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Monday, February 28, 2011

Reasons I Love Disney A-Z..."F"

Fab Five (5) - Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto
Flora & Fauna (Sleeping Beauty)- The fairies loved Aurora so and took such good care of her growing up. I have mentioned before that this is my favorite Disney movie. I can see them there in the cottage in the forest trying to bake her a birthday cake without using magic and you know what a disaster that turned out to be.
Flounder - I love this little yellow and blue fish, he is such a faithful friend to Ariel. The Little Mermaid is such a wonderful movie. I hope Lexi loves it as much as Ash did when she was a little girl. I have to mention Flotsam here as well, that evil electric eel of Ursula.
Fantasmic - This laser light and water show has been amazing audiences at Disney World's Hollywood Studio's since 1998. I am looking forward to watching Sorcerer  Mickey fight the Disney Villains.
France Pavilion - I know I have mentioned this before, but this will be my first visit to the World showcase. I can't wait to visit Paris and see the Eiffel Tower and visit the bakery!!
Finding Nemo - One of my favorite Pixar movies. I love Dori, Crush, Marlin, all the guys from the fish tank. The pelicans from the dock "Mine, Mine, Mine!" Such a cute movie!
Fairy Godmother (Cinderella)- I suppose there would be no story at all without her would there? She puts the magic in Cinderella's story.
Flame Tree Barbeque - Despite the fact that this is a quick service restaurant I have heard wonderful things. I am going to have to give it a try during our visit to the Animal Kingdom.
Fulton's Crab House - Downtown Disney is quickly becoming my favorite place to choose restaurants from.  We can't eat there every night but I wish we could. Fulton's flies fresh seafood in everyday, how cool is that!  It's even housed in a riverboat replica docked right on the water. Maybe I should make just one more ADR???

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reasons I Love Disney A-Z..."E"

EPCOT - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney near the end of his lifetime. It is a tribute to him that the park is still a favorite of many people today.  I am really looking forward to visiting the World Showcase, this will be our first time.
Expedition Everest - According to the Disney Website "Expedition Everest in the Asia area of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park is a high-altitude, high-speed, roller coaster train ride for big kids, teens and adults to the "Roof of the World," home of the inhospitable snarling beast, the Yeti, at the mountain's peak." So I am still trying to decide if I am ready to be a "big kid" yet or not. I will let you know...
Ed (The Lion King) - The hyenas from the Lion King were great weren't they!  Banzai, Shenzi & Ed in case you were wondering. I loved this movie, I haven't seen it in such a long time. I think it's time to bring it out again. Hakuna Matata! 
Elastigirl & Edna (The Incredibles) - As much as she wanted to deny it you know Helen missed being Elastigirl. You remember Edna, she makes the suits for the Incredible Family. She was awesome darling, her character played a small role but it was very memorable.
Eeoyre - You just have to love gloomy little donkey Eeoyre, the Hundred Acre Wood would not be complete without him would it?
Earl of Sandwich - I have heard wonderful things about this restaurant in Downtown Disney. I am finally going to get to try it firsthand.
Extra Magic Hours - Getting to go into one of the parks an hour early or stay up to three hours late because you're staying at a Disney Resort, one of my favorite perks!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reasons I Love Disney A-Z..."D"

Disney World - It really is such a magical place. Don't you just love going there and becoming a kid again, and taking your kids and watching the pure joy in their eyes. I can't wait for my vacation, come on July!!
Donald & Daisy Duck - Two of the original cast of characters that are true Disney Icons. You have to love Donald, even though his temper flairs from time to time he really has a heart of gold.
Dumbo - the movie is a Disney classic and the ride is one of the first we took Dakota on at the Magic Kingdom.
Disney Blogs - I love reading them, whether it's about the parks or movies or the man, I love keeping up with what's happening now or learning about the history of Disney.
Dinosaur - I can hardly wait to visit the Dino Institute and climb aboard the CTX Time's gonna be a bumpy ride!!
Downtown Disney - Cirque du Soleil, DisneyQuest, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, Tren-D, Disney's Days of Christmas, Goofy's Candy Company, World of Disney, I don't think I need to say anymore.
Disney's Days of Christmas - This store has to have a spot of it's own. My tree is decorated in Disney ornaments each year. I bet there will be lots of new ones for 2011.
Dory - She really was one of the reasons I loved Finding Nemo, as scatter brained as she was she helped keep Marlin on track until he found Nemo.
Dash - The older son from The Incredibles, I love how they are a regular family except for the fact that they have super powers.
Dopey - I make the confession I have never actually seen Snow White, but I think he's so cute. Which means now I should mention Doc, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy & Happy.
Dreams - Disney is just a place that make you believe all your dreams can really come true.
Disney Channel - When Dakota was little we watched it for hours, especially on weekend mornings. Bear in the Big Blue House, P B & J Otter, Stanley & the Great Big Book of Everything (Dakota loved animals). I don't even know if these shows are on anymore, probably not.
Disney Couture - I really like this jewelry line from Disney. It's trendy, and not aimed at kids. I even bought Ashley the Cinderella set for her wedding.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reasons I Love Disney A-Z..."C"

Cinderella - I have to start with Cinderella because she is Ashley's favorite princess. And I do love the movie too, it is truly a Disney Classic.
Cinderella's Castle - This is the definition of a Disney Icon isn't it. I get chills looking at it as I walk down Main Street, there isn't anything else like it anywhere. Once you see it you know you're there, it really does make Disney "The Most Magical Place On Earth" all by itself, doesn't it?
Cape May Cafe - I am really looking forward to having breakfast here during our stay at the Yacht Club. It really is convenient to have a character breakfast at your resort!!
Characters - From Mickey & Minnie to Rapunzel & Flynn there is some kind of character for everyone to love at Disney. They are half the reason we go and a huge part of the magic.
Captain Hook - I love Peter Pan!! And the Crocodile who had his hand for dinner, who knew Hook would taste so good?  We love to ride Peter Pan's Flight, can't wait to ride it again.
Captain Jack Sparrow - I cannot wait to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean!  We didn't ride this back in 2003 and I am so glad. I can't imagine this attraction without Jack and his crew. I love these movies and well Johnny Depp, enough said.
Chip Potts & Cogsworth (Beauty and the Beast) - How cute is little Chip as a little stow away helping save the day!  And Cogsworth is so noble.
Christopher Robin - Who doesn't love Pooh and all the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood? And none of them would be possible without Christopher Robin.
Coral Reef Restaurant - We are so excited about finally getting to eat here. We had reservations last trip but our traveling companions decided they didn't want to try it so we canceled. I definitely have to have a Chocolate Wave for dessert!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reasons I Love Disney A-Z..."B"

Briar Rose - Yesterday I told you all that Sleeping Beauty is my favorite classic Disney movie and Princess. Of course, Briar Rose is what the fairies called Aurora while they were living in the enchanted forest while she was growing up.
Belle (Beauty & The Beast) - Another movie I remember from Ashley's childhood. The music was beautiful, Belle was beautiful and smart and the story was wonderful. What's not to love?  I am really looking forward to Beauty and the Beast - Live On Stage at Hollywood Studios.
Buzz Lightyear - Toy Story was a favorite movie of Dakota's growing up. We have watched it hundreds of times. Buzz was one of the "Must Meet" characters on our last trip to Disney. And we loved the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, it will be on our "to do list" again this time.
Baloo & Bagheera - I love the movie Jungle Book!  It's such a classic!!  The music is awesome, and characters are great! 
Beaches & Cream - I am really looking forward to a sundae, probably not the famous kitchen sink (way too much for me to eat alone)!  Dakota will be looking for a chocolate shake, his absolute favorite.
Bakeries - Don't you love the smell of fresh baked pastries, cinnamon rolls, eclairs, cupcakes, brownies, ect.  You have the Main Street Bakery, Boardwalk Bakery, Starring Rolls Bakery, Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, and of course Boulangerie Patisserie.
B.E.N. (Treasure Planet) - Dakota & I just watched this movie over the weekend. It's such a great movie! B.E.N. is a wonderful character too!  Disney does have some great movies without princesses too!!
Blizzard Beach - One of the two water parks located at Disney World, Blizzard Beach is said to have been created by a freak snow storm which blanketed Florida. We are really looking forward to a day away from the "Big 4 Parks" and enjoying some time in the water, especially considering how hot Florida can be in July!!
Boo (Monster's Inc.) - She is such a cute little girl, and don't you love how she says "Mike Wazowski"!!  or how she calls Sully "Kitty". The Pixar films are winners with me too!!
Bruce The Shark (Finding Nemo) - Pixar does such a great job, their movies are entertaining to both kids and adults and Finding Nemo is no exception. Bruce was such a great character too, I love that he's going to "AA for fish"-how ironic is that. 
Bob (Mr. Incredible) & Buddy (Syndrome) - Another Pixar movie, I know, but I loved The Incredibles too!  And when I found out that Jason Lee was the voice of Syndrome that made it even better (I'm a big My Name is Earl fan). 

Again, I am sure there will be more, I will add them as I remember.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Reasons I Love Disney A-Z..."A"

Aurora - My favorite Princess. I still remember going to see Sleeping Beauty at the movie theater downtown when I was a little girl. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen...she still is. We didn't see Aurora last time we were at Disney World maybe this time.
Ariel (The Little Mermaid) - I remember taking Ashley to see this movie when she was just a little girl. Don't you just love the music from this movie! I cannot wait to see the Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney World. And of course you have Ariel's sisters: Adella, Alana, Andrina, Aquata, Arista & Attina.
ADR's - Advance dining reservations, aren't they wonderful. The perfect way to know you get to eat exactly where you want and you get the chance to dine with Mickey, Minnie, other Disney Characters or Disney Royalty.
Animal Kingdom - Disney's theme park dedicated to animals, nature and conservation.  It's pretty amazing to see all of the species of animals living in an area which appears so close to their native habitat. I think Walt would be proud. 
All-Star Resorts - While my family has never stayed at an All-Star Resort, I think it's great that Disney has tried to make it affordable for everyone to visit The Happiest Place On Earth! And Disney had definitely made sure it appeals to everyone's taste with the All-Star Resorts whether you're  a
Aladdin - This movie came out when Ashley was about 5 or so. You've got to love the Genie, enough said. And let's not forget Abu.
Aladar - Dakota was a dinosaur freak as a kid. I don't remember what Disney/Pixar movie we had gone to see when the preview for Dinosaur came on. Dakota was obsessed with this movie for a long time. I personally kept Disney in the black buying Aladar action figures one year.
Atlantis - Another movie I have watched with Dakota dozens of times. It's really a great movie, I love how they can make an animated move appeal to adults as well as kids.
Adventureland - Located in the Magic Kingdom, Adventureland is where you will find Pirates of the Caribbean, Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Enchanted Tiki Room. It's a paradise where you are sure to hear drums and parrots but watch out Captain Jack may try to recruit you for his crew of pirates! 
Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride - This is not what you are thinking!! This is the attraction located on floor 2 of Disney Quest. You wear goggles for a virtual magic carpet ride  through Agrabah and search for jewels in the Cave of Wonder, and don't forget to fee the Genie while you are there.
Animation Academy - Also offered at Disney Quest, if you are into computer animation, this is a hands on lesson. It lasts about 20 minutes.
Autographs - Aren't these just part of the fun of going to Disney. I love just seeing how many I can collect while I am there. This year I am going to take an autograph book for Lexi since she can't go with us and send it to her in Korea. I know she won't be old enough to realize what it is but hopefully she will appreciate it later.

I am sure there are "A" Disney things I have forgotten, I will be back to add them as I remember. Please feel free to add your favorite "A" items in the comments section!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finding Romance At Disney World

Since Valentine's Day was this week, I am sure there are lots of couples at Disney World having romantic dinners for two and drinking champagne.  But you know there are 51 more weeks during the year you can be romantic.  Mike and I are taking Dakota along on our vacation to Disney, but that doesn't mean we can't have a little romance during our time there.  Even though we have been married 15 years I love Mike every bit as much as the day we married, I can't wait to steal a little alone time at Disney.  Here are a few ideas you can consider too.
Carriage Rides - The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort*
Intimate horse-drawn carriage rides depart from Boatwrights Dining Hall for a 30-minute trip up and down the scenic Sassagoula River. Each carriage can hold either 4 adults—or 2 adults and 3 small children. The trip costs $45 USD per carriage.
Carriage rides are also available at the Port Orleans Riverside.
Sweetheart Dinner for Two*
For those in love and romantics at heart, our Sweetheart Dinner for 2 is the ideal way to put the thrill and happy sentiment into any special occasion.
Experience the enchantment of a romantic dinner at one of our renowned Signature Dining restaurants. Savor a meticulously prepared 3-course, prix-fixe meal for 2 that includes an appetizer, entrĂ©e and a shared celebratory dessert. You'll also appreciate a specially selected beverage in 2 commemorative etched champagne flutes—yours to take home as keepsakes of your extraordinary night!

The Sweetheart Dinner for 2 is available at Citricos, Narcoossee's, California Grill, Jiko, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Flying Fish, Artist Point, and Hollywood Brown Derby.

Price: $150 for all participating Signature Dining locations except California Grill; $170 at California Grill (Tax and gratuity are not included in package price.)

From Mickey and Minnie With Love*
From the moment you step into your Walt Disney World® Resort room, you step into a world of romance, experiencing all the magic Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have arranged just for you! They heard congratulations were in order, so they turned back the bed and sprinkled rose petals on the sheets and chocolates on your pillows. Cozy bath towels, specially embroidered with your names, are draped across the foot of the bed and a spa basket for two sits waiting for you. On the table nearby, a splash of Mickey-shaped confetti, a dozen pixie-dusted roses, and a custom-matted photo of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse stands to congratulate you. Then, for the final touch, three magically lit candles are scattered about to set the mood for romance - and, if you look closely, you’ll find Tinker Bell spreading a little magic too! All of this is not only meant for you to enjoy - now every piece has been selected for you to take home - with love. Contact a Disney Florist Dream Maker at (407) 827-3505 to find out more about or to order this Magical Celebration. A 48 hour notice is needed. As of today the cost is $275.
A Few Budget Friendly Ideas
Take a walk along the beach at the Poly, Beach Club or Yacht Club or sit on the sand and share a bottle of wine.
Go for a stroll on the Boardwalk and watch Illimunations. Grab something from the Boardwalk Bakery to share.
Go for a walk through the World Showcase. Don't forget to check out the Boulangerie Patisserie at the French Pavilion, you can share a chocolate croissant at one of the outdoor tables under the stars and feel like you are on the streets of Paris.
Honestly, just leaving everthing behind and enjoying each other is about as romantic as it gets. You don't need anything special or expensive. Just enjoy each other, and I can't think of anywhere better to do that than Disney World.
*This info comes from the Disney World website and is current as of the date of posting.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Am A Disney Blog Junkie!!!

I have a confession to make. I read lots of Disney blogs every day, and I "Like" lots of Disney stuff on Facebook. You see my new addition to the blog, over to the right, there are some of the blogs I frequent. Oh there are lots more, and there will definitely be additions to the list. Most of the time I just do a generic search for Disney or Disney World or Disney Vacation and see what comes up.  I also love all of the Disney history you can find on the blogs out there.  I find the ones I like the most are created by real Disney fans, not travel agents who are giving you tips in hopes of getting business along the way.  And not the blogs by someone who's hoping to sell a guidebook.  It's the simple blogs by a Mom or Dad who just loves Disney and taking their family there on vacation.  The person who blogs just for the pure Love of Disney!  It's where they say I remember walking down Main Street with my little boy ... or I remember the first time I rode Tower of Terror!  The truly heartfelt stories and memories of their time in the parks. While I do appreciate the advice on remembering to bring comfy shoes and sunscreen to the parks and to get a FastPass to Soarin' I am now ready to read about the fun I am going to experience in about 160 days.  Now I really need to find a good Disney food blog I still a have a couple of ADR's to make...

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Lot Has Changed Since 2003...

Our one and only trip to Disney World was in January 2003. This past weekend as we were looking through the guide books and talking about our trip I got to thinking about all of the new movies Disney and Pixar have produced since then. There should really be a lot of new characters and things for us to see at Disney. First, you have to look at the Pixar movies, the best I can remember Toy Story was the only one that had come out at the time of our visit. We did get to see Buzz Lightyear, Dakota was a huge fan at the time, he was thrilled - but you never saw Woody.  I believe we get to see him around Magic Kingdom now with Jessie. I remember riding the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin where you get to shoot the lazer gun at the targets and save the world from Zurg. This time we get to check out Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios!  I understand it's really popular and a FastPass is a must!! Then there's Cars and Finding Nemo. We will have to go see "Finding Nemo-The Musical", and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, then Turtle Talk with Crush. Who doesn't love Crush?  Monster's Inc. is another family favorite, we will have to visit the Laugh Floor. Then there are the new Princesses, Tiana and Rapunzel. And my favorite of all Captain Jack Sparrow-Pirates of the Carribean. Too bad it's not really Johnny Depp!  We didn't ride the attraction in 2003. We just ran out of time, and now I'm kind of glad. We love the movies and Captain Jack. It's definitely on our "Must Do" list for this time around. I hear he may be making an appearance at the park again with the new movie coming out, maybe he will be there while we are there. It is rumored that he will be at the parks with Black Beard's Daughter from the new movie. Then you have the attractions not associated with a move like Soarin', Expedition Everest, American Idol Experience. Something tells me we aren't going to have enough time to do it all again this time. Looks like I will just have to start planning another Disney Vacation, but there won't be 8 years in between visits again.   

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Note To All Of You Disney Upgrade Whiners

Disclaimer: Our vacation is during peak season, we are paying rack rate for our room which is at the Yacht Club Resort, Ragatta Club Level, Lagoon View. We are staying on the Magic Your Way Premium Plan. That being said...
I check out a lot of forums and blogs, pretty much on a daily basis. I see a lot of people saying "I'm going to book a cheap room and hope for an upgrade."  Here is my question to you:  Why not book the type of room you want to stay in, with the view you want, in the type of resort you want to begin with???  Aren't you just setting yourself up for disappointment? I'm not talking about getting upgraded from a standard parking lot view to a garden view, some people actually expect to get upgraded from POP or an All Star Resort to a Deluxe Resort!  I would never dream of expecting such a thing, it's crazy!!  Next, it's the people who think they should get bumped up to conceirge level.  I paid good money for for a club level room. I'm not crazy about Disney upgrading someone who isn't willing to pay for it. On the boards you read about people coming to the lounge and taking large amounts of food to their room and not leaving any for other guests.  I would never allow my son to do this, my husband and I would never do this. I am just wondering if the people taking advantage of the offerings at the lounge are people who didn't have to pay for them in the first place.
Another group of people who really gripe me are the ones who have one night on the Premium or Platimum Plan during their stay. The first thing they would tell me is that Disney doesn't stop them. While this is true, I don't think this was Disney's intention when creating the package either. This is evident in the fact the if you use the Platinum or Premium Plan for one night only you have to check out and check back in and get new Key To The World cards.  Then they use the benefits of this over the course of two days. There are actually threads out there telling people how to do this and take advantage of Disney for as much as they can. Again, I am staying for 5 days and 4 nights.  All of my stay is on the Premium Plan.
My last gripe for today is Disney offering FREE DINING!!!!  The best way to get people to complain about something is to give it to them for free. There are people who complain that they don't get an appetizer just dessert, really poor thing!  Pay for the dang appetizer out of your pocket. Then there are the ones who upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan and complain "It's too much food!"  And the ones who say they can't find anywhere to eat, there are 139 restaurants to choose from and you can't find somewhere to eat at Disney World??? In my opinion Disney has totally devalued their restaurants at this point. All over the boards it's "Does anyone know when Free Dining is going to be?" No one expects to have to pay to eat at the Disney restaurants anymore. Disney, wake up and realize people are coming to visit and they are are going to eat while they are there. NO MORE FREE DINING!!! Then we paying customers will be able to get a table at a restaurant again without having to get up at 12:01 on the morning of the 180th day before we arrive at our resort. Nice thing is the very people who can't afford to pay for dining are staying at Disney for 10 days to 2 weeks. Makes my 4 night stay seem like nothing. And they go back at least once a year sometimes 2 & 3 times a year. Honey, cut back on the number of trips and you can afford dining. Just sayin...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Must See's & Must Do's

I have a red folder I put all of our Disney info in to keep it organized. You know the kind of folder you buy for the kids when schools starts, plastic with the metal tabs that fold out to hold papers. I have put in dividers and have our resort reservations for the Yacht Club under one tab and ADR's under another. I have included a tab for each persons must do list. It's interesting to see how different everyone views a Disney vacation. Mike's list includes floating down the lazy river at our resort, relaxing on the balcony and watching the Illimunations fireworks, having room service one night, buying a cigar from Sosa's, riding the Peter Pan Ride at Magic Kingdom. If you knew my husband you would go Huh??? Mike's idea of vacation is to just relax, it doesn't matter where he is; he just wants to relax. Dakota's list includes having calamari (doesn't matter what restaurant it's from), eating at Coral Reef (because he thinks watching the fish will be really cool) and riding Soarin', he & I are even going to get over our fears and ride Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.  He says he won't mind getting autographs as long as no cute girls are close by to catch him doing it, but that remains to be seen...  Me, at Disney I'm going to be a kid, I want to meet Mickey & Minnie and all the princesses and get autographs, ride everything, eat lots of chocolate and watch the parades!!  I almost forgot SHOP!!! I guess what I have learned from all of this is to be sure you have everyone in your family be involved in your vacation planning (Disney or otherwise). I think this weekend Dakota & I will sit down with one of our planning books and choose his favorite attractions and order a customized map from Disney, I hear they are pretty cool.  Somehow I don't think Mike's going to have a hard time finding the lazy river at Storm Along Bay...