Friday, December 21, 2012

Dreaming of a Disney Christmas

Christmas and Disney - two of my absolute favorite topics brought together in one post.  I am so excited to be talking about how we dream of a Disney Christmas.  I would love to spend Christmas in Walt Disney World, but since I know that isn't necessarily an option with my husband's job, I have found many ways to bring a little Disney into our home each Christmas.

Our centerpiece of a Disney Christmas for us is our Disney tree.  We have a Christmas tree solely decorated with Disney lights, ornaments and a Minnie Mouse tree topper.  But that isn't what makes it special.  What makes it special are the ornaments we have collected over the years to commemorate magical moments during our Disney vacations with each of our children.

Ornaments are my favorite souvenirs because they bring back such wonderful memories, and we reminisce as a family as we place each one on the tree.  Our very first of these is the Chip and Dale ornament we purchased for Joey on his first trip.  We took him to our first character meal at Cape May Cafe, and the interactions he had with Chip and Dale are by far my favorite of all my Disney memories.  Every time Joey puts that ornament on our tree, I remember his smile and laugh as he played peek a boo with his two favorite chipmunks when he was just 14 months old.  It's funny because he was too little to remember but he knows the story and now refers to Chip and Dale as his best buds.  On our last trip, he even asked them if he remembered him from when he had breakfast with them when he was a baby and pinched their noses.  It was a very special moment!

Throughout the season from Thanksgiving until New Year's, we are constantly playing our Disney's Magical Fireplace DVD.  We do not have a real fireplace, but this is an excellent substitute, and even better, it never needs to be cleaned out.  We listen to the carols and the kids keep their eyes out for any Disney fun that may occur in the fire from Maleficent turning the flames green to Mickey ears fireworks exploding above or even favorite characters popping in and out of the screen.  The kids always try to be the first person to spot any changes on the screen.  It reminds me much of our Disney vacations because you never know what little detail you may find as you stroll through the parks.  Maybe this magical fireplace is even good practice for spotting Hidden Mickeys!

Christmas Eve day is one of my favorite days of the Christmas season.  The kids and I spend the entire day making our cookies for Santa, building gingerbread houses and Hayley traditionally makes a significant number of homemade cards for Santa, Mrs. Santa, the elves and the reindeer.  Our cookies for Santa are always Mickey Mouse snowmen.  My mom found this cookie cutter at Walgreens for less than $2, and it quickly became the immediate choice for our cookies for Santa.  Even better, our Mickey snowman cookies are served on our Mickey and Minnie "Cookies for Santa" plate and mug, which we happened to purchase last trip and surprised the kids on our Trim-A-Tree day with it.  Even our Elf on the Shelf, Max, loved it!

So though spending Christmas in Walt Disney World is just a dream for us, we have certainly brought Disney to our Christmas traditions.  I look forward to someday seeing snow on Main Street and attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party, but for now, our dreams of a Disney Christmas are coming true in our family traditions and Christmas celebrations right here at home.

From my family to yours, we hope that you enjoy every moment this season 
with the people you love.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Disney's Polynesian Resort ~ Our Favorite Deluxe Resort

Until our last trip to Walt Disney World, my favorite Disney resort was Port Orleans Riverside.  But due to a little Disney magic and a hotel upgrade, I was finally able to experience Disney's Polynesian Resort during our last trip.  I had always said I would never pay to upgrade to a deluxe resort and though I had no experience to base this opinion on, I believed upgrading to a deluxe had no value.  Boy was I wrong!  This doesn't mean I will never stay at a value or moderate resort, but I finally see why so many people say that upgrading is worth it.

The Polynesian is a place we visit every trip.  'Ohana's, one of the resort's sit down dining options, is a family favorite when it comes to dining, and well, the Tambu Lounge is my favorite lounge on Disney property (my vacation isn't complete without at least one or two Malibu Macaws!).  I have always loved visiting, but never took the time to explore the resort beyond the Great Ceremonial House.  But in 2011, the moment we exited the Great Ceremonial House and headed toward our room, something happened.  I heard the Walt Disney World Railroad train whistle.  There is just something about that sound that pulls me in.  The path we were walking along took us toward the beach.  As we rounded a bend, there it was in the distance . . . Cinderella's Castle.  Of course, seeing the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary, as well as the Magic Kingdom ferries isn't such a bad sight either!  I immediately knew, without even seeing my room, I was going to love the Polynesian . . . and I did!
View of Cinderella's Castle from Disney's Polynesian Resort
This is the view from our balcony -
we could see the fireworks through the
palm trees, as well as sometimes get a
glimpse of the Electrical Water
As a family of five, we are now limited to where we can actually stay, since many Disney resort rooms accommodate just four people.  We have always stayed at a moderate and one of the children would sleep in my parents' room.  This is not ideal when you are on a "family" vacation.  Besides, once it is lights out for one person, it is lights out for all.  But at the rooms in the Polynesian, we could all be in one room.  Even better, since we had a balcony, we could put all the kids to bed (one in each bed and one on the day bed), and Pierre and I could sit out on the balcony and enjoy the sounds from the Magic Kingdom, as well as (with a slightly obstructed view) be able to see Wishes and at that time Hallowishes.  Of course, the view of the resort grounds with the torches lit was quite nice too!

The biggest draw for us was the ease of transportation.  With three little ones, being able to walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center or hop on the monorail at the Great Ceremonial House was a huge benefit to us.  Getting to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot were very quick trips.  Even better, we had plenty of dining options along the monorail loop, which was a lot more convenient than trying to take a bus or a boat to a park and then a bus or a boat to the resort where we wanted to dine.  It saved us a lot of travel time.

In the end, anytime I can get a good discount for the Polynesian, I will be taking advantage of it.  It does cost a lot more than the moderates, but for us, the extra benefits outweigh the extra cost.  The food options, the views, the ease of transportation to the Magic Kingdom (our primary park with the kids) and the room size make Disney's Polynesian Resort my new favorite Disney resort!

Which Disney Deluxe Resort is your favorite?

The #HoliDazeGiftAway ~ Enter to Win a Sandzini Creator Set

The HoliDaze Gift Away continues with another fun product called Sandzini!  If you haven't seen all the great products being given away, please head over to The Dragyn's Lair and start entering!  There is a diverse selection of products available, and new giveaways are announced each day.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Operation United Hearts ~ Fundraiser and Giveaway

With the events that we have seen lately and been affected by, this particular holiday I want to hug my children a little bit tighter, show more appreciation for my family and those who love me and reach out more to those in need.  I am joining in Operation United Heart Fundraiser and Giveaway to do just that, help a family in need.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Celebrating a Child's Birthday in Walt Disney World ~ According to an Eight Year Old

My inspiration for this post came from the fact that today is Joey's eighth birthday, and I tend to go overboard with the kids' birthdays.  It is hard to believe eight years have passed so quickly, and we could not have been blessed with a kinder, happier little guy.  I guess I probably can't say "little" anymore!

When I asked Joey where he would celebrate his birthday if we were in Walt Disney World, without hesitation, he said Chef Mickey's.  Chef Mickey's would probably be tops on the character meal list for my children.  The character interaction, the food and being able to watch the monorail pass by every once in a while just can't be beat in the eyes of an eight year old, or so I thought!

This was Joey's first trip to Chef Mickey's in 2008.
When I asked Joey why he chose Chef Mickey's, he started talking about our dining experience at Chef Mickey's on our last trip.  Joey just happens to love the Fab 5 (who doesn't, right?).  So on our last trip, he brought all his Disney racers of characters he would see at our meal - Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto (sorry, there is no Minnie racer, but we hope they create one soon).  As each character approached our table, Joey showed them the corresponding racer.  Each character took the time to play with the racers with Joey.  It was very special and a nice way to get a little more interaction with each character.

Joey at Chef Mickey's in 2011
Before Pluto made it to our table, I mentioned to Joey that we should go get some food. He just wanted to wait for Pluto, but walked with me anyways.  When we got to the buffet area, I noticed he was crying.  I could not imagine what could be wrong. He told me he was worried that he was going to miss Pluto and wouldn't be able to show him his racer.  As I began to tell Joey we would be back in plenty of time, one of the cast members behind the buffet started talking to Joey.  She told him that she was very good friends with Pluto and if he visited the table before we got back, to tell her and she would talk to Pluto.  Joey's spirits were immediately lifted, though he did fill his plate in a very speedy manner (this is VERY unlike Joey since he is a kid who is never in a rush to do anything).  Of course, he made it back to the table in plenty of time, and he and Pluto shared a very special moment playing with the Pluto racer.

After sharing his memories of the character interactions he had that day, he told me how nice it was of Pluto's friend to say she would talk to Pluto if we had missed him.  Then he said, that is why I like Chef Mickey's because everyone is so nice.  So in the end, it wasn't just the characters or the food or the monorail sightings, it was this particular cast member who saw one sad little boy, lifted his spirits and now her kindness and how it made Joey feel are part of the reason he loves Chef Mickey's and would choose to celebrate his birthday there.

So, a very happy birthday to my Joey,
 absolutely one of the kindest, sweetest kids I know (even though I "may" be a little bias!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia ~ Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin Ride Vehicle

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln It is Tuesday, and that means it is time for Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!  This blog hop is hosted by Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Disney Babies Blog, Heidi's Head and My Dreams of Disney.  I used my Walt Disney World Fun Facts App to come up with this week's tidbit of Disney information from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

The name of the ride vehicles in Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin are XP-37 Space Cruisers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We Pursued and Found the Magic This Week with the #HoliDazeGiftAway, Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia and an Almost Wordless Wednesday Tribute to Walt Disney

It certainly has been a while since I have one of my weekly reviews!  It has been 12 weeks since I broke my elbow and luckily I am at about 75% use again.  I still have a ways to go, but I am getting there.  My thoughts on physical therapy . . . I cannot wait for it to be done!  It is not fun.  For those of you who know about my nephew, Dustin, the day before Thanksgiving we were given the official word that he is in remission.  There is no greater gift our family could have received this holiday season.  He still has two years of treatment to go, but he is off to a good start.  I am so thankful to all of you who have sent me messages, said prayers and sprinkled pixie dust and just kept us in your thoughts.  Our family is very blessed to have so many amazing people in our lives to help us through this difficult time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop ~ Happy Birthday, Walt Disney!

Focused on the Magic
Today, I am joining in the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop, hosted by Deb at Focused on the Magic, though today will be a little less wordless than usual!  When my parents first took my brother and I to Walt Disney World, they said it was "for the kids."  They also said that trip, back in 1986, would be a once in a lifetime trip.  Well, as you can probably see, we have made several more trips since then.  But for our trips now, my parents are the grandparents!  I think our family, as do many others, represent just what Walt Disney wanted for his theme parks - a place where the outside world is left behind and families are having fun together.  Our original trips were just the four of us - my parents, my brother and I.  Now our trips are up to 12 of us each trip, depending on who can work a trip into the schedule all at the same time.  So, thank you, Walt Disney, for creating this amazing place where three generations of our family can spend quality family time together!  Happy Birthday!

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia ~ Something Special about The Jungle Book

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Disneyland Holiday Wishes I am too late to link up with the Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia Blog Hop, but I definitely wanted to be sure to get my post in!  I love being able to check out some great Disney trivia, as well as look up some fun facts to share with everyone!  As always, I use the Walt Disney World Fun Facts App to randomly choose a fact to share.  In honor of Walt Disney's birthday this week, I chose a fact about Walt Disney.

The last animated movie Walt ever put his personal touch on was The Jungle Book (1967).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Gift-Away ~ Nanoblock USA Pink Pig Kit

Pink Pig by Nanoblocks USA
As part of the HoliDaze Gift-Away (if you haven't checked out the daily additions of new items you can enter to win, head over to The Dragyn's Lair), I have teamed up with The Dragyn's Lair to giveaway a Nanoblocks kit.  This unique building system uses smaller blocks in order to create more detail in your construction.  Because of the size of the building blocks, Nanoblocks are recommended for builders ages 8 and older.  For a more thorough review, head over to The Dragyn's Lair and see how Dana created a Nanoblock violin.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Holidaze ~ Enter for your chance to win!

The holiday season is once again upon us.  The time of year when we shower our friends and family with sweet treats, gifts and spend quality time with those we love.  What better way to add to the holiday spirit than a chance to win $200?  Dana from The Dragyn's Lair has brought together several bloggers to bring you a giveaway that gives you the chance to win $200 in one of three forms - a Disney Gift Card, a Visa/Mastercard Gift Card or PayPal Dollars.

We know that this time of year can also be very difficult for some.  To help one particular family deeply impacted by Sandy, we have also rasied $100 to assist them through the holiday season and to help rebuild what they have lost.

To enter the giveaway, please use our Rafflecopter form below . . . Good Luck!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Disney Letter "G" for the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

Focused on the Magic
Today I am joining in the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop hosted by Deb at Focused on the Magic.  As soon as I saw this topic, I knew exactly what I was going to share . . . Goofy.  We always seem to have such fun when he is around and certainly have had some great memories that include Goofy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia ~ Kali River Rapids

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Disneylands Splash Mountain It's Tuesday and that means it is Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia.  I am joining in this great blog hop because every week I learn a few new pieces of Disney trivia.  To decide what I wanted to share, I used my Walt Disney World Fun Facts app to generate a bit of trivia I thought would be interesting.  I decided to head to Disney's Animal Kingdom this week.

Did you know . . .

The original plans for Kali River Rapids laid out 3 small drops but it didn't seem thrilling enough so they combined those 3 drops into 1 large drop.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Kids Love Disney ... They Really Do!

2008 - Joey's 2nd trip, Hayley &
Emily's 1st trip to Walt Disney World
As I reflect back on my family's personal Disney experiences over the last two years, we have experienced some significant milestones.  But there is one thing that has become very clear as we have begun to plan for our next trip, and I consider this a particularly huge Disney milestone.

My kids love Disney!

That's right, they love Disney, and not because I do.  They love it because they have very special memories of time spent with family and, of course, some of their favorite characters on our vacations.  There has always been the thought in the back of my mind that maybe my kids really just get excited because I do.  But they have proven that wrong.  Over the course of the last couple of months, my children have engaged themselves, without my prompting, in conversations about what they want to do in Disney for our next trip.  This always leads to them reminiscing about special moments they experienced.  There is nothing that touches my heart more than listening to the three of them having the "Remember when . . ." discussions.  Remember when Pluto tried to eat my Stitch? Remember when Sleeping Beauty liked the bow on my dress?  Remember when we got to ring the bell at Hoop Dee Doo?  And that is just to name a few!
October 2011

Our upcoming trip will the first one that I can say all five of us have planned together.  I have always talked to the kids while planning our Disney vacations, but this is the first time, every step of the way, Joey, Hayley and Emily have been involved in the decision making. Watching their eyes light up while sharing which character dining spots we are going to experience, which thrill ride they want to try (or not try!) or which characters they just HAVE to meet, reminds me of when Disney magic first hit me as a teenager.  Our very first trip to Walt Disney World with all three kids, they were 3.5, 2 and 10 months.  Next time we are in Disney, they will be 8, 6 and 5.  It is certainly an amazing feeling to know that we all are truly in our hearts Disney fans, and not because I said so, but because we all just "get" it!  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have a Rootin' Tootin' Good Halloween!

Because this week's Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop hosted by Focused on the Magic is unable to run as usual, Deb our weekly host is without power, I wanted to still share a photo.  Please keep Deb and everyone else who has been impacted by Sandy in your thoughts and prayers today!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia ~ A Little Tidbit about Epcot's Food & Wine Festival

I am excited for another week of Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!  I used my Walt Disney World Fun Facts app again to select the next Disney fact I am going to share today.  This time I went with Epcot, and to my delight, a Food and Wine Festival fact came up!  If you saw my recent Magical Blogorail Blue post, My Top 5 Food and Wine Festival Favorites, you'll know that I love this festival.  It is one of my favorite times of the year to visit Epcot.

Here's the fact I discovered today:
Chefs cook up 3,000 gallons of soup during the International Food & Wine Festival.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Riding the E.A.C. with Crush ~ Designing a Thrill Ride for My Little Thrill Seeker

Wouldn't it be fun to be an imagineer for a day?  I would love to go through the process of creating or updating a Disney parks attraction, but how to decide on an idea? Do I go with an attraction that would simulate ascending or descending a tower on Rapunzel's hair or a virtual ride with Lightning McQueen racing to the finish line in the World Grand Prix or even a ride through the bayou with Tiana and Prince Naveen in their search for Mama Odie?  But for this one, I went with a ride on the E.A.C (that would be the Eastern Australian Current) with Crush from Finding Nemo.

Throughout the Walt Disney World parks, there are plenty of attractions for little ones, but what about those little ones who are thrill seekers, who aren't quite tall enough for the larger scale thrill rides? Of course, there is the Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini, a wonderful way to introduce your little one to roller coasters.  I envision this E.A.C. attraction to be of the same thrill level.

This dark attraction will make you feel as though you are in the "big blue" from the moment you enter the queue.  Special effects will create the illusion that you are Dory or Marlin (whichever you choose) on your adventure to find Nemo.  As you make your way through the queue there are different parts of the story being narrated in the scenery.  Then, you walk pass the scene filled with jellyfish and enter a hall that is dimly lit.  Imagine you board your ride vehicle, a 150 year old sea turtle, maybe even be lucky enough to get Crush himself, because of course each ride vehicle will be unique.

Once you board, you begin your journey slowly (your short uphill climb) amongst the sea turtles.  It gets lighter and lighter as you reach the peak, which corresponds with the part of the movie that Dory and Marlin come around and wake up.  Keep an eye out for Squirt.  He and his friends just may be swimming by!  As you reach the top of this incline, you hear Crush yell, "Grab shell, Dude!"  This begins the faster portion of the attraction with special effects making you feel as though you are Marlin himself (or Dory) riding the E.A.C along with Crush.  Because I envision this as a thrill ride for kids, this ride would last about 90 seconds, the same amount of time the Barnstormer lasts.

Being a mom of a child who wanted to experience all the thrill rides well before she was tall enough, I had a lot of fun coming up with a kid friendly thrill ride that I think she would love!

What attraction would you love to design for your little one?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kicking off Epcot's Food and Wine Festival with a Cinderella Twist

The images on the wine glasses are glass slippers
and a tiara ~ a subtle nod to Cinderella
So we all know that sometimes good intentions just don't always work out.  A few weeks ago I had this great idea for a giveaway that would combine the start of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival with the release of Cinderella on Blu-ray - two of my favorite things!  I put my new glass etching skills to work and created some fun Cinderella themed wine glasses.  The giveaway would have kicked off a week of Disney Princess posts and Food and Wine Festival posts.  Just one day before the giveaway was to begin, in an unfortunate walk-the-kids-to-the-bus-stop incident, I fell and fractured my right elbow.  That's right, as I have said to many, my clumsiness finally caught up with me.  So today, two weeks later, I can finally start to use my fingers on my right arm, which means I can start blogging again . . . well, at least a little bit.  Of course, I am right handed, so spending the last two weeks, basically useless (including having to call my mom over to tie the kids' cleats and my sneakers so we could all head to flag football practice, which my mom also had to drive us there), I am excited to be able to get a few posts in this week!  Of course, we'll see how much typing I can do at once, and nothing like being of the age that you see 40 in sight, yet having your mom here taking care of you and consistently reminding me to not overdo!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia ~ Who Built Prince Charming Regal Carousel?

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia Did you know there is a new (well, a couple of weeks ago new) blog hop?  It is called the Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia.  You share a piece of Disney trivia that you think everyone would be interested in knowing, and learn more trivia by reading what everyone else had to share.  Since there is such a significant amount of Disney trivia out there, and I am indecisive, I decided to pull my piece of trivia from one of my favorite apps: Walt Disney World Fun Facts.  This is a free app I downloaded and open whenever I have a few moments, such as when I am waiting at the bus stop for the kids or just have a few spare moments to read.  Each week I have decided that I will chose my trivia from this app - whichever fact pops up when I open it and select a park, that is the one I will share.  Today's fact just happens to be from my girls' most favorite attraction in the Magic Kingdom.  We experience the Prince Charming Regal Carousel at least 8-10 times per trip.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Saving Money on Your Princesses in Disney

The girls were all ready for Cinderella's Royal Table
There are many ways we try to save money for our Disney trips.  But having two princesses in our travel party could potentially be very expensive.  Luckily over the years, I have found a few ways to save some money, yet not take away any magic from my princesses’ vacations.

As you may know, princess dresses can be a very costly matter.  When I looked up costumes online, there are Disney princess costumes where from $25 to over $100.  I tend to purchase anything below $20, though below $10 is even better.  My girls dress up as their favorite princesses all the time here at home, so there is no question that they will in Disney.  So to save money on dresses, I try to be on the look out just after Halloween for any princess dresses in the clearance section.  Sometimes that isn’t always easy, but if I look in enough stores, I usually can find a deal or two.  One year, I even found a full Snow White costume, red cape included, for $2.  That was a rare (yet very exciting) find!  Usually though, I can find them for about $7 to $10.  Of course, if you can sew, that is always an option, though since I can't sew, I am not sure it would be a money saver for me. But just in case I ever learn to sew, I started a Pinterest Board with all kinds of Disney related sewing projects: Crafts ~ Sewing Projects

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop ~ The Toy Story Family at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Focused on the Magic
Today I am joining in the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop hosted by Deb at Focused on the magic.  This week's theme is "October Calendar Shots."  What better way to say October than a photo from our very first experience with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  The kids decided our costumes for us.  I am so excited we went with a family theme.  We constantly heard throughout the night, "It's the Toy Story family!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Walt Disney World Must Dos for Disney Rookies

Our travel party - three generations
of Disney fans!
Yesterday I was asked by Glenn (@D_LandObsession) for advice on someone's very first trip to Walt Disney World.  Immediately, the ideas started swirling.  There is just so much to see and do!  Also, there are so many perspectives to share this from - a mom, a thrill seeker, a non-thrill seeker, and really I could go on.  So, here are my tops and below you will find links to some other people's opinions on must dos for rookies.  Of course, there is so much more to experience what I have listed here!

Magic Kingdom:
My personal favorites are some of the classics, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion (I still wish the ride would stop one of these years when I am in the attic - there are too many details to take in as you make your way by in the Doom Buggies!) and  Peter Pan's Flight. For a very laid back experience, you can't beat Liberty Belle Riverboat, the Carousel of Progress and Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.  But if you were to ask my thrill seeking husband, he would say Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.  For my girls, there is no doubt that Prince Charming's Royal Carousel, the Mad Tea Party, Aladdin's Magic Carpets,  the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and It's a Small World would top their lists.  We experience each of these several times each trip, sometimes several times in a row!  For Joey, he would say Tomorrowland Speedway, Buzz's Space Ranger Spin and Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  Of course, Wishes, the nighttime fireworks show, is unbelievable and I try to see this as many times as I can each trip.

30 Days to 30 Years ~ Looking Back at Epcot 2006

The countdown series to Epcot's 30th anniversary, 30 Days to 30 Years, continues over at DIStherapy.  I am so excited because today it is my turn to share my Epcot memories for 2006.  I cannot believe we are nearing the end of the countdown and almost to Epcot's anniversary!  Will you be in Walt Disney World to celebrate this event?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Out of Disney Park Experiences with the Growing Up Disney Minnie Moms

After a short break from the Minnie Moms, I am back!  We are all sharing our thoughts on taking a day off from the parks when vacationing in Walt Disney World.  Head over to Growing Up Disney to see what we all had to say!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Destination Disney in Quotes

I love Heidi's new series Destination Disney in Quotes.  Each week, she will be sharing a new Disney quote and inviting all of us to share our posts inspired by the quote.  Walt Disney was such an inspiring man, and I am excited to be able to show over the course of the next few weeks how his life has inspired our lives.

This week's quote:

Sparkly Princess paper from Capturing Magical Memories

Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop ~ My New Favorite Disney Dessert

Today I am joining in the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.  This week's theme is by far one of my favorite Disney topics ~ Disney Dining. I decided to mix things up a bit and see if you know where I have discovered my new favorite Disney Dessert!  My review of this restaurant will be up next week!  Take a guess where you can find this delicious dessert!

Make sure you head over to Focused on the Magic to see what other delectable Disney dining treats have been shared from the savory to the sweet!  And, there is still plenty of time to share your favorite Disney dining photo!  Thanks again to Deb for hosting such a great blog hop!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

30 Days to 30 Years ~ Looking Back at Epcot 1995

30 Days to 30 Years
I am so excited to be co-hosting the 30 Days to 30 Years series over at DIStherapy!  We are counting down to Epcot's 30th anniversary by sharing 30 days of Disney memories.  Yesterday just happened to be my turn.  I was lucky enough to be able to write about the year 1995 and the debut of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.

Head over to 
to see all the Epcot memories that have been shared so far!

As of today, we have counted down from 1982 to 1996!

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Top 5 2011 Food & Wine Festival Eats

I am quite excited to be discussing Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.  It is by far one of my husband and I's favorite times of year to visit Epcot.  Last year, my parents took our children for one night of our vacation so Pierre and I to enjoy a date night in Disney.  Even better, our closest friends just happen to be in Disney and met up with us for what turned out to be one of the best nights we have ever had in Epcot.  Without further ado here our my top 5 dishes of the 2011 Food and Wine Festival:

5. Grilled Beef Skewer with with Chimichurri Sauce (Argentina Booth):  This was our first stop on our culinary tour around World Showcase and my husband hasn't stopped talking about how great this dish was.  He liked it so much, when we returned to Epcot on another day, he ordered it again!

4. Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie (Ireland Booth)

3. Steamed Mussels in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce (Belgium Booth)

2. Escargots Persillade en Brioche (France Booth): I was so impressed by this dish.  They were served in little brioche bowls!

1. Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey's Irish Cream Ganache (Ireland Booth): I love sweets, so it surprises me this is the only sweet dish on my list.  But this by far was my favorite of the 2011 Food & Wine Festival.

What is your favorite dish from the Food and Wine Festival?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop ~ Best Buddies

Today I am joining in the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.  I absolutely LOVE this week's theme, which is Magical Memories. I had a very difficult time narrowing down my choices, but finally decided on this photo.

Joey and Grampa (my dad) are "best buddies."  My dad is a Marine and a retired State Trooper, but he is a definite softy when it comes to the grandkids.  On our last trip to Walt Disney World, Joey wanted to ride Dumbo with Grampa.  When they exited the attraction, Joey says, "Wasn't it funny I made you ride in a pink Dumbo, Grampa?"  Now, for us, this was hysterical and completely caught us off guard.  Joey is our very serious kid, who takes everything literally.  Generally jokes go right over his head.  So for him to purposely choose a pink (a color Joey professes daily he does not like) Dumbo to ride with Grampa the Marine, to some probably isn't a big deal, but for us, it was Joey finally starting to joke around.  He thought this was the funniest thing and to this day when we talk about that trip, he always says, with a huge smile, "Remember when I made Grampa ride the pink Dumbo?"  Yet again, Disney brings out another side to Joey, and even better, I know it is because in Disney, he feels so secure to test the boundaries with all of us.  I look forward to seeing what practical jokes he plays on Grampa during our next trip!

To create this layout, I used one of my favorite digiscrap kits - See An Elephant Fly by Capturing Magical Memories

Make sure you head over to Focused on the Magic to see everyone's Magical Memories!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The 2013 Disney Moms Panel Search Has Begun!

Today is the day!  The Disney Moms Panel has begun its search for next year's newest panelists.  If you are looking to apply, head over to

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Back to School Giveaway (Closed) ~ A $75 Visa Gift Card

I don't know about you, but my kids going back to school is always a little tough for me, particularly this year.  I have two children now full day, as Joey enters second grade and Hayley enters first grade.  Luckily for me though, they both love school and couldn't wait to get started!  Emily, who will be headed to kindergarten next year (sniffle, sniffle), now has me all to herself all day long.  Something she has never had!

So in honor of school getting back into full swing, several of us have gotten together to give away a $75 Visa Gift Card and a great bag of toys (see the photo to the right)!

In order to qualify for the prize, please use the Rafflecopter entry below.  There is only one required way to enter, but you will definitely want to be sure to take advantage of all the possible ways to enter!

A special thank you to the people sponsoring this giveaway and letting me be a part of it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop ~ A Few of My Favorite People

Focused on the Magic
I am joining in the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop hosted by Deb at Focused on the Magic today.  This week's theme is "September Calendar Shot."  As I searched through my photos, this particular one stood out for me.  On this morning, Pierre and I were back at the room getting ready and my parents took the kids toward the bus stop.  A cast member noticed my dad's USMC jacket and struck up a conversation.  The cast member then handed my dad a thank you card for being a veteran.  Even better, the cast member took this great picture of five of my most cherished and loved ones - my kids and my parents!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

30 Days to 30 Years Series ~ Counting Down to Epcot's 30th Anniversary

30 Days to 30 Years
It is finally here - the 30 Days to 30 Years series over at DIStherapy!  Over the next 30 days, Disney bloggers from around the web are coming together to share 30 years of Epcot memories.  Epcot has seen many changes over the years with new additions, closed attractions, attraction changes and more.  Add in memories with family and friends, and it is the perfect combination for a great series to countdown to Epcot's 30th Anniversary.

Jenn of Disney Babies Blog wrote a great introduction to the series to get things started:

Make sure you check in at DIStherapy each day to see what new memories are being shared!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Free Fun in Disney for the Non-Thrill Seeking Children

Having children who are not always the bravest when it comes to Disney attractions has forced me to find ways to keep them entertained while others enjoy an attraction.  This past trip, Joey decided that he could not go on Pirates of the Caribbean because it was too scary.  Basically what this means is that because he could not see what the ride was like, he was not going to go in.  His biggest fan, Hayley, decided that if it was too scary for Joey, well it was too scary for her.  Our littlest one, Emily, was not bothered by them at all.  She hopped right into the line with my parents and Pierre and enjoyed the attraction.

While Joey, Hayley and I waited, we decided to check out the Plaza Del Sol Caribe Bazaar – a haven for pirate loving Disney fans who want to stock up any pirate paraphernalia you can imagine.  At first, I realized this was a mistake because I must have said, “No we are not buying that” at least 20 times before we found a bin of pirate hooks, ball and chains and the like. The kids began using them and posing for the camera.  We had such a great time, and it was quite the photo opportunity.  Even better, as we left the shop and started walking around, we came across Goofy in his pirate garb and were able to grab a quick photo with him. (For more information on this, Deb at Focused on the Magic shared some great pirate inspired photo tips and Mary of Capturing Magical Memories created some wonderful pirate inspired scrapbook layouts for our In Pursuit of Pirates series.)

Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop ~ Daddy's Little Girl

Focused on the Magic
Today, I am joining in on the fun of the Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop hosted by Deb at Focused on the Magic.  The theme this week is Night Time Magic.  I happen to love touring the parks at night, especially the Magic Kingdom.  In 2010, Emily was just two and I captured this shot of her and Pierre while we were strolling through Tomorrowland.  It is one of my favorite photos of all our Disney trips.

Make sure you head over to Focused on the Magic to see all the other "Night Time Magic" photos everyone shared.  Have a favorite photo you want to share?  Link up with your own blog post or e-mail Deb your photo and she will share it for you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We Pursued & Found the Magic This Week

After a brief hiatus from blogging, I am back!  This has been a busy week for blogging and home!  So many of you have reached out to me and sent me such nice messages in regards to my nephew and I cannot thank you enough!  It is so nice to know I have so much support!  You may have seen my Facebook update, but  just in case you missed it, Dustin's tumor has been reduced to half its size and there are no longer any traces of cancer in his bone marrow.  We are more than excited about this development, so thank you for all your prayers and pixie dust!  They are working!