Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who's Who ~ Brigitte Fagan-O'Connor




Hello fellow Disney lovers! My name is Brigitte, I'm 36 years old and married to a wonderful, fellow Disney lover named Rich.  The first time he met my family they asked him only one question, do you love Disney? He passed with flying colors!  We have two children a Son, Christopher who is 3 and a daughter Lily, 3 months old.  My first trip to Walt Disney World was with my grandparents at the age of 10. I was hooked for life.  I vividly remember watching the fireworks the last night and crying my eyes out.  I knew I had to get back to this magical place.  My next visit was to Disneyland when I was 15 and to date has been my only trip there.  We are hoping to change that in 4 years for my 40th birthday.  I would love to get back to where it all started.  Since the age of 20 I have been to Disney almost every year.  I love all things about a trip.  The planning is actually one of my favorite parts. I love mapping out our days and making ADR's.  We often go with our extended families. My son's first trip was when he was 20 months old and we went with 13 people. I am usually the one in charge of the planning.  I love reading all the blogs and message boards to keep up to date with all the new things in the world.  Our next trip is planned for this coming October it will be our daughter's first and our son's third.  I look forward to sharing all the excitement with you leading up to our next trip.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Surviving Disney in the heat



I will be honest,  anything outside in the heat is not fun for me. But as a passholder we are in Disney even in the heat. Lots of you will be heading to Disney in the summer when it is really hot and humid. Some people do not realize how hot and humid it gets, and you can get burned even on a cloudy day in February here.

 So, how do you deal with the heat? I have some cool tips to share with you about how my family survives, and still has fun.

 Now you may be getting ready to pack for your trip, and saying what do I need to bring with us? First of all your clothing choices: bring light colored, loose fitting clothes. There is nothing hotter than wearing a black shirt in the Florida sun, you will melt.

 Sunglasses, make sure you bring them.You can pick them up in the park for $20.00 plus dollars, but just bring them with you.

 A nice hat, it will keep the sun off of your face and keep you cooler.

 Ladies, skip the make up and big hair. It's just not worth it to be a melted Barbie in just a few minutes. Bring some powder and freshen up if you need to.

 Bring your bathing suits, you're gonna want to get wet!!

 Don't forget about the kiddies too. Babies need hats and sunglasses if they will wear them. Fan for the baby in a stroller.You can find these in stores at home, or pick up a really cute Mickey mouse one in Disney. My toddler loved his.

 Mister fans, you can pick them up at stores pretty cheap, they are containers that hold water and they spray water with a fan attached to them. They feel so good!!

 For the stroller, you can pick up a shade, or a shade extender. The ones on most stroller do not block the kids' little legs and feet.

 Bring the baby or children their bathing suits. In each park they have small water areas that you can have fun and cool off in.

 Now that packing is done, onto the park plans.

 It really gets the hottest from 11am - 3pm, so you want to make sure to get up early. I know your're on vacation, but you will thank yourself later.

 Get to the parks early and leave for lunch.The best and most refreshing thing is to go back to your hotel and go in the pool, then a good nap.


If all else fails... Dole Whip will cool you down!

Next is sunscreen; you will want to bathe in it! Short of that, put it on at least half an hour before you go out and reapply after getting wet in a water play area or every 2 hours or so.

Stay hydrated, stay away from the soda and alcohol, it will only make you hotter. Drink water, you can get free ice water and most counter service places for free!

 Try to keep Animal Kingdom on your coolest day. For some reason this park seems hotter than any other.

 If you just can't deal with the heat get out of it, go see a show, go on a air conditioned ride, go to Disney Quest, or go eat inside.

 If you have a baby or small child you can go into one of the childcare stations and relax for a bit. Let the kids out of their stroller; remember, they get hot too!

 You can still have fun in Disney in the heat. Take breaks, it's just too much for people, especially kids; they get super cranky.

 One of the biggest "no noes" I have seen is please, as much as the child wants to wear a hot and scratchy princess dress, save it for later on in the evening, or if you're doing a character breakfast bring a change of clothes for them. I have seen 99% of kids crying and complaining about sweating and being uncomfortable and having a breakdown right in the middle of Main street.

If you take some of the tips, or all of them, you too can have a magical time even in the heat!



Friday, July 11, 2014

Foodie Friday: Fine Dining at Citricos


I have to admit, after running around park hopping I like to go back to my resort and get showered and changed for a nice dinner every now and again. Our last trip was no exception. I was with my friend Christa and my middle son, Dennis. His favorite signature restaurant is Citricos and she had never been there so I got us an ADR. At this Signature Dining experience, guests are asked to adhere to the dress code and we had packed plenty of dresses and bow ties.


 I always have high expectations at a nice place on property. The three of us were seated right by the window this time, which proved to be part of our evening’s entertainment. Someone was having a sweet 16 and we could see the guests’ parade past us in their evening wear! I felt like we were at a high society fashion show. And we were the host commentators liking all of their fancy choices.

 I love sitting by the window.

The style and design of the restaurant provide a great environment. You pay a premium, because it is at the Grand Floridian. It is far from being the cheapest table service you'll find at Disney, but in my opinion the extra you will pay is worthwhile and it was great value for the money. We were not on the Disney Dining Plan but I did use my Tables in Wonderland discount.

The olive bread they provided was fresh and tasty. We were hungry but didn’t want to fill up on the bread. They offer fresh, seasonal ingredients that influence their changing menu. They didn’t have my son’s favorite entrée on the menu but when he asked they agreed to cook it for him specially. Our server was Larry and he was nice without being intrusive. The service was very attentive and he was more than willing to accommodate every request. I have allergies so the chef came out to speak to us. I love that Disney does that.

We didn’t feel rushed to make our decision, but we knew just what we wanted. My son got the braised veal shank served with roasted elephant garlic-smashed Yukon gold potatoes and rainbow carrots. Christa selected the Ashely Farms Chicken Breast. I ordered the oak-grilled rib-eye filet of beef, but I asked for the set up from another entrée. All three choices were delicious.
 
Oak-grilled Rib-eye filet of beef

Braised Veal Shank

Chicken

Citricos has one on my favorite desserts on property so we made sure we had room to split one. The warm chocolate-banana torte with vanilla ice cream and handcrafted Belgium chocolate crown is fit for royalty. It is exceptional! Sharing was a good idea leaving us feeling comfortably full without leaving food on the plate.   

  Chocolate-Banana Torte









If you don’t want to go to dinner, or your budget or time does not allow, I always suggest that you go to a signature restaurant for dessert or appetizers. I highly recommend Citricos if you're looking for a special night out. An added bonus of eating at the Grand Floridian is that you can stroll around the beautiful hotel and grounds after you eat. You can also hop on the monorail and head into the Magic Kingdom and enjoy Extra Magic Hours like we did or watch Wishes from their dock.

Advance reservations are highly recommended. *
You can call (407) WDW-DINE or book on line up to 180 days before your visit. (Editor's Note: Addicted to Mickey is a full service travel agency specializing in Disney Travel. We would love to make all your dining reservations for you as part of our no-cost concierge services! Please contact us for a  free no-obligation quote!)

* A credit card is required to hold a reservation at all Disney table service restaurants. There is a $10 per person charge if your party does not arrive as scheduled, or if you cancel within 24 hours of your reservation.






Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's Kind of a Cute Story by Rolly Crump



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

   This was one of the most fun and informative books I have ever read. Coming first hand from one of the neatest illustrators who was actually lucky enough to work with Walt Disney himself.

 The book  is like a huge magazine with tons of illustrations, pictures, drawings and more. I think Rolly has every picture, even from when he was just a toddler. I loved how he shares his early work with the reader and shows his range of different illustrations.

 As I got into the book, I could imagine I was sitting in Rolly's living room and he was just sharing a chunk of his life. Me being a history buff, I was all ears!

 I love how he retells all the stories behind each thing from the time it started in his head, until some of those things actually became reality!


 Did you know the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland was originally meant to be a restaurant? You will find this and many, many more secrets and tidbits in this book. (Editors Note: Because of the original planned restaurant, Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room is the only attraction that has its own bathroom)

 Rolly was hired at Disney in 1952. He worked on many movies including Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty.

 But that was not all! This book takes you to Disneyland and Walt Disney World as well as many other places Rolly had a hand in illustrating.


 My favorite parts of the book are when he talks about helping create the Haunted Mansion and Its a Small World, where in Disneyland he made that large clock you see outside!

 Rolly Crump was also the key designer for the NY World's Fair for Disney in 1964-65.

 All in all you will see Rolly Crump was not just an illustrator, but also an animator, designer and Legend.

 So, grab a Dole whip, sit back and enjoy this tour back in time with Rolly Crump, because after all... "It really is a cute story"!




Editor's note: This is the first in series of four books currently. We would like to thank Bamboo Forest Publishing for providing this book for review. You may find this and several other of their books at http://bambooforestpublishing.com/ where you can sign up for a newsletter. You may also visit their Facebook page for updates here.

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Who's Who Wednesday~ Zonia Kurtz


Hey there!  My name is Zonia Kurtz and this is my lovely little family.  My husband's name is Thomas and my daughter's name is Sydney.  We live smack dab in the middle of the good ole USA in Tulsa, OK.  As a child my parents took me on fabulous vacations to look at giant holes in the ground (the Grand Canyon and Royal Gorge), large giant rocks (Mount Rushmore), rocky hills (the Badlands), nature's own water fountains that spew a horrible sulfur smell (Old Faithful) and bats...yes, that lovely cave somewhere in the US where a ton of bats come out at night and for some reason people want to pay to watch it.  Not only that, but we drove everywhere and I was carsick on every vacation the entire time.  I HATED family vacations.  We never went anywhere fun. So my goal when I became a parent was to have fun and go on FUN vacations.
So with that being said I was a very late Disney bloomer.  Our first Disney experience was 2 years ago and since then it has been a yearly to twice a year experience.  We have been to the Magic Kingdom twice, Epcot once and on each Disney cruise ship.  We enjoy cruising the most.  Just the slow relaxing pace and being able to explore the world. We love interacting with characters and the cruise ships are like character experiences on steroids.  It's just amazing.

My daughter and I love Duffy, the Disney Bear, despite my husbands obvious dissatisfaction with us always carrying around the bear and his change of outfits.  I even run the Facebook fan page Duffy's Adventures .  We really enjoy pin and vinylmation trading.  Downtown Disney is the place to be for that and we can spend an entire day just pin and vinylmation trading there.

We are a homeschooling family so that gives us the opportunity to travel during non-peak times and to go on long cruises like the Panama Canal cruise that we just got off of this past May.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Frozen Summer Fun Review

On Saturday July 5th, we entered the park at 8:30am due to early extra magic hours for resort guests.  Our first mission was to pick up our traveling Olaf and head straight to the Wandering Oaken's Frozen Funland.  You can pick up your take-along Olaf at a few different locations.  The front gates by the maps, the Premier theater, Sorcerer Hat and or accross from Wandering Oakens Frozen Funland.  Olaf is super cute and has the Frozen characters autographs on the back.  Throughout the day # your photos on social media #OlafSummerVacation and your picture may make an apperance in the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular show! 





We took a few photos with Olaf on the way to the Funland.  The Funland is located in the back to the left of Toy Story Mania in Sound Stage 1.   There were two lines formed when we arrived one for the Funland and the other was for guest that only wanted to visit the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post. (gift shop)  Our girls were ready for some fun in the snow and our 6 year old was so excited to ice skate so we hopped in the Funland line.  There were a couple of scene setters located outside the building.  If there is a cast member with a tripod camera they are capable of doing magical shots.  There are a few Frozen magical shots available.  We had a 15 minute wait before they opened up the doors I sent my wonderful husband down to the Premier Theater to grab tickets to the 12:30 Sing-Along show.  All he needed was everyones magic bands to pick up tickets for our group.  I am a huge fan of multitasking! The Premier Theater is located between Phineas and Ferb meet and greet and Lights, Motors, Action.

Just as he returns with our tickets for the 12:30 sing-along the door opens up to the Frozen Funland.  We were in the first group of people to be let in.  So exciting!!!



Right off the bat on the right hand side there are fun Frozen photo opps where magical Frozen shots can be taken.  You can choose to do this or bypass it and head either to Do You Want to Build a Snowman, ice skaiting and or try a yummy treat at Wandering Oaken's treat stand.  The girls wanted to ice-skate first.  We signed liability waivers while waiting in line and the cost per guest is $10.  They provide skates, long socks if wanted but not a must and the helmet given is required. The smallest size skate is a toddler size 9. Womans skates run small I wear a 9 but the 8 fit perfect.  As our turn approached an announcement was made that the 9:30-10:30am skate was full.  So we stayed in line and prepaid for our skates and were given the option to choose our skate hour.  We picked 1:30-2:30 and we were asked to return around 1:00pm.  A wrist band was then placed tightly on our wrist making sure there was no room to slip it off and give it to someone else.  The ice skating sessions are 30 minutes on the rink then they clean the ice.  Stick around because there is an ice skating performance after each hour block.  Don't forget to smile for the photo pass photographers that are taking action shots while you skate.  When we returned at 1:00pm we were able to enter through a back door and avoid the line.  There was plenty of cubbies to keep your shoes and non valuable items in while you skated.  You also have the option of returning your long socks or keeping them.  They do not reuse or wash the socks they are donated to homeless shelters. 





We headed over to the snow play area and waited our turn to build a snowman.  Groups of 30 people get 10 minutes on the ice/snow and they quickly rake it flat after each group.  The girls loved this!!! Shovels, buckets and castle molds are available to play with.  





When our time was up it was around 10:20am and I knew the crowds for the 11:00am Anna and Elsa's royal welcome were forming outside.  On the way out we found a hidden mickey and a fun door in the gift shop, which was crazy, crazy packed like black Friday.  Most guests had plush toys, barbie dolls and Animator dolls in their hands.  As much as I wanted to stay and window shop I left the hubs in there and off to find a parade spot the girls and I went.






 There was not a slither of a spot left for front row curb seating when we got to the the hat.  Plenty of VIP seating roped off for the guests that purchased the premium package in advance. ( Adults $59, Children $34).  We found a front row spot across from American Idol which ended up working out great because it was right in front of the jumbo screen where the stage was on live feed.  Just before the welcome took place a surprise Let it Go sing along started. (Amazing)  Anna and Elsa came down Hollywood Blvd starting from the park entrance making their way to the hat where the procession stops for a formal welcome on the stage which lasted a few minutes; then they hop back in the sleigh and the parade proceeds the rest of the way.









The Royal welcome was awesome!!  We had about an hour before we needed to head to the Sing-Along so we grabbed quick service at ABC Commissary, it was close by and fast. (We are only here a half day this visit so we had a goal to get most of the main events in before we had to leave).  Our tickets said to return between 11:50 and 12:20 so we headed over to the Premier theater at 11:50.  People must have been waiting in that line since 11:00 because we were pretty far back in line.  The doors opened at 12:15 for the 12:30 show time.  I thought our seats were going to be crazy far back but we ended up on the left side only about 5 rows back. Good seats!  The front rows are individual seats and as you get to the the far back it is bench seating.  This was by far my favorite show!!  The story tellers of Arandale were amazing and pretty darn funny!!  We can't wait to go back and see this again!!!












 Right after the show it was time for us to return to the ice skating rink.  We walked right in the back door with no problem.  Put our skates on and off we went.  After our 30 minutes on the ice we couldn't leave without trying the cupcakes!



The girls enjoyed watching the professional skaters perform.


 Our magical day was coming to an end.  The two events we missed out on this trip were the Frozen dance party at the hat and the Frozen fireworks.  We will return in a few weeks just for the night activities.  My girls still require a nap to stay up that late but over all this Frozen Summer Event was a huge success!!!  We loved everything and can't wait to get back for some more Frozen fun!!















Thursday, July 3, 2014

Disney Personalized Lanyard - GeekDen Etsy product review

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

Do you like the lanyards that Disney sells in their gift shops but want something just as nice or nicer?  What about knowing that you can have it personalized and chances are you won't see another one like it anywhere?  Jen Lai, the owner of the Etsy store GeekDen has several really cool designs that let you show your #DisneySide with a nice customized Disney lanyard.  I recently got my wife a pink Minnie Mouse one with her name embroidered on it (in Disney font of course).  My wife uses a lanyard for work each day so getting her something that everyone would notice was really cool as opposed to the same work-branded one everyone else wears at her job.  The best part, you can choose one of three uses for the lanyard.  There is a badge holder (what I picked for my wife), pin trader, or key holder.  They also come in three sizes: child, youth and adult.  Talk about customized!  The cotton lanyard is not too heavy and feels comfortable to wear! I highly recommend these for daily use or for your vacation!  You can't go wrong with the great price of $13 as well!  As for the designs, there are several Disney characters (Mickey, Minnie, Ariel, Donald, Tigger, and Elsa) and two Star Wars designs (AT-AT walker and Chewbacca).  These are perfect for the entire family, men, women and children alike!



https://www.etsy.com/shop/GeekDen?ref=shopinfo_shophome_leftnav 

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