My Take on Starbucks Coffee Locations Coming to Disney Parks

Photo Courtesy: The Walt Disney Company

Photo Courtesy: The Walt Disney Company

My Take on Starbucks Coffee Locations Coming to Disney Parks

When I moved here to Savannah almost three years ago, I never even thought about the possibility of not having a drive-thru Starbucks [or three] within five minutes of my house. That’s probably a good thing, because if I would’ve researched it, I wouldn’t have found very good news. You see, there is only ONE drive-thru Starbucks in Savannah [yes, I really said ONE], and it’s about a 35-minute drive from my house. There is one inside Kroger, but I can hardly even count that one because, seriously…who wants to park, get out of their car, stand in a line of at least six people, and come out 15 minutes later with their drink? Not this girl. Coffee is serious business in Seattle and the longer I’m here, I’m realizing that it’s NOT a priority for people to have a drive thru on their way to work because there aren’t any of those tiny little coffee stands either.

Here’s the funny thing about me and coffee. I only like the fancy espresso drinks at Starbucks. My favorite summer drink is a White Chocolate Mocha Frappucino and my favorite winter drink is a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. The only drip coffee I LOVE is from Dunkin’ Donuts. And it’s not their fancy, flavored stuff either, just the plain old regular. We were lucky to have Costco back home and when they started carrying Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, we became spoiled. Then we learned about the Keurig! Thank goodness for Dunkin’ Kcups! Don’t get me started about their prices though…that’s a whole separate blog post!

Anyway, as some of you may have heard, Starbucks will be opening locations at Disney Theme Parks at the Walt Disney World Resort. The first two Walt Disney World locations will open in 2013. The picture below shows the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café that has already opened on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park. I’m super excited that the very first location EVER inside a Disney theme park where you can enjoy refreshing Starbucks coffee and espresso drinks has opened at the Disneyland Resort!!

At Magic Kingdom Park, Main Street Bakery was closed for refurbishment back in January 2013. When it re-opens in early summer, Main Street Bakery will keep its name and theming and continue to serve Disney favorites like cookies, brownies and seasonal cupcakes, in addition to Starbucks signature beverages and other menu items. At Epcot, Fountain View has temporarily closed. When Fountain View reopens in midsummer, it will serve Starbucks products.

Now, don’t worry, each Starbucks location inside a Disney Park will reflect the theme of its surroundings. At Magic Kingdom Park for example, Cast Members will wear a costume consistent with the early 20th century look and feel of Main Street, U.S.A. At Future World in Epcot, the new Starbucks location and Cast Member costumes will be designed to match the park’s futuristic theme. The Imagineers know what’s up and I have complete confidence that when I walk into these new locations, it will not feel like I’m walking into my local Starbucks in my home town.

My friend Nicole over at SparklyEverAfter.com was fortunate enough to visit with her friend Robert Farrell, an Artist at Disney Consumer Products, and was able to capture and share some of the artwork he drew for a few select Starbucks locations at Imagineering, Walt Disney Studios and the creative campus where Disney Consumer Products is! Check out Part I and Part II of her awesome report! You won’t believe how awesome the drawings are!

I am so excited about the thought of walking down Main Street, U.S.A. during the holiday season with my Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha that I LOVE! How about you? Which signature Starbucks treats are your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

I Melt Into A Puddle When It “Snows” On Main Street!

Many of you know how much I LOVE the Magic Kingdom during September and October because I love the way it’s all done up for Halloween! Well, I am in love with the winter holiday decorations as well. I had the chance to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party earlier this month and one of my VERY FAVORITE things was when it “snowed” as Santa rode his sleigh down Main Street at Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade! It was so magical!

I’m used to it “snowing” every day on Main Street during the Christmas Season at Disneyland and it only happens during the Party at the Magic Kingdom. I’d heard that during the week between Christmas and New Years, that Parade happened during the day, so I had been working on planning a short weekend trip down to Walt Disney World during that week so my family could experience the Parade and the “snow”! Well, we watched the Parade yesterday at 3:30 in the afternoon and it was absolutely gorgeous out, but no “snow” on Main Street. I was really bummed, but we figured there must have been a good reason that they didn’t have it that day.

We met up with a good friend that was in town and enjoyed a LeFou’s Brew and a Pork Shank at Gaston’s Tavern. Then we all went for a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Pirate’s of the Caribbean! We were all freezing by the time we were finished as it had cooled way down by the evening. We decided to call it a night and started heading for Main Street. We arrived right in front of Cinderella Castle just in time to enjoy the new “Celebrate The Magic” show! Here’s a clip of the end of the show with the Holiday addition! Enjoy!

After the show, we headed toward Main Street and the Park exit when I noticed “snow” pouring in from above!! Not many people had even noticed as it just started. I was so excited that I stopped right in my tracks in the absolute middle of the street as I gazed up toward the beautiful Christmas garlands that hung above. That’s when it really started “snowing”!!! My kids were so excited and we stood right there looking up for about 15 minutes while the “snow” floated down and stuck in our hair and to our jackets. It was perfect! My whole reason for coming during this very busy time was happening right at that moment! It was so random and it couldn’t have been any more magical!

What kind of magic have you and your family experienced during the holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort?

Happy 57th Birthday to the Mickey Mouse Club!

Photo Courtesy: The Walt Disney Company

Happy 57th Birthday to the Mickey Mouse Club!

I was excited to learn this morning that today is the 57th Anniversary of the Mickey Mouse Club because it reminded me that I needed to share a very fun experience I had in the spring at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

At breakfast on the last day of our sessions, we were treated to a very special performance by one of the original Mouseketeers, Cubby O’Brien! It was awesome to see him on stage playing those drums like he did on the original show. We listened to Sherry Alberoni, also one of the original Mouseketeers, speak about the show and about Walt Disney himself. It was truly wonderful to hear the passion in her voice as she spoke about her experiences with Walt. Cubby and Sherry are front and center in the picture above. Now, I didn’t watch the show as a child, but my mom sure did…and boy did she love it! I was really wishing that she was there to enjoy the experience with me.

I was so excited to have had such fun entertainment during breakfast when all-of-a-sudden, I was asked if I’d like to attend a special meet and greet. Without hesitation, I said I’d absolutely love to! Little did I know what was in store. I was asked to meet at the entrance of another one of the conference rooms and headed right over to wait with just three other bloggers. We were so excited that we could hardly stand it and we didn’t even know what was about to happen!

When the doors were opened and we were shown in, there stood Sherry and Cubby along with just a couple of Cast Members!! It was the most amazing experience on the planet to have one on one time with them! They chatted with us all as if we’d known each other for years, and I have to say, I was pretty star-struck!

I was flying high for the rest of the day after that. I just loved how they spent time chatting with us and getting to know us a little bit. It was so cozy. My blogging friend, Connie, also attended the special meet and greet. Read about her experience here.

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Are You Ready For The 2012 International Food and Wine Festival?

Are You Ready For The 2012 International Food and Wine Festival?

I just LOVE visiting the Walt Disney World Resort at any time of the year, but the fall is one of my VERY favorite times to go. There are so many fantastic events going on including one of the most anticipated events of the year, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! I don’t know about you, but I’m always overwhelmed by all of the great events and food booths there and I never know where to start. Well, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is quickly approaching and since it’s the biggest Food and Wine Festival of its kind in the world, it can be overwhelming, even to repeat visitors! But by pre-planning, you’ll be able to choose the parts that are most important to you and create a strategy to make sure you experience them all.

To help you with the pre-planning, I want to tell you about the DFB Mini Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book. It is 160 pages of in-depth information, including significant updates and 35 pages of brand new information! If you were one of the many who bought the guide last year, you know how important these details are. There is a full chapter on What’s NEW at the 2012 Festival, great for veterans and those who have been to the festival before. All of the new marketplace booth menu items, new events, and more are noted as well! Plus, there’s been a brand new FAQ section added answering broad and not-so-broad questions like “Are the booths open in the rain?”, “Are the booths open during Extra Magic Hours?”, and “Is there a way to pay one price for an all-you-can-eat option?” and even more bonus items (including new booth crawls and touring strategies)! Remember, if you only have a few days (or less) to spend at the Festival, you want to be sure you’re making the right choices!

Also included in the DFB Mini Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book is a full schedule of events for every single day of the 46-day Festival! This extremely valuable, exclusive resource allows you to easily flip to the days you’ll be there, see what’s offered, and be ready to book tickets — just like that! This guide is only available in digital format. Use it on your mobile device when you’re at the festival to see what events are happening in real time. You’ll have instant access to menus and food photos from the 2012 World Showcase booths, each booth has its own page, complete with photos of the booths AND food as well as a full menu. By choosing your must-eats before you get to the festival, you’ll save time, money, and all-important stomach space! You’ll also get location, time, and price details for every single event, concert, and seminar at the Festival. The exclusive and customized bonus sections will help make your trip to the Festival your best visit ever. Take a look before your trip to decide what menu items and events your family will enjoy, then book early to make sure you’re one of the lucky attendees! This level of detail, organized by day, can’t be found anywhere else online or in print. Time is money on a Disney Vacation; get the most out of both!

Order today and you’ll get the following FREE Bonuses:

Full, Comprehensive Daily Schedule of Events: Whether you’ll be attending for one day, or visiting the Food and Wine Festival every weekend, we’ve got a full daily schedule of events where you’ll be able to see everything taking place at the festival while you’re there. We haven’t seen this type of comprehensive schedule anywhere, and we’re already using it for reference!

Index of Everything New at the Festival in 2012: We’ve compiled a list of every new International Marketplace booth menu item, signature event, seminar, demonstration, concert, and more. If you’ve been to the festival before, check this out to see what new items there are to try.

Eleven World Showcase Booth Crawls — a great activity for a group of any size or a solo adventurer: We’ve mapped out eleven World Showcase Booth Crawls that will take you from booth to booth to sample some of the incredible menu options at the Festival Marketplaces. Choose from eleven fun themes — or do a new one every day! There’s even one for the kids!

Food and Wine Festival Customized Touring Strategies: Will you be visiting the Festival for only one day? Only a half day? Are you going to be there with kids? Want to do the festival on a budget? We’ve developed customized touring strategies for these circumstances and more!

Eat to the Beat! Mp3 Playlist: Let the music of the festival stoke your excitement for October to finally get here! We’ve put together a playlist of favorite songs by the Eat to the Beat Concert headliners and included links so you can get them quickly and easily!

Food, Wine, Beverage, Winery, and Beer Indexes with Dates and Locations: These indexes give you the opportunity to quickly scan menu items, wines, beers, and even wineries at the festival to find out where your favorites can be found. We even include dates for when certain wines, beers, and wineries appear at festival seminars and demonstrations!

Chef Index and Chef Spotlight Bios: Find out quickly where your favorite chef will be presenting, and read up on bios of the celebrity chefs who will be appearing at the Food and Wine Festival.

Are you excited yet? I’ve already read my DFB Mini Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book and my family has three weekend trips planned during the Festival this year!! Woo Hoo!!!! The goodies I’m really looking the most forward to are the Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki at the Greece Booth, the Beef Empanada at the Argentina Booth, the Frozen Dragon Berry Colada at the Caribbean Booth, and finally the Chocolate Covered Cannoli at the Italy Booth!! Please let me know in the comments which are your faves!

I’ve got some more great news for you too! Right now, Disney Food Blog is having their grand launch of this fantastic guide and, for a limited time, if you use the code CHEFS when you make your purchase, you can save an additional $3 and get the e-Book for only $11.95!!! Well, what are ya waiting for?

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase using that link, I will make a couple dollars toward keeping this site up and running! This post carries a Level One compensation.

DisneySMMoms 2012 ~ Gearing Up!

Social-Media-Moms

DisneySMMoms 2012 ~ Gearing Up!

Some of you may have heard about the fabulous Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that has taken place the last two years at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. Well, I have been lucky enough to attend the first two events and I’m so excited that today is the day we’ll be heading down for the third annual DisneySMMoms Celebration! If you’re interested in reading about my previous adventures, you can check out my 2010 articles here and 2011 here. The first year, I went by myself since I flew in from Seattle, but since we moved to the east coast in 2009, I’ve gotten to bring the hubby and kiddos with me since we drive down and they’re crazy excited again for this year’s event!

Each year, we’ve gotten to hear from fantastic speakers who really know their way around the world of Social Media. I have learned so much valuable information and have been able to grow my little blog in different ways after each session! After having a peak at this year’s speakers, I’m once again looking forward to bringing back more great tips and growing professionally online. I’ll be sharing all the fun things I learn with you all in future blog posts, so stay tuned!

One of the things that makes this Celebration so special for us is that it is family-friendly. It’s really so awesome that the fantastic Social Media Team at Walt Disney World works so hard to make this event such a great experience. We are truly honored to be a part of such a great experience!

In the meantime, I have all sorts of last minute packing to do before we take off later today, so I will keep you guys posted when the party gets started!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

{This article was supposed to go live last night at 11:58pm but it did not because my site was down…sorry friends!}

Celebrating Oscar Nominees at AMC Downtown Disney 24 Theatres at WDW this weekend

Celebrating Oscar Nominees at AMC Downtown
Disney 24 Theatres at WDW this weekend

So, last week, my husband very casually said “We should go down to Disney next weekend” and, of course, I’m all over it! Here’s the thing though, he’s decided today that he’s had too stressful of a week to go down because it’s not very relaxing. WHAT?!!??

Well, I just got some fun information about a special event taking place tomorrow and next weekend down at Walt Disney World that I’m thinking I may be able to persuade him with. I’m not certain it will work, but you can bet I’m giving it a try!

The AMC Downtown Disney 24 Theatres is presenting – the Best Picture Showcase. Celebrated over two Saturdays (Feb. 18 and Feb. 25), the showcase is an opportunity to see all nine of this year’s Academy Awards Best Picture nominees. Here is this year’s schedule:

Saturday, February 18:
11:00AM: War Horse
1:40PM: Moneyball
4:10PM: The Tree of Life
7:30PM: The Descendants

Saturday, February 25:
11:00AM: Hugo 3D
1:20PM: The Help
4:00PM: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
7:15PM: The Artist
9:05PM: Midnight in Paris

Pricing:
Day One Ticket Pass (February 18 – 4 Films): $30
Day Two Ticket Pass (February 25 – 5 Films): $40
Two-Day Ticket Pass (February 18 & 25 – 9 Films): $60

Tickets are available at the box office. All Best Picture Showcase attendees will receive a $5 AMC Gift Card on each event day upon check-in. Guests will also receive an event-exclusive AMC Best Picture Showcase poster featuring the artwork of all nine Best Picture nominees, while supplies last! Additionally, all AMC Stubs members who purchase an event ticket in advance to the event day(s) will receive $5 AMC Stubs Bonus Bucks, valid on the Best Picture Showcase event days – limit four $5 credits per account.

Princess Half Marathon Weekend Costumes Video!

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Princess Half Marathon Weekend Costumes Video!

I’m so excited that two weeks from tomorrow, I’m heading down to Walt Disney World for my very first runDisney 5K!!! I have to be honest with you, I’m really nervous that I won’t be able to keep up the required pace for this. I’m going to do my very best and we shall see!

I haven’t given much thought as to what I’m going to wear. I was thinking that it would be fun to wear a tiara, except that I don’t have one of those because my daughter is more of a Pixie than a Princess. Then, just when I thought I’d be set wearing my Minnie Mouse Ears, I watched a video with some absolutely AMAZING costumes! I thought I’d share it with all of you because it’s really fun to see how people really go crazy for this event! It’s almost like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party but not really! I totally can’t promise that I’m going to be dressing up all fancy, but I’ll see what I can put together. Keep an eye here after the event for pictures and in the mean time, enjoy the video!

A Good Life

I woke up this morning before any of my family members and whipped up a yummy sour cream coffee cake to get the house smelling yummy. In the meantime, I came over to my computer to see what all of my Facebook and Twitter friends were up to when I came across a totally awesome video that my friend Shaene put together of some of the meet-ups that took place down at Walt Disney World over the last couple of years. Have a look, it’s so sweet!

I really love this video because I have met some really fun people thanks to my love for Disney and the way social media has brought us all together is just awesome. This video has had me all teary-eyed twice already this morning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It really is A Good Life! Thanks again, Shaene!

A Special Visit to the Disney Events Group

I was driving down to Walt Disney World when I got a text message from my friend Kristen over at DVC Mom. She had some Pixie Dust sprinkled on her and wanted to share it with me!! An invitation was extended to her for an exclusive private tour of the Disney Events Group, the wonderful place where the Walt Disney World Florist is located! As you can imagine, I was thrilled to be a part of such a fabulous experience!

Well, my friends, when we walked through the doors of the Disney Events Group, the magic started immediately! Jean Volante ~ Manager of Dream Making, was there to great us along with Jeff Hurst, Ken Malquest, and Terrone Carpenter. They had a magnificent floral arrangement in the front lobby of their building that was actually created to match the colors on Kristen’s blog! It was unbelievable…my picture DOES NOT do it justice at all, but you can get an idea of the amazing things the Dream Makers can create!

We were then guided into the Imagination Room where Tinkerbell was hovering above the table to oversee all of the creativity floating around! It was in this room that we learned of the endless possibilities that could be created for guests of all ages. All of a sudden, a gorgeous, Fairy Godmother wearing pink came into the room and entertained us! She was so magical and beautiful! Her name was Ivana Dream! She appointed Kristen and I as Honorary Deputy Fairy Godmothers with our own Blogity Blogity Blog spell! It was so much fun!!

I suddenly felt like a 5-year old who just had my dream come true with a beautiful pink princess who came all the way from her “land” just to see me!!! How did she know that pink is my very favorite color? It was the most magical thing that has happened to me in a long time and I was just completely beside myself! What a special treat! Would you believe that guests can arrange for these special appearances as well? The sky is the limit!

We continued to learn about all of the magic that could be created here. One of my favorite things about the florist was that not only could you have some of these fun things delivered to your Walt Disney World Resort room, but you could have them delivered to on-site dining locations and even some off-site hotels! And don’t we all want to bring a piece of the magic home with us? Here’s one amazing thing about the floral arrangement above. That huge Castle? It’s flat and can be packed in-between clothes in your suitcase!! Yes, Disney thinks of everything!

We spent an hour and a half touring this unbelievable facility where tons of magic is created every day. We saw beautiful creations being assembled from floral arrangements for weddings to eerie designs for a special private party that was taking place at the Haunted Mansion that evening. We even saw most of the In-Room Celebrations that are available, and I’m telling you, they are GORGEOUS! Keep your eye on the Walt Disney World Florist site for upcoming designs that you will flip for!

I’m also excited to tell you about a fun Disney Vacation Club Member Perk I learned about when exploring the DVC Member site: “Learn how to take regular flowers and design a Disney-themed keepsake arrangement during this one-hour class which takes place exclusively at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa Community Hall. Members receive a 10% discount on the $50 retail price. All ages are welcome (with adult supervision for ages 10 and under). Classes are offered on Wednesdays, 2:30 – 3:30 pm. Please call 407-WDW-PLAY to register.† Walk-ins are welcome when space is available.”

We were presented with a couple of fun and special mementos of this wonderful morning. One of my favorites was this fabulous Tinkerbell in a beautiful little cinch bag with shimmering Pixie Dust inside! I have it hanging right here on the edge of my laptop for good luck!

The VERY FIRST Disney Parks Blog Tweet Up!

Back on September 20th, the Disney Parks Blog announced that they were throwing a party, actually, a Trick or Meet-Up! This private party would take place at the Magic Kingdom just after the park closed to the public. As you would expect, attendance was limited, so you would need to act quickly. I have been pretty busy the last few weeks but I was lucky enough to be home that morning and thanks to my expert twitter-stalking skills, I was able to get registered in time to make the cut!

We parked at Blizzard Beach that evening and were entertained by a DJ while we waited for our buses to arrive. Once we boarded, we were taken through a backstage area where the floats for various parades were stored…that was REALLY cool to see! We entered the park through a backstage entrance by Splash Mountain and were guided over to the Hall of Presidents where guests dressed in costumes posed for pictures before they went into the attraction. I was very excited that the photographer that evening was Gene Duncan! You can see some of his work here.

I was also excited to see Thomas Smith dressed as Indiana Jones as we walked in to the theater to sit down for the presentation, especially because he recognized JL and I! I’m always tickled when a famous Disney celebrity recognizes me! Inside, Leanne Jakubowski started off by welcoming us all and introducing the members of the Disney Parks Blog who were present, including Gary Buchanan [who was dressed as a giant turkey leg WITH Mickey Ears], Jenn Fickley-Baker, Laura Spencer, and Jennifer Wilkes. Next, Walt Disney Imagineer Jason Surrell talked to us about the history of the WDW Haunted Mansion. He took questions at the end of his talk and gave informative and quite a few entertaining answers!

We walked out of the Hall of Presidents to a fabulous dessert buffet of cheesecakes that looked like eyeballs and brownies that looked like little spiders. There were also rice krispie treats in the shape of Mickey heads along with bottled water and soda.

We made our way over to the Haunted Mansion attraction where Pete Carsillo and Eric Goodman were giving small tours of the new interactive line queue that I hadn’t seen yet! Really good stuff…this was such a treat! I loved listening to Miss Carlotta go on and on as we waited in line!

Miss Carlotta

She was so cool and I even had a dance with her later in the evening. There is a really funny pic of her and I over on the Disney Parks Blog costume page. What a kick!

I was over by the Diamond Horseshoe when a “special guest” was set to appear. I found Dr. Facilier lurking about and Donald and Daisy on the porch. I visited with them for just a little bit and a very nice Cast Member did his best to get a couple of pics for me. Sorry they’re a bit dark and blurry, but the memory is really fun! The one with Mickey and Minnie is too blurry to post, but fortunately I’ll be attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party later this month so I’ll have another chance.

Our special guest turned out to be the Headless Horseman trotting through Liberty Square which was so cool, especially on this eerie night in the Magic Kingdom! What a treat!

Thomas Smith put together a great recap of the event, including more pics and a video here. I want to thank everyone at the Disney Parks Blog who worked so hard to put on such a fantastic event and I’m really glad that I got to be a part of it!

Be sure to check out the new Disney Parks Blog Facebook Page as there are some more pictures of this fabulously fun event! Give them a “like” while you’re there!