Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Mystery Girl at Magic Kingdom

This week's Wordless Wednesday (which is obviously going to have words!) is all about the letter "M".  My "M" word is

In 2011, my mom and I took C-man to WDW.  While we were there we met up with Melissa from Disney on Wheels.  After we got home, I was looking through my photos and saw this picture from the morning we were to meet her for the first time.  In the background of C-man running into the arms of Daisy is Melissa!  We had not met in person yet, but we were so close.  

So, the mystery woman in the wheelchair trying to photobomb my son is one of my best Disney friends, Melissa! :)

Focused on the Magic
Thanks for the hop Deb! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Ponchos at Disney

I do love having an official Disney Parks poncho when it rains... however, I hate spending the money on them AND I hate looking like everyone else in the park!  
image from
Consider buying ponchos prior to your vacation to save money.  Look at drugstores, dollar stores and in the camping section of Wal-Mart.  I typically buy the thin, colored, see through, plastic ponchos for $1 a piece.  I buy at least 10 so we'll have plenty.

While you're at Wal-Mart, buy some bandaids for blisters too!  The average person walks about 8 miles a day at WDW!

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Christina Aguilera and Mulan

Did you know the song "Reflection" from Mulan sung by Christina Aguilera helped kickstart her career?   I also love that part of this video was shot in the China pavilion at Epcot!

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Graumans Chinese Theater

Monday, July 29, 2013

WDW Must Have Monday: Hollywood Studios Experiences

This week's Must Have Monday is all about Hollywood Studios.  Some of my most favorite attractions at Walt Disney World are at Hollywood Studios... which I still lovingly call MGM!  Hollywood Studios also has great restaurants, shows and characters.  Here are my must do experiences at DHS:

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror- One of my top thrill rides at WDW.  I love this ride, the atmosphere, the backstory, the cast members and everything else about it!
  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith- This is my favorite roller coaster at Walt Disney World- but not at a Disney park (California Screamin' wins that award!).  The music takes me back to my high school days and the ride itself is fabulous!
  • Toy Story Midway Mania- The details in this queue and attraction are outstanding.  Sometimes I'd rather not get a fastpass just so I can look at all the queue details!  
  • Disney Jr on Stage (when my boys are with me)-  Seeing my son look at his "heros" on stage makes my heart melt!  Watching his eyes light up as Jake, Mickey and more take the stage is the best.
  • Great Movie Ride- It's a classic for DHS.  While it is a bit outdated for some peoples taste, I still love it. I think my favorite part is all the different movie clips at the end!
  • Citizens of Hollywood- If you want to laugh, engage with the characters known as Citizens of Hollywood.  Enough said.
  • Fantasmic- So good we also call it "Fantasimagigreat!" We love this show, but hate the wait!
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage- I'll even go so far and say this stage show is actually better than the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast!  The costumes, sets and lights of this stage show are awesome.
  • Starring Rolls Cupcake- Yummmm.... if you have a sweet tooth, indulge. 
  • Magic of Disney Animation Character Meet & Greets- This is one of the best places to meet characters without a huge line and you're indoors so you don't have to worry about heat or rain.  Many times you can find multiple characters all out at once.
What is your favorite, must do thing at Hollywood Studios?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Magical Blogorail Green: Shopping in the Magic Kingdom

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as we discuss shopping in the Disney parks.
I've shared with you many times before how Main Street USA is my favorite area of the Magic Kingdom.  One of the reasons it's my favorite is for the shopping options!  I truly believe you can find something on Main Street for every person on your "I have to buy a souvenir for..." list!

A few of my favorite Main Street shopping experiences are:
  • Box Office Gifts- Here you can find Disney Pins & Vinylmation, Gifts & Housewares.
  • The Chapeau- Everyone who makes their first trip to WDW needs to stop by this shop to pick up their embroidered Mickey Ears!
  • Crystal Arts- This is where you can find that special gift for friends who don't want a traditional stuffed Mickey, but a glass sculpture Mickey.  You can also watch a glass blower inside the shop.
  • Emporium- We spend most of our time here looking at and buying toys, gifts, collectibles, clothes, pins, and stuffed animals!  We could spend hours in this shop.  It's also a great place to be to wait out the rain.
  • Uptown Jewelers- This is another shop for "nicer" gifts such as art, collectibles, jewelry, china, clocks and Disney figurines. 
  • Main Street Confectionary- When our family isn't in the Emporium, you'll find us picking out our favorite foods, snacks, drinks and housewares gifts here.  I make at least one trip to the Confectionary each trip!
Other great places around the Magic Kingdom for shopping include:
  • Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square.  Yes, I buy a Christmas ornament from this shop on each trip.
  • Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar at the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean.  This is where my son could spend the afternoon trying on all the Pirate attire.  You can also experience The Pirate's League here.
  • Buzz's Star Command in Tomorrowland at the exit of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.  We like this shop because we love Buzz and Toy Story.  Plus, we like to crawl in "jail" with Zurg and get a photo!  
  • Tomorrowland Light and Power Company at the exit of Space Mountain.  We enjoy shopping and playing the arcade here!
  • Heritage House in Liberty Square beside The Hall of Presidents.  My husband is a history nerd, so this is the perfect spot for him!  He loves looking at all the history books about our country and presidents.
  • Big Top Souvenirs in the new Fantasyland is the one shopping experience I'm most looking forward to on our next trip.  It was not quite opened on our last visit.  It appears that you can buy snacks AND great souvenirs here!  
What are your favorite shopping experiences in the Magic Kingdom?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Heidi's Head.

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

2nd Stop ~ Heidi's Head

3rd Stop ~ Disney Living

4th Stop ~ Mouse on the Mind

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Disney Wake Up Call

Mickey Phone
Schedule a wake up call each morning you are at WDW.  Disney characters will "call" to wake you up!  Consider choosing a time that is not on the hour, half hour or quarter hours.  That will up your chances of having Mickey make the call!  (At least that's what I've been told!)  When the call comes, make sure you answer on "speaker phone" so everyone in the room can hear who the character is on the other end of the line!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: The Lion King

Did you know, or even realize, that The Lion King's storyline was based on Shakespeare's play Hamlet?
I think I saw that movie a dozen times before I ever realized that fact!
Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Thanks Jodi, Mike, Jenn and Heidi for the hop! :)

WDW Must Have Monday: Animal Kingdom Experiences

While I love Disney's Animal Kingdom, I don't have as many "must have" experiences there.  There are lots of things I enjoy doing, but not many that make my visit seem incomplete if I don't do them.  Here are the few things that are on my "must do" list:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Hands down.  I must do this, multiple times if possible!
  • Visit the goats at Rafiki's Planet Watch!  We had a great experience there once, so we always go back hoping to recreate that time.
  • Festival of the Lion King. This is my favorite stage show on Disney property.  I love it and hope the rumors of it leaving are not true.
  • Dinosaur.  As long as there are no small kids with us (which is unlikely!) we will be riding this.  We love it!
  • Find DiVine.  I can sit and watch her all day long.  Her talent amazes me.
If you ask my husband and oldest son, Expedition Everest will be high on their lists.  However, for me, it not longer makes my list... at all.  While I did love it, once upon a time, my old body can't handle it anymore.  :(

What makes your "must do" list at Animal Kingdom?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

NYC Times Square Disney Store

Last week I was able to spend 4 days in New York City and 3 days in Washington DC with my youth. While in NYC, I had several "Disney" encounters!  I visited the Disney Store in Times Square, saw The Lion King on Broadway, saw Mickey at the Yankee's game and saw some creepy, scary Disney knockoff characters roaming around Times Square.

Today I'll share a bit about my visit to the Disney Store.  I'll touch on the others in future posts!  This was my first visit to the new Times Square location.  I was very excited to visit this store because I love the lights and glitz of Times Square and was excited to see what Disney would bring to the table.  I didn't have as much time in the store as I wanted, so I didn't get to see everything in great detail.  But here are my thoughts none the less!
While I was very impressed with the exterior glitz and enjoyed many of the features inside, I was a tad disappointed. I had visited the old 5th Avenue store many, many times and loved it.  The 5th Avenue store was large, easy to navigate and seemed to have more merchandise.  This new store was smaller and cramped.  One thing I really miss from the old store is having the chance to meet some characters.  This new store is 10,000 square feet smaller and only 2 floors.  The third floor of the old store (if I remember correctly) had all sorts of Disney Art and high end gifts, along with the character meets!  I didn't see that in the new store.
What I did like was the NYC theming mixed with Disney- two of my loves!   There were several areas where you could purchase items with Mickey and NY icons.  The decorations behind the cash registers had a Broadway/ Times Square feel, which I thought was perfect for this new location!

Along the walls were great pictures tying NYC to Disney. This may have been my favorite part of the decorating!  I just wish I had had more time to look at the other fine details in the decorations and theming.  In the center of the first floor were huge Mickey and Minnie balloons that resembled the balloons used in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The escalator taking guests to the second floor was lighted with lanterns from Tangled.  I thought this was a great way to bring you to the second floor where you would find a castle with all the Princess attire.  

While, it was not the 5th Avenue store, I still loved it.  It was Disney and I love Disney!  I felt this store was more kid oriented and had more merchandise per square foot.  Maybe that's why I felt cramped!  I do look forward to my return trip to NYC when I can spend more time in this store and take in more of the amazing Disney details!

Have you visited this store?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Disney Explosives

Next to the Department of Defense, WDW is the largest purchaser of explosives in the country (for the nightly fireworks and other pyrotechnic shows around the park).  Who knew!?!

Tuesday's Tip: Rope Drop

Yesterday, I mentioned "Rope Drop" at the Magic Kingdom as one of our Must Do Magic Kingdom Experiences.  If you aren't familiar with Rope Drop, I suggest you take time on your next vacation to see it!  Rope Drop is a short "show" with characters, songs, dancing, fireworks and a guest family that opens the park for the day.  Plan on arriving at the front of the Magic Kingdom at least 30 minutes prior to park opening.  This will allow you time to get through bag check, through the turn stiles and situated before the celebration begins!  Get your camera(s) ready and enjoy the show!

Plus, you'll get to ride your favorite ride and snag a fast pass before the lines get too long, if you make it in time for Rope Drop!

Monday, July 15, 2013

WDW Must Have Items: Magic Kingdom Experiences

Every trip to Walt Disney World is unique.  So many things can change from trip to trip: weather, seasons, hotels, restaurants, party members, special events, etc.  But, there are some things that are always constants for our family.  Here is a list of our MUST HAVE experiences in the Magic Kingdom, no matter what time of year we visit, who is with us, or what we have planned! 

  • Make it to Rope Drop... at least once!
  • Take our time walking down Main Street USA.
  • Eat at least one meal at Casey's Corner.
  • Ride the Peoplemover, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise (preferably at night), Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Peter Pan.
  • Walk through the castle.
  • Eat something Mickey shaped.
  • Meet characters.
  • Watch at least one parade.
  • Watch Wishes!
  • Eat a Cinnamon Roll from Main St. Bakery
  • Walk the path along the river from Frontierland to Liberty Square.
  • Look for Hidden Mickeys.
  • Buy at least one toy from the park that we won't ever play with once we get home!
What do you ALWAYS do in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Congrats Jessica C!!!

Congratulations to Jessica C for winning the Chamilia Disney Bracelet!  Enjoy!

Sorry I'm late getting this out.  I've been out of town!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Instead of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique...

Thanks to Mike from My Dreams of Disney for the image
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique allows little girls to be transformed into princesses and is priced between $54.95 and $189.95.  (If you have a son who wants to be a knight, it only costs $15.95 at BBB!) 
If you can't make reservations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or can't afford it, there are other options at Walt Disney World for your child to be "fixed up!" 

Thanks to Mike from My Dreams of Disney for the image
Instead of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, head to the Harmony Barber Shop or The Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom.  Harmony Barber shop is a quaint barbershop on Main Street where your child can get colored hair gel or painted designs in their 'do.  In the past, you could get Mickey shaped confetti too.  The hair gel is $5, and haircuts are $15-$19.  The Pirates League is for all ages to be transformed into a pirate, mermaid or Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates).  This is priced between $29.95 and $74.95. 

Another option is to do it yourself! :)  My friend Beth at Pursuing the Magic shares ways her family is able to bring the magic to her girls without spending all the money on a makeover.  Check out her tips for making your daughter feel like a princess!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hanging Flowers Disney Style

I love the landscaping and beautiful flowers throughout Walt Disney World.  I always leave feeling I can do this at home... then I get home!  I realize I don't have a green thumb, I don't have time to weed, fertilize and tend to the plants.  A lot of times I even fail to water them.  I would not be a good employee at Disney if I were responsible for all the plants and flowers!

But, I still wish deep down that I could have planters and hanging baskets like the ones at Disney.  So, I did a bit of research on the web and actually found a great tutorial from Southern Living on how to create Disney Hanging Baskets!  Melissa Shepherd is a gardening specialist at WDW and shows how to make these lovely baskets. 
the only picture I could find with baskets!
Here is a summary of what Melissa shares with Southern Living:

Start with a wire frame basket.  Press moist sphagnum moss onto the bottom and sides of the basket.  Use monofilament line on the frame of the basket to keep the moss in place.  Fill the basket with potting soil and fertilizer.  

If you want, you can use small spider plants on the sides to help cover up the moss.  Begonias, sweet potato vine, purple heart, and chenille plants are great for color and filler between your anchor plants.

A few tips:
  • Make sure you buy plants for the growing condition of where they will be placed.  Buy all shade or all "full sun"  plants according to your location.  
  • Plant the plants so the weight doesn't all go to one side when the plants start to grow.
  • Once a week, feed with a water soluble 10-10-10, 13-13-13 or 20-20-20 product to keep blooms coming.
  • Consider using a some white flowers to draw the eye and help make the colors pop.