Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

What I Wish I Knew Before My Day at Castaway Cay

by on July 22, 2015

Greetings from Paradise!

Greetings from Paradise!

So I have a confession to make… I recently took my very first Disney Cruise! It was a 3-night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Dream with stops at both Nassau and Castaway Cay; and yes, for those of you who are wondering, I was completely enchanted with Castaway Cay! It was the icing on the cake of my Disney Cruise experience and I’m already trying to figure out how to get back as soon as possible.

I have already shared What I Wish I Knew Before My Disney Cruise for my fellow cruising rookies; but this article is all about What I Wish I Knew Before My Day at Castaway Cay for those who have yet to experience island paradise Disney style!

Now, for those of you who don’t know about Castaway Cay, let me fill you in. Castaway Cay is Disney’s own private island in the Bahamas. This means it was designed for Disney Cruise Line guests only and a Disney Cruise is the only way you can get there. Cool, right? The island is truly paradise, the closest thing we can have to Neverland in reality, and is packed with things to do or places where you can do nothing at all. I’m also happy to report that Disney’s excellent service, detail, and sense of magic is alive and well here as well, just in case you theme park regulars were doubtful.

Now let’s get to the info, shall we?

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Complete Guide to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Tiki Mugs

by on July 16, 2015

Three months ago the tiki gods smiled upon Walt Disney World with the opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. This ornate tiki bar on steroids is a must-do for tiki culture enthusiasts and Disney fans alike. Now that the initial wave of hype and pandemonium has receded, the Grog Grotto is even more enjoyable.

One of the best features of this exotic themed bar are the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto tiki mugs. True to the authentic tiki bar experience, there are a variety of souvenir tiki mugs that are quite the hot ticket items. I am a fan of the tiki culture, though not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. However, I love both Trader Sam’s locations and have acquired a collection that I would like to share with you along with as much information as I can about these unique keepsakes.

DSC01534

Tiki mugs 101 – a brief history

I know I have a lot to learn about this fascinating, entertaining fandom. Suffice to say, I dabble. So in recognition of my basic knowledge I took to the interwebs to get some knowledge. At the most basic level, it is understood that tiki bar culture and the ritual of elaborate ceramic tiki mugs started in California. After World War II many service men return to the United States with a hunger to enjoy South Seas culture. Tiki bars and Polynesia style restaurants became all the rage. It quickly became customary for the delicious, exotic elixirs to be served in elaborate ceramic and glass tiki mugs at such establishments.

A menagerie of styles all over the country could be found. Varying from tall highball style to short, rotund and even large bowls, all in a vast assortment of shapes like coconuts, barrels, hula girls, bamboo stalks, parrots, the list is nearly endless. One of the motivations for these ornate tiki mugs becoming such a large part of tiki culture is that they are meant, in part, to represent the tiki totems found throughout the South Seas. Often carved in wood, the primary purpose of a tiki totem or statue is to scare away evil spirits. So with that purpose in mind, what better way to get happy than to sip a refreshing rum drink from a tiki mug?

Rum flight mini tiki mugs

Rum flight mini Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto tiki mugs

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Disney It Yourself: Disney DIY Lamp Shade + Video

by on May 30, 2015

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Hello all you crafty people! Join me in another Disney It Yourself project: The Disney DIY lamp shade!

Let’s get started!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Scissors or an X-acto knife
  • Thicker paper like card stock or construction paper
  • Scotch tape
  • A lamp shade of your choosing
  • A Printer to print out your silhouette

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Give Mom Some Disney Loving for Mother’s Day

by on May 4, 2015

Mother’s Day is drawing near, and the ever present question looms: What to get Mom to show you love her? Not all moms are the same, so the answers can end up being quite different. One mother may enjoy a little spa time and pampering, while another may want an adventurous outing. Here are a few Disney inspired ideas for those who will be in or near the magic, starting with my favorite: food.

1)      Mother’s Day special Dining Options Making reservations as early as possible is recommended for these special occasion meals.

Yacht Club
Captain’s Grille Brunch
7:30am-2:00pm

  • Carving station with Roasted Top Sirloin
  • Omelet Station
  • Breakfast selections: French toast, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, pancakes, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, fruit, cheeses, Mickey waffles, bread pudding, cereal
  • Brunch selections: Clam chowder, peel-and-eat shrimp, baked whitefish, crab cakes, grilled asparagus, tomato mozzarella salad, pear salad with blue cheese, roasted baby carrots, mashed potatoes
  • Bakery selections: pastries, breads, muffins, cookies and brownies

Call 407-WDW-DINE or 407-939-3463 for reservations.

 

Breakfast at Chef Mickey's brings out the kid in everyone.

Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s brings out the kid in everyone.

Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s Brunch (featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto)
7:00am-1:00pm (sold out)

  • Breakfast selections: scrambled eggs, cheese omelets, french toast, biscuits and gravy, bacon and sausage, roasted potatoes, oatmeal, waffles, fruit, yogurts, smoked salmon, cereal, pastries
  • Brunch selections: Beef sirloin, seasonal salads, BBQ roast chicken, salmon, vegetables, steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, vegetable lasagna

Call 407-WDW-DINE or 407-939-3463 for reservations.

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Disney Princess Breakdown

by on May 3, 2015

Photo - DisneyI love Disney Princesses.

It started very young. At the age of three, I would make family members play the films on repeat while I sang and danced around the room.

Over the years, not much has changed. It’s common knowledge in my family that I can imitate the singing voices of at least five different Princesses (which I do…often), and I still ask for a Disney Princess cake on my birthday.

With all that said, it seemed completely natural for me to write an article about Disney Princesses (DP’s). Like statistics on a baseball card, I have provided a total Princess breakdown. I’m also writing this post to show just how much our beloved DP’s have evolved over the years while still maintaining the endearing qualities we have come to know and love.

Oh! And before I forget, check out Erin Foster’s article on everything DP at Walt Disney World here!

Snow White

First Featured: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Age: 14

Princess Status: Royal by blood

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Disney It Yourself: Park Map Coasters

by on April 15, 2015

Photo - Angela Dahlgren Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Today, I have an easy and affordable Disney DIY to share with you all: Disney map coasters!

Pull out those park maps (I know you grabbed one of each as a souvenir. I do the same thing everything time I visit Walt Disney World.), and let’s get crafting!

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Go West, Magic Kingdom FastPass+ User

by on April 7, 2015

I’m working on an update to the Magic Kingdom chapter of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. A lot of it is fact-checking, which, in a book like the Guide, is a pretty big task. But it’s also a chance to find new ways to explain how the park is changing.

We do a section in the chapter that describes how FastPass+ affects traffic in the park. I adapted the latest standby wait data from our statisticians, to a map of the park. Here’s the result:

MK FastpassTraffic

Green attractions are those where standby waits are lower with FastPass+; orange attractions are those with higher average standby waits. So what FastPass+ is doing is moving people from Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, to Adventureland and Liberty Square, maybe with a quick stop along the way.

If this was a map of migration patterns in the United States, we’d say people were leaving Newark and Philadelphia for Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Denver, by way of Louisville.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Junk! April 1st Photo Report of a Non-Disney Owned Outlet Store

by on April 1, 2015

MMM_JunkWait a minute… didn’t we just do this yesterday? No, Dear Reader, you are not having a case of Deja Vu. We are back for a brand new Outlet Report, except today we are going to travel outside of the two Orlando Premium Outlets that contain the official Disney Character Warehouse stores, and venture into one of the many Disney stores located off property. We’ve all seen them, because they are everywhere. International Drive… State Road 535… 192… if it’s a main road in the theme park corridor of Orlando, there are going to be these knock off shops. Almost all promise cheap t-shirts and Florida souvenirs, and its surprising just how much of the exact same merchandise is in many of the various stores. While I would strenuously recommend you stay away from any place offering you “free” or cheap theme park tickets, heading into these souvenir stores can be fun because you can find items you’d never see on Disney property.

We narrowed down the list of options and chose to spotlight Theme Park Outlet, mostly because we love the name. It is located in the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores off State Road 535 (the exact location will be at the end of the article).

IMG_5722

 

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Lessons from My 1st runDisney Event

by on March 30, 2015

runDisney Expo

Your runDisney Experience begins at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, where you’ll find everything you need to prepare at Expo!

Committing to run your first big race is a bit overwhelming, particularly when it’s a runDisney event. There are a lot of things you don’t know as a novice, things that a more experienced runner might not even think about. If you’re thinking about registering for a runDisney event – particularly a future Princess Half Marathon – here are some things I learned from my first Glass Slipper Challenge.

Find Your Perfect Fit

While runDisney offers a lot of special opportunities, not every event is right for you. It’s not always easy to find extensive information, and even consulting other runners may not give you a clear picture of what to expect.

Running challenges – like the Glass Slipper Challenge – look like great fun when you’re signing up months in advance, but don’t forget that you’ll actually have to RUN those races eventually, and running for consecutive days can take a big toll on your body. You still want to enjoy your race AND your vacation, so be confident, but also realistic before you decide to be Dopey. There’s always next year!

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Packing Tips for a Day at Walt Disney World + Video

by on March 26, 2015

Photo - Angela DahlgrenAfter a long day of travel to Walt Disney World, you check into your hotel completely exhausted. All you want to do is plop down on the bed and catch some zzzz’s.

Just as you’re about to close your eyes, you remember – You haven’t packed your backpack for the parks tomorrow!

Not to worry! I’ve provided a list of park essentials to make packing efficient and easy.

Not in a reading mood? Check out my video at the bottom of this post!

The Bare Necessities

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Top 3: Wallet, Ticket, Phone

  • Park Ticket: Don’t forget that golden ticket at the hotel! Yes, you can use your MagicBand to get into the parks, but it’s nice to have a hard copy if you run into issues at the turnstile.
  • Wallet: License, cash, cards, insurance info, etc.
  • MagicBand: Linking your My Disney Experience account to your MagicBand will give you quick access to your park ticket, room key, FastPass+ and dining reservations as its conveniently located around your wrist. You can even pay with your MagicBand! Since your MB is your room key, there is no back-up key (unless you ask for one at check-in), so make sure it’s with you before you leave!
  • Phone: If you have a smart phone, there are two apps I recommend checking out. The TouringPlans Disney World Lines App helps you plan out your day at the parks with crowd calendars, wait times and customized Touring Plans. The second app is My Disney Experience which, if you have an account, holds all of your reservations, tickets and itineraries.
  • Camera: Disney World is full of endless photo opportunities. Don’t be without a camera!

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