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?

Pixie Dust in my Mailbox Today!!

You guys, I’m so excited that I can hardly even contain myself right now!!!!! Woo Hoo!!! Can you hear me screaming?!!?! I may just explode into Pixie Dust right here!!!!!

Dress Rehearsal of New Fantasyland ~ My Experience!

I was at Walt Disney World last weekend strolling with my family from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland when I noticed an opening in some shrubbery and people going into the New Fantasyland. I asked a Cast Member if we could go in and when he replied, “of course”, I just about exploded into Pixie Dust on the spot! They were conducting a Soft Opening of the brand new land!! The best part of it all, you ask? My parents happened to be in town from Seattle so they got to be a part of it!!

As we walked under the gates, the detail, as you can only imagine, was absolutely gorgeous. We decided not to go into the Enchanted Tales with Belle experience this time as there was a bit of a wait and we were on a time constraint. As we were heading back into the Enchanted Forest, we could see some of the beautiful creations emerging and getting bigger as we came closer. It was such a magical feeling and we were all so excited for the new experience!

We walked over to Gaston’s Tavern first as it was open and there were lots of people about. It felt as though we were walking right into the scene from Beauty and the Beast as we walked into the Village. Gaston was standing there boasting about his strength right next to a gorgeous fountain in front of his tavern. My friend Ashley [who is a server at the Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney’s California Adventure] captured this fabulous picture showing all three…

When we walked into the Tavern, it was even more amazing! The detail that the Imagineers put into each and every piece of their projects is phenomenal, really. I quickly snapped these pics of one of the menu boards where you can see antlers and beer mugs hanging, as well as the fireplace that was as grand as could be! So cool!

We tried Le Fou’s Brew, and I have to say, it was FABULOUS!! The official description of the Brew is “Frozen Apple Juice with a hint of Toasted Marshmallow and topped with All Natural Passion Fruit Mango Foam served in a Souvenir Stein or Goblet”. Wow!! This stuff was delicious! My parents, who don’t like anything sweet, absolutely LOVED it too! What a faboulously refreshing treat on a hot day! The Goblets are completely adorable, and notice the little touch of Mickey too?

As we walked out of Gaston’s Tavern, there was Maurice’s Amazing Popping Machine where they sold refreshments and we decided that we needed a Mickey Bar…after all, the six of us shared two Brews, so we needed more of a snack! ;)

While my family was getting Mickey Bars, I decided to go wait in line to meet Gaston myself. He was just a hoot with every set of guests he met as I waited in line…so authentic and exactly true to his character in the movie! I wouldn’t expect any less, but it was pretty awesome. I got to the beginning of the line just as my mom and my daughter came over so all of us girls posed for a picture with the stud muffin! LOL! Can you believe how tall he is?

After meeting Gaston, we walked over to see if the Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction happened to be running. Much to our delight, IT WAS!!! I’m going to give you a picture tour of this attraction and I will tell you that it was amazing, breathtaking, exactly true to detail, and we felt like we’d stepped right into the movie. I can’t think of enough adjectives right now to describe how amazing every detail was…truly a feast for the eyes!

Ariel left guests a note with instructions for the interactive ride queue game…

There were gadgets and gizmos a-plenty…

and whozits and whatzits galore…

A quick pic of the interactive game you can enjoy while waiting in line to get into your Shell!

Just one example of the completely AH-MAZING artwork on the ceilings as you walk through the ride queue.

Ariel as she’s going through the change

My VERY FAVORITE scene from the whole ride…

Together at last and getting her voice back…

And the grand finale…because every magical day should end with fireworks!!

I sure hope you’ve enjoyed my photo tour and that you are planning a visit to the New Fantasyland at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL real soon! Remember, the Enchanted Forest officially opens to the public on December 6, 2012! Be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for updates!

Our First Day At DisneySMMoms!

My family was pretty excited when I told the Cast Member at the gate that we were checking in and even more ecstatic as we pulled up under the porte-cochere at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Any time we have ever gone to the Yacht Club, it was to have a late night sundae at Beaches and Cream with our dear friends. This time, we were sleeping there!! I immediately saw two familiar faces and practically jumped out of the car before I could get it in park! It was Amy and Valerie! Woo Hoo! And the fun started right that instant!

Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we had all sorts of free time to wander around the absolutely beautiful resort grounds while we waited since our first event wasn’t until 5:00 that afternoon. We were ready for breakfast, so we went over to the Captain’s Grille, which was FANTASTIC! I’ll tell you all about it in another post though. After breakfast, we followed the magical signs leading to the Convention Center to check in and get our credentials for the fabulous Social Media Moms Celebration!

There were some really cool turtles swimming around and a tiny little alligator so we stopped and watched them for almost an hour! The kids were loving the fact that we weren’t in any hurries!

So, I’m not sure how many of you watch ABC’s The Bachelor/ette, but I do, and I’ve been lucky enough to interact with one of the lovely ladies from a prior season! I was so excited to see Marissa behind the counter at the check-in desk, and the coolest thing? She was just as excited to see me!! Seriously you guys, she came around the counter and out to meet me with a giant hug! I was so incredibly tickled and it’s really my favorite thing ever when someone’s personality in real life is just how I imagined it from online interactions! So fun! You can find Marissa over at Disney’s InsidEARS site…she’s the Community Manager for the Walt Disney World side!

One cool thing about arriving so early was that there weren’t many people there yet. We actually got to sit with Jennifer Wilkes, one of the original Walt Disney World Moms Panelists, and she told us all about the fabulous events that were so carefully planned for us. I was practically bursting into Pixie Dust right there just hearing about all of the fabulous plans ahead! She went over everything with us and we were on our way, credentials in-hand! And my lanyard was pink!!

We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out by Stormalong Bay, having ice cream at Beaches and Cream, and being very leisurely in our absolutely GORGEOUS room! And I do mean gorgeous…wow! I’ll have my review up soon about Disney’s Yacht Club Resort…just lovely! Now just have a gander at these sundaes…

We don’t splurge on ice cream like this very often, but if you’re gonna do it, this is definitely the place!!! Yum to the O!! That’s a Fudge Mud Slide on the left and a No Way Jose on the right. Someone thought it would be funny to get some all over her cute little face!

I went back to our room to have a little nap afterwards then got ready to go to our “Passport to the World” reception sponsored by Adventures by Disney and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. I did all sorts of vacation dreaming while chit chatting with my fellow bloggers and munching on some great appetizers.

We were sent home with a fabulous Vinylmation from Aulani as a reminder of the event!

Next, we headed back to our room for just a few to get ready for dinner on the beach…yes, ON THE BEACH!! It was time for the “Swashbuckler Soiree’ Dinner”! I really love being on the white sandy beach at Disney…especially at dusk when it’s not so crazy hot! We walked over to the lovely beach area and there was this fabulous entrance…

I just LOVE how it’s all Piratey! See that giant globe lantern? Those magically turned into lights as the sun went down! So cool! Let’s talk about the best backdrop EVER too…

All in all, it was an unbelievably gorgeous evening, the food was just fabulous, and we had the best time! The Soiree’ was sponsored by Disney Junior and they did an amazing job! Thank you for a great evening!

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.

May The Fourth Be With You!

I haven’t had 3.5 seconds yet to blog about the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration I just came home from, but, considering today’s date, I just HAD to share this picture I quickly snapped of @Gary_Jerry in his Star Wars garb nodding at Darth Vader! Enjoy!

Also, for those of you who don’t already know about the fabulous Star Wars Weekends, here is some official info for you…

Star Wars Weekends returns to the Walt Disney World Resort during May and June 2012, as Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park celebrates the Star Wars film saga and the hit animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The annual special event, included in regular theme park admission, will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012.

The power of the Force and magic of Disney combine as more than 60 Star Wars characters – including Wookiees, droids, Rodians, Ewoks, bounty hunters and Jedi – roam the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for meet-and-greet opportunities with guests.

Star Wars celebrities highlight the event, appearing in themed parades, talk shows, star conversations, behind-the-scenes presentations and autograph sessions. Here are the celebrities attending Star Wars Weekends 2012 (*subject to change):

Weekend I (May 18 – 20)

Ray Park – (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend II (May 25- 27)

Andy Secombe (Watto – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend III (June 1 -3)

Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

Weekend IV (June 8- 10)

Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Daniel Logan (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

The centerpiece of the celebration is the spectacular 3-D attraction, “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.” The attraction, which opened last year, uses eye-popping 3-D, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology to immerse guests in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction.

Limited-edition and event-exclusive merchandise is offered each year, and the ever-popular “Hyperspace Hoopla” ends each Star Wars Weekends day with a show filled with comedy, dancing and high-energy music.

For more information and future updates, go online to disneyparks.com/blog (keyword search: “Star Wars Weekends”) disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends or starwars.com.

Mardi Gras ~ Disney Style!

I have always wanted to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras because it looks like a whole lot of fun! I am also in love with New Orleans Square at the Disneyland Resort! I miss it so badly when I’m at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Here’s the thing though, I’m so excited about my upcoming weekend (2 more sleeps!!!!) because my Princess friends and I are going to hang out one evening at Port Orleans French Quarter where it’s always Mardi Gras! Woo Hoo!

Right next door at Port Orleans Riverside, they’ve cooked up a celebration of their own and I wanted to share it with you all! It’s Bananas Foster Angel Food Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream!!!! Please come back and let me know how yours turn out and ENJOY!!

Boatwright’s Dining Hall Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Serves 4 to 6

Angel food cake
Vanilla ice cream
6 Fresh mint Sprigs

Bananas Foster Sauce
4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons banana liqueur
1/4 cup dark rum
Angel food cake, for serving
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
6 Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Mint Simple Syrup
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3/4 cups water
3/4 cups sugar

Bananas Foster Sauce:

Cut bananas in 1-inch pieces. Top with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring until sugar is almost dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Add banana liqueur (mixture will bubble). Carefully add the rum; the alcohol will flame on its own, then die down.
Add bananas and water to the skillet, turning bananas with a spoon as the liquid caramelizes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Mint Simple Syrup:

Puree the mint in a blender.
Bring water to a boil in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Add mint and steep for 10 minutes. Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Keep the water, discard the mint.
Bring the mint water back to a boil and add the sugar, boiling about 3 minutes until clear and reduced to a thin syrup.

To Serve:

Place two slices of angel food cake in a generous serving bowl. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the side.
Pour Bananas Foster sauce over the angel food cake.
Drizzle mint syrup over ice cream; garnish ice cream with a sprig of mint.

*NOTE: This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens. The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version.

This recipe, and many other tasty treats, can be found in the Delicious Disney Desserts cookbook.

Valentine’s Day Surprise from the Disney Florist!

I just love that as soon as I think I’ve seen all the magic Disney has to offer, they come up with something new and amazing! I was lucky enough to go on a backstage tour of the Disney Events Group just before Halloween last year and I just love all the magical things I saw being created there! It’s pretty amazing that the Dream Makers create such giant magic in such a tiny location!

Well, folks, Valentine’s Day is no different! Check out this new, fun Valentine creation for your children that includes an invitation to surprise Mickey or Minnie Mouse at the Town Square Theatre on Main Street USA along with an extra Valentine for your child to decorate and present to The Mouse of choice IN-PERSON!! How cool is that?

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

All of this fun did made me think a little bit…wouldn’t this be fun for the kid-at-heart too? Seriously. I feel like I turn five the minute I arrive on Walt Disney World property and I would LOVE to bring a Valentine to Mickey Mouse…and maybe share those gorgeous heart-shaped rice krispie treats with my hubby! I know that not everyone travels with kids and would surely get a kick out of something like this!

This fun Valentine Surprise is available for delivery to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room beginning January 28, 2012. In case you think I’m crazy for suggesting this one for adults, there is an Ears To You Valentine that is REALLY intended for grown-ups over on the Disney Florist website! This one even includes the Little Black Book of Walt Disney World and a few more sweet treats! Go check it out ~ you know you want to see it!

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!

Wordless Wednesday…The Bridge To Bay Lake Tower!

Wordless Wednesday…
The Bridge To Bay Lake Tower!

Focused on the Magic