Monday, April 29, 2013

Trip Prep: Two Weeks Out

Loved this and bought one for each girl.
The colors are much better in person. :)

Hi gang! Happy Monday to you! We leave for WDW two weeks from yesterday.  Here's what I have done in the past week to get us ready.  
  • Called DVC to set up Magical Express
  • Called Southwest to add Minnie since she is still under 2 and can fly for free
  • Made list of clothes we need
  • Shopped for shorts for me (no luck)
  • Bought new running shoes & started breaking them in
  • Started grocery list
  • Bought clothes and mini-sand buckets for the girls
  • Tested diaper and camera bags to decide what to carry this time

I've also been pondering about strollers.  I'll most likely take my Joovy Caboose Ultralight.  It is small for a double and Tink won't ride much anyway.  It will fit in the trunk of my dad's car along with my mom's scooter if we want to drive to the parks.  I'd love to use another City Mini Double from Simple Stroller Rental but then the driving option is out.  I've taken two single Maclarens and a set of stroller connectors before but with Tink preferring to catch a ride with Granny, it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.  I have a big bag to gate check my Joovy and the rain cover because it's that time of year so we'll go with that.  If it all falls apart and Tink ends up needing a full seat for naps, we'll wing it.  I can always rent a Disney stroller, buy one of the small ones at the World, go to Target, or call for an off-site rental.  

Have a magical week!

These were on clearance in the Easter stuff at Kmart.  I paid about 50 cents each and they are the size of a big coffee cup.  The girls can play with them in the sand at Old Key West and then we'll share them with someone else.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Three Years? I missed the memo

Wow three years? It's only because of Amy we've made it this far. It's been such a blast meeting so many wonderful people in the community and making the effort to take all those trips. Too bad I had to take a new job that is going to slow down all my fun but I'll still make it work.

Big thanks to Amy and DisneyDad for keeping it all going.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Three Years Old!!

It's amazing.  

growing up disney world cinderella castle
Cinderella Castle at Night

So many blogs and websites come and go.  People start with good intentions of posting on a topic and soon it falls by the wayside.  GrowingUpDisney is three years old.  Over 800 posts and a quarter of a million page views of sharing "Three Generations taking on the World."  Thank you for spending part of your time with our family.

Sometimes it's difficult to meet deadlines.  We have averaged posting over 5 times a week for three years and over 1600 time a week you have averaged responding by checking out our posts.  Amy, our editor and driving force behind the blog, sets out schedules and coordinates everything.... all while being a wife and mom to Tink and Minnie.  Chris has "sacrificed"  by going to Walt Disney World to do research and given us his view of the World in his "Around the World with Ridge" series.  And I've been a Disney fan every since I can remember.  I've probably caused some of the obsession with Disney that I've somehow passed on to my kids. It has been fun writing for the blog with them and sharing some of my old (and new) photos.  Thank you for allowing me to share.

Thank you to all the Minnie Moms and others who have done so many guest posts and become part of our Growing Up Disney family.

In a few weeks Mom, Amy, Tink, Minnie and I will be going to Walt Disney World for a few days.  We'll do some live posts while we are there and share some of our thoughts and photos of this year's Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.  Thank you to Amy's husband, Andy, for letting the girls come with us while he has to stay at home and work.

Thank you for being part of the Growing Up Disney Family and taking time to visit with us each week.

Happy Blogoversary to Growing Up Disney!


We Are Three

We are three.
Three generations of Disney fanatics.
Three teammates.
Three years old.

Many heartfelt thanks to my brother and father for participating in this project with me.

Much love to the friends who have been a part of our first three years. I'm humbled by the wonderful friendships made through this blog.

Sincere gratitude to the readers who have followed along with our adventures.

Happy Blogoversary Growing Up Disney!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Photo Flashback! Main Street USA - 1979

Main Street USA - May 1979

1979 old WDW pictures
Cinderella Castle - May 1979

1979 old WDW pictures
Main Street USA - May 1979
These are two pictures I took in May 1979 of Main Street USA.  The first one is facing Cinderella Castle and the second is looking back down Main Street USA towards the Train Station.  I think you'd have to stay past closing to see this few people on Main Street.  I think in 1979 the crowds were mostly smaller than what you see today.  The view down Main Street has not changed much over the years while the Castle view has changed.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Trip Prep: Three Weeks Out

This last week has been dedicated to preparing for Tink's birthday party.  She is now four years old.  We had a great time and I will do a full princess party post soon.
princess birthday party
A quick shot of the aftermath during the cleaning process

I did accomplish a few things this week toward our upcoming Walt Disney World vacation.

  • Ordered a booster seat for Tink to use in Granddaddy's car
  • Bought small light up toys and a mister fan
  • Granny and Granddaddy (DisneyDad) brought light up toys
  • Tested DisneyDad's car to see if my stroller would fit in the trunk with Mom's scooter (It did.)
  • Tested DisneyDad's car to see if we could fit a car seat, a booster seat and me across the backseat. It's tight but doable for dinner off-property.
  • Discussed plans and options with DisneyDad and Mom while they are visiting us
  • Set aside small sticker books Tink received as gifts for the plane
  • Gave my parents some things to carry to WDW for me to save room in the suitcases. Diapers, wipes, swim diapers, mac & cheese cups, etc.
  • Reviewed breakfast menus at Old Key West
Today it's back to the real world and planning for the "World" as my parents head home, Tink goes back to school and I visit the dentist.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Magical Blogorail: Best Uses of Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits

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.

Today my Magical Blogorail Red buddies and I are discussing our favorite uses for Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits.

1. Food & Wine Festival or Flower & Garden Festival Marketplaces

Many of the food items available at these Epcot special events can be purchased with snack credits.  Just check the menu boards for the ubiquitous purple DDP logo.  This can be a great way to make the most of your snack credits as some of the festival foods can get pricey.  Make sure to schedule your table service meals so that you have some stomach space available.  We don't normally make any dining reservations on the same day that we would like to 'eat around the world.'

2. Bakeries, ice cream shops
Don't assume that you must use your credits at the various carts around property.  You can also pop into a bakery for a morning "snack" of pastry, enjoy one of the freshly made ice cream cookie sandwiches, or the oh-so-magical carrot cake cookies.  That said, one can never go wrong with a Mickey ice cream bar.

3. Treats to go

If you get to the end of your vacation and still have snack credits on the table, pick up a few of the prepackaged treats at your resort's gift shop to take home.  Extending the magic with some character shape cookies will bring smiles to both the kids and the vacation planner in your family.  Just check the tags in the store for the DDP logo.  (This same tip works for quick service credits.  If you have a credit left on your departure day, consider getting lunch to go.  Prepackaged, refrigerated sandwiches from resort food courts make a good lunch while you are killing time at the airport.)

Our travel party from Fall 2006
As Disney Vacation Club members, we don't get "free dining" however we did purchase the plan twice, once each in 2006 and 2007.  It was new at the time and really a bargain.  We got one table service meal per day with appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage with gratuity included.  The daily quick service meal was entree/combo, dessert and beverage.  One snack credit per day was a part of the plan. It was a convenient plan since there were extra friends or family traveling with us.  There was no squabbling over the check at dinner; my dad would give the server his Key to the World card and all was well.  Of course, Ridge and my husband tried to see how much they could "spend" at every meal.  I'd blame them that the dining plan is no longer a great deal.  While it was fun, the Disney Dining Plan does not match how we would eat if paying directly out of pocket and is no longer a good idea for us.  We prefer Tables in Wonderland.

Do you prefer to use one of the Disney Dining Plans or pay as you go? What is your favorite DDP snack option?  Please leave a comment below.

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
3rd Stop ~ A World View
4th Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
Final Stop ~ My Dreams Of Disney

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Photo Flashback! Animal Kingdom Villas, a Disney Vacation Club Resort

I've posted several pictures taken at The Animal Kingdom previously, I wanted to share some made at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  On our trip in November, 2012 we went to SANAA at Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for lunch.  Several animals were out taking a stroll for lunch also and we took some wonderful pictures of the animals.  Hope you enjoy these. - DisneyDad

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Five Photos: Festival of the Lion King

One of my favorite shows at Disney's Animal Kingdom is The Festival of the Lion King.  These pictures were taken in April 2012. --DisneyDad

Monday, April 15, 2013

Trip Prep: Four Weeks Out

My girls (soon to be 2 and 4) and I will be joining my parents in Walt Disney World in mid-May for a week's vacation.  They just booked the trip about two weeks ago and I accepted their invitation 10 days ago.  It's a short planning period but since we are frequent visitors, five weeks is plenty.  

Here's what I've done so far to get us ready:
  • Booked flights (direct!)
  • Started planning spreadsheet and reviewed Touring Plans and All Ears to choose parks
  • Booked ADRs- Hollywood & Vine, Garden Grill and Crystal Palace (Dad reserved Le Cellier) 
  • Started regular walks
  • Practiced with stroller and kinder kords
  • Pigtails every day (getting my little one accustomed to having her hair pulled up again)
  • Started reviewing menus for counter service
  • Ordered and tested stroller bag for gate check
  • Reviewed old Minnie Moms articles 
  • Started checking clothes to see what we need and what may still fit from last summer
  • Reviewed menus from Flower and Garden marketplaces to choose 'must dos'
  • Started practicing "Disney foods" (uncrustables, applesauce cups, etc) to see what the toddler will/won't eat and check the mess level

Yes, the big one is supposed to ride in the back of this stroller, but the little one finds it so much fun.

Practicing to be 'watch buddies.'
 (Kinderkords are great but not in production. I was given prototypes a few years ago and love them.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings: Photos You Just Can't Take Anywhere Else

Today Andy and I are celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary.  Our Disney Fairy Tale Wedding was truly a magical experience.  One of the things I loved as a Disney kid was all of the wedding photos that you just can't take anywhere else.  Let's take a look at a few of those special images.   ~Amy

Disney wedding photos, monorail in disney wedding photos
If you are going to be photobombed, the monorail is pretty high on the fun scale.

disney wedding, monorail
LOVE THIS! They told us the monorail was required to stop if they saw a wedding couple.  And purple is my favorite color! 

wedding couple beside limo
How "Grand" is this?!? (And we went with a limo over Cinderella's Coach $$$.  I ran the marathon the day before our wedding planning session and decided the coach just didn't go far enough for me.)

disney wedding pavilion, cinderella castle in wedding photo
Cinderella Castle.  Need I say more?

wedding couple under arch, cinderella castle in distance
Another great view of Cinderella Castle.  The wedding pavilion is perfectly positioned for beautiful backdrops.

majordomo at Disney's Wedding Pavilion
Majordomo = Amazing  Be sure to check out the full post on him and the awesome prank pulled on our brothers.

disney wedding cake, white chocolate castle
Our Disney wedding cake was beautiful and delicious.  Don't miss the entire story.

white chocolate slipper, cinderella slipper dessert

Friday, April 12, 2013

Trip Planning with My Disney Experience

My Disney Experience - Web Version
Not every iPhone app or website is a winner.  But Disney has a winner in the making with its "My Disney Experience".

If you haven't seen it, My Disney Experience is a combination of a website and an app that allows you to plan your Walt Disney World vacation (as of today, My Disney Experience does not appear as a selection on the Disneyland web site and the app only shows WDW).  Planning is not limited to one person.  You can link others in your vacation party so all can plan and all plans show in the website and app for those you want to share with.  The website and app also stores the confirmation numbers for all your reservations.
My Disney Experience app on my iPhone

For the trip mom and I are sharing with Amy, Tink and Minnie, I made our reservations on the DVC Members site,  As I have logins for the members site as well as when I logged in to look at My Disney Experience my DVC reservation was there.  On the My Disney Experience website, I added all the members of the party and had it to send Amy an email to join in on the planning.

The My Disney Experience web and app work and look a little different, but both show you the same information.  The web version shows you every day of your stay and any reservations you have for each day on one screen.  On the iPhone app, it automatically shows you "today", and you use a calendar to find the dates of your stay and choose each one individually.  Both show you your reservations, notes and any "things to do" you have placed on your calendar.

I made reservations for lunch at Le Cellier Steakhouse at the Canadian pavilion at EPCOT.  Those reservations linked in.  The reservation shows not only the reservation but each person's name along with an  avitar of your choosing for each person.  You can also set reminders for events or attractions you want to see and they show on your day also.  So if you need a reminder of what time the "3 o'clock parade" is, you can add it.  For notes, I added Amy's flight numbers and arrival and departure times so I don't have to ask any more.   Amy has made some reservations and as soon as they are made, they are available on our shared My Disney Experience vacation planner, so we can see all reservations for our trip.

MDE park guides
MDE activities

Among other things, you can see park maps, resorts, attractions, restaurants along with menus as well as book your dining through the app or of course on the web.

I know My Disney Experience does more than just help you plan your trip.  Since we are only planning process for our trip, that is all I'm reviewing here.  Later Growing Up Disney will review the in-Park functions when we are in the park.

 If you are THE planner for your trips, I think it's worth downloading the app and logging into My Disney Experience on the web.  It seems to be a good dashboard view of your trip and all the planning you have done for you time at Walt Disney World.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Photo Flashback! The Letter 'J'

We are participating in the hop at Focused on the Magic again and today's theme is 'J.'  I had quite a bit of fun with this.  Hope you enJoy!

child with Mickey ice cream bar

child wearing Disney tiara

indiana jones stunt show at disney world

elephant spraying water at Jungle Cruise

Main Street at Disney World decorated for Christmas

acrobats at Disney World

Journey into Imagination with Figment sign at Epcot

child playing with jewelry

Restaurantosaurus at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

man with guitar, Mulch, Sweat  n' Shears at Disney's Hollywood Studios

little girl laughing on the Jungle Cruise

Focused on the Magic