Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New to Me!

I can't even count how many times I've been to the parks.  I know I've been probably over 20 times in the past 10 years with multiple trips growing up, but no exact numbers.  

Luckily, with a place like Walt Disney World, there are so many experiences for me to try!

This trip includes a few new-to-me experiences:
  • Magical Express - Our first trip without a car...  so, we decided to stay on the monorail instead!  
  • Grand Floridian - I stayed there with my parents in middle school for a 3 day business trip, but Adam has never even stepped foot inside!
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge - with dinner reservations for Sanaa, I'm finally planning to see the inside of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village.. maybe we'll get to walk around both lodges!
  • Character Dining - I dined in Cinderella Castle about a decade ago, back when the Cast Members referred to me as "Princess," but there were no princesses wandering about.  This time, we've got an ADR at the Hollywood and Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios to enjoy breakfast with some of Noah's favorites: Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, and June and Leo from the Little Einsteins!
And, going back to an old standard - we're planning to hop off the Magical Express and head directly to the Magic Kingdom!  Too early to check into our room, no need to worry about our luggage, just time to play!

Plus, thanks to the trivia books by Lou Mongello, the Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, and Steven Barret's Hidden Mickey's Guide, I've got tons of special things to be looking for!

Do you have any special new additions or trivia finds for your next trip?  I'd love to hear all about them!  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last Minute Planning!

As I mentioned last week, we just planned a spur of the moment-esque trip to Walt Disney World.  This came from a sudden lack of plans and a free week mid-June, not to mention lots of possible discounts.

So, when my husband realized he had a free week, we got to thinking "Where can we go?"

At first, we toyed with the idea of a 2 person trip - a trip to the grandparents for Noah, and a nice weekend away for mommy and daddy.  But, the grandparents had plans, so we started looking for ways to incorporate Noah.  First, we started seriously considering Disneyland.  We quickly realized that with the flight prices, lengths, times, commute from the airport, lack of available DL resorts, and several other negative factors, we decided against Disneyland.

Then, Adam started looking up short cruises and found the Disney Magic leaving from NY for a 2 night trip.  He was very sad when I pointed out that was a 2012 itinerary.

We scanned our options - we're not out-doorsy camping people, Adam doesn't like sand and I don't think the beach would be relaxing at all with Noah.  We couldn't find any short cruises in our time frame available.  We had originally talked about driving to Niagara Falls, but now with the passport regulations, Noah would have to have a valid passport and 3 weeks just isn't enough time to get that settled.  That rules out the Bahamas, something like Atlantis, as well.  So, we decided on our usual favorite - Walt Disney World.

Our first step was to contact a travel agent - I used my friend Chris, a fellow writer for Chip and Company and also a great travel agent for Pixie Vacations.  She quickly priced out the discounts around the price range I had suggested and gave us our options.  As my husband often does, he picked the most exciting, so Grand Floridian here we come!  And, with that, comes our first experience with the Magical Express.  Finally, no car rental, no dealing with luggage, just a nice, relaxed (hopefully) trip!

We went to our standard - Jet Blue for cheap flights.  We actually had to upgrade (so sad, right?) to the extra legroom seats so we could all sit together.  Booking so close to the end gave us great deals, but not having many options for seats!  So, for an amazing price, we booked 3 plane tickets to MCO for June!

Now, I'm onto getting ready.  Making ADR's - yes, 3 weeks out there are plenty of options.  I'm also officially splurging on the CARES - aviation harness.  I've heard from friends and read reviews that it's amazing and a lifesaver.  And, a backsaver, as I won't have to cart the toddler car seat thru the airport!   I'm also revisiting Pursuing the Magic's in flight entertainment recommendations and stocking up on cheap and new travel toys on Amazon.com.

Getting excited!  Do you think we're nuts planning a trip so soon?

Next, real shopping!  Time to invest in a new suitcase

Friday, May 27, 2011

Time for a Cup of Joe

We're quickly approaching the 1 year anniversary of our little blog here at Disney Babies Blog.

In the past year, I've been to WDW twice, planning our 3rd trip.
Melissa has been twice, and Mel has been out to Disneyland.

We've been busy, but have enjoyed (most days!) blogging for our nearly 100 followers, sharing tips, tricks, secrets, and anything else we feel like rambling about.  And, we love having so many followers and regular readers to share our stories with!

And now, we want to say thanks with a small token of gratitude - another giveaway!  I have 2 adorable Mickey Mouse Club coffee mugs that I want to giveaway.
Cute, huh?
I'll be giving 1 away here, and 1 away over on facebook, and here's how to enter!

Mandatory Entry:
Follow Disney Babies Blog Publicly on Google Friend Connect (see right tab) and leave a comment below!

Extra Entries:
  • Follow Disney Babies Blog on facebook, look for the photo in the albums and comment on facebook that you want to win!
  • Leave 1 comment on facebook letting me know one of your favorite posts!
  • Follow on Twitter (@DisneyBabiesBLG) (leave comment below)
  • Tweet about this giveaway! Make sure to comment to @DisneyBabiesBLG so I know you tweeted!  No more than once per day.
Giveaway ends June 3rd!

Good luck!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular

The Hypernion Theater Marquee
The animated classic Aladdin was originally released during my senior year of high school. I made my teenage friends go with me to see that movie... three times! What can I say? I've always been a Disney-girl.

So it was a delight to see, nestled in the Hollywood Studios Backlot of Disney's California Adventure, was Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. I knew instantly, I wanted to see it. But how? It didn't look promising.

Strike one: kids are at the age when they want rides and engaging attractions. Broadway-style musical theater - not-so-much. 

Strike two: My daughter had already pooped out for the day. She and my husband were back at the hotel so she could relax and splash at the pool. How could I convince my sons to go see a princess musical.

Before I struck out, just like the Grinch, I though up a lie, and I thought it up quick. It was just a little lie. I told them, "Ya know, there is a princess, but she isn't really the focus of the show. It's going to be mostly about Aladdin and how the Genie grants his three wishes. Sure there's a little bit of princess-stuff, but it won't be the focus of the show."

Lucky for me, my little "lie" turned out to be the truth. The main "princess" moment came during a song, written especially for this musical called "To Be Free." My son turned to me and said, "There is a little bit of princess in this show, huh?" That was the only time he did so.

The rest of the show was non stop musical fun and mayhem. The Genie steals the show with current pop culture references and wit. And refreshingly, this "Genie" is a real character in his own right, not just an imitation of Robin Williams (though the gusto and heart Williams brought to the role is certainly evident).

At the end of the show, my boys were quoting one-liners and laughing together about how the plot line differs from the movie. Though, as the Genie points out, it does end just like it does on the DVD. The only plot variation was a bit curious - SMALL SPOILER - Abu is not in the show at all. Iago is in the show, and they even made sure that Magic Carpet was included. But no Abu. Honestly, I didn't really miss the little guy. The show is so full of rich characters and heart as is.

Aladdin on Broadway:

Perhaps that is why Aladdin is making his big Broadway debut this summer. With a true love for semi-colonated (I just made that word up) titles, it is called Aladdin: A New Stage Musical. It will premier this summer at the 5th Avenue Theater. Check out their site for details.

Aladdin on the high seas:

Aladdin Central, an online community devoted to out favorite Street Rat, has posted that the newest addition to the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Fantasy (set to sail in 2012) will also offer their own version of Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.

So three cheers for Aladdin. After 20 years, it is nice to see the Street Rat turned Prince finally get the celebration he deserves... and by they way. I give this musical two thumbs WAY up! Sassy, fun and my boys LOVED it!

Note from Mel: Hey all, I am volunteering this week at my son's school during the End of Grade Exams. Since I won't have access to a computer, I'd love it if y'all could help me tweet today's blog. The link is over on the right hand side of the page. Thanks so much. It is hard to believe summer is already so close. Thanks for stopping by each Thursday. See you next week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nothing like a Last Minute Trip

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about needing ADR's for our January trip?  Well, now I need ADR's for a quicker trip: mid June!

The past 2 years, we've been for my birthday, and thanks to my husband switching jobs and having a week in between, and an easy-to-take-off week for my work, we're planning a big trip!

At first, we tried to make a trip to Disneyland - we've never been there.  But, with an 18 month old that doesn't love sitting still and very few direct flights, that 4+ hour flight is going to have to wait for a few more years.  With Disneyland, I understand the stance of "might as well make that trip when they can remember it" because it will most likely never be as regular as our trips down to Florida.

Anyways, in the few hours of planning, we have a courtesy hold at the Grand Floridian, thanks to the military discounts, and 1 ADR for Hollywood and Vine - so Noah can have breakfast with June and Leo from the Little Einstein.. and if we're lucky, Special Agent Oso will stop by. 

Surprisingly to some (ahem, Chip from Chip and Company), there are plenty of options.  Maybe not Le Cellier (though I did see one for a late dinner!), but tons.  Too many to choose from.  Say the whole World (Showcase) is open for you to dine at.  Where would you choose?  I'd love your opinion!

And, I wanted to leave a special shout out to my friends (Chris and Michele) over at Pixie Vacations.  I've had a couple of different agents help us try to figure out our possibilites, looking for rooms available!  Make sure if you're starting to book a trip, to contact one of them so they can help you find all the deals that may apply!

Let me know what restaurants you would choose here, the facebook page, or @disneybabiesblg on twitter

Monday, May 23, 2011

Movie Fun - Wall-E

As I'm researching more and more, I'm finding out that not only are there the small references we've seen, but that Pixar hides these specific "Easter Eggs" in all of their films!

After recently watching Wall-E and realizing I couldn't find any, I decided to do some research!

There's always a reference to Apple, thanks to Steve Jobs' contribution to Pixar so many years ago.  Wall-E is no different.  The most obvious (?) reference is Wall-E's charge sound.  When fully charged, he plays the Apple start up sound!

Another standard, the pizza planet truck, is shown early in the movie, while EVE is scanning for plants.

A-113, an inside joke among Cal Arts, the school founded by Walt and Roy Disney.  A-113 references the animation classroom and is an Easter Egg in all of the movies, and apparently also referenced shows from the Simpsons to Tiny Toon Adventures.  In Wall-E, A-113 is the directive that EVE is following.

Luxo, Jr. - the lamp used in the Pixar short, is referenced when Wall-E makes a statue of EVE from garbage.  One of her arms is the older lamp!

The mechanical mice on the Axiom are known as Rem-E - referencing Ratatouille!

In Wall-E's house, you can find several eggs:

  • Hamm (Toy Story) is on the shelf
  • Look closely for Barbie's Car!
  • A Buzz Lightyear lunchbox can also be seen
  • The orange caution cone from Toy Story 2 can be seen inside the house and also in garbage piles.
There are so many more of these to look for, so if you're curious, check out the Pixar Wiki.  I also found some examples on Slashfilm.  Keep checking back as I'll be trying to do these weekly!

Friday, May 20, 2011

When I Became a True Disney Addict

I've loved Disney since forever, basically.  As far back as I can remember, I've loved all things Disney.  I remember loving Disney when I thought "Walt Disney" was a place, not a person.  Not actually sure when I realized it was a person, but I remember not knowing (hey, as a child of the 80's, you don't come across many people named "Walt").

Then, when I started this blog, just over a year ago, and started researching even more, I started discovering all of the actual magic behind the scenes.

But, more importantly, I found what Walt's true intentions were and learned that he was, in my opinion, an absolute genius.  As a park goer, I never thought about what EPCOT meant or what it was meant to be.  I never looked at the details behind the Magic Kingdom.  To be truly honest, I still ran down Main Street, U.S.A. towards Space Mountain until our trip in 2009 when I was too pregnant to run!

What made me really and honestly love Disney was watching Walt explain his idea for EPCOT.  Not a theme park, but an Experimental Protype Community of Tomorrow.  The theme park, the Magic Kingdom, created to fund this amazing community of the future, this utopian society.

Don't believe me?  Take a look for yourself.  If you've got a half hour, watch all 3 parts, but if you've only got a few minutes now, try to check out part 1 of these incredible videos.  Plus, you get to really experience Walt Disney, which having been born in 1981, was sadly not a part of my lifetime!  Hope you enjoy and appreciate these as much as I do!

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Disneyland vs Disney World.

Now that I have returned from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, people are constantly asking me which one is better. Alas, there is no good answer to that question. In some aspects, the Disney experience is so similar, while in others the differences are so vast.

But, if you love Disney, then you'll love both Disneyland & Walt Disney World. But just for argument's sake, I'll point out some similarities & differences, and I'll also point out where each park gets it better, all from a mom's point of view.

Difference 1: The parks at Disneyland are within walking distance of each other. They sit directly across from one another. When you finish with one park, you stroll over to the next. I am so used to the complex transportation system at Walt Disney World, that it was so refreshing to be able to simply walk between parks, Downtown Disney & the hotels.

Walk the central plaza to get from park to park!

Difference 2No double strollers for rent at the Disneyland Resort. We found that out the hard way, when my sister-in-law wanted to rent a stroller for her boys. So come prepared if you have more than two little ones in tow.

Difference 3: Pirates of the Caribbean and it's a small world are both better and longer at Disneyland. It was like seeing the "director's cut", with Walt being the ultimate director. And the drops on Pirates were awesome!

Similarity 1: Most of your slow-mo rides like Peter Pan, Pooh, etc are pretty much the same. My kids have outgrown them, though we did ride a few when the lines were short. One difference is that Disneyland Park & DCA have slow-mo rides for Pinnochio, Alice in Wonderland and Monsters Inc.

Similarity 2: Town Hall at Disneyland looks like a carbon copy of it's sister in Magic Kingdom, or do I have that backwards? I usually visit Town Hall several times during my day, usually to check the lost & found (see my accompanying post on The Disney Lifestyle Blog) or to write a commendation on an extraordinary Disney Cast Member - which I highly recommend you do each trip. The two look so alike, I almost forgot where I was.

Similarity 3: If you are a fan of the old Toon Towne at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, never fear, the one in Disneyland Park is strikingly similar. The Gadget Go Coaster is quite similar to the Goofy's Barnstormer. Guests meet Mickey in his house rather than the Judge's Tent. There is also a junior thrill ride based on the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I recommend using the FastPass as it is worth riding, but since my kids have no clue who Roger Rabbit is, it's just not worth a long wait.

And just for little tykes:

While Disney's California Adventure excels in thrills, little ones can find lots to do at DCA too. "a bug's land" is a pint-sized paradise just for preschoolers and their families. Rides, attractions and play areas make for the perfect oasis on a busy day. DCA also has two 3-D adventures familiar to WDW travelers - "It's Tough to be a Bug" and "Muppet Vision 3-D."

So.... who gets it better.

When it comes to the FastPass system, Walt Disney World is the hands down winner. Fewer attractions at Disneyland offer a FastPass option.

For walkability, Disneyland takes the prize. I loved being able to hop myself between the parks without waiting for a bus.

So, folks: There a pros and cons to each park. But at some point I had to stop comparing the two and just enjoy the Disney magic. Like I said, if you love Disney, then you'll love both Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... A Magical Morning at Disneyland, Just my girl & me!

Magical Blogorail - Shopping!

Welcome to those of you joining me from The CanaDisney Blog.  I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.  This month we're talking about our favorite Disney Shopping Experiences.

I'm not going to lie - when I first heard this topic, I scoffed.  I even asked Chad from Days in the Park if Disneyland stores, unlike WDW stores, actually sold different items.  So many of the souvenirs available at WDW are the same in every store.  If you miss an item in one store, you can most likely find the exact same thing somewhere else, whether a different park or even at a resort.  

Then I thought about it- ride specific can only found in the one store attached to the attraction.  Want something Star Wars?  Better head on over to Disney's Hollywood Studios instead of looking for your resort.  But, if you want a general WDW Tshirt or mouse ears, you can probably find it just about anywhere.  Looking for kitchen stuff can be found at resorts, certain shops in the parks, and even at Downtown Disney.

Then it hit me - the General Store in Frontierland.  I didn't have any of my own pictures, but thanks to fellow Chip and company writer, Brenda, I got this great picture of the Frontier Mercantile!  Similar to the shops on Main Street, U.S.A., all of these stores are interconnected, so once you walk in, you head left and find your way to my favorite part of the store.
The Candy part of the store.  But, more importantly, has FUDGE.  Yup.  Candy is what makes a store great in my world.  Every time we go, I have to stop by for a piece of fudge.  They always have different varieties, and they always look amazing, making it difficult to choose.  But, it's always good, and I always  eat too much because my husband won't share it with me!

It's rarely as crowded as the other candy shops, yet it has all of the same goodies you can find elsewhere.  This is definitely the one store that I always think to stop at!

The next stop on your journey is Cooking with Mickey!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Days in the Park
5th Stop ~ Meet the Magic
Final Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beyond the America Pavilian

I frequently hear people mentioning the "musical" element of the American Pavilion in EPCOT.  If you've seen the show, you'll know what I'm talking about.  A small colonial fife and drum corp performs frequently in front of the pavilion.
Complete with a hidden mickey on the drum, this group of only 4 musicians and a flag carrier form typical military formations and perform standard songs, such as "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and "G-d Bless America."  I've often heard people relate these musicians to the fife and drum component at Colonial Williamsburg, but I wanted to share with you something that many of you probably don't know exist:
Photo courtesy of the FDC Website

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corp., of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard" (commonly known among us military types - FDC) performs frequently at the White House and around the National Capitol Region.  The majority of these soldiers are musician first soldiers, college trained professional musicians.  Auditioning to win their positions and considered one of the top 4 elite musical elements in the U.S. Army. 

I've seen them perform numerous times, as along with my band (for those of you that don't know, I'm a professional band geek as well), we perform at the same events.  The FDC represents the musicians of the Continental Army, with hats and wigs and all.  The play the same standards that the group at EPCOT plays, but too many more to name.  

So, the old time tradition isn't just continued in Colonial Williamsburg - it's also continued in the Army.  Now, you're in the know!

Check out their website or search for them on youtube to see them in action!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ride Time - Dumbo!

Marathon Monday, our first day in the Magic Kingdom on our 2011 trip, we were so happy to see NO lines.  Though we missed the rope drop, we walked right in at the same time, and headed immediately to Fantasyland.  So much different with a kid!  No more mad dash to Tomorrowland, for fastpasses to Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear.  Instead, we headed directly to Peter Pan, through the rest of Fantasyland, and onto Dumbo.    

Dumbo, even nearly an hour ofter the park opened, had only a 10 minute wait.  Gotta love post-Disney marathon crowds!

Though Adam wasn't too thrilled to ride, he's neither a fan of heights nor going in a circle, he wanted to be with Noah on his first flight.  And luckily, Ruth was standing nearby with her camera in hand to capture the moment!

Noah currently loves making an elephant sound (basically, he blows a rasberry, but it's darn cute!), but has only seen a few minutes of Dumbo.  He was fairly indifferent to the ride itself.  Definitely not his favorite (Journey into Imagination) but he wasn't afraid (like on Peter Pan or Toy Story Midway Mania).

Maybe when he's 2 and has seen more of Dumbo, he'll be more interested, but for a 1 year old, apathy is better than crying!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... A Magical Morning at Disneyland, Just my girl & me!

We only had a few hours to spend at Disneyland on the first day of our vacation. We had dinner plans in Malibu that night - tough life, I know. So instead of running around the park like the Disney-deprived family we were, we decided to spilt up and focus on what each child wanted to do. The boys all went one way, and the girls went the other, just like a junior high dance in the 1980s. 
My daughter initially had no interest in the Matterhorn or Space Mountain. What she wanted was a ride with lots of horsies! She had her eye on King Arthur Carrousel from the moment we stepped through Sleeping Beauty Castle.
She rode this carrousel several times during the week, and every time, she chose this special horse!

After the carrousel, we rode Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Dumbo and one of my new favorites, the Storybook Land Canal Boats. After that we rounded the corner and rode “it’s a small world” (Yep, it is correctly written with no capitalization - who knew?!). 

Monstro the Whale before he swallows you up on your way to Storybook Land...

The shocker of the morning came when my darling princess decided to skip both Pixie Hollow & The Princess Fantasy Faire, in favor of heading to Mickey’s Toontown. We rode on Gadget’s Go Coaster (similar to the late but great Goofy’s Barnstormer from WDW.), and we then proceeded to Mickey’s House to meet the main mouse. 

The outside sign said there would be a 5 minute wait... Whoa! Just 5 minutes til Mickey! I was in! Turns out, all of those minutes were spent walking through the house, and there was NO wait at all to see Mickey. I was floored, as there was no one behind us either. We had Mickey all to ourselves! Priceless.
Alas, shortly after that picture was taken, we met back up with my husband and boys, and our magical Mother-Daughter had passed. We meandered through Main Street and listened to the Dapper Dans for a few minutes. It really was a wonderful morning at the parks.
Hey: Over on the Disney Lifestyle Blog, I have favorite shots & character moments from our Disneyland trip posted. Tomorrow stop by for the Fabulous Fashioista Friday Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Extravaganza when I reveal my daughter’s magical makeover!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So Soon?

Crazy times - I  just realized today that we're only 7 months out from our next Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  

Maybe that's because in the real world 7 months is an incredibly long time.  In fact, these days I'm getting my work schedule 24 hours in advance, so how am I supposed to plan ahead 7 months?

So far, our plans for our January trip are foggy.  Both Adam and I are registered for the half, and Noah is registered for the kid's races.  We know we'll have to be there on Thursday again, so Noah can race Friday morning and we'll be there relaxed and ready to go Saturday morning (5:30 start time!).  But, plane tickets are far from being purchased, and we don't even know where we're staying yet!  We're obviously considering staying at Windsor Hills again, because it was such a wonderful experience, but, I have a few other options I'm looking into *hook ups* and hoping for.

But, now the important questions begin - where should we eat?  We can make ADR's starting in early July, but we don't know where to start!  Our last trip completely revolved around our ADRS, even though we didn't get to use any of them...

This time, we know that we want to do at least 1 character meal - it's hard to choose whether we should eat with Donald and friends at Tusker House (or one of the several locations the fab 5 are), Disney Junior pals at DHS - we might do 1 of each.  We're ruling out the Princesses and Winnie the Pooh, because Noah doesn't know those characters yet, but theres are still so many options!  So, I want to ask for your advice!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Movie Fun - Monsters, Inc.

A few weeks ago, I added some trivia about Noah's favorite movie, Cars.

Since that got a lot of good commentary, I've decided to continue with the fun.

And, since then, we've noticed the Monsters, Inc. building from the highway in Cars, I've decided to continue there!

I love how Pixar intertwines their movies, keeping up with the spirit of classic Disney.  It's ingenious and makes it even more fun for us adults watching!

The one that gets me every time, followed by more I've found on various sources!
  • The restaurant that Mike Waszowksi takes his Celia for their anniversary is Harryhausens- named after Roy Harryhausen, known for making monster movies
  • Boo has a Pixar ball, a Nemo toy, and a Jessie (Toy Story 2) doll in her room
  • Rex, from Toy Story, appears in the out takes
  • The Abominable Snowman is voiced by John Ratzenberger, who has voiced at least 1 character in every (I think!) Pixar movie to date! 
  • And, anyone else notice an eerie similarity from the human boy in the practice room scene and commercial to Andy from Toy Story?
Thanks to Hiddenmickeys.org and Pixar Wiki for the trivia - there's even more to check out!

Anyone notice any of these?   Which movie should I show next?  I'm thinking The Incredibles...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Adorable Gone Wild

Are you ready to see what may be the absolute cutest thing ever?  Other than my own child (or your own children), of course.  Ready?

Amazing, right?

I was browsing Etsy a few nights ago and ran across LadyHudd's shop, filled with adorable knit outfits and hats.  And this one is almost too amazing to pass up.  Unfortunately, it's summer and my 1.5 year old would absolutely not where anything this cute.

But, the good news is, that one day (not now, I promise) we want another baby.  And, LadyHudd will still have these for sale.

Or, if I'm really lucky and have a girl - odds are against us on this one, but it could happen - 
Amazing, right?  

If I only I had gotten past knitting scarves..

**Lady Hudd has generously offered readers of Disney Babies Blog 10% off, so make sure to head over to Lady Hudd's Etsy Page and use the coupon code "Blog27" 

This is not a review.  I haven't seen the products other than these pictures, nor have I been asked to share these.  I just thought they were too cute not to share with other Disney lovers!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Foodie Friday - Starring Rolls

Our original game plan for January was to nix Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Though I do enjoy some of the big attractions, it's never been high up on my list, and I still have little desire to spend a whole day there (cue hate mail).  We always have park hoppers, though, so we figured we decided we could spend a morning there during our trip and discover a few new (to us!) places.
Pre-Rope Drop June '10
With Toy Story Midway Mania high on our list, we made it in record time and had plenty of time to explore the park.  We wandered through the Writer's Stop Cafe, but for some silly reason, decided to skip the Carrot Cake Cookie and hold out for one of the Starring Roll's cupcakes that I'd heard read so much about.  

Starring Rolls is one of the few counter service options at DHS and I actually had a fairly good experience there.  Adam and I both had turkey sandwiches, which were very pretty, stacked so high that I had to unload over 1/2 of the lunch meat.  I wasn't thinking and didn't take pictures, but from what I've read and heard about other counter service options in DHS, this is a definite one to keep in mind.

But, Starring Rolls is known for one thing: Cupcakes.  They're making a serious name for themselves with absolutely beautiful cupcakes with flavors such as "Butterfinger Cupcake" or "Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake" that look as amazing as they sound.

So, while Noah was napping in his stroller, we decided to sit down and have a snack and finally experience one of these infamous cupcakes.  I asked all of the cast members that worked there and hands down, they led me to our option: Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake.

Um, yum.  So rich and really good.  My husband is drooling just looking at the picture.  I think for me, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake would have set my taste buds (I crave overly rich and sugary desserts), but this is up there on the best desserts Adam has had.  Seriously, he's drooling.

And, I can't lie... I'm drooling a little myself.  We'll have to keep DHS on our to-do list to try all of the other sweets they're making!

Which are you favorites?  Leave me a comment here, on facebook, or on twitter @DisneyBabiesBLG
And, if you have more pictures, I'd love to see!! You can always upload your favorites to our facebook page!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... I am at Disneyland

Hey folks,

The Disneyland Resort is amazing. Sorry I don't have any pics for you yet, my computer/internet access is less than regular. But I will say that I have been amazed by both Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure. I love comparing attractions common to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and I love the unique experiences here at DLR even more. We have watched shows, eaten Dole Whips, strolled through Downtown Disney and more.

I just went to a taping of The Ellen Show - which will air today (Thursday). I am actually in the row Ellen dances through as she goes from one side of the audience to the other. So get your TiVo set. I am the fourth one in - wearing the turquoise shirt. It was a reality TV mega-fest with Kirstie Ally & her dance partner Max from Dancing with the Stars. American Idol castoff Casey performed. And Celebrity Apprentice's Meatloaf also stopped by. I am stunned I still have my voice after all that screaming.

Next week I'll gather my thoughts & share some photos with y'all. Havin' lots of fun~ Wish you were here!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Special Edition of the Magical Blogorail

Welcome to the first stop aboard this special edition of the Magical Blogorail.  Enjoy the ride as we take you through a year of Walt Disney World special events.  This edition, I get to share with about one of my personal favorite special events: Marathon Weekend!

I think I've known for a long time that WDW annually hosted a marathon and some races.  But, I never really knew how big the events were until I finally experienced them this past January.  Right past the holiday rush, Marathon weekend is usually the 2nd weekend (Thursday through Sunday) in January.  Starting on Thursday with a multi-day expo, runners and spectators can learn about running products, shoes, gear, nutrition, clothing, and just about anything you could possibly imagine is available for runners.  The expo can be quite over whelming, but invigorating and fun to walk through.
My little one, toddling along
Beyond the expo, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the kids races start up Friday morning (though there is a second day of kids festival on Saturday morning) offering races for crawlers, toddlers, and kids up to a 1 mile run run.  Also on Friday is a family 5k, allowing families to run together, even pushing strollers.  My son, Noah, just 13 months "ran" in a 100m dash, which was absolutely adorable.  They had entertainment performing, dj's going, and family events and even seminars on nutrition for kids and adults alike!

We didn't stay around for the rest of the event after Noah's race, b/c it was lunch (and nap) time, but there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people swarming around Mickey's Kid's Fest.

The following day, Saturday, was the big day for us: The WDW 2011 Half Marathon!  13.1 miles running from EPCOT, through the Ticket and Transportation Center, through the Magic Kingdom, and back through and out of EPCOT.  Along with 27,000 other racers, my husband and I ran our first mile together, than parted ways.  He ran for himself, and I ran to meet characters and enjoy such an amazing experience.  I stopped for several photo ops, including Mary Poppins and Tiana and Prince Naveen from the Princess and the Frog.

Sunday concludes the racing events - the full marathon.  26.2 miles, through all 4 parks.  .  And about 500 of the 20,000+ racers ran the 26.2 after completing the 13.1 mile half marathon the day before, completing the "Goofy Challenge."  These races are open to the public and, in my opinion, doable for just about anyone.  In fact, at the airport on our way down, I talked to a 79 year old man planning to run the half marathon for his 5 year in a row!  With a 16 minute-mile pace requirement, with some training, you could even walk the course!

The following day is now known as Marathon Monday.  Those who complete the full marathon are awarded with a 1 day entry into the park.  And, as I learned, not much of a better time to be in the parks, as the crowds are at a minimum and the temperatures are, in my mind, perfect.

If you're curious about how I got started running, I've got several articles here about how I started and I also share some of my running tips (from the pros!) over at Chip and Co., including my personal favorite on how Disney made me a runner.

Thank you for joining me today, talking about one of my favorite aspects of Walt Disney World!  Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney on Wheels, talking about Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival.

2nd Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
5th Stop ~ A World View

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Running Update!

After January's WDW Half Marathon, Adam and I came back extremely motivated to continue running.  As I've somehow become one of the "Running people" over at Chip and Co, I've written several articles about my version of training (all from the pro's.  I can't come up with this stuff!) and my likes and dislikes, but I don't think I've done much over here.
Somewhere between miles 12-13.1
So, now here I am!

When we came home from WDW, we knew that we would register for the 2012 WDW Half Marathon.  With the little one at home, we don't plan to make the time to commit to a full marathon training schedule.  That much training isn't possible in our house with our  little one.  Obviously, many people can do this, but neither of us love running with the running stroller, and even Noah gets bored after about 30 minutes.  So, for now, we can both train separately for the halves and be content with that.
Post race
But, what do we do in between races?

We scoured the local running store websites and Active.com to find more local races.

In April, we both completed a 10k (6.2 miles) in our town.  A much smaller race, we literally ran around a neighborhood twice to complete 6.2 miles.  I broke my own personal record completing 6.2 in 1:04 and I haven't come close to that since!

And, as you can probably tell, I represented my Disney side sporting my running team shirt!

Now, if allergies don't keep me down (okay, allergies and doctors orders), I'm scheduled to run another half marathon in early June.  Again, located in Virginia, this one is routed between a couple of wineries and is guaranteed to be beautiful, but hopefully not too hilly!

Post June, I just registered for the annual Army 10 miler (again!) - a nice scenic route from Arlington, VA (starting just beyond the Pentagon Parking Lot) through Washington, D.C. and back down to the Pentagon lot.

That should take me right up to the WDW Half Marathon 2012.

Will I see you there?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ride Time - Toy Story Midway Mania

Though Toy Story Midway Mania (TSMM) opened up in 2008, I didn't get a chance to ride it until January 2011.  In 2008, we only went for a day.  In 2009, I was pregnant and we couldn't do any big thrill rides.  In 2010, the line was so insane that we didn't bother.

So, in January, we made the rope drop for DHS and headed straight towards TSMM.  Of course, we had to consult a map and a cast member, because I really don't know that park very well!  As suggested on a podcast that I'd listened to before the trip (maybe Be Our Guest or WDW Radio.. I'm not really sure which one!) suggested to bypass the fast pass line and head straight for the stand-by line.

As advised, it worked perfectly!  We had about a 10 minute wait, but the time flew by!  Though the queue isn't interactive, there's so much to take in and see, it's as visual as could be.  You're supposed to be toy sized, so you get to experience many of the standard toys from a different perspective!
And, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, or maybe even just took the fast pass line, I wanted to add some pictures to show you!! I'll also add several to the Disney Babies Blog facebook page, so you can see some more!  

The Ride Itself I loved.  It's a fast paced arcade game style ride, and the cars turn you from screen to screen as you compete at different arcade-style games.  I loved the ride.  But, I should warn you - Noah, at 13 months, didn't love the ride nearly as much.

It's fast and jerky, and it took him about halfway through the ride to calm down!  I ended up calming him down and playing at the same time.  Definitely not his favorite experience, but from what Melissa has told me, Piper liked it, so you never know if your little one will like it or not.  Just beware that the "not" is a possibility!

I mean, how often can you have your picture taken looking small compared to Mr. Potato Head?