Monday, January 31, 2011

One Last Walk..

Just 3 weeks ago, I took the family for one last trip around Mickey's Toon Town Fair, to explore and take a lot of pictures.

As most of you probably know, Mickey's Toon Town Fair is closing to make way for the ongoing Fantasyland Expansion.  With this will go the Mickey and Minnie's country houses, Pete's Garage, and the little stores located in there.  For me, it's sort of sad that this is leaving right as I have a child to appreciate the area (because I usually walked right by).

We had a lot of fun - we walked right into a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse himself!  The cast member said "Let me tell Mickey that you're here" as we walked up at 10 a.m.

We then toured the houses througoughly and I got to spread the word to all the children (and parents) that passed through that Mickey was waiting at his house to meet them.  I saw families jump and practically scamper from Minnie's house to meet Mickey! 

The best part of Mickey's house is truly looking at all the details.  I zoomed in with my camera and took a picture of the book laying open on Mickey's bed.  It's pretty funny if you read it - it's talking about the cars coming up close behind their house - the Tomorrowland Speedway is right there.  I thought that was pretty darn clever.  Those Imagineers really do their job well, don't you think?  I also took pictures of their mail, mirrors, keys, plants - I tried to take pictures of everything, knowing that we would never see it like this again!  Make sure to check them out on our facebook page - I couldn't post them all here!

One thing I'll surely miss, if they do away with it, is the playground - Toon Park.  Having a 1 year old boy with a lot of energy, we loved stopping at these and letting him run around.  He had more fun in there pretty much anywhere else.  He ran around for a good bit, until we decided it was time to check out something else.


What will you miss in Mickey's Toon Town Fair?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Addicted to Savings

Who isn't, right?  I know I sure love a good bargain.  

Almost 5 years ago, when my husband and I started dating, he introduced me to Woot.com, the first daily deal site that I knew about.  Now owned by Amazon, it still offers a deal a day, and also has Kids Woot, Wine Woot,  Shirt Woot (my husband loves this one), and occasionally other deals and bargains.

That and Slickdeals.net were the 2 Adam introduced me to.  Since then, I've found a few others thanks to other people and thought I should share them with all of you!!

My absolute favorites are the Steals - Babysteal, KidSteals and ScrapbookSteals.  I've purchased from all 3 of these and still try to check daily - check them every day at 9 a.m. MST for new steals!

Another great one for parents is Baby Half Off.  They update daily at 8 a.m. MST, but unlike the Steals, they don't update on the weekend.

I've seen a few others, like Zulily, but this one's steals are very "elite" and still more than I like to spend (I really like a good bargain on stuff I don't need).  

Do you have any of these favorite sites you want to share?  I'd love to hear your favorites!!  Let me know here, on our facebook page, or on twitter at @DisneyBabiesBlg

Happy bargain shopping!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foodie Friday - Le Cellier

I had a LOT of fun on my most recent trip to Walt Disney World eating some amazing food.  And, with all of my readers in mind, I took lots of pictures of this yummy food to share with all of you!

Our first AMAZING meal was at our walk up seating (yup) at Le Cellier Steakhouse.  Located at the Canadian Pavilion in the World Showcase, Le Cellier is known as one of the top steakhouses on Disney property and often wins "Best Steakhouse" in the Disney Food Blog Choice Awards.

Adam, my college friend Ruth, Noah, and I were at EPCOT and decided to head to the Boardwalk to try to walk into Kouzzina by Cat Cora, having missed our reservations after the race.  We had also missed our Le Cellier reservations, but I hadn't even considered trying knowing the normal reservation status (fills up pretty close to 180 days in advance).  But, on our way to the Friendship Boats, I thought "Why not" and they seated us 15 minutes later!  That sure goes to show that it's always worth a shot, right?

Okay, so onto the restaurant.

Known as The Cellar, it's dark with an underground feeling, but it's beautiful and feels cozy, though being a Disney restaurant, it's obviously not small.  It felt like going to a fancy restaurant, but seriously under dressed with no one thinking twice about it.
Wine rack behind our table
The first course their is bread.  4 different types of bread, all representing a different region in Canada.  The only one to write home about, though, was the pretzel bread.  And, WOW was that bread amazing.

But, there was only 1 to split between 3 adults.  We could have definitely used more to dip in our Cheddar Cheese Soup, which both Adam and I got.  It was even better than it sounds.

Nothing can do that soup justice.  
Ruth branched out and ordered the waitresses recommended Tomato Stack with blue cheese, cucumbers, and a yummy vinagrette.  She and Noah enjoyed it!


Past appetizers, we didn't even notice that we were out of bread.  Especially, since I have read AJ's Disney Food blog (if you don't, you really should) for so long, I wanted to try everything.  So, we did.  I blamed it on Noah - we had to order sides that he would like, such as Poutine (cheese fries):
And Spinach Gratin

Creamed Spinach with Cheese?  Yes, please.
And then our entrees - Ruth and I both went with the Mushroom Filet Mignon with a side of mushroom risotto.  And, I agree with the people - this was a delicious steak, and I'm by no means a steak eater.

It doesn't look all that appetizing, does it?
Adam had the Coffee-rubbed Kansas City Strip Steak.  Not my thing, but he really enjoyed it!


Noah enjoyed bites of all of ours, because as you could probably guess, we had enough food for probably 8 people.
And he loved using a real straw, too!
And, of course I needed something to wash it all down with.  I chose the Torontopolitan. 
Yum.
Now, I'd continuously heard people having disappointing experiences at  Le Cellier, but I am VERY happy to tell you, that this was absolutely one of the best meals I have ever had.  Everyone at my table agreed - and by the sounds coming from the table next to us, I think they agreed, too.  Maybe now that it's going up to a Signature Dining Experience, they're bringing back the charm and better food.  I think we'll skip the extra sides, but I would absolutely eat that filet again!  Either way, it's on the top of our favorite restaurants list.

Man, writing this makes me want steak...

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursdays With Mel... I'm Going to Disneyland


I have always wanted to shout those words. Now I can! This spring, my husband & I are taking the kids to Disneyland in Anaheim, California for the very first time. Let the planning commence.
This trip has been a long time coming. My husband has family in the Southern California  area: sisters, grandparents, aunts and cousins. Since we are East Coast dwellers, we don’t get to see them nearly enough. In fact, some of them, I have never met at all. We always said, “When the kids get older, we’ll take a trip out west.” Well, guess what? The kids are officially older, and it doesn’t hurt that transcontinental airfare hasn’t caught up with the price of gas. Honestly, it is just as cheap to fly clear across the country as it is to fly to Orlando... so kids, we’re goin’ to Cali.
And while we’re in sunny (hopefully) southern California, I’m going to Disneyland. It is odd to be planning a Disney vacation from the perspective of a novice. Lots of questions: where to eat, where to stay, what to ride first? The list keeps growing. However, the best thing about being apart of a community of Disney enthusiasts is that I know just where to turn to for all of my planning needs. So watch out Twitter tweeps. Be on your guard Disney Food Blog. And allears.net, let’s just say you have gotten at least a thousand page views from me alone in the past few days.
My travel spreadsheet document is constructed. My dog-sitter is all lined up. All that’s left is a few dining reservations, (and a couple of months of patiently waiting) and I can shout, “I’m-a going to Disneyland!” 

If you have any great tips or know of any Disneyland "hidden treasures", post 'em for me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hidden Treasures

I've been to Walt Disney World in my life too many times to count.  Actually, I can't give an accurate count, because neither my parents nor I have any clue how many times I went as a child (multiple, but no exact numbers).

Anyways, with over 20 visits under my belt, it still amazes me when I "discover" new things.  This trip was a trip of many discoveries.  I had a few missions - things I had heard about and wanted to experience for myself.  With 3 days in the parks, we had time to explore and discover "new to us" treasures.

One of the most exciting to me was the legendary telephone, located in one of the stores on Main Street.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Well, thanks to my collection of Disney Trivia books that I recieved for Chanuka (books 1 and 2 by Lou Mongello and more!), I read about a lot of "secrets" left to us by the Imagineers.  One of the most interesting is this telephone!  

If you're heading down Main Street U.S.A. towards Cinderella Castle, stop in the stores on the right and look for it or simply ask (that's what I did!) for the telephone.  They'll know what you're talking about. Pick up the phone, and you can hear a conversation between a mother and her daughter.  The mother is advising her daughter on what kind of man to marry - "He should make at least $7 a week" and other words of wisdom from the day.  And, if you listen closely, you can hear the next door neighbor hang up her phone last.  Silly eavesdropper!
Adam needed to know what to look for in a husband!
While we were listening, another Disney visitor saw us on the phone - she had no idea these phones may actually work!  I saw another similar phone in the Harmony Barbershop, but was told that it no longer worked.  I wonder what that conversation was like!

I've got a few more of these great Hidden Treasures.  Keep checking out the blog for more fun finds!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Disney's Epic Fail


If you’re looking without Disney goggles on, you can easily find things that Disney can improve on.  Heck, sometimes even with Disney goggles, you can still find one or two little things to gripe about.  But, recently, I found the first thing (aside from Duffy, in my opinion) that Disney did seriously wrong: event parking.

After the half marathon on January 8th, my husband and I returned to our car in hopes to get home and relax.  
What we found, however, was the worst parking lot debacle ever.    Parking lots coming together with thousands of cars trying to leave the same one exit.  Rows and rows of cars with no one directing traffic led to mass chaos and little movement. 
I looked at these same cars for an hour
With the race attracting runners and not just Disney People, as I have to come to call us, people were rude and not letting others out.  It took us over an hour to actual leave our parking spot.  Once we finally left our parking space, we waited another 30 minutes (or more) to get onto the street to leave.  During this, we watched people refuse to let others out of their spaces, and even worse, one rude driver simply ignore all rules of common decency cut in front of 7 other cars.  Obviously, we all wanted to be out of there, but that simply made the problem worse and every one else watching even angrier. 
More of a zoo than the Animal Kingdom
I couldn’t believe that Disney didn’t have any of their parking guides directing traffic.  There are several races each year and with their experience and expertise with crowds, it’s impossible to accept that they aren’t doing anything to improve this situation.

Maybe this is their way to convince people to stay on property for race weekend. 

Either way, Disney received a big, fat “F” for parking during the race.  Better luck next year, WDW.


Monday, January 24, 2011

You could win, and so could I!

Over on facebook, Sweet Pea Photography, my favorite photographer, is having their annual photo contest - the Best of 2010!  A simple idea - she posts some of her favorite pics of the year and allows her facebook fans to vote for their favorite picture.

The best part?  1 vote, at random, will win a $20 Starbucks gift card AND the photograph with the most votes will win a free photo shoot!  Isn't an awesome deal?  I sure think so!!

Head on over to Sweet Pea's facebook page and Vote for Noah!

You'll recognize him!  His picture is #7

I mean, look at those eyes!

Simply "like" for "Friend" Sweet Pea Photography and then comment under his picture!  Easy!

Thank you all!

All About the People


It's not just the attractions that make Disney a great place.  Nor the friendly Cast Members.  I could list off so many different aspects of Disney that make me love it, but there is one oft forgotten: the other Disney people.

Our first day on our trip, we headed from the airport to the ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up all of our race packets and take a look around before the chaos truly began.  Heading straight from the airport, I had stuff in a few different carryons that I tried to switch around to only need one bag when we headed in - stroller-less and a baby in our arms. 

After we picked up Noah's diaper dash packet, I realized he had dirtied another diaper and went to the women's restroom to change him.  I got him settled, reached into the bag to grab the diaper and then the wipes... which weren't there.  I had pulled them out of the bag in the car to clean him off after he ate his lunch.
Mommy fail.

Until a super friendly woman offered help.  She saw me looking slighlty frantic (who, me?) and asked the problem.  She then proceeded to grab some toilet paper for me, followed by several wet paper towels.  Obviously not the best way, but it did the job.  She told me that she had a granddaughter that she didn't get to see so frequently, so very willingly helped out another baby around the same age.  I was so thankful that very nice and helpful Disney Grandma. 
Noah running around the Kids packet pick-up area

I do believe she made my day.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Running, running, running!

My husband and I talk a lot about how we'll plan out our future (as if you hadn't noticed that by my Celebration post).

Tonight though, we started a different type of planning: race planning.

After the half marathon, we're both hooked.  We're looking for more races and hoping to make it down in January for next year's race.  With a 1 year old, training for a whole is just not possible, so the full marathon is currently out of the question.  But, I'm curious.

My plan - after we're done having children and they're old enough to entertain themselves, I want to do the full.  I told Adam and he decided that he would run it with me (what?!?!?!).

And then came the most shocking of statements:
"Well, if we're going to do the full, we might as well do Goofy"

Yes, ladies and gentlemen.  We're planning to do the Goofy Challenge.

In 2017.


Now, about the 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon...

Our alarm was set for 2:15 a.m. on race day - early enough to wake up a little while getting dressed and heading to the EPCOT parking lot.  I'd read several things about it getting crowded quickly, and instead of being stressed and dealing with traffic, we left our villa at Windor Hills by 3 am.
Before we left
Gatorade and Clif bars in our bags, we made it with no problem and parked in the 2nd row.
Before anyone else was around - Spaceship Earth in the background!
They had music blaring, and eventually people starting coming in - buses started bringing people in at 3, so we weren't alone for long.  We met up with my college friends, Ruth and Katrina - Ruth ran with us, Katrina watching. We stood around talking, listening to them tell about the Disney Heroes Race in Iraq, and continuously getting psyched for the race.  Luckily, it was just under 50 degrees, which is about the temperature we ran in - 50 with sunshine.  MUCH better than the races in 2010!

Before we headed to our corrals, we met up with the WDW Radio Running Team.  Mingled, had some nice (light - it was 4 a.m.) conversation, and took a few pictures with the team.  A few were there to cheer us on (including Lou and Deanna Mongello, and Valerie Drew who helped organize this team as well as Mary Jo Collins from afar), and there were several other racers (including at least 1 Goofy!).  It was nice to be part of the team and special to run for a great cause!

Shortly after the picture, we headed towards our corrals, maybe a 10 minute walk away.  We hit the port-o-potties one last time before the start, then Adam and I headed towards Corral D and Ruth walked to Corral G.

Once you're in the corrals (approximately 5 a.m.), you get comfortable, stretch, and wait, and listen to the DJ play great music.  Around 5:30, they started with the Wheel Chair race - giving them a few minutes before letting Corral A out in full force.  Corrals are assigned based on speed, but showing that we were in Corral D, I think some of it is based on when you sign up.

Every corral start, they had announcements, a gun shot, and fireworks.  Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy were there cheering us on as we crossed the start line - setting off our official times as recorded by our D tag (a computer chip on a piece of plastic we attach to our shoe laces).

Adam and I ran our first mile together, but than I stopped for my standard 1 minute walk and he took off.  Starting early on, there were local high school bands playing for us in the dark.  We ran towards the Ticket and Transportation Center first, with the Richard Petty Driving Experience on our left.  Around mile 2-3 is when I realized I was going to have to take a port-o-pottie break.  That wasn't part of my plan, but I accepted it, paused my watch, and found a "short" line.  2 minutes later, I was back on the road heading toward the MAGIC KINGDOM!

Around mile 6, we entered the back stage area of the Magic Kingdom and ran down Main Street, U.S.A. with crowds of people cheering us on.  Through Tomorrowland, the characters were much more frequent and I decided it was time to start taking pictures.  I mean, I couldn't miss up a chance to meet Alice in Wonderland, could I?
Nor could I miss Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen... and Louie!!

After we ran through Fantasyland, we ran thru Cinderella Castle, and headed back out the park.  Honestly, after taking my picture in front of Cinderella Castle, I don't actually remember where we ran.. Adam thinks Adventure Land?  Yup, it's a blur!
Somewhere near a resort, I met Mary Poppins, Burt, and a Penguin!
We left the MK and headed back towards EPCOT.  Not the most exciting part of our run, but I had my playlist keeping me pumped.  Around mile 7, I had Don't Stop Believing (the Journey version, not my clarinet quartet version) and Bon Jovi to help me get motivated, as well as some 10+ year old rap tunes.. the good stuff!

Back towards EPCOT, there are 2 separate off ramps to run up and around.  Not the most fun, but nearing the top of one of them, I met an Army man, who I felt the need to take a picture with.

After that, we were nearing EPCOT.  We ran in passing Test Track, headed towards the World Showcase, around the Christmas Tree, and back out of the park to finish.

I finished in 2:45, not bad considering all of my stops.  And, being the only time I had ever completed 13.1 miles (13.3 according to my watch!), I most definitely set a new personal record!

We're headed back in January.   Are you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Baby Swapping

Kevin in The Laughing Place
With my experience traveling to Walt Disney World with three kids, and sometimes more when the extended family tags along, when the topic of the Disney Baby Swap comes up, you’d think I would be an expert. Alas I have a confession...
I have never used the Baby Swap (also known as the Rider Switch) program. The basics of the program are sound. It allows for parties with small children to take turns on a ride without waiting in the standby queue a second time. 
So why have I never used it? First off, I have been lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World several times in my lifetime, and I know that I will be returning year after year. So, I have never felt the compelling need to experience a ride or attraction when I know I will be returning.
But my main reason for forgoing the Baby Swap Pass is that I get to enjoy slower-paced magical moments with the smallest members of the family while the older ones satisfy their need for speed. Until I had kids, I never knew about The Laughing Place, a small playground near the entrance to Splash Mountain, and now I have wonderful memories of my younger son climbing around happily. (Click on the caption for a better picture of the entire play area.) 
On another visit, when my husband and boys went on Space Mountain, my daughter and I went on a special shopping spree, and she bought a wonderful princess bracelet that she still wears.
My main point is this, I would not have had those one-on-one moments with my kids had I been focused on riding a ride. I think Baby Swapping is a great option for those who want to utilize it. For me, I preferred the opportunity to spend some time seeing Disney through the littlest of eyes. They really do grow quickly - so fast, in fact, that my kids are all tall enough to ride any ride at the parks. We no longer need the Baby Swapper, but I will always have those priceless memories.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

20 More Years..

I found it.  My future home.  The place that I plan to live when I retire (in 20 years).  But, since Golden Oaks, Walt Disney World’s new multi-million dollar home community is out of the question, I’m going to stick to my plans of moving to Celebration.

For years, I’ve said that I wanted to retire to Celebration and work at Walt Disney World.  I said that before Disney sold the property and than for years after until I actually knew that Disney had sold the community.  I had looked up pictures and knew about the town celebrations (parades, snow, etc…), but had never stopped by.  I didn’t really know what to expect.

After the half marathon, I took my parents, husband, and son to see the place I had been curious about for years.  We drove in to find lunch, only to see streets lined with beautiful houses of all different styles.  

Perfectly manicured lawns, prestine lawns – we were basically driving through Pleasantville.  And, I LOVED it.

We found the town square fairly easily and it was absolutely adorable.  A beautiful city center, with a pond, 
hotel, and several stores and restaurants, they have created a small town that appears to be a combination of Walt’s Progress City and Stepford.  It’s basically like everything my current Virginia neighborhood would be if our shopping center would have survived (we’ve had our grocery store and 2 restaurants die.. the rest is hanging on by a thread!), but close to WDW!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Celebration, I highly recommend taking a drive through the neighborhood or stroll through the town square during your next trip.  If for nothing more, it’s a nice serene place to check out if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Walt Disney World!

Have you been to Celebration before?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!  Leave a comment here, on our facebook page, or find me at twitter @DisneyBabiesBlg.  And - make sure to check out our facebook page to see more pictures from this trip!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Quick Trip Recap!

After a full week of being in Orlando followed by a weekend in New York City, I am pooped!  Luckily, I wrote down a lot of ideas on the trip to fill everyone in on our trips.

I’ll start of by saying that pretty much nothing went as planned.  I believe I may have over-planned.  We flew down with 4 ADR’s and plans to do 3 Disney days and 1 day at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.   My parents planned to drive up from South Florida to spend a few days with us (and watch Noah during the race), which worked out perfectly.  They arrived in plenty of time for dinner (taco night!) and to see Noah before he went to bed. 

Friday was Noah’s big day – WDW’s Kid’s Fest, where Noah “ran” in his first race – a 100 meter dash!  It was absolutely adorable.  Also, we met up with a friend of mine from college, Crazy Aunt Ruth!  After Noah ran his race, we headed to a resort for lunch.  The first one we saw?  Pop Century!   I’d never seen Pop in person, so we took a quick turn and headed for their restaurants.  We had a surprisingly good lunch (chicken with broccoli – Asian style), parted ways with Ruth, and headed back to the Villa for a relaxing afternoon/evening. 

Saturday, we set the alarm for super early (2:17 a.m.) with hopes of leaving the Villa by 2:45.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Race plans recommend leaving extra time since some of the roads are closed and there tends to be a back up in traffic.  And, we had to be in our corrals by 5 a.m., which meant.. oy, so yeah, we were at the EPCOT parking lot by 3 a.m.

We met up with the WDW Radio Running Team before the race for introductions and took some pictures, then headed to our corrals.  We didn’t actually start running until nearly 6 a.m. 
I stopped for a few pictures...

The race was AMAZING.  Again, full recap later.   
After the race, when we finally got home (parking Hell), we showered and headed to Celebration for lunch.  I love Celebration.  Just f.y.i.

Later that night, Adam decided it was time for one of his monthly stomach viruses, so we spent the evening/early morning hours at Celebration Hospital.  And, just so you know – if you’re dying, this isn’t the place to go.  You’d be better driving a little further to a hospital with an actual E.R. than spending the evening here.  The head nurse was nice, but they weren’t attentive and took way too long in between what should have been quick steps.

Which left Sunday to relax at home instead of our planned Magic Kingdom/EPCOT day with reservations at both the Harmony Barber Shop and Le Cellier. 

But, you’d be amazed.  We accomplished BOTH on Monday.  Yup.  Out of curiousity, I decided to ask at Le Cellier about eating dinner there around 4:45 p.m. and by 5, we had a table.  AMAZING.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both standard park days.  We hit all 4 parks in those 2 days followed by 2 more dinners – Kouzzina by Cat Cora at the Boardwalk and Paradiso 37 at Downtown Disney.  It was a pretty jam-packed trip and didn’t go quite as planned, but it was still a fantastic trip.

Check back tomorrow for more details from our trip!!
Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Look

As you might have noticed, I'm constantly updating the look of the blog.  Usually, just minor tweeking, but always trying to make a more professional look.  

Unfortunately, my knowledge of web design ended in 1999, so I'm making due with what I can.

But, that's why I'm entering a contest with the creator of Simply Klassic Designs.  A fellow blogger and Disney fan, Kristin from Adventures of a Betty Crocker Wannabe is offering up her design skills to 1 lucky blogger.

Think it can be me?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blogorailing Resorts!


Favorite Resorts! 

Welcome back for the 3rd installment of the Magical Blogorail Loop!  A special welcome to those who have followed the blogorail over from The CanaDisney Blog!  For everyone starting here, I hope you enjoy my take on the holidays and continue along with the other blogs on the Loop.  Thanks for reading along with us!



As a long time day tripper, I may not have nearly as much experience with the Walt Disney World Resorts as my fellow blogorail hosts (except for Chad over there in Days in the Parks!  They don't have the options at Disneyland that we do at WDW!).

I can't particularly say that I have a favorite resort to stay in; I've stayed in several, but never felt a strong pull to stay in the same resort again.  With that said, I know which one I love to visit, even if we're not staying there:  The Boardwalk Inn.


We discovered the Boardwalk on our trip in June 2009.  Several months pregnant, my husband and I toured at a much different pace.  I had to avoid many rides, and we often left the parks for an afternoon nap/trip to the pool (staying at The Contemporary).  A few days into our trip, we decided to check out The Boardwalk. 

I didn't really know what to expect.  Resort?  Hang out?  Atlantic City?  Luckily, nothing like modern day Atlantic City, Disney's Boardwalk is clean, friendly, and full of charm.

We perused the stores and stopped into Big River Grille and Brewing Works for an early dinner.  With no reservations or wait time, we relaxed and people watched while enjoying a decent (not bad, but no plans to repeat) meal.  

After dinner, we enjoyed the atmosphere of the Boardwalk and even had our pictures taken in an old-style photo booth.  Nothing exciting was happening, and a few places were closed, yet we enjoyed it so much, we decided to repeat our visit.

Another shot
This past June, we made another stop to the Boardwalk.  We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Kouzzina by Cat Cora, had our pictures taken again, but this time, also walked through the lobby of the Inn.  Stunning.  

Though the Boardwalk Inn is not a Monorail resort, it is accessible by boat and walking to EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios.  I never even knew there was an entrance to the park in the World Showcase until we disembarked! 

Now, the Boardwalk is at the top of our "must stay-in" resort short list.  

And, until we decide to splurge on a Disney Deluxe Resort again, we'll continue stopping by for pictures and for Kouzzina!
June '09.  Excuse my husband's crazed expression!
Please continue on to the next stop in the Magical Blogorail Loop- Cooking with Mickey

Or you can check out all of the stops on the Magical Blogorail Loop starting at the top:


1st Stop - Meet the Magic
2nd Stop - Growing Up Disney
4th Stop - Days in the Park
**You are here** Disney Babies Blog
Final Stop - Cooking with Mickey

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Bad Hair Days Will Happen

Being snowed-in with my kids all week has left me time to flip through old photographs, including pics of our Disney vacations. I have come to one conclusion: my packing for some trips was far better than for others.
I try to let loose on vacation, but I also have to admit that I now wish we had taken a little more time getting dressed in the mornings during our last Disney vacation. On most vacations we get to sleep in. Doing hair and make-up is optional. Clothes do not always need to match exactly... but Disney vacations are different. 
I am not saying I wanted my kids runway-ready, but the memories made on a Disney vacation do last forever, and pictorial evidence of bad hair lasts even longer. My new solution is to pack mindfully: mix & match outfits, where any given shirt will match any given pair of pants. Keep hair simple. Bring lots of ponytail holders for quick, clean hair styling for the girls. Force the boys to comb through hair while it is wet, so it won’t “dry that way.” And when you look back at the priceless picture of your kids with Mickey Mouse you won’t be lamenting wild hair and mis-matched outfits.
All that said, my middle son is “know” for his “outta-control” cowlick, and my daughter was literally born with crazy hair sticking straight up, so why should Disney trips be any different? My advice: Enjoy the moment, just bring a comb and a hairband. Or better yet, a trip to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique may be in order!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Being Goofy


We're BUG-eyed!



Hanging with our ears!



These ears were given to us, free, during the Year of a Million Dreams!


We got to hold Tink!


Noah gets buggy!


Piper looks confused at our Opera glasses for PhilHarmagic!


Disney World gives us all the RIGHT to be Goofy!  I'm not just talking Gawrsh, Goofy!  I mean, I can act like a kid while I'm there, and no one judges me for it.  I am a VERY excitable person, and Disney brings out the kid in me.  I feel so giddy from the second I step onto Main Street or the Monorail.  There are so many chances to look silly, as you can see from our pictures! 

Just one more reason why I love this place!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Fantasmic or not to Fantasmic?



Fantasmic or not to Fantasmic, that is the question (with a baby!)  I think Fantasmic IS fantastic, however it doesn't work for all ages.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Fantasmic is the evening show at Hollywood Studios.  It is shown in their outdoor auditorium, and it is AMAZING!  It has fireworks, characters, boats, fire, and 3 giant screens made from sprayed water that images are projected on.  It gets very loud and dark at some spots, and it might not work for all kids.  Piper was 6 months when we went to see it, and we were lucky.  She fell asleep before the show started, slept through the entire thing, and slept through the MADNESS that was exiting.  The theatre can hold up to 6,900 seated guests, so getting out the ONE entrace is a pain.  And, strollers aren't allowed past a certain point so you have to carry your kids to keep from losing them in the crowd. 

I really enjoy Fantasmic, but I've seen it enough (and probably have the entire thing on video somewhere) that I don't need to redo it for a while.  Maybe if Piper asks to see it one day, we'll take her. 

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nilly, Willy, Silly Old Bear


Piper has been calling Winnie the Pooh "Pee Pooh".  I have NO idea why!  It's really funny though, she knows the others in the Hundred Acre Wood, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Roo, but the nilly, willy, silly old bear now has a silly name!  I constantly call him Pooh Bear or Winnie the Pooh, but she sticks to Pee Pooh!  My husband and I laugh each time.  It's cute!

I never loved Pooh as a child, but I LOVE the ride (despite the fact that it took Mr. Toad's place).   It's so cute when Tigger makes us bounce.  And, is it just me, or is it warm air that blows on you when you enter the ride?  It always feels warm to me, and I love it!  I leave singing all the songs, too!

"and the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down in rushing rising rivulets,

till the river rushed out of its bed, and rushed right into Piglet's...."

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend Reading!

If you're looking for some good weekend reading, make sure to check out DisMarks 15th Blog Carnival!


Every month, bloggers enter their posts to all appear together in these fantastic Carnivals.


Disney Babies Blog first appeared back on the Blog Carnival around 8 or 9, and we're still enjoying being apart of a great group of writers!


Blog Carnival Time! 

Dismarks 15th Blog Carnival is up and running!!

As usual, we're apart of the fun, but there are also many other great blogs to read!

Go check it out!

Click here for blog carnival fun!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Best Of...

Since I'm at the WDW Expo this morning watching my son 'run' in his first 100 meter dash (pictures to come!), I wanted to make sure you all saw one of my favorite article to date.

Posted over at Chip and Company.

The Evolution of a Walt Disney World Traveler

Don't think he'll be worn nearly as much this trip!

~Jenn