10.26.2009

Disney Portraits by Annie Leibovitz

Photographer Annie Leibovitz captured stunning photographs celebrating Disney moments. Celebrities were asked to pose as different characters. They are simply gorgeous...I could look at them for hours.


Rachel Weisz as Snow White

Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens as Prince Phillip and Sleeping Beauty


Jessica Biel as Pocahontas



David Beckham as Prince Phillip



Gisele Bundchen as Wendy, Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan and Tina Fey as Tinkerbell

Close-up of Tina Fey as Tinkerbell


Whoopi Goldberg as the Genie


Julie Andrews as the Blue Fairy in Pinnochio and Abigail Breslin as Fira from Disney Fairies


Scarlett Johannson as Cinderella


Roger Federer as King Arthur

Julianne Moore and Michael Phelps as Ariel and a merman


Beyonce as Alice, Lyle Lovett as the March Hare and Oliver Platt as the Mad Hatter


Jennifer Lopez an Marc Anthony as Princess Jasmine and Aladdin





Disney Weddings: A Celebration

If you've read this blog for any length of time whatsoever, you know my complete love and obsession of all things Disney.
So you can imagine my complete excitement when several years ago it dawned on me that Disney must host weddings, honeymoons, and vow renewals.

Yes. Yes, they do.

And they are amazing. You choose from different packages, and it's just the most lovely website to browse.
You know, if I were ever going to get married again. And the only way THAT'S happening is in a vow renewal. I know Kurt and I will do one (if not more) vow renewal(s) in the future. I don't know if we'll actually do a full shebang at Disney...or if we'll just "honeymoon." It's fun to dream!


Little-known trivia fact: I thoroughly researched and was thisclose to booking a Disney wedding for myself when Kurt and I got engaged. I decided against it only because of the time crunch and it would have to be super small (and I have a relatively large family that I wanted to be there). But yes, I went through a phase where I ordered the free wedding planning DVD and watched it daily. Simply because I loved seeing two of my favorite things in one: Disney and weddings.


Here I am visiting the Wedding Pavilion in the summer of 2005, about a year before I met Kurt. We were there for our family vacation and my family indulged me. It was amazing.
Even though I didn't end up having a Disney wedding per se, I want to dedicate a blog post to it.

Of course my favorite location option is probably the Wedding Pavilion. Mainly because it's inside and I just know I'd probably be stressed in an outdoor situation. And it doesn't hurt that it has a gorgeous view of Cinderella Castle.


Of course I have to have the coach:

For the reception, the ultimate is in one of the theme parks themselves. However, on the website they're not showing the Magic Kingdom as an option. Hmph. If you're wanting indoors, obviously the Grand Floridian ballroom would be my pick. Come on, it's the Grand Floridian.
*Sigh*

Disney also has a bridal gown collection from designer Kirstie Kelly. Each princess has several dresses in her collection, so here is one from each:


Cinderella:
Sleeping Beauty (Aurora):

Snow White:
Jasmine:

Ariel:

Belle:


So there is my celebration of the marvelous Disney Wedding. I just love fairytales and Disney excellence. Have a magical day!


10.06.2009

Planning: Where to Stay

The next big decision after deciding when to go, how to get there, and how long to stay, is deciding where to stay while you're there.

You have two basic options: On Disney Property of Off Disney Property.

I have personally done both, and both are good for different things.

On Disney Property:

-Use of Disney Amenities (airport shuttle, sending souvenirs bought in the parks to your hotel, Extra Magic Hours, etc.)
-Use of Disney Transportation between the parks (although this isn't a perfect system and can sometimes be time consuming).
-Wonderful theming; immerses you in the Disney experience.
-Use of Disney Dining Plan while at hotel.

Off Disney Property:
-[Sometimes] better rates.
-Larger, suite-like rooms (in some hotels), where Disney rooms typically hold only 4-5 people.
-Freedom to use your own vehicle, if you so choose.

There are obviously more pros and cons that I can list, but you get the general idea.

When my family (before I was married) went to Disney World the last time, we stayed at Caribe Royale, and it was great. The suites were very roomy, and we got a great rate. Mousesavers is one of the best resources for finding good hotel rates:

Go to Mousesavers.com
Click Walt Disney World in the left column.
Click Preferred Hotels near Disney World.

From there you can see Mousesavers' top picks for hotels near Disney World, and most (like Caribe Royale) offer a "Mousesavers rate" that you reference when booking. Mousesavers rates also vary by Disney's Seasons (discussed in this post), so it always pays to go in lower seasons.

If you're wanting the total Disney experience, you can't beat Disney hotels. They always live up to the Disney standard of excellence. I have personally stayed at two extremes: a Disney Value Resort (All Star Music) and a Deluxe Resort (Grand Floridian). I have never personally stayed in a Disney Moderate resort but, as the name dictates, those fall somewhere in the middle of Value and Deluxe. For families with young kids or couples wanting to save money, Value resorts can be a good option, especially in value season. The Grand Floridian is opulent, breathtaking, and you can't beat the convenience (right on the monorail track!). If you have a ton of money to spend (which most people don't), this is the way to go.

The bottom line: You need to decide what the hotel experience is worth to you. For my family (my dad, mom, and 3 siblings), the parks were everything. A hotel was just a place to crash at night, and we were all old enough to not need Disney transportation to take us back and forth from our hotel to the parks several times a day. On the other hand, some say if you're going to do Disney, go all out. If you foresee needing to go back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon nap or rest, you might want the Disney experience even when you're back at your hotel.

Once you've decided what you want out of your hotel experience, go from there. Research for the best rates, whether on Disney property or off. I've had wonderful experiences at both, although I must say there's nothing like a Disney resort to just complete the incredible experience :)

As always, email me or comment with any questions or to share your personal experience!