Magical Blogorail - A Date at Disney World

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Black! Enjoy the ride as we share what would be our Disney dream dates in Disney!

This is a fun topic for me because we JUST returned from the World, and my husband and I got to have a fun little date one afternoon. It wouldn't be considered extravagant or even a "DREAM" date (in the sense we didn't do anything spectacular), but for us it was perfect!

The rest of my family went back to our hotel to rest and they took our two kids with them for their naps. The first thing we wanted to do was get a snack! We decided it was the perfect time to try an infamous Dole Whip for the first time - it did not disappoint!

My snack of choice: an ice cold Coca Cola and a Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Sandwich! YUM!!!!

We found a shady spot to sit down and just people-watched while enjoying our snacks. That is one of the luxuries of being at Disney World without your kids - you can just SIT and enjoy the scenery! We talked about how the trip had gone and why we love coming back to Disney. . .just lots of fun topics.

I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the Castle without corralling kids at the same time!

We knew the Haunted Mansion would be a little scary for our young kids, so we took the opportunity to ride! As usual, it was super fun!

One of my favorite areas is Liberty Square, and I never get to just stop and take pictures. So that's what I did!

We browsed Main Street U.S.A.....

...and watched a wonderful performance by our favorites, the Dapper Dans!

I wanted to get the kids new Mouse Ears (and a pair for our little girl who will arrive in May!), so I stopped in Le Chapeau. I was so excited to see the new "vintage" style felt Mouseketeer hats that were new since the last time we visited!

A few more scenery shots. . .

Our date in the Magic Kingdom (and a rare shot of just the two of us!)!

We made our way to the People Mover - one of our very favorites!

Where else can you find great views, cool breezes.....

....and a place to do this!?

It wasn't glamorous or incredibly exciting, but our date was perfect. It was just the two of us in the Magic Kingdom, taking it at a slow pace and taking the time to stop and enjoy the details. Aren't those the best dates anywhere?

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Magical Mouse Pad. Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer (you are here!)
3rd Stop ~ The Disney Point
4th Stop ~ The Disney Chick
Final Stop ~ Manda’s Disney Blog


Magical Blogorail - What Keeps Us Coming Back to Disney?

Welcome to those of you joining me from Manda's Disney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail! Today we are talking about what keeps us coming back to Walt Disney World.

I think this is a such a great topic, because our family DOES keep coming back to Disney World, over and over again! I think it's interesting, because some families consider Disney a "Bucket LIst" experience - they can "check it off" once it's done. I have the OPPOSITE attitude! I'm excited to share my reasons for our MANY repeat visits to the World.

Nostalgia. From the time I was born, I was visiting Disney World. We lived in Orlando when I was very young, and we made visits to Disney all the time. So many of my earliest memories are from Disney World, and I think that has a lot to do with my attachment to it. Also, my mom loved Disney culture and raised us on the movies, songs, and stories. Once we moved away from Orlando, we didn't get to visit as often, but growing up we made several memorable trips to the World, and I distinctly recall those memories so vividly. So one reason I keep coming back to Disney is for ME and my love for it. I'm also really sentimental about wanting my husband and kids to love it as much as I do and creating our own memories there.

Details. Disney is absolutely amazing with details, and you discover something new EVERY time you go! There are even books available now that disclose where the "Hidden Mickeys" are that the Imagineers have hidden throughout the park. Even if you've been 50+ times, there are always new things to appreciate. Sometimes I'll notice a little figurine perched on a beam in a restaurant, or I'll notice a little nod to something from another film in an attraction. Those little things make each visit unique and new, and they make me smile.

Excellence. My dad and I had a discussion once about what sets Disney apart from every other theme park, and we agreed that the word was "excellence." When you have a painting crew that touches up any little scratch or ding in a railing, etc. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, that's going the extra mile. When you can't find a single "gum stain" on the concrete because they are meticulous about scouting for them, that sets you apart as a company. And when every single Cast Member you come into contact with smiles a huge smile and greets you with enthusiasm, it makes for an incredibly memorable and special experience. Disney does everything at the highest standard, and it's NOTICEABLE when you're there.

Change. There always seems to be something new when you come to Disney World. Maybe not a huge attraction, but maybe even a slight change in the Fastpass system or a slight tweak with how they open the Park in the morning. It's just interesting to watch the World become even better, yet stay the same (in the best way). We leave for Disney in a few days, and this will be our first time to experience the New Fantasyland expansion. Talk about change! There are SO many new things to see and do, and I know it will create such a completely new experience. We can't wait to see what the Imagineers have done now. :)

Hotels and Restaurants. There are endless combinations of places to stay and places to eat to make each and every trip amazing and different. We never tire of trying new places and seeing the different themes and variations of food and decor. Where else can you stay at a hotel that you'd find in upscale New England and have dinner in the African savannah or stay in a tropical island hotel and have your evening meal in France? Creating experiences for yourself is what makes Disney so much FUN. Disney immerses you in the details, and you truly feel like you are in a different world entirely.

Those are just a FEW of my many reasons for encouraging multiple trips to Walt Disney World. Your family dynamic changes as your ages change, and Disney accounts for that. There is so much more than just taking your toddlers to Disney and being "done." Don't be done! Explore Disney World as a place to really create a lot of memories together at ALL ages. :)

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Black this month. We will be back in February with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney news, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make astop along the way and want to reboard:

2nd Stop ~ The Disney Point
Final Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer


Magical Blogorail - Holiday Must-Do's

Welcome to those of you joining me from Manda's Disney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail!

Today we're talking about our Disney Holiday Must-Do's. I actually can't believe I'm writing this, but we've never been to Disney World during the Holiday season! We're off-season people. :) However, it's a goal of mine to make our next trip possibly during the festivities of Christmas, and I can't wait to experience everything I've heard about and seen from others!

I would LOVE to do Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! My husband and I have done Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and it was a lot of fun, so I can only IMAGINE the Christmas version! My kids and I love to watch YouTube videos of Christmas events at Disney, so experiencing them in person would be wonderful.

I know that a must-do for me would be the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. Hearing the beautiful music and the Christmas story being read would definitely complete the holiday season for me. Someday!

Hearing Voices of Liberty is one of my favorite things to experience when we visit WDW, and I own their Christmas album. One of my favorite Christmas songs they sing is "Down the Stairway of Stars," which talks about how Jesus, the King of Kings, became a humble baby and came down from Heaven to seek and to save us. It is SO beautiful, and I even quoted some of the lyrics in our annual Christmas card letter this year. :) I couldn't find a video of the Voices singing that particular song, but here's some festive sounds:

We always stay at the Grand Floridian when we visit Disney, and at Christmas they absolutely outdo themselves in decorations (as do all the resorts!). I know my kids would absolutely LOVE to see the life-sized gingerbread house in person, and I would love to hop around to the different resorts and take in their different themed decorations.

Obviously, it's a MUST for me to visit the World during the holidays, and I can't wait to plan such a fun trip!

Thank you for joining me today! Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Magical Mousepad. Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make astop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ The Disney Chick
3rd Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer
Final Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad


Magical Blogorail - Most Memorable Meal

Welcome to those of you joining me from Manda's Disney Blog and those of you just hoppingaboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail!

Today we're talking about our most memorable Disney meals. I have many, but one that stands out is the very first character meal that I remember as a little girl! It was at the Grand Floridian, and my siblings and I were so, so excited. It was the first time I had ever seen the Grand Floridian, so that alone creates a pretty huge memory! It was so huge and beautiful, and we were SO excited to eat there!

We met Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and many other friends. I particularly remember my brother, who was around 2 at the time, hugging Pooh from behind and not letting him go! It was so cute and everyone watching laughed and laughed. Here are some pictures from that special meal!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Magical Mousepad. Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ The Disney Point
2nd Stop ~ Return to Disney


Our Dining Plans!

The meals for our next Disney trip are PLANNED! And it wasn't without a lot of analysis, sleepy visits to the Disney website (to book at 6am), etc. and a stroke of good fortune. Here's the lineup!

Arrival Evening
Since I'm not sure what time we'll all arrive at the World, I'm leaving this open. If any of us are there, we'll probably go roam around Downtown Disney!

Day One - Magic Kingdom

Lunch: Be Our Guest (Quick Service)
Yes, Be Our Guest (part of the new Fantasyland expansion) is going to be open starting in November! The best thing about this restaurant (in my opinion), is that it will offer Quick Service during the day, and turn into Table Service at night! That way, if you can't get a dinner ADR (which I didn't think I was going to), you can still experience the restaurant atmosphere as Quick Service. I'm so excited to try this new experience. Apparently, even thought it's QS during the day, servers will still bring your order to you on "real" plates (no paper!). Can't wait to see how this goes!

Dinner: Chef Mickey's (Contemporary Resort)
This will be a first for us! I really want the kids to experience meeting some characters in a more relaxed environment, and Evy has been dying to try Chef Mickey's since we saw it featured on TV. It's a quick Monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary, and I think it will be a great change of scenery. Also, a buffet is ALWAYS a good thing for us - no waiting for food!

Day Two - Epcot

Lunch: Sunshine Seasons (The Land)
This will also be new to us. Sunshine Seasons receives overwhelmingly positive reviews in everything I've read, and it's mostly because of the range of fresh options. Since we're a group of 9 people, I think it will be great to have a "food court" type of situation, but all of the options are fresh (salads, wraps, etc.).

Dinner: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway Pavilion)
We are returning to Akershus! Evy absolutely LOVED it last time, and I thought the atmosphere was great. The appetizer buffet will allow us to instantly get food, and it's a more spacious feel than Cinderella's Royal Table. It will be my family's first time to eat here, so I think they'll enjoy trying some Norwegian food!

Day Three - Hollywood Studios

Lunch: 50s Prime Time Cafe
Another return trip! My family ate here way back in 2005, and our family ate here on our last trip in 2011, so it's a fun repeat. The food and atmosphere is so fun!

Dinner: Pizza Planet (Quick Service)
Liam is HUGE into Toy Story right now (and probably still will be when we go!), so I can't wait to take him to Pizza Planet. Even though it's QS, the atmosphere is fun. It's also quick and easy, and I know Liam will especially love this.

Extra: Le Cellier (Canada)
This is an "extra" ADR I made. Kurt and I enjoyed Le Cellier so much on our last trip alone (2010), and I'd love for some of my family to be able to go. I made the reservation for later in the evening (once the kids are in bed with my mom at the hotel), and whoever wants to go back to Epcot for a meal in Canada is welcome to join us! I think this will be a fun option, and it will be our first time to try an "extra" meal. This probably means we'll skip out on Pizza Planet earlier to save room for the YUMMY cheese soup at Le Cellier!

Day Four - Magic Kingdom/Recap Day

Lunch: Pinnochio's Village Haus or Pecos Bill (Quick Service)
Pinnochio's Village Haus is a tradition for my family (we always wave at Small World riders), but Kurt and I discovered Pecos Bill on our last trip. It's a good value, and I think my family will love the taco bar (you can pile on as many toppings as you wish!).

Dinner: Be Our Guest (Table Service)
Yes....I GOT A COVETED RESERVATION! The original plan was Cinderella's Royal Table for our final meal at Disney World, but I really wanted to try and get an ADR for Be Our Guest. I tried calling all day when they opened up the lines, but to no avail. Then, several days later, I randomly got online and typed in what I was looking for (on a whim). And guess what? There it was - an opening for 9 people on the night I wanted, at the perfect dinner time! I was floored! I can't wait to experience Be Our Guest as a Table Service restaurant!

I am really excited about our reservations, and I think it's a good variety. We'll also be getting to try some new things, which is always fun! I can't WAIT until our trip!


Magical Blogorail - Favorite Resorts

Welcome to those of you joining me from Manda's Disney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail! This month we're sharing our favorite Walt Disney World Resorts. I am featuring my all-time favorite - the Grand Floridian!

This topic came at the PERFECT time! We just booked our rooms for our upcoming Disney trip (in January), and we'll stay at the Grand. Also, my grandparents were visiting this weekend, and my grandmother surprised me by bringing some old family photos of past Disney trips. My littlest sister isn't in the pictures because she hadn't joined our family yet. :) Guess where we stayed for one of those many trips? The Grand Floridian!

Here I am at the Grand!

Me (far left) and my siblings posing with Mary Poppins at the GF.

Enjoying a character breakfast at the resort.

My Nana with one of the beautiful flower arrangements - one reason I love this resort to this day!

Eating at the Grand Floridian Cafe. We ate here again in 2011, the most recent time we visited!

Poppy and my brother STYLING in the hallway of our building!

Dancing with my Poppy in the lobby. I love this picture so much!

Another picture I love - my brother and grandmother on one of the alcove balconies.

Can you see the Seven Seas Lagoon?

I love the theming and atmosphere of the Grand Floridan! Opened in 1988, the design and decor is based on Victorian-era beach resorts that were popular in Florida at the turn of the century. The red and white is fresh and clean against the Seven Seas Lagoon, and you can just picture elegant vacationers in the Victorian era strolling along the beach!

The Grand Floridian is considered a Deluxe resort, and its convenient access to the Monorail makes it incredibly travel friendly. We LOVE being able to hop on and be at the Magic Kingdom in literally minutes! It's also wonderful midday when the kids need naps. :)

Like all Disney resorts, there are so many fun Disney details!

The Grand Floridian is really special to us, because we traveled here on our "Babymoon" when I was expecting Evy. Since then, we've stayed there twice more. We've definitely created a "home" there!

Nothing beats watching the fireworks from your room!

We can't wait to return to our favorite resort soon!

Thank you for joining me today! Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Magical Mousepad! Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make astop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ The Disney Chick
2nd Stop ~ Mandas Disney Blog
3rd Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer
4th Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad
Final Stop ~ The Disney Point