Monday, October 31, 2011

Tiggerific Tuesday!

I'm guest hosting again a great blog hop!  Hope you'll join in and hop along!

Welcome to Tiggerific Tuesday! Blog Hop...or Bounce!
Link up, meet new friends, network with other bloggers, and have fun!

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Magical Mouse Schoolhouse


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4. Every week we will pick someone to Guest Host the hop with us. If you would like to be considered for the Guest Host position, leave a comment under this post to let me know you're interested and  follow us on GFC.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Travel Must Have

I've found a new activity for Noah that will now be a must have on our next trip:

Crayola Color Wonder 

Most moms probably already know all about this stuff - it's art products, both markers or finger paint, that only show up on special Color Wonder paper!  My son loves to color... anywhere.  More than once, I've had to chase him down to get the crayons out of this hand, or take some Seventh Gen cleaners to the wall to erase some scribbles.

But Color Wonder?  Not a chance.  Now, I may not care as much on a plane, but driving?  Crayons would be definite no with my son!  Plus, since we rent a home off property for our week in January, we have to be extra careful with him making a mess, since there is a deposit we want back!  Another plus?  They have a LOT of Disney themed products!

I'll just say - this is definitely going in our travel bag!  Oh - and you can always find this at Arts and Crafts stores (Michaels, etc..) that always have 10-20% coupons so you can save!  It runs anywhere from around $7-20, and with sales or coupons, I think it's a good no-mess deal!

**For older kids that you can trust with markers, check out the Color Explosion.  I bought some on accident and want to color myself!! Very cool!**

Ever used color wonder products?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Main Street Music Co.
Ron Logan
"Leading the Band into a New Century"

Ron Logan - Disney Legend and one lucky musician!  He started his career playing trumpet at Disneyland and then worked at both WDW and Disneyland as music director before being promoted to v-p of Creative Show Development for all Disney parks.  He created Fantasmic!  Illuminations, and so many more shows!

I'm running low on pictures, but my wonderful friend, Beth, from Pursuing the Magic and the Magical Blogorail has offered to try to find me some pictures on her upcoming trip!  Even if it doesn't work out, I really appreciate the offer!! (I'll admit, she's not the first, but I can't remember who else offered!  Thank you all!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New ADR System

**ADR - Disney acronym - Advanced Dining Reservation

As many of you probably know, starting in just a couple of days, October 26th, many of the most popular restaurants around the parks and resorts will now require a credit card.  If you're a know show or cancel in under 24 hours, you'll pay a hefty $10 per seat reserved.

This new system will hopefully stop people from making multiple ADR's - locking many people out of the top spots.  This system has been in place for Cinderella's Royal Table and the Harmony Barber Shop for a while, but now standards like Chef Mickey's, Crystal Palace, and Le Cellier will all require a reservation fee.  However, those on the Disney Dining Plan generally need to make ADR's to make sure they use all of their table credits!

Now, I don't know about you, but for the past few trips, I have looked forward to that 180 mark when I can make my reservations.  (For those unsure - you can book ADR's 180 days out from the day, unless you stay on property.  With a deposit on a reservation, you can book 190 days from your arrival day!  Total win on the big restaurants).  But, planning 6 months in advance can be tricky.  Frankly, on vacation, planning 48 hours in advance can be tricky!

Take our January 2011 trip - thanks to an overnight visit to Celebration Hospital, we missed every single reservation including the Harmony Barber Shop.  With a quick call, I was able to reschedule the hair cut, but Le Cellier last minute?  Not a chance.  As you may recall, we walked up and were seated within 10 minutes, but trying to get a same day guaranteed table isn't likely.

Of course, I've continued to make ADR's, but in June, I made all 3 weeks in advanced, and even while we were there, I played on my smart phone and constantly made and changed dining plans.

So, I don't know about you, but with this new credit card requirement for reservations, my outlook for future trips will absolutely change.  Luckily, all of our ADR's for January 2012 didn't require this - good news considering at least 3 ADR's would now require a deposit.

So, for the future, I think I'll be taking a break on ADR's.  I think I'll go back to my old system - walk up and ask for a table.  If they say no, oh well.  If we need to do a character meal, we'll go to one of the less popular ones (Hollywood and Vine, Cape May, etc...), but I don't think I'll be planning 6 months out anymore!

Will this new requirement change the way you plan?  I'd love to hear your thoughts - comment below, find me on twitter, or join in on the conversation at facebook!

For more information and a complete list, check out this post from Chip and Co.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Virtual Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to The Virtual Food & Wine Festival.   In honor of Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival a few Disney bloggers have gathered together their special culinary talents and prepared a virtual F&W Festival! You're all invited to visit each blog and virtually eat your way around the World Showcase! Please visit all of our blogs and leave comments on our dishes. 

I've unfortunately never actually been to EPCOT's Food and Wine Festival, though I'm pretty sure I would love the festival and hope to get there in the not-so-distant future!  

When we do visit, I love sampling from the different countries in the World Showcase, either drink, counter service, or table service.  One of my favorite meals was last January at Le Cellier.  I'm not a big steak eater, but everything was so good, we've been craving it since!

So, over the weekend, we had our at home version of a Le Cellier Steakhouse meal.  The feature?  The infamous Cheddar Cheese Soup. The recipe was easy to find - many popular Disney websites and blogs had recipes, and now mine will be included in that list!

1/4 lb bacon, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
3 TBSP all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable instead. It's all I had!)
12 oz. grated cheddar cheese (one site recommended Black Diamond)
3 dashes hot sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I was out and used a dash of soy sauce!)
1/2 cup beer - dark preferred
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives for garnish

Ingredients minus flour/milk
Step 1 - Chop!  Thanks to Chef Big Fat Panda, friend of the Disney Food Blog, recommended to freeze the bacon and use sharp scissors.  Of course, I read that after I spent 20 minutes trying to cut the slimy stuff up!

Step 2 - In a large soup pot, saute the bacon to wilting, not yet browning

Step 3 - Add the vegetables to the bacon and cook (sweat) until the onions are translucent

Step 4 - Slowly sprinkle in the flour, stirring for 2 minutes.  Be careful to avoid lumps!  Created a roux - the thickener and base for a delicious soup!

Step 5 - Stir in milk and stock, bring to boil, then let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Step 6 - Take off the heat and whisk in cheese, beer, hot sauce, and Worcestershire.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 7 - Serve and enjoy!!
We served ours with pretzel sticks, found at our local Wegmans grocery store, and steak and mashed potatoes.  Honestly, I could have had the soup and bread for my meal, but being married to a meat and potatoes guy, we decided to go a full Canadian meal.

This recipe is time consuming, but not nearly as intimidating as I had once thought!  And, I'm excited to have leftovers for future meals!  Hope you've enjoyed your Canadian stop on this special blog hop!  Make sure to check out  the other participators for great recipes and yummy blogs!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review of Mousejunkies! 2

Katie and her brother "drinking around the world" in Morocco!

My guest, Katie, is back with a review of one of her Disney reads! This book was purchased on her own desire and all thoughts, opinions, and reviews are completely honest. And, no, we don't get credit from Amazon - just wanted to make it easier to find if you like the review!!

Have you ever found yourself craving a Dole Whip? How about checking Disney apps on your phone to see what the current wait times are like… from thousands of miles away? Do you think of going to Disney World as being “home”? Have you ever told someone you were going to Disney World on vacation only to hear the response “AGAIN?!” If so, then you might be a Mousejunkie!

According to the book, a Mousejunkie is “one who is devoted to, and expresses a physical and emotional need for, Walt Disney World.” Mousejunkies can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be young, old, married, single, even reluctant about being one. Throughout the book, a panel of these Mousejunkies, all with different areas of expertise, give their opinions and advice based on experience.
This book presents a humorous take on your typical Disney travel guide. This is definitely not your grandmother’s guide to Disney! The popular “drinking around the world” in Epcot (which I have done twice, by the way) is chronicled, for better, for worse, and from beer in Canada all the way to tequila in Mexico.
I found myself laughing out loud many times during the book. The author and his friends offer travel advice, Disney history, touring tips, and random bits of pop culture knowledge (Paul McCartney plays guitar/ bass left handed… I didn’t know that!) thrown in with a bit of sarcasm and humor for good measure. One of my favorite tips in the book: the authors included the phone numbers to call the red phone booths in Epcot’s UK pavilion. Next time I am in Epcot (probably a few drinks in) I will be calling these phone booths trying to scare people telling them exactly what they are wearing. Maybe that’s a little creepy, but it sure sounds like a good laugh!
For those of you out there with little ones, there is a chapter called "Mousejunkies Procreate."
This chapter has lots of information and tips on Disney travel and touring with kids. The author is a parent himself and offers some memorable stories about his daughter. Let's just say his daughter and fried Oreos don't get along well!
Mousejunkies! 2 is a book that I recommend to any Disney addict, or anyone planning a Disney World vacation. You can order it on Amazon here:
I will leave you with one last quote from the book: “For Mousejunkies, Disney is a lifestyle.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yo Ho!

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me!!

We've all sung this song, right?  I was playing it on the piano the other night (I have 2 Disney Parks Piano books!) and this was one of the songs I was playing/singing.

Here's my trivia - 
Did you know? Yo Ho! was written for the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at Disneyland?  

Doesn't seem possible to me - and my husband was shocked to hear that as well - that this pirate anthem was literally written for a ride.  

The music was written by George Bruns with lyrics by now Disney Legend Xavier (X) Atencio.  X also helped write Grim Grinning Ghosts, the music heard inside the Haunted Mansion, all after being an Imagineer and Animator for WED!

The lyrics are loosely based on the 1881 novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I wonder if "we're really bad eggs" was in there!

Did you know this little bit of Disney trivia?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Focused on the Magic

Rainbow Paint Co.
Lonnie R. Lindley

Looking closely, you can tell that something was cut off at the bottom - thanks to mouseplanet, I found that it used to say "World's Largest Collection of Paint Samples"
Lonnie Lindley was the head of the Walt Disney Paint Shop. He was responsible for all of the paint work at the Magic Kingdom!  Talk about a big job!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Ever have a moment where you really want a treat that you can only find at the Happiest Place on Earth?  Last night at dinner, my husband and I wanted the same dessert.

Maybe it's the preparation and excitement of the upcoming Marathon Weekend 2012 (anyone else in training?), but we're ready to head back to the Candy Cauldron at Downtown Disney and pick up our Mickey Candy Apples!


What treats do you crave when you're not at the parks?  I'd love for you to share either by commenting here, on twitter, or on our facebook wall!

Monday, October 17, 2011

No Mommy!

My cutie pie being silly in the car
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this - in a previous life (i.e. college student teaching) I was an elementary music teacher.  Spending all day around little kids, playing with fun instruments and singing.  I wasn't quite ready to give up my goals of performance, but I loved that semester.  

I've incorporated that aspect of my personality into parenthood.  I constantly sing to Noah - every book has it's own melody.  I can't even read Goodnight Moon without singing.  And, as of late, I'm constantly singing nursery rhymes or other cute songs.

In the car, I've started singing my 2 go-tos: The Wheels on the Bus and Itsy-Bitsy Spider.  Noah knows the motions and sings along.  When I say "The Baby on the Bus" he rubs his eyes and says "wah wah wah."   Seriously, my boy cracks me up!

Well, the other day, I started to sing It's a Small World.  Instantly, I heard "Mooooom-my."  So I stopped.  I started again... "Mooooooom-my."  I switched songs and we were golden.

The other night, I started again and instead of just the "Moooooom-my" I got a 22 month old shaking his head "no" while saying "No Mommy."

Apparently, even at 22 months and having not been on the ride in probably 16 months, he doesn't want to hear that song.  I'm okay with skipping the ride!  But, I thought it was too cute not to share!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Don't Get It..

Welcome to those of you joining me from The CanaDisney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Pic borrowed from Chip and Co!
I just don't get it.  This ride always has a huge line and stays crowded all day long.  It is one of 3 "E-Ticket" attractions at EPCOT and of the 3, the only one I actually enjoy is Soarin'.  Though, from what I understand, most people don't enjoy Mission: Space, so I didn't choose that attraction.

Instead, Test Track.  I can see the attraction to first timers, but to do the same tests over and over?  

I remember seeing on a special edition Magical Blogorail where the teenagers wrote in, a couple mentioned that this is one of their favorites.  Maybe I aged out of this attraction? 

It's not on our regular touring plan and only ride it once every few years.  Maybe when Noah is old enough, I'll enjoy seeing his joy, but for now?  I'll sit this one out.

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 ~ The CanaDisney Blog
2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog
3rd Stop ~ Cooking with Mickey
4th Stop ~ Meet the Magic
5th Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic
Final Stop ~ Days in the Park

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Love Photopass!

For our trip in June, we tried something for the first time - Photopass!!

In previous trips (since Noah was born), we would buy maybe 1 picture, but mostly just take all of our own.

But for June, I wanted to try something different.  We pre-ordered the Photopass cd for our trip.  Did you know, if you preorder, you can save $50?  With that in mind, we stopped for as many pictures as possible!
I love the titles you can add!
We got some great pictures with my full family, but I don't think they'd be happy if I posted them, so I'll post some of my favorites!

Of course, it took until our final picture for Noah to smile..

If only we had thought to split the photopass cd with Melissa and her family when we went in June 2010!  Next time for our May 2013 trip!

Do you use photopass?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Window Wednesdays!

Focused on the Magic

School of Music

Band Uniforms
B. Jackman

Sheet Music
B. Baker

Music Rolls
G. Bruns

These three men were known for creating a lot of the music still heard today at the parks! 

B. Baker - Buddy Baker, along with Xavier Atencio, wrote the music for the Haunted Mansion, "Grim Grinning Ghosts"

G. Bruns - Along with music often heard around the parks, George Bruns composed the music for the Pirates of the Caribbean!  Yo-ho!  

B. Jackman - Bob Jackman composed a lot of music for Disney's Music Department.  He wrote the music for different television westerns and serials.  

And, as a music major, I love this window!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I REALLY Want...

Characters in Flight - Downtown Disney

I hope it's not grounded in January when we're there!  Have you tried this?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and see your pictures!! Please share on our facebook page!!

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Monday, October 10, 2011


If you've been following this blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I a big fan of Disney history.  Thanks to podcasts like Wedway Radio and WDW Radio, I've learned a LOT but, just like other obsessions interests, I want to learn more.

Several months ago, I purchased a biography of Walt Disney and I've finally started reading it!  So far, I'm learning about Elias and how Walt and his many siblings were raised (in my mind, 5 siblings is a lot!).

If you're curious, I'm reading Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

This is my first Disney bio, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I'm interested and can't wait to get back to reading!!  Next on my list?  The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis - if you listen to podcasts, you've probably heard him.  Full of great stories!

And no, I don't get paid by Amazon, I just linked in case anyone was interested!

Anyone else interested in the history of how it all came to be? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Foodie Friday - The Plaza

One of our last minute- ADR's in June was a lunch at The Plaza restaurant.  This restaurant is hard to get into without a reservation, but very easy to get a reservation just a few days out.  Definitely one of the overlooked and should I say better restaurants in the Magic Kingdom, I would choose this over a burger at Cosmic Rays any day.  Oh, and the prices are only like a dollar more than the counter service locations!

I started with the soup of the day - a Tomato Basil.  And, it was delicious.

 The condiments are brought out like art!

Noah had grilled cheese and grapes and LOVED it.  Perfect meal, don't you think?

I had the vegetarian sandwich - mozzarella, hummus, pesto, and veggies on a yummy bread with a side of broccoli slaw.  So much food that I actually brought half of it back to the resort!

Adam had the Plaza club - a standard club sandwich with delicious steak fries!

 For dessert, we ordered a Root Beer Float.  Not much better than that on a hot summer day!
With every kids meal comes a dessert.  Our server highly recommended the ice cream cone:

Strawberry ice cream!

If you've ever been to the Plaza, I'd love to hear your opinions!  If you've never been, give this one a second thought.  It's worth a stop!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Early Bird Catches... the Photo Op

After our first character dining experience in June, we left the Hollywood 'n Vine and headed towards the park.  Our ADR (advanced dining reservation) was at 8 am and we were out around 8:50 with a park opening of 9, so they held us back at a point.  We couldn't hear the rope drop "show" going on, so just stood around taking in the scenery
Get it?  Casablanca!  Rick Blaine is Humphrey Bogart and Curtiz was the director!
We didn't have a true game plan, other than head towards Toy Story Midway Mania (like at least 50% of the crowd) to grab a fast pass, so when we saw Donald, Daisy, and Minnie all hanging out with out a soul around in front of the Sorcerer's Hat, I ran!

We were more excited than Noah, as you can tell - he's sleepy!  

After we said goodbye (first to meet all 3!), we headed towards TSMM.  Adam went to grab fastpasses and I kept walking, just to see what was happening.  I quickly noticed that the Meet n Greet with Buzz and Woody was starting a few minutes later with no line.  So, Noah and I hopped in line.  A few people gathered behind us - same deal, 1 parent waiting for fastpasses (that line sometimes rivals the stand-by queue first thing!) and the other waiting for pictures.  

We quickly made friends with others in line, even finding a family from our neck of the woods that commented on our Virginia Tech (my husband's alma mater) shirts.  And, his 6 year old entertained Noah with his car collection.  Win-win.  Just in time as the line opened, Adam caught up with us and we were, once again, first in line to meet Buzz and Woody ("Buhh" and "Woowy" in Noah-speak). 

We handed our photopass card to the photographer and she took more than a dozen pictures, making sure to get a few good ones.  Our favorites - Noah finally woke up enough to interact with some of his favorite movie stars, pushing buttons and giving high 5s!

In awe!  He's in Andy's Room!

Low 5!

It reminded me of when we visited Toon Town for the last time in January.  A wonderful way to start a day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Window Wednesday!

Focused on the Magic

I found one!!

Big Top Theatrical Productions
Famous Since '55
Shows for World's Fairs and International Expositions
Claude Coats
Marc Davis 
(not pictured:)
John de Cuir
Bill Justice

These men were part of the exhibits at the New York World's Fair as well as helping to create and build Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Claude Coats - "Brother Claude" at the Haunted Mansion - helped Mr. Toad's and the Carousel of Progress among others. Named a Disney Legend in 1991.

Marc Davis - "Dear Departed Grandpa Marc" and one of Walt's 9 Old Men.  He helped with what seems like every attraction including Pirates of the Caribbean, Tiki Room, and Jungle Cruise.  His wife helped sew the costumes for Small World (another fact learned from a WDW Radio Podcast).  Disney Legend since 1989.

Bill Justice - Helped program many of the audio-animatronics around the parks, including Pirates and Country Bear Jamboree

John DeCuir - well, there were 2!  John DeCuir, Sr. was a longtime Hollywood Producer (Hello, Dolly!), but worked with Disney helping to design the original Space Pavilion at EPCOT.
John DeCuir, Jr - a longtime Imagineer worked on Hall of Presidents, resorts, World Showcase, and more!

Info found:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grand Floridian Hidden Mickeys, Part 3

What I love about blogging - sometimes I run out of ideas (shock, right?) and when I do, I think (hope) that pictures can speak enough for me!  Enjoy some more hidden magic from the Grand Floridian!

These images all come from the main lobby of the Grand Floridian

Hidden Mickey! Easy to miss, but clever!

The Rose from Beauty and the Beast

Mrs. Potts