Celebrate the future hand in hand: A throwback post

 

If you haven’t heard by now, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth will soon come to an end. As a result of illuminations ending, this got me thinking about the Tapestry of Nations parade. Illuminations and Tapestry of Nations were a part of the millennium celebration at Disney. They both debuted at EPCOT in October of 1999. Y2K anyone?

In the primitive year of 1999, I did not have a mobile phone or camera. Consequently, I scoured the internet for more information. I do believe I’ve spent more researching this than my English term paper back in 1999. lol

If you’ve seen Illuminations, undoubtedly you’ve heard some of my all-time favorite park music, the soundtrack for Tapestry of Nations. The music for Tapestry of Nations can be heard after the fireworks show, usually on when you’re headed back home for the night.

Above all, Tapestry of Nations was a celebration of all peoples and nations. The parade consisted of 120 puppets which were designed by Michael Curry. Interestingly enough, some of the puppets reached up to 18′ in height and width. Interestingly enough, Mr. Curry also designed the puppets for The Lion King on Broadway.

Due to the massive size of the puppets, the materials and fabrics had to be very light. Most importantly to make sure everything would hold up, the fabric and materials were tested in a special climate chamber with a lot of light exposure. Once again confirming the attention to detail at Disney is bar none. One of the many reasons I continue to be a frequent park guest!

You could see the parade from anywhere in the world showcase and it lasted around 30 minutes. The narrator of the parade was called “The Sage of Time”. While leading the procession, he was meant to represent all people at once. Interestingly enough, the Sage of Time reached an impressive 14′ tall.

There were 8 different types of other puppets. Among those were the aptly named bird man and hammer man.


One of my favorites was the reverse marionette. You can see just how larget these puppets were in the picture below.

In addition to the puppets, there were 15 rolling percussion “floats”. The percussion instruments on the floats were meant to be played by the performers.

The parade ran twice, once during the day and once in the evening. And finally, the Tapestry of Nations ended September 9, 2001. Illuminations: Reflections of earth is scheduled to end somewhere in the second half of 2019.… Read the rest

Saving for the Mouse.

Almost everyone who asks me about Disney trips wants to know how to save money. I’ve been fortunate through the years to stay at Disney World many times and also on many different budgets. Disney ain’t cheap but it’s totally doable on a budget and with all the new announcements at Disney, now is the time to book and trip and start saving.

In my experience, the biggest expenses for a Disney World vacation are likely to be a hotel, park tickets, and food. Transportation might also be a bit expensive depending on where you live.

For Hotel savings:

  1. Rent Vacation club points.
    • If you want to stay in a Deluxe Level Disney Hotel for Moderate Level prices you can rent DVC points. There are many websites out there and I recommend doing a google search but I’ve used DVC request before with no problems. I’ve also heard amazing things about DVC-Rental.com
  2. Stay off property.
    • I love staying on property, however, it can be huge savings for families over 6 who might otherwise need 2 rooms.
    • When staying off property keep in mind, parking every day at Disney World can range from $22-$50 a day depending on your car type. Make sure to add this fee to your off property daily rates.
  3. Hotel hop.
    • Split your stay, especially if you are getting in really late on your first day. Opt for a few nights off property or a value level Disney hotel for a few nights. When changing hotels, Disney World will even move your luggage, free of charge.
  4. Call Disney World for updated promos.
    • If you see a recent promo at Disney, make sure to call and see if you are eligible for the reduced rate. Hey, it can’t hurt to ask right?

Theme park tickets savings, is it possible? 

In the 33 years, I’ve been going to Disney, Disney World has not frequently offered steep discounts on theme park tickets. If you are a Florida resident be sure to log in to your Disney World account to view annual pass discounts and payment plans.

  1. Check with your employer. 
    • It may be the case that your company may have a national discount program offering savings on theme park tickets.
  2.  Wait to add park hopper.
    • Rather than adding park hopping at the time you purchase your tickets, I recommend waiting as it can save you around $80 per person.
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What happens when things go wrong at Disney World?

I have been meaning to post this to my blog for a month now but, life got in the way as it tends to do. Back at the end of September, I was fortunate enough to visit Disney World for short trip. I wanted to attend the Halloween Party and my High School Bff was going to be in town. It was kismet.

 

I secured a preferred room at All Star Movies and was able to request one of the renovated rooms. It’s darn well time they updated these rooms, if you ask me. I enjoyed the new renovations but, felt that now the vanity area feels a little more cramped. To me, the beds are way more comfortable now and it feels more like a moderate room. Overall, All Star Movies is my favorite of All Star Resort because of the theming. I included some photos of our recently renovated rooms below.

Jessica picked me up from MCO and we headed over to drop our bags off at All Star Movies. I checked in online, I always recommend checking in online. It’s overall a better and quicker experience.

We had plans to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that evening, my favorite! I had placed our costumes in my checked bag. Of course, I used Magical Express for my checked luggage. Magical Express claims to deliver your bags 3 hours after you arrive at your hotel. I arrived at 12:15 so I figure, 3:30 by the latest.

This is confusing to me, because if check in isn’t until 3:00, or even 4:00 pm at some hotels, how is the 3 hour delivery time accurate? If I arrive at my hotel at 8:00 am, will I receive my bags in my room at 11 even though check in isn’t until 3? Am I the only crazy person over analyzing the Magical Express luggage delivery time?  Probably.

Hindsight, I should have went and got my bag myself. I was way too excited to see my friend and helloooo we are going to DISNEY! I wanted to get there like… yesterday. haha

As I’m sure you are assuming by now, I did NOT receive my bags at 3:30. We got the text our room was ready around 2:30 and waited until 3:30 to call. They had said, “your bag just arrived once they are scanned in, we will delivery them to your room”.… Read the rest

Make your own Mickey Mouse Ears!

I decided to try my hand at making homemade Mickey Ears. The idea started when I found some adorable Mickey and Minnie Halloween fabric on sale at JoAnn Fabric’s. It was an “I need this fabric, let me find something to do with it” purchase. This would also be a great project for some scraps of fabric you might be hoarding… ahem… saving. Not that I would EVER hoard fabric. haha.

I don’t consider myself very “crafty” and I put myself in a beginner level for most crafts but I love trying new projects. Take a look at my progress and please let me know what you think.

I started out with a half a yard of fabric, a headband, scissors, some cardboard from an up-cycled shipping box and a pencil. Not pictured I also used, one large and one smaller sized round jar lids from my kitchen, some thin foam, poly-fil, a sewing machine (or needle and thread) and a hot glue gun. In addition, I used a smooth working surface for even cutting and measuring.

I traced and cut out two circles using the lid to a jar I had in the kitchen. Then measured where I wanted my ears on the headband, and cut out the bottom parts of the circles that were hanging below the headband. It reminds me of a cookie that someone has taken a bite out… mmmm cookies.

This would be the template for cutting my fabric ears. I also did this a second time with cardboard and foam but used a smaller jar top. I placed the smaller cardboard and foam circles aside for later.

Next thing was cutting out my ears. I folded my fabric so the “not pretty side” was facing up and ironed it to make sure it was nice and smooth.

You can position your cardboard templates anywhere you’d like on the fabric. I wanted to make sure I got both Mickey and Minnie on my ears. I traced the cardboard and then cut out my little ears. Don’t worry about any pen marks, it won’t show on your finished ears.

Next I got my smaller cardboard circle and used hot glue to adhere some foam. This will go inside each ear to provide some support so your ears stand up.

 

I put one pin in the middle of my fabric to keep the fabric in place and sewed all around the edge leaving the “cookie bite” side open. Note: If you don’t have a sewing machine you can hand stitch, which works well too.… Read the rest

My top 5 places to eat at Disney without an ADR.

Eating around Disney World is one of my favorite activities. I love trying new places and of course, frequenting my favorites.

From time to time I find myself on last minute Disney trips or occasionally changing plans and, without an ADR (advance dining reservation). Since I’ve become somewhat of a “by the seat of my pants” planner recently, I found some places that have been hidden gems. I’ve been able to make reservations within a few hours or even walked in on some occasions. That being said, I do recommend grabbing the reservation if you see it on your My Disney Experience App.

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First up is my favorite last minute character breakfast to snag is the Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club resort. Why I love this: It’s a bit more laid back than the popular Chef Mickey’s or 1900 Park Fare. The buffet has much of the usual offerings, breakfast meats, scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, fresh fruit etc. Some all time favorites like Minnie, Goofy and Donald are looking extra adorable in their beach wear. After breakfast you can simply walk over to Epcot or Hollywood Studios to start your day.

If you are looking for a breakfast buffet with more unique food options my second recommendation is Boma– Flavors of Africa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Not only is Animal Kingdom Lodge simple breathtaking in the morning, but breakfast at Boma is always something I can reserve with little advanced notice. Don’t skip out on the French Toast Bread Pudding, Fresh Fruit, Hand carved Ham and the POG juice (passion, orange and guava)! After breakfast you can view the animals before heading to your next plan for the day.

I don’t usually have a sit down lunch because much of the prices and menus are the same for both lunch and dinner. I’d prefer to enjoy a nice long dinner but on occasion when I don’t want to brave the quick service crowds, I head to 50s Prime time cafe. The 1950s theming is amazing and the food is sure to please everyone. Get the “Sampling of Mom’s Favorites”, if you can’t make up your mind. You’ll enjoy the friendly antics of the servers. Whatever you do, keep your elbows off the table!

Dinner is by far the best meal, in my opinion. For a fine dining last minute ADR, Narcoosee’s is top notch. Not only is the food delicious and elegant, the atmosphere and views from the restaurant are incredible.… Read the rest

Disney for a day… with my toddler.

I recently went to visit my family in Louisiana. Hubby couldn’t come because vacay time was low. This meant I was going to fly solo with my “lap infant”. I use the term lap infant loosely because the child is currently wearing size 3T. Anything to save money, am I right?

I mentioned my trip home to my friend, Brittney (she is also from Louisiana) and it just happened that her trip crossed with mine. Brittney lives in Orlando and is always full of great idea. She said “I can drive y’all back to Orlando because I know flights are cheaper….and you can go to Disney for a day”. Disney for a day, in 100 degree scorching heat, with my toddler? Sounds extra magical, sign me up.

The car ride from Louisiana to Orlando is roughly 12 hours and much to my surprise Max was super chill the entire time. He napped, colored and watch all the PBS shows he loves. I sat next to him because he was not happy sitting alone. Other than that, the car ride was uneventful. That evening, we arrived at our Disney hotel around 9 pm and checked in for our 2 night stay.

The next day, the plan was to have breakfast at The Polynesian, go to Magic Kingdom, and dinner somewhere quick.

Getting on a Disney bus along with a toddler is an event. Baby wearing Max allowed me to survive the bus ride. You’d think I can control him and hold his tiny hand but… NOPE. When Max wants to get free, he turns into baby Hercules and wriggles his way out.

In addition to baby wearing Max, I also had the diaper backpack and the stroller. So, there I was wearing Max, carrying a backpack and a stroller and people are staring at me like I’m the stand by queue for Flight of Passage.

After our transportation fiasco, we went over to the Polynesian for tonga toast. Tonga toast is bread stuffed with bananas, fried and then covered in cinnamon sugar. You can find this at Capt. Cooks as well as Kona Cafe.

Inside Capt. Cooks, It was super crowded.This was a little stressful for me. Navigating the stroller by myself was tricky and I felt like I was in everyone’s way.

The only table inside Capt. Cooks is all the way in the back. I bumped into everything trying to push a stroller and hold my food.… Read the rest

Early Morning Toy Story Land Experience

Did you miss getting a FastPass the Disney’s newest rides? Are you a morning person? If so, this new experience might be for you!

On select Monday’s and Wednesday’s at Hollywood Studios you can meet Buzz, Woody and Jessie. You’ll also be able to ride Slinky dog, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! The cost is $79 for adults and $69 for children ages 3-9.

The early morning event is open from 7:30-8:45 am. A continental style breakfast buffet is also included and available from 8:30-10:00 am. The park will open at 9 am for everyone else, so make sure to ride everything before going for food.

In addition to the price of this experience, please note you must also have theme park admission. If traveling from a Disney Resort, Disney recommends to allow up to 1.5 hours for transportation. I would recommend taking an uber or lyft.

This event appears to be offered through December. You can also find out more info here or call Disney at 407-827-7350.

What are your thoughts? Is the cost worth the benefit? Have you been yet? Leave me a comment below!

 

 … Read the rest

I ran a marathon at Disney!

Hello friends! Are you considering signing up for the Walt Disney World Marathon? I’d like to tell you about my experience and why I love RunDisney events.

After I completed the Princess Half Marathon, I definitely wanted to sign up for another RunDisney event. I decided on The Walt Disney World Half Marathon. This is usually held around the second week of January. Only one thing went wrong… it was sold out!!

If you read my previous post about my first RunDisney race, you’ll know my friend Brittney enables my running habit. I called Brittney and she convinced me I could finish a marathon. I bit the bullet, and signed up for the full marathon.

So, I’m signed up. Now what? I followed Jeff Galloway’s half marathon training plan, so I figured he could get me through a full as well. Thus, I began the journey of increasing my miles from 13.1 to 26.2. I trained for about 7 months and it went by very quick. Due to life kinda getting in the way, the longest run I was able to do was 18 miles.

A few things I remember about increasing my miles:

Completing your goal makes you feel really great about what you can accomplish, AKA “runners’ high”.
You get to set a lot of personal records.
Much to my dismay, you don’t get a medal for running more than 13 miles in your neighborhood. haha!
Other runners are kind and encouraging.
Long distance running is very time consuming. My long runs would be on my only day off. I spent half my day running, recovering and soaking my feet.

Before I knew it, Marathon Weekend was here in a flash and it was time to check into my Disney resort.

Pro tip: If you know you are going to sign up for a RunDisney event, book your hotel as soon as you can.

Although January after New Years crowds start thinning out, It tends to be a bit busier at Disney World during the January Marathon Weekend. Because of this, I had a hard time getting a 4 night consecutive stay. I had one night at Pop Century and then 3 nights at Caribbean Beach. At Caribbean Beach I had 1 night in a pirate room and 2 nights in a standard room.

I don’t mind hotel hopping and frequently hotel hop by choice. Disney will even move your bags to your new hotel if you call bell services.… Read the rest

New Character Dining at Disney World this Winter!

Disney just announced an immersive character experience at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. It will be a prix fixe menu while visiting with Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and even the Evil Queen. The price and menu have not been announced yet but I’d expect something upwards of $50 for an adult as Artist Point is now considered Signature Dining.

What do think of the change? Excited? Disappointed? Let me know in the comments below!

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New Disney Parks Playlist on Apple Music

Have you heard that Disney has a new Disney Parks playlist. You can find it on the Play Disney Parks and Apple Music apps. I know I’m super excited about this!

Check out the Animal Kingdom playlist! I can’t wait to listen!

Also, If you haven’t checked out the new Play Disney Park app, you should. The graphics are super adorable and it looks amazing. If you’re at the parks it makes waiting in line for attractions a bit more interactive and fun. If you are at home you can enjoy a little Disney Magic with some trivia.

Check out more info here. I already downloaded a playlist on my phone. Whoops! 🙂… Read the rest