Radio Silence

Life has been crazy. There is no more of a reason as to why this blog hasn’t been updated forever. 

Having a young daughter, finding a house, buying said house and then putting our current house on the market and trying to sell it has been taking all my energy and time. 

But I have missed Mousekatots so much so I am going to try and get back into the swing of things and take you on our new house adventure and also the process of trying to sell our house. 

Plus, there is a lot of Disney news happening so you might want to come back and check this out. 

So look tomorrow for more of a blog. 

Have a great day! 

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More to the Mouse

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Many people go to Walt Disney World or set sail on the Disney Cruise Line to escape reality. Let’s face it, the real world can be an ugly and scary place.

For me, this is the main reason why I return to the various Disney properties time and time again. I want to escape.

Another benefit of going to the parks time and time again can be because you can apply the Disney principles to your everyday life.

A lot of different corporations implement the Disney management style to their businesses.

But on a smaller scale, what if you could apply the Disney principles to your everyday life?

For myself and my family, we look at the world through the lense of Christianity. Others might look through a Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or other spiritual lense, and that is the great thing about Walt Disney World. Walt Disney was very careful to not exclude any religion in his films or vacation properties.

However, if you are of the spiritual faith there are some books available that can marry the two together.

One book that I really enjoyed is “Faith Trust and Pixie Dust” by Mark I. Pinsky.

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Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Pinsky, who is a religion journalist, according to the book’s Amazon listing, wanted to take a deeper look at one of the biggest influences on children: Disney.

Each chapter looks at a different film and the biggest message it tries to impart on the viewer.

For example, “Dumbo” looks at a mother’s love while “Robin Hood” looks at tax rebates.

This book does not really have a Christian leaning, or any other denominational leaning. It is more a look at morality and the Disney influence.

For anyone looking for a more direct approach to Chrisitianty and the Walt Disney World vacation, check out “A Christian’s Guide to Walt Disney World Resort” by Jeff Chaves.

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Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Unlike “Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust” this book definitely is geared toward the Christian denomination.

This is sort of almost a “Bible study” type of book that takes a look at a Walt Disney World attraction, attaches a Bible verse to it, a little bit of details about the attraction, how it can connect to Christianity and questions for further discussion.

For example, Space Mountain, located in Tomorrowland of the Magic Kingdom, the author uses the verse “God is Involved in Every Detail of Our Lives” — Matthew 10:30-31.

It further tells people to look out for the Earth that is shown at the end of the coaster and how God is involved in everything that goes on on Earth.

There are then four different questions that can help develop a deeper discussion of the connection between the two.

This format continues through the rest of the book.

Two books that go together well that combine one of literature’s most beloved characters, as well as a bear that has been a part of the Walt Disney World family for many years is “The Tao of Pooh” and it’s companion book “The Te of Piglet,” both by Benjamin Hoff.

These two books explore Buddhist principles through the lense of Winnie the Pooh and his fellow Hundred-Acre-Woods neighbors.

I have only read “The Tao of Pooh,” but I really enjoyed it.

The author interacts with the characters and uses many of their stories that are told in their books as an example of Buddhist teachings.

Hoff even talks about the different personalities of the character factor into the principles as well.

I really enjoyed these books because they are an easy way to learn about what is Tao and offer a different perspective on life.

Obviously, these are just a sampling of these types of books that are available out there. There are lots that look at the connection between spirituality and Disney. A simple search will bring up many of them.

Is this something you are interested in, or do you prefer to keep everything at an entertainment level when it comes to Disney? Leave a message in the comments below.

Happy April (No Foolin’)

Happy April!

I feel like we have made it through the winter and we can finally celebrate spring.

In honor, here is a little desktop background that has a calendar for the month and an inspirational quote from Walt Disney that you can download and use on your computer.

Enjoy this wonderful day with spring in the air!

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DCL: Much Needed Quiet Time

For many people setting sail on a cruise ship full of a bunch of children might not be their idea of a relaxing vacation. And for this reason, many people avoid sailing with the Disney Cruise Line.

However, Disney knows this and has made allocations for areas that are just for the adults to enjoy.

One place that is often forgotten among the adult night clubs and pools is the Cove Cafe.

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Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line 

This coffee lounge overlooks Quiet Cove Pool and offers a variety of coffees, mixed drinks and baked goods. Plus, there are some magazines, televisions and for a fee you can surf the Internet.

Pretty much if you can think of it and it contains caffeine, they can make it. Espresso, Lattes, Americano and more can be created.

Food is also available including croissants at breakfast, cookies, crackers and fruit for lunch and dried sausages, marinated olives, cheeses and bread at dinner time.

While the food is included, there is a cost for the beverages.

A few cruises back we enjoyed Quiet Cove and it was really nice and a great way to spend some time before our brunch at Palo.

Would you be interested in trying out Quiet Cove? Leave your comments below.

Set Sail for 2018

 

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Just this week Disney Cruise Lines recently unveiled up coming itinerary and new ports of call for 2018. (It is hard to believe that we are already looking ahead to 2018 right now.)

Beginning the summer of 2018 the cruise ships will explore new ports throughout Europe while continuing to visit favorite locations in the Caribbean and Alaska.

On June 16, 2018, the Disney Magic will set sail for a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia with stops to Marseilles and Villefranche, France; and Genoa (Milan), Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Naples, Italy.

Genoa will also be visited during three special sailings from Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome).

There will also be a 10-night Mediterranean itinerary sailing from Barcelona on July 7, 2018 that will make a stop in Genoa as well as other ports in Italy, France and Span.

For the first time the Disney Magic will make a port of call in Cork, Ireland during the cruise line’s first ever seven-night British Isles cruise on Sept. 2, 2018.

Additional ports visited during the cruise are Dublin, Ireland; Greenock, Scotland; and Liverpool, England.

Through out the summer, the Magic won’t be forgetting about favorite ports of call including the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, British Isles and Mediterranean.

The newly refurbished Disney Wonder will once again sail to Alaska for the summer for five, seven and nine-night cruises that depart from Vancouver, Canada, with ports at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Tracy Arm Fjord.

Not to forget about the Fantasy, it will set sail on an 11-night southern Caribbean itinerary departing June 30, 2018. The cruise will visit the ports of call of Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and, of course, Castaway Cay.

There will also be double-dip (where the ship stops at Castaway Cay twice on the cruise) on June 1, 10, 15, 24, 29 and July 8 on the Disney Dream.

Many exciting things are happening with the cruise line during 2018. Which itineraries sound the most interesting? Leave your comments below,

Playtime for Pre-Schoolers

On Mousekatots we haven’t really talked a lot about the Disney Cruise Line, but there are a lot of opportunities available for cruisers of all ages.

A lot of people might think they have to wait until their child is older to take them on a Disney Cruise, but that is not the case.

Our Mousekatot went on her first cruise when she just had turned one and we had the best vacation.

While there is the Small World Nursery and Nemo’s Reef splash area for the littlest of Mousekatots, once your child turns three and is potty trained, it opens a whole new world (see what I did there) for them to enjoy.

The first area you will want to check out is the Disney Oceaneer Club.

This special kids club is just for kids, no adults allowed.

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Photo courtesy of DCL.

Kids ages 3 to 12 can join hang out at the club where they can rub elbows with some of their favorite characters and have fun doing counselor lead activities including storytelling sessions, playgrounds, dress-up, interactive activities and more.

The clubs are designed to let children be fully immersed into some of their favorite worlds like Andy’s room from “Toy Story,” “The Monster’s Inc.” laugh floor and more.

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Photo courtesy of DCL.

Lunch and dinner can be served at the club, which is a nice benefit if Mom and Dad want to sneak away for some alone time at Palo.

One thing that is nice about the Oceaneer Club is that activities are based on the child’s interest and maturity and not necessarily the child’s age. This allows different age siblings to spend time together.

If you are anything like me, you might be a little apprehensive about leaving your child.

But, find comfort in knowing that Disney has a secure system in place to keep your child safe.

On Embarkation Day, both parents and child must check in at the front desk of the Oceaneer Club and you will be required to fill out final paperwork and your child will receive a special DCL Magicband. Which will let them into the Club and the Lab.

You can also tour the facility, meet the counselors and learn more about the activities.

The good news is that the cost of the club is included in your cruise, so you don’t have to pay anything extra, unlike the Small World Nursery.

Since your child is potty trained they will also be able to have access to all the different pools on the ship except for the adult only areas.

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Photo courtesy of DCL.

This includes the family pool, the Mickey shaped pool and the family slide. Plus, they can also still play in Nemo’s Reef as well.

Another area to check out is the Aqualab that is a different splash area that is located on the ship where Huey, Dewy and Louie (Donald Duck’s nephews) have sprung a leak.

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Photo courtesy of Cruise Critic.

No matter what activities you decide to do with your Mousekatot, you will have a wonderful time. The Disney Cruise Line is absolutely magical!

Have you been on a Disney Cruise with your family? If so, what was your favorite thing to do.

Be Our Guest Podcast

I had the honor of being a guest on the Be Our Guest Podcast. We talked a little Disney, a little Mousekatots and even some Big Brother. Check it out here.

Tot Five: Excitement Overload

Going on a vacation to Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line is super exciting. Now imagine that you are a toddler and you just found out you will get to meet your favorite princess or Mickey Mouse in person. You can imagine how overflowing with excitement that would be.

In order to help get your toddler in the mood for the trip, here are our Tot Five ways to cultivate your toddler’s excitement.

1. Planning DVDs

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Photo courtesy of YouTube

My absolute favorite way to plan and get excited for our vacation is to watch the latest official Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line planning DVD.

If you go on the Walt Disney World official website you can either sign up to receive the DVD for free or watch it online digitally.

If you are a real Disney geek, like I am, you can go online and watch the previous years’ videos, even going always the way back to the 1990s.

2. Character Phone Calls

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Photo courtesy of Rantchic

 

If you are traveling on the Disney Cruise Line or if you booked a travel package with Disney, you can receive a phone call from a Disney character inviting them to come for a visit.

Imagine the excitement and surprise that your tot will have when Mickey or Cinderella calls them to invite them for a visit. You can find the link on the Disney Cruise website or through your travel agent for the Walt Disney World call.

3. Countdown Board

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Another way to build the excitement for your Mousekatot is to have a countdown calendar. This can be as simple as a chalkboard, a paper chain or a sign like this. You can make it as fancy or as simple as you like, just remember to keep it fun and engage your toddler everyday with it.

If you are looking for inspiration, you can go to Pinterest where there are a lot of ideas available.

4. Disney Dinner and a Movie

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Add a little pixie dust to your dinner and evening by having a Disney themed dinner and a movie night.

When watching “Mulan” create a delicious Asian menu. Watching “Alice in Wonderland”? think of some traditional British fare like fish and chips or Bubble and Squeek.

Pick your favorite movie, plan out a meal themed to the film and you have the perfect family evening.

Once again if you need inspiration go to Pinterest. There are tons of recipe ideas and meal suggestions.

5. Let your Mousekatot plan their own backpack

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Photo courtesy of MyLifeOfTravelsAndAdventures.com

Planning is a big undertaking. Let your Mousekatot give a hand by packing their own “entertainment bag” that will be used to keep them busy while traveling.

Give them a few ideas on what might be good to include (such as coloring books, crayons, cards, handheld toys, etc.)

Have the toddler make a list and get your approval first and double check after everything is packed to make sure it includes things you don’t mind traveling with you.

 

How do you get your Mousekatot excited for your upcoming trip? Leave your comments below.

Major Changes for Disney Wonder

There are some major changes heading to the Disney Cruise line’s Wonder including a new are for kids, a musically inclined restaurant, an English pub and more.

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Photo courtesy of PRNewswire

 

PRNewswire announced that the ship will receive a new children’s area themed to the Marvel Super Hero Academy.

“Exclusively on the Disney Wonder, Marvel Super Hero Academy will offer extraordinary adventures in which each young guest plays an integral role. With the mentorship of some of Marvel’s greatest super heroes, young trainees will learn the value of teamwork, bravery and problem solving through hands-on play and program,” read a statement from PRNewswire.

Spiderman will be in person to show Mousekatots how to hone their spidie senses, other heroes will interact with children via a digital display, and more.

The area will also feature a display of equipment that was used to make the heroes the cultural icons they are including Captain America’s World War II shield, Black Widow’s gauntlets and more.

In the Oceaneer Club, which is for children 3 to 12, there will be new places and more time with some favorite characters including:

  • Frozen adventure: Olaf will lead summer themed games and a sing-a-long, and guests will prepare for a royal in-person visit with Anna and Elsa.
  • Disney junior characters will lead storytelling and games, including Doc McStuffins who helps children learn how to take care of their stuffed animals.
  • Andy’s Room from the favorite film series “Toy Story” will be recreated for kids to enjoy. Even Woody and Jessie will stop by for a visit.

For even the littlest of Mousekatots, the ship will create our favorite play space on the Disney Fantasy, It’s a Small World Nursery.

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Photo courtesy of PRNewswire

 

The change that I would be most excited about is the creation of Tiana’s Place Restaurant (since Princess Tiana is my favorite).

This new restaurant, that is unique to only the Wonder, will feature the finest of southern cuisine complete with saucy jazz and street party celebrations.

The restaurant, themed after “The Princess and the Frog,” will feature recipes from the flavors and ingredients of the bayou.

Tiana will be represented through the restaurant in all the details including her family photos, water lily-shaped candleholders and more. All of this will tell the story of Tiana’s rise from humble server to frog princess and restaurant entrepreneur.

Something for the parents, a new English Pub will be added to the adult district. It will transport people to a cozy pub complete with dark woods and plush furniture and a selection of specialty beers and cocktails.

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Photo courtesy of PRNewswire

 

In proper Disney fashion, the pub will have subtle nods to Disney films that took place in London.

PRNewswire listed the other enhancements included in the update:

  • After Hours — an adult district featuring the pub, an all-new-night club and a shiny new model of the popular Cadillac Lounge
  • Updates to the Senses Spa & Salon and a new Chill Teen Spa
  • “Drawn to Magic” and “Animation Magic” dinner show added to Animator’s Pallete
  • D Lounge for family entertainment
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Edge club for tweens
  • Cabanas casual dining location
  • A makeover of the adult only restaurant, Palo
  • Twist n’ Spout water slide
  • Dory’s Reef splash zone for toddlers
  • AquaLab pool and interactive water play area for kids

The Wonder will be in dry dock from Sept. 9 to Oct. 23 of this year in Cadiz, Spain. The new additions and updates will be ready for guests to enjoy starting Nov. 10 with a sailing out of Galveston, Texas.

What would you be most excited about when it comes to these new enhancements? Leave your comments below.