Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Make your own Pixie Dust – 20 Disney Random Acts of Kindness

by on February 16, 2016

All of us like to experience the proverbial Disney pixie dust (extra magic bestowed upon us by cast members). Whether it be free fastpasses, surprise celebration desert at your dinner meal, or even room upgrades; when cast members shower us with pixie dust it makes us feel special. Back at home we call these Random Acts of Kindness, or RAK for short. They are essentially the same thing. Bestowing on someone else a good deed, a gift, a kind word without expecting anything else in return. And so we got to wondering, if we are practicing RAK at home, why weren’t we doing it at Disney. Why do cast members get to have all the fun? Let us make our own pixie dust and spread it abundantly. After all, kindness is infectious. So here are 20 ways we like to spread pixie dust while in Disney.

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The Basics: Meeting Characters at Epcot

by on February 15, 2016

Character Meet and Greets

Nothing is quite so magical as meeting Mickey for the first time!

This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to see our other Basics posts.

One of the quintessential Walt Disney World experiences is participating in Character Meet and Greets. That magical moment when your child meets Mickey for the first time is right up there with their first spin on Dumbo or the first time blasting off on Space Mountain. Like most Disney adventures, I would also caution those adult-only travelling parties not to overlook character experiences as just for the little ones – you can still have a magical experience with Mulan or Aurora even if you’re in the over-18 set!

This is the first article in my series on Character Meet and Greets, in which I will tackle every park and give you a run-down of who you can meet and where. I’ve decided to start with Epcot (this is traditionally the first park we visit on every trip – why not begin at the beginning?!), so buckle up for a tour of Future World and World Showcase and the characters who live there!

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Disney Springs Update: The Ganachery, World of Coke, and more

by on February 3, 2016

It’s pretty clear that Disney Springs is slowly, but surely being accepted and welcomed by Disney fans. At first the concept of Downtown Disney being turned into a themed environment with a backstory and everything made many people skeptical. However now that The Landing is substantial enough to warrant a visit on its own and more business are open, it seems Disney Springs is sure to be a hit. Recently a few more establishments opened their doors and many more new buildings are in the midst of construction. It’s an exciting time to see the progress and I recently took a stroll through The Landing and The Marketplace to check out what’s new at Disney Springs.

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The Ganachery

There’s so much springing to life at The Landing that it is quickly becoming my favorite part of Disney Springs. In fact there are many times in which it is the only section that I spend any time in. Between The BOATHOUSE, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, and Morimoto Asia the dining is delectable. I am no big time shopper, but the retail locations here offer a fairly good variety and new discoveries, my personal favorite shop is Sanuk footwear.

The most recent business to open its doors is The Ganachery. Chocolate lovers rejoiced when Disney announced the arrival of this sweet shop specializing in only chocolate. However, it seems a bit repetitive that The Ganachery would open a mere five minute stroll away from Ghiradelli Chocolate.

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Think of The Ganachery as an upscale chocolate boutique. It is Disney owned and operated providing chocolate made with a supposed proprietary blend of cacao beans. The prices certainly reflect an air of exclusivity. While the prices kept my sweet tooth at bay, the décor and details are delectable. Before even setting foot inside, a sweet little detail made me smile. The door handles are large spoons, the kind used when hand mixing melted chocolate. Once inside, the décor is warm with rich brown and golden tones.

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The most relaxing place inside Walt Disney World

by on January 21, 2016

In 1971, the dawn of the Vacation Kingdom, Walt Disney World came to be. In the beginning Walt Disney World wasn’t about theme parks, it was a sprawling vacation getaway with multiple ways to relax and reconnect. Now that Walt Disney World has grown to encompass four distinct theme parks, two water parks, mini golf, PGA golf courses, and over 20 resort hotels, it can sometimes feel like the is no room for relaxation. But, if you look for it, you can still find the Vacation Kingdom’s message of leisure, and one of the best places to find it is the Bay Lake area.

Lagoon View (3)

(Photo by Brian McNichols)

A brief history of Bay Lake

The strategic development of what was once marsh land to create Walt Disney World is pretty fascinating. It is a smart business move that sometimes happens today: company names created to purchase the land without the attractive, financial appeal of the Disney Corporation, and thus a price increase. Then there’s the creation of a self-governing city: Bay Lake. Many steps were taken to make Walt Disney World incredibly unique and free from much of the normal regulation other enterprises have to face.

Lay of the lake

The main destinations within the Bay Lake Area are some of Disney’s most iconic resorts. Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, and Wilderness Lodge resorts each have their own distinct character and appeal. Visiting these resorts is enough to make for a nice afternoon, but the activities that can be enjoyed throughout this resort area can make for a full day of recreation.

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Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Tips and Full Review

by on January 13, 2016

Before being known for theme parks and other attractions, Florida was a vacation destination for enjoying warm weather, sandy beaches, and other beautiful scenery. Although Walt Disney World is the undisputed champion of having changed Florida’s tourism scene forever, Disney is responsible for a resort that honors and celebrates Florida; the Florida before Disney. Whenever I visit Disney’s Vero Beach Resort I am filled with Florida pride and become instantly relaxed. After five visits I have my own list of favorite activities and features of this resort, and I’d like to share my Disney’s Vero Beach Resort tips with you.

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You do not have to be a DVC Member to stay here

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is primarily a Disney Vacation Club property. It is one of the very first DVC Resorts, offering villa style accommodations (studios all the way to three bedroom villas) as well as regular hotel rooms. As a DVC member you can use your vacation points to stay in any available accommodations, including hotel rooms. Non members can also book any available accommodations, based on availability.

All accommodations have Florida and nautical themed decor. All rooms are pretty well sized, offering a pleasing amount of space. All units, even the hotel rooms, have DVD players. As with all DVC resorts, DVDs are offered for rent from a fairly decent sized DVD library.

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Skipper Canteen Soft Opening Review

by on January 4, 2016

skipper canteen

The World Famous Skipper Canteen!

If you’ve ever felt hunger pangs while trekking through a tropical jungle outpost or while traveling niles and niles and niles down a dangerous river, then you know what it’s like to be a skipper in need of sustenance. Luckily for you, I’ve got just the place for you to visit the next time you’re in need – the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen!  The Skipper Canteen is a new table-service restaurant at the Magic Kingdom inspired by (and thematically connected to) the Jungle Cruise attraction.  The skippers who traverse the wild leading guided excursions through the jungle have to have a place to eat, right?

One of the biggest victories from my latest trip to Disney World was the fact that we managed to catch the soft opening of the Skipper Canteen, and I’ve got lots to share! As of the writing of this article, advanced reservations are not yet being accepted for the canteen, but it is expected that they should be available in the near future. We learned of the soft opening simply by walking by the restaurant. Skippers were outside letting people know that the Skipper Canteen was open and they were taking walk-ups. 

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Baymax Hat Tutorial and Giveaway

by on December 10, 2015

Baymax Hat Tutorial

Nothing like Baymax hanging out on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.

Have you ever considered what it might be like walking around a Disney theme park looking like a personal healthcare companion who sometimes moonlights as a superhero? No? Well maybe you should!

Today I’m bringing you a Baymax Hat Tutorial for your very own Big Hero 6 Baymax armor hat. If you caught my tutorial on custom Mickey ears then you know I’m a sucker for wearable Disney crafts. However, this Baymax hat tutorial can be just a smidge more appealing than undertaking the full custom Mickey ears. First, this tutorial is a snap. There is no sewing involved – just a little bit of cutting and hot gluing and you’ll be in business. Second, the great thing about this hat is that it is 100% unisex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for guys wearing Mickey ear headbands, but some guys might not want to go that route. This gives them an opportunity to participate in some light DisneyBounding while also keeping the sun off their faces.

Do you feel like maybe your crafting skills aren’t up to snuff to make your own Baymax hat? No problem! Read through to the end of the post for how you can enter to win the exact Baymax hat I constructed for this tutorial!

Baymax Hat Tutorial

That’s right, we decided to be Baymaxes.

Let me start out by giving you a little background on this particular hat. My husband and I visited Disney World over the 2015 Memorial Day weekend, which provided us with an opportunity to participate in the 24-hour party at Magic Kingdom. (And this party encouraged costumes. Enough said.) Anyway, Anthony decided he wanted to go as armored Baymax. He had it all figured out, but he needed just one teeny, tiny thing from me. He needed a hat. He knew what he wanted it to look like, but to his dismay no one else had thought of the need for this piece of head-wear, and it didn’t exist on Amazon or Etsy. A little bit of brainstorming and the end result was the fantastic Baymax hat you see here! (Yes, I also decided to attend the party as Baymax. Healthcare Baymax. Because I thought it was adorable. Is any other reason needed?)

Even though I designed and created this hat, I have to admit that I have just a little bit of bitterness towards this dashing head-wear. Why? Well every time Anthony wears it at Disney World he gets a ridiculous amount of awesome comments on it. High fives, thumbs up; one person even asked him if she could have it. (Straight out asked for it – weird, right?) You might be asking yourselves why on earth positive feedback on something I designed is cause for jealousy. Well, the truth of it is that no matter how much time I put into making amazing custom Mickey ears, I never get the accolades he gets for a hat that took less than an hour to throw together. Let’s give the man some credit though – his immediate response is always, “She made it!” as he points frantically at me.

Okay, okay; I’ll stop rambling and get on with the show.

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Saying Farewell to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

by on November 30, 2015

By now we’ve all heard the news that this is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This popular dazzling light display has been a favorite among Disney guests for 20 years. It’s hard to part ways with this festive frolic of  millions of lights (over 5 million in fact). Yet, on the horizon we have a (hopefully) splendid Star Wars Land to look forward to.

I recently got to participate in the Disney Parks Blog Meet-Up at the Osborne Lights. The meet-up was only open to 500 guests, so you can imagine how cool it was to experience the Osborne Lights with so few people. This experience gave me an opportunity to cherish many of the moments and features that one must enjoy when saying farewell to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

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(Photo by Brandon Glover)

The Canopy 

I’m sure I am not the only one who simply adores the canopy of lights located on the San Francisco Street. I remember when this canopy was located on the original backlot; I was a kid then and I wished my neighborhood had such a covering of lights. Walking underneath a blanket of Christmas lights is simply enchanting.

A few years ago this canopy was made all the more magical when the red lights were changed into LED lights that are programmed to display patterns, shapes, and simple images. I highly recommend that you stop and stand under this canopy for at least one of the songs to which the lights dance, “What’s This?” from Nightmare Before Christmas is a good one.

(Photo by Brandon Glover)

(Photo by Brandon Glover)

(Photo by Brandon Glover)

(Photo by Brandon Glover)

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SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2015

by on November 26, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX  is our annual Thanksgiving Special and takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2015 was another great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday planning to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts we love so much. So, for one day only, we ask that all Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – Selfie Stick Ban at Walt Disney World

SelfieStick_Partners

no_more_selfie_sticks_pamphlet_sethIf you noticed any #Millenials or narcissists wearing black armbands this summer, it was because after banning selfie sticks on Disney attractions earlier in the spring, Walt Disney World completely banned the use of selfie sticks at the parks. Seemingly out of nowhere, the edict came down right after another high profile news story of Disney California Adventure’s California Screamin’ roller coaster being stopped mid ride because of a guest using a selfie stick. On June 26th, WDW guests were given a pamphlet at the parking plaza explaining the selfie stick ban, signage was displayed on the walkways to the parks along with bag check explaining the new policy.

The selfie stick ban was definitely a controversial move to be sure. Universal had earlier become more strict on preventing selfie sticks on rides, but Disney outright stopped people from even entering the park with them. Now we joked earlier about only kids and narcissists using them, the truth is that selfie sticks have become increasingly popular across almost all demographics. While people using selfie sticks inside the parks can be a nuisance, they were starting to become a serious safety factor on attractions. You may have seen what is called an Envelope of Protection as Imagineers test out the attractions. This device makes sure that all the attractions are safe for every rider, basically simulating the possible reach of every guest in the ride vehicle. This is why while it may seem like your may lose your arms in Space Mountain if you hold them up during the ride, but in actuality you are nowhere close to hitting anything. What the Envelope of Protection doesn’t take into account though, is guests holding on to anything that extends their reach.

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Dress for Success: Top 5 Must-Pack December Clothing Items and Special Tips

by on November 16, 2015

dress for success

Disney World has truly spectacular offerings during the holiday season.

It’s no secret that I dress for success when I plan my outfit choices in Walt Disney World – no detail is left out. While this usually refers to some light DisneyBounding, it means something a little different in December, when a cute dress and Mickey ears isn’t enough to get you through the cold evenings in the parks. Thanks to the fantastic holiday offerings, December is one of the most exciting times to visit Disney World. You’ve got Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP), Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, and Hollywood Studios’ Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. On top of that, the resorts and parks are decked out in their holiday finest, so even if you don’t want to spring for the extra cost of a party ticket to MVMCP, you can still enjoy the ambiance during the day. Just make sure, as you’re planning for your holiday trip, to give serious consideration to the weather. As unlikely as it sounds, Florida gets COLD at night in December!

I know what you might be thinking, “I’m from [insert cold state here — mine is Michigan]; Florida doesn’t even know what cold is! I walk eight miles uphill both ways through six feet of snow just to get to the Disney Store!” Okay, that might not be exactly what you thought, but it is pretty close to my viewpoint on the subject before my first December trip. Luckily, I followed the advice of others and (even though I scoffed) I packed for the cold weather. And thank goodness I did! Based on that experience, I’m going to give you a breakdown of my 5 must-pack items for cold weather, some tips specific to nighttime holiday entertainment options, and a few final pieces of advice so you can dress for success on your holiday adventures in Disney World!

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