Showing posts with label blogorail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogorail. Show all posts

Friday, December 21, 2012

Magical Blogorail: Dreaming of a Disney Christmas

Disney Christmas

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

This month our topic is "Dreaming of a Disney Christmas."  There are plenty of Disney touches in a Growing Up Disney Christmas.  Our favorite characters appear on Christmas jammies, as ornaments, lights and stockings, and of course in gifts under the tree.  But recently we had the chance to experience a little Disney Parks Christmas.  

We timed our fall vacation this year to give us both a taste of the Food and Wine Festival and a glimpse at the splendor of Disney's holiday finery.  In mid-November the parks were already decked out.  In a previous year, our vacation included Halloween and the poinsettias started going into flower beds on November 1.  

Magic Kingdom has to be fully ready first since the first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party was held this year on November 9.  Thanks to DisneyDad for these lovely images of Christmas decor on Main Street during the day.  Classic red and green look amazing with the nostalgic street.

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom

I've shared pictures of the Castle Dream Lights before but it's just too beautiful not to mention again. 

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights

I really like this tree as you enter World Showcase at Epcot.  It just seems to rise up forever.  Thanks to Ridge for these images.
Christmas tree at World Showcase, Epcot

Christmas tree at World Showcase, Epcot

Somehow three of the five adults in our group travel with "fancy cameras" and none of us managed to get a picture of the huge tree outside Animal Kingdom.  Guess we were all too excited to get to eat with Mickey at Tusker House to stop (or in my case too frustrated with the tram....just walk.)  Disney Dad did get this shot of Goofy from Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.

Goofy in the Mickey's Jingle Jingle Parade

The highlight of the Christmas fun for our family was the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  I don't see how you could go through this display of about 5 million lights and not enjoy yourself.  We danced and giggled, reached for "snow" and sang along with the songs.  I love traveling with my own PhotoPass crew.  Other than a couple of quick shots with the iPhone, my good camera stayed in the bag and I just enjoyed the time with my family.  (Disney Dad took these and more and Ridge got some really great shots.  Click here for Ridge's post full of images and video from the Osborne Lights!)

Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Snow at Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Hidden Mickey at Osborne Spectacle of Dancing LightsT

The Growing Up Disney family wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Red this month. We will be back Friday, January 18th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

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 ~ My Dreams Of Disney
2nd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
3rd Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic
4th Stop ~ A World View
Final Stop ~ Growing Up Disney

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Monday, October 8, 2012

"Best Of" Magical Blogorail: Hidden Treasures of Epcot

Hiya Pals! In our continuing celebration of Epcot, I'd like to share a past article all about my favorite park.  What hidden treasures of Epcot are on your must-do list?  ~Amy

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard.
I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

While at first glance, it wouldn't seem like Epcot is a very kid-friendly park, there are hidden treasures your children will adore.

In World Showcase, the Cast Members alone can be a hidden treasure. More than someone to just ring up your t-shirt or prepare your snack, these young people are a wealth of knowledge. Consider having older children ask a certain question of a Cast Member (CM) in each pavilion. Is your child a little foodie, sports fan or movie buff? Have them ask CMs about their favorite foods, sports or films from their home countries. My children are too young for this yet, but I had a CM from each World Showcase country sign a first birthday card for Tink. It was lots of fun for us and I hope it's special to her later.

Be sure to check the entertainment schedule and watch a few of the performers at Epcot. The Jammitors are a fun percussion group who drum on buckets and trashcans while telling silly jokes. They appear multiple times near Innoventions East and West. In France, the kids will enjoy the acrobats, as long as they don't get any ideas about stacking all of your kitchen chairs. The World Showcase Players is another terrific act, performing on the streets in the United Kingdom Pavilion. This troupe recreates stories loosely based on famous tales. There is lots of audience participation so stand up front and jump right in.

The Jammitors as the Jammin' Chefs during the
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Candy, candy, candy. What child doesn't love the stuff? Let your child buy a bit of candy in each World Showcase pavilion to see what kids in other parts of the world enjoy as a treat.

Don't underestimate the entertainment value of simply running and being a kid. The hedge maze in the back of the UK pavilion is a wonderful place for children to burn off a little energy and it's tucked out of the way. If the weather is nice, consider letting the little ones play in one of the splash pads or cooling stations. Just pack a change of clothes and let them get wet. In Mission Space, there is a small playground area perfect for some wiggle time while the big kids take in the E-Ticket attractions.

If you time it right, there is a special hidden treasure at Epcot for parents. Be sure to have a stroller for this one. Epcot is a huge park and will tire little legs. If you can get them to sleep in the stroller, Mom and Dad can enjoy one of the many unique adult beverages available at Epcot and walk together along the promenade. It's a way to sneak in a mini-date, even if one of you does have to push the kiddos.

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

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 ~ My Dreams of Disney
2nd Stop ~ A World View
3rd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney (you are here)
4th Stop ~ Focused on the Magic
Final Stop ~ Makin’ Memories

This article originally appeared on Growing Up Disney on 9/16/11.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Magical Blogorail Special Edition: Minnie Mouse Birthday Party Attire

Welcome to those of you joining me from Disney Donna Kay and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

My Baby Minnie will soon turn one.  I'd like to thank my blogorail friends for joining in on the Minnie Mouse birthday party fun!

Big Sister Tink, on her first birthday in 2010, meeting Minnie Mouse at Chef Mickey's

My "Baby Minnie"

Since I have the current birthday girl, I am covering attire options for such a soiree.

Of course, you could always go with the classic Minnie costume.  This one is a Disney Store dress I picked up at a consignment sale a couple years ago.  I think I got Minnie, Aurora and Tinkerbell for $15 total that day so I've never worried much about the girls playing in them.  I don't have a picture of the baby in this Minnie dress yet but Tink is wearing it on our Minnie Moms page.

I'm taking the Minnie dress with me as a possibility, but I know my Minnie will be wearing this t-shirt.  Our color scheme is hot pink, black and white polka dots like Minnie wears on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I was thrilled to find one in the right size for both of my girls.  It doesn't really show up in the picture, but there is glitter on the bow.  They are very cute in person.

For some, these aren't fancy enough options.  Well, look no further than  It is full of creative folks selling all sorts of items.  Searches for Minnie Mouse dresses, shirts, tutus, etc, will provide nearly endless choices.  This is a little fussy for a party in the park but I especially liked this one

Baby Minnie doesn't like wearing hats, so I doubt I will keep her in any of the following for long, but here are the birthday headpieces we have.

I got this cute soft first birthday 'tiara' at Target around the time of Tink's first birthday.  Here she is wearing it while waiting on the monorail.

I bought the baby a personalized Minnie ear hat a while back when was running a good sale.
And for everyone else, I could not resist purchasing these Minnie Mouse bow headbands.  They haven't arrived yet so I hope they are as cute as I think they will be.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Can Do It Mom.

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 ~ Delightfully Disney with Minnie Mouse Invitations
2nd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay with Minnie Mouse Decorations
3rd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney with Minnie Mouse Attire
4th Stop ~ Can Do It Mom with Minnie Mouse Inspired Drinks and Snacks

5th Stop ~ A Disney Mom’s Thoughts with Minnie Mouse Games & Crafts
6th Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog with Minnie Mouse Cakes
7th Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic with Minnie Mouse Gift Ideas
Final Stop ~ Disney In Our Blood with Minnie Mouse Favors

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Magical Blogorail: What Would You Do with Three Hours Alone at WDW?

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Today the Magical Blogorail answers a very interesting question...

What would I do with three hours alone in Walt Disney World? Well, when I traveled by myself to meet my brother in 2007 and had an evening alone, I strolled from Port Orleans Riverside to PO French Quarter for some dinner. Then I took a few pictures and enjoyed a boat ride to Downtown Disney. There, I splurged on a Precious Moments Disney bride and groom figure. I also bought some bath bombs from Basin and a couple of glasses and tiny bottles of wine from Mickey's Kitchen. After my boat ride back to my resort, I concluded the evening with a nice soak in the tub, a glass of wine and a good book.

On my trip last week, I had a couple of opportunities for brief breaks from the kiddos and my parents. In those cases, I did some shopping, took photos for future blog use and enjoyed coffee and part of a carrot cake cookie.

As a stay-at-home mom with no family nearby, the thought of three hours all to myself, at Disney or otherwise, is quite a luxury. The first thing that comes to mind is the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom. Everyone who has gone says it is amazing. That's a pricy option, though, so my second choice would be a photo stroll through World Showcase. I just love it there and having the time to really set up shots and play with settings on my camera would be lots of fun. And maybe I could finally try a grey goose slush.

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:

1st Stop ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
3rd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Beauty of Not Planning (aka I'm leaving on Saturday!)

Last week, my dad posted a couple of photos from the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.  He also said that he and my mom were heading down to Walt Disney World to catch the end of the festival.  They had invited us when he booked the trip but I declined.  My husband couldn't get away from work and I didn't want to go without him.  But then I saw those pictures from Dad and that afternoon, Tink started in on me about wanting to meet princesses.  Next thing I know, I had agreed to the trip.  (A big thanks to my blogorail friends for being the best enablers ever.)

Now Tink, Baby Minnie, and I will be joining DisneyDad and Mom on their trip.  And we leave on Saturday.  AAACCCKKKK!  I have one week to get us ready.  Thank goodness this isn't my first rodeo and I already have packing spreadsheets.  My parents weren't going to make any ADRs (advance dining reservations) for their trip but now that the little girls are going, I'm making a loose plan and a couple of ADRs so that Tink can have breakfast with Minnie.  I've been working on the plan for our November trip recently since we are almost at our 180 day window but we'll save the bigger things for that trip.

Now to the title of this article---The Beauty of Not Planning.  I am the family trip planner.  I make the spreadsheets and work the plan until we have every park and ADR scheduled.  I've done this for years and while I can throw together a basic plan pretty quickly, it's nice to have nothing in my "events" column.  No races, no big milestones; just time for the kiddos to play, grandparents to enjoy watching the little ones in the parks, and if I'm lucky, for me to take photos with my new camera.  My big must-dos this visit are let Tink play on the playsets at Epcot (I WISH they'd keep some version of those up year round.  Pretty please.) and at Magic Kingdom, I want to have silhouettes done of the girls.  I've looked at the attractions I think they would like best and am thinking in terms of this YEAR.  If they don't see something in May, we'll get there in November.  We'll just go with the flow and let the magic happen.  There's no time to plan much at this point and also no pressure to do so since we won't have been looking forward to the trip for long.

This will officially be Minnie's first Walt Disney World trip but I am also considering it a testing ground for the longer, busier vacation this fall.  I've decided to go with the two stroller option rather than buying or renting another double stroller.  While I think now that this will really work for us, it's nice to have a chance to try it out.  And I am way overpacking since it's short notice, especially on food for the girls.  Minnie has learned to eat from these baby food packs in the last couple of days and is a really good eater in general.  However, Tink has turned three and is still hard to feed away from home but it's getting better.  I took her to WDW at 12 and 18 months and really wished on the second trip that I had carried more food for her.  Yes, I will be the park sherpa this time but this is a short phase in our lives and if I have to drag more around than I'd like for a trip or three, well, that's ok.

I may not be around much this week as I scramble to get us all ready to go but stick with us and next week, DisneyDad and I will be posting our adventure from the parks.  See you real soon!

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Magical Blogorail: One More Disney Day

Welcome to those of you joining us from Disney Donna Kay and those of you just hopping aboard. We are the Final stop on today's Magical Blogorail.

Chris (aka Ridge) is representing Growing Up Disney on this special blogorail loop.  He's visiting Walt Disney World for the "One More Disney Day" on February 29.  Chris is blogging live from WDW throughout his trip so be sure to check here regularly or follow along on Facebook or Twitter.  Below is an article he wrote before he left home.  ~~Amy

ONE MORE LOOONNNGGG DISNEY DAY!!!! is fast approching as this year on Leap Day, February 29, 2012, I, along with countless others, will be spending 24 hours or something close to it inside the gates of the Magic Kingdom. So what would you do if you could stay after even Extra Magic Hours were over? Well we are about to find out.

I'm going to arrive Tuesday the 28th and try and get to bed early that night. Thursday morning will start the marathon. So what will I do? I have several photography ideas that I want to explore and I suppose I am going to shop for OMDD merch for my Sis since she can't join me.  I'll also find something for my nieces, my folks and a friend. After that I'll see who I can tweetup with.

I'm curious as to where I am going to find places to nap.  I'm wondering how the TTAPM will be looking, will it be littered with lifeless sleeping bodies by 6 AM?  Personally I've been thinking about it and I may find a quiet place and sleep. How often can you be inside Magic Kingdom and lay on the ground and see the stars? Should I take my Killer rabbit slippers (Monty Python) and wear those around? Probably not, one thing is for sure I am going to pack light.

Part of my attraction to the parks is the fact that they provide the creative outlet I need.  To take a picture of something iconic and make it mine, make it special to me. If I do that then I hope I can pass it along and share it with others and bring a smile to their faces. I have several new toys to try out on my camera so let the games begin! I am thinking about places where a Dole Whip can be seen, places where Dole Whips don't traditionally make it to, then snap...picture time! haha.

If I am able to make it all the way to 6 AM, I hope to catch breakfast with a friend then go back to the room for some rest and shower (not in that order I'm sure). When I wake up if the sun is still out and brightening our lives, I'm hoping for some fun pictures of Old Key West.  It's been a couple years since I've been able to have my reservation there. I haven't ever walked about the property and looked it over, espcially with a camera :). I have a few special projects at OKW that need to be done.

It's going to be a fast trip to the World and sleep is going to be a luxury that few will have but I will attempt to make the most of it all. A few days ago I hurt my back again (it's a long story but I have a history of back problems) so I will be balancing being cautious and having fun so that I don't prolong the problem. Nevertheless the show must go on and mirth and merryment shall be enjoyed.  Even if you are not at the World, for those who embrace the nature of Disney and remain a kid at heart, it will still be One More Disney Day for all.   

Thank you for joining our Special Edition 24 Hours of Disney loop.  If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

1st Stop ~ Heidi’s Head
3rd Stop ~ Meet the Magic
4th Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
5th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ Growing Up Disney

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Magical Blogorail: Ways We Celebrate at Disney

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

This month, Magical Blogorail Red is discussing how we celebrate at Disney. For my family, Walt Disney World is where we celebrate most of life's major moments and these celebrations are among our favorite topics here on the blog.

My parents celebrated their wedding with a Walt Disney World honeymoon in 1973.

While the party was in Alabama, Mickey was a part of my second birthday.  (Remember that cake, you'll see it again.)

Chris celebrated his first WDW visit with Chip and Dale. (Just had to have an excuse to include that photo!)

When I graduated from high school in 1994, my parents took me and three friends to WDW and we stayed at what is now Old Key West.  DisneyDad and Mom had bought into Disney Vacation Club the previous year.

My parents and brother came to visit me for Christmas during my college program semester in 1997. We had a tree and everything at Old Key West.

In 1998, my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary with dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table.

Chris marched in the Magical Musical Days with his high school band in 1999.

My dad and I have birthdays less than a week apart and we once had tea at the Grand Floridian and the most amazing cupcakes to celebrate

In 2005, we celebrated my first marathon finish, my Disney Fairy Tale Wedding and Disney Wonder honeymoon. Dad and I had a special dinner at the Victoria and Albert's chef's table. All of the ladies who traveled to Florida for the wedding were invited to tea at the Grand. My besties and I enjoyed a bachelorette party of dancing at Manequins and laughs at the Adventurer's Club. The wedding party loved rehearsal dinner and fireworks at California Grill.

In 2007, we celebrated my dad's recovery with a visit for the food and wine festival. We also introduced my inlaws to Ridgeway-style park touring on that trip.

In 2008, I surprised my parents right before the start of Illuminations with the news that they would be grandparents.  The photo is from Grand Floridian Cafe later in the trip.

In 2010, we celebrated Tink's first birthday with a smash cake in a grand villa at Old Key West and then breakfast with Chef Mickey on the big day. I think it's fitting that she officially turned one while watching the 3 o'clock parade.

On that same trip, Andy and I celebrated five years of marriage with dinner at Jiko.

On our next visit in 2010, my parents were again surprised with happy news when Tink wore a "big sister" t-shirt to dinner at Olivia's.

Tink's second birthday was shortly after we moved to North Carolina last year. We stayed "home" and had Mickey cupcakes.

Baby Minnie will likely celebrate her first birthday in Alabama but the theme will be, what else, Minnie Mouse.

I look forward to future celebrations with the Mouse. We'll be celebrating Baby Minnie's first WDW trip this fall. I'm hoping to get first haircuts for both of the girls on Main Street.

For birthdays, anniversaries, first visits, etc, we always make sure to get buttons from Guest Relations.

Thank you of joining me in this walk down memory lane.  The Growing Up Disney family loves to celebrate life's special moments, great and small, at Walt Disney World.

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:
2nd Stop ~ A World View
3rd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
Final Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Magical Blogorail: What I Would Update

Welcome to the first stop on Magical Blogorail Red.  This month we discuss what we'd like to update at Walt Disney World if we could.  Imagineers are continually updating shows and attractions.  This is what we would like to update...

Ah, what would I update next at Walt Disney World? Realistically we know the Disney Parks are constantly changing and improving but they just can't do all they'd like to do. Well, let's pretend financial and creative resources are unlimited for this discussion.

My favorite park is Epcot so I'd put my imaginary refurbishment dollars there. Future World would be my main focus. The park is a terrific blend of entertainment and education. It plays host to the largest festivals at WDW however it needs a little attention and in my dream world, it will happen.

First, let's start with The Seas with Nemo and Friends. The undersea ride is fun and I like that they put something back in that area. However, it still feels like the pavilion lacks cohesiveness. Once you hop out of the clam shell, the place feels like a random hodgepodge of exhibits even with several sporting Nemo themes. Somehow the flow through that large building also needs to be improved. More of an A to B to C rather than simply wandering.

(Remember the hydrolators? When I lived in Kissimmee, I had a friend who was an Orange County sheriff. He was called out to deal with someone stealing from the gift shop at The Seas. The thief had quite the grin on his face when he jumped into a hydrolator to escape. Imagine his surprise when the officers didn't have to run flights of stairs to catch him. They simply walked out the door and waited for him on the other side.)

Continuing on to the Imagination pavilion. Where to begin? On the plus side, the fountains are great fun to watch and kids love them. It was certainly time for Honey I Shrunk the Audience to leave the theatre but I hope Captain EO is just a temporary filler while something new and interesting is being prepared. I always try hard to look at the details in the preshow area and I love Figment but I don't love the current version of the ride. Here's where we'd call in those unlimited creative resources to bring us something awesome in both the ride and the interactive theatre.

The Wonders of Life pavilion is now only used for special events. Come on fictional "skies the limit" resources, let's do something amazing over there.

And again, since I am dreaming....The Land's popularity skyrocketed with the addition of Soarin' and it's always super busy. I'd love to see flow improved here too. How about moving the Fastpass distribution machines outside to cut down on some of the "running in as fast as possible" crowd?

I wouldn't do much to Test Track (other than the maddening song in the queue) and Mission Space.  I know some want to update Universe of Energy since Ellen's sitcom has been off the air for years.  Personally, I wouldn't.  Not even with my fictional dollars.  Too low on the priority list.

Thank you for joining us on our Magical Blogorail journey this month.  Be sure to visit all of our stops.  Next you will head of to visit Heidi's Head.  Please watch your head and step...

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 ~ Growing Up Disney

2nd Stop ~ Heidi's Head
Final Stop ~ A World View 

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