Monday, December 31, 2012

Tiggerific Trivia Tuesday!


Welcome back for a Happy New Year 2013 edition of Tiggerific Tuesday trivia!

In honor of New Years, I wanted to share my family tradition for New Years Day: Chili.  I'm not sure why, it's just what my mom always made!

Did you know:
One of Walt Disney's favorite meals was chili!  Apparently, if he didn't have visitors for lunch, he would often eat chili and there is a common recipe available known as "Walt's Favorite Chili."  It is very simple:
(Recipe from Disney Insider, courtesy of D23)
Ingredients:
• 2 lbs. coarse ground beef
• 2 onions, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/2 cup oil
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 tsp. chili powder (depending on taste)
• 1 tsp. paprika
• 1 tsp. dry mustard
• 1 large can solid pack tomatoes
• 2 lbs. dry pink beans
• salt 

For extra zest:
Add a pinch of the following spices:
• 1 little yellow Mexican chili pepper
• Coriander seeds
• Turmeric
• Chili seeds
• Cumin seeds
• Fennel seeds
• Cloves
• Cinnamon
• Dry ginger


For more Walt Disney favorites and recipes, check out this USA Today article by Jim Korkis, author of Vault of Walt!

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!  

Disney Discounts and News Week of December 31, 2012


Hi Disney Babies Blog Fans!!  Kelly here with Disney Guru Travel. Check out the discounts and news from the Disney community this week. This is a very hot time to book a trip. Contact us today for your FREE quote and don't forget that you will receive a FREE Mickey Basket for each child when you book. Be sure to mention Disney Babies Blog in order to qualify. If you are already booked ask us how you can transfer to our services...you will still receive the FREE baskets!!

What's New
 
"Limited Time Magic" Begins at Disney Parks
In 2013, "Limited Time Magic" at Walt Disney World® Resort and Disneyland® Resort will surprise and delight your Clients in fanciful and unexpected ways. New entertainment and imaginative events will pop up and then disappear

"Limited Time Magic" kicks off at the Walt Disney World Resort in Magic Kingdom® Park with the first ever "Bling in the New Year" dance party in Tomorrowland®. You will be able to watch live entertainment on Rockettower Plaza Stage, dance to great music and celebrate with some of their favorite Disney characters – all dressed in their New Year’s best. And, if you can’t stay up until midnight, there will be a New Year’s countdown every hour leading up to midnight. The celebration begins on Dec. 30, 2012 and runs through Jan.5, 2013.

At Disneyland Park, you can enjoy "A Salute to the Golden Horseshow Revue" – the renowned Frontierland®show enjoyed by Walt Disney himself. You can join Miss Lily and her Saloon Girls for a fun-filled show with plenty of family-friendly comedy, singing and dancing. Performances are Thursday through Monday from Jan. 10 – Feb. 4, 2013.
Plus, as part of "Limited Time Magic," 2013 will be the "Year of the Ear" at Disney Parks. Every month, Disney Parks will release new ear hats and headware for you to add to your collection. January will start with the limited release of Disney Couture Ear Hats. And each month, there will be fun designs for you to discover.

Splitsville is Now Open at the Walt Disney World Resort
Now there’s even more fun and games at the Walt Disney World® Resort – Splitsville opened at Downtown Disney® West Side on Dec. 19. Splitsville elevates bowling to a whole new level with 30 bowling lanes, upscale food and wine, live music, billiards tables, dancing and more.

New Spa Now Open at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Senses, a Disney Spa is now open at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at the Walt Disney World®Resort!
This full-service spa features 15 treatment rooms offering everything from rejuvenating citrus facials and herbal wraps to couple’s massages. Even young spa-goers can get the VIP treatment as their toes soak in a playful bright green pedicure chair.

The Magic Your Way Premium Package entitlements include a spa treatment, and many other Magic Your Way Packages offer guests a 15% discount on spa services.

Coming Soon to the Walt Disney World Resort
At Disney Parks, we’re always working to improve our offerings and add new, magical experiences. NewFantasyland® is now open at Magic Kingdom® Park and there’s even more on the horizon at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Guests Can Soon Interact with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in New Immersive Queue – In the works in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is about to get a new interactive queue.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park – Imagineers have laid the first pieces of track in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction in the New Fantasyland expansion, set to open in 2014.
Development of AVATAR-Themed Land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park Continues – Work continues to bring the epic fantasy world of AVATAR to life at Disney Parks.

Starbucks Locations at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot® Set to Open Next Year – The first two Starbucks locations at Walt Disney World Resort will open next year, one at Magic Kingdom Park and one at Epcot.


Discounted Room Rates for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Ladies, here’s your chance to prove you have the commitment, perseverance, and determination to be a true princess! Run Disney’s women’s focused half marathon course will take you through the Magic Kingdom® andEpcot® Theme Parks on your quest for royalty in the“Most Magical Place on Earth!”Whether running solo or with a group of your closest friends and family, past run Disney participants will agree that every mile ran in a race at the Walt Disney World® Resort is a magical one!
But don’t let that royal treatment end at the finish line! Stay at one of the Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels and enjoy accommodations fit for any queen or princess! Just a few of the onsite benefits include Disney’s Magical Express®Airport Transportation, Extra Magic Hours, and legendary Disney hospitality.

Booking Window:
Oct. 5, 2012 – Jan. 14, 2013 (or while availability lasts)
Offer Details:
Save 10%-25% on your stay for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend at select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels. Available Resorts include:

New Kids Sail Free on Select Disney Cruise Line® Cruises from Miami in 2013
Kids Sail Free is coming to Miami, FL! For a limited time, kids under age 17 can sail FREE on select 4-night and 5-night Disney Cruise Line® sailings from Miami, FL! Guests can choose from a 4-night Bahamian itinerary or a 5-night Western Caribbean itinerary, and most sailings include a stop Disney’s own private island paradise, Castaway Cay.
Offer Details

Kids Sail FREE with two full-fare Guests in the same stateroom in categories 4A –11B on select cruises from Jan. 14 – Feb. 25, 2013. Government Taxes and Fees are not included.

Universal's Islands of Adventure®

Disney Discounts

Walt Disney World
Military Discount - Active duty and retired members of the US military can get specially discounted rooms at the Disney resorts most nights from October 1, 2012 – September 28, 2013 except November 22, 2012 through November 24, 2012; December 23, 2012 through December 31, 2012; and March 25, 2013 through April 4, 2013. Service members can also get up to (6) 4-day Park Hopper tickets for just $156.00 at their base ticket sales office.

Disney Cruise Line
Kids Sail Free on Select Cruises from Galveston
Kids ages 17 and under can sail FREE on select 4-, 6-, and 8-night Disney Cruise Line® sailings from Galveston.
Offer Details:
To take advantage of this offer, kids must travel with two full-fare Guests in the same stateroom in categories 4A – 11B on most cruises from Jan. 12 – March 1, 2013. Government Taxes and Fees are not included and are as follows: approximately $40 per person for 4-night Western Caribbean cruises, $52 per person for 6-night Western Caribbean cruises and $84 per person for 8-night Bahamian cruises (all amounts subject to change).
Travel Window:
  • Most sail dates Jan. 12 – March 1, 2013
Kids Sail FREE on select 6 and 8 Night Disney Cruise sailings out of Galveston. Book a 4A-11B stateroom from January 4-March 1, 2013 with two paid adults in the room and kids 17 and under sail for free.


Special Verandah Offer On Galveston Sailings Book a verandah stateroom (categories 5A-7A) for the price of an ocean view stateroom (categories 9A-9D) on most 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, Sept. 22–Dec. 21, 2012.

Military Discount In honor of the brave men and women who serve this country, Disney Cruise Line® is proud to offer special military rates on select sail dates during the year. These sailings offer a great way for military families to reconnect and create memories while enjoying Disney’s legendary service.
Beginning Dec. 17, 2012, the following policies will go into effect for all new bookings:
  • Military personnel may book one stateroom under the military rates program.
  • A second stateroom may be confirmed, if needed, to accommodate immediate family members only. For example, a family of two adults and four children may confirm two staterooms, based on availability, with the offer. Extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) do not qualify as immediate family members for the second stateroom.
Disney Cruise Line® Early 2014 Itineraries

Disney Cruise Line® has unveiled itineraries for the early part of 2014 for the Disney Magic®, 
Disney DreamDisney Fantasy and Disney Wonder®.
For the first part of 2014 the Disney Magic® is returning to Port Canaveral, where it will be home with theDisney Dream and Disney Fantasy, giving you more opportunities than ever to unwind Disney’s private islandCastaway Cay on your next tropical vacation. There are also more opportunities to pair your next cruise aboardDisney Cruise Line® with a visit to Walt Disney World® Resort to visit the New Fantasyland® expansion!

The Disney Wonder® will remain in Miami, offering itineraries with something for everyone in the family!


Sailing from Port Canaveral
3- and 4-night Bahamas
• Ports: Port Canaveral, Nassau, Castaway Cay
• Dates: Disney Dream departures Jan. 2 – Aug. 31, 2014; Disney Magic departures Jan. 6 – May 16, 2014
7-night Eastern Caribbean
• Ports: Port Canaveral, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay
• Dates: Disney Fantasy departures Jan. 11 – Aug. 23, 2014
7-night Western Caribbean 
• Ports: Port Canaveral, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Castaway Cay
• Dates: Disney Fantasy departures Jan. 4 – April 26, 2014
7-night Western Caribbean, including Jamaica
• Ports: Port Canaveral, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Castaway Cay
• Dates: Disney Fantasy departures May 10 – Aug. 30, 2014

Sailing from Miami
4-night Bahamas
• Ports: Miami, Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West
• Dates: Disney Wonder departures Jan. 15 – April 23, 2014
5-night Caribbean
• Ports: Miami, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
• Dates: Disney Wonder departures Jan. 10 – April 18, 2014
5-night Caribbean, including Castaway Cay
• Ports: Miami, Cozumel, Castaway Cay
• Dates: Disney Wonder departures Jan. 19 – April 27, 2014


Aulani
Stay 6 Nights for the Price of 5 at Aulani with $150 One-Time Resort Credit
At Aulani Disney Resort & Spa, you can enjoy many inclusive features– from entertainment to amazing water features to special activities just for kids and more! There's something to delight every member of the family.

For a limited time, when you book a six-night stay, you will get one of those nights free! And you will also receive a one-time Resort credit of $150! Book this special offer Nov. 15, 2012– Jan. 15, 2013, for stays most nights from Jan. 8 – Feb. 15 and Feb. 19 –March 10, 2013.* A five-night minimum length of stay is required.

Universal Studios Discounts
Select the hotel of your choice and add theme park admission to enjoy Universal Studios® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure®!Plus, receive Early Park Admission to Islands of Adventure.
Experience it all with:
  • 3-Night hotel accommodations
  • 2-Day Base Ticket with 3rd Day FREE* - one theme park, per day (Must complete travel by June 30, 2013)
  • Access to live entertainment** at Universal CityWalk®
  • Early Park Admission to experience The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM before the rest of the general public
Save and Play Getaway - Save up to $350 on a Universal Orlando® Vacation PackageA 4-night vacation include on-site hotel room, park tickets and free Express Pass for a family of four starts from $1,509 tax inclusive

***********
Want to take the thinking out of your Disney Vacation Planning? Let us do the work for YOU! Contact us today for your FREE no-obligation quote.   Click hereto see why everyone is booking their Disney vacation with WDW Guru Travels. Planning is when the magic begins!







Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Trip Report!

Please welcome Alyssa - in September of 2012, she, her husband, and now 7 year old son spent 7 amazing days in Florida.  Here is the first part of her trip!  I hope you enjoy her story!


Day 1 & 1/2: 
We left around 10-11pm & my hubby, Nick, drove though the night from NC to FL. We went through Georgia & then finally reached Florida.  Around 9:50 a.m., we made it to WALT DISNEY WORLD!!!!!! We checked in at the All-Star Music (value) resort and headed to the cafeteria to get our Disney Dining Plan cups.  Unfortunately, check in forgot to give us our room keys!  We had to go back and stand in a huge line to get them.  When finally got our cups, we went to our room in the country fair area, big boots & all, then unpacked & went exploring!  

After exploring a little, we decided to tour some of the monorail hotels so we hopped on a bus to go to the Magic Kingdom!  We took a boat over to the Polynesian resort and, my goodness,  it is awesome! Flowers, waterfalls, and tikis everywhere!  It's so  nice with hammocks on the beach so you can relax.  The sand was so white and the background music was very calming.  After walking about the Poly, getting our leis, and letting our son, Nathan, color at their kid waiting area, we took the monorail over to The Grand Floridian.  

The Grand Floridian is insanely opulent and elegant.  When you first walk in, you see huge chandeliers and a big old timey band playing classics like ‘It must be witch craft.’  The Disney touch is everywhere!  Even the tiles have Disney characters in them but I’d like to think it's grown up Disney. :) There is a very lovely soap shop and all kinds of up scale shops to look, play, and shop around at.  When our time had come to leave the Grand Floridian and head back to our hotel, we took the monorail back to Magic Kingdom and then took the bus back to the hotel.  Nathan passed out on me on the ride, we went back to our room, had sandwiches for dinner, then went to the pool to watch the movie at the pool where we enjoyed part of Lady & the Tramp.  When Nathan got sleepy, we headed off to bed  I can't tell you how relaxed we were on our first day.  Even though we weren't in the parks, it can be so nice just to look around!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

2 Months Away!

Our countdown is ticking by quickly and we count down the days for our next Disney trip!
I'm ready to run through Epcot again!

With 2 months to go, final preparations are well underway.  In the final 2 months, here are my to-do's:

  • Check ADR's to make sure we have what we want (sometimes, the meals that sound good 6 months out lose their appeal this close, or the timing just won't work out!)
  • Magical Express - confirm our flight numbers are in the system (we're staying DVC, so I'll take care of this myself.  If you're using an amazing travel agent like Kelly, the Disney Guru, she will take care of that for you!)
  • Continue updating spreadsheet -  next week, I'll be sharing a guest bloggers spreadsheet and after my trip, I'll share mine!
  • Mentally prepare outfits - order shirts for Magical Blogorail Running Team, this blog, and order blog buttons in case I meet readers that would actually want them!
  • Continue running preparations - our excuse for the trip is to run the Princess Half Marathon!
  • Confirm stroller reservation with Kingdom Strollers
  • Relish in the excitement of an upcoming trip!
What plans do you 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Showing Your Spirit

I have a confession:

I have nothing Disney-related on my car.

Not without trying, though.  Last January on our marathon weekend trip, we bought 2 magnetic decals - mickey-ear shapes with 13.1 inside, representing our runDisney love.
available online at Yourwdwstore.net


We happily displayed them on our cars.. until one by one, they disappeared.  Did they fall off?    Were they pilfered?  I don't know.

During that same trip, I also purchased a Mickey outline-car sticker.  Just a nice silver mickey-head.  I loved  it and planned to do a giveaway with it.  But, after our 2 13.1 magnets disappeared, I kept it for myself and decided to use that instead.

That was, until I went through a carwash and it fell off! 

My next try?  On the way to school one day, Noah wanted to wear a pair of Mouse ears.  He looks cute in those ears, doesn't he?  Well, he kept them in the car and I stuck them in the back window.  But, they melted.  Whoops!

I'm not one for the family stick figures, but I do think they're adorable with mouse ears.  Maybe a "My other car is a monorail" decal, or another decal of some form or another.  Maybe if I ever actually become a Disney Travel Agent, I can make some custom decals from Signazon* for myself and for clients. 

Somehow or another, I need to get some Disney representation on my car (btw - neither of our cars have antennas, so the awesome collection of antenna toppers are a no-go).  

How do you represent your Disney love?



*This is a paid endorsement, and while I have never used Signazon, their products appear to be great!  



Monday, December 24, 2012

Snow White Trivia!


Did you know:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs celebrated 75 years on Friday, December 21st.  The seven dwarfs that we have come to know are: Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, and Doc (thank you '90's McDonalds commercials), but there were dozens of possible names the people at WED had to decide from.  Some include: Jumpy, Deafy, Chesty, Hickey, Wheezy, and Burpy.  
*Info from Wedway Radio and Worlds Strangest.com


Christmas Details

When it comes to just about everything, Walt Disney World (Disney in general, really) is all about the details.

From the Windows on Main Street to floors of The Grand Floridian, just about everything is there for a specific reason.

At Christmastime, the colors change everywhere.  The Dapper Dans, Main Street U.S.A.'s very own barbershop quartet changes from their varied colors to red and green.
Christmas

Not at Christmas
The Mickey on the outside of the train station - past the turnstiles, but not underneath the train station - changes from brightly colored flowers to red flowers - looking like a large Mickey ornament!
Christmas Ornament Mickey
The rest of the year
There are the obvious decorations all around the parks - that if you're like me and watch every special about Disney possible, you've seen that it takes hours, days, weeks, months to plan and that people work through the night to decorate the park.  Store windows are changed for the holidays, stories around the World Showcase share the holidays of different cultures.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, if you're celebrating!  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Planning like a Pro!


Please welcome Rebecca to Disney Babies Blog!  A Pittsburgh, PA native, she has been living and working the New York City metro area since 1999. An Auntie to five nieces and nephews and an experienced Disney traveler, she planned a trip for our extended family with great success in the fall of 2012.  With bigger plans in 2013, she and her husband hope to experience another Disney Cruise and visit Disneyland for the first time.
Rebecca and her hubby were Olympians for Mickey's Not So Scary in 2012!

In early 2006, my (now) husband and I were planning a vacation to celebrate my 30th birthday.  We had a budget in mind and really wanted to get the most for our money. The travel agent sent us price quotes for all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Bahamas, but we’re not drinkers or into nightlife, so it wasn’t for us.
One day, out of the blue, the hubby says, “Why don’t you ask the travel agent to do a Disney price quote?” And I thought, HA! What a joke. We’ll never be able to afford it and I’m not at all that interested. I hadn’t been to Disney since I was a teenager; although my family had visited several times over the years…my memories were limited to pictures.

Anyway, getting the price quote from the travel agent and learning we’d get our plane tickets (from the NYC metro area where we live), park hopper tickets and five (5) nights at a moderate resort with money to spare was all that I needed to hear. The trip was booked and I started planning. Almost seven years later, we are outspoken Disney fanatics and have racked up the following trips to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida:
1. April 2006
2. February 2008
3. April 2009
4. October 2009
5. March 2010
6. October 2010
7. May-June 2011 (including Disney Dream cruise)
8. November 2011
9. October 2012 (with extended family)

When people ask me why we’ve gone back to Disney so many times, I tell them that for us, it’s all about return on investment (ROI) – and I know that sounds clinical and cold, but it’s not. For each and every trip, we get OUT of the vacation a million times more than the money and planning that goes into it.  I will caveat this by saying that I plan events for a living, so planning a vacation comes very naturally to me. Creating spreadsheets and researching park hours is NOT for everyone!

A lot of people are also surprised when we tell them that we became fans of Disney without children of our own (yet). There’s so much you can do, just the two of you! Enjoy fine dining at California Grill atop the Contemporary Resort, check out the live music and traditional Irish dancing at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney, hit the biggest and scariest water slides at Blizzard Beach. My favorite perk has been the Cast Members who are often looking for a party of two to fill a ride vehicle, allowing us to jump the line dozens of times. And you’d be surprised how many OTHER “couples” are there at WDW doing the same thing you’re doing – have the time of their lives!

DO:
1. Your homework. Disney isn’t a place where you can just “show up” and expect to get into the best restaurants or other experiences. If you’re not a planner, use a travel agent. He or she will make the plans for you (see tip #3).
2. Structure your vacation to suit your personality. Not a morning person? Take advantage of evening park hours and avoid morning rope drop. Can’t stand the heat? Visit the parks in March or April.
3. Use a travel agent! Their services are free and they can do most of the hard work for you.
4. Treat yourself…book a spa appointment, a late-night dinner somewhere posh, a deluxe resort. Especially if you see starting a family in your future, you’ll be glad you got to experience the best of Disney without having to cut someone’s pancakes for them.

DON’T:
1. Try to do it all in one trip. You will just end up tired and disappointed. In all of our trips, we STILL have not done everything!
2. Blow off making dining reservations – you’ll miss out on great food!
3. Expect to pay Wal-Mart prices. This is Disney, and it’s not cheap.
4. Expect your friends or even family members to understand why you’re choosing a Disney vacation. It’s your time off and your hard-earned money!

Some of our favorites:

  • Resorts:
    • Deluxe resort – Polynesian, much more character than the Grand Floridian. Ask for the Rapa Nui longhouse for easy access to the Transportation and Ticket Center.
    • Moderate resort – Port Orleans French Quarter. Great feel and theme, small overall resort size. Ask for a top floor, corner room in building 1, 2 or 3 for easy access to the food court, pool and bus stop.
  • Restaurants 
    • Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge for breakfast AND dinner. We’d eat there EVERY MEAL if we could, it’s THAT GOOD. 
    • Ohana in the Polynesian for dinner
    • Kona Café in the Polynesian for any meal. 
  • At the parks our favorites are 
    • Main Street Bakery...
    • San Angel Inn (Mexico Pavilion, EPCOT)
    • Biergarten (Germany Pavilion, EPCOT)
    • Yak and Yeti (Animal Kingdom) 
    • 50s Primetime Café (Hollywood Studios). 


Another note about restaurants: We have never had a bad meal at Disney. Never. The BEST meal we ever had was on my birthday at California Grill, located on the top floor of the Contemporary Resort. The service, the food, the view, the experience were all AMAZING. Second favorite, Palo on board the Disney Dream. Hubby says that he likes it all so much, he can’t rank it. “I like all of it!” he said.
with her niece at Cinderella's Royal Table!

Overall, we’ve never had a bad time at Disney. I’m constantly flabbergasted by the number of people who say they hate it; it’s not for them, etc. On our most recent stays, I noticed multiple irate guests at the front desks of the hotels voicing their complaints. Now, I’m really sensitive to that kind of thing, as I hate to see it happen. But, I really wonder WHAT on earth those people could be so upset about at a place as wonderful as Disney.

To contact Rebecca, find her on twitter @RMZFarrell or email her mrsfarrellhob@gmail.com.  Look for more of Rebecca's planning posts coming soon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!


Welcome back for another fun blog hop of great Disney Trivia with my friends - Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from What's Going on in Heidi's Head, and Mike from My Dreams of Disney!

Did you know:
The voice of Goofy in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (and all Goofy appearances since 1987), Bill Farmer, is also the voice of Pluto!  In a recent podcast interview with the guys from Communicore Weekly, he said that he always has to record Pluto last so he doesn't blow out his voice!

Blogorailing Favorite Resort!


Welcome to those of you joining me from the  2nd Stop ~ YourFirstVisit.net  and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd on our Magical Blogorail Teal!

My favorite Disney resort is one I love to visit, yet have never seen the inside of a room.  I have no immediate plans to stay there, either.  But, I adore Disney's Boardwalk Resort.

The Boardwalk is unique for several reasons:
  • It's design is modeled after early 20th century Atlantic City (Boardwalk Empire, anyone?)
  • It has both a hotel and DVC property.
  • It has no interior dining
  • Aside from several outstanding dining opportunities, it also has a dance hall and a sports bar/club
The entrance is amazingly welcoming:

The lobby is adorned with beautifully ornate furniture and a miniature carousel.  Walk down the halls towards the lounge (which I've heard is a wonderful place to spend time.. if you're there not pregnant or with children, which I never have been) and you'll find several of the old penny arcade turn-the-wheel movies.  I remember watching those on Main Street, U.S.A. as a child and I was incredibly excited to know they're still around!

There are two entrances - underneath that awesome entrance are the doors inside the resort, but along the side are steps to my favorite part:

Disney's Boardwalk!


 And along that Boardwalk is one of my favorite restaurants:



If you don't like Greek food, this might not be the place for you, but if you're a fan of moussaka, hummus, and spinach pie, step right up!  Oh, and the Avgolomeno (lemon soup) is ridiculously amazing.  I've tried making it at home, tried it at other restaurants, and never found anything like it!
A big bowl of lemon soup.  Yum!!
After a nice dinner, it's always fun to walk around the Boardwalk and take in the entertainment!  One of our traditions is to step into a photobooth and get pictures together.  Or, walk down towards Jellyrolls, the piano bar, or The Atlantic Dance Hall and stop to play some Boardwalk style arcade games.

Also at the Boardwalk: an art gallery, a brewery, the ESPN Club (you won't miss a minute of that important game - toilets in the restrooms), a ginormous store with everything from groceries to clothing, bikes, entertainers, and more!

The Boardwalk is a short boat ride away from Epcot and Hollywood Studios, but also has standard bus routes!  

Make sure to stop by the Boardwalk on your next trip!!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Pursuing the Magic.

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

1st Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories
2nd Stop ~ YourFirstVisit.net
**3rd Stop ~  The Disney Babies Blog** You are here**
Final Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Giveaway for Good

Along with several other bloggers, I am proud to unite in Operation United Hearts.

For this particular giveaway, we've raised money to help a family who lost their home due to a fire.  A single soldier mother and her 3 children lost everything and we want to help!


  
a Rafflecopter giveaway


get the InLinkz code

Friday, December 14, 2012

Celebrate Good Times!


Welcome to those of you joining me from The CanaDisney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail Blue Loop!


I love celebrating at Walt Disney World.  Selfishly, I am the only member of my immediate family that has celebrated a birthday there (so far), but I LOVE it.  That part of me that turns into a child walking down Main Street, U.S.A. adores celebrating anything there.  For several years, we visited within a week of my birthday (mid-June), so I was lucky enough to share the magic with my family and even friends.

In 2010, I celebrated my birthday along with my best friend's birthday and were even given free cupcakes at the 50's Prime Time Diner at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Though this as the only meal I actually received a cupcake, I enjoyed dining at one of my favorites, Cat Cora's Kouzzina.

But, truly - the thing that makes birthday's more exciting at Walt Disney World?
Okay, this isn't a Disney picture, but a 1 year old eating cake is always a good reason to celebrate!

The birthday button!!  I absolutely love wearing a birthday button!

I love wearing that button.  Having family and friends wish a happy birthday is amazing in its own right, but wearing that button always makes my day.

Every cast member (and many Disney addicts) are trained to recognize that button and welcome it with birthday wishes.  I love walking onto an attraction and have the CM's wish me a happy birthday, but my strongest memory of amazing cast members?  Walking towards the exit and going underneath the train station and amazing cast members wearing Mickey Mouse gloves waving and wishing me a happy birthday.

I sadly don't have a picture of that, but the memory is so strong and amazing in my head, I wanted to share!!

I wanted to welcome Chad from Days in the Park back!  He took a little break and we dragged him back into the Blogorail family to celebrate our 2 year anniversary and now he can't leave ;)

And, a warm welcome to Mary from Capturing Magical Memories for joining us this month!



Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Capturing Magical Memories.

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 ~ Pursuing the Magic 2nd Stop ~ The CanaDisney Blog 
**3rd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog** you are here** 4th Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories Final Stop ~ Days in the Park

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Never Have I Ever...

Been to the Wilderness Lodge or the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds.

Can you believe that?  I've been on the ferries and passed by it so many times, but for some reason I haven't stopped by.

I'm planning to get over there on this next trip, even though we're staying at Old Key West, which is located a short boat ride away from Downtown Disney.

Why would I want to go there?

Wilderness Lodge is home to:

  • Whispering Canyon Cafe - a Disney fan favorite for the experience if not the food!
  • Artist Point - considered one of Disney's best restaurants
  • Chip 'n Dale's Campfire Sing-a-long
And, the Wilderness Pavilion near the Cabins at Fort Wilderness:
Similar to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, thanks to having the same architects, it's a beautiful resort that I hope to stop by and enjoy some time there!

What do you want to experience for the first time on your next trip?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tiggerific Trivia Tuesday!

Welcome back for another:


As always, thanks again to my co-hosts Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Mike from My Dreams of Disney, and Heidi from What's Going on in Heidi's Head

Did you know: 
Epcot celebrates the holidays with Holidays Around the World.  But, instead of a religious story, China tells the story of The Monkey King (Su Wukong), a literary figure from the 16th century.  The Monkey King Festival is celebrated in September and brings the Tao concept of immortality and the Buddhist concept of Rebirth.



Celebrating Chanuka!

I've never thought about going to Walt Disney World to celebrate the holidays.  I've been before after Thanksgiving and around Christmastime, but I've never really thought much about going then - so crowded and, since we don't celebrate Christmas, I never really thought about it being for our family.

Epcot is great for the holidays, as I'm learning more and more thanks to youtube.  With the Holidays Around the World, you can experience many different holidays as they would be celebrated in the different countries represented.

Saturday night, in honor of the 1st night of Chanuka, someone posted a video of the Voices of .Liberty, the a cappella singing group in the America Pavilion, singing a Chanuka medley, I realized there is a little bit of Chanuka celebrated, too!



And, as I continued to search you tube, I came across this beautiful telling of the Chanuka story, also in the American Adventure:



She is so full of life and energy - I hope to someday see this story and to sit down to play dreidel!

For all celebrating this week, hope you're having a wonderful time with your family and friends and enjoying some latkes!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Taking on the Airport alone!

Reader Sarah recently asked about traveling solo with a baby and what to expect getting through security.



Sarah wrote: 
Trying to decide if I should check my stroller and car seat at ticketing....or gate check. I'm traveling solo with my 4 month old and don't know if having the gear will be too much for me through security. Recommendations welcome
Getting through security with a baby can be interesting - some TSA agents are more understanding, it can be a big pain to go through security!


  1. Babies/Children can not be in strollers/car seats/carriers going through security's x-rays.  Babies must be held, but not in a carrier.  Carriers must go through the x-ray machine (some may let you continue wearing, but it may cause additional screenings, including taking the sling off and going thru the x-ray)
  2. Strollers and car seats will have to go through a metal detector or be scanned, so anything in the storage baskets will have to be removed.
  3. Children under 12 don't have to remove their shoes (seriously - this one was ridiculous anyways!)
  4. Baby food, juice, formula/milk bottles are exempt for the liquid rules however they may ask to test to the liquid - it's painless, I've had this done!  And, I've seen them demand to toss juice, but according to the TSA website, this is allowed for children!
  5. When traveling alone, it is okay to ask for help!  Traveling with a baby can demand a lot of attention and goodies, so try to carry-on lightly!
  6. If you're taking an older child, check out the CARES harness (pictured in this post) - it buckles easily into the seat (not quite as securely as the car seat, but..) and folds up super small! So much easier to carry than a big heavy toddler carseat!
My best tips would be to baby wear and carry on a backpack full of your in flight/airport necessities.  I recommended to check the stroller and car seat as soon as possible because it really tends to be a hassle in security.  Babywearing is always my top tip and while going to the restroom can be a bit awkward, it can be done and it's worth it for the ease of the rest of the trip!

What are your top tips for traveling the airports with a baby?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What a Day!

It's a big day for both Walt Disney World AND my house.

Today at Walt Disney World is the official opening for New Fantasyland and the newly renovated Test Track.  Be Our Guest Restaurant (which has been in soft opening since mid-November) is now full time and there are so many new things to see and do.  New streetmosphere in Fantasyland, 2 new castles - new everywhere.

But, at my house?  Noah is 3.
6 months old - first Florida trip

My Buzz Lightyear

Time flies when you're having fun... of course now we have to pay for him at WDW!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Man

Who created it all... or helped other people create it all!

Today is Walt Disney's birthday and without him (and Ub Iwerks), there would be no Mickey Mouse (or Oswald), no Disneyland or Walt Disney World.  Who knows what animated movies would be like without his influence!
 
Thank you, Walt Disney!
 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tuesday Trivia!

Welcome back for another Tiggerific Tuesday filled with trivia!


Did you know:
Disney has always welcomed (and needed) corporate sponsors to bring in outside products into the park.  In 1955, Disneyland had a restaurant known as Casa de Fritos located at "New Orleans Street" and featured "The Frito Kid."  These sponsorships had a twofold purpose: 1. to help pay for Disneyland and 2. to sell Fritos!

Check out this great post from Imagineering Disney all about it!  

In light of a recent conversation I had about the upcoming Starbucks project, I thought this topic was appropriate!

Pavilion overhaul

After spending 10 days in China, I realize how little I had known about the culture and the food.  The last time I took an international history class, it was 1999 so a lot has changed, but I had hoped that Epcot's World Showcase, acting as a living and breathing permanent World's Fair, could help keep me somewhat up to date on what modern day China has to offer.

Obviously the Pavilion is designed after ancient China which is stunning, but what about the high rises of the big cities?  And now, even the countrysides are overwhelmed with high rise residential living space.   But, I'm okay with the buildings - I love the ancient style and absolutely appreciate it.  What I don't get is the food.
Snacks from my train ride - fish jerky WAS in there!
Yes, there are very strange foods to eat - I'm sorry, but dried fish jerky and chicken feet will never make it into my must have snack list.  But the dumplings.  Oh, the dumplings.  There is a very famous Taiwanesese chain of dumpling restaurants, Din Tai Fung that was near our hotel in Shanghai that in our 3 days in Shanghai, we stopped in twice.   The big speciality - soup dumplings.  The best way to describe it that it's like having wonton soup in a thin wonton wrapper.  Wonton, meat/veg/fish (your choice) and broth all in a thin dumpling and steamed.  Absolutely incredible.
Hot and Sour Soup

Dumplings in a spicy sauce

Dumplings

Steamed pork buns

On our day we didn't have dumplings, we found a restaurant called Lost Heaven which is based on food of the Yunan Province, or South Western part of China with influences from Burma and Tibet.  The meal we had there was decadent and completely different flavors - lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, yum. 

Between the dumplings and Lost Heaven, how is it possible that I have never had a good dining experience in The China Pavilion?  I know that many people enjoy the eggrolls (and I'm curious to try the new tea/coffee/bourbon drink), but as the meals go?  I would never stop there over Via Napoli or La Hacienda.

But, bring in some soup dumplings and I am IN.

Now, to get that restaurant to take over....

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ready to Run!

Last month, I completed my 3rd half marathon - 13.1 miles.  My husband and I participated together in the D.C. area race, the Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon.  It started at Mt. Vernon (George Washington's Alexandria, VA home) and ran towards National Harbor, MD.  National Harbor was going to be the D.C. home of a DVC resort, but sadly, Disney bailed.  We do have a Gaylord so if we were dying for a character meal, we could have dinner with Shrek, but something about that just doesn't seem too appetizing...

I digress

That run was to get me in shape post baby (5 months after Z was born) and to motivate me for my next Disney Half Marathon - Princess Half Marathon in February!  And, while I'm still happy to be a member of the WDW Radio Running Team, I'm running with the Magical Blogorail Running Team this time.  We're a smaller team with our first goal is just to come together as Disney loving runners (or run/walkers, as the case may be!) while also supporting two great causes!


We'll be making shirts very soon in order to be ready for Marathon Weekend (hopefully) and definitely ready for Princess or any other races.  We want to only order once for the coming year - we can order again in the future, but not before the 2014 races.  If you are thinking of joining us with this great team, please email MBRunningTeam@gmail.com with any questions, or just to say you want to join!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Safety Tat Review!

A few months ago, a reader asked if I knew a good way to have children labeled for safety.  What would you do if your child was separated from you?

There are a few options -
  1. A leash.  They're tempting, aren't they?  But, those are a no in my house.. My husband would rather run after our almost 3 year old than use one, so I leave that job up to him!
  2. A beaded necklace/bracelet with name/number in beads.  A good idea for girls, but not necessarily younger girls - beads are definitely a choking hazard, so be careful!
  3. Writing their names in their clothes.  And hopefully someone who finds them can realize that it's hidden on their tags.
  4. SAFETY TATS!
Safety Tats are fantastic - Kids love temporary tattoos and the smart parents at Safety Tats combined the need for keeping connected with their parents and a fun tattoo together.  

For reviewing purposes, I chose to sample the SafetyTat QR - the safety tat that also has a QR code to hold extra information!

I found this one to be ingenious!  Everyone (okay, most everyone) these days has a qr scanner on their smart phones, so not only will you find the emergency contact number on the tattoo, but you can add extra information, such as allergies, disabilities  or maybe just a second or 3rd contact number!  

Actually, Safety Tat has come up with special tattoos for medical alerts and they can all have different designs!  There are so many great options for these tattoos!

With the SafteyTat QR, you have to give your information (up to 90 characters) when you're ordering and it will all be entered into the system.  The first thing we did when we received our SafetyTats was check the QR scanner - and it worked perfectly!  

We headed out to an air show with much less fear than normal that Noah would get lost!  He's always running to or from somewhere, so keeping an eye on him can be tricky!

We made sure to let him know that with SafetyTats,  he had the information on his arm.  Not only for one day, because these temporary tattoos will last multiple days.  Actually, my husband decided to try to take it off that night during Noah's bath and he couldn't get the whole thing off!

Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of Noah wearing it.  Why?  Because my husband put it on and took it off without my knowledge and with a newborn at home, I didn't remember to bring my camera to the airshow...   but TRUST me.  These are a great and inexpensive way to give your child emergency contact information in an easy to find place.

If you order now and use the code HOLIDAY2012, you can save 20% through December 5th.

BUT, one lucky reader will have the opportunity to win a pack of SafetyTat Quick Stick Write On-Multi 3 pack!


a Rafflecopter giveaway **SafetyTatsQR were provided to me for reviewing purposes but all opinions are 100% my own.**

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Disney English!

I know that Disney is big everywhere.  With 3 parks already in Asia (Hong Kong/Tokyo) and a 4th being built in Shanghai (in the same district our hotel was in but too far away to get to in such a limited time), it's no surprise that I saw trinkets and Mickey Mouse in many places.
Picture stolen from a coworker.  Thanks, Tom!
But, what I learned is that Disney is more than just the amusement - it's a school!  Disney English is a private school for Chinese parents to take their young children to learn English.  I was told that it is important for both children and parents to speak English at a decent level for the children to start at a good school.  Though I can't imagine being tested for my child to start school, it is part of the education process here and Disney has stepped in to help!

I wonder if they teach M-I-C-K-E-Y to help with the alphabet...