Main Street Confectionery – one of my favorite places!

I love the Main Street Confectionery. Not only can you watch them make all those delicious temptations, you can use snack credits as well. Everyone knows how much I like to utilize those snack credits! My favorite is the fudge and the cake pops look divine, but I might be tempeted by one of those apples next trip.

Watch this video on the confectionery that came out today, it is pretty awesome!

Cincinnati Travel Sport and Boat Show

It has finally arrived. I have a booth at the Cincinnati Travel Sports and Boat Show! Finished setting up this morning and I will put the finishing touches on tomorrow before it opens. I am so excited and nervous at the same time. I will blog from there to let everyone know how it is going. Hopefully, I will not have time to post much:)

It has begun and I am getting a whole lot of “what is a mouse ear momma?” How do I explain what I do? Disney consultant? Help you plan a great trip? Any suggestions to explain myself?

3 days down and 5 more to go! It has been a great time and thank you to everyone who came by to see me.

D-Tech Me Princess Experience – A first hand look

dtechprincessThis past trip to WDW, we were able to have a first hand look with the D-Tech Me Experience. Last year they unveiled this technology with “Carbon Freeze Me” during Star Wars Weekend. Basically, they took a 3D image of your face and molded it into a carbonite figurine ala Han Solo. Here is a video of the “Carbon Freeze Me” experience. This was so wildly successful with the Star Wars weekend attendees that they expanded the concept this summer.detechprincess2

We were able to do the D-Tech Me Princess experience during the first week of operation. It was located at The World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney, near the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I assumed this would be just as popular as the Star Wars so we arrived early. There was no one there and they didn’t even seem to be booked. I am pretty sure we could have walked in and had it done. IMG_1153The check in desk and photobooth were in a tiny corner of the store and out in the open for anyone to watch. First they gave each of the kids a choice of princess and hair color. One choose Belle and brown hair, the other chose Ariel with red hair.

IMG_1155They gave us headbands to hold the girl’s hair back and then they sat in a fancy salon chair which adjusted to the correct height for the camera. They were told to watch a screen and smile. The picture was taken by 10 different cameras simultaneously to make the 3D image. They take the girl’s picture several times to give you options to choose from.

It is very disconcerting to see a 3 dimensional version of your daughters face and theydtech (2)can show it to you both inside and out. The experience is very quick and efficient and the kids thought it was fun. The figurine arrived 6 weeks later encased in foam with a beautiful pink box. The girls love their figures, though it is a little creepy to see their faces on the body of a princess. They also were given a little charm bracelet to take home that day because they have to wait for the princess figurine.

A few things to know. This is only available to girls ages 3-12 years old. You must cancel 48 hours in advance or you are charged $25. Make sure your child has her eyes opened pretty wide and smiles with teeth. It looks more like them with an exaggerated expression.

Happy New Year 2013!

Happy New Years blog readers! I hope you had an enjoyable one. Now that it is 2013, I have the itch to get into the planning mode again. But when to go to the most magical place on Earth? Spring seems like a good idea, but can I really get the money saved and myself together to go that soon?  Summer…the benefit is that the kids are off but so are everyone else’s kids. Plus, it can be ridiculously hot. Fall seems like a great time, but it seems so far away! I love to go at Christmas, but we just finished Christmas and I know I can not hold out that long.

I am dying to see the new Fantasyland. I wish I could have been there for the opening on December 6. I feel like a vacation planning slacker that it has been open for almost a month and I haven’t experienced it yet!

Well, off to plan. Happy New Year and visit me at The Cincinnati Travel, Sports & Boat Show beginning January 18!

How to Have a Happy Holiday at Walt Disney World. Part 2: Your own traditions

One of the most important parts of the Holiday season is keeping your own family traditions, even if you are not a home to enjoy them. This was my biggest worry when we decided to spend Christmas at Walt Disney World. So, I brought Christmas to Disney with us.

I shipped boxes down full of supplies to make our hotel room feel like Christmas, actually I shipped 4 or 5 boxes full of stuff. I sent down a small Christmas tree that I had picked up at Target for $7 along with lights and unbreakable princess ornaments. I threw in some garlands that I had laying around from my former life as a teacher. Dollar store window clings were in the box to decorate the windows. I also found some stockings with the kids initials and shipped those with command strips to hang on the hotel wall.

At Boardwalk, we had a balcony, so I did garland along my railing for everyone to see. I wish I had thought to bring more or outdoor lights because there were many people who did that. The Christmas tree was in the window and each of the girls bought an ornament to hang on it as a keepsake. I left the tree behind when we checked out, but brought home the ornaments and lights. The kids were able to decorate our room and grandma’s room with the window clings.

In addition to decorations, I shipped down gift bags, wrapping paper, scissors and tape. We did a gift exchange among the kids on Christmas morning and they were able to shop at WDW for each other and wrap the gift. I also bought a few things on Christmas eve from Santa (in addition to what I shipped and hid) while the kiddies were in Grandma’s room watching a movie in their PJs.

For my mom’s room (a 1 bedroom villa so we could all fit in there together), we ordered a beautiful tree from Disney Floral and Gifts. They came and set it up the 2nd day of our trip and it was a wonderful surprise to come home from the parks and see it there, as if by magic. The best part was after she checked out, they came and boxed everything up (including the tree, lights, ornaments, etc.) and sent it to her house. We set it up last week and it brings back such wonderful memories.

IMG_2581Another tradition for my family is wearing matching Christmas pajamas. Prior to our trip, we purchased matching Mickey PJs for all the kids and ladies (the guys won’t wear them). Christmas morning, 13 of us come traipsing through the lobby in our jammies. You should have seen the looks we got (mostly smiles but a lot of “are you crazy”)!

IMG_0703We started a new tradition as well. On Christmas Day, the only place I could get Teppan Edoreservations for 14 people was for lunch at Teppan Edo in Japan. No one was happy with this choice (except me) but there were no other sit down options. Everyone loved it and had a wonderful time. Now, we go to the hibachi grill at home to celebrate birthdays all together. Not a traditional holiday meal, but very interactive and fun!

Even if you are not at home, make sure your own traditions come shining through while you are on vacation. I was surprised how much everyone enjoyed our Christmas at Disney and not a single kid was homesick or worried about Santa!

How to have Happy Holidays at Walt Disney World. Part 1: Decorations

This is the first in a series of posts about spending your holiday season at Walt Disney World. I have been during November/December Holiday season 5 times in the last 7 years and it is obviously my favorite time of the year to visit. Last year was the first time I had ever been there during Christmas and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience.

Today’s focus is on holiday decor both in the parks and at the hotels.You can spend days just wandering around Walt Disney World looking at all the wonderful decorations. It is amazing to see the scale of the decorations and how much effort is put into each detail. I previously posted a video of the Magic Kingdom decor change from Halloween to Christmas. It is amazing what they do overnight while the guests are snug in their beds. If you decide to travel any time from November 1-January 1, you will be in full Disney Christmas World. It is a wonderful time to visit and it makes a completely different experience compared to traveling in the summer months.

The Resorts:

Disney does an amazing job decorating the resorts. My favorite decorating feat I have ever witnessed was at The Boardwalk a few years ago. We were taking family pictures out and around The Boardwalk and they started to put in the poinsettia plants. One guy used this power drill auger to dig the perfect hole while another was right behind him plopping in the plants. A third man followed behind and backfilled the dirt. They did this with hundreds of poinsettia in just an hour or two. It was amazing, my dad was particularly enthralled with the process.

Every resort is decorated for the season with the theme of the hotel. Boardwalk is old school Atlantic City and the entire structure is trimmed with lights. Yacht and Beach Clubs are nautical with ornament of little sail boats and anchors. Polynesian is a pacific theme with hibiscus flowers adorning the garlands, while Grand Floridian is over the to with gold and rich textures. All the Deluxe resorts have a gingerbread structure in the lobby. Usually, they sell cookies, hot chocolate or small gingerbread houses for your hotel room. These gingerbread structures are worth a trip to see even if you are not staying in them. They are usually built sometime right before Thanksgiving.

The Parks:

  • Magic Kingdom is by far my favorite when it comes to Holiday decorations. I love the garlands and wreaths hanging over Main St. USA. It makes the perfect backdrop for pictures with the castle glimmering in the background. The Cinderella Castle itself is a wonder with millions of lights to make it look like it is covered in icicles. Every night around 6 they have a castle lighting with Fairy Godmother and Cinderella. There are details everywhere you look, including The Emporium windows with scenes from Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
  • Epcot has Holidays around the world with decor to match the spirit of every nation in The World Showcase. Along with storytelling about the country’s holiday traditions, you also can learn how people in each of the represented countries.There are large, lit decorated trees and other muted decor throughout Future World.
  • Hollywood Studios has a massive Christmas tree at the entrance of Hollywood and my favorite is when it is decorated with giant popcorn and retro plastic Santa faces. The best part about Hollywood is the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (not Ozzy but a family from Arkansas) on The Streets of New York.
  • Animal Kingdom: Animal Kingdom is also themed with the area (Africa, Asia, etc.). Compared to Epcot, the holiday theme isn’t as in your face. The Jingle Jungle parade has the characters in holiday gear, but it is not as Christmasy as the Magic Kingdom parade.

So, are you ready to go to WDW during the Holidays? It is not for the faint of heart and it is not for First Timers. But…it was more wonderful and magical than I could have ever dreamed it to be!


How does Disney Decorate for the Holidays?

This is a time lapse video of how Walt Disney World decorates the Magic Kingdom from Halloween to Christmas overnight. It really is amazing! When we were there over Labor Day this past year, we went to Magic Kingdom one evening and nothing was decorated. The next morning at opening, there were Mickey pumpkins and Halloween garlands everywhere. It really threw me off for a while, I felt like I was crazy. I was asking myself, was this here last night?

November a few years ago at Boardwalk, we watched as the team used a giant drill to dig a hole and drop poinsettia all over the property. It took just a few hours to turn the entire resort into Holiday mode. They also were working on the gingerbread carousel as well while we were there. Every time we came into the lobby over 48 hours, there were more and more details to the structure and the smell was to die for!

If you haven’t been to Disney during the Holiday season, you should make a point of going. It is the most magical time at Disney and there are so many things to see and do. Any time in late November through December, the hotels are all decked out and the more expensive the hotel, the more elaborate the decorations. There are so many different things to see and do both inside the parks and out. You can spend an entire evening just riding the monorail to Polynesian, Contemporary, & Grand Floridian and stopping at each to see the decorations and special characters and events they have at each.

More to come on specifics of Christmas at Walt Disney World…

Fun Fact Friday: November 9, 2012

The Walt Disney World College Program recruits students from all over the world to come work in the parks and earn up to nine college credits. Housing (for a fee), bus transportation to and from work, and social events are provided for the college students. Students can also received credit at their home colleges for taking college level courses offered by WDW. After completing the college program, students can apply for a professional internship with Disney. What a great opportunity!

Fun Fact Friday: November 2, 2012

Originally, The Florida Project was going to be called Disney World in comparison to Disneyland. But after Walt’s death in 1966, his brother Roy Disney postponed his retirement to take control of the project. As the resort neared completion, Roy changed the name to Walt Disney World. He is quoted as saying “People will always know this was Walt’s dream.”