Author Archives: Liz

Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Carving!

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Check out our Mickey Mouse pumpkin for Halloween this year!

Mickey Mouse pumpkin

We created this Mickey pumpkin out of three different pumpkins, one big one for the head and two small for the ears.  We soaked all the pumpkins in a bleach solution before carving and soaked the big pumpkin again after carving.

Mickey Mouse pumpkin

We used a pumpkin surface carving kit by Pumpkin Masters (found at Hobby Lobby) to carve the Mickey Mouse face.  We then drilled two holes in the side of the big pumpkin and one hole each in the two small pumpkins.  We inserted a dowel in each hole on the big pumpkin and stuck the small pumpkins on the dowel to hold everything in place.

Happy Halloween!

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Christmas 2013 Trip Report – Day 2 – Epcot

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Today was Isabella’s birthday!  We woke up and got ready to go to Epcot.  After getting dressed and eating breakfast, we headed over to the Contemporary to catch the monorail.

Contemporary monorail

Of course there were a few photo ops along the way.  Even though we were early getting to the park, it was still pretty crowded.  We saw Pluto immediately after the entrance and had to stop.  Isabella warmed up to him even more than Santa Goofy and liked touching his nose.

Pluto

While some of us were using a Fastpass+ for Soarin, the rest went to meet Chip and Dale.  I didn’t know if Isabella would go by herself to a character!  We went to the Character Spot, where she got pictures with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.  Isabella officially became character-obsessed!Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse

We headed over to World Showcase next.  After a little shopping in the stores at the entrance to WS, we made our way to Mexico to try our first snack, churros.  We then went into the pyramid and rode the Gran Fiesta boat tour.  Isabella liked looking at all the jewelry in the gift shops inside the pyramid.  Outside, Donald Duck dressed in Mexico attire was meeting, so we hopped in line to see him!  He was great – he acted like he fainted when Isabella blew him a kiss.  I think he was one of the best characters we met the whole trip.

Epcot Mexico

Disney World

We traveled on to Norway, where we looked through the Stave Church with a Frozen exhibit and got our second snack, a sweet almond pretzel.

In China, we played with the animal marionette puppets at an outdoor gift shop.  The snacks at Joy of Tea were not that appealing, and most of the tea was caffeinated, so we skipped it.

We stopped for a while in the African Trading Post.  Isabella liked banging on the drums and sitting in the jeep.

In Germany, we got some caramel corn.  The first batch was pretty stale tasting, so we asked for another, which was unfortunately not much better.  Not one of the most successful snacks ever.

Italy was the first country we stopped at that we saw street entertainers.  There were a group of ladies doing an act all dressed in red, the Ziti Sisters.  We got some gelato as our fourth snack and sat to eat it in the back of the Italy pavilion.  After Italy, we stopped at the American pavilion where Isabella ended up taking a nap.

Epcot Christmas

We moved onto Japan where we got kakigori as our snack.  It is basically like a snowcone, which is one of my favorite foods ever.  We watched the drummers perform, which was really neat.  Then, we saw the Holidays Around the World performance where a Japanese lady told the story of daruma dolls.

By that time, we had to head back to get ready for our dinner reservation at 5:45, so we took the boat across the lake from Morocco, where we saw a belly dancer, to Future World.  We rode the monorail back to Bay Lake Tower, changed clothes, and walked over to the California Grill in the Contemporary (see my full review here).

California Grill

The atmosphere was great, but the food was very underwhelming.  It was neat to see the castle all lit up in sparkly ice lights from the roof top.  We saw a bride and groom, and Isabella made friends with a little boy from France.  After dinner, we went back down to the lobby of the Contemporary and met Chip and Dale dressed as toy soldiers!  They were adorable.  We looked around in the gift shops and then went to our villa so that Isabella could open birthday presents.  We finished off the night with another fireworks display from the BLT Skybridge.  Isabella even stayed awake this time!

Disney fireworks

Christmas 2013 Trip Report – Day 1 – Arrival and Hollywood Studios

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Welcome to the Year of Living Disney Christmas 2013 trip report!  I’m going to be doing the trip report 1 day at a time, so stay tuned for the next part coming soon!

Isabella’s birthday happens to be two days before Christmas, so what better excuse to make a trip to Disney World?  We rented points through David’s Vacation Club Rentals to stay in a 1 bedroom villa at Bay Lake Towers at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from December 21 through December 27.  Although this was our first time renting points, the process was very smooth.  We are actually renting points again for our next trip!

We left home after eating breakfast on December 21st, staying overnight in Lake City, FL.

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We got up the next morning around 6 or 7, ate breakfast, and drove the rest of the way to Disney World, which was about 2 or 3 hours.  We stopped at Target for last minute groceries and lunch, and we arrived at Bay Lake Towers via the back way through WDW around noon.  We checked in and were told our villa wasn’t ready yet, so we let the bellhop store our bags and  went out to the bamboo courtyard to eat lunch.  While we were eating, I got a text saying our villa was ready, so we went to the villa and called for our bags.

Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower was amazing!  The room was huge and I loved the decor of the whole resort.  Read my review of Bay Lake Tower here.

After our bags arrived, we packed a few snacks and headed over to the Contemporary to catch a bus for Hollywood Studios.  We had to stop at a few other resorts on the way, but we arrived at DHS still with plenty of time to do what we wanted.  We stopped for a few quick pictures by the huge Christmas tree at the entrance.

Hollywood Studios

(Twinkle lights courtesy of Google)

When we got inside, Isabella seemed overwhelmed by the crowds, but she just stayed quiet and took it all in.  She wasn’t fussy at all.  We stopped near Star Tours where the Jedi Academy was going on.  She got a little scared of Darth Vader, but seemed okay when I told her he wasn’t real.

Hollywood Studios

We walked down the Streets of America.  We could tell where the Osborne Lights would be later in the night.  We saw Santa Goofy, and there wasn’t much of a line, so we hopped right in!  I wasn’t sure how Isabella would react to him, but she liked him!  She wanted me to hold her while we saw him though.

Santa Goofy

We then went over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area, figuring Isabella would want to run around a little bit.  It looked like it would be a lot of fun, but it was so crowded that it was hard to explore.  She had fun poking into corners and going down a slide.  We didn’t stay too long, and wandered over into the courtyard by Toy Story Mania, where a Green Army Man came over to give Isabella a high five!  We used child swap and went to go ride Star Tours with a Fastpass+.  I was the Rebel Spy on our first time riding it!  We all met back up in the gift shop where Isabella wanted to collect all of the stuffed Ewoks.

After Star Tours we had a Fastpass+ for the Disney Junior show.  It was a puppet show with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  We didn’t need a FP+ for it, as everyone seems to get in and the FP+ doesn’t get you any better seating.  Everyone sits on the floor.  Isabella knows about all the shows, but she doesn’t like any of them except Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so it was only mildly entertaining compared to everything else.  She liked the bubbles and “coins” they released from the ceiling.  She kept trying to roll around in the aisle, and a cast member kept telling us to stay in the seating area.  Ha!

As it started getting dark out, we headed over to Rockin Roller Coaster to ride with our last Fastpass+.  It was amazing!  One of my favorite rides.  I had expected Isabella to fall asleep at some point, but she never did, and when we came out she was running in circles around the courtyard of RnR.

Disney World

We then went to see the Osborne Lights.  Wow!  They are amazing!  I especially love the songs that the lights are timed to.  There was fake snow, which was cool (literally).

 

After a lot of pictures, we finally decided Isabella was not going to fall asleep at Hollywood Studios.  We took the bus back to BLT.  We ate dinner and when it was time for Holiday Wishes at 10PM, we headed up to the Skybridge to watch.  It was a great place because there were not many people there plus they pipe in the music.  Isabella finally fell asleep on my shoulder, right in the middle of the fireworks.

Hollywood Studios Osborne Lights

When we got back to the room, the Electrical Water Pageant played outside.  We watched it from the balcony and talked about how happy we were to be back in Disney World!

Lilo and Stitch week – Day 1 – DIY felt lei

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Isabella has never seen Lilo and Stitch.  However, with summer (and heat) fully rolling in around here, I had to do some tropical crafts and recipes.  What better theme for the week than a movie set in Hawaii?  You could use all these ideas for a Lilo and Stitch movie party if you wanted.

Day 1: DIY felt flower leis

DIY felt lei

I started with various colors of felt cut into flower shapes.  These don’t have to be perfect – no one will notice in the end!

DIY felt lei

I gave Isabella adhesive dots so that she could stick the flowers together in the order she wanted.  Older kids can skip straight to sewing the flowers themselves.  Once we had the flowers in order, I hand sewed the flowers together into a necklace.  If you have a good sewing machine, you could machine sew them, but mine wouldn’t sew through two layers of felt.

Fluff the flowers a bit, and there you go!  Aloha!

DIY felt lei

DIY Mickey and Friends Easter Eggs

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We had some friends over to dye and decorate Easter Eggs this week.  What could I do besides give our eggs a Disney theme?

DIY Disney Easter Eggs

I printed off Mickey stickers from here.  Grab these quickly, because Spoonful is shutting down soon!  When I saw these printables from the new Mickey shorts, I knew I had to use them on a project.  I used adhesive dots to adhere them since I didn’t have any sticker paper handy.

DIY Disney Easter Eggs

Check out our DIY Easter egg holder!  It’s a Magic Band from our Disney trip in December!

DIY Disney Easter Eggs

I combined the stickers with this decorating kit from Target.  After dyeing, the kids got to work decorating.  The eggs were so cute, the moms had to decorate some also!

Toddler Hairstyle: Minnie Mouse Ears

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This is Isabella’s favorite hairstyle: Minnie Mouse ears!  She asks for it almost every day.  It is an easy hairstyle for toddlers, but it can also be modified for girls with longer (or shorter) hair.

Minnie Mouse hair

Separate hair into two ponytails.  I do the part close to the middle.  Make sure the ponytails are up high on her scalp, right above her ears.

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Take one loop of the ponytail elastic and twist it one more time.  Pull the hair through, but only about an inch or so.  There will be a “tail” of hair hanging down.

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Wrap the tail of hair around the base of the “ear” and tuck the end into the elastic.  You could use bobby pins to secure if necessary, but I find that the “ears” hold fairly well without.  Repeat on the other side to create two Minnie ears!

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I like to add a hairbow on one side to complete the Minnie Mouse look.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a free Mickey Mouse postcard!

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Postcard

A few months ago, we sent a letter to Goofy.  Last week we got a postcard back!  Isabella thought it was the coolest thing to receive her very own mail, signed by Mickey and his friends, no less!

You can get your very own postcard from Disney characters by writing to:

Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

(for Walt Disney World)

or

Walt Disney Company
Attn: Fan Mail Department
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

(for Disneyland)

Disney DIY Recipes – Dole Whip!

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We are starting to feel like summer here!  At least compared to the brutal winter.  So, I thought it was time to try a hot-weather recipe, even if it ended up being overcast today.  Oh well.

I have never actually tried a Dole Whip at Disney World.  I keep seeing online how it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, so I figured if I can’t try one at Disney World, I might as well make one at home!

Dole Whip (recipe from here)

  • 2 cans (20 oz. each)  crushed pineapple
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped cream

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  1. Drain pineapple: reserve 2 tbsp. juice.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Place pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender.
  4. Cover and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags.
  6. Store bags flat in freezer.
  7. Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until slushy.
  8. Stir pineapple slush gently into whipped cream until slightly blended in large bowl.
  9. Again pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags
  10. Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour and serve.

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I used my Magic Bullet and made this in 2 batches.  It makes quite a bit, so you could probably halve the recipe if you are only making it for yourself.

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It was good, but very, very pineapple-y.  Does that make sense?  I don’t think I could eat more than a little bit.  Also, using the crushed pineapple I ended up with a bit of pineapple pulp.

I’m putting this on my list of must-try snack next trip to Disney World to see how our homemade version compares!

Project Life album freebie!

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I am creating a Project Life album for our Christmas Disney World trip.  Project Life is a new way to scrapbook – and I am loving it so far!  It makes it so easy to make a good looking album with minimal work.  (We are not affiliated with Project Life in any way – I just love the product!)

I will share my trip album when it is completed, but for now I’m going to share a free printable of Florida.  A bright colored outline is perfect for sticking in any trip photo album or scrapbook!

Florida-3X4

Bay Lake Tower Resort Review

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We loved Bay Lake Tower!  The Christmas 2013 trip was our first time staying at BLT, and our first at a Disney Deluxe resort!  Check out this entrance:

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For those who aren’t familiar with Bay Lake Tower, it is the Disney Vacation Club property at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  We arrived at BLT around noon.  Check in was very smooth.  We pulled up and immediately were greeted by cast members with iPads.  They unloaded and stored our luggage (Tip: they will refrigerate perishable items for you!  We didn’t know this until we got there.) and took us inside to check in.  I had done online check-in for this trip, so there was not much to do.

The whole resort is beautiful, in my opinion.  I like a very modern, sleek style, and this resort appeals to that style.  The lobby has some very cool woodwork  and a bubble chandelier that I loved.  While we waited for our room, we wandered outside and ate lunch in the bamboo courtyard.

Our villa was ready fairly quickly even though we arrived before our check in time.  We had rented points for a 1 bedroom villa through David’s Vacation Club.  Renting points allows you to purchase points from a Disney Vacation Club member who is not going to use their points for the year.  It can be way cheaper than booking the same room directly through Disney.  Our experience was easy enough that we are renting points again for our next trip!

Here our some pics of our villa:

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The one bedroom villas have a full kitchen, pull out sofa and chair, and master bedroom with a king size bed.  The villas at BLT also have two bathrooms which made the mornings run very smoothly!

The villa was a lot larger than we had expected.  We had a lake view, so we could see the Electrical Water Pageant, as well as some Epcot fireworks, at night from our balcony.  We could hear the fireworks and the pageant, but the room was soundproofed enough that we could not hear any other guests in other rooms, even though we were visiting at the busiest time of the year!

For all of this, the best part of BLT was being able to walk to Magic Kingdom.  We were able to get there early in the morning, stroll back and eat dinner in our villa, and return for the evening.  The walk took about ten minutes.  So easy!  We also were able to take the monorail to Epcot.

We liked being able to walk over to the Contemporary building and shop and see the Christmas displays.  We ate both from the Contempo Cafe and at the California Grill (watch out for our review coming soon!).  The Contemporary has a huge gingerbread tree on display in the lobby during Christmas.  We were able to get a picture with Chip and Dale dressed as toy soldiers.  On Christmas Eve, Santa was there!  Isabella had already met Santa several times, but since there were only two people in line, we hopped right in!

If you are staying at Bay Lake Tower, there are several places to watch the fireworks.  We liked watching from the sky bridge that connects BLT with the Contemporary Tower.  The music is piped in, and it is not crowded because only BLT guests are allowed on the bridge.  It was awesome being able to watch the fireworks in our pajamas!  You can also see the fireworks from the Top of the World Lounge if you are staying on points.  The lounge serves drinks and small appetizers.  Although the lounge was higher, I preferred the sky bridge.  Check out this view from the bridge:

Disney World

Overall, staying at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower resort made our trip so magical.  Being able to walk to Magic Kingdom, eating meals in our villa where we were able to relax and be comfortable, and watching the fireworks were the highlights of our trip.

What is your favorite resort?  Which Disney resort made your trip magical?