Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pick A Pearl

Recently my family traveled to Walt Disney World for one week.  I really wanted to limit the souvenirs that my kids would purchase.  I am not a big fan of souvenirs as we have recently tried to clean out both of my kids’ rooms and our playroom.  Many of the items that needed to be cleaned were treasures that had been purchased on past trips to Disney and other destinations.  I enjoy the memories created on a trip and find our shared experiences to be more important than another thing.  I know that there are a lot of different philosophies on this topic and thought it would be helpful to provide the background.

When we arrived in Disney we told the kids that they could each pick one souvenir and they had to be thoughtful.  Before we went to Disney, I had looked up information on the pick a pearl option in Japan and at several other locations around Walt Disney World.  My daughter is seven and I thought that this might make a nice memory for her to keep.  I casually presented the option, reminding her of the room clean out earlier in the summer.  She wasn’t too interested but I figured I would table the idea until we were walking around the world showcase in Epcot. 

When we made it to Japan, I figured we would walk around the shops to check out the option for the pearls.  We stood and watched the “show” that happened with each pearl purchase.  A guest would purchase the option to pick a pearl from one of the oysters in the two display cases for about $17.  The oyster shells were all of a similar size.   The guest would pick one of the oysters, the cast member pulls the oyster out of the case and open it up.  There was a lot of celebratory noise including the banging of a large drum.  The pearl would then be cleaned in water, dropped in salt and then cleaned again.  The pearl was then measured and placed in a small bag with paperwork.

My daughter did pick a pearl cage and silver necklace out from the display case.  The pearl cage had two dolphins on it and the necklace was simple.  The pearl cage was about $30 and the chain was about $20.  There are online vendors that offer similar cages.  If I knew that she had committed to the pick a pearl option, I may have explored buying something ahead of time so that she could wear  the pearl immediately.  The cast member who set the pearl reviewed with my daughter the care required for the pearl including no water and no sunblock.  The pearl could be reset in a different cage if she kept all of the original paperwork. Have you ever participated in this experience? What did you think?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Coverbands Product Review

    This is a review of the Princess half/2014 Princess Cover Bandz. I have received this item to review. It came on a piece of paper. It was flat and came in 2 pieces. All I had to do was peel off the sticker and attach it to my magic band.

    I liked that this was flat, and not annoying as the other cover bands that are that are cloth (Editor's note: the cloth ones mentioned are not made by the Cover Bandz company), and sometimes bulky feeling. I like the fact that it covered enough of the band whether it was used by an adult or a child. 

    I did many tests. I swam with it, showered with it, and even tried pushing really hard to move the sticker around, and it with held every test. The Cover Bandz stuck on through it all! 

   The pros were it is good in water, just like the Magic Band is. The sticker is flat and flush against the Magic Band. The Cover Bandz were very easy to apply. My only cons were two things. As the one side of the band is lifted, it became crinkly. This could possibly make the Cover Bandz not last as long due to water, rain, or from the constant "lifting" to take the magic band off and on.

    The only other issue I had was the background image. One of the ones I received was really pixelated. In my line of business, as I work with images myself, I I am particular about this. I would change that background. I looked at all the other Cover  Bandz and they are flawless. So, I would say just change out the background on this one. The crown,and year are perfect though. 

    All in all, it's a great thing to add to your Magic Band for all ages, male and female.There are many different choices to choose from. For the money, I think the pros really outweigh the cons on this one.

                                              What it looks like on arm.

                                       The wrinkling happens when you take the band on or off.

**I received free product to review. The opinions expressed  are my own.**

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tom Sawyer Island

When I think of going to Disney as a kid, Tom Sawyer Island always sticks out in my mind. It is one of the most overlooked places in Magic Kingdom.

 Imagine going back to the days of Tom and Huck.Where days were fun and free. As a kid you would spend your free time exploring. I can see it in my head, my dad with his coon skin cap and wooden pistol. The days before technology when kids had imaginations of gun fights, and cowboys and indians. Hide and seek was a great one for me.



 Opening in 1973 you take a relaxing raft ride  over to the island. There is only one way off and one way on. You are brought over to an island, and trust me, if you're looking to get away from the crowds, take this time and go relax. This is the perfect place to let the kids, ages 5-12 is best but others can enjoy it too, run around and have good old fashioned fun, while you can relax, sit on one of the many rocking chairs and just rock the day away. Or pull up a barrel and play some checkers.

 There are many twists and turns, hills and caves to explore. Kids will love to explore and run around seeing some neat of views of the Liberty Boat and Big Thunder Mountain.

 On Tom Sawyer's Island you can be a kid again going across the barrel bridges, swearing you're gonna fall in the water. Kids will burn off some energy playing hide and go seek and checking out the buildings; and adults will love hiding in the caves to spook their kids. It's good old time fun, and I hope it never goes away.

 The island usually opens an hour after the park opens, and closes at dusk. You can find Tom Sawyers island in the Rivers of America in Frontierland. Not recommended for wheelchairs as the areas are not too accessible for wheelchairs.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Kingdom of Dust review by April Phillips


**Disclaimer: This book is not appropriate for younger audiences**

    I have to say that my two favorite things, other than family, friends, fitness and faith, are all things Disney and all things horror, or a little twisted! I could not wait to dive into the book “Our Kingdom of Dust” by the amazing writer Leonard Kinsey. The book is a good and easy read; it really grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.  It starts with a scene that is both very vivid and tragic and from that point on there is no putting this book down!  Mr. Kinsey does a very good job of introducing the characters and making sure we understand each one and they’re not just throw away characters.  I am a Disney addict and when I go I can’t leave without a new sweatshirt, a new cup, a new phone case, the list goes on and on!  Our main character is really trying to get back to the “World” he knew and try to recapture it all.  As a Disney addict I find myself constantly thinking about my next trip, my next Disney purchase, looking at photos, etc.  It is a fine line between enjoyment and obsession, and this book really captures that.  I am always saying that no place has the “magic” like Disney has for me. How people are always searching for that “magic”...  The story in the book and the characters in it really capture this and you really care about them and their journey trying to capture this!  The book is under 200 pages and as I said a very good and easy read!  So do yourself a favor and go and purchase this book!

   **I received free products to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.**

Friday, August 22, 2014

Foodie Friday: Snacks, snacks and more snacks!!!

Hey everyone!  So when my family goes to Disney we love to eat like everyone else, but we don’t go crazy for restaurants, we go crazy for the snacks!  Yes we love to eat at Blue Bayou in Disneyland and went crazy for Be our Guest in WDW at the Magic Kingdom, but the little snack stands are where we will be found!  My son is a turkey leg fanatic, I am going to be honest that watching him eat it makes me a little ill and I have to turn away.  

He also loves himself a good beef shank from the Magic Kingdom. I can’t wait to get a Mickey Pretzel and have to fight off my children to get more than one ear, oh and trust me, I do throw down with them for that ear!!  And the popcorn, I mean is there any better popcorn than at Disney??  No, the answer is no!  It is perfectly salted and buttered, like it was popped in heaven and then sent down to Disney on a cloud!

  On our last visit to Disneyland we discovered these new pretzel twist things and I about died because I forced so many down my throat; but it was worth it, I mean death by amazing pretzel twist, who could be mad at that!  

My favorite thing at Disneyland to eat is clam chowder in a bread bowl. Now I have had my share of bread bowls, from Monterey, San Francisco, I mean... I am basically a Clam Chowder bread bowl aficionado, it's ok to be jealous!!  But my favorite is near Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, they also offer gumbo in a bread bowl but I couldn't not get clam chowder and try anything else.  I am pretty sure this clam chowder is made by Disney angels with all the love  and maybe some Mickey tears thrown in, I mean I can’t understand any other reason why this clam chowder is so good, but I will take it, and I do, at least three times a visit!  

Also my favorite drink is hot chocolate, no not from Starbucks, from the little carts, in a travel mug.  Yes I know it is just powder hot chocolate, but you know what, it’s the best!! 

So now that I have told you why I come home weighing about 100 pounds more than when I first get to Disney, you tell me, what’s your favorite snack to make a meal??? 

Mickey hugs and kisses!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Disney Touch - Theming

In our last post about the Disney touch, we went into the Disney area music found around the parks.  That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the finite details Disney is known for.  I'm sure by now we've all seen the many (MANY) BuzzFeed articles about Disney and one that mentions the ground in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom.  Disney has thought about every little detail, some that people probably still haven't even found out about.  Let's think about walking into the Magic Kingdom itself.  You start off with the sight of the train pulling into the station.  Welcome to Main Street USA!  You find yourself entering the tunnels under the train station, walls lined with attraction posters from throughout the park, and entering a world of dreams.  You're greeted by the smell of popcorn as you are about to make your way into the most magical place on earth.  Next you find yourself surrounded by all the business in rural Main Street USA.  The buildings all have great forced perspective leading you to the cast.

 Did you know that Main Street USA is actually built on in incline walking towards the castle?  This gives the impression that the castle is further away and higher than it actually is.  At the same time, when you're leaving the park, you're walking downhill which makes it look like the train station is closer.  When you're tired, you don't want to feel like you've got to walk forever to leave the park.  This is all just the start of the details.  Look for the next article to come in the future where we delve into some more details that you may not have ever known about.

Monday, August 18, 2014

                DISNEYLAND'S HAUNTED MANSION         

Forty-five years ago Disneyland opened a new attraction to it's Magic Kingdom.... The Haunted Mansion.  A majestic old plantation of a home surrounded by wrought iron fencing with its own graveyard in the back occupied with 999 Grinning Ghosts just waiting for guests who were "dying" to drop in and take a ride in a "doom buggy" built for two.  

Upon entering the foyer a somber maid or butler greets each guest and leads them to a "room without windows or doors" which mysteriously stretches down to an area where your "doom buggy" awaits.  Your tour of goblins, ghouls and ghosts begins here - winding you through hallways and rooms full of hauntings every where you go. 

During the Halloween Season the home of the 999 grinning ghosts gets all "decked out" in its holiday finest.  Combing Halloween & Christmas all in one!  In the background the most haunting holiday music can be heard luring guests to its haunted halls.  If you are lucky enough you may even encounter a quick visit with The Pumpkin King himself - Jack Skellington.  If the ghosts and ghouls are smiling on you Sally may appear along with Jack!

One word of advice - be careful of hitch-hiking ghosts..... One May Follow You Home!!!!