Thursday, December 29, 2011

Disney Cruise Line Receives Top Honors in 2011

Since it's launch in 1998 the Disney Cruise Line has won over 50 awards for excellence in operations to dining and entertainment, youth activities and spas.  Disney Cruise Line is truly in a league of it's own when it comes to entertainment and onboard facilities.

2011 Honors: (
compiled from different sources on the internet including forum posts and other blogs, if your blog or website is included here, please let me know and I will credit you, I made the list in notepad and didn't think to save the websites. I'm sorry, but will fix it if given the chance to.)

  • Cruise International magazine gave Disney Cruise Line the “Best for Kids” award.
  • Travel + Leisure magazine ranked Disney Cruise Line the No. 1 Large-Ship Cruise Line for Families and the No. 4 Large Ship Cruise Line overall.
  • Condé Nast Traveler magazine recognized Disney Cruise Line as the No. 3 Medium-Sized Cruise Line.
  • Cruise Critic recognized the Disney Dream with awards for “Best New Ship” and “Best Inside Cabins” as well as the entire Disney fleet for “Best Standard Cabins.”
  •  Disney Cruise Line was named“Best Entertainment,” “Most Family-Oriented Line” and “Best Children’s Programs.” by Porthole Cruise Magazine.
  • Travel Age West awarded Disney Cruise Line an Editor’s Pick award for “Cruise Line Providing the Highest Client Satisfaction (Big Ship)”
  • Cruise Critic's Cruisers' Choice award for 2011  for “Best for Entertainment” in the mid-sized ship category.
  • The World Waterpark Association presented an Innovation Award to Disney Cruise Line for the AquaDuck.

For more information about the Disney Cruise Line, please visit my website or contact me on Facebook.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Disney (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

    I dedicate this post to my mother. The woman who introduced me to all things Disney. Today marks 6 months since God called her home. I hope she's telling Walt lots of good things about me.

    Focused on the Magic

    As for the this week's theme... well, I couldn't pic a photo to represent the entire year, so I'm cheating and picking a photo to use for the month of January... this was taken right after midnight on New Year's Eve 2008 so it was technically January 1, 2009.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Straight No Chaser - Disney Medley

    This is not the original lineup, but these kids are GOOD. Straight No Chaser is an accapella group from Indiana University. Every incarnation of the group has floored me.

    This is my early Christmas gift to you...

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    DIY Minnie Mouse Bank

    My niece made me the coolest birthday gift. She took a bank that was originally a cat, and painted it to be Minnie Mouse.
    Not bad for an 11 year old, huh?!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Rare pigs debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 13, 2011 – The Animal Care team at Conservation Station has some new animals to brag about with the arrival of three kunekune pigs, a rare breed that has just made its debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
    Found in New Zealand but believed to have originated in China, kunekune pigs also are known as Maori pigs after the first people of New Zealand. “Kunekune” means “plump” in the Maori language. Kunekunes nearly became extinct in the 1980s before breeding efforts increased their numbers.
    To help with the pigs’ care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and to acclimate them to the up-close experience with Guests at Affection Section, animal keepers have been working with the kunekune pigs on a variety of behaviors. This training, which is similar to techniques used with pets, helps keeps the pigs fit, intellectually stimulated and comfortable around Guests.
    “Most people have heard about endangered species in reference to wild animals, but many domestic animals are at risk of extinction as well,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. “By showcasing rare domestic breeds, like babydoll sheep, Nigerian dwarf goats and kunekune pigs at Affection Section, we are helping our Guests learn more about them and how they can help.”
    Fun facts about kunekune pigs:
    • Kunekunes are a small breed that usually weighs from 90-120 pounds when fully grown. They have a round body, a short up-turned snout and a curly tail. Some have a wattle (a fleshy growth hanging from the neck).
    • The pigs can be black, white, ginger (red), brown or gold tipped, and their coats can be spotted, striped, marbled, solid, curly, smooth, rough, long or short.
    • They are grazers and foragers. They eat shrubs, weeds, bird eggs, snakes and mice, and usually don’t root.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    New Disney Princess

    Disney confirmed that they are introducing an animated movie and TV series about Sofia. Sophia becomes a Princess when her mother marries the king of their fairy tale kingdom.

    The "Sofia" movie will debut in fall 2012, with the TV series following in spring 2013.

    "Sofia" will debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, the daytime block of programming that will launch as its own cable channel early in 2012. Disney Junior is aimed at the 2-7-year-old age group.

    "Although Sofia will have plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes, our stories will show Sofia, and our viewers, that what makes a real princess is what's inside, not what's outside," said Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of programming and general manager for Disney Junior Worldwide. "That the inner character of kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty and grace make you special, not the dress you wear.
    "In Sofia, we have a 'peer to peer princess,' a relatable girl experiencing the same social issues as our young viewers … learning how to fit in, making new friends, conquering new skills and building sibling relationships."

    While Sophia is a princess, and is Disney, she will not be a part of the  "Disney Princess" franchise.

    I think she is adorable!

    Photo: Copyright Disney

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Disney DVD/Bluray Deal - BOGO 50% Off!

    Okay first... 

    TODAY ONLY - Free ShopRunner membership for a year ($79 value).

    Go to their FB page and like their page and then click on the FREE MEMBERSHIP option on the left. Don't put in your cc info and it will sign you up for the free membership.

    If this promotion is offer by the time you read this, don't worry! Readers of my blog can try the service FREE for 30 days by using THIS LINK to join.

    You get unlimited FREE 2 day shipping with no minimum order size. They have millions of products and exclusive deals from the best stores.

    Toys R Us is listed as one of their stores and they list the specials they have going on. One of which is
    Buy 1 Get 1 50% off ALL Disney DVDs & Blu-Rays.

    Combine that with the free 2 day shipping and it's an awesome deal! 

    *I am posting this on my own, my friends use this site and introduced me to it today, it is not a PR post or anything, I just thought you might like the deals.*

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Grand Floridian DVC - Rumors Confirmed!

    After months of speculation, rumors, and reports, Walt Disney World today officially announced the expansion of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa with new Disney Vacation Club villas. An estimated 147 villas will open in late 2013, making the Grand Floridian the 12th DVC property. (There are conflicting reports about the opening date. Some say 2013 while others are saying 2014. Perhaps it will be like at Animal Kingdom Lodge where they convert some rooms that open in 2013 and the new villas open in 2014.)

    Is anyone else as excited about this as I am?! I just hope it is not the start of a tiered DVC system. 

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    A Very Disney Christmas - Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

    This photo was taken during the very first trip Lord Hill and I ever took to Walt Disney World together.
    I had never heard of the Osborne Spectacle of Lights and we happened to walk down the "street" at just the perfect moment when the show started. It was one of the most amazing and magical moments I have ever experience at Disney. Hubby would probably kill me if he realized I posted a photo of him wearing a fanny pack, but in all fairness, I forced him into it and it doesn't really count since it says Disney and anything Disney is awesome.
    Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights January 2009

    The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is included with standard admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park and the year it is running through January 7th.
    For more information, visit THIS page of the Disney website.

    For more Christmas inspired Disney blog posts, check out the Christmas Countdown hop!

    Focused on the Magic

    What rocks more?

    My new haircut?
    My "new to me" Vintage EPCOT Center Sweatshirt/Jacket?

    The jacket was my mom's. I found it in her drawer today while going through her stuff with dad and haven't taken it off since. It still smells like her, plus, it's Disney, so it's my new favorite thing.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Work and Disney

    I am very lucky to work in an industry I love, Bridal. Not only is the bridal market something I am passionate about but every once in a while my boss will give me an awesome Disney related gift such as ...

    These fabulous bride and groom pens!

    I am in love with these pens. So much so, that my husband is not allowed to use them and whenever he picks one up I scold him. 

    More Disney Wedding items coming up in a future post, stay tuned!

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Black Friday Travel Deal!

    Are you looking for a Black Friday travel deal?
    Book a Disney vacation package with me between now and Sunday night and receive a free gift card! 

    These are just some examples of the great promotions you can currently take advantage of:
    Hungry for a great deal? Now through Dec. 17, 2011, buy a non-discounted Magic Your Way package for 4 nights and 5 days at select Disney Value Resorts and get a FREE Quick-Service Dining Plan. Or, buy a non-discounted Magic Your Way package for 4 nights and 5 days at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts and get a FREE Disney Dining Plan.
    Valid for arrivals most nights:
    • Jan. 8-12, 2012
    • Jan. 21 – Feb. 2, 2012
    • Feb. 11-16, 2012
    • March 3-8, 2012
    • March 24-29, 2012
    Save up to 35%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels, for stays most nights Jan. 2 – Feb. 20, 2012.


    When you check in at one of the three Hotels of the Disneyland® Resort from Jan. 4 to Feb. 29, 2012, each person in your party will receive two Disney's FASTPASS® tickets, per stay.
    Combined with valid theme park admission, it's a great way to make the most of a Disneyland® Resort vacation!
    Save $500 when purchase this 4-day, 4-night vacation package that includes a 4-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper souvenir ticket and a 4-night stay at one of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort. (Guests participating in this package may also be eligible to participate in the FASTPASS® promotion listed above.)
    Book this offer Nov. 1, 2011 – Feb. 26, 2012, for arrivals most nights Jan. 2 – Feb. 26, 2012. Travel on this offer must be completed by March 1, 2012.
    Contact me for more information about these packages and more. Be sure to tell your friends and family because there is also a referral incentive for eligible clients.
    You can also "Like" my travel page on Facebook for up to date information about special promotions and events at Disney destinations.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Disney Wordless Wednesday - Photo Spot

    I noticed that DisneyBlueFairy and Deb over at Focused on the Magic both posted about this awesome photo spot today. So, in honor of the hop I decided to post one of my photos from this great spot as well.
    I was shocked to hear Roy confess his love for Minnie that night. I can't help but wonder if he had a few too many Turtle Krawls over at the Old Key West Resort. If Mickey had heard the conversation these two were having... oh my! *wink*

    Roy and Minnie Statue - Magic Kingdom

    Focused on the Magic

    What is one of your favorite photo spots in Disney?

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Celebrating Special Events at Disney World

    Disney is a fabulous place to celebrate special occasions in your life. From birthdays, to anniversaries, and family reunions, Disney World has the perfect touches to make any occasion magical.

    I have been lucky enough to celebrate my cousin's, my husband's and my mother's birthdays, my 3rd wedding anniversary, and next year my own 30th birthday while staying at the Walt Disney World Resort.

    One of my favorite things is the cute buttons that that Disney provides to let the world know what you're celebrating. It's a nice easy way to let the cast members know that you're celebrating and they are very good about giving you a personal shout out when they see you. Even the bus drivers have a special way of greeting you and letting the other passengers know there are people celebrating on board.
    Another thing I love about Disney, is that if you tell them you are celebrating something special when you make a dining reservation, sometimes they go above and beyond to make that dining experience extra magical.  For our anniversary, Le Cellier made our desserts extra special and added just a touch of pixie dust to my day. It wasn't something huge, but sometimes it's the little things in life that make the biggest smiles. On another trip where we were celebrating an anniversary, we were greeted at our table by a heart of Mickey pixie dust and 2 glasses of champagne.When we were celebrating my husband's birthday I was very happy to find out that I could purchase a cake for $10 to have delivered at the table during his birthday dinner. This was such a nice touch because I was worried that he wouldn't have a birthday cake, and since it was his 25th birthday, I didn't want him to miss out that family tradition. Look how happy he was! The restaurant also gave him that awesome chef's hat because it was birthday. He wore it for the rest of the night and kept it when we got home. Again, it's all about the little things that can help make a vacation a magical experience. If you don't want a whole cake, don't worry. Disney has some other tricks up their sleeve as well. When we went to another restaurant during my husband's birthday trip the server surprised us after our meal with this fabulous cup cake. We hadn't made a note on our dining reservation that it was his birthday, but when we had gone to guest services at the beginning of our trip to change another reservation, Lord Hill was wearing his birthday button and the cast member made a note on the rest of our dining reservations to let the staff know we were celebrating. It was a very nice surprise and still one of my favorite Disney desserts. Best part? It was free, as was the champagne I mentioned earlier.

    An important thing that I need to mention, is that other than the cake, none of the surprises were expected, and they should NOT be expected in the future. They are nice magical touches that are special when they happen but please do not get upset if you do not experience the same magical moments on your trip.

    Have you ever experienced a little extra pixie dust while celebrating at Disney?


    Exciting News!

    I made a very big decision a few weeks ago. I decided to follow a star and take a chance on a dream. Maybe wishes can come true like our pal Jiminy Cricket says...

    For years, I have been the "Disney go to gal" for friends and family (and even their friends) who were planning a trip to Walt Disney World, or who had questions about the parks and resorts in general. My family loving refers to me as the "Disney freak in the family" and I'm a self proclaimed "Disney Junkie".

    I started this blog as a way to make productive use of my love and knowledge of all things Disney. It has been so much fun sharing my finds, deals, and photos with all of you. I love sharing our stories and experiences at the parks and hotels. Yet, it just didn't seem to fill the space I was looking for. I don't know how to explain it, but something just felt "off" or like it was missing.

    Since my mom passed away I have been thinking a LOT about things I could have done, should have done, how life is so short, and that I'm wasting my potential and about how I wish I could have done something by now that she could have been proud of job wise.

    Then, in a dream it hit me. I spoke to my husband, talked to some friends, and within days I had found my calling.

    I am so excited, and proud to announce that I am officially an approved Disney Vacation Planner.

    I'm an independent travel consultant for I finished the Disney training last week and ordered my marketing materials today.

    I figured the best place to share this kind of news would be with fellow Disney lovers because you'll understand just how much it means to be "official".

    If you have any questions about Disney World, Disneyland, the Disney Cruise Line, or Adventures by Disney, PLEASE do not hesitate to ask. If you'd like to book a vacation, I'd be happy to help, but if you just have questions, that is fine too. I will be sharing the special offers I receive here on my blog as well as on my website and Facebook page. I would really appreciate it if you liked the Facebook page and told your friends and family to do the same.

    Thank you for all of your support! I look forward to taking this next step on my journey and I'm glad you can all come along for the ride.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Disney Wordless Wednesday - Treats

    It only seems appropriate that the Wednesday after Halloween focuses on Treats!

    These are my newest obsession. Meet, the Zebra Domes from Animal Kingdom Lodge.

    Focused on the Magic

    What is your favorite Disney treat??

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Disney's FREE Halloween Gift To You

    The Disney blog posted an awesome project and included the free downloadable templates for it as well.
    You can make your very own Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion.

    Watch as their eyes seem to follow you as you move from left to right!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Disney Inspired Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns

    In honor of Halloween, I am dedicating this post to Disney pumpkins! Lord Hill and I LOVE to carve pumpkins and always have some awesome design but we have never done a Disney themed pumpkin. While searching for some inspiration I came across some amazing pumpkins and asked the carvers and painters if I could share their creations with my lovely readers.

    So, without further ado, I present to you Disney Inspired Halloween Pumpkins!

    I came across an amazing pumpkin carver on twitter. Geoffrey carves all sorts of fabulous designs into artificial pumpkins and has even started selling them in stores. For more information you can follow Geoffrey on twitter. These are a few of his Disney inspired creations:

    How amazing are the Castle and Haunted Mansion???

    The next two pumpkins are also from twitter. The Jack Skellington pumpkin is by @hellodisney and the Mickey Mouse is by @DisneyBrit .
     Aren't they adorable?!

    I'm hoping to do a Disney themed pumpkin this year and will definitely post the results after Halloween.

    For those of you who'd like to make your own Disney Halloween pumpkin you should check out these awesome kits I found at Target, they were on sale last time I checked.

    Have you carved Disney pumpkins? I'd love to see your designs!

    Free Dining at Disney World Extended

    If you purchase a non discounted Magic Your Way Package for 4 nights and 5 days at select Disney Value Resorts you can get the Quick Service Dining Plan for FREE!

    If you purchase a non discounted Magic Your Way package for 4 nights and 5 days at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa Resorts you can get the Disney Dining Plan for FREE!

    This offer is valid for arrivals most nights January 8 -12, February 2, February 11-16, March 3-8, and
    March 24-29, 2012.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Disney Blog Hop - Shared Experiences

    This week's theme over at the Disney Blog Hop is shared experiences.

    I didn't even have to think about what I wanted to write about. Since I had already written about my experience with my mother on the Characters in Flight balloon, I decided to write about my "first" visit to Disney World.
    Now, by all means this was not really my first visit to the World. I have been going to Disney since I was an "itty bitty" girl. This was however, my first visit to Disney World as 1. - a married woman and 2.- with my husband who had never been to Disney, heck, he'd never been further south than New Jersey!

    The full tale of this trip is too long to share in one post, but as a brief summary this is how it went...

    This trip was a surprise. Hubby had no idea we were going. On Christmas morning he opened the gift and asked when we were going. I said "On New Year's Eve! For your birthday!" YAY!!!

    And off we went.These are a few of my favorite photos from that trip and some of my favorite memories in general.
    Clockwise from left to right...
    Our first trip to the Magic Kingdom -Midnight on New Year's Eve behind Cinderella's castle.
    Our first trip to Down Town Disney.
    Our first ride on The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
    Our first trip to EPCOT.

    This trip is what started it all... I am so happy I was able to share my husband's first Disney World experience with him and that he wound up loving Disney just as much as I do.

    Do you remember your first trip to Disney World? I'd love to hear about it!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Disney Vacation Club - Doorway to Dreams at Oyster Festival

    For those of you who read my blog and are in the New York tri-state area, I just wanted to let you know that the Disney Vacation Club has a booth set up at the Oyster Bay, Oyster Festival this weekend.

    I will be posting photos this week of the festival, but before it's over I wanted to make sure you knew to stop by the booth. DVC members will receive an extra special gift and everyone is welcome to register to win free tickets to The Lion King on Broadway.

    Admission and parking for the Oyster Festival is free. Pets are permitted at the street fair portion but are not allowed on the fair grounds.

    There are arts and crafts vendors, amazing food, carnival rides, games, giveaways, raffles, and more.

    The Oyster Bay Oyster Festival is the largest waterfront festival on the East Coast.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Changes to Disney Dining Reservation Policy

    Disney is making a major change to their reservation cancellation policy for the Signature dining restaurants at Walt Disney World.

    Starting on October 26 2011, guests will be required to provide a credit card in order to make a reservation for all signature dining restaurants on Walt Disney World property. If the reservation is not  cancelled at least one day in advance, the credit card on the reservation will be charged $10 per person.

    Guests have frequently complained that they are unable to dine at their favorite restaurant due to no available reservations. Many guests have complained/speculated that this is caused by other guests not attending reservations they held.

    Recent changes to the online dining reservation system made it impossible to book reservations at more than one location at times that were too close together.

    It seems that Disney does in fact listen when guests complain and have concerns. Well, it's either that or they were sick of seeing empty tables at their best restaurant. ;-)

    The is a list of Signature Dining restaurants that require a credit card guarantee:
    • Artist Point
    • California Grill
    • Tusker House Restaurant
    • The Hollywood Brown Derby
    • Victoria & Albert’s
    • Yachtsman Steakhouse
    • Cape May Café
    • Chef Mickey’s
    • Cítricos
    • Hollywood & Vine
    • Jiko – The Cooking Place
    • Le Cellier Steakhouse
    • Narcoossee’s
    • ‘Ohana
    • The Crystal Palace
    • Flying Fish Café
    • The Garden Grill
    • 1900 Park Fare
    • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

    Locations that have previously required full payment to secure the reservation will continue to do so. They will still keep the full pre-paid amount if the reservation is not cancelled one day in advance.

    These restaurants are:
    • Cinderella’s Royal Table
    • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
    • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ
    • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

    You can cancel your dining reservations at any table service restaurant podium, at any guest relations or hotel front desk, or by calling 407-WDW-CNCL. You may also change your dining reservations by visiting

    Thank you to those of you who posted this across message boards and twitter in order to bring this to everyone's attention.

    Will this change the way you make your reservations? Do you think this will help open up availability or simply cause less people to book at these locations?

    Personally, I will be less inclined to book at these locations. I ALWAYS call to cancel a reservation if I know I will not be able to make it, however, there have been times where I need to cancel the same day or tweak our times based on how I am feeling and what the day has looked like. With my fibromyalgia I am never quite sure how I will be feeling come dinner time. Some days I need to push reservations back in order to take a break, and other days I need to eat earlier so that I can take a break while eating and not be out all night.

    I'm really hoping to get a lot of feedback from others on this both prior to and after the change.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Disney (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

    Focused on the Magic
    In celebration of Fall I thought I'd post photos from our various trips to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Clockwise from left to right is 2011, 2010, and 2009. Mad Hatter and March Hare is my favorite combination. Last year we were a ghostbuster and the stay pufft marshmallow man (girl) and the year before hubby was also a ghostbuster and I was Snow White.

    Have you ever gone to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? I'd love to see your costumes!

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Saving Money AT Disney - Saturday Savings

    Hello friends. A few Saturdays ago I posted about saving money in order to help get you TO Disney. This week I thought I'd share a fun easy tip that will help you save money while you are AT Disney.

    If you have children, or like me are just a big kid at heart, you know how alluring and tempting all of those fabulous light up toys and gadets look once the sun goes down in the parks.

    Even as an adult I can't help but want something that lights up while I'm watching the Main Street Electrical Parade. I can't see spending the money on those things though, bc I need to save my money for pins and Vinylmations. So, I found a cheap easy and surprisingly satisfying alternative.
    I buy glow sticks at home and bring them with me. Bracelets, sticks, necklaces, they even have magic wands and princess crowns!
    You can buy a pack of 15 bracelets at Target for just $1!

    The large photo with the wands was found online, if it is your photo and you would like credit or would like me to remove it, please email me.

    You can also order them online in bulk. One website I found sells 300 packs of 15 for just $32!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

    Ever since I was a little girl, it has been my dream to live in Disney World. Now, that's not very practical, although now with Golden Oaks in development in a few years it will be possible for the rich.
    I never thought this dream would get to come true, and while technically it hasn't, hearing "Welcome Home" every time I visit Walt Disney World is close enough for me.
    The Disney Vacation Club has opened up a whole new world of possibilities and experiecnes for me. Without it, I never would have stayed at my new favorite resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

    We visited Disney World this September and spent 8 days/7 nights in a Savannah View Studio in Jambo House. It was AMAZING. The cast members at this resort were awesome. I had so much fun talking with them that we changed our dinner plans one night in order to spend more time interacting with the cast members. The stories and knowledge that they shared made this trip so special and memorable.

    We loved our Savanah view, but it wasn't neccessary since there were so many viewing points throughout the resort.

    If you've read my blog before, you know that I fell in love with the zebra domes from Mara and will go back to the resort just to eat them on my next trip to Disney.

    Here are some photos from our trip. Click the image to enlarge.

    Have any of your Disney dreams come true? Come share it on the Disney Blog Hop.