entering on a fire truck singing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" and playing the shaker chimes.  Then Donald Duck, Roger Rabbit and Pluto came in to greet the viewers.

You can see some photos and listen to the broadcast here.

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Rock N Roller Coaster

Monday, May 13, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Disney Trivia, Games and More for Your iPhone

There are so many apps for your iPhone these days.  I honestly think you could find an app for anything and each day new apps are being released!  My phone is filled with various apps related to Disney.  Last week I shared some of my favorites for planning a trip to WDW.  Today I'll share some of my favorites along with my 4 year old son's favorites.  Please comment with your favorite Disney games, tips, trivia, etc apps.  I'm always looking for new ones! 

My favorites:
WDW Trivia- This is a great app for Disney fans from Orlando Attractions Magazine.  You can choose to play Magic Mode, Time Trial or Free Play.  With Magic Mode, you are asked trivia questions about the WDW resort until you get one wrong- then the game is over.  Time Trial means you have 90 seconds to answer as many as possible.  When you play Free Play, you can start and stop the questions when you feel like doing so.

Mouse Trivia  I have reviewed this app before and love it!  You can choose timed or free play to answer over 1,300 questions about Disney movies, songs, characters, parks and more.  YOu can even choose which categories you want featured in your game.

Where in WDW? This app shows you a photo of a location in the Magic Kingdom at WDW. First you choose the land, then the attraction or restaurant.  The faster you answer, the more points you earn.  When you get three strikes, your game is over. 

WDW Daily Tips- I reviewed this app in the past too.  This is a great app to help you plan your vacation.  You will get daily tips sent to your phone that can help you prepare.  Or you can search past tips in the following categories: General, Attractions, Restaurants, Shows, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, Water Parks, Trivia, Did you know and Tips.  

Disneyland Secrets-  I have not been able to use this tip "live" before, but I think it would be a great addition to traveling to Disneyland.  You can see over 110 secrets of the Disneyland Park organized by lands.  When you approach a new land inside the park, open your app and read about the different secrets!  I'd love to see this for WDW!

Main Street Windows- Similar to the Disneyland Secrets, this app will walk you through the windows on Main Street at Walt Disney World.  There are three different tours on this app- with photos, without photos and a search game.  I can't wait to use this on our next WDW trip to learn more about the windows on Main Street!

My 4 year old's favorites:
Disney Jr Appisodes- This is the newest to our app collection.  My son loves interacting with the different Disney Jr episodes on my phone.  He will be yelling at the phone when Mickey tells him to do something to help with the "appisode!"  He continuously asks me to give my phone more money so we can download new appisodes to play.

Jake's Pirate School- What 4 year old boy doesn't love Jake and the Never Land Pirates?  This app has great animation and music to help you learn to be a pirate- sail a pirate boat, take band lessons, learn to fly like a fairy, and learn to use a spyglass!  Earn badges to complete your pirate school.

Watch Disney Jr.- Exactly what it sounds like- watch your favorite Disney Jr cartoons.  This is only used when we have wifi!  You can watch Sofia the First, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Octonauts, & Little Einsteins.

Fix-It Felix Jr!- This is a fun game exactly like the video game on Wreck It Ralph.  My son and I both like this one.  It takes me back to my Atari 2600 days.  :)

Toy Story Memory Game  This is a great memory game for my little one.  He loves to play the timed challenge.  You can choose easy, medium or hard and timed or free play. 

Disney Story   This is a new app I just learned about this weekend called Disney Story.  I have it downloaded, but haven't actually played with it much.  It provides you with a place to tell your story through pictures and videos on your phone.  This would be great to use after your WDW vacations.  It will group your photos in your iPhone into categories based on when and where the photos were taken, or you can create you own story board.  Once you're finished you can email or post to facebook your story.

ESPN Score Center  Some might think this is a stretch, but Disney does own EPSN now!  I love my ESPN app to help me keep up with the scores and news of my favorite college and professional sports teams!