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! 


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.


Eat to the Beat Lineup Announced

It is hard to believe that Fourth of July is almost here and plans are already in motion for the fall at Walt Disney World.

One of the highlights at Epcot during this time of year is the Eat to the Beat concert series that is included in the price of admission.

These concerts, running from Aug. 31-Nov. 13 often feature interesting acts that you might have to pay a pretty good price to see elsewhere.

If I lived down in the Florida I would be making frequent trips to check out a lot of these concerts.

This year’s concert series will feature 32 different acts who will take to the stage at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. each day.

This year’s festival includes:

Aug. 31-Sept. 1 — Delta Rae “Bottom of the River”

Sept. 2-3: The Hooters “And We Danced”

Sept. 4-5: Baha Men “Who Let the Dogs Out”

Sept. 6-7: Fuel “Shimmer”

Sept. 8-10: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”

Sept. 11-12: Lauren Alaina “Road Less Traveled”

Sept. 13-15: Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah”

Sept. 16-17: Sister Hazel “All For You”

Sept. 18-20: Air Supply “All Out of Love”

Sept. 21-22: David Cook “Light On”

Sept. 23-24: Everclear “Santa Monica”

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Everclear (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.) (As a side note, in my other life I had the chance to interview the lead singer of the band for my work. Really nice guy.)

Sept. 25-27: Sugar Ray “Every Morning”

Sept. 28-29: 38 Special “Hold on Loosely”

Sept. 30-Oct. 1: Mark Wills “19 Somethin”

Oct. 2-3: American Authors “Best Day of My Life”

Oct. 4-5: Christopher Cross “Sailing”

Oct. 6-8: Devon Allman “Ragged and Dirty”

Oct. 9-11: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX “Come Sail Away”

Oct. 12-13: Taylor Dayne “Tell It to My Heart”

Oct. 14-15: Jeffrey Osborne “One the Wings of Love”

Oct. 16-17: Postmodern Jukebox Various Hits

Oct. 18-20: 10,000 Maniacs “Because the Night”

Oct. 21-22: Toad the West Sprocket “Walk on the Ocean”

Oct. 23-24: Kenny G “Songbird”

Oct. 25-26: Billy Ocean “Get Outta My Dreams”

Oct. 27-29: Tiffany “I Think We’re Alone Now”

Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Hanson “MMMBop”

Nov. 2-3: Blue October “Into the Ocean”

Nov. 4-5: Living Colour “Cult of Personality”

Nov. 6-8: Boyz II Men “End of the Road”

Nov. 9-11: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Go Daddy-O”

Nov. 12-13: Squeeze “Black Coffee in Bed”

If you want to make the concert a complete event there are also 15 popular Epcot restaurants that you can eat either breakfast, lunch or dinner at and will give you confirmed seating for a same day performance.

Which concert are you most interested in? Leave your comments below.


Pandora’s Box

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Photo courtesy of thedisneyblog.com

If you haven’t heard yet, Pandora, the world of the Avatar films, has been having a soft beta opening this past week.

A group of lucky guests have had the opportunity to explore this incredible, new world situated in Disney’s Animal Kingdom before it opens to the public on May 27.

Here is a round up of some of the early reviews on what people are saying.

To Eat

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When it comes to food, Pandora has two options that have items for both the timid and adventerous palate.

The first is the Satu’li Canteen, a quick service restaurant.

The food looks amazing, and what I have heard it tastes just as good, too.

Being a vegetarian, I am happy that they have plenty of options available that would qualify as a full meal.

One of the best deals here are the different bowls (slow roasted sliced beef, chopped woodfire chicken, sustainable fish bowl, or the chili-spiced crispy tofu bowl). Chalk full of vegetables and Boba balls, you get a pretty good bang for your around $12 buck.

Another option, if you are looking for a quick beverage (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) can be found at Pongu Pongu.

There are a ton of exotic looking drinks here to wet your whistle including the Mo’ara Margarita in a Souviner Mug with a Glowing Unadelta Seed for $18.25.

To Buy

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Photo courtesy of WaltDisneyWorld.com

Inside of Pandora there is one store that sells souviners called Windtraders.

Here you will find cultural artifacts of the Na’vi, science kits, specialized apparel and even some of the region’s more colorful creatures.

To Do

Let’s face it, the main reason why people are in the area is to experience the attractions that this area has to offer.

The first is the Na’vi River Journey.

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Photo courtesy of WaltDisneyWorld.com

Think of this attraction as a sort of high tech Small World. You go on a boat where you look at the amazing flora and fauna and the super sophisitcated animatronics.

People have been saying this has been blowing guests away. It is beautiful and you swear that the animatroics are real people.

The other attraction in Pandora, Flight of Passage, has been blowing people away for a wide variety of reasons, not all of them good.

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Photo courtesy of WaltDisneyWorld.com

On this ride you board your very own banshee and take to the skies of Pandora.

While on the ride vehicle you wear special glasses and view a large screen that is similar to Soarin’.

People who have been on the attraction have been raving about how amazing the experience is and that is like none other in the entire resort.

However, the Disney community has also been up in arms over the attraction as well.

When the rider steps onto the vehicle they have to sit on it like a motorcycle. Then a support comes up and pushes against the back while two braces come behind the calves and they also push forward.

The problem is that many people who are either tall or of the “Winnie the Pooh” shaped variety are having a difficult time fitting onto the ride and are subsequently being asked leave the ride.

One early previewer said that she had estimated 22% of the people that were slated to ride were asked to leave.

Another person said that in one group four out of 12 and seven out of 12 were asked to leave.

Some people are saying that because of the calf area being tight, people with either larger calves or taller people couldn’t fit properly into the restraints.

Supposdly, cast members are taking note of how many people are asked to leave the vehicle and the reason, so there is hope that this issues will be fixed in the future.

Are you looking forward to visiting Pandora? What are you most looking forward to?


Best Bites: Snacks Magic Kingdom Edition

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

When you are treking all over Walt Disney World you can work up quite an appetite.

In between meals you can be wanting a little something but not a full meal. Luckily, there are a lot of places within Walt Disney World to pick up a quick bite.

However, not all snacks are created equal. This is especially true if you are on the dining plan where you receive two snacks per night booked at the resort.

A few years ago, Disney changed what was considered a snack on their dining plan.

One of the easiest ways to identify a snack is looking for a little white and purple box next to the item. If you have this, then you know it is a snack.

However, any single serve item is considered a snack (box of popcorn, ice cream bar, etc.)

But, a smart vacationer knows how to use the snacks to their favorite.

For example, you can use a bottle of water for a snack credit or you can use it on a cup of chili at Columbia Harbor House.

Below, are my top choices for how best to use your snack credits in the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

Breakfast 

Liberty Square Market: This location has a variety of fresh fruit available, yogurt and even a Mickey pretzel. It opens at 9 a.m.

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies: This quick service restaurant offers smoothies that would make a quick breakfast on the go. It opens at 10:30 a.m. (This however is not on the dining plan so you will have to pay out of pocket.)

Main Street Bakery: Here you can use your snack credit to get your Starbucks fix for the day. The bakery opens at 9 a.m.

Lunch/Dinner

Aloha Isle: This is my personal favorite, Dole Whip. This creamy (yet vegan) frozen treat is an icon of Disney cuisine. You can also get a pineapple spear. This location opens at 10 a.m.

Columbia Harbor House: This, in my opinion, is the biggest bang for your snack buck. Here you can get a cup of vegetarian chili, New England Clam Chowder, Steamed Vegetables and coleslaw. Columbia Harbor house opens at 11 a.m.

The Friar’s Nook: Sometimes when it is really hot in WDW you will want something that will cool you off in the middle of the heat. Here you can get a frozen lemonade that should do the trick. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m.

The Lunching Pad: Another location to get your Mickey pretzel fix. This location opens at 10 a.m.

Those are just a few of my favorite ways to make a meal out of a snack in the Magic Kingdom. For more tips on using the dining plan pick up your copy of Mousekatots.

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Life Gets in the Way

Things have been very busy recently, which has caused some radio silence on Mousekatots. Both of our jobs have been requiring some extra work so I have been too tired at the end of the day to do much of anything except to try to prop my eyes open to watch some TV.

But, last weekend we had a lot of fun going shopping and Lily was able to use her chore money to buy an Ariel doll that she had been eyeing up at the Disney Store. She was so proud!

Then, yesterday evening it was my mom’s birthday so we had a wonderful celebration full of dinner, cake and presents.

Here are some photos from our fun weekend and birthday:

Friday

Since I have Fridays off it is usually spent at either the Library or doing things around the house. Since this past Friday was pretty rainy and gloomy we stayed home and put our hair in curlers, made “dino chips” and counted our coins to see if we had enough money to buy our Ariel doll.

 

Saturday

On Saturday we went to our favorite restaurant for breakfast, did shopping at the mall, including get Lily her Ariel doll and having fun in the Disney Store, tried a new Mediterranean restaurant and watched “Sing.”

 

Wednesday

Like I said earlier, Wednesday was my Mom’s birthday and we celebrated by going out for dinner, having cake and opening presents. Everyone had fun, but I think Lily enjoyed herself the most.

Did you have a fun weekend or exciting week so far? Leave your comments below.

 

 


Safety First

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Photo courtesy of ibtimes.com

It really is a commentary on the state of the world when metal detectors are needed to get into the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

But, the fact of the matter is that I feel better knowing they are there and they are keeping my family safe. I am so thankful for the security guards that work hard each day to keep everyone safe and I am sure having to deal with their own share of people trying to give them flack because they snuck in a selfi-stick and got caught.

In order to make the security process a little easier Disney has been rolling out some changes that were announced earlier this week.

According to several sources, including the Disney fan website, Inside the Magic, that these new measures will include new security checks at the Transportation and Ticket Center. This means and those who enter the Magic Kingdom through ferry or monorail will be able to skip the bag check and metal detectors at the gate.

Also, those who are staying at one of the resorts on the monorail loop (Grand Floridian, Poly and Contemporary) will be checked at the resort monorail stations and will be able to enter without going through the security check point at the gate,

Those guests arriving on buses at this time will still use the current security setup.

These changes are scheduled to take place April 3.