Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Step Inside Disney History at the Walt Disney Family Museum

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing our Disney Bucket Lists and what you should add to yours.



If you would've asked me ten years ago what was on my Disney bucket list, it would have involved roller coasters or shows. However, over the course of the last decade I have added a few titles to my nerdy resume, and I'm proud to say that Disney historian is one of them.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Amazing Gingerbread Structures at Walt Disney World

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing Christmas must dos at Disney.



Gingerbread.

Ginger. Flour. Cinnamon. Nutmeg.

Seems simple enough, right? However, when Disney gets involved, we go from simple to elaborate and magical.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Resort Review: Grand Floridian Villas

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing our reviews of the deluxe villa resorts at Walt Disney World.

Grand Floridian Villas (Photo via WDWNews.com)

There's a feeling I get in my stomach the first time I enter the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa each trip...it's joy and splendor.

When I heard that Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa was adding a new building just with Disney Deluxe Villas, I was skeptical that I could get the same feeling as the main resort. However, as soon as I walked into the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, I felt the same butterflies.

Location, Location, Location

Located just a short two minute walk away from Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Main lobby, the villas have a small, intimate and exclusive feeling. It is beautiful, classy and calming, and boasts all of the amenities that you expect from deluxe level resorts.

After the short walk to the lobby, you can hop on the monorail for one stop to the Magic Kingdom. Stay on the resort monorail for a few extra stops to transfer to the Epcot monorail. This is, by far, the best feature of the resort. Additionally, you can walk to Disney's Polynesian Resort, the Disney Wedding Pavilion, and the bus stop to the other parks. 

Lobby

Grand Floridan Villas Lobby (Photo via WDWNews.com)
The lobby is gorgeous, and every time I arrived it served as a calming presence. The resort has its own front desk with big plush chairs. It looks like a place to have a chat with a friend rather than your traditional "front desk" setup.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by water with cucumber and water. Also located in the lobby were Nespresso espresso machines, which we visited about three times per day. Yes, I know that no normal human being should consume that much espresso, but alas, we are New Yorkers. 

It seemed like we were always the only guests at the resort and always had personal service. 

You can't avoid smiling when you see the beautiful penguin statue and all of the nods to Mary Poppins, one of my favorite movies.

Rooms

The villas are brand new and beautifully appointed, with Victorian styling and classic features. There are three types of rooms available:
  • Deluxe Studios (Sleeps up to five guests)
  • One-Bedroom Villa (Sleeps up to five guests)
  • Two-Bedroom Villa (Sleeps up to nine guests)
  • Grand Villa (Sleeps up to 12 guests)
Disney's Grand Floridian Villas kitchen and living room (Photo Courtesy of WDWNews.com)

The kitchen features white marble and there are wood floors throughout. Underneath the television in the living room is a pull down trundle bed, perfect for any kid.

My only gripe about the rooms at the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is that the two-bedroom villas only have two bathrooms, not three, like similarly-sized resorts at Kidani Village and Bay Lake Tower. This was frustrating for the guests in our room staying on the pull out in the living room, as they had to disturb guests in one of the two bedrooms to use the bathroom and take a shower.

Our views were spectacular. Every night we had the ability to see the fireworks and the Disney fans in our party loved looking at the monorail zoom by.


View from our Villa at the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Photo by Thomas Mottola)

Bottom Line

If you want a resort that is in the perfect location, is formal and classy, has all the bells and whistles of a deluxe resort, has six unique dining locations, has numerous recreation and spa activities...then you should look no further than the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. 



For more Walt Disney World deluxe villa resort reviews, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Monday, November 14, 2016

My Disney Family Tradition - Watching the Christmas Parade

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are discussing our Disney family traditions.

Photo Courtesy of WDWNews.com










I don't know about you, but I need a little Christmas right this VERY minute. I know a lot of people feel anxiety and frustration around the holidays, but it puts me at peace. And I very much need peace right now.

My family has a lot of traditions, but one of my favorite holiday traditions is watching the Disney Parks Christmas Special on Christmas morning.

In terms of importance, Christmas Eve is paramount in an Italian family. My family does the traditional seven fishes Christmas Eve dinner, and we typically do a midnight mass or other celebration. (Although midnight mass is not possible with a two year old)

By Christmas morning, most of the pressure is off and we usually spend a quiet day with my extended family. Because my brother and I have our own homes and own families now, we typically tape the parade, join my parents later in the morning, and watch it together as we drink coffee and open presents.

Watching the Parade Together: The next best thing from actually being there
Here's information regarding this year's production via Disney:



CHRISTMAS – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
 “The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration” will air on the ABC Television Network (9:00–11:00 a.m. EST; airtimes vary, check listings) and on the ABC and Disney Channel apps.

This Christmas, Disney Parks celebrates the joy of the holiday season, as hosts Julianne and Derek Hough take viewers on a magical ride down Main Street and beyond. The Christmas Day celebration will be bigger and brighter than ever before, bringing together the beloved Christmas day parade, magical musical performances, surprise celebrity guests and heart-warming family stories to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Musical performances include: Solo and duet performances by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks from their newly released album, “Christmas Together.” Kelly Clarkson performing “Underneath the Tree.” Sofia Carson performs “Silent Night,” featuring an alternate musical arrangement from her performance on Disney Channel, and also hosts from backstage. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire)” performed by Jordan Fisher, who will also make his Broadway debut in “Hamilton” on November 22. Additional performances will be announced in the coming weeks.

Will you be watching with your family on Christmas morning? What is your family's Christmas morning tradition? Share in the comments below.



For more Disney family traditions, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Son Will Learn

Today.

Today I woke up. Showered. Said goodbye to my son. Had a cup of coffee. Went to work.

Life goes on.

Today I vow to continue to teach my son.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Resort Review: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing our reviews of the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.

Unique. Relaxing. Stunning. Engaging. Peaceful.

If you are looking for a resort that has all of the above, I propose Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge offers an unforgettable experience and transports you away from the Disney hustle and bustle, away from Florida and even away from the United States.

A Deluxe Level resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge has two separate but wonderful parts: Jambo House and Kidani Village. Kidani Village is a Disney Vacation Club property comprised of Deluxe Resort Villas of various sizes. While Jambo House does have several villas and DVC options, Kidani is dedicated for that purpose.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Navigating My Disney Experience

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite Disney apps.

We have an app for everything we do, from calculating tips, to navigating roads and keeping track of calories consumed. Naturally, Walt Disney World Resort has an app to manage your vacation from top to bottom.

Downloading the My Disney Experience app is one of the first actions Disney tells you to do upon booking your vacation. Why? Because you can truly direct your entire vacation, from booking FastPasses to viewing show times, and even to view attraction wait times from the palm of your hand.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Say YES to JORD Wood Watches


*Editor's Note: I was sent this product in exchange for an honest review. 

What's your accessory style?

I have tried and tried again to go bright and flashy, but in the end, I always end up with simple and classy. A simple silver bangle. Stud earrings. A white gold necklace.

When I first saw JORD Watches, I was intrigued and excited to see how the watch would fit with my simple style. On paper, it seemed incredibly unique! But what I was unsure about is whether it would be too intricate for my simple style.

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2001

Yesterday was September 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks which changed my beautiful city, the country and the world forever.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Celebrating Halloween on the High Seas with Disney Cruise Line

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing the Fall events happening at the Disney Parks.

(Photo Courtesy of DCLNews.com / Kent Phillips, photographer)
Do you believe in the magic of fall? Does dressing up for Halloween excite your kids, and even you? Do you want a fun, safe environment to celebrate the Halloween season? If so, then you should consider sailing on Disney Cruise Line for Halloween on the High Seas.

Friday, August 19, 2016

World: Please Don't Judge the USA by Ryan Lochte

By Ubcwwong (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fast Eats (and Drinks) at Epcot's Germany Pavilion

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are reviewing the quick service restaurants in Epcot's World Showcase.




When in Epcot, we always prefer snacking along our journey around the World Showcase rather than only exploring one pavilion's offerings. Epcot's quick service location, Sommerfest, is in the perfect location for a quick lunch or snack (and, let's be honest, a cold adult beverage) before moving on to other culinary delights. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Winging it: The Biggest Disney Mistake

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing some common Disney mistakes and how you can avoid them.



There's a lot of mistakes you can make while visiting Walt Disney World Resort. You can forget to try a Dole Whip, or to miss out on meeting Mickey at Town Square Theater. (He is the most magical there) You can decide to get a Fastpass for the Tower of Terror instead of Toy Story Mania, when the standby lines for each are incomparable.

The biggest mistake, hands down, that you can make is winging it. Like it or not, Disney can be hard work; however, if you plan in advance, you can have a fun, carefree vacation in Orlando.

180 Days in Advance

Six months prior to my Disney vacation, I have pretty much my entire itinerary planned. Why? Because of dining reservations.

At Walt Disney World Resort, the booking window for dining reservations is 180 days before the first day of your vacation. What does that mean? That the most popular dining spots are often booked solid six months in advance. 

Popular character meals like Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Cinderella's Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom book up immediately. Other popular restaurants, like Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Le Cellier at Epcot's Canada Pavilion, and Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom are just as in demand. 

Therefore, dining comes first, and if you want a memorable meal at a restaurant I mentioned, you cannot wait until the last minute. I often hear from Disney guests that they'll just show up and try to walk in without a reservation. I am here to tell you that if that happens, it's an anomaly.

Once your dining is confirmed, you can work the rest of your itinerary around it. Be sure to plan for special events, parades and other seasonal celebrations.

In addition to your dining reservations, plans for recreation, spa treatments, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and other special events like fireworks cruises and dessert parties can be made at this time. 

Breakfast at Chef Mickey's can be hard to secure

60 Days in Advance

Immediately prior to this mark, you should make sure you have your tickets set and linked to your account. Why? Because at this point you can start to make your Fastpass+ reservations. 

Gone are the carefree days where you could show up at the park and head to an attraction you want to experience, insert your ticket and get a Fastpass for later in the day. At 60 days, anyone staying on Walt Disney World Resort property can make three Fastpass+ reservations per day. Like dining, the more popular attractions fill up first. Attractions like Toy Story Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Soarin' at Epcot and Peter Pan's Flight at Magic Kingdom Park tend to book up quickly. The new Frozen attraction at Epcot can certainly be added to this list.

At this 60 day mark, I also prepare for the next two weeks, where I order my Magic Bands and plan out a more detailed itinerary in My Disney Experience. 

A Week Before

Believe it or not, you can check in to your resort online now. You can also fax a room request directly to your resort, as it is around this time room assignments are made. 

One Final Tip

Are you able to plan a last minute trip to Walt Disney World Resort? Sure. However, you must remember that the most sought-after reservations are made well in advance.

Is this a lot of work? Quite frankly, yes! That's why I highly recommend using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner who does this for a living, and can point you in the right direction and make recommendations. At my agency, Glass Slipper Concierge, we handle all of the above for our clients. If you want to brave the process on your own, I recommend doing your research well in advance of these important milestones so you get the reservations you want and have a stress-free Disney vacation!



For more ways to avoid mistakes at Disney, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

In the Wings Beauty and the Beast Delights Children of All Ages

Flashback to 1991. I am in the backseat of my mom's car singing (ok, ok...screeching) to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. I knew every single word, and would "perform" it for my friends and fellow passengers. I loved Belle. Belle was like me: brown hair, a bit odd, and an intellectual who liked books.

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie, and will likely always be my favorite, which is why I was thrilled when In the Wings Productions, a Staten Island, New York-based theater company, announced that it would be their summer production.

On Friday evening, I had the pleasure of attending opening night at Snug Harbor Music Hall. I was delighted to see that the orchestra had not one empty seat; the packed house was deserved given the quality production we enjoyed.

Maria Elena Rumayor takes the stage as Belle. (Photo credit: Nicholas Buchholz)

The Cast

While the entire cast was fabulous, Maria Elena Rumayor was absolutely glowing as Belle. She commanded the stage, flowing from scene to scene without missing a beat. Belle isn't an easy role to play - she goes from sweet, to stubborn to fierce, and Rumayor handled each personality splendidly. 

Perhaps my favorite moment of Beauty and the Beast is when Belle turns down Gaston's proposal and declares her wishes for adventure, and to escape the small town cycle. In that moment Rumayor gave me goosebumps, and I'm so glad the theater company filmed it for Instagram.


Craig Kwasnicki as Gaston, with the "silly girls."
(Photo credit Nicholas Bucholz) 
The two male leads, Gaston (played by Craig Kwasnicki) and the Beast (played by Anthony Massa) were strong and confident. They had me chuckling throughout the production, with Gaston fawning over a clearly uninterested Belle, and the Beast trying oh so hard to learn manners.

It is rare, with a cast this large, to have memorable performances from supporting cast, but this production had many unique and memorable roles. Lumiere, Mrs. Pots and Cogsworth (James McKeon, Jenny Kelly and John Patrick) transported the audience to the Beast's Castle and tugged at the heart strings during the song Human Again, a number unfortunately cut from the animated feature but shines on stage. And little VJ Scarpaci was adorable all nestled in the his serving cart as Chip.

In a surprisingly hilarious performance, Madame de la Grande Bouche (a.k.a. "The Wardrobe) Emily Bodkin hit the high notes in her stories about her past performances.

Lefou, played by Ryan Taylor, lead the charge in one of the best numbers of the night, "Gaston." The number included a terrific dance number where the cast knocked their beer mugs. (I can only assume they were drinking Lefou's Brew!)

Fabulous staging by Director Joseph Lento and choreography by Tanya Glassman. (Photo credit: Nicholas Buchholz)

Show Stopping Numbers

In addition to "Gaston," there were several numbers that brought the audience to their feet. 

I personally was thrilled to hear one of my favorite songs, "No Matter What," a gorgeous father/daughter anthem in the first act. 

James McKeon as Lumiere led "Be Our Guest," which featured so many cast members I'm not quite sure how they all fit on the Snug Harbor stage. The gorgeous costumes and set truly shine in this number, the terrific direction by Joseph Lento was particularly apparent in this scene. 

 The cast of Beauty and the Beast sings "Be Our Guest" (Photo credit: Nicholas Buchholz)

I was particularly emotional during the title song, "Beauty and the Beast," sung sweetly by Jenny Kelly, was perfectly touching. During the second act, during the battle scenes, the music direction by Michael Pinto was strong and impactful.

Go See Beauty and the Beast

I'm so happy to share this review with you today because you still have plenty of time to go get tickets for the remaining four performances next weekend. 

If you haven't been to Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens, you should certainly plan a visit to see the campus prior to the show. It is the perfect Staten Island day.  Tickets range from $20-$30, so you won't break the bank and you'll get a high quality performance. 

Here are the upcoming performances: 
Friday, July 22 at 8pm
Saturday, July 23 at 12pm and 7pm
Sunday, July 24 at 2pm

To purchase tickets:

Meet Belle:
You can have breakfast with Belle prior to Saturday's performance. 
(Photo credit: Nicholas Buchholz)

*Note: I was given two tickets in exchange for my honest review of the production. All thoughts are my own.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

50s Prime Time Cafe Peanut Butter & Jelly Shake

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are sharing some of the best drinks you can find at the Disney Parks & where you can find them.

Photo via WDW News
I don't think anybody would deny that peanut butter and jelly is delicious. Who doesn't like PB&J sandwiches? In fact, I lived off of PB&J sandwiches during my pregnancy!

But a peanut butter and jelly SHAKE? That's right, I departed from your typical alcoholic drinks to give you this amazing treat.

Only Disney can make this dream a reality! At the 50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you can try this delicious shake along with comfort foods like fried chicken and meatloaf. If you're not in the mood for a full meal and just want to try the shake, you're in luck! Just stop into the lounge adjacent to the restaurant and they'll pack you a shake to go.


Photo via WDW News
I wasn't a believer. But I can tell you it is absolutely delicious and we regretted splitting the shakes rather than getting our own!

If you want to make your own at home, you can! I've included recipes from Delicious Disney in many articles - but you don't even need a full recipe in this case. It's simple. Two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a splash of milk, a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter, a couple of spoonfuls of jelly and you blend it together to make this refreshing treat.


On your next visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios, be sure to grab a Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake. You won't be disappointed!


For more of the best drinks at Disney, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Part 1: A Three Day (Not Hour) Tour on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas

I really thought I was headed to Gilligan's island or an adventure a la Poseidon.

A few months ago, after considering various ways to spend our five year wedding anniversary, we picked a three night "cruise to nowhere" on Royal Caribbean International's Anthem of the Seas. Then things began to fall apart...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What's New at Epcot

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are all of the new magic you can experience at Walt Disney World in 2016.




It seems like every time I have the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World Resort, there's something new to look forward to. Recently I've been dying to check out the new Disney Springs area, which looks spectacular. However, I'm also very excited to check out additions and changes to one of my favorite parks, Epcot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Exploring Main Street, U.S.A.

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking a tour of the lands at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park.

When does your Walt Disney World Resort vacation truly start?

For some, it is the moment you step onto the plane or get into your car. For others, it's the moment you pass under the Walt Disney World sign and enter the property.

For me, however, it's the moment I step onto Main Street, U.S.A.


All About Main Street

Main Street, U.S.A. is themed after Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri during the 20th Century. Walt loved the simplistic, Mom and Pop feel to his hometown, and wanted to pay homage to this special time in his life. 

You'll find all the workings of a Main Street: a barbershop, a Town Hall, an ice cream shop and a confectionary. 

The Show Begins


Walt Disney wanted you to escape when you came to his theme parks. One of the gripes he had about Disneyland is that you can see the freeway and other outside businesses from inside the park. At Walt Disney World, Walt had what he liked to call "the blessing of size." Everything was meticulously planned so you could be fully immersed in the story.

What was the story?

Well, it's simple really. Think of a show. If a show is about to begin, there's a curtain blocking your view. The curtain in the Magic Kingdom story is the Main Street Train Station. It blocks your view. Once you enter from below the train station, the curtain rises and you see the main event. The main event? Cinderella Castle, standing tall and shining in the sun.

On the windows of Main Street, U.S.A. is where you'll find the opening credits. On each window are names of people who worked to get the park built, or played a critical role in the The Walt Disney Company.

The Construction of Main Street

People are often surprised that Cinderella Castle stands at a mere 189 feet. 

189 feet? That doesn't sound so tall. It looks so much bigger. I've heard this argument so many times, and it isn't your imagination. It was designed this way. 

How? It's simple, and it's genius. The buildings on Main Street U.S.A. are built with a forced perspective. Therefore the buildings at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom are taller than the buildings at the end, so the castle looks bigger than it really is. 

Also of note: the actual street is on a slight incline heading toward the castle. Therefore, it seems longer in the morning and shorter at the end when your feet are screaming.

Forced perspective is also used for the second level of Main Street. While the first level is built full sized so you can enjoy the shops, the second level is much shorter. 

What is there to do on Main Street, U.S.A.?

Eat and shop mostly! Main Street is home to: 

  • Casey's Corner (quick service hot dogs)
  • Crystal Palace (buffet with Winnie the Pooh Characters)
  • Main Street Bakery (Starbucks)
  • Plaza Ice Cream Parlor 
  • Plaza Restaurant (sit down American fare)
  • Tony's Town Square Restaurant (Italian food, themed after Lady and the Tramp)

Main Street is also home to the Emporium, which I like to describe as the Target of Disney retail stores. You can find pretty much any souvenir you want there.

To all who come to this happy place, welcome. 

On your next trip, don't run down Main Street. Take some time and enjoy the sites and sounds! 


For more tours of the lands of the Magic Kingdom, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Lands of the Magic Kingdom Loop:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Personalized Disney Gifts from Shutterfly

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing gift ideas for Mother's Day.

*Note: this post contains affiliate links.


I've been a loyal Shutterfly user since my Kodak Gallery closed up shop and my account was merged with Shutterfly. It's no surprise because I love photos, and especially beautiful photo gifts. I've always been the photographer of my squad, and always the one people are hunting down for photos after an event.

 As a new mom, my love for photos has increased 1,000 fold. I don't want to say that I always have my phone out taking photos, but I would say that 75 percent of my day spent with my son is spent documenting his every move. Therefore, my love of photo related gifts has proportionally increased as well.

While all of this seems like common sense, about a year ago, Shutterfly began offering Disney themed products. This is a GAME CHANGER. If that special mom in your life is anything like me, they'll go crazy for these products and will make the perfect, personal Mother's Day gift.

Without further ado, here are my top 3 Shutterfly Disney products for Mom this Mother's Day.

Top 3 Shutterfly Disney Products for Mom this Mother's Day

1. Disney Themed Photo Book 

By far, my favorite Shutterfly album are their easy-to-make, easy-to-love photo books. Not only are the Shutterfly photo books reasonable, they also are an easy way to display hundreds of vacation memories in a thin, easily storable book. 

While I do love Photopass and the Memory Maker package, I find it much easier to download all my Photopass photos and include them with my own in a Shutterfly album. I suggest gathering photos from your last trip, or do a combination of trips your family has taken throughout the years, and pull together a simple and fun book. 

The Disney Adventures themed book is my favorite (above) but if you are a Frozen fan, I highly recommend looking into the Disney Frozen photo book. New mom? A good idea would be to pull together a baby book for her using the Disney Winnie the Pooh themed layout.

Disney Adventures, 8x11 Photo Book Capture your travel memories with our Disney travel-themed photo book. Mickey Mouse and... [More] 
Price: $44.99
Sale: $44.99

2. Disney Photo Mug

There are never enough photo mugs. I repeat. There are never enough photo mugs. While there are a few versions to choose from, by far my favorite is the Disney Vintage Mickey Mug.

The mug comes in 11 or 15 ounces, and can be customized with nine different colors. You can add up to three photos and...wait for it...Ghirardelli chocolate gifts such as squares or hot cocoa.

 Disney Mickey And Friends Mug, Red
Microwave and Dishwasher safeMade for hot beveragesColor will show on the inside and ha...[More]
Price: $24.99
Sale: $14.49

3. Disney Pillow

We recently got a Shutterfly pillow of my son at Walt Disney World for his great grandparents for Christmas, and let me tell you, that gift was the hit of the holiday! My grandmother tells me that my son is "with her all the time" as she sits on her couch with his pillow next to her.

With a story like that, how could I not recommend Shutterfly's photo pillow for Mother's Day! 

I personally love the Minnie Mouse sham, although there are plenty of other options, such as Frozen, Cars, and of course the big cheese, Mickey.
Available in Standard Front features elegant embroidered border detailEnvelope-style bac... [More]
Price: $44.99
Sale: $39.99

I truly believe that whatever your Disney style or personality is, Disney Shutterfly gifts are perfect, simple and cost conscious gifts for any Mom on Mother's Day!

Best Sale of the Season! Save 50% on Cards, Select Photo Book, and Calendars! use code BEST4MOMS




For more gift ideas, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Space Travelers: Welcome Aboard Your Space Mountain Rocket Train

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing some the best attraction ride vehicles at Disney.

photo credit: Star Tunnel via photopin (license)

"Rocket trains in motion, track B!"

I remember making that announcement pretty much every shift during my College Program at Space Moutain. What did it mean? It essentially meant guests were about to enjoy one of the best, most exhilarating classic Disney attractions.

Your rocket train is your vehicle into the abyss of outer space and the unknown.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Epcot's America Pavilion

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking you on a virtual tour of Epcot's World Showcase.


Photo by Thomas Mottola

Phew, walking around the Epcot's World Showcase can be exhausting, but you made it to the back of the park, directly across from the park's entrance. Wait, where are you going? Don't you dare skip past America! 

Sure, if you're American, I can imagine that a tour of your home country may not be as exciting as sipping champagne in France, watching acrobats in China or sampling tacos in Mexico. However, the American pavilion, the American Adventure, has a lot to offer so before you head to have a cannoli in Italy or sushi in Japan (everything has to do with eating, naturally) slow down and take in the sights and sounds.

The American Adventure

The Spirit of Knowledge (via Neelix)
Hosted by Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin, the American Adventure is an audio-animatronic show about the history of America, American life and offers a glimpse into the different time periods that have played a role in creating the America of today. 

Starting from the Pilgrims harrowing journey to America for religious freedom, and expanding through the pains of Civil War and the Industrial Revolution, the show is a great reminder of how far we have come as a country and the lessons we've learned throughout our history. 

The beautiful theater truly fits the presentation, and is a great place to kick back and relax during a busy day. Around the theater are 12 statues representing the spirits and ideals of America. 

The half hour show culminates with a video highlighting famous people and noteworthy moments in American history, including first responders on September 11th. The video features one of my favorite Disney tracks, Golden Dream, which you can listen to below.


Voices of Liberty

If you haven't seen the a capella group, Voices of Liberty, I demand you stop what you are doing and get to Epcot as soon as possible. The Voices of Liberty are eight very talented singers who appear throughout the day at the American Adventure. 

Their voices perfectly capture the American spirit, and they always put on a fabulous show. There's nothing I can say to perfectly capture how amazing they are, so I will let you watch them instead. Check your times guide or My Disney Experience mobile app for show times.



American Food

Ok, so we aren't exactly known for our food, so the American Adventure doesn't have a sit down restaurant. If you're interested in a little light, quick American fare, stop into the Liberty Inn for a burger, fries, chicken fingers, etc. Better yet, enjoy one of the outside stand where you can get one of my favorites, funnel cakes or turkey legs. 

Photo by Thomas Mottola

Shopping

There isn't a ton of shopping at the America pavilion, but you will find one of my family's favorite shops to the right of the entrance of the American Adventure theater, Heritage Manor Gifts. Here you will find some patriotic Disney merchandise and we always seem to find something to take home from this small, secluded shop. 

Photo by Thomas Mottola

Special Events at The America Pavilion

The American Adventure is home to some of the most well-attended Epcot events due to its large, open air America Gardens Theatre. The Theatre plays host to events such as:
  • The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival's Garden Rocks Concert Series
  • The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival's Eat to the Beat Concert Series
  • The Candlelight Processional

What's the Point? 

On your next trip to Epcot, be sure to spend some time in your home country! What's your favorite part of the American Adventure? Tell me in the comments below. And thanks for taking this virtual tour of Epcot's World Showcase with the Blogorail! 



For more info on Epcot's World Showcase, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Tour of Epcot's World Showcase Loop: