Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Disney Footprint Art – Stitch Edition

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Stitch was the highlight of our 2016 Disney trip.  We had breakfast at Ohana with Lilo and Stitch and spent Halloween at the Polynesian with “Elvis” Stitch.  So, our 2016 souvenir footprint art from Walt Disney World had to be Stitch.

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Here is a peek at our previous footprints:

 

Christmas + Mouse Tags font + Quilting

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Some of our stockings didn’t really coordinate with the new Christmas tree skirt and we had a little fabric left over, so, with a little help from a free fun font called “Mouse Tags“, we were able to make new stockings!

DIY Disney graphics Christmas stocking

We took a basic stocking pattern and cut it out.  Then printed off icons from the Mouse Tags font at about a 400 pt. size.  With a light box underneath, we laid the stocking on top of the printed icons and used disappearing ink to trace the design.  We quilted it in matching grey thread and then assembled the stockings using the Cluck Cluck Sew Stocking Tutorial.

DIY Disney graphics Christmas stocking

One stocking has the Polynesian Resort icon.

DIY Disney graphics Christmas stocking

The other has the sorcerer’s hat.

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly – Photography at Disney

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Not too many years ago, there were only film cameras and a trip to Disney might mean upgrading from a 24 exposure roll of film to a 36 exposure roll that had to last you for the whole day or even trip.  One or two shots were taken per character and you didn’t realize the image would have bad lens flare until you got your prints back from the developer.

The amount of photography taken at Disney parks is insane.  One site states that 100-200,000 photos are taken each day just by Photopass photographers and that is probably a conservative number.  Add in cell phones, iPads, digital cameras, etc. and the numbers must be staggering.

Now, I will go out on a limb and speculate that many of the images/videos/etc. that are taken, will not make it beyond Facebook or Instagram and stand a good chance of being lost when a hard drive crashes or phone gets dropped in the lake.  But, that is each person’s individual problem and their responsibility to prevent.  And to be honest, it’s easy to assume that many of the images are never looked at again, anyway.

ipad blocking view at WDW

That is what makes some of the photography trends at Disney parks kind of interesting to look at.  This was what we saw over and over in 2013.  Huge tablets with full keyboards videoing EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of the Christmas parade.  We even saw one person carrying a 17″ laptop through the park during Christmas week.  Crazy.

ipad as camera at disney world

Luckily, it seems as if the iPad is not a Camera message was getting through, because 2014 was the year of the “selfie stick”.  And in my opinion, it is a HUGE improvement over the iPad craze.  At least you can see through it and don’t have to watch a live event in the screen of the person in front of you.

Disney sketchbook

I didn’t take any pictures of the selfie stick craze, but you can see it in my sketchbook.

A lot of articles are floating around seeking to ban the selfie stick at theme parks, but if that means the return of the iPad as camera, I say keep the selfie sticks around.

No matter what the trend of the day is, it would be fascinating to know if many of the thousands of photos and videos get edited and make their way off of the phone/tablet/etc. and into a easier to view format?

As for me, I will stick to whatever images I can get while carrying the least amount of gear – a Sony RX100 II.  At 2.3 inches by 4 inches and a weight of about 9 ounces, it is a great theme park camera.  Unobtrusive, lightweight, and a battery that lasts 2 days since the flash is almost never used.

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

Disney Every Day – Episode 3

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Along with the standard question, “How long until we are going to Disney World?”, another frequent question is “What day do we do __________?”  So, to help Isabella learn days, months, time, etc., we made her a Morning Circle Time Board.  It has a calendar, learning clock, weather station, etc., but her favorite part of it is the moveable monorail to change the day of the week.

DIY Monorail - Days of the Week activity

The board is a simple foam core board with various elements glued or laminated on.  For the monorail track, we cut a slit in the foam core with an exacto knife above the days of the week.

We searched for a simple image of the monorail and printed it off on cardstock.  We used ModPodge to adhere it to a piece of balsa wood (from Hobby Lobby) and sealed it with a top coat of ModPodge.  The balsa wood was easy to cut with an exacto knife.  We glued a small sliver of foam core to the back of the balsa wood to hold the monorail in the track and glued a flat washer to the back of that.

Tinkerbell Christmas T-shirt Printable

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Isabella’s favorite Christmas song is Jingle Bells.  As we got ready for our Christmas break trip to WDW, she started singing “Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell, Tinker all the way!”

SO, her clever Mama designed a graphic for a shirt for her to wear to the Magic Kingdom to meet Tinkerbell.

tinkerbell

 

It was one of the only Tinkerbell shirts we saw on this trip and Tinkerbell herself heartily approved!

The shirt is made from our trusty Oliver and S Raglan t-shirt pattern and a cotton interlock from Joanns.  We used an iron-on transfer paper to get the design on the shirt.

Here is the graphic if you want to make your own.  Remember to flip it horizontally before printing or the text will be backwards when you iron it on.

Tinkerbell Christmas Iron-on Printable

Tinkerbell Christmas Iron-on Printable

Disney + Star Wars DIY Shirt (free printable!)

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We’ve just come back from another amazing trip to WDW and this time, we planned ahead and came up with shirts for each park.  The first one was for Hollywood Studios.

May the Mouse be with you diy

Star Ears – May the Mouse be With You!  Perfect for Isabella who likes Star Wars, but loves Mickey.

Isabella’s clever Mama came up with the idea which we then “designed” in Word.  Here are 2 versions if your little Jedi wants one for their next Disney trip.

Star Ears Printable

Curved Mickey Head Star Ears

Star Ears Printable

Star Ears Printable

We used iron-on transfer paper from the fabric store on a purchased dress.  Just make sure to flip the image horizontally before printing or the text will be backwards when you iron it on.

 

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!

Disney Footprint Art – Princess Half Marathon Version

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Disney Footprint Art

Here’s another sample of how we took Isabella’s footprint and turned it into a Disney souvenir keepsake.  We ran the Disney Princess half marathon when she had just turned 2 months old and her tiny footprint was taken at that time.  It was her first, of hopefully many, trips to Disney World as she grows up.

We ran as a team called Team Roo and had hats embroidered with a kangaroo and the words “Team Roo” on them, so of course, her first Disney footprint art needed to feature Roo from Winnie the Pooh.

The footprint was made by brushing acrylic paint on her foot and pressing it down on some watercolor paper.  I sketched out the rest of Roo in pencil using the footprint as Roo’s body.

Footprint art - kangaroo

 

When I was satisfied with that, I drew over the lines with a Micron pen, added the medal we got for finishing and our team name and painted it with watercolors.

It will be a challenge to keep turning Isabella’s handprints or footprints into her favorite Disney character for each trip, but it will be a fun way to watch her interests change as she grows.

If you missed her footprint from our last trip that we turned into Goofy, click here.

We are linking to Memory Keeping Monday on Capturing Magical Memories blog.

Memory Keeping Monday

Disney Princess Half Marathon

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A little over two years ago, we did something we never knew we were capable of.  We ran a half marathon!

#DisneySide Princess Half Marathon

Mind you, we weren’t runners – yet, and Isabella was due a mere two months before the race.  These things didn’t faze us because it sounded like fun, so we sent in our registration and booked a resort.

We started running and walking more and more, including about 6 miles of hospital halls the day Isabella was born.   Obviously, there was no half marathon training plan that takes into account having a baby 8 weeks before the half marathon, so we just did the best we could and had a longest run of only 6.5 miles before we left, figuring that we’d do the rest of the mileage by walking if necessary.

There are a lot of recaps of this race already online and things might have changed since 2012, so we’ll just give a brief synopsis of our experience, along with a few tips we learned.

First, be prepared for it to be VERY CROWDED – at the expo, on the buses, in the corrals, and along the whole race course.

Second, read as many trip reports as you can so your expectations are in line with your experience.  And try to read the reports from people who pay their own way and aren’t given extra perks (eg race retreat tent) by Disney (unless you are lucky enough to be receiving them or are paying the extra fees for them).

Third, buy some throw away sweats and gloves to put on over your running clothes.  It can be really cold standing in a corral for an hour or two waiting to start.  As the race starts, shed the thrift store priced sweats and they will be donated.  Along with the sweats, bring one of those silver emergency blankets.  It was the key to keeping the night chill off of us while we waited to start.

Fourth, have someone at the finish line with warm clothes and food.  You will receive a banana and a little snack box, but the food inside was kind of odd.  Dried edamame, hummus, dry tasteless crackers.  We had quite a wait to get on a bus to leave and got chilled and hungry standing there waiting.

Fifth, just because everybody else is standing outside in a line with hundreds of people in it at 3 AM doesn’t mean you need to.

Princess Half Marathon 014

We stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside.  The buses pulled up right outside the main lobby.  We stood inside the lobby and watched person after person go out into the cold and stand in that line for over an hour waiting for a bus only to then stand in the cold in a corral after getting to the start.  We waited inside watching until the line got down to a few people and then headed out and got on a bus.  As long as there was still a line that hadn’t been transported, it seems inconceivable that Disney would stop the buses even if it got later than the 4 AM cut off time.

Sixth, bring your own coffee/food/etc. for the pre-race morning because Port Orleans did not have anything that early if you needed to purchase a beverage or food.

Seventh, be prepared to surprise yourself!  Although neither of us had ever run that far before and Elizabeth was a brand new Mama, we ran all but about 1 mile and finished much faster than we expected.  While you are not running through the parks for much of the race, there is still a lot to see and an energy  boost from running with 15-20,000 other Disney fans that is hard to match.

Princess Half Marathon 015

Would we do it again?  Absolutely, but maybe next time, we will try for 26.2 instead of 13.1!