Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Man Giveaway

Little Man Giveaway

Green Scene MomThese adorable products are designed especially for little boys to encourage imaginative play, inspire healthy eating and simple mealtimes, and cover the basic essentials. Check out Green Scene Mom's favorite products for little rambunctious boys to use and enjoy as they explore the world around them. Moms will also love these companies for encouraging eco-friendly lifestyles through their innovative product designs.
Green Scene Mom - Alex Toys GiveawayAlex Toys' Busy Fire Truck is a new twist to a classic wood toy! Baby will love playing with 8 fun colorful activities on every side of the Busy Fire Truck! Actives include rolling wheels, a curvy bead maze, a mirror, turning picture tiles, a spinning gear, a movable ladder and a discovery wheel. Includes a pop-up feature too. For ages 10+ mos. For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - Pacific Baby GiveawayPacific Baby thermal bottles keep liquids hot or cold for up to ten hours. These high quality bottles are versatile to use from birth to 5 years old and make feeding and drinking simple during outings and while traveling.

The wide neck offers greater visibility and the inner scale simplifies measuring out formula. The bottle nipples come in three speeds and are naturally shaped. Just add handles and a spout to transform this bottle into a sippy cup for older kids. For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - pediped Giveawaypediped's adorable shoes are perfect for going on summer adventures! These stylish shoes fit comfortably and ensure healthy foot development. They are available in more than 140 designs for boys and girls.

Exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort and distinctive styling have made pediped the fastest growing children's footwear brand in the United States. pediped footwear is sold in over 2,500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide. pediped has also received many awards for their innovative footwear designs. For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - BreathableBaby GiveawayBreathableBaby is a child product safety company dedicated to breathable innovations that address parents' concern for baby's safety inside the crib.

BreathableBaby products include breathable mesh crib liners which are designed to address the risks of suffocation and entanglement, breathable wearable blankets and blankets with moisture wicking mesh fabrics to keep your baby comfortable by reducing overheating, and breathable toys that are safer for baby to snuggle with. For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - Yummi Pouch GiveawayYummi Pouch makes eco-friendly snack solutions that encourage healthy snacks for active kids. Their reusable food pouches are freezer safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free, Phthalate-free, and can be filled with healthy blended snacks and easily taken on-the-go, no spoon required.

Yummi Pouch also recently introduced cloth snack and sandwich bags, each lined with a water resistant interior and decorated with colorful prints. They're perfect for crackers, chips, and sandwiches and also make great little storage bags for hair accessories and cosmetics. For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - Baby Bump Bundle GiveawayBaby Bump Bundle creates care packages for moms-to-be by trimester, newborn babies, and nursing new moms. Baby Bump Bundle also offers high quality products for moms and babies individually, so you can build your own bundle or just buy an item that catches your eye! For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - oogaa Giveawayoogaa designs and manufactures non-toxic feeding products for baby and young children. Their award-winning divided plate is stackable, soft, durable and easy to clean. It's also dishwasher, microwave, freezer and oven safe. oogaa's tugboat spoon makes mealtime fun! Toot-toot... open wide, here comes the tugboat! For more information, visit
Green Scene Mom - Buttons Diapers GiveawayButtons Cloth Diapers are quality, affordable, and adorable cloth diapers that are an easy to use two-in-one system. Buttons' one-size diaper covers can snap to fit babies from 9-35 lbs, and are made of 2 layers of soft wipeable PUL with double gussets around the legs. Their snap-in diaper inserts are soft and absorbant, and come in two sizes. For more information, visit

These wonderful companies have allowed us to give away an amazing gift set! One lucky mom will win these great Little Man Summer Essentials for their little guy!

Prize Gift Set - Retail Value $260

BreathableBaby buried treasure sheet, mesh blanket & toy elephant - $45.99
pediped pair of boys shoes - $35
Alex Toys Busy Fire Truck - $43.95
Pacific Baby bottle set - $50
Baby Bundle 3 item gift set - $30
Yummi Pouch Spunky snack bags & mustache dishwasher safe stickers - $15.99
oogaa silicone divided plate & silicone tugboat spoon - $16.99
Buttons Diapers diaper cover, 2 daytime inserts & 1 nighttime doubler - $24.50
Little Man Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

I didn't really pay attention to newly renovated attractions for my Disneyland trip.  I knew that I would be missing out on Alice in Wonderland and Space Mountain due to refurbishments, but it had slipped my mind that Big Thunder had a major 14 month refurbishment in 2013.

Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Without knowing about the refurb, I went into this attraction thinking that it would be fairly similar to the east coast version.  Railroad going through an old mine town...

But this attraction has added more story (though according to original Imagineer Tony Baxter, there are two conflicting stories in this attraction... but, you and I won't even think about it!) including the mine town and explosions!

There is more of an old town feel - the old mine town signs, old shops, waterways - this attraction is FANTASTIC.

And I'm going to say this - though many people talk about how Space Mountain is better at Disneyland, I'm going to say that Big Thunder is better, too.  Do NOT skip this attraction because there is a duplicate at your home park - you'll regret it!

Which is your favorite?  Do you compare attractions coast-to-coast, too?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Super Shuttle Overview

Traveling to The Disneyland Resort isn't as straight forward as trying to The Walt Disney World Resort.  One of the most simple and basic fixes that WDW offers - free (included) airport transportation to all those staying in a WDW resort.  Before I left for Disneyland, I did some basic research and chose to use Super Shuttle to get me from the airport (LAX) to my hotel (in Anaheim).  

Super Shuttle 

Super Shuttle 

A national airport van service that is often more cost effective than car rental or taxis - to get from LAX to Anaheim, cost me only $17.  Prices vary drastically, so check costs before you sign up!

Standard Van Service

While there are several options, the standard one that I'll be covering today is the airport van service.  It's very easy to do beforehand (or have your travel agent do so) - simply plug in the locations, dates, and times. 

Stay in Contact 

After I made my reservation, I received an email confirmation, which I kept close when I was leaving.  I also entered my cell phone number for updates and when I landed, I received a text message saying something like "Welcome to LAX, proceed to .... when you get your luggage."  After I got my luggage, headed off to the super shuttle stand at LAX, located outside of baggage claim.  I checked in and was told what number shuttle I would be on. 

Patience Required

I arrived in LA after 10 pm - after a full day at work, it was 1 a.m. on my body clock and I was exhausted!  However, LAX is a zoo and I had a little bit of waiting to do for my shuttle.  When I checked in, I was told approximately 20 minutes - they communicate with tablets and each shuttle has a specific route and customer list, so even though I watched at least 10 shuttles drive past or stop to pick up, I didn't get onto a shuttle until my assigned van arrived, right about 20 minutes later.

Payment Options

For ease of everything, I paid for my ride and tip online before I left so I didn't need to think about cash or anything for the ride.  One less thing to worry about is always a plus!

Successful journey

I shared my van with a large group visiting from Australia.  They were headed to another Anaheim hotel, but luckily, I was dropped off first!  The driver quickly got my luggage for me and headed to the next stop.  Super Shuttles are not one stop vans.  You will most likely share with many other people and possibly stop at several locations.  I lucked out in that I was one of the last people to get in the van and the first person dropped off!


For the price, ease, and convenience, I would recommend and take the super shuttle again.  Though at a different time of day, I might have taken the Disneyland bus, as it doesn't run after 6 p.m., that wasn't an option.  Though I've heard different results and different experiences, I couldn't beat $20 with tip for an easy and quick ride to my hotel!

What is your preferred airport to hotel transportation?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Foodie Friday - Napa Rose

We love Signature Dining!  Enjoying fancy food on a date night is something we do a few times a year for special occasions.  Our quick trip to Disneyland, celebrating my birthday, was definitely a reason to try Disneyland's Signature Restaurant at the Grand Californian Hotel by Chef Andrew Sutton.

Napa Rose

Chef Andrew Sutton

Award winning Chef, Andrew Sutton, was recruited by Disney in 2000 to create the signature restaurant for the resort, which turned into Napa Rose. They wanted a destination restaurant and Chef Sutton has definitely done that.  He is also the head chef at Carthay Circle, the newest restaurant in California Adventure, and also Club 33, the VIP members only restaurant located inside of Disneyland Park!


Inspired to be "Upscale Californian fare with an extensive wine list" the hardest part of dining here is deciding what to eat!  The menu is constantly changing with seasonal fare "inspired by California’s bounty of produce, meat, game, poultry, seafood and farm-fresh specialty ingredients."  

We started with a glass of wine (for me), beer (for him), complimentary bread basket (delicious), and by splitting the seasonal roasted tomato soup.  They split the soup for us in the kitchen so that we both had our own mug!  It's not often my husband asks for soup, but we both enjoyed that indulgent!


Not quite as tricky as deciding on appetizers, choosing our entrees was fairly simple.  When we entered the restaurant, we walked past the open kitchen and I saw/smelled the filet and knew I had to order it!  The official menu online has already changed from what I ordered just a month ago, but I was able to find the official description: 
Grilled Filet of Angus Beef Tenderloin - Grilled Asparagus, Asparagus Coulis and Tomato-Cabernet Vinaigrette. 
 It was better than expected.  We have become accustomed to eating fresh organic grass fed beef and the fresh flavors that can have - this was better than anything we have ever made at home!  I don't always love/crave steak, but I'm sure glad I was that night!

Adam chose the rack of lamb - not my thing, but he said it was perfect!
    Green Garlic Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb - Slowly Braised Lamb Breast and California Coastal Mushroom Ragu.
And, we just had to split an order of the truffled mac & cheese.  Why?  Because when you are in a fine dining experience and they offer truffle mac n cheese, you have to.  It's the rule.  A month later I'm drooling at the thought of it!


When it came time for dessert, we new we couldn't skip out!  The waiter even took notice of my birthday button when he brought me my:
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Paté with Hazelnut Crème Anglaise
Adam ordered *what I think was* the Bananas Foster Creme Brulee - it was also fabulous, but for my money, chocolate gooeyness is always the way to go!

Napa Rose is an incredible restaurant and I would absolutely eat there again, assuming we have a babysitter!  Kid friendly or not, this is a date restaurant - or maybe older kids/teens!  It's not exactly quiet, but too expensive to waste money on small children!  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disneyland Extra Magic Hour

On Walt Disney World Vacations, I always recommend taking advantage of the Morning Extra Magic Hours - especially for families with young children that tend to rise early anyway!  Those first hours when the crowds are minimal make touring much more pleasurable and it's usually possible to ride 4 or 5 attractions before the park opens to everyone else!  But, Disneyland's hours were slightly different...

Disneyland Extra Magic Hours

What Is Extra Magic Hour?

With Extra Magic Hour, an early admission option, registered Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests enjoy—during every day of hotel stay—admission to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park for one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days.

To enhance the early entry experience, it is strongly recommended that Guests arrive at least one hour and 15 minutes prior to regular park opening.

Be Our Guest 

Extra Magic Hour is one of the many benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel and is only available for Guests who book and stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel.

Schedule for Extra Magic Hour

The current Extra Magic Hour schedule allows registered Resort Hotel Guests access to one park on these select days:

Disneyland Park: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Disney California Adventure Park (including access to Cars Land): Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

Good Neighbor Hotels Magic Morning Early Access

Receive one Magic Morning* early admission into selected attractions at a designated theme park. Valid with Disneyland Resort Park Hopper souvenir tickets of 3-Days or longer.  Only for Disneyland Park mornings.

Know Before You Go

For admission, each registered hotel Guest (ages 3 and older) must have a valid theme park ticket and active hotel room key card.

Applicable days and times of operation and all other elements including, but not limited to, operation of attractions, entertainment, stores and restaurants and appearances of Characters may vary and are subject to change without notice.

Subject to capacity, cancellation and other restrictions.

Disneyland Extra Magic Hours - are they necessary?

When I was there, we took advantage of the morning hours because we could.  We stayed at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel with easy walking access to both Disneyland and California Adventure.  But, unlike Walt Disney World, I don't think they are a must!

Our first day - 

We started around 9:30 am, after checking into our hotel, grabbing a green juice (there is a Jamba Juice right outside of the Grand Californian in Downtown Disney).  We used our optimized Touring Plan to guide us from attraction to attraction and did just about everything on our plan by around 3:30 p.m.!  

Our second day -

We read the sign wrong and woke up early to visit California Adventure early to find that it was Disneyland that had the extra magic hour again that day.  So, we mosied around Main Street, U.S.A. to find that the stores were closed (talk about not being at Walt Disney World!).  We took tons of pictures (all of the Windows - that series will be coming back soon!) and left the park to start the 8 a.m. day at California Adventure to be among the first in Carsland!

Our third day -

We started our day with the morning extra magic hour for California Adventure and headed, with everyone else, to Carsland.  And Radiator Springs Racers was closed.  The fastpass machines don't open until actual park opening...  we didn't know what to do with ourselves!  So, we shopped and bought our boys presents from Radiator Springs.  The attraction was down for hours - and we ended up going back to Disneyland before the fastpasses were being handed out!

My conclusion?

Sleep in, take advantage of a nice breakfast or morning exercise class (Grand Californian offers a morning power walk thru California Adventure select mornings), and don't rush!  Disneyland is a much more laid back park.  Crowded thanks to the locals, but without the insane wait times (aside from Radiator Springs Racers) that you will find on crowded days in Florida!

Do you use extra magic hours?  Do you prefer morning or evening?  Email me at for more personalized planning advice and free travel planning!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2015 Disney Armed Forces Salute

Disney has finally announced:

The 2015 Disney Military Discount

Walt Disney World Discounts!

Purchase now through September 24, 2014 

Receive admission on any 4 days now through September 27, 2014 for just $169, plus tax.  Park hopper is included.
And if you’re looking for a little extra magic, add the Water Park Fun & More option for just $29 more, plus tax.  

New Offer Tickets

Purchase from August 25, 2014 through September 30, 2015 and receive admission on any 4 days for just $177 plus tax through, from September 28, 2014 October 3, 2015, with the exception of blockout dates:
  • December 22, 2014 through January 2, 2015
  • March 29, 2015 through April 9, 2015

And if you’re looking for a little extra magic, add the Water Park Fun & More option for just $30 more plus tax.
  • Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets by Eligible Service Members (defined below) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and other family members and friends, as provided herein. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold.
  • "Eligible Service Members" are active or retired members of the U.S. Military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard.  Spouses of Military Service Members also qualify if they are able to present valid and active U.S. Military IDs in the absence of active Military Personnel.
  • The actual prices charged at the individual U.S. military base ticket offices for Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be less than the prices set forth above.
  • Participating military sales outlets must require that Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) present valid military identification to purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets.
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort are not valid until activated by the Eligible Services Members (or their spouses) at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows.
  • Current offer Tickets and options expire and may not be used after Sept. 27, 2014. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.
  • New Offer Tickets and options expire and may not be used after October 3, 2015. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.
  • No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person's spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse.
  • Each Disney Military Promotional Ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days.

Resort Discounts:

  • Deluxe Resorts and Villas - 40% discount
  • Moderate Resorts and Cabins - 35% discount
  • Value Resorts - 30% discount
*Excluded resorts are as follows:
  • Grand Floridian Villas
  • Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Fort Wilderness Campgrounds
  • Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms
*Black out dates include:
  • November 27 to November 29, 2014
  • December 24 to December 31, 2014
  • March 30 to April 4, 2015

Disneyland Resort Discounts

New Ticket Offer:

August 25, 2014, through October 1, 2015:
3-Day Park Hopper ticket for $132 each
*Black out dates include:
  • December 25, 2014- January 4, 2015
  • March 29, 2015 - April 9, 2015   

All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by October 3, 2015.

Resort discounts are available except for:

  • November 27-29, 2014
  • December 24-31, 2014
  • March 30-April 4, 2015

Please note:

There are far fewer rooms available than in the past several years.  If you know when you want to book, you should let your travel agent know ASAP to try to reserve you the best rate possible!

Email me for all of your travel needs - no cost to you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disney Dream Meal

Welcome to those of you joining me from Rolling with the Magic and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Disney Dining

As the Disney Food Blog totes, "food is a theme park."  The Disney resorts are known to most as great places for family vacations, but what many don't realize is that there is an abundance of fantastic dining options available, from inside the parks to the adjoining resorts.  In my mind, eating a subpar hamburger isn't an option with all of the fanastic options.  The best part is that for some of my favorites, you don't even have to enter a theme park.  No ticket necessary for this Disney Dream Meal!

Disney Dream Meal - Resort Restaurants!!

First Course:

Sanaa at Kidani Village, the DVC resort or second building at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, is a fantastic combo of Indian and African cuisine.

One of the must-haves on the menu is the bread service with a variety of accompaniments. This is a great way to test out new flavors and foods that may seem too exotic or scary.  You can choose 5 now to really try a potentially new cuisine and distinct African and Indian inspired flavors!

Second Course:

Time to leave Kidani Village and head over to the main house - Jambo House - at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This buffet became an instant favorite when we visited it in November.  There were dozens foods to try - it was hard not to sample everything! 

I might even have to go for a second soup with all of the amazing soup options they have (carrot/ginger deliciousness)

The options are so plentiful and the menu 
changes daily!  Here are some of the possibilities:

Main Course:

I'm going to head back over to Sanaa and check out the sample menus - while you can opt for one entree, I really prefer the mix and match options!

It's actually hard to decide and/or not to order EVERYTHING!  The salad sampler is great - I can't get enough roasted beets, as weird as that may be.  The butter chicken if fabulous - seriously, even my 4 year old asks for butter chicken on a regular basis.   
But, while I'm not a vegetarian, I love having good options - the stewed lentils and paneer tikka are definitely great options!  Cheese in tomato sauce?  I'm in!  

Dessert Course

After dinner, head back to Jambo House for a dessert at Jiko.  While they bring out cookies to clear the palette at the end of the meal, I can rarely resist a good chocolate dessert after a special meal.  Jiko had a clear winner (and honestly, it's only a clear winner over the zebra domes and Kenyan coffee tarts because I don't have a picture of them - those are incredible as well).  The One Last Cup - which doesn't appear to be on the menu right now - had a Tanzanian Chocolate Kenyan Coffee Mousse with a warm chocolate dipping sauce.  Oh my goodness, so delicious.

Honorable Mention:

One of my all-time favorite Disney restaurants is unfortunately closing at the end of September, 2014.  Kouzzina by Cat Cora, located at Disney's Boardwalk, has my favorite soup - Avgolomeno, a traditional Greek chicken and lemon soup with orzo.  I have tried copying the recipe at home and ordered it at every Greek restaurant near my house - and none of it comes close.  Second on that menu is the Moussaka - a Greek lasagna covered in cheesy bechamel (creamy deliciousness).  That's so decadent that I never even consider ordered it when I'm not on vacation, but at Kouzzina, it's phenominal.  I am sad that I'll never get to experience it again!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay

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

**3rd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog - Dream Disney Meal

Monday, July 14, 2014

Grand Californian Resort and Spa

We love splurging on Deluxe Resorts.  Something about deluxe accomodations (i.e. super comfy bed/big shower) and great locations, often make it worthwhile for us, especially on short trips!  For our quick 3 day Disneyland trip, we decided to do it right:

The Disneyland Resort's Grand Californian Hotel

One of only 3 resorts at the Disneyland Resort, the Grand Californian is the Flagship resort at Disneyland. All 3 of the Disneyland resorts are considered Deluxe, but the Grand Californian stands out with style and grace, but more importantly?


Disneyland is awesome for many reasons, but one of my favorites?  Being able to walk from Disneyland and into Disney California Adventure in under 10 minutes.  Plus that up a little bit - you can literally walk directly from Disney's Grand Californian INTO Disney California Adventure in a special resort entrance!

Or, if you're headed to Disneyland or out for some shopping, you can leave another hotel entrance to go directly to Downtown Disney, which leads to the main entrances of both parks!

The convenience of this resort alone worth the cost!

Fantastic Dining

There are 2 sit down restaurants - and we dined at both (reviews to come!) - Both were delicious!
  1. Napa Rose - by Chef Andrew Sutton (also of Carthay Circle Restaurant AND Club 33)
  2. Storyteller's Cafe

We also enjoyed drinks in the Hearthstone Lounge, filled with comfortable couches, tables and chairs, and even a fireplace!

While we never stopped in at White Water Snacks, the grab and go location, we enjoyed having Downtown Disney conveniently located nearby for a quick breakfast (they had a Jamba 
iJuice - perfect for a healthy breakfast!)

Nice Pools

There are 3 pools in the pool area - we honestly couldn't really tell a difference, aside from the smaller pool that had a great pool slide.  There didn't appear to be a quite pool of the 3, but we still had a lot of fun swimming for a couple of hours!

Daily Activities

From tours of the resort, excercise classes, early morning walks through California Adventure, to storytelling by the fireplace, there are dozens of activities to do at Disney's Grand Californian!  Make sure to get your activity guide when you check in!


The Grand Californian is home to one of Disney's Mandara Spas - I have yet to experience one, but I've heard they're fantastic! I'm too keyed up to go-go-go at the Disney parks and can't handle that much down time!

Interested in staying at Disneyland's Grand Californian?  Email me, for a free, no obligation price quote!!  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Harry Potter Vacation Package!

With the recent addition of Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, a special and incredible deal is being offered!

Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This Exclusive Vacation Package Includes:

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^
  • Breakfast at the Leaky CauldronTM in Universal Studios Florida® - one per person
  • Breakfast at the Three BroomsticksTM in Universal’s Islands of Adventure® - one per person
  • Early Park Admission* to The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM one hour before the theme parks open
  • Special themed Welcome Parcel§
    • Souvenir owl post
    • Welcome letter

Sample Prices:

Moderate/Value Onsite hotel: 

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Starting from $135* per adult, tax inclusive
  • Complimentary shuttle buses and walking paths to both theme parks and CityWalk® to make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your timeme
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Universal Orlando® resort-wide charging privileges

Universal Deluxe On-Site Hotel

Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Starting from $199** per adult, tax inclusive
ALL of the benefits of the Moderate/Value On-Site Hotel PLUS

  • Universal ExpressSM Unlimited ride access† to skip the regular lines in both theme parks - a FREE benefit worth up to $89†† per person, per day
  • Complimentary water taxi or shuttle buses to make getting around the resort fast and easy
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and enjoy first available seating at select Universal Orlando and CityWalk restaurants

Universal Partner Hotel

Rosen Inn International
Starting from $109*** per adult, tax inclusive
  • FREE scheduled transportation^^ between hotel and Universal Orlando
  • Discounts~ on merchandise, food & non-alcoholic beverages at select theme park & CityWalk locations
  • Additional Universal Partner Hotels available

Email me, for free booking information and vacation assistance!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Frozen Summer Package at Hollywood Studios

The popular Disney animated film “Frozen” is coming to life like never before with all-new, immersive experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® during “Frozen Summer Fun!”

And, now through Sept. 1, 2014 (with the exception of Aug. 23), your Clients can reserve viewing for three of the park’s most anticipated new experiences with the “Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package.”

The fun begins during Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome, a procession down Hollywood Boulevard welcoming the visiting royalty to the kingdom of Hollywoodland. Then, your Clients can cool down inside Premiere Theatre during For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration, featuring the music from the film’s chart-topping soundtrack. And, to wrap up the day’s festivities, your Clients will enjoy an exclusive dessert party in a reserved area for a viewing of the “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular.

The “Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package” costs $59 for adults and $34 for children (including tax and gratuity). Discounts do not apply. Park admission is required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. This package is non-commisionable. The number of packages available each day is limited.

Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession and the dessert party offers a reserved viewing area, no seating is available. Wheelchairs and ECVs will be accommodated.

Guests will receive a credential for identification during the Royal Welcome procession viewing. If you Guests are not able to attend the Royal Welcome procession viewing, they can visit Guest Relations to check-in between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. and select a show time for the sing-along celebration. After 8 p.m., Guests can check-in at Min and Bill’s. Credential identification is non-transferrable and will not be replaced if lost or stolen.  

For booking - email me, for free planning, itinerary sessions, and so much more!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

World of Color Tips and Tricks

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California stands apart from Walt Disney World thanks to all of the original shows and live performances.  One of them that stands apart?

World of Color

Nightly show, World of Color

Located in Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure, World of Color is a water light spectacular - no fireworks needed for this park.  This evening show is visually stunning with only water, lights, colors, music, and projected images!  I'm sure times change throughout the year, based on park hours and light, so check your Times Guide for show time!

Get Your Fastpass

An unattached fastpass (i.e. this fastpas will not affect you getting another fastpass immediately) will give you a designated viewing area.  Guests at Disney's Grand Califonia Adventure can enter the park first thing from their resort entrance (enters from resort directly into the park!) to beat the rush to get these fastpasses.

World of Color fastpasses designate a viewing area and return time prior to entering the viewing area.  

World of Color Dining Package

Park patrons may reserve a similar fastpass by making dining reservations at one of 3 participatings restaurants:
  1. Ariel's Grotto
  2. Wine Country Trattoria
  3. Carthay Circle Restaurant
These 3 course, prix fixe meals will give you a fastpass into the same viewing area as the fastpass.

Line up Early

The fastpass gives a 1 hour return time window, approximately 1.5-2 hours before show time.  The line was long when we arrived, and after waiting in that original line, they finally open up the viewing area to everyone.  Though we weren't near the front of the line, we walked to what seemed like a good area and got comfortable.  A center viewing section was roped off, but we were as close to center as possible. 

**Note - don't go too far down unless you want to get wet!! It is a water show and those that go as far towards the water as possible are warned that they will most likely get wet!

Fun Wheel Challenge

45 minutes prior to show, log into the free wifi PierGames and play the Fun Wheel Challenge!  This online pattern memory game requieres no downloads or apps, but the winner gets to control the colors of Mickey's Fun Wheel for 30 seconds!

Glow with the Show

Collectors of Mickey Ears may like to invest in a pair of Glow with the Show ears that will change colors in unison with the other lights around you during show time (also works for Fantasmic)!  The World of Color viewing area has stationary lights that change colors as well, but the lighted ears are definitely fun to watch!

Now for the Show

The show starts and ends with an original song, but the rest of the soundtrack is familiar music.  The colors and effects are phenominal.

During the show, expect to hear and see some of your favorite characters - note Ariel in the above photo!

Look around!

While Mickey's Fun Wheel is stationary and unchanging, the center of California Screaming is utilized as a background for different images throughout the show (think Celebrate the Magic show on Cinderella Castle).  The designs the colors make are so engaging, it's hard to believe that it's a 28 minute long show!

Watch the colors

You'll notice that the Glow with the Show ears aren't prominant, but still fun to watch - as are those white bulbs you may notice in the bottom pictures!

Enjoy the show!

Do you have any tips and tricks for World of Color?  What are your favorite viewing spots?

OR - would you like to plan a Disneyland trip?  I would LOVE to help you!  Email me for your FREE travel planning help!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mickey and the Magical Map

Mickey and the Magical Map

Though I've never been a stage show person at Walt Disney World (not really easy to do with 2 little ones in tow), I knew on our adults only Disneyland trip, we would have to see as much as possible!  The 2013 production, Mickey and the Magical Map, was a must-do on our trip.  

I pulled out my handy times guide - which was very useful on this trip - and figured out where we would need to be to fit it in best.  So, around 3 pm on our first afternoon, Adam grabbed a snack, and we headed to the theatre, located near the back of Fantasyland.  We arrived around 20 minutes before the show to find the front nearly packed, but plenty of room in the upper seating sections.  

Going in without expectations, I loved seeing so many characters pop up to sing and dance.

The dancing was good and fun, but what really struck me was the quality of the singers - several princesses came out to sing their signature songs - Mulan, Rapunzel, Pocahantas, to name a few.  They all rocked the park.  And, let me point out - as a professional musician, I am incredibly picky and a bit judgemental about music/singers.  But, I didn't have a singly complaint - I actually thought about going back again just to hear them sing again (which, with so many other shows and attractions to see and do, didn't happen). 

This show is one of many things I hope stays in California - I love having new, different, and exciting things to see and do in Disneyland.  It's such a great show and probably requires the talent that only LA (aspiring actors) would have!  Shows like this, Aladdin, and World of Color are helping to turn Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure into a destination, not just a neighborhood park (though, I am definitely jealous of the locals!).   

Have you visited or would like to?  I would love to help you plan a trip!  Email me for more information!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Disneyland for WDW regulars

I've been blogging about traveling to Walt Disney World for 4 years now (what?? how is that even possible?).  I've been to WDW too many times to count - as a Florida resident, it's like my own personal playground.  But, until recently, I'd never visited the Original Magic Kingdom.  Now I have SO much to blog about over the next few weeks/months and I can't wait to get started! 

The Disneyland Resort for a Walt Disney World regular!

The Disneyland Resort 

Walt Disney's original theme park 1955 in Anaheim, CA.  Walt Disney wanted a place where he and his family - where all families - could spend time together.  He thought up Disneyland while sitting on a park bench, watching his daughters ride on a Carousel.  Disneyland truly is a happy place and I loved spending time there!

Near Town Square, located in the entrance to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is the Disney Gallery - a small room filled with art and historical items, including the bench and carousel horse from Griffith Park.  

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Please don't expect Cinderella Castle.  Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. is based on Marceline, MO - a small town, quaint, charming, and revolving around the train station.  Walt Disney World's Main Street U.S.A. is much larger - they had so much more room to build (not to mention 15 years of experience to edit and revise).  But, knowing that Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyand was Walt's Vision of small town America makes it that much more special.  Add Walt's apartment above the fire station (with the light always on in his memory), and the uniqueness of this park hits as soon as you walk underneath the train station.

A Charming Place

As much as I tried not to compare, it was nearly impossible.  Not that one was necessarily better than the other - I officially love Disneyland as well - but they are completely different.  My comparison boiled down to this: Walt Disney World is more magical, but Disneyland is more charming.  While WDW is one of the top 10 vacation destinations in the world, Disneyland is more of a locals park.  We met many people who stop by once a month - or more.  Lucky!  Having more locals leads to a few things:
  1. More crowded parks
  2. Lower wait times
  3. Easier to get a table in a restaurant
At lunch and dinner, we were able to walk in anywhere and get seated within a matter of minutes (dining reviews will come, I promise!).

Live Music and Shows

I have to admit, I haven't seen any of the stage shows at WDW - Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc... - our kids aren't the sit still for 45 minutes during a show, so while I can't really compare, I will say the shows at Disneyland were phenominal.  Mickey and the Magical Map, Aladdin, and the random shorter shows that appear throughout the parks were in true L.A. style - great singers, good stories, and so much fun!  

I loved that walking down Main Street or around the Carthay Circle, we almost always heard a live band perfoming.  As a musician, knowing that live entertainment is still alive in well is an extra bonus to the west coast parks!

Length of Stay

So - here's the truth.  I can't imagine spending a full week at Disneyland.  At Walt Disney World, 4 days in the parks is barely enough to visit most of the attractions - and even with that, we hardly ever watch parades or shows.  At Disneyland, we did pretty much everything in our 3 days - with plenty of time for shopping, swimming, and fine dining.  Of course, that's also without kids in tow.  3 days is a perfect stay to visit the 2 parks.  Park hopping may not even be necessary, but it's extra fun there, as the parks are such a short walk to each other that we kept going back and forth because we could.   I could see staying 4 or visiting for a runDisney event - or staying out west to actually see Los Angeles, So Cal, and the many other attractions and possibilities in the area!

Keep checking back for more posting regularlity and a TON of Disneyland updates!!

Ready to plan a trip?  Let me know if I can help!