All aboard for dinner

For many people the Monorail at Walt Disney World is more than a vehicle for transportation.

For awhile now people have been using the monorail as a way to drink at the different deluxe resorts in the form of a monorail bar crawl.

Disney decided to take things one step further and offer a new experience: Highway in the Sky Dine-Around.

 

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

 

This new experience, announced by the Disney Parks Blog yesterday, is a sort of “progressive dinner” that will start Dec. 2.

Participants will have the opportunity to dine at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

According to the blog, the dining event will start at The Wave … of American Flavors at the Contemporary for a cocktail, then hop on the “highway in the sky” to the Polynesian to have South Pacific themed “sips and appetizers.”

Next stop will be at the Grand Floridian for dining at Citricos for an entrée and wine pairing. There will also be a sparkling wine and sampling of artisanal cheese in the lobby.

The final stop of the grand monorail food tour will be back at the contemporary for dessert, cordials and coffee on the private patio with the view of fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.

This dining experience will be available Tuesday, Friday and Sunday (with blackout dates of Dec. 23 and Dec. 31).

The cost is $150, gratuity included, but tax is additional. Valet parking is included.

If this sounds like something up your alley, you can make reservations at 407-WDW-DINE.

While the price tag is pretty hefty, it is still a little cheaper than Victoria & Albert’s and it seems like this is more of a unique experience that lets you save the best of the hotels on the monorail line. (Visiting the different hotels are one of my favorite things to do on vacation.)

Is this something you would like to try? Leave a comment below.

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Turning Faults into Thanksgiving

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. As I am writing this our Lily is rolling all over our bed covering me with her most prized possessions, her two favorite blankets. She had just kneed me in the head and gave me a kiss to make me better.

She is also asking if she can write for my blog when she gets older, which is just the sweetest, while she is holding her new Duffy Bear that we got her for her birthday.

While this is pretty close to my idea of perfect, my day didn’t start out this great.

The morning included scrubbing poop out of not just one pair of underwear, but two, the house was an absolute mess and I had only a few minutes to get ready for work. With all of the stress of the morning and other situations taking place in our lives a meltdown happened. Not a meltdown for the toddler, but a meltdown for me.

I was sad because I felt I wasn’t measuring up as a mom. I was sad because we used store bought decorations for Lily’s third birthday party last Saturday instead of me going Pinterest crazy and making everything. I was sad because we can’t find a bigger house to accommodate our family as we are exploding out of this one. I was sad because no matter how hard I try I feel like I just can’t progress in life.

While fighting with my computer at work I felt absolutely hopeless.

But, then I came home to this:

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And I realized that it was the day before Thanksgiving and there are bigger things out there than paper Mickey decorations and iMovie troubles at work.

For me, feeling like I am never doing my best, is a demon that I have to face and realizing all the blessings I have, is the antidote.

This morning, my wonderful husband reminded me that Lily was so excited for her party that she won’t remember that I didn’t sew her a Minnie Mouse costume to wear to her party. She will remember the Happy Birthday banner from Walmart that hung in our kitchen all week long in honor of her “birthday week” that made her so happy.

And you know what this is true.

Children don’t know that things can always be better. They are just excited with how things are now. She might have an accident in her underwear and be upset one minute and in the next minute is running around the house yelling about “Paw Patrol.”

So this Thanksgiving, in addition to being thankful for the usual food, roof over head and good health, I will also be Thankful for the things that drive me almost to the edge. These are the things that challenge us to be better people. These are the challenges that really call us on the carpet to appreciate the simple things in life and to realize that we are only human. We will mess up and life will disappoint us on more occasions than we would like.

But, in the end it will work out. Maybe not the way we want, but the way we need it to.

And for that, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Love,

The Mousekatot Family

 

Tot Five: Movies for After You Gobble

Picture this: Thanksgiving dinner has ended, the kitchen is full of dirty dishes and you need to get them cleaned up and in the dishwasher so you can finally relax.

In the other room, your children are at that point where they are sleepy from the turkey, but also wound up because of the holiday.

What do you do to buy yourself some time to get the kitchen cleaned up?

You pop in a new family friendly flick to keep the Mousekatot’s at bay.

1. “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration”

This special, hosted by the sibling duo of Derek and Julianne Hough will lead the two-hour special starting at 8 p.m. on ABC Thanksgiving night.

What makes this great is first of all it is Disney, pretty much a promotional video for how beautiful their parks are, and second of all it is already on TV which will make it easy to just turn the channel when the time arrives.

2. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”

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This is one of my all time favorites and a must watch every year. (I think Snoopy has the right idea for the Thanksgiving dinner.)

The only downside, beside Peppermint Patty inviting her annoying self to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving, is that it is less than a half hour long. It won’t buy you too much time to do a massive cleanup.

3. “Garfield’s Thanksgiving”

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If you pair this film with the aforementioned Charlie Brown movie you can have almost an hour to clean the kitchen.

It is a little harder to find, I think we have our copy because we bought a boxed set of all the Garfield holiday movies, but it is really worth it.

Jon’s Grandma, who comes in to save the day and Thanksgiving dinner is an absolute hoot, and the meaning behind the film is full of heart.

4. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

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I have always considered this a Thanksgiving movie because it is right between Halloween and Christmas, which are the two holiday prominently featured in the film.

This stop animated classic film from Tim Burton can be a little spooky for little ones so you will want to make sure it is suitable for your Mousekatots.

The message of being true to yourself and using your strengths in life is one that is really important.

5. “White Christmas”

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Technically this is a Christmas movie, but it is a nice way to usher in the holiday season.

Even though “White Christmas” came out over 50 years ago, it is still a classic that is full of humor and heart and is just beautiful and elegant.

You might get some eye rolls from your Mousekateens, but just give it time and they will be glued to the television.

What films are part of your family’s holiday traditions to kick off the Christmas season? Leave your comments below.

 

Pandora is Sooner than Expected

This past weekend Bob Chapek, the chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts unveiled and offered a tiny peek into Avatar’s world of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that is set to open Summer 2017.

The information was announced as part of a D23 convention held in Orlando.

One of the photos that was shared showed a bridge that leads into this ever growing, imaginative world.

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

According to a release from Walt Disney World, D23 host Jeffery Epstein said that the story behind the bridge is that it was built “during a time when a destructive company called the RDA-Resources Development Administration came to Pandora. Now that they are long gone, nature is breaking down evidence of their presence. This bridge will soon serve as an entry into the base camp of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, the eco-tour group that will host explorers on their Pandora adventure.”

Once inside the world of Pandora, guests will have the opportunity to experience two exciting attractions: the Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage.

The Na’vi River Journey, will be an all ages attraction through a beautiful bioluminescent forest.

At the conclusion of the attraction, guests will be greeted by a Na’Vi Shaman, which some people are calling one of the most sophisticated AIs ever created. You be the judge:

Avatar Flight of Passage will have guests in flight high above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee.

In addition to the attractions there will be the Satu’li Canteen, the main restaurant of Pandora that will highlight Na’vi art and cultural items and Windtraders, a store that sells Na’vi cultural items, science kits, toys and more.

For those wanting a refreshing beverage, they can stop at Pongu Pongu.

Are you excited to take your journey to Pandora starting this summer? Leave your comments below.

Huge Discount on WDW Park Tickets

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This is a pretty big deal!

Disney just announced Thursday that they are going to be offering a huge discount on park tickets for certain days.

The “4 Park Magic Ticket” allows guests one admission to each of the four theme parks on four separate days for only $70 per day plus tax.

The window to use the ticket is now through May 26, 2017. Block out days are Dec. 17-Jan. 2 and April 10-21.

This is an amazing deal considering tickets are well over $100 and their isn’t an upcharge for the Magic Kingdom.

It also sounds like these tickets will be available during the RunDisney Marathon weekend in January and the Princess Half Marathon weekend in February.

If you can pair this with a room discount, you can really have a great bargain on your hands.

The “4 Park Magic Ticket” is on sale now and can be purchased at Disneyworld.com/tickets or by calling 407-939-5277.

Does this low ticket price entice you to visit Walt Disney World toward the beginning of 2017? Leave your comments below.

Skyward Spectacular

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World (Photographed by David Roark.)

Walt Disney was known for making the impossible possible and making dreams come alive.

Just when you thought Disney possibly couldn’t make their night time show more spectacular, they come up with a show that blows the socks off.

In a special media preview event at Disney Springs, that had all of social media buzzing, Disney unveiled a preview of “Starbright Holidays — An Intel Collaboration.”

According to a release from Walt Disney World, there are 300 Intel Shooting Star show drones that comprise this one-of-a-kind shows that are offer displays that are similar to 3D fireworks in the sky.

In addition to the drones there was music that is choreographed to the show in the sky.

This aerial artistry is part of several Holiday themed events taking place at Disney Springs, a prime shopping and dining destination at the Walt Disney World Resort.

“Starbright Holidays — An Intel Collaboration” will join other holiday enhancements at Disney Springs, including a brand-new Christmas Tree Trail, special seasonal entertainment, meet and greets with Santa, and festive décor throughout all four neighborhoods — Town Center, The Landing, West Side and Marketplace,” said a release from Disney.

Here is a brief first look from Disney Parks at this amazing show. This video only shows the tip of the iceberg as to what this technology can do in the future for entertainment at the resorts.

What are your thoughts about this new sky show at Disney? Leave your comments below.

Black Friday Battle Plan: Disney Store

After the turkey is all finished and the last bite of stuffing has been stuffed, people all over the United States will head to bed with visions of bargain deals dancing in their heads.

Before the sun is even up, people will be piling into cars and heading for the malls and big box stores to get their best deals on gifts for loved ones.

One of the biggest categories of gifts that people like to score are toys. (The cost can really add up when you go to purchase toys.)

Just like all other businesses, the Disney Store is going to have its fair share of deals.

Since we are Mousekatots and are pretty obsessed with Disney, I thought I would share some of the deals you want to snag this Black Friday at the Disney Store or disneystore.com.

The first deal that Disney is offering is 60 percent off when you take an extra 20 percent off your purchase. You need to use the code THANKS.

If your Mousekatot is a fan of “Finding Dory,” who isn’t, then there are few deals you might want to snag.

 

While you might regret this purchase in the future, this Deluxe Singing Elsa Doll stands at 16″ and sings, you guessed it, “Let It Go” while her dress, hands and ice swirls light up in cool blue. Elsa retails for $49.95 but is on sale for $29.95.

 

 

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Photo courtesy of disneystore.com

In our house small, plastic figures are a big hit. We love to play with them on their own or use blocks to build them houses, castles, garages and anything else we can think of. This Disney Princess Mega Figure Play Set, originally $49.95 now $39.95, might not seem like that big of a savings, but it is a really nice set with a variety of figures.

 

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Photo courtesy of Disneystore.com

Every year we all exchange ornaments with each other. This Black Friday, the Disney Store, is having a sale on a lot, if not all, Sketchbook Ornaments. Some of the characters featured include Ariel, Peter Pan, Stitch, Doc McStuffins and more. My favorite one would be Princess Elena of Avalor. Regularly $16.95 they will be on sale for $10.

 

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Photo courtesy of disneystore.com

Once again “Frozen” has made my list. Bath time is another time that is a hit at our house. This is why I really like this Frozen Bath Toy Set. While these toys are made primarily for use in a bath, they can also be played elsewhere and are great for the littlest of ones who want to put everything in their mouth. Bonus: they can be cleaned easily. Double bonus: Marshmallow is included in the set. Regularly $16.95 for $10.

 

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Photo courtesy of Disneystore.com

Die-cast cars can really be pricey. Not only are they toys, but they can also be collectables that can be passed down from generation to generation. On Black Friday the Disney Store will offer a 15 die-cast, car set in the Piston Cup Die Cast Deluxe Gift Set. Originally $99.95 on sale for $79.95. This does have a hefty price tag, but considering what is included it might be worth it for your little “Cars” fan.

 

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Photo courtesy of the Disney Store

While you are doing shopping for everyone else, you might want to treat yourself to something special. The Haunted Mansion Nylon Crossbody Bag by Dooney &Bourke. Usually $188 it is down to $80.24. This is 57 percent off. This is a good deal.

 

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Photo courtesy of disneystore.com

These are only a few of the deals that the Disney Store will have on Black Friday. What is your favorite deal? Leave your comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season’s Eatings

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Photo courtesy of WDWinfo

The halls are decked and now guests will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the special, hard ticket events that Walt Disney World has to offer this time of year.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, at the Magic Kingdom, offers guests the chance to watch special Christmas shows, fireworks performances and even witness snow falling on main street.

While Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween has trick or treat stops, there are special cookie and hot chocolate stops at the Christmas party.

In the past, you could go to one of the many treat stops to receive a snickerdoodle cookie and hot chocolate in addition to allergy safe treats.

This year Disney decided to mix things up by offering different treats at the various stops.

Here is a list of treats that have been added at the different treat stops:

  • Snow cone and snowman sugar cookie –Friar’s Nook, Fantasyland
  • Eggnog and gingersnap molasses cookie — Heritage House, Liberty Square
  • Spiced apple cider and snowman sugar cookie– Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Storybook Circus
  • Hot chocolate and peppermint bark cookie–The Launching Pad at Tomorrowland.

As it was in the past, for those who have a food allergy can also opt for apple slices, gluten free cookies or juice.

There are also additional snacks available for purchase that are also full of holiday cheer.

The Main Street Bakery have a peppermint cupcake and a Holiday Wish Cupcake.

Gaston’s Tavern doesn’t want to be left out in the cold. The eatery will have a Holiday Tree Cupcake (with spiced cinnamon, clove and star anise), Sleepy Hollow, in Liberty Square, will have a pumpkin spice waffle with ice cream.

 

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Photo courtesy of WDWinfo

 

To help wash down all of the cupcakes Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is offering Very Merry Strawberry Lemonade Slush.

Which treat would you be more excited to try at this year’s “Very Merry Christmas Party?” Leave your answer in the comments below.

 

Celebrities Ring in the Holidays at Epcot

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World goes above and beyond for the holidays.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom offers a wonderful party that has a lot to offer for families.

Epcot’s World Showcase allows the countries the share their traditions with guests, and new this year, there will be food booths that tailor their favorite foods from their cultures.

Another tradition that Epcot embraces every year is the Candlelight Processional.

Performing at the America Gardens Theater at Epcot (in the American pavilion) the nightly special event offers the audience a taste of holiday music lead by a celebrity narrator.

The schedule of narrators for this year is:

  • Nov. 25-27: Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Nov. 28-Dec. 1: Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 2-3: Whoppi Goldberg
  • Dec. 4-6: Edward James Olmos
  • Dec. 7-9: Anthony Mackie
  • Dec. 10-12: Robby Benson
  • Dec. 13-15: Meredith Vieira
  • Dec. 16-18: Jim Caviezel
  • Dec. 19-21: Joe Morton
  • Dec. 22-24: Ming Na Wen
  • Dec. 25-27: Jodi Benson
  • Dec. 28-Dec. 30: Cal Ripken, Jr.

In addition to seeing the performance, guests can make the event extra special by partaking in the Candlelight Processional dining packages.

Dining packages can be for lunch or dinner and include either a three course dinner or a buffet. To make a reservation, calling 407-WDW-Dine.

Each evening features three performances, 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.

Seating is based on a first come, first serve basis. However, those who sign up for the dining package will have guaranteed seating.

There will also a sign language interpreter during the performance.

Which narrator would you be more interested in seeing? Leave your comments below.

 

 

 

Toddling Plans: New Fantasyland

 

 

Having a plan before you head into the parks at Walt Disney World is so important.

If you don’t figure it out, at least loosely, you will spend a lot of time running from attraction to attraction wasting a lot of time. Plus, you will also want to plan ahead so you can take advantage of Fastpass+

When you plan your trip you will also want to make sure that there is enough time for down time. No one wants a cranky toddler

So my suggestion is to start out at rope drop in the morning (as soon as the park opens) and take a break midway to go back to the hotel and recharge and then come back around dinner time.

Getting there?

The new section of Fantasyland is located at the very back of the park.

You can either go right through Tomorrowland or go straight around the castle to the middle section of Frontierland.

My suggestion is to take the train, right at the beginning of the park in Main Street U.S.A.

The train will take you on a tour through Adventureland and stop at the Fronteirland stations before you get off at the new Fantasyland station.

Here you will be right in the area that is home to Pete’s Silly Show, Dumbo and more.

Fastpass+ selections

You need to make your Fastpass selections based on the personality of your toddler. If your Mousekatot likes thrills, you will have to get a Fastpass for The Great Goofini.

If your little one loves the characters, you will want to checkout Pete’s Silly Sideshow.

 

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Memory Maker photo

You will also want to look at possibly getting a Fastpass for Dumbo, what toddler wouldn’t want to take a ride on Dumbo?

Must visit attractions

While there are a lot of attractions, there are also a lot of time wasting traps. For example, there is a cute little splash area right outside of Pete’s Silly Sideshow.

Your toddler can spend a lot of time splashing around here. However, if you are not careful you can spend most of your time here.

In my opinion, here are the must visit attractions for toddlers in new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom:

  • Dumbo
  • Pete’s Silly sideshow
  • The Great Goofini
  • Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

 

There is a height requirement for mine train of 38 inches.

If your child is tall enough, and brave enough, you will want to get a Fastpass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

If not, then you will want to get a Fastpass for Enchanted Tales with Belle and The Great Goofini.

Dumbo has a great feature that is an indoor playground that your toddler can play in while they wait in line. You will be given a pager to let you know when it is your turn to for the attraction.

Don’t forget to work in some time to grab a quick snack. Gaston’s Tavern and Maurice’s Popcorn Cart are two great places to grab a bite to eat.

The number one thing to remember when you are planning your day is that you are on vacation and to take your time and really enjoy yourself. Your vacation is about making memories and sharing time with your loved ones.

What are your tips for visiting the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom? Leave your comments below.