Friday, September 30, 2011

Some “Hidden Magic” at Le Cellier

I want to welcome an old friend of mine, Katie, who I have 'known' since 1999.  We became friends several years later when she started her college career at LSU with me.  Years later, we still keep in touch and our have found our common interest in Disney as well!  I hope you enjoy her article and her review.

Thanks to Jenn’s recommendations and help searching for some ADRs for me, she noticed that even a few weeks out at a busy time of year (August), there were reservations available for dinner at Le Cellier. This was definitely one of my top restaurants to try at Disney. I had read so many wonderful things about it and I could not wait to try it. I had my meal planned out way ahead of time by looking at menus on All Ears (
We arrived early for our dinner reservation, which was at 4:05 pm- the very first dinner reservation of the evening. This was the only ADR available a few weeks prior, and I felt lucky to be able to get a coveted reservation there, regardless of time! We started chatting with a wonderful cast member who was a server at the restaurant. I believe her name was Michelle. She was delightful and answered a lot of questions about the international program for cast members. We explained to her that we are from Buffalo, NY and live not far from the Canadian border. She introduced us to a fellow cast member of hers who was from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. After a short wait, which we did not mind at all because we were sitting down in the air conditioning after a long, hot day at Epcot, the cast member (I wish I remembered her name because she was awesome and I would love to recognize her!) said, “I’ll be right back, we’re going to sing O Canada.”
Then, all of the cast members in the “front of the house” (the servers and hostesses) asked us to please rise and sang O Canada for us to signal the start of dinner. It reminded me of home and hockey season! What a great start to what I was sure was going to be an incredible meal.
Unfortunately for my family, that was the high point of our experience. I had been telling my family how highly recommended this restaurant was, and in terms of service, we were not impressed. The service we got was not great, especially compared to at other restaurants at Disney with cheaper prices and easier to get reservations. By the way, Michelle, the cast member we had been chatting with, was not our server, although I think we all wished she had been. Maybe we should have asked for her.
I will say that my family really enjoyed the starters: Cheddar Cheese soup and the pretzel bread. I was the only one who ordered steak; I had the mushroom filet and it was delicious. I think the rest of my family was still full from lunch at this point, as we are accustomed to eating at a later hour. I had made sure to save room!
If I were to take my family to Le Cellier again (if they will ever let me!), I would book a lunch reservation instead of the early dinner that we had. As we were walking in for an early dinner, some people were just finishing up a late lunch. That was a smart idea. I compared the prices on All Ears, and that would have saved us a lot of money to go just a little earlier. Not to mention that my brother had been craving a really good burger that whole week, and I have heard that Le Cellier’s burger (only available at lunch) is amazing. For now, I will settle for a lunch reservation for the next trip with some friends who will appreciate the greatness of Le Cellier as much as I do!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Focused on the Magic

So, I have to admit - I'm out of Window pictures.  Sad, right?  Well, until I get more, I'm going to use Wednesdays as trivia days!  Starting with one of my least favorite attractions - Dinosaur.  

Walking through the building, I saw plenty of signs and then waiting the tubes that I just knew had to mean something.  So, I looked them up, and you know what?  I was right!

Red, Yellow, and White with all sorts of chemical compounds.  What could that possibly mean?

They're the chemical make-ups of ketchup, mustard and mayo.  
This ride was originally sponsored by McDonalds!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tips to Beat the Heat

I'm constantly looking for new ideas, questions, or topics and often ask the facebook fans to help out.  Just last night, Jennifer said:
I would like more info on younger infants and keeping them safe in the FL heat as they don't yet drink water...I'm more than a bit concerned...and almost reconsidering the trip :( but my 3 yr old would be devastated!
I found a couple of old posts about this, but decided to rewrite and consolidate!
  1. I'm not sure what too young is to drink water - that's a personal opinion, but my doctor told me around 4 months "if you're thirsty, so is your little one.  give him water."  So, that may be an option after all.  Or, find those mesh teething bags and put an ice cube in one for your little one.  
  2. Stay hydrated!  Avoid caffeinated beverages.  While they don't necessarily dehydrate you, your best bet for hydration is water! 
  3. Bring water OR ask the counter service restaurants for free cups of ice water.  
  4. Fans are amazing in the heat.  We stock up at the dollar stores on the small handheld fans and mister fans.  Or, splurge on the Disney mister fan as a souvenir!  Fill up the mister section with your free ice water.
  5. Take breaks.  If you're in Florida in the heat with little ones, afternoon breaks at the resort or pool will be well worth the time.  We liked naptime and bathtime midday for all of us to relax and cool down.
  6. Hit the Animal Kingdom in the morning!  There is a reason they say "Animal Kingdom Hot."  It's literally a jungle in there and it gets incredibly humid.  We love DAK and wouldn't suggest skipping it, but it's hard to be there for a full day when it's hot outside!
  7. Water play!  There are water play areas in all of the parks - misting Tiki statues by the Jungle Cruise, splash pads in EPCOT, etc.  Take advantage of these!
  8. Sunscreen - Enough said.  Reapply often!
  9. Wear cool clothes!  We usually have the baby in mesh sleeveless outfits in the heat.  May not be the cutest, but definitely the most practical!
  10. Find the Air Conditioning! Futureworld in EPCOT is a great place to spend some time.  The Pavilions are large, air conditioned, and have a lot to see and do.  The Living Seas has a ride, Turtle Talk, and a huge aquarium to spend plenty of time.  
Hope this list helps!! As always, feel free to post more tips, or your questions!!  Love to help!

Grand Floridian Hidden Mickeys, Part 2

Looking through my pictures for article ideas, I realized how many details at the Grand Floridian that I hadn't yet covered!  Even the bathroom wallpaper was loaded with friendly surprises!

Nothing yet?

It's all about the details!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Move it, Shake it!

If you've been to Walt Disney World in the past 2 years, you've probably seen and heard the popular parade/street party "Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it!" at the Magic Kingdom.  This "street party" heads down Main Street U.S.A. towards Cinderella Castle, circles the front area, then parks for the party.

We've caught this parade several times over our last 3 trips - it's hard not to!  They party 3-4 times a day and the song is so ridiculously catchy I caught myself singing it the other day at home.

Noah's never shown too much interest in parades, but he does enjoy seeing his favorite movie characters in person.  And, this show has them all - Woody and Buzz, Mickey and his pals, The Incredibles, and even the Genie and some other friends show up.  

After listening to some ride music on Live365 (dozens of Disney radio stations), I decided to look on You Tube for the ride, instead of just listening.  Then, I decided instead to look for this party.

I found several versions (not sure if this is the same one I saw!) and turned it on for Noah to see if he would recognize it.  Though I doubt he recognized any of it, he loved seeing Mickey and Minnie and danced to the music!  For several minutes, he stood watching, dancing, and pointing out all of his friends.  Brought a smile to both of our faces and made me look forward to watching the street parade perform in January!

Hey, get up, get loud

Start pumpin' up the party now

Hey, get up, get loud

Start pumpin' up the party now

And, this is definitely the only Miley Cyrus song I'll feel comfortable singing!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

And the year is 1991..

Finally! My first Disney Flashback Friday!!

I recently found a few pictures from a trip I took with my parents in the summer of 1991, after dropping my sister off at the U of Florida for her freshman year (and she's still salty that we didn't go to WDW before we dropped her off!).  I don't remember the details, but I'm pretty sure we did 1 day at the Magic Kingdom and 1 day at Universal Studios before we drove to our new home of Syracuse, NY.  Oddly, I've blacked out those long drives..

Huey, Dewey, and Louie Toys - Mickey's "Starland"
 I love this next picture, not only because it's a fun picture with my dad and me where I'm wearing a hideous outfit with a completely not-matching fanny pack, but because of the Sky buckets!!  I miss those things!
With my Dad

And, last but not least, a simple picture of me on the People Mover!!  Still a favorite and must-ride today!

Hope you've enjoyed my memories from 1991!  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Driving to the World

Sleeping to WDW
The other day on facebook, I asked for topic ideas, questions, etc...  When a few people asked about tips for driving to Florida with little ones, I had some obvious tips, but seeing that our longest drive with Noah was 4 hours, I knew I needed to ask some experts.   I turned to my friends over at the Magical Blogorail and asked them for their tips.  And, as I'd hoped, these other amazing parents, bloggers, and Disney-loving people gave me some fantastic tips to share!

First, I'll start with my standards - 
  • DVDs - whether you have one in your car or buy a portable one (they're only like $50 these days), this is a lifesaver.  We're lucky enough to have one installed in our car - talk about a lifesaver!  
  • Snacks - Just like on an airplane - they help to calm down my fussy boy!
  • Books/toys - for the littlest ones, toys with lights and noises are great, but past that 6-9 month mark, small toys, cars, books, or whatever they love at home, they'll probably love in the car as well!
Now onto the pros:

Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse has done several long distance drives and offered her experience:
  • Jodi prefers to leave at night, stopping only for gas, restroom, and nursing/diaper breaks if necessary
  • Find a good stopping place - break the trip up into 2 days - they loved to stop at the beach for a relaxing afternoon/evening.
  • Jodi and her family love stopping for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel.  With good Southern food, clean restrooms, a fun store, and rocking chairs with checkers, the entire family can enjoy a relaxing meal after a long night on the road.
  • If you've got a little one rear-facing, have someone sit back with them, whether a parent or an older sibling, to help entertain or soothe as needed!
Heidi from Ramblings, Reflections, and Reviews had some fantastic and creative tips:
  • Go with the technology - DVDs, ipod, portable game systems
  • Create workbooks for the kids - look online and you can find plenty of free Disney coloring pages and worksheets!
  • Stop at the $1 bins at Target or the Dollar Stores and stack up on little trinkets/toys/snacks and give 1 hourly or at different intervals.  **Jenn's thought - a toy every state line!**
  • Play family games, like the License plate game, Would you Rather?, I spy, etc...
  • Always break up the 18 hour drive into 2 days
Mary from Capturing Magical Memories made me laugh with her lesson learned:
  • With a 16 month old - don't drive straight through the night!  Instead of sleeping, her son stayed up all night pointing out the other cars - "light, light!"  **That would definitely be my son**
Tricia from Return to Disney likes to leave early and drive in chunks:
  • Leave around 4-5 a.m. and drive for 4 hours, stopping for breakfast.  With little kids, find a local park and let the kids burn some energy for an hour.
  • Drive for another 4-5 hours and stop for a late lunch, avoiding crowds.  Find another park and run around before getting back in the car.
  • Stop for the night around dinner time, check into a hotel, then let the kids burn some more energy in the hotel pool.  They're so exhausted it makes up for a day of mostly sitting in the car!
Mike from My Dreams of Disney has a driving tradition-
  • Mike loves to stop in Savannah, GA - a beautiful and fun non-Disney city.  It's a great place to stop for the night and a fun place to be!
Deb from Focused on the Magic knows more than how to take amazing pictures.  She's driven to WDW from NY and NJ and has her tips!
  • Leave in the middle of the night and stop for the night in GA
  • Enjoy a day of R&R before heading into the resorts and starting the Disney exhaustion
Amy from Growing Up Disney has yet to take her 3 month old daughter to WDW, but has done long car trips with her 3 year old daughter, including a cross-country move while pregnant!
  • They left on a 600 mile trip after an early dinner, driving for 4-5 hours before stopping at a hotel.  Admittedly, it was hard to get DD3 to sleep in the hotel, but it helped the driver!
  • Rules go out the windows on long drives - worry about brain rotting and calories another day - bring on the DVD's and snacks!
  • All about new toys, books, dvd's.  Cheap is fine, new is key!
  • Her best tip - stop as much as possible.  While pregnant, they took 4 days to go from OK to NC with a non-car day in the middle!  And, whenever possible, try to let the toddler run around as much as possible on stops!

If you've got the time and are planning a long drive, try to stop for the night.  You'll be thankful the whole family isn't miserable when you arrive at the Happiest Place on Earth!

I would like to thank all of my Magical Blorogail people for their tips and tricks!  I hope they help you as much as they've helped me.  And, as always, if you have questions, article ideas, or anything else, you can ask me over at twitter, facebook, or leave a comment below!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Focused on the Magic

Modeling Agency
What Every Young Girl Should Know

Instruction in the 
Arts & Crafts

Bob Sewell
Malcolm Cobb

Not Shown:
Jack Fergus
Fred Joerger
Mitz Natsume

This window is for the WED Model Shop - Bob Sewell ran the Model Shop from 1960 until he retired in 1981.  Malcolm Cobb was Bob's assistant at the Model Shop.

And Mitz?  No clue.  Model shop, I'm sure, but I can't find any other details!

Hope you've enjoyed this weeks history lesson!

I kept finding this great story about Jack Fergus that I wanted to share-
"[Disney artist] Jack [Fergus] belonged to a club called the “Tip-Top Club,” which was anybody over 6 foot 6 inches. I can tell you a funny story about Jack because we were assistants together at that point in my career. We were walking down the main hall in the animation building one day coming back from lunch. He had such an incredible arm span he was dragging his finger tips on both sides of the wall as we came back in the building. Walt Disney had just gotten out of the elevator and was coming our way. He looked and saw Jack and he said, “ Jesus Christ!” Jack was a very, very big man. "
Fred Joerger was a member of the original model shop for Disney and today he's a Disney Legend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Almost There

I will be the first to admit - I'm not very good at keeping up a height chart for Noah.  He has a cute hanging height tracker in his closet, and we used it for the 2nd time ever yesterday.  The time before?  His birthday in December.  It was fun to see that he's grown several inches since his 1st birthday and makes me excited for his continued growth.

Of course, at 21 months, he's still too small for every single ride with a height requirement, but I know that before I know it, he'll be on Expedition Everest!

And, with that in mind, I wanted to finally post all of the height requirements for Walt Disney World!
The Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini Magic Kingdom 35"
Kali River Rapids Animal Kingdom 38"
Splash Mountain Magic Kingdom 40"
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Magic Kingdom 40"
Stitch's Great Escape Magic Kingdom 40"
Soarin' EPCOT 40"
Test Track EPCOT 40"
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Hollywood Studios 40"
Star ToursHollywood Studios40"
Dinosaur Animal Kingdom 40"
Space Mountain Magic Kingdom 44"
Mission Space EPCOT 44"
Expedition Everest Animal Kingdom 44"
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Hollywood Studios 48"
Primeval Whirl Animal Kingdom 48"
Tomorrowland Speedway** Magic Kingdom 52"

**Tomorrowland Speedway Height Requirement for solo ride only

All rides with height requirement should participate in the Rider Swap option.  Ask a cast member to double check, but we've never had a problem using Rider Swap even with fastpasses. 

Headed to the Water Parks?

Blizzard Beach Chair Lift 32"
Blizzard Beach T-Bar Under 48"
Blizzard Beach Tike's Peak Under 48"
Blizzard Beach Cross Country CreekUnder 48"
Typhoon Lagoon Ketchakiddee Creek Under 48"
Typhoon Lagoon Keelhaul Falls Under 48"
Typhoon Lagoon Mayday Falls Under 48"
Blizzard Beach Summit Plummet 48"
Blizzard Beach Slush Gusher 48"
Blizzard Beach Downhill Double Dipper 48"
Typhoon LagoonCrush n' Gusher48"
Typhoon Lagoon Humunga Kowabunga 48"

I've never experienced the Water Parks, so I listed them by park as opposed by ride.  For me, it makes it easier to see which park has more attractions per height!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is That Kid Friendly?'

I've been asked the question before:
"What are some good kid-friendly restaurants at Walt Disney World?"
Well, I'm here to tell you - except for Victoria and Albert, which doesn't allow children under 10, pretty much anywhere you go is "kid friendly."
Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney's Boardwalk
Unless your family and you all prefer to eat fast food burgers or chicken fingers, you should feel comfortable at almost any table service.  Not fans of seafood?  Skip the Flying Fish or maybe Citricos and Narcooses, though I've seen excellent reviews on non-seafood items at all of these restaurants.

Curious about new types of food?  Try a buffet, such as the Biergarten in the German Pavilion or Akershus in the Norway Pavilion.  Both will have Americanized options of foods from different cultures while still offering "normal" foods for people not feeling very courageous.

My favorite aspect of buffets - my son, and all children under 3, eat for free.  They are also welcomed to eat off of your plate in any restaurant, but we often order our little eater his own meal.  Even at 1, he was known to eat more than a 3 year old!  

Now, what about those ADR's?  Advanced Dining Reservations can be made 180 days out, or 190 days if you have a reservation on property.  And, for places such as Cinderella's Royal Table (eating in the Castle), you need to call or get online as soon as that window opens.  

But, if you're worried that you've only got 30 days and didn't get into CRT, try Akershus or just get online and see what's available!  You'll be amazed to see the ADR's you can get even the same day.  

And, don't be afraid to ask the day of.  Especially early, simply walk up and ask a Cast Member if there may be availability!  In the past year, we had success with walking up to Kouzzina, Via Napoli, and even Le Cellier.

Good luck!!  And, I'll have many more reviews after our January trip!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Almost Flashback

This week, I had intended to finally participate in the Flashback Friday fun..  But, I somehow misplaced my pictures!!  I don't have many childhood pictures of me at WDW, but I found some from a trip in 1991. 

Instead, I wanted to mention a trip we took while I was in middle school and my first time staying at the Grand Floridian.

I remember events/music/movies based on where I live.  I know my father had a business trip at the Grand Floridian sometime while we lived in West Palm Beach, between 1992-1994.  Exact dates - no chance, but I know it was between those years.  But, due to circumstances, I can guess it was 1993-94.  Why?

Because I remember seeing Hulk Hogan filming something on the beach of the GF.  I remember being curious and watching with a few other kids, then waiting to find out what it was once I was home.  I never heard about it again, until I got back into the Disney World and realized it was not a film, but a short-lived television series: Thunder in Paradise.

Doing research, which you know I love to do, I learned that this started as a straight-to-VHS short movie, though not filmed at WDW until it was filmed as a series.  Apparently, there were scenes around EPCOT, Discovery Island, and a lot of the MK resorts.  

Did you ever hear or see this show?  Anyone else ever see a movie or tv show being filmed at The World?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nap time!

I'm generally a very routine oriented mom.  We stick to our routine as best as possible:
6:30-7:00 wake up between
8-ish breakfast
11- lunch
12-2 - nap (or quiet time, if need he's being stubborn)
5:30 - dinner
7:00 -  bedtime

Even at WDW, we try to stick to close to that schedule, though usually bedtime is pushed back a little!  But those naps - they are so important!  When we're staying on property, we can usually get back to the room for a good afternoon nap (again, timing is a little off, but we try!), but on our long trips that we stay off property, going back isn't really a good option.

So, instead we have to make sure that stroller naps happen.  I remember one day at Disney's Hollywood Studios that I pushed a fussy baby around in a circle for about 35 minutes (during Adam's wait and ride for Rock n Roller Coaster) to no avail.  Of course, as soon as Adam and I switched, Noah fell asleep in a matter of minutes.

Move it, Shake it!
A different day, we simply approached a parade and, thanks to the wonderful overstimulation, Noah was asleep within minutes.  

Now, a good question is - what's a good thing to do when you've got a sleeping baby?  Yes, we can take part of the rider swap program and hit up the E-ticket attractions, or...

we can Monorail crawl!

Notice the wet ground!
One of my favorite nap experiences - naptime coincided with a huge downpour, so instead of fighting the rain and being stuck in a shop somewhere, we headed onto the Resort Monorail to see what the Polynesian had to offer.

What are your favorite naptime traditions?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Windows Wednesday!

William & Sharon Lund
Only Authentic Works of Art
Genuine Antiques
Selected by Victoria, Bradford and Michelle

This window is up there on favorites - clever, unique, and incredibly easy to research!

Sharon Lund can be more easily recognized as the name "Sharon Disney" - she's the daughter of Walt and Lillian.  Talk about a lucky little girl - adopted by Walt Disney!

Sharon originally married a man and had a daughter, Victoria, but after that man passed away, she remarried.. you guessed it - William Lund.  Together, they had Brad and Michelle!  

They are definitely authentic original works of art!

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Movie Fun - Mater's Tall Tales

My son often has a favorite movie.  Luckily, they change every few weeks.  Normally, he'll watch 10-15 minutes while I'm getting everything ready for dinner, but sometimes, like sick days, we end up watching more than my preferred amount.

Last week, for example - Noah was home sick and begged for "May-me" which, in Noah speak, is Mater.  And, there was a definite "no" for both Cars and Finding Nemo, previous favorites.  Not wanting to fight too much with a sick toddler, we turned on Mater's Tall Tales, a Disney/Pixar short.  I think it's more Disney than Pixar, but what can you do.  It's about 30 or so minutes long of short stories, so in between playing, napping, and eating, we had this movie on... 6 times in one day, I think.  And, no surprise - it's still his favorite.

Luckily, keeping in with Pixar movies, there were a couple of fun things to point out.  Not all of the standard Easter Eggs, but a few things to look for!

  • Mia and Tia - the 2 flirty Miadas that love Lightning in the original Cars are in several of these shorts.
  • A113 - the infamous classroom from Cal Arts - is found on Mater's license plate while he's on his space rescue mission.  Look closely, you'll only see it for a second!
  • Mike Wasowski and Sully, from Monsters, Inc, can be quickly seen in car form, dining in the restaurant that Mater drifts through in Tokyo Mater.  
  • Notice Lightning's Voice?  It's not Owen Wilson!  It's Keith Ferguson.
And my personal favorite:
  • Every time Noah sees the Tower in Tokyo Mater - he says "Epcot"
If you need a break from Cars or have Mater lovers, this is adorable, even over.. and over.. and...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Magical Blogorail - Disney Dream Job

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Blue. Enjoy the ride as we share with you our Disney Dream Job.

Every trip to Walt Disney World, I look around and wonder "Which Cast Member job would I want when I retire?"  I have yet to find the absolute perfect job - which works, because I have 20 more years and many more visits to actually decide.  But, here are my current favorite options:

1. Casey's Corner Piano... Woman.
Did you know that I started taking piano lessons at age 4 and continued until I was 16, when I decided the clarinet was more my "thing."  I took a semester of lessons in college and continue practicing on a regular basis, and even playing occasionally at work.  Honestly, I'd love to work on Main Street.  I'm not so much a character, but how amazing would it be to interact with guests as entertainment?  
2. Main Street Bakery - Baked goods and Main Street?  Can't beat that!  Plus, if you're lucky, the Dapper Dans will pop in for a quick song!  And, working in the bakery would definitely inspire me to continue running the WDW half marathons.. have to burn off the calories of all those amazing treats!!
3. Last, but definitely not least - 
Photo Courtesy of The Walt Disney World Picture of the Day
I want to teach Traditions.  Now, I've never been a cast member, so I've never sat through the class and know very little about it.  I know it's a 1.5 day class taught to all knew cast members - it's part of their orientation.  With an education degree and years of teaching (mostly 1 on 1 lesson) experience, I think it flows with my education, AND it teaches the history, customs, and traditions of Walt Disney and the parks.  What could be better?

I recently read that Traditions is a volunteer leap from other cast member positions.  So, I can start at Casey's Corner and move over after the heat gets to me!  

What is your Disney Dream Job?

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop 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 ~ Disney Babies Blog
2nd Stop ~ Cooking with Mickey
3rd Stop ~ Meet the Magic
4th Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic

5th Stop ~ Days in the Park
Final Stop ~ The CanaDisney Blog

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Focused on the Magic

This week's window is one that I hope everyone has noticed.  I guarantee everyone has seen it, whether they've paid attention to read the words or not.
Recognize this building?
Yup, today's window is from the train station - dead center.  It reads:

Walt Disney World
Railroad Office
Keeping Dreams on Track
Walter E. Disney
Chief Engineer

In my opinion, one of the best tributes in all of Walt Disney World!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who Is That?

If you're a parent like me that ends up turning on Disney Junior for an occasional episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Special Agent Oso, you may have been wandering why those characters sound familiar.. well, just like decoding the Pixar Easter Eggs, I wanted to decode a few of these!

For Starters:
Image from
Special Agent Oso:

  • Oso - Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy, and the Goonies)
  • Wolfie - Phill Lewis  - if you've ever seen he's Scrubs, he's "Hooch" and he's been in dozens of other Disney shows
  • Buffo - Brad Garrett - Everyone Hates Raymond
  • Guests included:
    • Coach Lou Holtz - Retired football coach from Notre Dame, now commentator
    • Rebecca Romijn
    • Lisa Loeb
    • Mel Brooks
    • Sarah Chalke (Scrubs, Roseanne)
Handy Manny:
  • Handy Manny - Wilmer Valderrama -  Fes from that  70's show.
    • In another bit of trivia - did you know that Fes stood for "Foreign Exchange Student"?
  • Guests have included:
    • Lance Bass (N'Sync)
    • Jane Lynch
    • James Belushi
    • Chris Rock
    • Snoop Dog

Now, in other thoughts - I'm not looking forward to the new short "Small Potatoes"  I say can that and bring back Ooh and Aah!

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Friday, September 2, 2011

Foodie Friday - Karamell Kuche

After our amazing La Hacienda de San Angel dinner in June, I wanted to grab a sweet treat before we set up shop for our first ever viewing of Illuminations.  Yup.  I've never been good at stopping to watch the fireworks.  But, I'm working on changing that!

As I was saying - I wanted to grab a treat, so I left Adam and Noah to find a viewing spot and I ran to the German Pavilion to check out the new-ish Karamell Kuche.  We had such an amazing candied apple from the Candy Cauldron in Downtown Disney in June 2010, that I just knew that the werther's caramel apple had to be better than anything.

I purchased the apple and ran out as the music was starting.  I started to search for Adam and found him in time to watch the whole thing - amazing, btw.  

As for the apple?  Eh.  We didn't eat it immediately - we didn't have any room for it, but as soon as we got back to our resort and got Noah to sleep, we dug in.  And, sadly, we both wanted the apple from the Candy Cauldron.  Something was missing.  Maybe it was the overwhelming crunch of sugar that was missing, but something wasn't right.  It was fine, but not amazing.

If you're headed to the German Pavilion's candy shop, stop by and take pictures of all the beautiful treats.  I've heard that the majority of them are outstanding - we just picked the wrong one!  

Has anyone had better experiences at Karamell Kuche?  What has been your favorite treat?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

40 Days to 40 Years

Interested in the history of Walt Disney World?  Well, Donna from DisTherapy and Beth, leader of Magical Blogorail and blogger at Pursuing the Magic, have put together a great series, covering every year from the inception of Walt Disney World (October 1, 1971) until the 40th Birthday (October 1, 2011!) with guest bloggers researching every individual year.

Today is my day!  I chose 1981, not because of my memories, but because the 10th birthday of Walt Disney World was the year of my birth.  Pretty important to me!  I hope you enjoy my post and hopefully many of the other great posts!