Monday, March 16, 2015

Ryan's Magic Kingdom-Themed Nursery

Last August when I found out I'd be having a baby boy, I knew what kind of nursery I wanted - a Magic Kingdom nursery. I did not want something that had a ton of cartoon characters; rather, I wanted something more subtle. Magic Kingdom was a terrific option, but I didn't know how I would pull it off...until I started perusing Etsy!

Magic Kingdom Posters

I started off by searching for the old Magic Kingdom posters. I was able to download a few and print them by myself. I then purchased plain 8x10 frames from Michael's. Here's the finished product:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Updates to Soarin' and Toy Story Mania!

File this under "it's about time" - two of your favorite Walt Disney World attractions are getting much-needed upgrades.

Thomas Smith, social media director at Disney Parks, announced on the Disney Parks Blog on March 5 that Soarin' is getting a new theater and Toy Story Mania! is getting a new track. In addition, Soarin' is getting a critical technology update. The screens and the projection systems are going to get an upgrade.

I don't know about you, but I'm glad that Disney listened to the fans.

Soarin' has a wonderful interactive queue, but the line is incredibly slow because it loads one theater at a time. As much as I love this attraction, I will not ride this unless I have a Fastpass. By increasing capacity by one third, the line will move much faster.

Even more exciting than the new theater is the upgrades to the projection system. The first time I rode Soarin' I had butterflies in my stomach. It was magical because it immerses you into the screen. Over the past few visits, though, I have noticed black spots and apparent flaws in the film. These two upgrades will certainly help me re-love this attraction.

Toy Story Mania! opened at Hollywood Studios during my public relations internship in 2008. I rode a few times during the cast preview and I loved it so much, I wanted to ride it over and over again.

Unfortunately, that isn't possible because of the lines. Toy Story is a notoriously slow loader and painfully long line. In the day of paper Fastpasses, you had to be at rope drop and run to Toy Story to simply get a Fastpass before they ran out. I saw people dragging their children by their arms. (I wish I was joking, but I'm not.) Now with Fastpass+ you must secure your Fastpass as soon as possible. Re-riding means wasting at the very least an hour.

With this attraction increasing its capacity by a third as well, it will be able to service many more guests per hour, meaning that quite possibly, you'll be able to ride more than once a day and getting an elusive Fastpass will be less difficult.

Will the impact of these changes be as great as I am imagining? We will see in late 2016 when the upgrades are completed. What do you think about the refurbishments? Sound off in the comments section below. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day 2015 at Raglan Road

EDITOR'S NOTE: UPDATED ON 3/4/15 TO REFLECT 2015 INFO

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



On this special Magical Blogorail loop, this Italian girl will tell you where you can have the luck of the Irish at Walt Disney World on St. Patrick's Day. You cannot miss the Mighty St. Patrick's Day Fest at one of my favorite places on Walt Disney World Resort property - Raglan Road Irish pub in Downtown Disney.

Raglan Road - Downtown Disney (Photo courtesy of RaglanRoad.com)
Raglan Road is a bright spot that has become a staple in my Disney World itineraries. In the past few years Raglan Road has delivered, in my opinion, in creating a very entertaining place where you can also get a good meal and a refreshing drink.

Entertainment at Raglan Road (Photo Courtesy of RaglanRoad.com)
At first glance you will notice that Raglan Road is quite large! There is seating on the inside and outside of the building, so on those cool winter nights do not hesitate to ask for a table outside. (For those extra-cool nights, there are space heaters on the outside patio) In a rush? There is counter-service fish and chips on the side of the restaurant. On the inside of the restaurant, you will notice an Irish flare, with dark wood and Celtic influences.

Dalkey Duo (Photo courtesy of RaglanRoad.com)
Raglan Road serves lunch and dinner daily. The menu is pretty extensive, offering traditional Irish food with a modern twist. My husband and I almost always share "Appetizer D'lirrah" with whoever we are traveling with. This appetizer sampler includes:
- Dalkey Duo: Beer Battered Sausages
- Scallop Forest: Battered Scallops with Citrus Lime Dipping Sauce and Sweet Chili Jam
- Heaven on Earth: Baby Back Ribs in a Guinness Glaze (*Truly heaven on earth)
- Drunk Chicken Skewers: Whiskey Marinated Chicken Skewers with Honey Mustard


St. Patrick's Day

Heading to Walt Disney World shortly? Well the timing of this post is perfect because Raglan Road's 2015 Mighty St. Patrick's Festival is running March 13 through March 17. You can RSVP via the Raglan Road Orlando Facebook page.

The food is just one part of what makes Raglan Road so special. The entertainment is what really makes Raglan Road a hot spot. Right in the center of the restaurant is a stage where authentic Irish performers are featured. From Irish bands in kilts to a fabulous Irish step-dancer that performs nightly, you will never be bored while dining at Raglan Road. During the Mighty St. Patrick's Festival, they have an amazing lineup of performers every night.


Entertainment at Raglan Road (Photo Courtesy of RaglanRoad.com)
Finally, what is a St. Patrick's Day celebration restaurant without a well-stocked bar?  The bar at Raglan Road features imported, domestic and local draught beer, your typical bottled beer and a pretty extensive list of craft beer. For those of you who like to sample, be sure to ask about their beer flights. In addition to beer, the bar also features a comprehensive whiskey and wine list.



Happy St. Patrick's Day from The Disney Point!

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

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
2nd Stop ~ The Disney Point (You are here!)
3rd Stop ~ Magical Mouse Schoolhouse
4th Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
Final Stop ~ Return to Disney


 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Potatoes Two Ways

Welcome to the next stop on Blogorail Teal. Today we are discussing St. Patrick's Day recipes. 


Yum! This Blogorail loop is making me HUNGRY! Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you. This Italian girl wishes you the luck of the Irish this St. Paddy's Day!

My fiercely Italian Nonna would probably be horrified by this, but I just love Irish food. In fact, Shepherd's Pie is one of my favorite meals. I believe that my love for Irish food stems from my love of potatoes. Therefore, I'm sharing two of my favorite potato recipes.

Why two?

photo credit: Bathroom Scale-001 via photopin (license)


Since the birth of my little bundle of joy this December, my husband and I are focusing on eating healthy. We are currently doing the DASH Diet - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Never heard of Dash? Neither did I. However, US News & World Report chose the DASH diet as the Best Diet, Healthiest Diet, and the Best Diet for Diabetes for 2015.

Therefore, I'm sharing two recipes - Betty Crocker's Potato Soup & DASH Diet Potato Skins. The potato soup is a savory treat for any potato lover and ,for those watching their waistlines, DASH Diet's potato skins will hit the spot on St. Paddy's Day.
 photo credit: Naked spuds via photopin (license)

Betty Crocker's Loaded Potato Soup

Shopping List:

  • A package of bacon
  • A large onion
  • 2 32oz cartons of chicken stock
  • 2 lbs of potatoes
  • 2/3 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 cup of ham (diced and cooked)
  • 1 8ox container of sour cream
  • 10oz of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup of sliced green onions
Instructions:
  • In a large skillet, cook the package of bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels. Once cool enough, crumble the bacon (or cut into small pieces) and leave it on the side.
  • Leave a few tablespoons of bacon grease in the skillet. Cook onions until tender (about 6 minutes). 
  • In a large pot, mix onions, chicken stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cook 10 minutes (or until the potatoes are tender). 
  • Back to the (same) skillet: melt butter. Stir in flower with a whisk until smooth and cook and stir for one minute. Stir in 2 cups of milk. 
  • Pour the contents of the skillet into the pot. Add an additional 2 cups of milk, salt and pepper. 
  • Cook over medium heat. Stir frequently with a whisk, until the soup is thickened and bubbly. 
  • Stir in ham, half the bacon, the sour cream, 2 cups of the cheese and a 1/2 cup of green onions. Cook until the mixture is heated and the cheese is properly melted. 
  • Add toppings as you wish - the remaining bacon, cheese and onions.
DASH Diet Potato Skins

Shopping list: 
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray (I like "I can't believe it's not butter") 
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of rosemary
  • 1/8 tablespoon of ground black pepper
Instructions:
  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Wash the potatoes and pierce several times with a fork
  • Place the potatoes in the oven and bake until the skin is crisp (about 1 hour)
  • Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/8 of an inch attached to the skin. Be careful, they will be very hot. 
    • You can keep the insides for other uses. For example, make mashed potatoes for your kids
  • Spray the insides of the skins with a butter-flavored cooking spray.
  • Press the rosemary and pepper into the inside of the skins.
  • Put the skins back in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes
  • Serve
Tip: If you can't have potato skins without bacon, consider cooking a few pieces of turkey bacon and chop into small piece to garnish the skins. 

I hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day! Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Blogorail Loop is The Disney Chef. 

Here is the map of our Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard: 
1st Stop - Sparks of Magic - Gluten-Free & Kid-Friendly St. Patrick's Day Snacks! 
2nd Stop - The Disney Point - Potato Soup & DASH Diet Potato Skins  (You are here!)
3rd Stop - The Disney Chef - Corned Beef With Wilted Cabbage and Blue Cheese - Epcot International Food and Wine Wine Festival 
4th Stop - Manda’s Disney Blog - Guinness Cupcakes and Mickey Rainbow Fudge! 
Final Stop - Disney Mamas - Celebrating our Heritage with an Irish Cream Pound Cake