Jan 28

Schedule Your Day

I have to share something a client sent me.  She has planned out her days and put all the information onto a card that looks like a bookmarker.  She is going to print them on cardstock and laminate them and then put them on a ring to carry in her purse.  She found this idea on a blog but can’t remember where.  I thought it was an excellent idea and wanted to pass it along!  Is this a great idea or what!?

 

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Jan 24

Disneyland and the Neverland 5K

I just love having guest bloggers here on Mousecation.  If you ever want to write for me, please let me know.  I am so excited about this guest blogger!  This is Lois and she runs!  Oh how I wish I had the discipline to actually do this.  I would love to run in a marathon at Disney!  How fun would that be?

 

IMG_1339RunDisney.  What is it?  It is a mix of two worlds, the running and fitness world, and the Disney world.  What could be better for a runner?  Not a whole lot.

This was my first runDisney race.  While they are known for the longer races, the half marathons (the Donald, the Princess, the Wine and Dine, the Tinkerbell , and the Disneyland half, plus the Tower of Terror 10 miler and of course the Mickey or even the Goofy Challenge, a half marathon on Saturday, plus a full on Sunday), they do smaller races, usually a 5k with each of the bigger races.  I headed out to my first experience at Disneyland for the Neverland 5K, which is part of the Tinkerbell half marathon weekend.  I love running and I love Disney, so I needed to combine the two.

The expo was on Friday and Saturday, which is a great way to check out the latest and greatest running gear as well as get your bib and the necessities for the race.  I was a little disappointed to find that almost all of the gear focused on the bigger and longer half marathon, and not on the 5K.  I was able to find  one trading pin that had the Neverland 5K logo on it, but nothing else.  I would have gladly bought a shirt that said something about the 5K, but didn’t find one available.  I did manage to buy a very cute running skirt though.  The best part of the expo was the chance to meet Jeff Galloway, who is the official running trainer of the runDisney series.  If you aren’t familiar with him, he teaches the run/walk method, whichIMG_1344 emphasizes taking walking breaks throughout your run.  (It’s how I ran my first half marathon.)  He was so nice and truly believes in what he is teaching.  I was thrilled at the chance to meet him.

The 5K started at 5:45 am, which meant leaving the hotel room around 4:45 to walk over to the park.  Entering Disneyland transformed me.  The music was pumping and there were lots of people in costume.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more green at one race, outside of a St. Patrick’s Day run.  With the music pumping, I danced my way down Main Street, and a cast member even joined me at one point. 

The announcers came on, and started trying to get us jazzed up for the race (the music would have been more efficient).  I took some pictures and just decided to have fun with my 5,000 new friends.  Because the 5K took place entirely inside Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, the running path was narrow.  This meant that the hope for a personal record flew down the wire with Tinkerbell, so it was just time for fun and to enjoy the sights of Disneyland in the dark and before it opened.  The run started in front IMG_1353of Sleeping Beauty castle and wound around to It’s a Small world.  We came out of the back somewhere around Toon Town, but it could have been Fantasyland (it was dark and I had never been to Disneyland before).  I stopped  at every character spot for pictures (not what I would do in a regular race).  I posed with Goofy and Pluto, Captain Hook and Mr. Snee, DJ (from Cars), Mater and Lightning McQueen, and Pirate Mickey and Minnie Mouse at mile 3.  Every time I passed a cast member (and there were lots of them), I put up my hand for high fives, sometimes even telling them that I needed a hand.  It’s a great place to have fun.  I loved running on the service roads through Disney and getting a little glimpse of what happens backstage, including the train storage building and some floats. 

As we crossed over to DCA, it was even more magical, as we didn’t really do much of the surface roads.  We ran through a Bugs’ Life and into Radiator Springs.  We then ran onto Paradise Pier, which was awesome.  The sky was getting lighter and the energy just seemed to surge at that point.  It was finally wide enough to get some good running in, but I was having too much fun at this point to even care.  As I finished the race, I had a big smile on my face, put my hands in the air and just let out a big whoop.  The announcers noticed my enthusiastic finish and even mentioned it.  “That one is very excited to finish and she is letting us know she is Powered by Pixie Dust” (which is what my shirt said).  As I crossed the finish line, I was handed my finisher medallion, as well as a Peter Pan bag in which to put my goody box.  This was by far my slowest 5K I have ever done, finishing at about 55 minutes (my normal pace is 30 minutes for a 5K), but it was a fun race.  I wish they would have had Tinkerbell somewhere for photos, as it was part of the Tinkerbell weekend.

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The next step of the race weekend was the kids’ run for my daughters who are 6 & 8.  They too were powered by Pixie Dust.  The 6 year old was slated for the 200 meter dash, and the 8 year old was to do 400 m.  I had anticipated the kids’ race finishing by 9:15, but because of some logistical problems (like putting a photo background 5 feet from the finish line, so the finish line became a huge bottleneck with parents taking pictures and it took a long time to clear the field for the next race), we didn’t finish the kids’ race until after 10 am.  There were also some problems with pick-up of the kids, since parents had a claim tag to match their bib numbers, but if a parent didn’t race, it was tough to pick up the kids.  I enjoyed the 5K, but I did not like the kids’ race.  If I were to do it again, my kids will do the 5K with me, and not the separate kids’ race.  I think they would have more fun running through the parks before it opens than running through a parking lot, plus it will allow us to get to the park in time for rope drop.

A little bit about me – my name is Lois.  I am a stay-at home Mom to 2 girls, ages 6 & 8. I love to exercise and love Disney. You can find me over at Running to Disney on Facebook, come check it out. This was my first trip to Disneyland. I live outside of Denver, in Thornton, CO and enjoy hiking, camping and reading when not running or thinking about Disney. 

Jan 23

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust. Eating at Disney with Food Allergies

It is my pleasure, once again, to welcome a guest blogger to Mousecation!  This time it is a dear friend of mine.  Thank you Kathie for sharing your experience of dining with allergies at Disney.  I had the opportunity to witness the chefs coming to the tables a couple times when we dined together.

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust. We love the Disney Fairy movies. We love Disney. However, traveling and dining out with a child who has multiple food allergies can be an overwhelming event. Such an event requires faith, trust, and diligence. Our faith is in God, to bless our travels/dining and keep us safe. We must also be able to trust those who are preparing the food. Finally, the diligence of traveling and dining out with a food allergy child falls on us, the parents, and maybe the child if he/she is old enough. Planning ahead is essential. Disney makes this so easy. When you make a reservation, you can indicate that someone in the party has food allergies. Your reservation is then flagged so the staff can be prepared for you when you arrive. As always, you should reiterate the allergy situation when you arrive.

During our recent trip to Disney, each time we arrived for our reservations, we mentioned the allergies and were treated most professionally. The server confirmed the allergies with us at the table. Then, the chef came to our table to talk with us and our daughter. The chef’s focus was to find out what our IMG_0905daughter WANTED to eat so it could be made safely for her. The highlight of our daughter’s dining pleasure at Disney was dessert. We ALWAYS forgo desserts because of the allergies. While at Disney, though, our daughter was able to have dessert. In fact, the chef at the Beirgarten (in Germany at Epcot) assembled an assorted dessert plate specifically for our daughter. When he presented it to her at our table, the look on her face was priceless. She truly felt special, like a princess.

We were also able to dine safely at quick service locations. At these locations, we indicated our daughter’s allergies prior to ordering. We were patiently guided through the menu as we made our choices. We did not speak with any of the chefs at the quick service locations, however, I am sure that they would have taken the time to speak with us if we had asked. And don’t forget about Downtown Disney. We were met with the same care and concern there as we were in the kingdoms.

Our recent experience at Disney taught us that all you have to do is ask and communicate. If you have a concern, express it. The staff at Disney sincerely wants you to enjoy your visit and will do whatever they can to make sure you do. Because of this, we were able to spend more time enjoying the faith, trust, and pixie dust magic of Disney and less time scrutinizing menus and ingredients.

Hi. I’m Kathie, a wife and mother. I am blessed by the saving grace of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. My husband and I are enjoying the benefits and pleasures of homeschooling our two daughters. Our older daughter is a sweet, rule-seeking, lovable 10 year old. She has taken us down the path of living with seasonal and food allergies. Our younger daughter is an energetic, bubbly, party-waiting-to-happen 7 year old. She has taken us down the path of living with allergies to stinging insects (ants, wasps, etc). We learn something new every day with these two sweet girls. When I am not serving my husband or teaching my girls, I enjoy snapping photos, reading books, and hanging out with friends and family. I am daily learning how to follow the path God planned for me.

 

Jan 18

Where To Dine While Visiting The Disney Parks

I am so excited to welcome another guest blogger!  This is Kathryn, owner of Kathryn’s Kloset.  If you get a chance head over to her blog and see what she has to say.  I want to thank Kathryn for blogging for me and I hope you enjoy her review of Tusker House as much as I did.  Thanks Kathryn!

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Hello, Mousecation readers!  I am so excited to be a guest here and tell you about a wonderful place to dine while you are enjoying the Disney Parks.  So here we gooooooo….. While I have my favorite restaurants for different meals, I would love to introduce you to my very favorite place for Breakfast.  I cannot say enough good words about Tusker House, which is located inside the Animal Kingdom in Africa. The Tusker House is only one of the two, table service restaurants located in Animal Kingdom. Tusker House is a popular restaurant because it offers a character breakfast and lunch. This is a great way for the children to meet characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. Appropriately, breakfast is titled Donald’s Safari Breakfast.

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In Harambe Village, Tusker House is somewhat of an open-air market and has all the finishes and touches of being in a village in Africa. The restaurant is buffet style and the buffet is set up in the open-air market. The dining area is furnished with rustic tables and has the traditional African carvings on the chairs. When you are comfortable at your table, you will be amazed at everything there is to look at.  Upon being greeted by your server, you are brought this amazing Jungle Juice.  It is truly addicting. Jungle Juice is a mixture of guava, orange and passion fruit juices. I can easily have four or five glasses during breakfast.

The buffet is located in the main marketplace with plenty of stations to get just what you love for breakfast and then some.  There are plenty of freshly baked pastries, like bagels, cream cheese danishes, doughnuts, and many other sweet choices. There are also scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, quiche, biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit, cereals, Mickey waffles, bacon, sausages, hash browns, a carving station, yogurt bar, and many other items.  When you getting your food in the main marketplace be sure and take a minute to look at all the décor and look up at the ceiling. You will see plethora of different colored cloths that will just amaze you.

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It is highly recommended to make a reservation to eat at Tusker House. We usually make our reservation for 8:00 am so that we can get into Animal Kingdom with virtually no waiting. Keep in mind that you must have a park ticket to enter the gates and dine at Tusker House.  Reservations can be made online but must be guaranteed with a credit card. I highly recommend reservations, without them, the wait times can be extreme especially in high season. The prices for an adult buffet are $29.99 and a child is $19.99. The price does vary depending upon what time of year you go. Our last trip was a week before Thanksgiving so these prices are reflective of that. 

During breakfast, there is a parade around the restaurant that is lead by Mickey and they even give out instruments for the children to walk in the parade with Mickey.  My children always have the best time participating in the parade.  

I could just go on and on about the Tusker House and maybe I will have another chance to dish about it again here on Mousecation.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to tell you about Tusker House and I hope that you are able to try it on your next trip to Disney.

Cheers! 

Kathryn

Kathryn Costa blogs at Kathryn’s Kloset and is a lover of all things Disney. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and is working on her Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration.

Jan 16

Traveling to Disneyland with a Pre-teen

It is my priviledge to welcome Brenda this morning!  She explains, what those of us with younger children, get to look forward to as our children grow up.  Thank you Brenda for guest blogging here.  When you finish reading here go over to her blog “Disney Girl”  and check it out too.

 

Hi everyone! I am SUPER excited to be guest blogging here at Mousecation. My name is Brenda or in the blogging world “Disney Girl”. In September 2011 I started blogging and have been hooked ever since. My blog is a place for me to share my love of Disney, crafting, and the happenings of my everyday life. I am married to a wonderful guy and mom to one sweet daughter who keeps us on our toes at all times. At the moment we are experiencing her first year of middle school. (YIKES!) That being said I thought that I would share with you how traveling with a pre-teen is different from traveling with a little one. Hayley one at Disneyland aSo many blogs address what is like to travel with a toddler or small children. I am here to tell you that it just gets better with age. I thought that the most magical moment was the first trip I took her on when she was just barely a year old. Every trip since then has topped the one prior. I have went from “Where did I park the stroller?” to just running with my daughter leading the way from ride to ride. Yes, I must admit I do miss the storage convenience that a stroller offers but a locker offers the same (and is always where I left it).

We are so lucky to be able to visit Disneyland several times a year. I have learned as my daughter has grown that at some point the park visit changes. I hate change so I have really just had to roll with it. When she was very young I was the one holding her up next to the Character for the photograph. All of us moms have these pictures. You know, the ones with us in them because our little one won’t go without us. Then as she got a bit older, she got braver (either that or she visited the park so many times she felt like the Characters were her family) and went up to them by herself. Now at almost 12 years of age she is very selective of which Characters she will spend her time in the park waiting in line to see. I know her thinking……..that time could be used waiting in line to ride Splash Mountain or Indiana Jones.

The way we approach the attractions also changed as she grew. I went from using the parent pass and leaving her in the stroller to waiting for the day when she was “Indiana Jones height”. I thought that day would never come. But it did all too soon. My daughter on the other hand could not wait until she was tall enough to drive Autopia by herself. That was a BIG day in our history of Disneyland memories. Our days in the park went from my pushing her stroller to her being old enough to walk the park on her own. Back in her early days of walking the park we would do each land at a time to save on walking. Now we hit all the big attractions first and go back and do each land in full when we have had our fill of the big attractions. These days I can barely keep up with her riding all those big attractions. On our last park visit my daughter rode the Matterhorn four times in a row. My 40 year plus old equilibrium could only handle two times in a row! September 2012 DISNEYLAND HALLOWEEN TRIP 010As my daughter gets older I am learning to add something new (oh no — change) to each Park visit. You see it isn’t like it was when she was little and needed to grow and meet height requirements or be brave and meet a Character on her own. On our last visit we went during Halloween time. We participated in Mickey’s Halloween party and also did the Happiest Haunts tour. Both of which my pre-teen loved. As she gets older she is more involved in the planning process which just makes the trip that much more special. At the moment we are planning a park visit for next month. I can’t wait to see what new thing we do or what ride is now my daughters favorite. I hope that you all are enjoying making magical memories with your kids. Thanks again to Mousecation for having me here today!!

Jan 14

Cruise Requirements – Passports or Not?

I have been asked this several times so I thought I would help clear it up.  Disney does not require passports.  HOWEVER, they do require a valid driver’s license and birth certificate (original or certified copy).  If it is for children, just a birth certificate will work UNLESS the child is 16 or aboveTHEN you must have a driver’s license or a State Issued ID which you can get from the driver’s license office.  HOWEVER HOWEVER HOWEVER – BIG NOTE HERE:  IF you are on your cruise and you MUST fly out to get home for some reason you WILL NOT be able to leave because you are in another country!  SO YOU WOULD HAVE TO FINISH SAILING then head home.  So they do push passports for that reason.

NOTE:  This is for sailings out of the US only!  Passport Card will not allow you to fly home either.

Jan 14

Some Money Saving Suggestions For Your Next Disney Trip

It is my pleasure to welcome Michelle again.  She is guest blogging for me today on tips for saving money for a Disney trip.  I get this question a lot and she has some creative ways to save.  I have done one of them for our last trip.  You will be amazed at how fast the money adds up.  Thanks again Michelle!         

 

     I don’t know about you, but unfortunately, we are not a family that can afford to take a Disney vacation every year – nothing against those of you who can and/or do.  For most, a Disney vacation is a big expense and is something that is planned and saved for for several months or more.  I’m forever trying to come up with more ways to save money to put towards our Disney vacation – sometimes I’m successful at saving and sometimes things just happen.  So I thought I’d share with you a few of the things we do to save a little extra money for our Disney vacation!

DSC01395     We start our savings by first making a Disney FUNds Jar!!  In the past we’ve used a Disney souvenir popcorn bucket, a milk or juice jug, a baby wipes tub or a jar of any kind – and decorate it with wrapping or scrapbook paper, stickers, ribbons or anything fun!  All change gets emptied into it at the end of each day, I’ll even add any dollar bills that I’ve got at the end of the week.  All money made or saved for vacation is then placed into the jar as well. 

 

 

     To make some extra money for our Disney trip, I do something I love to do – craft!!!  I started  making vacation (or any occasion) countdown boards and selling them at area craft shows and to my Disney loving friends. 286903_4733953075529_1493536860_o (1)   It’s  something fun to do with my spare time and the money I make on each board (after the cost of supplies) then goes in the jar!

     In the spring and summer months I love to have garage/yard sales!  It’s a great way to make some extra money and get rid of all the things we no longer need, use or want.  I always have one right before the start of school to unload all the clothes my son has outgrown or doesn’t like since the last school year.  Another thing I do with my son’s items is take them to a children’s resale shop.  These resale shops also take toys, books, videos, baby items such as stroller’s, and ride on toys – just about anything they have a need for.  Sometimes they don’t pay the best, but if you can’t sell the stuff in a garage sale, at least you’ll make more on the stuff than just giving it away!  All money made peddling our junk goes straight to the jar!

     I’ve tried, without much success, the whole extreme couponing thing.  Honestly, I have the time to do it but found that the coupons are mostly for items that we don’t need or use and I don’t have room to stockpile a lot of things for future use, so it was really a waste of my time.  However, when I do use coupons, I total up what I saved by using them and put that amount of money in to the FUNds jar!!  Every little bit helps!

There are lots of other little things you can do to add a bit more money to the savings like making it a rule to never spend coins – if something costs $1.25, pay with $2.00 instead and drop the 75 cents in the jar.  Afraid that the temptation of spending some of your funds from the jar?  Open a savings account at your bank for vacation purpose only, and deposit the money from the jar every so often.  Does your bank offer a Christmas Club savings plan?  If you have enough time before the trip, enroll and use it for vacation instead! Or maybe plan to put as little as $5.00 out of each paycheck into the FUNDs jar? Can you spare a little from your income tax return?  Maybe you can come up with some other ways to help your family save a bit for that dream vacation! You’ll be surprised by how fast it adds up!  Don’t worry, You may not save enough money to pay for the whole trip, but you can certainly save enough to help have a good time!!

 

A little bit about me: My name is Michelle and I eat, sleep and breathe Disney!! I am a stay at home mom of one very special boy! In my free time I love to scrapbook our past Disney vacations, plan our upcoming visits and also help friends plan their Disney adventures!!!

Jan 04

Why We Go To Walt Disney World with a Special Needs Child

      As a child, the best vacations I can remember were spent at a Disney Park.  We would make our annual pilgrimage from St. Louis to Orlando in the family station wagon, loaded down with everything but the kitchen sink, during the hottest part of the summer.  We would stay in some off the wall motel in Kissimmee, visit Xanadu – The Home of the Future, play some miniature golf, beg to go to Medieval Times and spend a few days in the parks. Despite the despicable heat and the waiting in extremely long lines, my love for (more like an obsession) all things Disney, began.

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     Fast forward to many years later – I’m pregnant with our son and we talk of all the things we will do with him, the places we will go and how we can’t wait to take him to Disney World and see his face light up the first time he meets Mickey.  But then our son is born and all our plans changed.  To make a very long story short, our son had breathing complications at 8 days old and had to be hospitalized.  At 11 days old they had to put in a tracheostomy tube to enable him to breathe – he still has the tube today.  Along with the breathing issues, he is non-verbal, is significantly delayed in all areas, has a moderate hearing loss, needs specially prepared meals, has autistic tendencies, and has mobility issues that often require him to use a wheelchair.  With all this, how would our little boy ever enjoy the magic of Disney?  Then in 2003, our son had a wish (to meet Mickey Mouse) fulfilled by a children’s wish granting organization – and then we knew!!!

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    Friends and Family often ask me why I love Disney so much and why it’s always our vacation destination (we’ve TRIED a few other destinations, but the experiences weren’t all that great).  In one word – Magic!!! Because of our son’s abilities and limitations, he is often unable to experience all the things a healthy child would, but at Disney World, he knows no bounds!  Disney Cast Members are very helpful and accommodating and often go out of their way to make things easier for him (and for us) so he will have the same experience as any other child.  With the help of a lot of planning (I love that part), a great touring plan, a Guest Assistance Card (noting his needs) and some pixie dust – we are able to see and do everything (and more) on our “Must Do” list, often multiple times!!!

     Vacationing at Walt Disney World is a no-brainer for us! Everything (with the exception of the TTA) is so accessible! When our son is having a bad day and a rough time with the crowds – it seems there’s always a Cast Member to move us to a less stressful place to wait!  Just miss the cut-off to wait for our favorite princess?  More often than not, they will still allow us to get into line!  An email address and phone number to speak with someone who can take specific dietary requests and follow through with all the preparations?  What an awesome idea and it saves us from having to drag a bunch of prepared foods into the park!  Want a few extra minutes with Mickey?  Yes, please!  Would he enjoy the show more from the front row?  Yes, he would!  Thank you!!  And I love how the characters and the character handlers are always so patient and don’t rush us and just seem to understand that he made need just a minute to get comfortable with a new situation and how some Photopass photographers go the extra mile to bring that smile to my sons face…… Also, our son has been lucky enough to have been the recipient of so many Magical Moments that I have been brought me to tears more times than I can count – and not just from the sight of Cinderella’s Castle!!  Often the gestures are just little things like a sticker or maybe a maybe a special pin, but to a parent of a special needs child, they’re huge!  The customer service is amazing and most Cast Members are friendly and compassionate people and want to give a little extra magic to a child (and family) that may need it, helping to make their visit everything they dreamed it would be and more!!  And this is why we continue to return as often as possible and because Walt Disney World is our Happiest Place On Earth!!!

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A little bit about me: My name is Michelle and I eat, sleep and breathe Disney!!  I am a stay at home mom of one very special boy!  In my free time I love to scrapbook our past Disney vacations, plan our upcoming visits and also help friends plan their Disney adventures!!!

Dec 31

I love it when dreams come true!

There are several reasons why I love what I do, but nothing makes me happier to know that someone’s dream comes true.  While I didn’t have anything to do with the cast members that made this dream come true for my clients, I am just happy to have helped plan this vacation.

This is from a recent client that went to Disney for their first trip in October……..

We had a blast on our trip. There were so many times that I felt like you were with us because I kept telling my family, “Tabitha said…”. I felt like you were our personal tour guide. Going on the dining plan was amazing! I can’t even imagine going without it. Now we are spoiled : ) We liked the room and the resort. And if/when we go back we will definitely go back during the same time of year. We hardly had to wait in lines and we rode everything we wanted to, some rides twice, and some (Dumbo) four times! It was wonderful! The cast could not have been nicer and just to explain what I mean here is the VERY BEST part of the whole trip:

Our first night there we went to have dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Did I mention that I am a HUGE Cinderella fan? HUGE. Cinderella wedding and all. Well, it MAY have been my VERY LARGE expectations of Cinderella, but when she came to our table we were disappointed. She was not overly friendly, but not at all mean. Just a let down from the very high pedestal I had placed her on. But alas, the night was not a total bust…the stepmother and stepsisters were a hoot! We still talk about them. DSC02483

However, I was determined that the next time we were at the Magic Kingdom we were going to track Cinderella down so I could see her, take pictures, and get pictures with my daughter in her Cinderella dress that we didn’t bring to the 1900 Park Fare dinner. A few days passed before we got back to the Magic Kingdom, but the big day was finally here. It was our last day of vacation and our last day at the Magic Kingdom. We each got to pick the one thing we wanted to do that day, my daughter and son both wanted to go on Dumbo again – shocker! My husband wanted to ride space mountain, and well, I wanted to see Cinderella. So, our day was set. We pack all the necessary Cinderella seeing equipment and were off. On the ride to the kingdom I told my husband that as soon as we arrived I would go to guest relations and find out when and where Cinderella would be that day and we could then plan accordingly. As we were walking in, the ever so friendly cast members were outside to great everyone when one lady noticed my daughter wearing a Cinderella shirt and said, “Good Morning Cinderella!” “Are you going to see Cinderella today?” We nodded yes, and she replied “She is right inside at the theater.” I am pretty sure I heard, “On you mark, get set, GO!” We ran right inside and headed to the theater. But as soon as I saw the big clock say that the princess line was a forty minute wait, I knew that was not going to happen. Did I mention that we were totally spoiled by this point and hadn’t waited in line for more than fifteen minutes for anything? Oh, but then the clouds parted and I saw the magical sign that said Fast Passes Available. Yea! We got our fastpasses and set out with the rest of our day.

We returned at the appointed time and got ready to see Cinderella (and all the unimportant princesses too). I got our daughter changed into her Cinderella dress, got cameras out and ready. Ooooo….the moment had arrived. We were the next group to be ushered into the room that held the best princess ever!!!! The door opens, we are ushered in and after a quick glance around…no Cinderella. What???!! What has gone terribly wrong here? I immediately and as calmly as I could possibly be at this precise moment asked a cast member if Cinderella was here. Maybe she had just stepped out for a moment, I thought. No. We were told that she hadn’t been in the theater all morning. Impossible, I thought. I, ever so sweetly conveyed to the sweet cast member what we had been told earlier in the morning. And asked if she knew where Cinderella would be the rest of the day because we really wanted to see her. Noticed I said wanted. I meant needed. This whole trip was riding on a wonderful Cinderella encounter for me. No one else, not my two year old – just me. The lady disappeared and while there was a slight line leading up to the other three (unimportant) princesses, I asked my husband if it was even worth standing here to get the autographs of three people my children really don’t even know. He said that we were there and we might as well. Fine. I’ll be nice to the princesses. We did it, we talked and got all the princesses autographs, and pictures. And wouldn’t you know, the lady that disappeared before was still no where to be found.  So I told my husband we would just go over to guest relations when we were done here.

We finished our goodbyes with Princess Jasmine when a man appeared to hold the exit door open for us and then looked at my daughter and said, “Come this way Princess, we have a surprise for you.” I looked at my husband with what must have been the biggest eyes I have ever had. He opened the door and there right before our very eyes was Cinderella! We were in a room all alone with Cinderella!! Again…(for dramatic affect) We were in a room all alone with Cinderella!! (Well, not really alone. A photopass photographer, and what we dubbed as the character handler was also there.) And this Cinderella – the real one in my mind – was completely wonderful! She danced with my daughter, took about a million pictures with us, taught us how to pose like a princess, oh, I could go on and on. It was just magical. We were in there for at least five minutes, probably closer to ten. Her (handler) finally told Cinderella that it was time for here to get ready for the parade. Which we probably made her late for, since we walked outside from there and the parade had already started. Even if that had been our first day at Disney and not our last, I could have left right then. Nothing could have topped that experience. Nothing. Dreams really do come true at Disney!DSC02478(rev 0)

And yes, we did report to guest relations after that to compliment the cast members who helped make that dream come true.

I LOVE it when Disney makes a dream come true – in this case for the mom!  Thanks for sharing this Julie B.  I am so glad to hear you ended up with a magical trip!  Have you had a magical moment happen?  Tell us about it.

 

Dec 17

Agent P anyone?

Do you have a Phineas and Ferb fan in your family?  We sure do.  Our son LOVES Phineas and Ferb and Agent P is one of his favorite characters.  We decided to do the Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure on our last trip.  As I have stated before, we went with friends and they, too, have Phineas and Ferb fans.  So we decided to do this adventure together. 

Kathie and I went to get Fastpasses to Soarin’ and let the husbands take the kids to the Agent P kiosk and sign up for their adventure.  We then met up to start the adventure.  Here is a picture of the phone the kids were given:

We started at the first destination which was Mexico.  It was fun to hear the clues and figure out where to go and see pictures of what you were suppose to find.  Pointing the phone at certain objects and watching things happen to those objects was fun too.  The kids really enjoyed the adventure.  It took about 30 minutes or so to complete one mission.  After a while the oldest lost interest and her and her dad went to ride rides.  My husband was getting tired of the back and forth and I told him to go sit down and wait for us.  We made it to the next mission which we got to choose from a list of lands and we chose the closest one which was Germany.  By the time we got finished with the Germany adventure, us adults were tired of the back and forth and told the 2 youngest we were going to ride rides and we could continue on later if we wanted to pick it back up. 

Here is a before picture and an after picture of what one of the things does:

 

All in all it was lots of fun but the only draw back that we saw as parents that it was a lot of back and forth.  You would literally just finish a clue and be sent to one spot to go right back to where you just were for another clue.  The other thing that we noticed was that it took up a LOT of time.  So, my suggestion is if you have Phineas and Ferb fans, do the adventure but limit it to 1-2 missions and then if you have time later on you can always go back and finish this up.  There is no cost to you, it is FREE.  You are able to keep the phone all day long and when you are ready to head out of the park you can hand the phone to ANY Cast Member – you DO NOT have to go back to the kiosk to turn it in.  That was a nice perk!

Dec 14

Be Our Guest review

On our recent trip to Disney World, we had the opportunity to eat at Be Our Guest restaurant.  I made these reservations way back the day they started taking reservations.  I was so excited to try this new restaurant.  The castle is remarkable, beautiful in every way.  Disney, once again, out did themselves.  The lions pillars at the front door give it a grand feeling and when you walk inside is just continues on.  We were seated in the ballroom. 

 I must say sitting there and looking out the window and watching it snow, awww…..made me feel like it was really snowing outside.

There is not a lot of selections on the menu – the adult menu consisted of Pork, Cornish Hen, Salmon, Shrimp & Scallops and Ratatouille for the main course.  The kids menu was even smaller to choose from so if you have a picky eater, you might want to take a look before you go.  I have a picky eater and there really wasn’t anything that he would eat.  The kids menu has Grilled Steak, Fish, or Chicken and Whole Grain Macaroni.  We went with some friends and one of the girls has food allergies.  So, I got to experience first hand Disney with food allergies.  The chef came to our table and asked what kind of allergies she had.  He then told her parents what she could eat and what she needed to stay away from.  They took great care of her and she was even able to have dessert fixed for her.  The women (my friend and I) decided to order the Rotisserie Cornish Hen and the men ordered the Grilled Strip Steak.  My son and our friend’s one daughter ordered steak off the kids menu and the other daughter ordered French Onion Soup (she is the one with food allergies – she has nut allergies and the chef made sure she had no bread in her soup).  Kathie (this was my friend) and I both said the chicken was different.  Parts of it was good and parts of it was just ok.  We both tasted our husband’s steak and we both agreed that if we came back we would order the steak.  It was delicious!!  My son didn’t like his steak, but as I said he is a picky eater.  The other child who ordered steak loved hers and ate it all.  I believe the french onion soup was tasty too.

Now on to dessert….I ordered the Triple Chocolate Cupcake and my husband ordered the Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake.  Those were the two desserts that were ordered all around our table too.  They were both very tasty!

And of course, we can’t forget The Grey Stuff.  Since I had told them weeks before we arrived that my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary, we got to taste The Grey Stuff.  The waitress brought it to our table and said it was delicious!  It is a small portion of Grey Stuff but we passed it around so everyone could taste it.  It is kind of like a chocolate mousse (I am guessing here) with silver crispy balls on top.  Now with all the hype over The Grey Stuff, and from what our waitress said, I expected this to be “To Die For”.  However, it was just o.k.  – THIS IS MY OPINION.  It was good but I wouldn’t say I HAD TO HAVE IT!  So, if you don’t get The Grey Stuff, you are not missing much.

To end our evening we were invited to look around the other rooms and then before we left we were told that Beast was accepting Guests in the Library.  We made our way over to the Library but he wasn’t there because periodically throughout dinner music starts playing and Beast is introduced and he walks through the Ballroom and then storms into the West Wing.  We waited for a few minutes and Beast returned to the Library where we were able to take pictures with him.  The restaurant originally stated that there was no character dining here so we were pleasantly surprised to find Beast.  I do not know if this is a permanent thing or not.

I would definitely recommend dining here.  You also need to make reservations VERY EARLY on because this is another one like Cinderella’s Royal Table – it is booking fast and FAR in advance.  Have you eaten here?  What did you think?  I was unable to try it for the quick service lunch because it was closed the next two days for the Press – we went a couple days before Grand Opening Celebration.

 

Dec 12

Art of Animation stay, the good and the bad.

I need to start this article with the fact that we have never stayed in a value resort.  So we did not know what to expect.  But I just had to stay at the Art of Animation on our last trip.  I wanted to be able to tell my clients what it was all about and whether or not I would recommend it or not.  Let me first start by saying that the theme of this resort is AWESOME!  I couldn’t believe it when we stepped of the Magical Express.  My husband kept asking me “This is a value resort?”

So let me start with the good…..  Wherever you step on the Art of Animation you are immersed in the movies.  This is a kid’s dream come true.  We stayed in the Lion King suites and our son LOVED it.  He couldn’t have been happier. 

We ate at the food court on a few occasions and we found all the food to be great.  We had nothing bad that I remember.  The resort is spread out but not so spread out that you feel like you are walking forever to get somewhere.  There are several pools to choose from and of course they are themed like the movies too.

As I said above, we stayed in the Lion King Suite.  I had reservations about this particular room because it looked VERY BUSY to me.  When we stepped into the room it was amazing.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed with all the colors going on and I didn’t feel it was too busy once I was there.  I will say that it was a little smaller than what it appears to be in the pictures.  Even our son said he thought it was going to be bigger.  It was still perfect for our family – we could stay up while he went to bed – we didn’t have to have all lights out so he could sleep.

The suite has 2 rooms – the living room with a table (that pulls out to make a bed) and a small bedroom.  There are also 2 bathrooms – one with the living area and one in the bedroom.  There is a microwave, sink, refrigerator area also.  There were 2 TV’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom.  The bathroom in the bedroom had a shower only (and a very cool one at that) and the main living area bathroom had a bathtub.  These suites have interior hallways – so you have no outside doors like all the other value and moderate resorts.  The Little Mermaid building has NO interior hallways, just so you know.  All of the cast members that we encountered were super nice.

Now for the bad, yes there was a little bad with this resort.  It was super loud!  The walls were paper thin so we heard our neighbors very well.  There were kids yelling up and down the hall and doors slamming.  Now mind you, we ALWAYS have the luck of getting stuck next to loud people or something not quite right on our vacations.  We kind of find it amusing – after the fact.  When you are trying to get your child to sleep at a decent time after you have been up since about 5:00 in the morning and been traveling all day, the last thing you want is loud people that keep your child up.  The hallways seemed to echo.  Now I know there are no sound proof rooms anywhere but I did expect it to be a little quieter.  I would say that was our only complaint.  It was so bad the first night we had to call the front desk to complain about the people next to us.

So would we stay there again?  I would, however, my husband on the other hand?  Well, if he had a choice of going to Disney and staying at a value resort or staying home, he would stay home.  That is just my husband though – Disney isn’t his favorite place.

Dec 11

The Reaction!

Many of you are waiting to hear how our son responded to his “Surprise.” Let me just re-play the morning for you. He totally messed us up. To begin with I was planning on getting up at 5:15 and getting ready and finish packing my last minute stuff that morning. Well a little after 4 a.m. he walked into the room – he had had a bad dream and wanted in bed with us. I put him in bed with us and I was afraid I would wake him up since it hadn’t been too long since he had fallen asleep. So, I decided to get up about 5:00 a.m. (since I never did go back to sleep) and get ready. I wanted all the luggage in the car before he woke up. Well, I took my suitcase into his room and just finished zipping it up (my husband had gotten up shortly after I did and was in the shower) when out walks our son. He asked “Why are we up so early?” I told him we needed to get an early start to make it to the zoo and to the Lego store. I also said we were going to a different Lego store that we hadn’t been to in a while so we needed to travel a little ways and we were going to spend the night.

I told him to go back to bed or he could get up. He said he would get up. At this point I am starting to panic because the plan was that my husband would be downstairs to video all of it and he was still in the shower. I told my son to go brush his teeth and he could ride in this pajamas. While he was brushing his teeth I told my husband to hurry up. He hurried and got out and finished getting ready. He went on downstairs and took my luggage (the one that I had just finished putting the Magical Express tag on – that I shoved out of the way and put my pillow on top when my son saw me) to the car. I was stalling our son to give my husband time to get downstairs and get his phone on. I told “E” to go put his toothbrush in his bag that I already packed and was downstairs.

He went downstairs to put it in the bag and don’t you know he starts to put it in an outside zipper part of that bag. I said “No, not there, inside the bag!” I know he was thinking his mommy was CRAZY! I helped him unzip the bag and he just watched the balloon pop out. He looked into the empty suitcase (which had his Elf on the Shelf in it) and back up into the air to the balloon. Then back again to the suitcase, then back to the balloon. Finally he stood and read the sign attached to the balloon and said “We are going to Disney? Today?” Then he started jumping up and down! The look on his face was priceless! I will never forget it.

Was it hard to keep it a secret? You bet it was. Was it worth it? Oh yes it was! Thankfully we were able to talk about it because our son thought we were saving for next year. That did help things. So will you surprise your child(ren) with a Disney vacation? Have you ever? Tell us about it. What was the reaction you got?

Nov 30

Secrets are so hard to keep!

Well, if you have been following me on Facebook, you know that we are coming up on our SURPRISE trip to Disney World for our son.  I am so excited about it, but let me tell you – these last few days have been EXTREMELY hard to keep it a secret!  I am so excited I am about to bust and I can’t slip here at the last minute and say anything.  Afterall, I have kept my mouth shut for about 9 months already.  This is how the plan is going in the morning.  I am a homeschool mom so we take field trips often.  Our son said he wanted to take a field trip on Saturday so daddy can go with us.  I thought perfect!  So our plan is to wake him early in the morning because our plane leaves early.  He has also been saving his money for several weeks now in anticipation of going to the Lego store on December 1st.  That is what we first told him.  We said we would match whatever he made during that time and he could spend it at the Lego store.  This will actually be his spending money instead.

We are heading to the “zoo” – that is what we finally decided upon and then to the Lego store later.  We have a busy day tomorrow.  I will tell him we need to get an early start and the zoo is a little drive from our house so we need to get there when they open.  He will need to brush his teeth and when he is done put his toothbrush in his suitcase downstairs because we are actually going to a different Lego store too.  One that we haven’t been to in a while so we will spend the night.  When he goes downstairs he will find his “suitcase” and open it to this:

 

Tomorrow cannot get here fast enough.  Stay tuned for how it all turns out – his reaction and whether or not he actually knew…….