Monday, September 30, 2013

Five Photos: Mickey Meets Part 1-Costumes

When preparing a post for our Five Photos series, we look for recurring themes in our photos and share on a particular attraction or topic.  This week (and maybe next time) I'm sharing a favorite face that appears over and over in my photo albums.  Does this guy have a great wardrobe or what?  ~Amy

Mickey and me in 2005
Farmer Mickey in 2007
On Tink's First Birthday in 2010
Hugging a magical mouse in the fall of 2010
Ridge and Mickey in 2011

Friday, September 27, 2013

Are you ready for this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival?

Do you have your reservations for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?  This year it starts on September 27, 2013 and runs through November 11, 2013.  We have our reservations and will be doing some live postings while we are there. 

growing up disney
2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Click to download your copy of this year’s festival guide from > here < so you can start making your plans.

The International Marketplace kiosks include 200 items, with more than 30 new food offerings and 60-plus additions to the beverage list.  The list of marketplaces this year includes:
Africa, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cheese, China, Desserts & Champagne, Fife & Drum, Florida Local, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hops & Barley, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Poland, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, and Terra.

Growing Up Disney
2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Fesival

Scotland is new this year and official Epcot International Food & Wine website lists its goodies:
To eat:
  • Seared Scottish salmon with cauliflower puree, watercress and malt vinaigrette
  • Vegetarian haggis with neeps & tatties (griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga and mashed potatoes)
  • Scottish banoffee tart with bananas, Scottish whisky toffee, Walkers Shortbread Cookies and sweet cream
To drink:
  • Innis & Gunn® Original
  • Loch Lomond featuring Glenfiddich® 12 year
  • Glenfiddich Scotch Flight (12, 15 and 18)
Growing Up Disney
2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Guide Map

I always have my list of favorites and this year they include:  
  •  Canada: Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • Argentina: Beef Empanada
  • Germany: Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll
  • Ireland: Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie and Kerrygold cheese selection: reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout, Skellig
  • Poland: Kielbasa and potato pierogie with caramelized onions and sour cream
  • Hops & Barley: Lobster roll with lemon herb mayonnaise
  • Plus many more as I find something I like at each Marketplace

There are always new tastes to try and this year Scotland sounds wonderful.  You can easily find something to try at each of the Marketplaces as you eat your way “around the world”.  I know I try.

What’s your favorite delights at the EIF&WF?  I hope you get to go and enjoy them all!

One of my favorite memories is not of food but of something my wife overheard.  As they were walking past us a man was telling his wife:  “This is GREAT!!  Every few feet you get a snack and a beer!!

For the official Epcot International Food & Wine Festival web site click > here <.

I’m looking forward to this year’s trip—


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Photo Flashback! Magic Kingdom 1973

The theme for this week's Photo Flashback is The Disney Letter "O" for which I have chosen some OLD photos of The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World... One of the Original attractions.

growing up disney
June 1973 - The Haunted Mansion and The Richard F. Irvine Riverboat

growing up disney
June 1973 - The Haunted Mansion

These photos are from a set of slides my wife's uncle took in June 1973 which I have been posting here at Growing Up Disney.  The Richard F. Irvine joined the original riverboat, The Admiral Joe Fowler, on May 20, 1973 to cruise the Rivers of America.  It was rebuilt in 1996 and renamed The Liberty Belle.   The Haunted Mansion was one of the opening day attractions on October 1, 1971.

Focused on the Magic

Friday, September 20, 2013

Magical Blogorail: Updated Disney Bucket List

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Magical Blogorail Red Disney Buckey List

This month, Magical Blogorail Red is sharing our Disney bucket lists.  I wrote about this in March 2011 when I was on the original Blue Line.  It's been over two years, another daughter, and four WDW visits since that post so it's time to review.  I am planning our trip for November 2013 and could honestly use some inspiration.  
Magical Blogorail Red Disney Buckey List

I've marked through any items that were completed as of the 2011 version and will add notes to anything new we have accomplished.  

1. Watch my first daughter walk down Main Street hand in hand with her Granddaddy. Check.
2. Watch my second daughter walk down Main Street with Granddaddy.  Check.
3. Marry my Prince Charming at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion. Check.
4. Dine at Victoria and Albert’s chef’s table. Check.
5. Spend a night in a honeymoon suite at the Grand Floridian. Check (but I want to repeat this one.)
6. Go on a Disney cruise. Check (again, this one needs to be repeated.)
7. Spend a night in the suite in Cinderella Castle. (I’m wishing, I’m wishing…)
8. Dine at Citrico’s and Narcoosee’s.  Considering one of these for a date night during this November's trip.  But a stroll around World Showcase during Food and Wine sounds pretty tempting too.
9. Take an Illuminations Cruise.
10. Stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge (savannah view.)  Have tried but couldn't get a room for the full trip.
children on Dumbo at Walt Disney World
November 2012

11. Take one of the special Animal Kingdom tours.
12. Take my girls to tea with Granny at the Grand Floridian.  Once they are about five years old...
13. Ride Dumbo with my girls.  Check!
14. Attend Party for the Senses.
15. Be Grand Marshal of a parade at Magic Kingdom. (With my family of course.)
16. Meet Julie Andrews. (I know this one is really reaching, but it’s my wish list.)
17. Plan a family/friends trip for our wedding anniversary.  Ten years is in 2015.  Who wants to join the party?
18. Dance with my girls during a Magic Kingdom parade.  Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It seems to be going on constantly, so check.  :)
19. Get first haircuts for the girls at Harmony Barber Shop.  Had to bail on this one and cut their hair at home.  (Grumble, grumble.)
20. Run a Disney marathon and be cheered on by my family. Check.

Grey Goose slush, Grand Marnier slush, Epcot, France pavilion
January 2013 with my BFF on our Girls' Trip

21. Run a Disney marathon and be cheered on by my family, including "Go Mom!" signs from my daughters.
22. Surprise my parents for their anniversary at Cinderella's Royal Table. Check.23. Send my husband on one of the fishing excursions.
24. Get a massage at the spa at the Grand Floridian. Check. (Must repeat!)
25. Dance with Mickey on my wedding day. Check. (Total surprise! Thanks DisneyDad!)
26. Finally break down and buy a Disney Dooney. (After the diaper bag years.)  Check.  I bought a 40th Anniversary tote in 2011.  It's a rotten diaper bag but it's sooo pretty.
27. Go to Disneyland and get a tour from Chad at Days in the Park.
28. Try a Grey Goose slushie once I am finally not pregnant on a WDW trip.  One very delicious check!
29.  Attend a Wishes dessert party.
30. Never stop adding to this list.

meet Ariel at Epcot's Akershus, Disney Princess breakfast
We are HUGE fans of Akershus

In the spirit of the last point, here are a few new ideas...
1. Attend the D23 Expo
2. Visit Disneyland Paris
3. Dine at Cinderella's Royal Table with my girls (Saving this one until maybe next year. Since we go so often, you have to pace yourself with "special" moments.)
4.  Aulani!
5. Go on an Adventures by Disney trip

When we wrote about Disney bucket lists in 2011, I had my dad and brother post their own lists the following day.  Once you've finished today's blogorail loop, please check out our other lists too.  The guys came up with some REALLY good ideas.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.

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 ~ Disney Donna Kay
2nd Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom
3rd Stop ~ A World View
4th Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
Final Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photo Flashback! Family Favorites

This week's topic is "Family Favorites."  Here are a few things that came to mind (in no particular order other than how the photos loaded...)

Favorite Disney nerd thing to say

Favorite tropical frozen treat

Favorite hard ticket event

Favorite time of year to visit WDW

Favorite afternoon snack

Favorite ice cream ever

Favorite resort

Favorite way to travel

Favorite icon

Favorite bus

Favorite place to get hitched

Favorite breakfast

Favorite little girls to see smiling
Favorite character to meet

Favorite silly hat

Favorite kiddo attraction
Ok, now I really need a trip to the World.  Who's with me?!?  What are your favorites?  ~Amy

Monday, September 16, 2013

Five Photos! HUGS

I was looking back at my photos (as I was rebuilding my laptop - my hard drive died) and started noticing pictures of Tink and Minnie being HUGGED by characters on our May 2013 trip.
growing up disney
Hugs from Tigger and Pooh at EPCOT

growing up disney
A BIG hug from Tigger at The Crystal Palace in The Magic Kingdom

growing up disney
Hugs from Aurora visiting with Princesses in The Magic Kingdom

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Snuggle hugs with Pluto at The Garden Grill in EPCOT

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Big Hugs from the Big Cheese Himself

Everyone needs a hug sometimes.  I miss getting Big Hugs from my granddaughters as we live in different states. I don't think I'll get to hug them until our WDW trip in November.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Photo Flashback! Remember

9/11 is a time to Remember those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Centers.

Here at Growing Up Disney I'd like to take this time to remember two special people who died too early.  I remember Granny and Granddaddy.  Amy's grandparents and my in-laws.  They were fun to be around.  These photos are from November 1997 when Amy was in the College Program at Walt Disney World.  Granny loved the parks and enjoyed getting on the first bus that came by to go visit the hotels.  Granddaddy loved not having to drive once he got to WDW.  On one trip, after visiting the Wilderness Lodge, instead of going back home they booked at the Wilderness Lodge just to stay a few more days.

growing up disney
Granny and Tigger

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Pooh and Granddaddy

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DisneyDad, Granddaddy, Amy, and Granny

growing up disney
Amy and Granny

growing up disney
Amy and Granddaddy

Granny left us in 1999 and Granddaddy in 2004.  I still miss them.

Who are you remembering today?


Focused on the Magic

Friday, September 6, 2013

Minnie Moms: Must-Do Attractions

Our Minnie Moms are back from summer vacation and it's time to discuss 'Must-Do' attractions as we gear up for fall visits to Walt Disney World.  

Janine: My 'Must Do' attraction is a selfish one, because it is MY favourite ride. I absolutely love The Tower of Terror and have been lucky enough to ride it at least once on every visit I've made to WDW bar one (when I was pregnant) and even at Disneyland Paris. Last year I even rode it alone as Tink was too small to ride so daddy waited outside with her while mama got to enjoy herself. I know that not everyone is into thrill rides, and although this isn't a super-fast roller coaster, the fact is is up very high and has several drops and parts are in the dark, means that it is not everyone's cup of tea, but for me, those are the things I most like about it. I also relish in the fact that there is now the random drop sequence so every time you ride really is not the same. Another point which makes this, for me, my 'Must Do' is that the ride also changes dependent on where you sit and what time of day it is. Riding on the front row in the day and the back row at night are 2 completely different experiences, and I just LOVE riding at night and being able to see the lights from the park below.

If you haven't been brave enough to try it up until now - go on, I dare you!!! And I might just see you there!
A shot of Disney's Hollywood Studios I took at the top of the Tower of Terror in 2007. ~Amy 
Hollywood Tower Hotel taken by Ridge

Corby: Obviously, I have lots of favorite attractions in each of the four Disney parks. Sometimes I'll have to miss some attractions due to the kids or time constraints, however. There are a few attractions though that I just cannot think about going to the park and not riding. It just wouldn't be the same. At Magic Kingdom it's, and I know this sounds crazy but...It's a Small World. I have to ride that attraction every single visit. It is a Walt Disney classic! There's just something about getting in the boat, waving to the controller and hearing the song over and over and over again. Makes me warm and fuzzy. Ironically, it's the one attraction my husband skips every single visit but I love it! At Epcot, I can't imagine visiting and not riding Spaceship Earth or Living with the Land. That would be a crime. My whole family enjoys the two attractions and we typically ride them over and over again when time allows. Does anyone else love the waterfall scene smell as much as I do? If I could bottle it up I would! At Hollywood Studios, it's Toy Story Mania hands down and at Animal Kingdom it's definitely Kilamanjaro Safaris. If I had to pick one out of all of them, I'm going with “The Happiest Cruise that Ever Sailed,” It's a Small World.

Natalie: Vacations to Disney are hectic. My family loves to go all different times of the year. In fact, this year, we have gone for New Year’s, Spring Break, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. As you might imagine, many of these times to visit Disney were extremely crowded. The visit on New Year’s was, at times, so crowded I wondered if we could even walk across Main Street must less get to an attraction!

My favorite attraction in the Magic Kingdom has long been a variety. I know. I am supposed to write about my absolute favorite but who can really say! See if you agree with my line of thought. During certain times of the year, such as Halloween, I most love riding the Haunted Mansion. I love attempting to figure out all of the special effects and details of the storyline found within the attraction. I also love feeling a bit scared by the eerie attraction! Other times of the year, I most love Pirates of the Caribbean. Who doesn’t appreciate the fun boat ride as it moves through the intriguing story line which includes animatronics of Johnny Depp!

However, my longstanding favorite is the Peter Pan attraction in Fantasyland. I cannot say why I love this attraction so. I believe it is the thought that you can fly and stay a child forever. Or it may instead be the use of beautiful pastels throughout the ride and the hide and seek with other famous Disney characters (such as Pocahontas). This is one of the few attractions I remember riding as a child. I remember loving the use of the speed ramps and how the Cast Members could use “pixie dust” to close the safety bar on the ride vehicle! However, the long standing problem with this attraction is that the lines are often times extreme. To get on, you really need a fast pass or to head to the attraction as soon as the park opens or right before it closes. If you are not able to do any of these, you will find that you are standing in line for over 45 minutes to catch your flight.

In the end, I believe I would narrow down my favorite “Must-Do” attraction to all those attractions found within the Magic Kingdom! Each is special to me and my family in some way. Yep, all of the Magic Kingdom.

Beth: Our family's must do attraction each trip is the Mad Tea Party. My kids absolutely love this attraction, and it always tops their own personal "touring plans." This has a very personal meaning to me far beyond the big smiles of my children as they try to spin my husband and I as fast as they can. This attraction was my very first Disney ride back in 1986. Though that was almost 30 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Being able to now share that same feeling with my children, makes it quite magical to say the least. If I were to ask each of my children individually what tops their must do list, Emily (5 years old) would say Prince Charming's Regal Carousel, though she used to call the "horse go round." Hayley (7 years old) would choose It's a Small World. She has loved this ride since her first trip and dances the entire boat ride. Joey would say the Tomorrowland Speedway, which is now tall enough (well almost) to drive himself - quite a change from his first experience at the age of 3.5 years old! Each of these three attractions are experienced at least two to three times each trip. Clearly, I have raised three children who love Disney as much as I do. Our must do list is actually quite long for our trips, and I can imagine as they get older, it will continue to grow!

Amy: My must-do attractions have evolved over the years.  As a teen, I wouldn't have missed Space Mountain for anything, my history major self loves American Adventure, and as a mom, we always ride Small World and Living with the Land.  But the one attraction that has always been a favorite and I never miss is Pirates of the Caribbean.  1. It's a great break from Florida heat.   2. Love that song.  3. Audio-animatronics, especially ones with hairy legs, make my inner Disney nerd happy.

Many thanks to JanineNatalieCorby and Beth for sharing their must-do attractions!   Please check out our Minnie Moms page for past articles and more information about this terrific team.