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Finding The Sherman Brothers in Disney Parks – Part Two

by on September 15, 2016

Welcome back to our musical adventure, highlighting the works of Robert and Richard Sherman! If you haven’t already read Finding the Sherman Brothers in Disney Parks – Part One, go read that now. Today, we wrap up our look at the dynamic song writing duo known for so many Disney classics.

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

Before they skyrocketed to fame with “It’s a Small World” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” they wrote a little song for Walt’s first Audio-Animatronic attraction. Let’s fly over to the original tropical hideaway!

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A Parent’s Guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

by on September 13, 2016

2016-09-02 20.39.46Before school had started in some states, Disney was already ringing in the Halloween season with the 2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (often referred to by the unpronounceable MNSSHP). My husband and I had gone once in our child-free years, but with our daughter now six years old, we thought this would be the perfect time for a repeat of the party. In the end, it was a marvelous time for us, but we saw a number of families who were having a less than magical experience. Here’s some tips to make the evening truly not so scary.

 

Pick a Date that Works with Your Schedule

Staying up until midnight on a school night is not the best option for younger children. For this reason, we chose a Friday night leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend. (There are no Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties on Saturday nights.) This meant that our daughter was in school that day, and we had her take an hour of “attempted nap” between school and heading for the party. If you’re on vacation, you may want to skip visiting the parks altogether on your party night. At the very least, you’ll want to take most of the afternoon for down time to have your best shot at making it through the whole party with everyone in good spirits.

Dress Sensibly

It is perfectly acceptable to go to the party without wearing a costume, or just wearing a Halloween-themed t-shirt. For some people, wearing a costume is part of the experience. Hurricane Hermine had pushed through the state less than 24 hours before our party, and thankfully we had selected costumes that could be scaled back for the possibility of rain. Knowing the weather in early September in Florida trends towards hot, we also made sure our costumes would be comfortable in 90-90 weather (90 degree heat, 90% humidity). In the end, we were able to keep a bare minimum of our costume intact and get huge amounts of laughs and love for our simple costume idea. We went as a game of Duck, Duck, Goose basically by two of us wearing white shirts with large wooden signs around our neck saying DUCK (with a small duck figurine) and one wearing a white shirt with a sign saying GOOSE (with a small goose figurine).

On the flip side, I saw many families wearing heavy, bulky, and downright uncomfortable costumes–or having their children dressed up in costumes that had no breathability. The heat and humidity will sap your energy faster than anything. Think about your costume choices as if you were going to run a race in it. How will it look and feel when hot and sweaty? Those cute specialty shoes with the costume might be great for going around the block, but how will they feel after putting on several miles of walking? If you must have a certain costume for some of the experience, consider bringing a change of clothes and renting a locker.

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Finding the Sherman Brothers in Disney Parks – Part One

by on September 12, 2016

If you are a fan of Disney parks, then you are a fan of the Sherman Brothers. You may not even realize it, but I can guarantee this to be true. The song writing team of Robert Sherman and younger brother, Richard Sherman, have combined to write more motion picture musical scores than any other song writing team in history. In addition to their motion picture work, the brothers served as staff writers for Walt Disney Studios.

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

The Sherman Brothers are responsible for many of the Disney songs you grew up singing, as well as the music you can’t stop humming when you leave the theme parks. Like most supremely talented artists their story is complex; creative geniuses in their field, but a lifetime of personal struggles in their relationship with one another. For our purpose today, we are focusing on their positive and prolific influence inside the Disney parks. What better place to start then the song that never ends?

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Dine or Dash? Epcot’s Food and Wine Booths (Part 3)

by on September 12, 2016

Some say that bad things happen in threes, but I’m a mojito-glass-half-full kind of person. When it comes to booths at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, a review in three parts is far better than one. So it is with great irony that I start off with the booth that has the one food I will absolutely positively not be eating at Food and Wine. (Oh, and if you missed part 1 or part 2, feel free to catch up before diving into this one.)

*Indicates item returning from last year.

Japan

  • Grilled Spicy Edamame tossed with Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, and Chili Powder
  • Spicy Sushi Roll: Tuna and Salmon with Kazan Volcano Sauce
  • Marinated Shrimp sautéed with Garlic and Butter, Served Over Rice

I’m very fortunate that I have outgrown many of the food allergies I had as a child, but one still causes me an anaphylaxis reaction–concentrated amounts of soy, like those found in tofu or in edamame. As a result, because I value my life, I’ll be skipping the Grilled Spicy Edamame. I know my husband will be more than willing to take one for the team and try it, as this sounds like a great snack option. I’ll likely skip the sushi roll–if I want sushi, there’s so many good options at Walt Disney World to have a seat for a full sushi meal. On the other hand, I’m excited about the shrimp dish. My only hope is that the shrimp will have the tails already removed, so I can chow down without having to juggle a knife and fork.

Mexico

Mexico_Shrimp_Taco

  • Barbacoa Enchilada: Corn Tortilla filled with Beef Barbacoa, covered with Oaxaca Mole
  • Taco de Camaron: Battered Shrimp served over a Flour Tortilla with Crispy Purple Cabbage and Chipotle Mayonnaise (Pictured, but slightly changed this year)
  • Flan de Chocolate Abuelita

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Dine or Dash? Epcot’s Food and Wine Booths (Part 2)

by on September 9, 2016

Time for the next column of this culinary cabaret of cuisines. In part 2, some old favorites are back, but some new booths are making their debut. Let’s get right into the action. (And if you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.)

*Indicates item returning from last year.

Farm Fresh

Farm_Fresh_Loaded_MacnCheese

  • *Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onions (Pictured)
  • Chicken & Dumplings: Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach
  • Pickled Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese, Minus 8 Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts

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The Great Irish Hooley to Occur at Raglan Road This Labor Day

by on August 29, 2016

The Great Irish Hooley

©Raglan Road

Did you know that we are close to the halfway point of St. Patrick’s Day? How would I know something like that? Because once again, it is time for The Great Irish Hooley. The Great Irish Hooley is a celebration of that halfway mark and it will be taking place at Raglan Road this Labor Day weekend at Disney Springs.

This year is the fifth year for this fun-filled event that consists of traditional live music, dancing, and delicious Irish cuisine. Festivities begin at noon on Friday, September 2 and will run through the evening of Monday, September 5.

This year’s party will included performances by nine top Irish bands, authentic step dancing, and first-rate contemporary Irish cuisine.

The entertainment line up for this year’s event includes:

  • Screaming Orphans
  • The Raglan Roots Coalition
  • Flat Out
  • The Marianne Fraser Band
  • The High Road
  • Cooney & Ryan
  • Swingin’ On The Gate
  • The Flyin’ Marys
  • Jake Richardson

Guests will also be able to enjoy the Raglan Road Irish Dancers. The infamous dance group will be found performing throughout the weekend. They will also teach Guests some traditional Irish steps. The Hooley also will feature Celtic face-painting Saturday through Monday.

For more information visit raglanroad.com/great-irish-hooley

This event is certainly packed with the best of Irish music and entertainment. If you’re in Disney Springs this weekend, you don’t want to miss this unique experience!

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10 Things to Do After You Book Your Disney Cruise

by on August 12, 2016

So you’ve booked your Disney cruise!  Woohoo!  After the high of booking starts to wear off and before the low of the credit card bill arrival, what’s next?  Well here are ten things!

Day 1 0241. Find Your Documentation – Do not wait until the last minute to find your passport or birth certificates. Don’t do it. Now is the time to go locate whatever you need to travel.  Now, when you still have time to get new copies of the one you were so sure you had is missing or expired.  Lay eyes on it.  Check the expiration date.  Don’t assume and get into a bind when it’s time to sail!

2. Join Your Cruise Group – If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend finding the cruise group for your cruise and joining. Search Facebook for your ship name and cruise date and you’ll usually find it. These groups are full of great information. Many groups set up meets onboard, private mixology and tasting groups, fish extender exchanges and more. Many years ago, we were able to tour the Walt Disney Suite on the Disney Magic when a member of our group invited everyone for a tour. Sometimes you’ll find a family who wants to book a cabana but doesn’t want to pay full price for it and you can share one for the day! You’ll also often find people joining together for private tours and renting cars together. Even if you’re not into socializing with people you met on the internet (valid), there is still a lot of good information shared. Recommendations for port adventures, updates on what’s booked before your booking window opens, dining rotations, and more! Join! What have you got to lose?

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Three Walt Disney World Discounts Announced for Fall and Holiday Season Today

by on August 8, 2016

Save on your next Walt Disney World vacation

Save on your next Disney vacation ©Disney

Thanks to Sue Pisaturo at Small World Vacations for the heads up on these new Disney discounts.

Today, Disney announced three new specials that are available for travel to Walt Disney World for those traveling this fall and the holiday season!  If you were planning to enjoy the great holiday events that Walt Disney World offers each year, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom or Holidays Around the World at Epcot, these discounts may help you!

Room Only Discount

First, is the room only discount where Guests can save up to 20% on select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for most nights from November 6-10, November 13-22, and November 26-December 23, 2016 with the “Holiday Season Savings” offer. For example, when you book a 5 night stay at a select Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotel that has a 20% discount, it will be like getting one of the nights free!

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Selecting an Epcot Resort

by on August 8, 2016

View of the Epcot Resort Area

View of the Epcot Resort Area

With the recent release of the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menus, I can’t help but think about my upcoming trip. The 60 day FastPass+ window is approaching quickly, and as an avid proponent of planning ahead, I’m ashamed to admit that I still haven’t fully decided on a hotel!

It’s one of the biggest dilemmas I face when planning any trip to Walt Disney World. It’s especially hard for me during the fall when visiting Epcot’s World Showcase is top priority thanks to the mouthwatering samplings at Food and Wine Festival. I’ve narrowed it down to the Epcot resort area to make walking to Epcot a breeze, but that still leaves me with five wonderful choices – Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Dolphin, Swan, and Yacht Club.

Not one to take the resort decision lightly, I’ve carefully mapped out a comparison to help me (and hopefully some of you) pick the right Epcot resort for any Walt Disney World vacation.

Theming

All five resorts fall into the deluxe category at Disney, and with that designation comes elaborate theming. However, because Swan and Dolphin are the only two that are not owned by Disney, some may find them to be lacking that special Disney touch.

  • Beach Club – It’s a New England-style resort hotel that is painted blue with white trim and adorned with typical beach décor. Think seashells and sand dollars.
  • Boardwalk Inn – Modeled after a turn-of-the-century Atlantic coast boardwalk, the rooms actually sit behind a façade of neon lighted shops and restaurants along a wooden boardwalk.
  • Dolphin – Words escape me when it comes to the theming of both the Swan and Dolphin, and if you’ve ever seen it for yourself, you can probably understand. Disney describes it as “deluxe accommodations inspired by Florida itself, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel juxtaposes modern architectural silhouettes alongside Renaissance flourishes—most notably, the twin stylized dolphin statues gracing its rooftop.” Now, I’m not sure what they think a dolphin is, but based on their designs, I would say that a dolphin is some combination between a goldfish and carp.
  • Swan – Though very similar the Dolphin in theme and design, the Swan is outfitted with two Swans atop the building instead. At least these two actually resemble swans.

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Elena of Avalor To Debut at Magic Kingdom

by on August 3, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

If you have a little one, then you likely already know who Elena of Avalor is. The newest Disney Channel star will soon be introduced at the Magic Kingdom via a brand new show titled “The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena of Avalor.”

The show, which begins on August 12 and will be presented multiples times a day at the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, will feature Cinderella and Prince Charming who are on hand to introduce their very special special guest, Princess Elena. With great fanfare, Princess Elena arrives accompanied by regal banner carriers and musicians.

Princess Elena of Avalor will not be meeting Guests in the park and instead will only be featured in this new royal welcome celebration.

Guests will be able to see the show for the first time via the next Disney Parks Blog Live stream on August 11 when Princess Elena’s official debut will take place beginning at 10:45 a.m. You’ll want to watch the Disney Parks Blog for more information.

Do keep in mind that “The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena of Avalor” castle stage show will only be around for a limited time.

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