Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Back for more Windows Wednesdays?  Good, I'm here!

Focused on the Magic

This isn't the best picture, but I think I have enough information!! It's all about those left 2 windows:
(Top of Both Windows)
M.T. Lott
Real Estate Investments

A friend in deed 
is a friend indeed
Donn Tatum

Tomahawk Properties
Latin American Development
Ayefour Corporation (Get it? I-4 is the local interstate that crosses through Orlando!)
Bay Lake Properties
Reedy Creek Ranch Lands
Compass East Corporations

Time to decode!
Donn Tatum was the 1st non-Disney family member to become president of Walt Disney Productions, succeeding Roy O. Disney in 1971

The right window - those 'subsidiaries' were the names of all the different fake companies Walt Disney used to buy up land in Orlando without being public about Walt Disney buying property.  Together, they formed the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a small government formed basically by Disney, so that they could have more control over their projects. 

For more information, check out this great Wikipedia page I found!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grand Floridian Guests

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we loved our splurge stay in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for our June trip.  Everything about that resort is wonderful, from the Cast Members greeting us to our beautiful room.  We were even lucky enough to check into a room earlier than check-in time.

I loved walking through the main building to head back to our building and be able to watch Wishes, or watching the Electrical Water Pageant from our lagoon-view room.

But, one day, we noticed a surprise visitor in the pool directly behind our building - some guests relaxing and lounging.  And, as cute as they were, I knew I had to share them here.  Enjoy!

Maybe these are Hidden Donalds instead of Hidden Mickeys?

Don't worry, more Grand Floridian Hidden Mickey's to come!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Noah's Favorite..

One of the best attractions at the Magic Kingdom with youngsters is the Prince Charming Regal Carousel.

From day 1, little ones can go on the ride - if too young to be on a horse, then there are benches to relax on while gently watching the park roll by!

At 13 months in January, Noah and I walked right on and enjoyed the carousel twice - no wait!

In June, at 18 months, we actually had to wait for the 2nd round, but again - this ride is constantly moving and  even with Dumbo had a 45 minute wait, the Carousel was only about 5 minutes!

Definitely a must-do attraction with a youngster!

Friday, August 26, 2011

999 Happy Haunts

In honor of Randy from Your Highway in the Sky starting his Disney Internship working at the Haunted Mansion, I wanted to finally share some pictures from the Interactive Queue that we experienced in June!

For those who haven't seen yet, there are 2 lines - walking straight in, or you can veer to the left and check out the "interactive" side.  Our first ride, with my entire family and a super sleepy toddler, we went straight into the Mansion.

Our second time, just Adam, Noah, and me, we knew we had to see the interactive-ness!
Noah's little hand!

Playing the different instruments
Then, there is an interactive book, asking questions!

There are several tombs and busts (I'm sure which represent many more Imagineers... that will be for another post!), but my favorite which I've been dying to share with you?

Madame Leota:

I think she's watching me: 

Congratulations, Randy!!  Hope you enjoy your new position!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Welcome to another Window Wednesday, as part of the "Wordless Wednesday" blog hops!

Focused on the Magic

(Missing: Main Street Diary)
"True Tales of Inspiration"
Lee A. Cockerell

B. Laval
& Associates

"What We Build Together Can Last Forever"

Lee Cockerell is a former VP of Operations at Walt Disney World

Bruce Laval worked for Disney for 30 years, retiring as Executive VP of Operations and the genius behind the FastPass 

Today's info found at All

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Grand Floridian Fun!

It's been nearly 2 months since I first posted about the hidden mickeys at Disney's Grand Floridian, which I took so many pictures of during our fabulous stay in June.  
Today, I'll show you up close images of a painting from inside our room!

Looks like a fairly non-substantial painting, right?

Of course not.  We're talking about Disney here!

A for Alice, C for Cinderella

A Portrait of Cinderella and her Prince Charming

the books: Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella!

Wait, that's not the accurate shape of North America or Europe!

The Wind in the Willows starring Mr. Toad

Peter Pan is among these books

I know that China Plate had something great, but my picture is too blurry to tell!  Hope you've enjoyed these!  More to come from the Grand Floridian soon!

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Fun

Main Street, U.S.A.
Morning view from Horse Drawn Trolley
One of my favorite hang outs at the Walt Disney World resort. And, the one place that the magic always takes over.  I'll admit, I'm not one to shed a tear, but I become elated and giddy - my inner child comes to life as soon as I can see Main Street.

As you've noticed over the past few months, I've really tried to find the special Windows of Main Street, so I could decode and learn more of the park's history.  I've enjoyed learning the secrets, left for us frequent guests to find, like the party line telephones, voice lessons, and working barber shop.
My husband listening about how to find a husband!
Now that we take more time on Main Street, I've finally been able to meet many of the Citizens of Main Street.  I've talked with the Dapper Dans, and listened to them sing multiple times.  And, more excitedly, after opening up the park and welcoming guests, I finally got to meet the Mayor himself!

And, got to take pictures with/of some of his lovely citizens!

All while being entertained by the Main Street Sax Quartet (Fantasyland Quartet, among many other names)

Or, if you're lucky, you can take a ride on the Main Street vehicles:

All while making your way towards:

Ahh, I love Main Street, U.S.A.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest post from our Scrapbooking Expert!

Today's guest blog comes from Disney friend, fellow blogorail friend, and scrapbook extraordinaire!  I hope you enjoy!

What is Hybrid Scrapbooking?  Hyrbrid scrapbooking is the combination of traditional (paper) and digital scrapbooking.  Why would someone use hybrid scrapbooking?  Many reasons.  Some people still like to create pages with paper while others like to add memorabilia to their albums.  And, some just like the look of mixed media.  It really is all personal preference. 

I am just completing my June 2011 Family Disney album and would like to share with you can do it too.  I first begin with getting a Disney themed traditional album with side-loading page sleeves.  For hybrid scrapbooking you have to use a traditional album to be able to includes both types of pages. And, I highly recommend the side-loading page sleeves because they allow you move pages around as needed. If you are doing just a digital album you also have the option of creating a photo book worthy of anyone’s coffee table.

**I have to provide a disclaimer at this point.  I am a Creative Memories Consultant and use their products because they are high quality and guaranteed for life.  They also have a decent selection of Disney authorized product.  There is other Disney scrapbooking material out there if you just look, but make sure it is acid free!
Disney traditional album and various side loading page sleeves

For this album, I only have one traditional page.  It has actually been hanging on my kitchen on my ‘everyday display’ since we returned back from Disney World.  I made the page prior to my trip and just added the picture when we returned.  It is now going to be the title page for this album!  The remainder of the pages are done digitally using an easy to use scrapbooking program.  Most of the pages were started with Disney themed ‘pre-designed pages’.  This means all I had to do was drag and drop photos in. Then if I felt like it I could add another photo or chance an element of the page. It’s that easy!

Everyday Display on my wall with my Disney title page and a screen shot of a digital page in progress

I also plan to add memorabilia to this album, so on some of the pages I left an area blank. The memorabilia can then be added later. Since I do not have a 12x12 printer I could not print the pages at home.  I ordered them online through Creative Memories, but most other places now offer 12x12 page prints.  But I absolutely love how they come packaged from Creative Memories.  Makes me feel like a professional!
 Screen shot showing a page that will later have memorabilia added and Page Prints packaging

We now move onto assembly. I add the memorabilia to the pages I want using acid free tape or acid free photo mounts.  Then put the pages in order and slide them into the page sleeves.

Add memorabilia using acid free tape and then slide all the pages into a sleeve

For the excess memorabilia (which I have tons! - I collect everything) I slide them into 8.5x11 portrait sleeves. The albums don’t have to be restricted to just 12x12 pages and 11x8.5 pages are perfect.   I can add the memorabila sleeves either at the end of the album or with the applicable page.  Then you just put the album together.
 Memorabila sleeves and completed album with memorabilia

That's it.  I have my trip documented and completed.  The great thing about doing albums this way is I can add future trips to the same albums.  I can usually fit 3-4 trips into a single album.  I also will send the album off to be embossed with the dates inside so I can quickly find past trips.
 Example of Disney albums embossing

I hope I have helped give you an idea of how you can create your own family album.  Thanks for helping me complete my album!

If you are interested in information on scrabooking please visit my Facebook page: Mary Connor, Independent Creative Memories Consultant I would love to help you preserve your memories.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Main Street Art Festival

(Center Windows)
Sayers and Company 
College of Business
Jack Sayers, National Rep

(Left Windows)
Satisfied Graduates
Coast to Coast
Pete Clark, Western MGR.

(Right Window)
References on Request
Norm Eagrell
Eastern MGR.

Jack Sayer was Chairman of Disneyland's Park Operating Committee from 1956-1959 before becoming Director then Vice President of Lessee Relations for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  After retiring in 1975, Clark took over position of Lessee Relations at Disneyland while Eagrell took over at Walt Disney World!!  There's always an explanation!!

Information for this window found on MousePlanet with help of Director of Disney Archives, Dave Smith.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie Fun - Ratatouille

Back for more movie trivia - looking for the "Easter eggs" that Pixar leaves behind.  This time, with our favorite rat, Remy

  • As always (except in The Incredibles!), the Pizza Planet truck is seen crossing the Seine while Skinner is chasing after Remy
  • A113 is seen on a tag on the lab rat's (Git) ear
  • Our favorite, John Ratzenberger continues his voicing streak as Mustafa, the waiter
  • Linguini's boxers have The Incredibles logo on them!
  • One of the mimes Bomb Voyage from The Incredibles, too!
  • As Remy runs through Paris, a shadow of Dug (from Up) is cast against a wall.  Squirrel!!
  • A bottle of wine is branded: Lasseter Cabernet Sauvignon, after John Lasseter, exec producer and Pixar genius!
I know Ratatouille isn't as well loved as some of the other Pixar movies, but in our house, it's definitely in the rotation!  Hope you've enjoyed!

And, as always, hop on!
Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Monday, August 15, 2011

All in the Bag

To go along with my recent return to trip tips, I wanted to give a list of some of my park "must-haves" with a baby/toddler.  The list has changed each trip, but several things have remained the same.

  • Baby Carrier.  For our first trip with a 6 month old, the wrap (babywearing!) was essential.  I couldn't imagine a trip with a non-mobile baby without babywearing!  
  • Sunscreen.  I stocked up on organic considered the best from the EWG.. of course, I applied to Noah several times and forgot myself.. whoops.
  • Mini fans- Those Dollar Store mini fans - they were so helpful, especially waiting for the Safari!
  • Diaper mat/wipes combo- As I mentioned in Friday's post, I love my portable mat that holds enough diapers for at least half the day, plus wipes, creams, lotions, etc... Other people talk about diaper kits, but this one was easier for me!
  • Antibacterial Hand Soap - 'Nuff said.  Oh, except that I'm giving some away
  • No-wash soap - I found this stuff at my local grocery store on the clearance rack and now I swear by it.  Instead of those plastic table covers (which Noah always started to pull off) this soap can be sprayed on a surface (table/rental stroller/high chair, etc...) and you've got a nice safe surface!  
  • Mister Fans - These were a new addition on our most recent trip.. my sister actually bought the pretty Disney ones for us our first day.  We didn't use them every day, but throw some ice in the water area, and you're blasted with nice cool water.  Plus, they're a great souvenir!
  • Changes of clothes - Noah's definitely been known to go through 3 outfits in one day!  
  • Water/Bottle - We'll usually bring our own bottles of water with us, but another tip is to bring a bottle (if you've got a stroller, you won't have to carry it!) - we got one at the Yak and Yeti quick service - just about any counter service will give you free ice water.  What's better than free?
  • Snacks - Our favorites?  Go Go Squeez (squeezable apple sauce), goldfish, gerber cereal bars, clif kids bars
  • Weather appropriate clothes/blankets- in January, a blanket was a must! 

Waiting for the monorail!

Here's a good basic list.  I'm sure I'm missing some things - what are your park must haves?
Share them here, facebook, or twitter

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Product Review and Giveaway - Prefense Foaming Soap

Sponsored by

As a mom, blogger, traveler, and mild germaphobe, I generally always care some version of hand sanitizer.  I used to use the normal alcohol based stuff (which always stings in a cut, doesn't it?), but once my son was born, I didn't want to have alcohol around me.  I know it's considered safe, but there's something that doesn't work in my head about a baby having alcohol on his hands (which obviously ends up in his mouth).  I've found several brands of organic spray that I've liked, but when I got to review a sample of the Prefense Silica Based Foaming Hand Sanitizer, I jumped at the chance.

Unlike other hand sanitizers, Prefense lasts for 24 hours, with 1 application lasting through 10 hand washings!  Being based with Silica Complex, it instantly feels soothing and as though your hands are protected and coated, to prevent drying, chapping, and redness (can't wait to use this in the winter!).

My favorite part?  Foam.  Similar to bubbles, my son loved applying the foam soap and rubbing it between his hands!  He had fun cleaning and protecting himself!

Even better - I get to giveaway an 8 oz bottle of Prefense to one of you!  With approximately 640 applications in that 8 oz. bottle, you'll be set for a long time - sounds like a definite must after playing with the Interactive Winnie the Pooh Queue, don't you think?

Now, how to get Prefense?

  • Buy it! 
    • Purchase directly from Prefense - now available in combo pack (foam AND wipes!).  Normally $6.99 a piece, through this deal, you get both products for only $7.99!
    • Add them to your order on Amazon - available for Super Saver Shipping or Amazon Prime!
  • Win it!
It's just that easy!  Make sure it add Prefense Foaming Hand Soap or Wipes to your next Disney Trip packing list!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Babies

Welcome to those of you joining me from The CanaDisney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail

This month's edition of the Magical Blogorail Blue, we're all giving our top 10 tips, for our own specialties.  As may have guessed, mine are all about traveling to the World with babies!

Me on the left using a gauze wrap, Melissa on the right using a structure carrier
  1. Babywear!  Carrying a squirmy baby in lines and on rides can make you tired and frustrated, but, baby cooperating, wearing the baby in a wrap/sling/carrier can save you all unneeded stress, be wonderful for bonding, and even help naps!  
  2. Use the Rider Swap Option.  No fear that you won't be able to ride anything with a baby in tow!  As long as you have 2 adults and don't mind riding solo (a good time to catch up on your Gowalla pins or your favorite Disney blogs!), simply walk to the entrance of the lines, find a cast member, and show them your children.  Both adults and the child have to be present.  The basic idea - 1 person goes through the stand-by line while the other person (or people) wait with the little ones.  Once the 1st person is through, they give the other person a Rider Swap (basically a fastpass) for up to 3 people.  No wait for the 2nd half of the party! **Rider Swap can be used with fastpass**
  3. Find the Baby Care Centers - located in each of the 4 parks are air conditioned havens for families of young children.  Full changing rooms, private nursing rooms, high chairs, and all of the baby gear you might have forgotten, including food (gear available at a standard WDW premium) is all available for your needs!  My personal favorite?  Animal Kingdom!
  4. Take Breaks - I personally love our afternoon nap breaks on most days while we stay on property.  We're all tired, and this way no one (hey, it's not always the baby) becomes incredibly cranky.  Plus, with a good afternoon nap, the likelihood of seeing an evening show increases!
  5. Let the Kids Run!  If you're more in the toddler phase than the baby phase, your child may quickly become irritable being stuck in a stroller for the entire day.  Luckily, Disney has thought of everything.  There are play areas in all of the parks and at the resorts!
  6. Don't feel trapped changing stations - I've never been a huge fan of the changing stations.  If I happen to be near a baby care center, I'll drop in, but if I'm on the other side of the park and need to change a diaper, I'll find a quiet, out of the way area, and pull out my changing pad.  No fuss, no muss - plus, then I'm less worried about my boy squirming off the table!
  7. Skip the diaper bag - Those fancy diaper bags are great, but I've found everything I need can be thrown into a regular back pack - plus, they're usually bigger and more comfortable.  We even had 2 diaper bag book bags that both broke during our trip.  Since then (3 more trips), we've just used a regular back pack and been fine!  Best item from the diaper bag? A fold-able changing pad that has pockets for diapers, wipes, and ointments!  Everything you need, right there!  I found mine at TJ Maxx!
  8. Break the habits after the trip.  I was dead set on losing the pacifier by 6 months.  But, with a trip planned at 6 months and 1 week?  I decided it was better to have it - absolutely helped the plane ride, plus it worked as a "mute" button when he became extra fussy.  And, within a week or two of getting back home, it was gone without disturbing 200 people on an airplane.
  9. Learn to love the Morning Extra Magic Hours - Before my son, I never thought too much about the morning hours.  I had no problem staying out late, but my son is a morning person (6:30 a.m. daily), so why not?  When we stay on property, we get to see the Rope Drop shows, and a ton of rides before the majority of guests even walk through the turnstiles!  Take advantage of your child's natural habits (whether morning, or night!)
  10. Accept the Meltdown - Babies cry.  It's what they do.  If yours are like mine, they cry when they're hungry, tired, bored, anything.  Hungry is rarely an option (especially at the parks, we always have extra food with us!) and bored is unlikely.  But tired?  Oh yes.  Especially when our little one decided 4:30 am was an acceptable wake up time.  After 5(felt like 15) minutes of screaming his head off, he was out for an hour and a half (starting at 9 am!).  Most people won't think twice about your little one crying, unless you're out at midnight.  Then we'll start to wonder!
Post meltdown mentioned in #10
Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Blue this month. We will be back September 9th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.
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 ~ Cooking with Mickey
2nd Stop ~ Meet the Magic
3rd Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic
4th Stop ~ Days in the Park

Final Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog