Lighthouse Point- Disney Cruise Line’s Second Private Island

Last years D23 Expo came with many over-the-top exciting revelations, reveals, and announcements.

Including that announcement that Disney Cruise Line is in the process of developing a second private island in the Bahamas: Lighthouse Point.

If you have been around here for a while then you know how much I love Disney Cruise Line and it should come as no surprise that for me Castaway Cay (DCL’s current private port in the Bahamas) is literally heaven on earth. I have never seen cleaner, more pristine beaches or more beautiful, perfectly clear, aquamarine waters.

DCL’s current four ships are registered in the Bahamas and 75% of all the cruise itineraries offered by the company make at least one stop in the islands. So it makes sense for Disney to acquire a second, especially with the new ship the Disney Wish coming in 2021-2022.

So when I heard the announcement about a second island I was literally sitting in my office giggling, giddy with joy and excitement.

Yesterday, on February 18th, 2020 Disney announced that they now have a website dedicated to Lighthouse Point. If you would like to see that click here:

If you don’t want to do the research for yourself, here is all of the pertinent information that Disney has given us so far.



Lighthouse point will be located in the peninsula on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. So far it has been given an estimated completion date of 2022-2023.

One of the things that I have always loved about Disney but has an even bigger impact on me now that I am an adult is the fact that they are leaders and ambassadors for conservation and pride themselves on their positive sustainability, community and environmental values. They are also bringing huge opportunity to the island of Eleuthera with this $250-400 million investment.



My favorite part about all of this is that the islands development is being spearheaded by  Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde – designer of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Aulani, If you do not know who Joe Rohde is I suggest you give him a Google. The man is an absolute genius and Disney fans who know his story and his history with the company trust him explicitly. Joe is said to already be  extensively exploring the rich art and culture of the Bahamas with experts, and we can be certain these influences will be represented at every turn in the finished location.

From an environmental standpoint, Disney promises to “only move forward with a project at Lighthouse Point if it is able to do so in an environmentally responsible manner“.

Disney states that their Conservation Fund is “ensuring a world where wildlife thrives and nature is treasured and protected by saving wildlife, inspiring action and protecting the planet“.

According to the Lighthouse Point website, the purchase of the area has been completed and the next step before construction is to have the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan approved.



According to the website, “The design for Lighthouse Point will be inspired by the natural environment and rooted in the culture of Eleuthera and The Bahamas more broadly. Disney Cruise Line has partnered with the local creative community, led by master artists Kevin Cooper and Antonius Roberts, to achieve this.”

As I said Joe Rohde is a genius and is known for his conservation efforts, his desire to preserve culture and environmentalism so I am so happy to hear that Disney has enlisted him along with a team of highly qualified and experienced scientists and other professionals who spent more than two years developing a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).



Economically, it has been estimated that Disney Cruise Line operations currently contribute over $70 million towards the Bahamian annual GDP, and a forecast provided by Oxford Economic has predicted that the company’s development will provide more than an $800 million increase on top of that figure.

Not only that, but  as it is on Castaway Cay space will be provided for Bahamian vendors, local agricultural products will be purchased, and hundreds of jobs will be created in construction, entertainment and maintenance. Disney is only creating a second island for themselves and increasing amenities for their cruise line guests but they are also creating huge opportunities and supporting the Bahamian society.


After having been to Castaway Cay myself I  know that Disney’s number one priority will be protecting and sustaining the natural environment.

Disney has long since proiving this; they have owned Castaway Cay in the Bahamas since 1997. They are and have been committed to protecting the environment. The donate millions of dollars from the Disney Conservation Fund to important conservation projects and they partner with local organizations and scientists.

Disney Castaway Cay, located in the Abaco chain of The Bahamas
Disney Castaway Cay, located in the Abaco chain of The Bahamas.


“The Bahamas offers a fascinating multi-cultural tradition of food, music, dance and storytelling. Eleuthera in particular is home to many artists and we will be working with painters, sculptors, writers, storytellers, musicians, weavers and artists of every kind, much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii, to create a completely unique experience that is rooted in Bahamian culture and imbued with Disney magic.” – Joe Rohde

Like I said…GENIUS

I am so excited to get more information about Lighthouse Point and to see what else Disney has up their sleeve.




Disney Dream- Castaway Cay


Our Castaway Cay day was by far my favorite part of our whole cruise. I knew from pictures and videos beforehand that I would love Disney’s private island. But, I was blown away by just how beautiful it is.

Our view from our balcony as we pulled into the port was just breath-taking.


Look how blue and gorgeous that water is!


After a quick breakfast on the ship, we headed down to the bottom floor to disembark. It was so cool to get these new views of the beautiful ship.

The welcome area of Castaway Cay was super cute with its tropical holiday decorations.

I love how everything in Disney is intentional and comes full circle. I thought that it was such a fun little nod to the parks that they have the same trams escorting you to the different areas of the island… and the views are just spectacular.


Once on the island, we hopped on one of those trams past the family beach over to the lagoon where we would have our Sting Ray excursion.


The Sting Ray excursion was so much fun and absolutely worth the price. For $56 per each person 10 year old and up or $45 for children ages 5 to 9, you are able to spend an 1 hour in the lagoon with the sting rays as a private excursion.

At the beginning of the hour they give each person a life vest and snorkel gear and do a brief instructional on how to use the equipment.

Everyone then heads into the water to two feeding stations where a cast member hands out food for you to feed the sting rays. This last about 15 minutes and then the “free swim” begins.

During this time you are free to explore the lagoon on your own and there are 40+ sting rays in the water with you at  this time.

The lagoon is gorgeous, the water is crystal clear and you get beautiful views of the ship from this location.

The black spots that you see in the water are all of the stingrays.


After our excursion we took some time exploring the shops around the island befor taking the tram to Serenity Bay which is the adults only side of the island.

When arriving at Serenity Bay the tram drops you off at Cookies Too which is the bbq area. In this area lunch is served from 11:30am to 2pm and includes a variety of delicios foods.

Disney Dream- Day 2


When I first booked our cruise I booked us into an Ocean View room with a porthole but after months of debating I decided to upgrade us into a room with a veranda… waking up to this view every morning made it worth every single cent.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person, it takes a lot to get me out of the bed in the morning, on any morning. But after seeing that view from the bed, I could not wait to get up and out onto the veranda to watch the sun come up.

Another aspect I loved about the veranda was getting to watch as we pulled into each port. On the second day of our cruise, we pulled into Nassau, Bahamas.


Since this was our first cruise and I wasn’t really sure how excursions worked and we didn’t really have them worked into our budget, we decided to stay on the ship.

After getting up and getting ready we headed up to Cabanas for a delicious breakfast with gorgeous views of the island and Atlantis resort.

We spent our day aboard the ship relaxing by the adult pool, playing mini golf, taking pictures of the beautiful views, eating all.of.the. soft serve ice cream and exploring the ship.

Our second dinner was at the Royal Palace but apparently, it was so good that I forgot to get pictures of the actual food.

After watching DCL’s amazing production of Beauty and the Beast it was time for Pirate Night.


I knew that watching fireworks on the ocean would be cool. But, I was not prepared for how spectacular they were. Fireworks are always beautiful against the backdrop of Cinderella Castle or over World Showcase Lagoon in EPCOT but there’s just something about seeing those fireworks against the black of the night sky and ocean. This was one of my favorite experiences of the whole cruise.



Day 1- Aboard the Disney Dream

The name of this ship says it all…this cruise was truly a Dream; from the moment we stepped onto the ship to when we stepped back off, every moment was perfect.

The very first thing you see upon boarding the ship is the GORGEOUS atrium.

It’s a three story lobby, with beautiful elevators, railings adorned with garland, a huge beautiful Christmas tree, a statue of Captain Donald and a breath taking chandelier.


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Image result for disney dream atrium merrytime

After taking a little tour of the atrium we headed to deck seven and to our stateroom.

I had heard that sometimes on the shorter cruises it is more difficult to navigate the ship because you don’t have enough time to learn your way around but I didn’t find this to be true at all. We were easily able to find our way around and quickly made it to our stateroom.

The hallways are narrow but clean and beautifully decorated.

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I had seen photos and videos ahead of time of the staterooms but it was even better than I ever expected.

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By far the best part of the stateroom… the verandah.





Within minutes our Stateroom Attendant had introduced himself and brought us our luggage. He did everything we asked of him throughout our cruise and was very friendly and knowledgeable.

After sorting out our stateroom and luggage we headed up to Cabana’s (the buffet on board) for lunch.

I had heard that Cabana’s gets incredibly busy on embarkation day and that it can be difficult to find a table.  But, we were lucky enough to find a table right by the big windows looking out over the ocean.

The food was plentiful and varied. I was very pleased with the amount of choices and options; especially when I saw the crab legs.


After lunch we headed out onto Deck 11 to explore.

We headed to Muster at 4pm before going back up to Deck 11 for the Sail Away Party.


We then went back to our room to relax for a little while before getting ready and heading to our first main dining room for dinner. We used this time to unpack and relax on our verrandah.

Our first dinner on the Dream was at the Enchanted Garden.


The Enchanted Garden is inspired by the garden of Versailles. The restaurant is decked out in custom-glass flower lights, white trellises, ornamental posts and—at the center of the room—a 7-foot tall fountain.

One of my favorite parts of the Enchanted Garden is watching the sweeping ceiling change from a brilliant blue daytime color into the golden red of a setting sun, transforming into a captivating nighttime show of twinkling stars.

Ask anyone what their favorite part of a Disney Cruise is and they will almost always say that it is the food.

And I now have to say that I would whole heartedly agree.

I went in a little nervous because upon researching the menus I had seen that the menu options were very “gourmet”, “fancy”.  My husband can be a bit picky so I was pleasantly surprised when we both loved everything we eat throughout the cruise.

I plan on doing a separate post about the food offered on Disney Cruise Line so I won’t be going into more detail here.


After dinner we attended the Tree Lighting Ceremony before heading to the Walt Disney Theater for our first show of the trip; the Golden Mickeys.

I will be doing a separate review on the entertainment offered aboard the ship but let me tell you these shows were ah.may.zing!



After the show we headed back to our stateroom to enjoy the verandah and order some late night room service.


Disney Dream- Embarkation

After reading all of the trip reports and watching every YouTube video that I could find I knew that in order to start our trip off easily and worry free it would be best for us to arrive in Orlando the day before our cruise began.

So on Thursday, November 15, 2018, Nick and I flew from Las Vegas to Dallas and then onto Orlando. We spent that first night in Disney World (of course) at the All Star Music resort before heading to the port on Friday morning.

I had read varying reports stating that some enjoyed Disney’s transportation to Port Canaveral and others did not like how late they got you to the port and subsequently onto the ship. But, having to take an Uber, taxi or some other type of third party transportation just seemed like a hassle to me so in the end I decided to stick with Disney.

The shuttle to and from the port was just like any other experience that we had with the Magical Express, simple and to the point.

The shuttle picked us up around 8:30am and we were at the port just before 10 (both much earlier then I had been expecting).



I had heard that the terminal would be busy and chaotic and that we would more then likely have to wait in several long lines before being able to board the ship.

Luckily, our experience was pretty much the opposite of that. After getting off the shuttle bus and heading into the bottom level of the terminal we waited in a 5-10 minute line to get through security and then headed upstairs for check in and boarding.


Checking in was a breeze and before we knew it, it was time to walk through the ears, over the gangway and onto the Disney Dream.



A Trip Decades In The Making- Our Trip On The Disney Dream

I still remember the first time that I heard about Disney Cruise Line. I was 10 or 11 standing aboard a Carnival cruise ship.

The cruise my family had planned for my cousins fifteenth birthday had just been canceled because of some mechanical problem with the ship and my aunt was now speaking to a representative for DCL to see how much it would be for all of us to board a Disney ship instead.

By now you know my love for Disney so it should come as no surprise that I wanted to go on that Disney cruise more then anything. Unfortunately we did not end up doing that Disney Cruise. But the idea of it never left me after that.

I remember seeing commercials for DCL and how badly I wanted to experience Animators Palette. Those dreams of a Disney Cruise remained with me for nearly two decades before finally coming to fruition two weeks ago.

Early this year my family began to plan a reunion in Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving and in the midst of planning and trying to figure out costs my husband suggested taking a Disney Cruise while already in Florida… and I of course leapt at the chance.

Our trip on the Disney Dream was everything that I imagined it would be and so much more.


Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for ALL of the Disney cruise content; you can look forward to everything from daily trip reports, to detailed descriptions of specific experiences, dining reviews, a stateroom tour and of course tons of pictures.


Have you you ever been on a Disney Cruise? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

Disney Packing Tip #3- Amy’s Small World Bags

I found Amy’s shop when a Youtuber that I follow recommended her bags.

After searching out and exploring her shop  I immediately fell in love with this adorable and unique product. Obviously, I will try just about any Disney products, but these seemed so practical and like such a good idea that I had to have them.

Luckily, I was able to order some of Amy’s bags for myself, knowing full well that I would be using these on our upcoming cruise and trip to Walt Disney World. After receiving my order I immediately began using my Winnie the Pooh themed “Bear Necessities Bag” and haven’t stopped since. I typically use a large purse but I knew that this smaller bag would allow me force me to carry less around and subsequently lower my back pain. It has done just that; this bag allows me to carry exactly what I need at any given time while still being able to find everything within it.

As for Amy’s other bags; after placing my order I received Amy’s Travel Bag Set which comes with 4 bags in varying sizes.

These bags can be used for just about anything. Before our trip I used one for a makeup bag, I used another to hold random bits of paper within my purse, and immediately used the largest to store and protect my Minnie ears and hat.

I can tell you that these bags were a lifesaver when it came to packing and efficiency during our trip this month.


Protecting my Minnie Ears and our magnet for our stateroom door


All of our chargers and cameras fit perfectly within this bag


And all of our Magic Bands



Not only are Amy’s products adorable and functional (the perfect combination) but Amy herself is also one of the sweetest people ever.

After a difficult year in 2016, Amy turned to sewing as a creative outlet; the process of making things brought joy to Amy during a difficult situation.

At that point, sewing began to feel like a need instead of a hobby, so Amy made the decision to open an Etsy shop hoping to just make enough money in order to buy fabric for the next project.  I emptied her childhood piggy bank and used those coins to buy what she could in order to her first products on her Etsy shop.

Thankfully, it worked!  It started really slowly, and for a while, she was content.  Amy was selling enough so that could continue to buy more fabric to sew with.

When Amy began incorporating her love of Disney into her products and created her “ear bags” her shop grew exponentially and she truly began to see the success of her labors.

By 2017, Amy’s shop was starting to really grow, and her passion changed from teaching to designing things to make people’s Disney trips even more magical.  She was teaching summer school that year, and her husband encouraged her to leave teaching after the summer and try to run Amy’s Small World full time. According to Amy, he was such an incredible support, and she was so excited and thankful to say that she has now been running her shop successfully and full time for over a year.

In Amy’s own words, “It is better than I ever could have imagined, and even though I am working more than I ever have in my life, it is worth it!”


Amy’s Shop:

Amy’s Blog:

Amy’s Youtube Channel:




Disney Packing Tip #2

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband is a much more organized person then I am. He likes to know exactly where everything is and be able to easily find things. 

So for our upcoming Disney World/Disney Cruise trip, I decided to purchase us some packing cubes. 

At this stage in our lives, it is currently just my husband and I traveling because we don’t yet have kids. So, I like the idea of having this whole packing thing down before we add little ones to the picture. 

Usually, I just create a pile of everything that I “think” I want to take and go from there and just go through a process of elimination type of thing until nothing else fits in my suitcase. 

But, thanks to my new packing list (which you can read about in my previous post) I now have a much more organized and methodical approach to my packing. 

So! Today, I have my 2nd packing tip for you guys! 

Packing Cubes

I had heard of packing cubes in the past but it had never really dawned on me to use them until I heard Blair mention them over on Blair Blogs (can you tell I watch her channel a lot?)

After watching Blair’s Disney packing video I decided that it couldn’t hurt to try these packing cubes and if I ended up not liking them then I could always return them.

So, I purchased these cubes from Amazon. I ended up ordering this adorable floral print for myself and a basic black print for my hubby.

OEE 7 pcs Luggage Packing Organizers Packing Cubes Set for Travel

From the moment I opened these, I was hooked. I am a sucker for cute print and I just LOVE this one.

My husband and I just recently used our packing cubes for our trip to Disneyland last month and were instantly obsessed.

Our trip to Disneyland was only a 2-night trip so we by no means had a huge amount of clothes to pack but even still it was a great way to try this product out and get a feel for how we could use them.

I combined the use of packing cubes with the KonMari method of packing and let me tell you it worked perfectly.

I was able to fit so much more clothes into my suitcase and my husband LOVED Marie Kondo’s method of folding clothes so that you can fit more and avoid your clothes getting wrinkled.

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After this little test run, we are both looking forward to packing for our 9-day trip next month.

Disney Packing Tip #1

My husband and I will be heading back to Walt Disney World in exactly 30 days!! If you follow me on Facebook you will know just how excited I am about this.

But! Not only are we heading back to the parks… we will also be boarding our first Disney cruise!

So packing for us this time is going to be a whole new experience since this will be my husband’s first cruise ever and my first in about 15 years.

So I have spent months watching all of the Disney cruise tips and packing videos. And in this next series of posts, I will be sharing with you the top tips that I have found.

Have A Plan

Anyone who knows my husband and I knows that we are the complete opposite on a lot of things. My husband is very type-A, OCD, everything on a schedule type and I am more of a go with the flow, we’ll figure it out when we get there type of person.

Because of this, our packing styles are usually very different.

Nick tends to stress out when it comes to packing. He wants to be absolutely sure that he has everything that he could possibly need and he packs for scenarios A, B, and C.

I usually have a broad, general idea of what I am going to need and I just pack that. If I forget a specific pair of shoes or didn’t pack a sweater it’s not that big a deal to me. I just go with the flow.

But, because I know that this is a stressful point for my husband and one of the reasons why he doesn’t enjoy traveling. I knew that this time I wanted to be more organized and mindful for his sake.

So, the first step I have taken towards packing is to have a plan.

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I found the idea for this packing list from Blair over at Blair Blogs on Youtube and I thought that it was a brilliant way to go about packing. Instead of focusing on the individual items that we may need, we can focus on each outfit as a whole.

This way we can have an idea of what we will be doing each day and what type of outfit(s) we will need for that day.

So that when it comes time to pack, I know exactly which garments I need to bring. Doing this will eliminate the guesswork as well as the tendency to over pack.

Not only that but it allows us to see what pieces of clothing we may be missing and may need to buy before our trip.

My husband and I have already been going over this list and discussing what each of us will pack. It has streamlined the process and made it so that even now 4 weeks before we even need to pull our suitcases out, we know what exactly we will be taking with us.

We also now have a shopping date planned for next weekend in order to get some of the clothing items that we are missing.


Anybody who has been on a Disney vacation knows how much planning goes into it and how many little details there are to prepare and remember.

I began this list as a way to help my husband but in the end, ended up relieving some of my own stress. I am able to focus my attention on other aspects of our trip and not have to worry about something as simple as packing.


If you’re looking for other planning and organizational tips for your next Disney trip check out my Etsy shop where I am now selling customized and personalized Disney Planning Binders! This is an all-new product, who will be the first to purchase one?!

Repost of Halloween In California and Mickey’s Halloween Party 2017

For our second day in California we headed to California Adventure for a few hours and then over to Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party.

This was our second year attending this Halloween event in Disneyland and I have to tell you that we LOVE it. Now in all honesty, I really think that the reason why we love this event so much is because we don’t have kids rights now; I think that having children to take to the party would completely change the dynamic of it.

For those of you who have never been to one of the Halloween or Christmas parties in the parks this is how they generally work:

  • One of the main reasons why we choose to go to the event is because the tickets are less expensive than a typical one day pass. If you buy only the ticket for the event then the price is only $75-$85 compared to the usual $99-$110. Yes, it isn’t a huge difference but that $14-$35 price difference (per ticket) makes up the cost of parking or a meal or even two meals for just the two of us.
  • If you only buy the ticket for the actual party, the hard ticketed event, then you can enter the park beginning at 3pm.  But the actual Halloween party itself doesn’t begin until 6pm. At 6pm when the event starts the cast members begin to check everyone for wrist bands (which they will give you when you enter the park). If you don’t have a wrist band because you didn’t purchase a ticket for the event then you have to leave the park; the party is a private event, with a separate ticket. This aspect alone works in our advantage because it automatically brings the crowd volume down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Insider Tip: This transition period around 6pm is a great time to hit some of the more popular attractions. There is so much activity with CM’s everywhere and some people who don’t understand what is going on, that the wait times tend to drop for a little while).
  • You could purchase a regular priced ticket for the same day AND a ticket for the event and then you can be in the park in the morning and stay the whole day through to the end of the event. But honestly I wouldn’t suggest that. Disneyland is usually open until 11pm on party nights, so entering the park at 3 allows you 8 hours of park time, which I think is still plenty of time.

The reason why I say that we enjoy the party because we don’t have children is that one of the biggest draws of the party is that kids are able to dress up and go to trick or treat stations throughout the park and the lines for these tend to be very long.

This works for us because it means that the majority of the people in the park are in these trick or treat lines and not in the lines for the attractions. I can tell you that for the past two years my husband and I have been able to do almost every ride without waiting more than 10-15 minutes; even the more popular rides like Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Another aspect of the Halloween Party that we really enjoyed the second time around was that for the first time California Adventure was also decorated for Halloween AND the ticket for this years party was considered a park hopper. Therefore, we were able to do both parks for that same $75-$85 priced ticket. We went over to DCA for the first three hours, from 3pm to 6pm, before the actual party started and were able to check out the new decorations, Guardians of the Galaxy -Mission:Breakout!, and ride Soarin’ and Radiator Springs Racers before heading to Disneyland for the Halloween party.


We won’t be spending Halloween with Mickey this year because we will be seeing him a month later in November on the east coast, but I still highly recommend this event for everyone to try at least once.

Here are some of our pictures from our time in DCA and at Mickey’s Halloween Party:

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Pumpkin Display in Downtown Disney


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Hubby has to have his churro!

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Oogie Boogie keeping watch over the entrance to Disney’s California Adventure

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This place wouldn’t exist without these two

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Guardian’s of the Galaxy – Mission:Breakout!

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Halloween Decorations in Radiator Springs

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A Shining Light Gone

Disney has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Walt Disney World was a staple of my childhood, one that has left an immeasurable, lasting impression on my life.

The majority of my happy memories throughout my life revolve around Disney in some way. Whether its Disney movie marathons with my little brothers, quick trips to Flower and Garden with my mom, Thanksgivings at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, or my honeymoon with my husband.

Everyone talks about the “magic” of Disney and the definition of that magic is different for each of us. For me it is those fond memories. The knowledge that I’ll get to give my own children those same memories some day.

But, in the last couple of years Disney has given me something even greater. Something that has blessed me so much as an adult.

It has awarded me an amazing community of friends, people who have become like family even though we’ve never met. They are my tribe, they get me. They don’t roll their eyes when I bring up Disney “again”, ask me why I don’t vacation somewhere else or tell me that I am too old. They understand and share the same passion I do.

They are friends on the good days and support and encouragement on the bad. Because of this community I had hundreds of people saying prayers and sending well wishes when my mom had her stroke and brought a sense of peace when there was fear all around me.

Yesterday our community, our little online family lost one of our own. We lost one of our brightest lights to Cancer.

Ricky was one of the nicest, caring people that I’ve ever known without ever actually having met him. He was one of the first to message me when my mom got sick and offered solice when he himself was fighting his own health related battles.

We will him and our group will always be a little bit “less”, after our loss of him.

Ricky we know that you aren’t fully gone, and that you are up there keeping watch over all of us.

Halloween In California and Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland Day 1

I realize that it is now June and Halloween has been over for about 8 months now. But, I just realized that I never posted about our trip to Disneyland in October. So, I figure better late than never!


Our trip to California and Disneyland started out pretty eventfully. We set out on our 4-hour drive on Friday, October 13th not knowing that there were wildfires raging throughout the state of California.

We began our trip with a drive out to New Port Beach and the closer we got the larger the smoke plume got and eventually we drove right past the flames themselves.

Here are a few pictures from our drive:

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We came around a curve and all of a sudden there was smoke in the sky; we knew nothing about these wildfires until we were driving past them.

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You can see the flames beginning to grow over on the right side of the picture


The closer we got the less blue sky we could see

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Eventually, we passed the area where the brave fireman and women were working to keep the flames under control and made it safely to New Port Beach.

Being on the beach after what we had just witnessed was surreal. It was crazy to stand with our toes in the sand, ocean brushing over our feet as it rolled in with the tide, and blue skies ahead while behind us we could still see the smoke rising into the atmosphere.

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Disney Details -Animal Kingdom

Today we will be looking at Four Disney Details from Animal Kingdom that you may or may not have already heard about.

I have always had a soft spot for Animal Kingdom. It may not necessarily be my favorite park but the older I get the more I appreciate it and the more I enjoy spending my time there.

So here we have it; Top 4 Details:

I. Secret Entrance: 

As you approach the turnstiles into the Animal Kingdom it appears as if this is the only path into the park. But, in fact, if you enter the Rainforest Cafe to your left there is actually a pathway from inside the restaurant into the park that will allow you to bypass the main entrance.

II. The “Xylobone”

Within Dinoland U.S.A you will find the Boneyard. This dinosaur dig-site is interesting enough on its own. But, what most people haven’t discovered is the instrument hidden within the walls of the Boneyard. There are a variety of bones buried within the area, just waiting to be discovered. But, there are also several embedded within the walls and if you find the right set and “beat” on them they will play various musical notes for you.

III. Paths Around the Tree of Life

Most people believe that the only way to get up close to the Tree of Life is through the queue for A Bug’s Life. But this is actually incorrect. There are a few set paths that will take you through and around the tree and will allow you to get a first-hand view of the over 300 hundred carvings all over the beautiful tree.

IV. Petroglyphs

There are “secret” paintings within the rocks when you are on your safari adventure. When embarking on your Kilimanjaro Safari you are so enthralled with animals around you that most of us are not paying attention to the rocks that we are driving past. But! If you do keep your eyes open and be alert you can catch sight of some ancient cave drawings.

Disney Details- Hollywood Studios

Today we will be talking about my top favorite Disney details in Hollywood Studios.

If I am being honest, Hollywood Studios is probably my least favorite park. Hollywood Studios is probably best known for the Hollywood Tower of Terror and if you have been around here for a while then you know that this is my least favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World.

On our last trip to Walt Disney World in May of 2015, my husband and I spent half a day in Hollywood Studios and ended up leaving to go to EPCOT. I think a big factor in that decision was that it was ridiculously hot outside and we made the poor decision of sitting through the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular…which is outside.

For our upcoming trip in November, we are only going to have 3 designated park days and two of those are being used for Animal and Magic Kingdoms. Therefore, our third day will need to be for either Hollywood Studios or EPCOT.

Truthfully, the only thing drawing me towards HS is Toy Story Land. But, is one small area enough of a draw for us to miss out on EPCOT entirely.

I guess we will have to find out. At this point, I am putting that decision on pause until I find out if we can get Fast Passes for Toy Story Land.

But, I digress… back to our top details about Hollywood Studios.


I. Jedi Training Trials

Who wouldn’t want to train to be a Jedi ?!!

The process for this used to be a little bit different where children would be randomly selected from the audience. Now, you are actually able to sign up for this ahead of time AND get into the park early in order to get signed up and get your child ready.

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II. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

This secret is actually true for both the Indiana Jones show in HS and the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland. Both attractions feature a well or a pit in a dig site where there is a rope with a pulley that has a sign that says “Do not pull on the rope”. If you do in fact pull the rope you will hear voices from down below within the pit.

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III. Gertie The Dinosaur’s Foot Prints

For those of you who do not know. Gertie is the name of the giant dinosaur who occasionally sells ice cream in Hollywood Studios. And near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, you can actually see (and follow) Gertie’s footprints into Echo Lake.

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IV. Door #22 Inside the Hollywood Tower of Terror

Anyone who is a fan will know that the Tower of Terror is chalk full of references to the tv show the Twilight Zone.

But, one locale showcases one episode specifically. When you are walking through the lobby of the hotel off to the side of the front desk there is a door with a sign that the number 22 on it.

This sign correlates to episode 22 of the Twilight Zone.

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Disney Details-EPCOT

Today we will be continuing our Disney Details series with my favorite park- EPCOT.

I have always loved EPCOT, I don’t know if it is the opportunity to learn about new cultures, the (now kind of in the past) emphasis on learning, exploration, and technology or the potential of what EPCOT could have been had Walt lived longer (or maybe it’s just Sunshine Seasons) but I have always had this love for EPCOT.

So today I will be talking to you about five of the best details about and within my favorite park.


I. The pavement in Innoventions- This is one aspect of EPCOT that I truly hope never goes away. There is Pixie Dust (or maybe just small reflective pieces of material)  embedded in the concrete so that at night the pavement glimmers and sparkles!

II. View of the Tower of Terror from EPCOT- If you have been around here for very long you know that Tower of Terror is not a ride that I enjoy. But! the attraction itself I think is beautiful and intriguing. So I will take any chance I can get to see it (especially from a distance).

If you head towards the Mexico pavilion within the World Showcase you will need to walk across a little bridge that leads to the steps into the pavilion. When you are at the crest of this bridge if you turn and look out on the World Showcase Lagoon, what can you see but the Tower of Terror?

The Imagineer’s who designed the Tower knew that the tall attraction would inadvertently become a part of the Moroccan pavilions skyline.  So rather than let it dominate the view, the Imagineers instead carried Morocco’s color palette and architectural elements into the Tower of Terror’s design.  They think of everything!

III. Back entrance to EPCOT- You would be surprised how many people actually have no idea that there is a secondary entrance to EPCOT. This entrance to the park is called the International Gateway because you enter the park into the World Showcase right in between England and France. I remember taking this route so many times as a kid in order to get to the Italy pavilion and the amazing lasagna.

This entrance is meant to be used by resort guests coming into the park from the resorts in the EPCOT area such as the Swan and Dolphin, Yacht and Beach Club, and Boardwalk.

IV. Free Visa Photospot- That’s right I said FREE! If you are a Disney Visa Credit Card holder (which I am!) you can head inside Innoventions West and show the cast member your Disney Visa card and you are able to have a special character meet and greet. There are typically at least two characters for you to meet and take photos with.

V. Mouth of Truth in the Italy Pavilion- If you go past the store in the pavilion that sells the masks you will find what is called the Mouth of Truth.  This is a representation of a Venetian letterbox, which allowed citizens of Venice to anonymously lodge complaints and report crimes to the government. Venetian letterboxes were found throughout the city, and took on many different appearances, often depicting mythological figures. The Epcot version gets its inspiration from Bacchus, the god of wine.

Top Five Disney Details- Magic Kingdom

I have Disney all over my office, I have all of the things… pictures, postcards, posters, and statues. People who come into my office always say “Wow, you really like Disney!” Some say this with a look of confusion and others with looks of understanding. (You can always tell)  And I always get the same question “Why do you love Disney so much?” The answer to this question changes pretty frequently because I am always obsessing or loving something different. Sometimes it’s the movies, sometimes it’s my love and admiration for Walt, and sometimes it’s the details within the parks.
But mostly, for me, the Disney magic is in the details. Within the Disney parks, no matter which park, everything you walk by, touch, see, taste, smell, and feel is done on purpose. Nothing within Disney is accidental and everything ties together.
There is so much to see that you could spend a lifetime in the parks and watching the movies and you still wouldn’t be able to take it all in. You are bound to miss something and there are always new Disney secrets to learn.
So in this new segment, we will be looking at my Top Disney Details from each of the Disney parks. We will look at everything from pro tips to hidden details, to dinosaurs, throwbacks, and pixie dust.
Of course, any trip to Walt Disney World has to begin with a trip to the Magic Kingdom so that is where we will start this segment.

Magic Kingdom

I. The windows along Main Street U.S.A- Every single guest who walks into the Magic Kingdom must walk down Main Street U.S.A. To many people, this is just the area of the park to hurry up and get through on their way to their favorite ride or the area designated for shopping. But what the “typical” Disney park guest doesn’t realize is that Main Street is replete with detail.  Some are easily identifiable and others must be sought out and researched.

Many of you probably already know this. But, the windows on Main Street are not just advertisements for the stores below them or stores from years past. These windows actually showcase and pay tribute to Disney Imagineers and Legends.

II. The hidden animal within Splash Mountain- Splash Mountain has always been one of my favorite rides. I love the song, the detail, and colors within the ride and I love the story. But as many times as I have been one Splash Mountain there is one detail that I have previously failed to capture.

We spend so much time on Splash Mountain looking at what is going on around us that much of the time we forget to look UP. I recently found out that if you look up at the roof you can spot a gopher (who is not mentioned anywhere in the story) who pops down from a hole in the ceiling wearing all orange and yells out the name of an Imagineer’s Alma Mater- “FSU!”

III. Tom Sawyer Island- I hate to admit it but as much as I love Tom Sawyer Island I don’t make it as much of a priority as I should. I sort of always forget that it is there. I spent a lot of time on Tom Sawyer Island as a kid. I remember running through the Fort with my younger brothers and hiding around dark corners in the caves waiting to scare unsuspecting guests.

And in those caves is where you can find our next Disney detail. Within Old Scratches Mine, there is a pile of sparkly, glittery gemstones. But, this is no ordinary pile of stones; this pile just so happens to be shaped like our good friend Goofy.

People always talk about Hidden Mickey’s but there ya have it, your own Hidden Goofy.

IV. The hidden path within the Magic Kingdom- This one is a bit of a pro-tip for you. There is a “secret” path, a shortcut between Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland. You can find this path just to the left of the Barnstormer. It’s a little away from the Barnstormer so that it is not easily noticeable and it actually looks like an area where you are not supposed to be but if you continue on past the Barnstormer you will see it.

V. Princess Fairytale Hall- When you are in the room with the beautiful princesses take a moment to take in your surroundings and look around the room. You will see many little details throughout the room such as a library of books. But! within those books are books especially tailored to those very same Disney princesses that you are there to meet. But, the biggest book featured is the one for Snow White. Why you ask. Because Snow Whites Scary Adventures (the ride) used to be located right on that very spot where the Princess Fairytale Hall now sits.


So, there ya have it! Five Disney Details that you may or may not have previously known.

What Disney secrets and details have you noticed or found?




Disney Copycat Recipe- Mint Julep

There is nothing better on a hot Disneyland day then a Mint Julep.

So today, in our next Disney Copycat Recipe, we will be looking at how to make the beautiful (and delicious) drinks.

3 cups club soda
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons lime juice
6 ounces frozen lemonade, thawed (do not dilute with water)
6 tablespoons Creme de Menthe syrup (found near coffee syrups/flavorings or by ice cream cones/toppings)
Garnish with: fresh mint leaves, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherries


  1. Pour 3 cups club soda into a medium-sized pot. Add sugar, lime juice, and lemonade. Stir with a wire whisk.
  2. Heat to a rolling boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add Creme de Menthe syrup. Stir well.
  3. Let cool and then place in the fridge to chill.
  4. Add ice to an empty glass.
  5. Pour chilled syrup into serving glass and then add cold water (3 parts syrup to 5 parts water) and stir.
  6. Add a sprig of fresh mint. Stick pineapple and cherries on a toothpick and insert into the glass.
  7. Serve immediately.

So east right!


Mint Juleps can be found in one of my favorite areas of Disneyland, New Orleans Square. They have their own little refreshment bar where they are served called the Mint Julep Bar and it is the quaintest, prettiest little area.

Sign for Mint Julep Bar, French Quarter dining location in Disneyland Park

If you try this recipe at home post some pictures below and let us know how they turned out?

When will your next trip to Disneyland be and will you be trying one of these beauties?



My Favorite Thrill Rides at Walt Disney World

Let’s face it Walt Disney World isn’t really known for it’s heart stopping, scream-worthy attractions.

So if you are a sky diving, roller coaster loving, adrenaline junkie then Walt Disney World may not be the place for you to visit. But, for me it is perfect!

I am definitely much more adventurous now then when I was a child but I am still somewhat of a chicken. I do love a good roller coaster (as long as the drops aren’t too big) but I still can’t seem to get myself on the Tower of Terror or Summit Plummet.

So, here is my list of thrilling (yet relatively tame) attractions at Walt Disney World.

1) Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Expedition Everest had already been open for nine years before I was finally able to board that train in the Himalayas.

I was a tiny bit nervous as we boarded since I had never been on this type of coaster before. But, I had heard home amazing the details and story telling were throughout so I knew that I had to give it a shot.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

Expedition Everest is one of the best roller coasters I have ever been on. The views that you get of the rest of Animal Kingdom alone are worth the wait in line, in my opinion.

This ride is just thrilling enough for my tastes as riders are sent through unexpected twists and turns… and couple of surprises along the way.

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2)  Space Mountain:

I can still remember being terrified of Space Mountain as a child.  For most people this is a pretty tame, mid-level roller coaster but what throws it up a level for me is that the entire thing is in the dark. I also love the soundtrack for Space Mountain!

3) Splash Mountain: 

This ride in Frontierland features the characters and songs from a classic 1946 Disney film Song of the South. While I do love Splash Mountain I have to admit that I do still get butterflies as the wooden log that I am floating in begins to climb that final hill with the vultures circling up ahead and there is nothing quit like reaching the crest of the hill and all you see if the top of Cinderella Castle. Splash Mountain will take you to your laughing place with a 5-story drop into the briar patch. I don’t know what it is, but I love water rides and don’t mind getting wet at all (especially in that Florida heat).

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4) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

This is arguably my favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World. I don’t know if it is the desert landscape, the haunted town or the fact that you are speeding through a gold-mining town on a runaway mine train but I LOVE Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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5) Test Track:
I still remember when Test Track opened and the first time that I stood in the queue with the cars racing passed over heard. I was so scared to get on but instantly fell in love after just one ride. I also love the memories that I have of riding Test Track with my younger brothers. Although, the attraction was renovated in recent years and I much prefer the original version.

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7) Mission: SPACE:
Ever been to space? Me neither. But, if you ride Mission: SPACE  you’ll get a pretty darn authentic experience. Epcot’s Mission: SPACE was designed by NASA for Walt Disney World back in 2003. The attraction takes guests on a simulated “mission to Mars.”

I remember how scared I was to get on this ride after I heard that NASA themselves had designed it and that actual astronauts had tested it out and had said that the ride was as close to the true experience of blasting into space that anyone could get without actually doing it.

But, there was no reason for me to be scared because as soon as my cousins and I got off we were begging to ride again.


Beauty of Disney in Photogrpahy- Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

Although I do prefer the actual attraction at Walt Disney World, I have to say that I have a hard time deciding which ride exterior I prefer.

I love the New Orleans Square antebellum manor look of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. But there is just something about the grandeur and sometimes spooky look of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.

But, what I enjoy most about the Disneyland version is that you are able to walk right up the front and onto the veranda of the mansion to enter the queue whereas at Walt Disney World you are just sort of walking past it and the tarp that covers the queue makes it difficult to see the exterior of the mansion as you move closer.


If you could live in either of the mansions which would you choose, the Antebellum style of the mansion in Disneyland or the Gothic Revival Style of the mansion in Walt Disney World?

The Secret Behind the Incredibles Super Powers

The world has been waiting nearly fourteen years for the release of the Incredibles 2 and in my opinion the sequel did not disappoint.

I found the movie to be funny, dramatic and a great super hero film. I really enjoyed that the film essentially picked up where the last one ended so that we were ale to join the Carr family right back where we left them.

During a recent press event the writer/director of the Incredibles Brad Bird revealed that the powers that he gave each of the Carr family members were not simply for story’s sake; each super power was intentional and had precise reasoning behind it.

Brad Bird didn’t just give Mr. Incredible super-strength on a whim, or Violet invisibility because he thought that they were fun super powers. When deciding the super powers that each of his characters would have Brad looked at the typical roles that each family member plays within a nuclear family. He drew inspiration from the stereotypes that family members typically have within their families and used these to create unique and intricate character dynamics to tell this family’s story.

When asked about how he created each of the family members Brad said ” I picked the powers based on who they were in the family. And so men are always expected to be strong, so I had Bob have super strength. Women, mothers are always pulled in a million different directions, so I had her be elastic. Teenagers are insecure and defensive, so I had Violet have force fields and invisibility. Ten-year-olds are energy balls that can’t be stopped. And babies are unknown, maybe they have no powers, maybe they have all the powers, we don’t know.”

“So, that’s what Jack-Jack was, he was seemingly the first normal one in the family and then at the end of Incredibles you find out that he’s the wild card, and that he’s sort of the Swiss army knife of powers. And that to me reminds me of the way babies can grasp languages really easily and adopt them easily.”


Have you flown into the movie theaters to see Incredibles 2 yet?



A Stroll Through The French Quarter

Do any of you guys have a  bucket list of hotels? I do.

It has always been a goal dream of mine to stay at the three resorts on the monorail loop; the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary.

I think that the Grand Floridian is gorgeous in all of it’s elegance and splendor and definitely seems like the most luxurious choice.

The Polynesian always felt like the most relaxing with it’s South Pacific, beachy, Hawaiian vibes.

But, for me it has always been about the Contemporary.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what it is that draws me to the Contemporary. But, I think that it could be the memories that I have from being there as a child.

I remember riding in the front of the monorail (sorry, this is no longer allowed) with my younger brothers, pretending that I was the one driving the monorail and thinking how cool it was that the monorail drove right through the center of the hotel.

I remember playing in the arcade with my cousins Shannon, Nicole and Vanessa.

I remember celebrating birthdays at Chef Mickey’s.


But, as much as I love the Contemporary and as much as I want to stay on the monorail loop, I really really want to stay at the Port Orleans- French Quarter.

I have always wanted to visit New Orleans, and while I still hope to make it there someday, I think that the Port Orleans in Disney World may be as close as I get.

I love the tree and lamp-post lined streets and the colorful buildings. This property is full of little hideaway corners and courtyards, so many nooks and cranny’s to explore. . This property always reminds me of both versions of the Haunted Mansion; the brick posts and iron wrought fences remind me of the grandeur and charm of the Florida version while the balconies and architecture remind me of the beauty of the California version of the attraction.

This property has such intricate detail and is just full of color. I love it’s juxtaposition of detail yet simplicity.

While I have obviously not yet stayedon property I have heard from many others that this resort tends to be much quieter, relaxed and slow paced then others and I love the idea of being in such a serene setting in the middle of a busy, crowded theme park.


Have you stayed at the Port Orleans: French Quarter? What did you like or dislike about it?


Beauty of Disney in Photography- Late Night Park

Check out this beautiful photograph taken by While I have never had the pleasure of being in a Disney park when it is empty like this, I don’t think that there could be anything more magical.

Thank’s to Early Magic Hours and breakfast reservations I have been able to be in the park first thing in the morning when there are very few people around. But,  I think that there would be something so peaceful and magical about being in the park at night, after closing, with no one around.

I think the Walt Disney Company is missing out on a HUGE opportunity here. I think that they would get a ton of interest if they offered tours of the Magic Kingdom or any park at night after closing. Disney, you’re welcome for the idea!


If you could be in the park after dark with no one else around, what would you do?

The Art Of Mary Blair

Any Disney fan will recognize the name Mary Blair. But, for those of you who don’t, today we will be talking about her art and her legacy with the Walt Disney Company.

Mary Blair was one of the most influential concept artists of her time. It was because of her artwork that the Disney Studios was finally able to produce the movie Alice in Wonderland. Walt Disney had wanted to do Alice in Wonderland for many years. He had actually wanted it to be the film that was released prior to Snow White, but because of issues with the concepts and scripts they postponed. It wasn’t until they joined with Blair that they finally had a breakthrough. It was through Blair’s cartoon style and bizarre drawings that they were finally able to bring Alice’s world to life.

She is also known for her work on Peter Pan, Cinderella, the Three Caballeros, and she also worked briefly on Dumbo, Fantasia, and also Lady and the Tramp.

Without Mary Blair many of our favorite classic films would not have existed. I can tell you that Peter Pan is my favorite Disney movie and seeing some of the concept drawings that she did for it, is just magical.

Blair’s contributions to the Disney company are legendary and her art has made our world so much brighter. Just take a look at her beautiful art and design for It’s A Small World.

I know that there are some people who are not huge fans of the Its A Small World attraction but personally it has always been one of my favorites. I especially love the Disneyland version that features some of our favorite and most popular Disney characters such as Ariel and Mulan.

But perhaps the most awe inspiring of Mary Blair’s pieces is the mural that she created that now sits in the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.

Mary Blair was a visionary, combining her love of abstract art with vibrant color and shapes. Disney would not be what it is today without her.


Which is Mary Blair’s work is your favorite?




Dining Reservations in Walt Disney World

Anyone who has any experience planning a vacation to any Disney park knows that half the battle is in the planning itself. Planning is so important that after booking your reservation and park tickets Disney will send out a list of important dates for you to remember; such as, when you are able to begin making your dining reservations and more importantly when you can begin to book your Fast Passes (but we will talk about the latter at another time).

For many people, a visit to a Disney park is not so much about the attractions but more about the food. In fact, to some people, dining in Walt Disney is an attraction all in itself. People take their food pretty seriously guys!

So today we are going to talk about the most difficult popular dining reservations in Walt Disney World.

The popularity of restaurants is always changing and fluxuating depending on time of year, new restaurants opening and any number of other factors. I am sure that this list will change as they continue to bring new dining experiences to Disney Springs. But, based on my own experience, shared information from other Disney blogs, groups and friends this list is accurate for the moment.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

I have seen many a Facebook post lamenting the difficulty of getting an ADR (advanced dining reservation) for Be Our Guest. But, in my own experience, I have not found this to be the case (at least not for breakfast reservations).

I have been able to succesfully make breakfast reservations twice; once for our honeymoon in 2015 and again last week for our trip in November.

Guests who are staying at a Disney resort are able to make dining reservations up to 180 days before they arrive. Our 180 day mark was on the 19th of May. Today is May 30th and as an experiment, I attempted to book us a dinner or lunch reservation for Be Our Guest and there were no reservation times available.

So while I don’t think that getting the reservation is as difficult as people make it out to be, I do think that it is important to do it right at the 180 day mark.

Also, it was announced earlier this year, that Be Our Guest will be transitioning to a Signature Prix-Fixe dinner menu as of July 27th.

So, I definitely think that this will impact dinner reservations going forward.

While we have not been to BOG for lunch or dinner, based on reviews and information from other blogs, I think that a breakfast reservation is the best option for this dining location. These are my reasons why:

I. Cronut- Enough said

II. Early enterance to the park: If you are able to score a dining reservation for 8:00 or 8:30am you will most likely be able to enter the park before the park officially opens. What we have found is that this allows you time to eat and enjoy BOG and finish right around the time the park officially opens and beat the crowds a little bit. We like to finish our breakfast and head straight to Seven Dwarves Mine Train before there is a chance for a line to form.

III. Disney Dining Plan: BOG is considered a table-service restaurant for lunch and dinner. BUT! For breakfast it is a quick-service location! So you can eat a $20+ meal as part of your quick service dining plan and not have to pay extra.



I was lucky enough to dine at ‘Ohana a few times as a kid and man was it good!

Over the years ‘Ohana, located inside the Polynesian resort, has become increasingly popular for both breakfast and dinner. If you are looking for a good character breakfast then ‘Ohana is a great place to start. But, by far one of the best things about this restaurant is it’s wall of windows that affords you a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks if you are lucky enough to score a table near a window.


Victoria & Albert’s

My pocket book has not been full enough for me to visit this dining location yet, but I will make it there someday.

I can tell you that I have heard and seen (thanks to the Youtube video linked below) that it is absolutely amazing and worth every penny.

If you want to see what Victoria and Albert’s is like, check out my friend Adam Hattan’s video below:


California Grill

This is another restaurant on Disney property that will cost you a pretty penny and while I have not made it there myself I do know that you will not find a better place to spend those pennies.

Not only have I heard that they have amazing food but I can pretty much guarantee you that you will not find better views of Bay Lake or the Magic Kingdom, since California Grill is located on the top floor of the Contemporary.

Check out the video below for a quick tour of California Grill from Disney expert Lou Mongello:


To top off this list is pretty much any of the new restaurant’s in Disney Springs:

  • BOAThouse
  • Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
  • The Edison
  • Enzo’s Hideaway
  • Jock Linsey’s Hangar Bar
  • Maria & Enzo’s
  • Morimoto Asia
  • Paddlefish


What are the first reservation’s you always try to book?

My Disney Packing List

While I am still months away from packing my bags and jetting off to Walt Disney World, I always start my planning early so that I can begin to gather any special items that I may need.

I’ve realized over the years that no matter what lists I create or how early I start planning and organizing I always forget something.

So this time, in order to save myself the headache and extra cash, I decided to create my own Walt Disney World packing list.

So… I started off creating my own list until I realized that I was just googling other people’s lists to find new ideas. And I realized that there are hundreds of Disney packing lists out there.

So instead of reinventing the wheel, I am just going to share with you the best one that I have found.

The Essential Walt Disney World Packing List is a great resource for your vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort. This checklist includes all the essential items you need to pack for your Disney vacation. #DisneySide #DisneySMMC #DisneySMMoms


This list includes not only the essentials but also the extra’s; items that I would never have thought of. While I can’t say that I would necessarily bring ALL of this, I do think that it is pretty exhaustive (and a wee bit repetitive) and covers just about everything.

Again, I did not create this list myself. You can find the original post/author at that link below.


Is there anything not on this list that you always make sure to bring on your trip?


8 Must Eat Snacks From Around Walt Disney World

One of the opinions that I hear the most from people when it comes to a Disney vacation is that the food is “theme park food” and that it is expensive.

This couldn’t be further from the truth…if you know where to look. Yes, there are dining establishments that offer the typical pizza, hot dogs and chicken tenders; but some people enjoy that type of food.

For those of us who are a bit more adventurous there is a plethora of food options to choose from; there is everything from Dole whips to lobster burgers and barbecue…. there is literally something for everyone, there are thousands of options.

Today we will be taking a look at 8 of my favorite snacks from around Walt Disney World.


I. Nutella Waffle with Fresh Fruit

This delectable creation is offered inside the Magic Kingdom at the Sleepy Hallow Inn. Nutella+Freshly Made Waffle+Fresh Fruit= How could this possibly get any more perfect?

The cost of the Nutella Waffle is $8.29 and while this location does not accept the Disney Dining Plan, the waffles offered at the Sleepy Hallow Inn are huge and easily shareable.

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II.  Dole Whip Float

Now on to my favorite Disney treat… the Dole Whip Float.

Typically I enjoy pineapple but I would not say that it is my favorite thing in the world. But, when it comes to Dole Whips, it breaks all rules. Tangy, sweet and refreshing; there is nothing better then beating the Florida heat by getting yourself a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle and enjoying it in the air-conditioned show building of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

And the best part is that Aloha Isle accepts the Disney Dining Plan which means that you can get the Dole Whip Float as a Snack Credit!

If  you are not on the DDP then this deliciousness will cost you about $5.49. But, again this treat is shareable!


Three cups filled with soft-serve Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom park


III. LeFou’s Brew

Okay, full disclosure, I haven’t actually tried LeFou’s Brew yet. But! It is on my list of Must-Have’s for our trip in November.

I LOVE apple juice, which is why this treat is perfect for me! LeFou’s Brew is Frozen Apple Juice with a hint of Toasted Marshmallow and is topped with All-Natural Passion Fruit-Mango Foam. (I’ll just be over here in the corner drooling away)

LeFou’s Brew is available in the amazingly themed Gaston’s Tavern right next door to Beast’s Castle and Be Our Guest restaurant.

This treat seems like the perfect indulgence while waiting in line for a Journey with the Little Mermaid.

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IV.  Churro

This one makes the list because it is my husband’s favorite. He can easily have two or three (or more) churro’s a day! (It’s a good thing they are considered snack credits on our DDP).

Fried, crunchy,chewy dough sprinkled with sugar and cinammon, what’s not to love?

These beauties can be found at snack carts throughout the parks.

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V. Mickey Ice Cream Bar

If you didn’t have a Mickey Bar, did you really go to Disney?

These frozen treats are just quintesential, classic Disney. How could you not get one?

Also, not only are Mickey Bars considered a snack credit but you can also order them from room service on-board the Disney cruise ships (at no extra cost)!

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VI. Turkey Leg

Turkey Leg’s were a staple of my childhood. But, I have to admit that I don’t enjoy them as much now as an adult as I did back then. Maybe it’s because we always had someone to pull the meat off for us and essentially do all the work. (Thanks Ralph)

Regardless, not only are turkey legs smokey, tasty and delicious but they are also HUGE! If you are looking for a cheap and easy way to feed your whole family then turkey legs are the way to go. While they do cost $10-$12, they are definitely large enough to share between a 4-5 person family (maybe more depending on how much your littles eat).

Two succulent turkey legs sits on a plate


VII. Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

This is another snack that I have yet to try but I have heard that it is amazing. As the name suggests you can find it in the Canadian pavilion at EPCOT.

Originally you could only get this delicacy if you were dining at the steakhouse Le Cellier but thankfully the cheese soup gods  Disney exec’s heard their guests call of love for the cheese soup and decided to offer it at the Refreshment Port (for a snack credit).

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VIII. Ramen

While I have had Ramen, I have yet to have it in Walt Disney World. BUT! I heard from some friends that not only does Disney offer Ramen as a dining option but it’s actually a snack credit! You can find this perfect quick meal at Katsura Grill in the Japanese pavilion.

Bowl of udon noodles topped with 2 pieces of tempura shrimp


So there you have it! 8 of my favorite snacks from around the world  Disney World. I hope you enjoyed this post.

And share down below what some of your favorites are.




*Disclaimer- Some of the great photos above are mine and some I borrowed from other Disnerds.

Wishes! A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams

I know, I know… Wishes is no more and the fantastic Happily Ever After has taken it’s place.

But, I won’t be posting about HEA anytime soon because I haven’t actually seen it yet. Living on the opposite side of the country means that I only get to go “home” every few years. The last time that I was in Disney World was in May 2015 and I am so thankful that I was able to see Wishes one last time.

How could anybody not love Wishes?! This night time fire works show included projections, Disney music, fireworks and Tinker Bell flying over the Magic Kingdom. For me there was nothing better then standing on Main Street U.S.A or in the Hub watching the beautiful lights streaming across the nights sky with thousands of people all around singing along to your favorite Disney songs. Those are the moments that you want to just bottle up and hold onto forever; those moments are why I love Disney so much.

As a fellow blogger said, “When those trails of light go shooting up into the sky, all your silent prayers and hopes seem to shoot up to heaven along with them.”

Wishes played inside the Magic Kingdom for nearly 14 years from October 9, 2003 to May 11, 2017. During that time I probably saw Wishes 6-7 times and I can tell you that it was an awe-inspiring, life changing experience each and every time. These are the things that dreams are made of. (Yes, I did just reference the Lizzie McGuire movie).

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Oddly enough, one of the lyrics from the new fireworks show Happily Ever After is “spark a dream that we’re meant to follow”; that is exactly what Wishes did for me.

Not to mention that Jordan Fisher is EVERYTHING!

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If you ask any person who is Disney obsessed, why they are obsessed, I can guarantee that 90% of them will say that it is the Disney magic.

Now that “magic” may look different for each person but I bet you that part of it is how the magic of Disney erases all of those little worries, all of those regrets or doubts or uncertainty. Even if for just 20 minutes while watching Wishes, the pressures of reality disappear and are replaced with that little bit of pixie dust. That is what makes Disney….Disney.


So here in honor of Wishes are some pictures that my husband and I took on our last viewing of this beautiful fireworks display.

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A Brief Comparison Of Disneyland and Disney World

I grew up in Florida for the first 15 years of my life and spent more time than I can remember in Walt Disney World. So many of our posts here at the Disnerd are about Walt Disney World. But, I decided that since I now live on the West Coast and frequent Disneyland much more often than I do its eastern sister that it was time to do a post on Disney’s original park.

So today I am going to briefly compare the two parks.


First off let me say that comparing Disneyland to Walt Disney World is like trying to compare tomatoes to oranges. While the parks themselves may have a similar lay out and some of the same attractions, planning a trip to Disneyland is completely different than planning one to Walt Disney World.

I. Hotels

The hotel situation in Disneyland is completely different then what Walt Disney World has to offer. In Disneyland there are only 3 hotels that are considered to be on Disneyland property, while Disney World has 30+ hotels and resorts to choose from.

Also, staying “on property” in Disneyland will cost much more than what you could pay to stay  “on property” in Disney World.

The least expensive hotel in Disneyland is Paradise Pier which will cost you about $269 per night (depending on the time of year and how in demand the rooms are) while you can stay at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds in Disney World for only about $45 per night and one of the All-Star Resorts typically costs around $130-$147 per night.

But, to be fair, the reason for this huge difference in price is that Disneyland does not have a Value Resort option the way that Disney World does; all of the hotels in Disneyland are considered Moderate and Deluxe resorts.

If you have been to Disneyland then you know that unlike Disney World it is right in the middle of Anaheim with hotels and businesses all around it. The norm in Disneyland is to stay in one of its neighboring hotels and walk in. There’s no walking into or onto Disney World property. Well… I suppose you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Lately there has been rumors going around that Disney may be purchasing some of those surrounding hotels to then demolish and/or remodel them to create some value hotels for their property.


II. Visit during off-season

While there isn’t really an off-season in Walt Disney World anymore (due to Pandora and the soon-to-be opening Toy Story Land), there is still a slow(er) season in Disneyland.

Disneyland is considered to be a locals park with a majority of its guests being Southern California residents, because of this the best time to visit Disneyland is during the school year on a week day and when there are no events at the Anaheim Convention Center.

All aspects of your trip could potentially be cheaper if you pick the right time to go.


*Note- The information above is true as of May 2018 but that could all be changing with the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

III. Time OUTSIDE of the Disney bubble

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I know, I know… why would you want to leave Disney property?

In Walt Disney World I do not suggest this; for most people a trip to Walt Disney World only happens every 3-5 years and there therefore once you are on property you stay on property.

The difference is that unlike Walt Disney World, where there are 30+ resorts, 4 parks, 2 water parks and a wealth of things to do outside of those parks, Disneyland Resort is pretty much the opposite.

While in Florida you do have beaches relatively close by, in Southern California there is no shortage of things to do outside of Disney. There are beaches, parks, museums, 1000’s of restaurants, zoos, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and countless other tourist destinations.

IV. Rental Cars

One similarity that both parks share, in my opinion, is that you do not need a rental car for either location.

First of all the Disneyland hotels and the majority of the hotels surrounding it charge for parking and as we all know Disney World resorts began to do this as well earlier this year. So by not getting a rental car you are automatically saving money.

In Walt Disney World you have the Magical Express (which you can read about here:

While Disneyland does not have this option, some hotels do offer shuttles to and from the airport and you can always book a Super Shuttle.

Also, as I said above the resorts around Disneyland are almost all within walking distance so it is unnecessary to pay $10-$17 per night parking at your hotel and then another $20 to park in Disneyland.



This is pretty much my opinion no matter which Disney resort you are at. I just believe that people already rush through the parks too much as it is and that there is no reason to rush from one park to the next in one day.

Each park has so much to see and do that if people would just slow down and take the time to actually take in their surroundings, take note of all of the detail and story that the Disney Imagineers work so hard on, that they would see that you need at least one full day for each park.

A trip to a Disney park does not have to be about rushing from one attraction to the next and trying to do everything.



So what do you think of these comparisons? Do you agree or disagree? Which park do you prefer to visit?




Halloween In California and Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland Day 2

For our second day in California we headed to California Adventure for a few hours and then over to Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party.

This was our second year attending this Halloween event in Disneyland and I have to tell you that we LOVE it. Now in all honesty, I really think that the reason why we love this event so much is because we don’t have kids rights now; I think that having children to take to the party would completely change the dynamic of it.

For those of you who have never been to one of the Halloween or Christmas parties in the parks this is how they generally work:

  • One of the main reasons why we choose to go to the event is because the tickets are less expensive than a typical one day pass. If you buy only the ticket for the event then the price is only $75-$85 compared to the usual $99-$110. Yes, it isn’t a huge difference but that $14-$35 price difference (per ticket) makes up the cost of parking or a meal or even two meals for just the two of us.
  • If you only buy the ticket for the actual party, the hard ticketed event, then you can enter the park beginning at 3pm.  But the actual Halloween party itself doesn’t begin until 6pm. At 6pm when the event starts the cast members begin to check everyone for wrist bands (which they will give you when you enter the park). If you don’t have a wrist band because you didn’t purchase a ticket for the event then you have to leave the park; the party is a private event, with a separate ticket. This aspect alone works in our advantage because it automatically brings the crowd volume down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Insider Tip: This transition period around 6pm is a great time to hit some of the more popular attractions. There is so much activity with CM’s everywhere and some people who don’t understand what is going on, that the wait times tend to drop for a little while).
  • You could purchase a regular priced ticket for the same day AND a ticket for the event and then you can be in the park in the morning and stay the whole day through to the end of the event. But honestly I wouldn’t suggest that. Disneyland is usually open until 11pm on party nights, so entering the park at 3 allows you 8 hours of park time, which I think is still plenty of time.

The reason why I say that we enjoy the party because we don’t have children is that one of the biggest draws of the party is that kids are able to dress up and go to trick or treat stations throughout the park and the lines for these tend to be very long.

This works for us because it means that the majority of the people in the park are in these trick or treat lines and not in the lines for the attractions. I can tell you that for the past two years my husband and I have been able to do almost every ride without waiting more than 10-15 minutes; even the more popular rides like Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Another aspect of the Halloween Party that we really enjoyed the second time around was that for the first time California Adventure was also decorated for Halloween AND the ticket for this years party was considered a park hopper. Therefore, we were able to do both parks for that same $75-$85 priced ticket. We went over to DCA for the first three hours, from 3pm to 6pm, before the actual party started and were able to check out the new decorations, Guardians of the Galaxy -Mission:Breakout!, and ride Soarin’ and Radiator Springs Racers before heading to Disneyland for the Halloween party.


We won’t be spending Halloween with Mickey this year because we will be seeing him a month later in November on the east coast, but I still highly recommend this event for everyone to try at least once.

Here are some of our pictures from our time in DCA and at Mickey’s Halloween Party:

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Pumpkin Display in Downtown Disney


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Hubby has to have his churro!

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Oogie Boogie keeping watch over the entrance to Disney’s California Adventure

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This place wouldn’t exist without these two

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Guardian’s of the Galaxy – Mission:Breakout!

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Halloween Decorations in Radiator Springs

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Halloween In California and Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland Day 1

I realize that it is now June and Halloween has been over for about 8 months now. But, I just realized that I never posted about our trip to Disneyland in October. So, I figure better late than never!


Our trip to California and Disneyland started out pretty eventfully. We set out on our 4-hour drive on Friday, October 13th not knowing that there were wildfires raging throughout the state of California.

We began our trip with a drive out to New Port Beach and the closer we got the larger the smoke plume got and eventually we drove right past the flames themselves.

Here are a few pictures from our drive:

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We came around a curve and all of a sudden there was smoke in the sky; we knew nothing about these wildfires until we were driving past them.

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You can see the flames beginning to grow over on the right side of the picture


The closer we got the less blue sky we could see

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Eventually, we passed the area where the brave fireman and women were working to keep the flames under control and made it safely to New Port Beach.

Being on the beach after what we had just witnessed was surreal. It was crazy to stand with our toes in the sand, ocean brushing over our feet as it rolled in with the tide, and blue skies ahead while behind us we could still see the smoke rising into the atmosphere.

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Disney…Food Channel?

Disney made several big announcements in May but this is the one that I am probably most excited about.

On May 1st, 2018, the Walt Disney Company announced that they will be introducing a new digital channel.

Disney Eats will be a new channel focused on culinary experiences aimed at families (of course).

According to the press release, upcoming Disney Eats shows will include seasons of “Kitchen Little,” which will showcase kids working with celebrity chefs, and “Tiny Kitchen,” with chefs creating small replicas of Disney food. Both were co-created with global entertainment company Tastemade.

The new channel will also have another Tastemade food science series called “Must Be Science,” as well as shows with Disney online influencers that will be announced at a later date.

The programs are aimed at showcasing “co-cooking” experiences, or parents cooking with their kids. Disney will also eventually begin to sell Disney Eats branded products, including kitchen utensils, bakeware and cookbooks.

Disney also announced a relaunch of its free Oh My Disney mobile app and a podcast series. It will debut new programs for Facebook Watch, including “Designing Disney,” a show about designers who create Disney-inspired projects, and “Disney Dream Job,” a series about five children who spend a day working with Disney employees.


What could be better then combining Disney and food??!!

Toy Story Land-Update

We have had some exciting news come out of  Walt Disney Imagineering this month!

On May 2nd, we were gifted with new images of the new Alien Swirling Saucers attraction coming to Toy Story Land.

And I have to tell you guys, when I first heard about this attraction, I wasn’t all that excited about it. I was imagining a bumper-car or Buzz LightYear’s Atroblasters (from Disney Quest, R.I.P) type of attraction.

But! After seeing these new images, I have realized how off the mark I was. First of all, why would I ever doubt Disney Imagineering! By now I should realize that they kind of   COMPLETELY know what they’re doing.


Alien Swirling Saucers, has been Imagineered to look like a toy from Pizza Planet (think a toy from a Happy Meal) and has been placed in Andy’s backyard next to his Buzz Lightyear’s Star Command playset. This attraction will feature our favorite little green aliens flying around in their toy flying saucers while “The Claw” appears overhead.

Guests will whirl around toy planets and space stations to the beat of a fun electronic space music soundtrack that includes eight songs. Guests will also see pizza details throughout the attraction, including pizza columns, a pizza space station and the planet Pepperonia.


This attraction is one of two new attractions planned to debut at the new Toy Story Land when it opens on June 30th.


When will you be visiting Andy’s backyard?

Disney- Did You Know? Disney’s Magical Express

Today’s Disney-Did You Know is all about one of my favorite parts of any Walt Disney World trip… Disney’s Magical Express.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love all thinks Disney and that that love has lead do a fair amount of knowledge on the subject. So I tend to get asked a lot of questions when people around me are planning trips to any of the Disney parks.

And over the years one of the most frequent topics that I have gotten asked about is transportation, namely to and from the airport.


So that leads me to this week’s question…

Did you know- that transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) is included in your Walt Disney World Resort package?


I’ve already talked about my opinion on the necessity of renting a car for a trip to Walt Disney World. (You can find that here)

But, what most people don’t seem to understand is thatneed to Disney provides motorcoach transportation for guests staying on property.

One you have booked your Walt Disney World package you will immediately have access to the Disney’s Magical Express reservation website.

All you have to do is go online through your My Disney Experience or you can call 1-407-939-1936 and provide your airline/flight information.


So you’ve made your reservation with Disney’s Magical Express, now what?

About two weeks before you leave for your vacation you will receive your Magical Express luggage tags in the mail. It’s the best mail you can receive as it means you are leaving for Walt Disney World soon!

Double check that the flight/resort information is correct, before you attach the tags to your luggage.


Note: It is important to make sure the tags are on before you check them in at the airport; this will ensure that your bags are picked up by Disney at the airport. This is a wonderful service that allows you to by-pass the luggage claim upon your arrival!


Also, it can take up to three hours for your luggage to be delivered to your room, and you do not need to wait for it as a member of Bell Services at your resort will put it inside your room for you.

Also, remember not to pack your MagicBands in your checked luggage as you will need them to check into Disney’s Magical Express, and it acts as your resort room key and park tickets.
Disney’s Magical Express will also make your trip from Walt Disney World to the airport super simple. The day before you leave, a Transportation Notice will be delivered to you in your room. This notice will let you know what time you need to be at the DME pick-up location the next day.



My husband and I used the Magical Express on our last trip in 2015 and we absolutely loved it! It’s not just transportation. It’s the perfect way to start off your vacation with a little bit of Disney Magic.


Disney-Did You Know?: Walt Disney and Religion

I have admired Walt Disney through out my life for a variety of reasons; his ingenuity, creativeness, sense of business, his love for his family, and the magic that he brought into the lives of millions of people. But, the one thing that I did not know about Walt until recently may just be my biggest reason of all.

Many people do not realize or know that Walt Disney was a deeply religious man.

He believed that good always triumphs over evil and that it was important to accept everyone.

(For decades there have been rumors that Walt was a racist and anti-Semitic. He WAS NOT. But, more on that at a later time)

Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller once told a minister that the choice to not have any churches on Main Street in Disneyland was an intentional one. Her father did not want to favor any particular denomination. Although, at one point there were plans for a church in the original concept drawings for Main Street.

5 Ways To Bring the Magic of Disney Home with You

No matter which of the Disney parks or resorts you are visiting, everyone knows that the saddest part of any Disney vacation is when it’s time to go home.

Nothing is worse than stepping onto the “Tragical Express” to head back to the airport.

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Most of us don’t even make it to the airport before we are already dreaming about and making plans for our next trip… and who doesn’t suffer from a little PDD (Post Disney Depression)?

We spend months and sometimes years planning and waiting for this trip and then before you know it, it’s over.

Therefore, because I love Disney so much and because I know what it is like to suffer from PDD, I have come up with a list of my Top 5 Ways to Bring the Disney Magic Home.


I. Podcasts

WDW Radio-

If you are reading this than chances are that you are more than just your average Disney park go’er.

If that is true for you and you have not checked out the WDW Radio Podcast then you are absolutely missing out!

You can check it out here:

According to the website: “WDW Radio is the Disney podcast dedicated to enhancing your enjoyment and appreciation of Walt Disney World. Awarded Best Travel Podcast for 9 consecutive years, WDW Radio also features LIVE video broadcasts, blog, videos, a large and welcoming community, and special events.”

As an avid listener, I can tell you that this statement is 100% true in every way. You would be hard pressed to find anyone more passionate or knowledgeable about the Disney “World” then Lou Mongello.

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The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast-

This was the very first podcast that I ever listened to and I haven’t stopped in the last 3 years.

This podcast is hosted by twin brothers Tom and Tony Bancroft who are former Disney animators.

Their website states: “The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast provides an entertaining and educational look at animation. Tom Bancroft and Tony Bancroft discuss the art and business of animation with some of the industries biggest talents from Glenn Keane to Brad Bird to Don Hahn.”

At first I was a little bit skeptical about this one, since I obviously am not an animator, and drawing and art have never been a great skill for me. But, I absolutely love hearing about how my favorite Disney characters were created and animated.

If you have even the slightest interest in art or animation then I would absolutely check this podcast out.

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Creating Disney Magic Podcast-

Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village.

For the most part Lee’s podcast is geared towards leadership, management and those wanting to grow their customer service skills. But, I still think that it is a great resource for anyone. Through Lee’s podcast I have learned that customer service skills can be used for more than just providing great guest service; these same principles can be adapted and used in our personal lives and relationships as well.

For me, I also love the podcast because Lee is a former executive for Walt Disney World. Disney’s business model and innovative, above and beyond customer service is something that has always intrigued me and for that reason I also love listening to Lee discuss the different strategies they use in the Disney parks.

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II. Youtube

There is no shortage of Disney related videos on YouTube. Almost every Disney blogger or Instagrammer has a correlating Youtube channel and you can search for almost anything Disney related on YouTube and come up with hundreds of videos. But, these are some of my favorites.


Adam Hattan-

I was turned onto Adam’s YouTube  videos about three months ago by a fellow WDW Radio enthusiast.

Adam’s awesome English accent, passion for Disney and fun, bubbly personality make for great videos that are perfect for curing the post-Disney blues.

What I love most about Adam’s videos is that he is always shooting his videos from inside the Disney parks and literally brings the sounds and sights of Disney right to you.

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John Saccheri A.K.A Big Fat Panda-

Honestly I can’t tell you how I found John’s YouTube channel because I don’t really remember. But, I can tell you that I have been obsessed with his videos for months.

John’s videos are fun, informative and very entertaining.

John always has a slew of guests and co-hosts that keep the show new and fresh.


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III. Blogs

(You may notice that there is a lot of overlap through out this list)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a reader. I love to read and it is a regular part of my everyday life.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that blogs are my favorite and I read them consistently. Also, being a blogger myself, I also try to support as many other blogs as I can.


WDW Radio Blog-

I already told you about Lou’s podcast above but what I didn’t mention is that he also has a blog.

The WDW Radio blog features many different writers, including Lou, who write about all things Disney and provide great information.

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The Main Street Gazette-

This blog holds a special place for me as it was one of the big inspirations for starting my own blog.

Ryan’s blog is one of the most consistent I have seen. Ryan has been keeping us regularly and nearly daily up-to-date and informed about all things Disney since 2007!




Those of you who follow Disney bloggers and other online personalities will probably recognize the name Jim Korkis.

Jim isn’t just knowledgeable, he is also a story teller and brings personal stories and articles to his blog that no one else could.

“Jim grew up in the Los Angeles area and since the age of five was a frequent visitor to Disneyland. He was an original member of both the Mouse Club and the National Fantasy Fan Club. He attended all the local conventions where he had the opportunity to interview many of the people who actually worked with Walt Disney. Jim describes his house as looking like “a toy shop and a bookstore exploded and I decided to live in the remains”. For over two decades, he has been a freelance writer and a teacher and for a while was a dealer in animation artwork and related resources. His columns concentrate on sharing stories of Disney history that haven’t been recorded elsewhere.”

If you are looking for a personal view of Walt Disney and the things that he created along with his team then  Jim’s blog and books are the perfect place to go.

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Disney Food Blog-

Who doesn’t go to Disney for the food?!

The Disney Food Blog is one of my favorite resources online for all things Disney food. Disney Food Blog covers it all, from Food Tours to Best Snack and Quick Service lists, and Tips and Tricks for making the most of the Disney Dining Plans. And not only do they have their blog but they also have plethora of You Tube videos and a Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-book.

I am currently using their blog posts and videos as resources to help plan our upcoming trip in November.

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Lessons in Leadership with Lee Cockerell-

Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village.

What I love about Lee’s blog is that it isn’t just for “Business” people, Entrepreneurs, and CEO’s. Lee’s blog is full of inspiration and truth for everyday people and focuses on everything from being organized in your personal life, to career success, to leadership and management strategies and how important family is.


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Also, one of my favorite products that Lee offers is his  Morning Magic Planner. On his website Lee provides the template for this planner (FOR FREE).

BUT! This isn’t your typical calendar view, to-do list type planner. The Morning Magic Planner will help you get the most out of everyday and take care of the most important things in your life.

I have been using mine regularly for the past 4 months and I can’t tell you how big of a difference it has made. I am not the most organized person in the world and I am definitely a procrastinator but the Morning Magic Planner has helped me in ways I can’t even describe.

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IV. Community

WDW Radio- Box People 

If you are looking for a community of friends who do life together and share a passion and love of Disney then the WDW Radio Box People group is where it is at!

We meet every Wednesday night courtesy of our “fearless leader” Lou Mongello of WDW Radio to discuss all aspects of the Disney world…but mainly food 😂😂

You won’t find a better group of people, I promise!

So go check out our page at

And then join us on the WDW Radio Box People page and meet with us tonight at 4:30pm EST

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The Disnerds- 

If you are a fan of this blog (which I hope you are!) and you want to get up to date Disney information, join in on discussions,  and share pictures, countdowns and more then our Disnerds facebook page is the place for you!

Join us at



V. Home Decor

“Home is where Disney is, when Disney is in the home.”

When you’re back home from your Disney vacation and are already counting down the days until your next trip, one of the best ways to cheer yourself up is to have that Disney magic spread throughout your house.

Disney offers many ways to “Disney-fy” your house from mugs to high end art and collectibles.

These are just a fraction of the places that you can get Disney Decor:


 Shop Disney-

The “Home” section of the shopDisney website states that you can “Live your style, in your castle and live the dream everyday.”

They offer a huge selection of housewares: Bed & Bath, Car Accesories, Decor and Lighting, Furniture, Kitchen and much more.


Disney’s Home Store

On February 20th Disney announced that they would be opening a brick and mortar store in Downtown Disney, Disneyland that will offer everything home related.

In a press conference, the store was desribed as a “New home store fill of adorable items to make anyone your guest.”


Disney scented candles-

“The Magic Candle Company provides theme park fans with the most magical scents on earth. Our fragrances are the perfect way to bring the smell of the Parks and Resorts home today. Get ready to smell the magic!”

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Beauty of Disney in Photography- The Hub

The Magic Kingdom in general has always held a special place in my heart. But, there is nothing like standing in the middle of the Hub with the Partners Statue and beautiful views of Cinderella’s Castle.

Even as a kid, the Partner’s Statue has always intruiged me, drawn me in. I have always loved any images or art that include Walt and Mickey; there is just something about seeing the man who created all of this magic with his own creation… the mouse that started it all.


The photographer of this photo Matthew Cooper titled it “One Day It Will All Be Yours.” And doesn’t that just say it all.




You can check out more of Matthew’s amazing photography on his website:


An Authentically Vintage Atmosphere

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say that ALL Disney food is your typical over-priced amusement park food.

This could not be further from the truth, if you do your research you can find some amazing dining locations both inside and outside of the parks.

One of these “hidden gem” (although maybe not so hidden anymore) is the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.

Now, I would be misleading you if I said that the food were the main reason for coming here… it is not. Don’t get me wrong, 50’s Prime Time Cafe offers many nostalgic, comfort food items but they are at best decent. But, honestly the food isn’t the real reason to come here.

The reasons to visit 50’s Prime Time Cafe are the servers , the decor, and the amazing interactive environment.

Here your waiter will be playing the part of your aunt, uncle, cousin, or brother and is at liberty to force you to eat your vegetables…no kidding.


Disney describes their restaurant as:

An authentically vintage atmosphere. It’s a blast from the past when you walk into this all-American eatery themed like Mom’s kitchen.

Bring your appetite and your sense of humor, because Mom and the extended family aren’t above giving you lessons in table etiquette—and doling out punishment to misbehaving boys and girls.

Mind Your Manners!
Pull a vinyl chair up to the Formica table and tuck into hearty home cooking like Mom’s old-fashioned pot roast, Aunt Liz’s golden fried chicken and so much more. Just make sure you wash your hands, put your napkin in your lap and keep your elbows off the table, unless you want a stern talking-to from Uncle Fred.



I personally have not yet eaten at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios but I have heard great things about it and look forward to trying it in the future.

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Disney- Did You Know?: Field Trips with Walt Disney

Did you know that Walt Disney had four elementary schools in the United States named after him?

The first elementary school was located in Pennsylvania and was named after Walt in 1956 and the second in Anaheim, California in 1958. The third was built in what Walt considered his hometown Marceline, Missouri in 1960. And the fourth in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1969.

During the dedication at the Anaheim school Walt caused a bit of a commotion when he announced that school would be let out for the day and had busses ready to take all of the children to Disneyland for the rest of the day.

Marvel Themed Land Coming to California Adventure

Well… the announcement that we’ve all secretly (and not so secretly) been hoping for has finally come!

On Tuesday March 20, 2018 it was announced on the Disney Parks Blog that a Marvel themed land will be coming to Disney’s California Adventure.

The  land will be anchored by Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout! but will also include areas and/or attractions themed around Spider-Man, The Avengers and more.

The areas surrounding the new Guardians ride are currently Hollywood Land and A Bug’s Land. So far there has been no mention of any changes coming to Hollywood Land however It’s Tough to Be A Bug did close this week to begin work on the new land and it looks like the rest of  A Bug’s Land will close in late 2018 as Marvel Land expands into that area.

The fact that I live on the West Coast and usually get to Disneyland and California Adventure at least once a year makes me super excited for this announcement.

I am also very happy because my husband is a Marvel lover and I know that this is something that he will be excited about and I love any chance I get to share my love of Disney with him.


Also, it has also been my opinion that California Adventure is just a hodge podge of lands and attractions. It is has never felt very cohesive to me, at least not in the way that the other Disney parks do; and while this expansion may not necessarily fix that I do think that it will help. The creation of this land will help Guardian’s tie into the environment around it and make it all tie in together.

Here is what Disney had to say about the expansion:

Highly anticipated new experiences at Disneyland ResortDisneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland will soon invite guests to become part of a bigger universe filled with epic heroes and adventures; these three new areas will champion the next generation of Super Heroes.

At Disneyland Resort, the new Super Hero-themed land will begin recruiting guests in 2020, with even more new experiences to follow. The Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers in what will become a completely immersive Super Hero universe, furthering the evolution of Disney California Adventure park. This new land will be anchored by the popular Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, in the adjacent space that is currently occupied by “a bug’s land.” “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” closed March 19 to make way for this new heroic experience; the rest of the land will close in late summer.

Walt Disney World to Begin Charging Hotel Guests for Overnight Parking

The Disney “World” is an ever evolving one. This morning it was officially confirmed by the Walt Disney Company that Walt Disney World will follow in the footsteps of it’s West Coast counter-part and begin charging their Resort hotel guests for overnight parking beginning March 21, 2018.

Rates charged will depend on the Resort that the guest is staying at and are as follows:

Value: $13 per night

Moderate: $19 per night

Deluxe: $24 per night


Complimentary self-parking will remain for the following:

  • Guests with disabilities (A valid disability parking permit is required)
  • Cast Members staying as guests
  • Guests traveling as part of a group or convention
  • Guests staying at campsites at Fort Wilderness (Each campsite provides parking space for one (1) motorized vehicle)
  • Guests who wish to dine, shop, enjoy activities, or visit a resort for the day


More info:

  • All parking fees will be applied to the hotel folio upon check-out
  •  Standard parking fees will not be charged to Disney Vacation Club Members when they’re staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa regardless of whether they used vacation points or another form of payment


Guest who make their Resort reservations prior to March 21, 2018, will not be charged for overnight parking.


*Also note, the need to pay for parking can be avoided. If you are flying into MCO and do not plan on leaving the Disney “bubble” then a rental car is not needed. Guests who reserve a Magic Your Way package have the option of taking Disney’s free shuttle bus (the Magical Express) to and from the airport. Also, once in Walt Disney World there are several free transportation options to get you anywhere that you need to go within the bubble.

Fantasyland- Food Tour

Today on the Disnerd we will be continuing our culinary tour of the Magic Kingdom with a walk through Magic Kingdom’s busiest land… Fantasyland.

To start off I would like to note that this tour will include Fantasyland, New Fantasyland and Storybook Circus.

Also, this tour will not necessarily be all encompassing. There are many food carts and stands through out these areas that offer the typical fruits, water, pickles, popcorn etc.

During our culinary tour we will be skipping these smaller establishments and taking a look at all of the Counter Service and Sit Down locations.



Upon entering the Magic Kingdom you have a few different options for getting to Fantasyland.

When visiting the Magic Kingdom as a child it was always my family’s practice to hop aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad and take a short trip over to Frontierland where we would then by pass Adventureland and Liberty Square, entering Fantsyland near It’s A Small World and Peter Pan’s Flight.

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But, for our tour today, we will be entering the Magic Kingdom, strolling passed the lovely shops of Main St. U.S.A and right on through Cinderella’s Castle into Fantasyland.

As we enter this land of Fantasy we will first head over to Pinocchio Village Haus.

Pinocchio Village Haus

Main seating area inside Pinocchio Village Haus at Magic Kingdom park

If you are strolling through the park and find yourself hankering for some Italian eats than Pinocchio Village Haus is your go to place within Fantasyland.

This location offers a variety of flat breads and pastas.

While this location would not be my first choice for dining in Fantasyland, the food is decent and on the DDP.

Next on our trip through Fantasyland we will head past the Seven Dwarves Mine Train  and towards Gaston’s Tavern.


Gaston’s Tavern

My husband and I visited Walt Disney World in 2015 for our honeymoon and while we did not eat at Gaston’s Tavern during this trip we did go inside the restaurant and I have to tell you that the decor, environment and themeing inside of there far outways the food.

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Located in New Fantasyland and made to look like the tavern in Beauty and the Beast, this quick service location is just another example of how far Disney will go for those painstaiking details.

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One of the great food options offered at this location are Disney’s amazing Cinammon Rolls.

A deliciously gooey warm cinammon roll available at Gaston's Tavern

This location also offers options  like Macaroons and Ham and Cheese stuffed Pretzels.

BUT! If you are in New Fantasyland and are looking for breakfast options, you must head on past the Seven Dwarves Mine Train towards the looming castle up ahead.


Be Our Guest

My husband and I had were lucky enough to score ADR’s (Advanced Dining Reservations) for Be Our Guest when we visited for our honeymoon and it was by far the best experience we had the entire week.

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Be Our Guest has some of the best themeing that I have ever seen in a Disney restaurant. When I first heard that Be Our Guest was being built and that it was going to be located inside of Beast’s Castle, I was incredibly excited. But, nothing could have prepared me for just how spectacular this location is.

When going to Be Our Guest you are not just simply walking up to a building with a themed exterior;  you are literally walking up a long path, through gates and up to (what looks to be) a huge castle. Now I am sure that the Disney Imagineers used forced perspective to make this castle look a lot bigger then it actually is. But, for me walking up to the castle and then inside of it was literally like stepping into the movie.

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Upon entering Beast’s Castle you will pass the stained glass window that you will recognize from the movie before heading into the parlor where you will place your order with a cast member.

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After this you will have the option of sitting in one of three dining rooms; the Ballroom, the Library or the Beast’s Study.

For breakfast and lunch Be Our Guest is considered a Quick Service location and is covered by the DDP.

(This restaurant is BY FAR the best value that you will get on the Quick Service option of the Disney Dining Plan.)

I could not believe it when I found out that we could eat at this location as part of our plan.

And let me tell you, don’t think that just because this is considered Quick Service for breakfast that you are going to be getting your typical eggs and bacon or Mickey Waffles (not that there’s anything wrong with Mickey Waffles) but this location has so much more to offer than your typical breakfast.

While simple or picky eaters can get the Feast A La Gaston which offers scrambled eggs, herbed potatoes, bacon and sausage, the real reason to come to Be Our Guest is the Croissant Doughnut.


I had heard so much buzz circling this Croissant Doughnut before our trip that I knew that had to try it.

This amazing concoction is a fried doughnut topped with Banana-Caramel Sauce, Pastry Crème, and Chocolate Ganache served with fresh Fruit and a selection of pastries.

The doughnut itself has a crunchy exterior but is warm and doughy on the inside and the bananas add this perfect soft, creamy texture and then the whole thing is drizzled in chocolate and whipped creme.

I had done my research previously and assumed that the “selection of pastries” would be a regular croissant or some type of muffin. Boy was I wrong.

They bring you out an entire platter of pastries; a cinnamon roll, chocolate croissant, danishes, and muffins.


This is why I say that this is the best value that you will get on the Quick Service option of the DDP.

With this meal you get: the Croissant Doughnut, a side of mixed fruit, the pastry platter and a beverage (the beverage is only included if you are on the DDP)

Without the Disney Dining Plan, this meal will cost you $25 AND will not include your coffee or OJ which will set you back another $2.79-$3.49.


The Cheshire Cafe

As I said before, the order in which you come upon these delectible eateries will depend on where you enter Fantasyland from.

If by chance you are coming from Tomorrowland, you will pass the Tomorrowland Speedway and directly across from the Mad Tea Party you will find the Cheshire Cafe. Themed after the mischievous feline from Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cafe is a whimsical little location with nothing more then a window for ordering and a few tables placed outside.

But! Don’t let it’s simplicity fool you.

This small locale is mainly known for one thing… the Cheshire Cat Tail.

A stack of several pastries drizzled with brightly colored icing

The Cheshire Cat Tail is a piece of pastry twisted and stuffed with oozing chocolate. The whole things is then drizzled (more like covered) with pink and purple frosting or glaze.

These pastries are a great value; they are big enough for two people to share and only cost $4.99 (or a snack credit on one of the Disney Dining Plans).

The Cheshire Cat also serves a S’mores Pie along with coffee, juices, and slushes.


Friar’s Nook

After enjoying our chocolaty deliciousness, we well round the corner and pass two of Fantasyland’s most popular rides; the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

On our left we will come to our next stop; the Friar’s Nook.

The menu at Friar’s Nook has recently been upgraded and Man I am excited to try it out!

Previously Friar’s Nook offered typical foods such as Mac and Cheese and Hot Dogs. But now! They offer LOADED TATER TOTS and FRIED TWINKIES!!!

Loaded Tots and Fried Twinkie


Friar’s Nook now offers three varieties of the Loaded Tots; the Buffalo Chicken Tots, the Loaded Fiesta Tots, and the Loaded Greek Tots.

They also now offer Fried Twinkies!

Fried Twinkie

I myself have never had a fried Twinkie but I have to say that this looks delicious. And the best part is that all of these are covered under the Disney  Dining Plan.

If you’re not on the DDP then these options are still of decent value. The cost for the Buffalo and Fiesta Tots is $9.49 and the Greek are $8.49. The Twinkie costs $4.99.


Storybook Treats

Directly next door to Friar’s Nook is a tiny cottage looking location that offers up creamy frozen treats (perfect for those Florida summers).

Storybook Treats used to offer a variety of ice cream choices such as cookie and brownie sundaes and a strawberry shortcake sundae. But, unfortunately at this time they are only offering the cookie sundae for $5.49 or regular Hot Fudge Sundae’s for $4.99. Surprisingly this location does not accept DDP.

Cinderella Castle view from a stone archway


Now after having taken a bit of a circuitous route through Fantasyland we come back to Cinderella’s Castle and one the Magic Kingdom’s most popular restaurants.

At some point everyone has dreamed about spending the night inside of the castle but surprisingly many people don’t realize that they can have a meal inside of it.


Cinderella’s Royal Table

Upon entering Cinderella’s Castle you will be given the opportunity to meet the Princess herself before heading upstairs for your meal.


Once upstairs, if you chose a character meal, you will be able to meet some of your other favorite Princesses such as Belle and Snow White.

I remember eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table once as a child and I can tell you that I was disappointed and underwhelmed.

While the fact that you are eating IN the castle is cool, everything was just sub-par.

Even as a child I was expecting the dining room to be lavish and fancy and upscale. But, unfortunately it is not. It looks like any other dining room, in any other restaurant. In fact the themeing at Be Our Guest is much much better.

Also, the food was just okay and it is quite expensive.

I recommend eating at this location once just to be able to say that you ate inside the castle but at this point, with a $35-$59 price point, it really isn’t worth a return trip.

Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen on 03/02/2018. Here’s to hoping that they have stepped up the decor and themeing and revamped the menu.


So there you have it! All of the counter service and sit down restaurant’s in Fantasyland.

Which is your favorite? Which new item are you most excited to try?




Disney- Did You Know: Walt and his miniatures

Did you know that for decades Walt Disney constructed and collected a variety of tiny objects?

According to Jim Korkis in his book the Vault of Walt, some of the attractions in the Disney parks were inspired by Walt’s miniatures.

In the 1940s, Walt merged his new found interest in miniatures with his passion for trains. He built a small scale railroad, the ‘Carolwood Pacific’, that ran around his backyard.

At one point Walt even planned to put miniature versions of American landmarks like Washigton’s Mt. Vernon on what would eventually become Tom Sawyers Island.

In a letter to a friend, Walt wrote: “My hobby is a life saver. When I work with the small objects, I become so absorbed that the cares of the studio fade away… at least for a time.”

Beauty of Disney in Photography…Tomorrowland

” A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements… a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideas; the Atomic Age, the challenge of outer space, and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”

Walt Disney said these words about Tomorrowland on July 17, 1955, opening day at Disneyland.

This is a beautiful sentiment and had Walt lived longer he may have been the one to make these ideals come true.


But in reality, Tomorrowland has always had a hard time with that one little word in its title- Tomorrow.

It reminds me of EPCOT Center in many ways (or at least the Future World portion of it).

Both of these areas were put together in painstaking detail, with so much hope and passion for the future. And both have struggled over the years to truly find their place among that future.

The concept for Tomorrowland revolves around the idea of innovation and technology for the future, because of this Disney World struggles to keep the area up-to-date and fresh, because the world and it’s technology are constantly changing.

Time continues forward, technology advances and what was once considered “future” becomes our “present”. Things that were once considered new frontiers and achievements become old news and fall by the way side. For example, the space race. This was once the world’s most fascinating subject but as time has moved on it has become old news and not something of huge global focus.



This is why I love this picture… it captures the beauty of Tomorrowland, even with it’s short-comings and dare I say, failures.

One of the aspects of Tomorrowland that I have always loved is its architecture. The curved lines and rough, sharp angles. This photograph captures these beautifully.

I also love the bold, bright, neon colors of this World of Tomorrow. While it may not fully reflect our current world, I believe that it does represent the fantastical, over the top version of the future that people envisioned back when Tomorrowland was being designed for Disneyland.


What I love most about this picture is the view that the photographer chose to capture. This view can be captured from the entrance to Tomorrowland coming from Main St. U.S.A and the Hub.

It encompasses two of Tomorrowland’s most controversial attractions.

Many park guests and Disney enthusiasts have wondered what relevance Monster’s Inc. has to the future and it’s new innovations.

Does Stitch’s Great Escape truly belong just because it involves a little blue alien?

Personally, I don’t believe that either of these attractions belong in this land. I much prefer Disneyland’s inclusion of Star Tours in it’s version of Tomorrowland. And I believe that ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was a much better fit for this land, and one of Disney Imagineering’s best ideas.

I also appreciate how this photo gives brief, unobvious views of the Lunching Pad and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority up above.


When describing this photograph the photographer chose to focus on his technique for capturing it rather than the subject itself.

He states, “I have taken many ultra-wide shots of Tomorrowland so I decided to give the Nikon 35 1.4 a go through the land. Once again, it gives me a tighter view that really brings some of the details such as the signs into larger focus. The signs too are the most difficult part of shooting Tomorrowland. It is very easy to blow the signs out when properly exposing for everything else. This can be beat by bracketing but you have to be careful on your blend or it will look bad. The Laugh Floor sign especially I have lost track of how many blown versions I have seen of this out there.”


What do you think of this picture are you more inclined to focus on what was captured within it or the means by which it was captured?




The Beauty of Disney in photography

Over the last year I have developed the habit of browsing through (and obsessing over) Disney related photography.

I have always loved bringing Disney magic into my every day life through the movies, soundtracks, videos, mugs etc. But, up until last year, it had never occurred to me how awe-inspiring and attention grabbing a photograph could be.

My new found hobby has led me to some spectacular photographers who have the ability to capture objects, buildings, and landscapes, that I have seen hundreds of times, in a brand new light, in a new perspective and with a million beautiful details.


That is what this new segment is going to be about… these photographs that bring new magic to the Happiest Place on Earth and the amazing photographers who create them.

A New Era for Main Street U.S.A

Last year’s D23 Expo was full of intrigue, mystery and new announcements. One of those announcements was that a new theater is coming to Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, the new entertainment venue will be designed similarly to the iconic Willis Wood theater from 1920s Kansas City. Why is Kansas City relevant to Walt Disney World? Because, this is where Walt lived after he left Marceline, Missouri.

In an interview, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts said “Across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we’ve been upping the game in entertainment with shows like Frozen Live at the Hyperion. It’s been a huge hit at the Disneyland Resort, and I’m sure many of you have seen it. This new theater at Walt Disney World continues that streak by bringing a new venue for world-class entertainment to the world’s biggest park.”

Recently, new details have emerged giving us a small glimpse of what this theater could hold for us in the near future.

It has been reported that the theater will hold around 2000 guests, with 1500 of them seated on the main floor, and another 500 on a mezzanine level. It will be very similar in size to the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure.  To accommodate all of these guests, two new sets of restrooms will be a part of the structure, with one set located outside and another within (meaning guests won’t have to leave the building if they have to use the facilities while a show is taking place).

Details as to what production the theater will house when it opens have not been revealed but I predict that we will start getting a trickle of information in the coming year.

Currently, the new theater is set to open in May of 2020.

I personally hope that we will see a version of the new Beauty and the Beast production that premiered on the Disney Cruise Line in 2017. We will be taking our first Disney cruise in November and I cannot wait to see this production! I have heard from several reputable sources that it is Disney’s best theater production to date.

What do you think may be coming to this space?

A New Addition to the Land of Tomorrow

It turns out that sometimes the rumors are true. Over the last couple of years the Disney community has been abuzz with rumors of a Tron-themed attraction coming to Walt Disney World. People wondered would it come to the Magic Kingdom or to Hollywood Studios, would it be the same attraction from Shanghai Disneyland or a brand-new attraction designed specifically for a Florida park?

Well, finally in 2017 the rumors were put to rest and the Walt Disney Company revealed the truth, much to the delight of Disney guests everywhere.

It was announced at the 2017 D23 Expo,  that a Tron attraction would indeed be coming to Walt Disney World. But, not just any attraction, it is the most popular attraction at Shanghai Disneyland that will be finding a home in the Magic Kingdom.

Once this announcement was made, the new rumors began. Would this be the first step in a complete over-haul and redesign of Tomorrowland? Would we be losing classic, beloved rides such as the Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland Transit Authority and the Tomorrowland Speedway or the (not so beloved) Stitches Great Escape (which has now been closed as of 2018)?

After months of rampant rumors, Disney Imagineering released the design concept above, and we can see that this new attraction will not replace the Tomorrowland Speedway.  Instead, this attraction will be placed beyond the Speedway, where the current walkway between Tomorrowland and The Fantasyland Circus is.

Now our only question is how will this impact the Walt Disney World Railroad? From the concept design it looks as if the railroad tracks and train itself could pass through the exterior area of TRON Lightcycle Power Run (much in the way that the Tomorrowland Transit Authority passes through Space Mountain).

What do you think? Are you excited for the TRON Lightcycle Power Run?

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

EPCOT at Walt Disney  World has always been my favorite of the Disney parks. Magic Kingdom may be classic Disney World but there is just something about EPCOT that has always drawn me to it.

I don’t know if it was the possibilities of Future World drawing on my imagination as a child, the child in me who dreamed of being an astronaut delighting in Mission Space, my love of learning about other cultures drawing me to the World Showcase or knowing how much Walt loved the idea of this park and all that he could have made it.

But, today on the Disnerd we will be taking a look at one of my favorite Disney attractions, that also just so happens to be located inside EPCOT.


Test Track opened in 1999 as Epcot’s first thrill ride. This high speed ride took guests through a series of vehicle tests and outside onto a 50 degree banked track at highway speeds. Ever since it’s opening in 1999 it has become a fan favorite and must do for any Walt Disney World visitor.

But of course, over time, all things must change. A little more then 10 years later, Test Track’s sponsor General Motors was struggling and in an attempt to bring more awareness to their perishing company they decided to do a complete overhaul of the attraction.

After several years of planning and collaboration between General Motors and Walt Disney Imagineering the original Test Track closed on April 16, 2012 and officially reopened on December 6th of that same year.

But, this time there was something  noticeably missing… there were no signs for General Motors at all;  instead the ride had become Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.

Despite having only 8 months to complete the refurbishment, the new Test Track had become a massively different attraction. Nearly every set piece has been removed from the original attraction, with only the ride system remaining the same.

The change that I like best is that the new Test Track took a clear and purposeful step towards the more traditional Epcot Center pavilion. Test Track had gone from being a ride building to an actual pavilion.


In this new pavilion there are now 3 distinct phases or areas:

The Design Phase at the Chevrolet Design Center

Guests enter the building through a completely redesigned exterior and come right into a brand new queue area, which showcases Chevy concept vehicles. With this new design, gone are the wide open spaces full of vehicle tests, and in its place come  more structured spaces, allowing the queue of the ride to wind through the ‘Chevrolet Design Center’.

The queue area leads to the Chevrolet Design Studio, which is where the real changes begin. Guests who visit Test Track can now design their own vehicle that will be put through its paces on the Test Track.

At the design studio pre-show area, guests are split into groups and assigned a design kiosk number. Guests can also request their own individual kiosk to each create their own vehicle. Following a brief instructional video, the doors to the design studio open, and the fun begins. Each kiosk is equipped with a very large touch screen which guides the guest through the process of designing their vehicle. Throughout the process, there are 4 key vehicle parameters that are being tracked – capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power. Each design change you make to your vehicle impacts one of these parameters, and will later be used to measure the final vehicle rating. The time given for the design process varies depending on how busy the attraction is, but it seems that so far there is approximately 5 minutes allocated to the design phase. A timer at the top of the screen tells you how long you have remaining. The design options are extensive, guests can customize the shape, size, color, graphics, engines, spoilers, and much more.

(What I like most about this is that it appeals to the men in our lives, it adds to the experience and enhances the story. My husband is a car guy and he thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the attraction.)

The Ride

Leaving the design studio, guests head to the loading area for the ride. This is still the original Test Track ride system, but now your freshly designed vehicle will be waiting for you.

This loading area has been completely re-built. Even though it is barely recognizable  it still operates similarly to before, groups are assigned numbers on the loading area in preparation for boarding.  After boarding the ride vehicle, the car moves to the seat belt check. From here it is very clear that things are now very different inside the ride building.

As a fellow blogger put, “Gone are the real-world tests in the warehouse, and in its place comes a very futuristic “Tron” like environment.”

A good portion of the ride now takes place in the dark, with vivid lighting effects, the car still goes through the exact same physical track as before, but with all new visuals. At the conclusion of each part of the test, a screen shows each vehicle in the Sim Car, and how it scored in that section of the test.

The Post-Show

Leaving the Sim Track, guests move into the new post show area. This area has changed through out the years since the refurb but over the years guests have had the opportunity to create a Chevy commercial, use a digital driving table that allows them to actually drive a mini version of their car around a track against other guests  and there have been green-screen photo opportunities with Chevy concept vehicles.

As before, the exit passes through the Test Track gift shop.

The new Test Track now features both standby and FASTPASS lines, including an option for single riders. Standby riders get the full design experience, whereas FASTPASS and single riders get an abbreviated version of the design studio experience, where they are able to select from pre-designed cars, but do not have the ability to design from scratch.

I personally am a nostalgic and a bit of a purist so although I do like the Chevrolet Design Center, I prefer the old ride interior and I much preferred the old version of crash tests and speed and brake checks.

But, the design studio element, combined with the more engaging post show does improve the overall experience that guests have when inside the pavilion. And as we all know, it is all about the experience.


What do you think? Do you approve of this new version of a Disney classic?



15 Facts about the Hollywood Tower Hotel




I have a confession to make… The Tower of Terror is my least favorite attraction in any Disney park.

I know, I know I just committed Disney blasphemy. But it is the truth. 


Now, I have no problem with the idea of the Hollywood Tower Hotel; I enjoyed the cheesy movie from 1997 (you know the one with a young Kirsten Dunst), I love the way the building looms over Sunset Boulevard, the creepy exterior and the dilapidated interior (that I have only seen in person once). It is the ride mechanism itself that I dislike.

As a kid I was a huge fan of the chicken exit! It took years for me to warm up to Space Mountain (maybe because my mother almost fell out of the ride vehicle when Space Mountain first opened back in 1975), I still panic a little when the log starts climbing that last hill in Splash Mountain, and I still have never been on Rockin’ Roller Coaster (I know, I know).  But, thankfully much of that fear has gone away as I have gotten older.

But, the one thing that will never change is my hatred of free-fall style rides. I HATE that feeling.

So in order to pay my respect for one of Disney’s most beloved rides (without actually having to ride it)… I bring you “15 Facts about the Hollywood Tower Hotel”.

No automatic alt text available.

This is about as close as I will get 😉 

  1. As we know Disney is all about detail and all about story. So, in order to bring us the incredible theming of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the Walt Disney Imagineers watched 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating the ride.
  2. The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
  3. The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.


  1. The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
  2. The building features 27,000 roof tiles.
  3. The outdoor queue area features the songs “Inside” by Fats Waller and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.


  1. The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.

Image result for lobby of the tower of terror

  1. The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.

Image result for antiques in the lobby of the tower of terror

  1. Some of the sculptures featured in the lobby are the work of 19th century sculptor Auguste Moreau.
  2. A copy of “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in Photoplay Magazine on the lobby’s concierge desk.


  1. The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
  2. The attraction offers a 13-story drop.
  3. The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
  4. Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.


15. There are now four Tower of Terror attractions at Disney Parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World Resort), Disney California Adventure park (which has now been transformed to Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! and No, I didn’t ride that one either), Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris), and Tokyo DisneySea   (pictured above) (each park has their own version of the classic ride)

Recipe Replicas- Mickey Beignets

This week we start a new series- Recipe Replicas!
In this series we will be learning how to make classic Disney treats at home while bringing a little magic to our kitchens.
Mickey Beignets are mostly a Disneyland classic but you can find beignets in Walt Disney World at Sassagoula Floatworks in the French Quarter section of the Port Orleans Resort.
I myself have never had the beignets from Sassagoula but I LOVE me some Mickey beignets from the Mint Julep inside Disneyland.
The Mint Julep is a quaint little walk up window located just outside of the French Market restaurant in New Orleans Square and I can tell you that there is nothing like coming off of the Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion after a long wait in the queu and heading over to the Mint Julep for a refreshing drink and soft, doughy, powdered sugar covered (and Mickey shaped) little pastries.
Image result for mint julep disneyland   Image result for mickey beignets mint julep disneyland
Read on to find the recipe for these tasty treats and let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had these or if you make them at home!

 Mickey Shaped Beignets 

  • ½ tsp. dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water, (105 degrees F)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • powdered sugar
  • honey butter
  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine sugar, shortening, salt, heavy cream, egg, flour and boiling water in a large bowl; stir in yeast mixture. With the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the dough just until combined and smooth. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll to ¼-inch thickness and cut individual beignets with a Mickey Mouse-shaped cutter or cut into 2½ to 3-inch squares.
  4. Cover with a towel and let dough rise until doubled in size in a warm, draft-free area, about 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350°F in a deep, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Fry beignets until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning as soon as they brown on one side. Remove with tongs and place on paper towels to drain.
  6. Dust warm beignets with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Food…Glorious Food

Today we are going to be discussing my favorite Disney related topic…FOOD!

Join me as we go on a little field trip to the Magic Kingdom for a culinary tour of Adventureland.

Most guests upon entering the Magic Kingsdom like to veer off of Main Street throuhg the Hub and over to their left which would lead them towards the dense foliage and steady beating drums of Adventureland. While not my preffered methjod of exploring the park, this is the route that we will be following on today’s excursion.

We will follow those iron rails past the quaint shoips of Main Street U.S.A then turn left past Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace and pass over the bridge into Adventureland.


Our first stop on our tour is the Sunshine Tree Terrace.


  • Now, Sunshine Tree Terrace may not be the home of Adventurland’s most popular treat BUT it does offewr a great alternative- the Citrus Swirl.
  • As many fans know the Citrus Swirl was missing from the Magic Kingdom for a few years but made its grand reapperarance back in 2012. And with its return came a now classic debate…

Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl?


What exactly is a Citrus Swirl you ask?

  • It is a twist of vanilla soft serve and frozen orange juice (And yes, it is as delicious as it sounds)


  • Much like its rival, the Citrus Swirls comes in two variations: In a cup or as a float.
  • The current price for a Citrus Swirl cup is $4.29 and the float version is available for $5.29 (Both options are available as a “Snack Credit” under the Disney Dining Plan)
  • Sunshing Tree Terrace also offers traditional flavors of soft serve ice cream for $3.99 and a Root Beer Float for $4.99 as well as an assortment of beverages.



As we head past Sunshine Tree Terrrace and further into Adventureland we find our next stop on our tour; the Jungle Nav. Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen.


I have not yet had the chance to visit “Skipper Canteen” but based on the research that I have done, the live reviews and videos that I watched and listened to, I will definitely be heading there in the future.

As we know Disney is all about the continuity of story and the Skipper Canteen is no different. Adventureland’s newest food establishmemt and only table-service restaurant allows you to immerse yourself in the legacy of the Jungle Cruise!

The same quirky (and sometimes corny) skippers who guided your steamer on the Jungle Cruise have opened the doors and kitchens of their tropical hideaways.

At Skipper Canteen guests have the option of dining in 1 of 3 rooms: the crew’s colonial-era Mess Hall, the Jungle Room, and the S.E.A. Room—a once-secret meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers!




In order to dine in the S.E.A. Room guests must head through a secret doorway! 


This restaurant is not only known for it’s rich story and environment but also for its food. Here you can explore the bold, flavorful cuisines of Asia, South America, and Africa.


Some of the offerings here include: Shiriki Noodle Salad, Falls Family Falafel, Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak, and “Tastes like Chicken” – Because it is!

Noodle salad with zucchini, peas, carrots, bell peppers, chicken and tofu

A stew with octopus tentacles, clams, mussels, tomatoes and shrimp

An appetizer plate containing mini corn pancakes, braised pork, black bean salad and avocado cream

A plated brownie topped with ice cream, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce and more

Disney Dining Plan and Deluxe Dining Plan are accepted at this restaurant as well!


Once you’ve had you’re fill at the Skipper Canteen and have returned from your cruise through the jungle, you now have a choice: you can head to the right past the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and to the border of Adventureland and Frontierland where you will find Aloha Isle or you can head to the left past the Magic Carpets of Aladdin towards everyone’s favorite swashbuckling pirates!


For today’s tour we will head over to Aloha Isle first.

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And with  that we have come to Adventureland’s most sought after treat… the Dole Whip.

For those of you who have never had a Dole Whip (how is that even possible?) allow me to offer an explanation: The Dole Whip is a pineapple-flavored soft-serve frozen dessert.

As with the Citrus Swirl, Dole Whip can also be ordered as a float with Dole pineapple juice (and it is MAGICAL, there is a reason this is only served in Disney parks)

3 frozen treats from Aloha Isle snack shop, including a Pineapple float and 2 Dole Whips, with 2 pineapples.


BUT… there is also a new offering at Aloha Isle that I have not yet had the opportunity to try… the Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Image result for aloha aisle pineapple upside down cake

Enough Said.


From Aloha Isle we head back past the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the qeue to the Pirates of the Caribbean towards Adventurelands least used dining location… Tortuga Tavern.

Image result for tortuga tavern magic kingdom

I have never actually dined at this location…mainly because it is rarely open.

Even when it is open, Tortuga Tavern doesn’t offer much by way of food (anymore, Tortuga Tavern used to offer some Mexican cuisine). After the detail and story (and food) of Skipper Canteen, Tortuga Tavern is a serious let down. When they are open, the only offerings they  have are hot dogs, turkey legs and assorted beverages.


Here is to hoping that some day Imagineers will realize the potential of this restaurant’s location and its theme and put much more effort into its decor, story, and menu.


As we head past the vacant Tortuga Tavern we round the corner and come into Frontierland near the Golden Oak Outpost and Pecos Bills Tall Tale Inn and Cafe … and this is where our adventure for today ends.


Join us on our next culinary tour for a look at Tommorowland.

But for now, give us your opinion in the comments section below or on our Facebook or Instagram page.


Which is your treat of choice… the Dole Whip or the Citrus Swirl?




The pictures above are not my own, they belong to my fellow bloggers below: