2016 Chocolate Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian

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2016 Chocolate Easter Eggs at
Disney’s Grand Floridian

 

After having a great lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe last weekend, my kids and I decided to spend some time looking at the gorgeous display of handmade Chocolate Easter Eggs in the front lobby.

I really love how they incorporated scenes from some of the newer Disney movies such as The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, Tangled, and even some old favorites like Lady and the Tramp and Robin Hood. Get a load of that BB-8!

You know how the lobby of the Grand Floridian smells like gingerbread during the Christmas season from the life-sized Gingerbread House? Well, imagine that wafting smell of chocolate!

Please excuse the angle of some of the eggs as there were lots of Guests around and I wanted to capture the whole thing from as close as I could get. If you click on the photo, you’ll be able to see it bigger.

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This last egg was just too fabulous and I couldn’t manage to take a still shot of it that was worthy; so I took a video instead! Another disclaimer; PLEASE excuse the vertical video as I only had my iPhone and the egg was tall so it had to be that way to get the whole thing. Hope you like it!

Let The Pixie Dust Fly At DisneySMMC!

Photo Credit: @hyku

Photo Credit: @hyku

Let The Pixie Dust Fly At DisneySMMC!

 

I can hardly believe that it’s just about the end of March. This year has been flying on by and it’s been a long time since I’ve shared anything here with you all. I think my writer’s block may have taken off for a while – thankfully!

Being on social media a little bit the last couple of days has me feeling all Pixie Dusted because I’m seeing that invitations were sent out for this year’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, i.e. the MOST Pixie Dusted social media conference you will EVER attend in your life!

My family has been able to be a part of this magic several times since the first year this magical celebration took place and when I think about all of the incredible memories we have to share because of the experiences we have had, it gives me goosebumps!

Related: My Disneyland Experience With A Toddler In Tow

The amount of thought that goes into the planning is just amazing. From the very moment you arrive and through each Pixie Dusted event, you and your family come to realize just how very special it is to be a part of something so magical.

I’m just elated to see so many new faces receiving invitations this year! It truly warms my heart that so many of you will get to experience this wonderful celebration and I can hardly wait to watch and enjoy the magic through the eyes of your families! I’m so excited for all of you!!

My family attended in 2010, 2011, 2012 at the Walt Disney World Resort and in 2014 at the Disneyland Resort and I’ve shared my experiences with lots of photos right here on my blog if you want to take a peek. Just click on “social media” at the top of the page and choose the year you’d like to read about!

If you’re trying to work out the details like airfare and conference fee costs, take it from me (and, I’m certain of many others), if you need to move mountains to attend this celebration, move ’em! No, really.

Tutorial From The Animation Academy: Minnie Mouse

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Tutorial From The Animation Academy:

Minnie Mouse

 

Minnie Mouse has always been my very favorite Disney Character and I was so excited last week when a video tutorial on how to draw her was shared by Disney Parks. For those of you who have never visited The Magic Of Disney Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this will be a real treat for you. It’s a great place tucked into the back of the Park where you can step inside, have a seat and discover how some fantastically talented Cast Members bring Disney Characters to life.

This unique hands-on experience is so cool and often overlooked. I love it most because you will leave with a great souvenir of your visit there!

Grab your sketchbook and drawing pencils and get ready to draw Minnie Mouse!

Best Friends Pet Care At Walt Disney World – My Thoughts

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Best Friends Pet Care At Walt Disney World
My Thoughts

Most of you know that our family got a new Akita puppy back at the beginning of last month. He was 8-weeks old when we got him and weighed about 18 pounds! Once he had his 3rd round of shots, our Veterinarian gave us the okay to let him stay in a kennel, so it was off to Walt Disney World for us!

When I called Best Friends Pet Care to make a “Resort Reservation” for Kenji, the staff were so caring and understanding of the concerns I had about “Doggie Daycare.” See, my husband has wanted an Akita puppy for the entire 22 years that I’ve known him and now that we’ve got one, I’m acting like we have a brand new baby in the house. I mean, look at this precious face! What can I say? He’s such a sweet baby ball of fur!

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We walked into Best Friends Pet Care at the Walt Disney World Resort and everyone was so friendly. The staff was excited to see Kenji and they were full of smiles. I loved that the person I spoke with on the phone was actually there to greet our family. There were other dogs waiting with their humans to be checked in too. It felt like we were checking in at a Resort!

I was really impressed because we were able to have Kenji stay on his feeding schedule that he’s used to and we had the option of bringing his food or he was welcome to use the food they provided. We chose to bring our own simply because we’d gotten him used to it and didn’t want to make any changes in case he had a reaction. We were also able to bring 2 of his toys from home plus a chew toy. I really loved being able to do that because I think it’s important for our fur babies to have some of the comforts of home when they’re away from home.

There was lots of fun merchandise to look at while we waited. They had cute costumes and all sorts of leashes and collars that were Disney themed. There was a Nightmare Before Christmas one that we absolutely LOVED but we decided to wait to buy it since we really don’t know how big Kenji will get.

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Someone was VERY anxious to go check out the dog park that was right out back. There were sprinklers!! I had to stop and take a quick pic of Kenji with Pluto but neither of these two were terribly interested in a photo shoot, as you can tell. Not even looking at the camera. That’s OK though. Pluto always enjoys having his picture taken!

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Let’s talk about sprinklers and swimming pools for a moment. These two adorable little pools were filled with fresh, clean water each time we stopped by and Kenji took a dive, or a face-plant rather, right into either one of them as soon as we got through the gate. My little girl was a little afraid of him hurting himself so she was holding onto him for dear life. He was so funny because he’d stand in the water and drink it at the same time. It was completely adorable! He tried running around in the sprinklers too but he kept on slipping on the pavement while he was running toward them. He’s so cute and clumsy still!

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One of my favorite things about Best Friends was that while we were outside hanging out with Kenji in the dog park, the staff was out playing and walking other dogs around the walking path right there. It was so fun to listen to them interact with the dogs and really have a great time while doing their jobs.

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I know I’ve told you about a lot of my favorite things about Kenji’s visit here, but this next one is my VERY favorite! When we went to pick Kenji up, we were given a report card on how his visit went overall!! How fun is this? I’ve got scrapbook pages calling my name over here!!

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Another great thing was that we didn’t need to bring Kenji’s bed as they provided beds for the dogs. This was really nice not to have to schlep that down with us. Not to mention, they keep everything nice and clean and they even dry the dogs off and make sure they’re cleaned up when they come in wet from outside. Love that!

One more thing I want to make sure and share with you, and it’s a BIG one for me. The place did not smell when we walked in. Dogs are sweet and everything, but I’ve been inside of a kennel or two and no matter how they’ve looked, they’ve smelled B-A-D, you know what I mean? Best Friends Pet Care at the Walt Disney World Resort did not knock me over as soon as I walked in and that was awesome! They get two thumbs up from our family!

Be sure to “like” Best Friends Pet Care at the Walt Disney World Resort on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

Have you experienced the service there? What did you think?

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Since today is Mickey’s special day, I thought I’d share some photos over the years of our family meeting The Big Cheese! Wow, the kids have grown up so quickly! It seems just yesterday that we met Mickey Mouse at his house in ToonTown at the Disneyland Resort!

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Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Monstrous Summer Preview – The Most Amazing Thing EVER Happened At Epcot!

Last week, I was so excited to be in attendance for Disney’s Monstrous Summer Media Preview! After a special Illuminations Dessert Party, we were asked to be at the front entrance of the Park for a special announcement. I had no idea that what was about to happen next would be the coolest thing I’d ever seen take place ON Spaceship Earth! Don’t believe it? Well, have a look at my video below!

How unbelievably AWESOME was that? I’m so excited that I was right there at the front of the action for the special announcement and I sure hope that you will be able to make a visit to one of the three-park all-night parties happening at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park in California. The parks will stay open from 6 a.m., May 24 to 6 a.m., May 25, 2013, local time.

Keep an eye out on the Disney Parks Blog and the Monstrous Summer site for upcoming details!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Planting Project With The Kiddos

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Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Planting Project With The Kiddos

I’m excited to be heading down to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL to check out Epcot’s 20th annual International Flower and Garden Festival this week! I’m especially excited about seeing the new topiary additions like the Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters University” addition! The brand new illuminated gardens have me intrigued too, I saw that it’s an extra sprinkling of Pixie Dust to end the evening and you all know how I love Pixie Dust! I really enjoy seeing the entire Park in bloom with all the gorgeous colors everywhere you look. There are so many new things to enjoy this year…I can’t wait!

The [extra silly] kids and I worked on a little planting project in our new Mickey Gnome flower pot too…because we’re festive like that! Take a peek on the video below!

This post carries a Level 6 compensation; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own…as always!

My Thoughts On The Disney Limited Time Magic Campaign

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My Thoughts On The Disney
Limited Time Magic Campaign

I’ve been holding off on writing about Limited Time Magic for a while because I wanted to experience some of the magic before forming my own opinion on it. You see, I’m the type of person who will wait to form judgement until I’ve personally experienced something, despite what the majority thinks or says. I’ve read so many articles since the Limited Time Magic campaign was announced. It always continues to amaze me how many people judge things before they’ve experienced them just simply because they don’t think it’s a good idea.

You all know that I’m a huge Disney fan, but there’s more to it than just that. I know, you’re thinking to yourself, “Jackie would never say anything bad about Disney”, right? Well, here’s the thing…we all have choices about how we’re going to view things. I’ve read about how people were so excited about Limited Time Magic and CHOSE to set their expectations very high. You see what I did there…THEY made the CHOICE to set such high expectations and that was THEIR choice. It’s magic, people! There was no promise made of how big or small the magic would be…only that there would be magic! Stop being disappointed and simply enjoy it already, would ya? Do you all remember Syndrome, the “bad guy” from The Incredibles? Remember when he said “when everyone’s super, no one is”? This sort of falls into the same guidelines for me, if EVERYTHING was spectacular, then NOTHING would be. Let’s just go back to the basics here and enjoy it for what it is. Sometimes you’ll get a Strawberry Ear Hat, sometimes you’ll get Long Lost Friends. Disney even let their fans help choose next year’s logo by letting us vote on it! When have they EVER done that? The way I see it, you can’t please everyone all of the time, but if you are able to please most people most of the time, you’re doing pretty darn good!

I also feel that the folks at Disney have a pretty smart marketing team with all of us extreme planners out there. I’m the first one to admit that I am a lot more confident about our vacation when we have a plan. Here’s the thing about that though, when something unplanned and unexpected would happen right before our eyes, there was no feeling in the world that could top that! We felt like the luckiest family on the planet when our daughter got to draw her very own Stitch with a broom and water along with a little help from a Custodian Cast Member at Magic Kingdom Park. If you’ve never seen this amazing artwork before, check out Thomas Smith’s article on the Disney Parks Blog about it. It wouldn’t have been quite the same if we’d had an appointment to do that. Think about this for a second, can you imagine the line that would form if Guests knew ahead of time that this was going to happen? That’s why I think that Disney had a real good plan when they decided that they weren’t going to announce all of the Limited Time Magic for the entire year, because then it wouldn’t be quite as special. Random Pixie Dust is super fun, I promise!

So, all that being said, I was fortunate enough to be on vacation with my family at Walt Disney World during “True Love Week” and since my husband and I are celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary this year, it was pretty special for us! We even got to attend the special Disney Parks Blog Meet-up that was held on Valentine’s Day! We really enjoyed seeing Disney Character Couples around the Park and we had a fabulous experience. I just loved having our picture taken with my parents right in front of Cinderella’s Carriage along the new walls surrounding the entrance to New Fantasyland during broad daylight!

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Now, I’m not saying that you’re not entitled to have your own opinions and state them…good, bad, or indifferent. I’m just merely suggesting that you keep an open heart and an open mind. Allow yourself to be surprised by what magic you might find while you’re on a Disney vacation! With a little bit of Pixie Dust and imagination, anything is possible!

Wordless Thursday…Because I Feel Like It!

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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!