Thursday, December 28, 2017

Holidays Around the World at Epcot's Festival of Holidays!

Last year was my first taste of Christmas at Disney when I went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  This year I went to Epcot with my brothers (now that my brother in law works for Disney, we're there a lot more often!) and got to experience Epcot International Festival of the Holidays!

First of all, the decorations at the entrance were perfect:

Like the scene from Big Fish but with Poinsettias!

I looked for these globe ornaments all over the park but couldn't find any!  Maybe next year, Epcot?

Gotta love Disney topiaries!

On a side-note, I absolutely love this 80's Epcot Mickey & Minnie window display!  These are the costumes Mickey & Minnie wore when we were kids!

Super cute Goofy and Donald holiday photo op!

We had to ride Figment's Journey into Imagination (in dire need of an update.. bring back Dreamfinder!) and I never noticed this adorable wall!!

It was a little overcast and chilly so my photos weren't as bright as I'd like..

Tree details

I am a sucker for any and all of these scavenger hunt maps throughout Epcot!! I've done the egg hunt (where you earn an Easter Egg of a Disney character), and the Figment one last winter during Festival of the Arts (you get a magnet of a famous painting featuring Figment).  I also did the Ratatouille Hide & Squeak (my first one) where, when you're done, you get a nice quality pin of Remy with an ingredient that matches the map stickers!

This one features Chip & Dale each with a different wreath around the world!  It was sometimes difficult to find (especially when I started and wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for--glad I got to share this info with some other people with maps and lost looks).  They were frequently found at Kidcot stations around the "world."

Here they all are (click to see in a separate window):

Even if you're not in the search, they're still fun to find!  And here's what you get:

 A whole set of pins, but not the usual Disney kind--the button kind (which is still super cute).  You get one big pin with Chip & Dale on it, and 5 little ones from the assorted wreaths!  You can pick from 3 sets, which overlap in options so you can usually get all the ones you want!

So cute!

There was also amazing food at special holiday booths in every country!

New Year Celebration Soba (which I've had before since my brother in law is from Japan!)--it was warm and delicious.  Definitely hit the spot!

The Buche de Noel (Yule Log) from France--the meringue mushroom was perfect!!  (I made my own buche de noel this year and made my own mushrooms--now that I know how time-consuming and fragile they are, I applaud Disney for making so many of these for each buche!!)

Seared Salmon from Canada (the sauce was very maple-y) was the last thing I had, and amazing.

Tostada de Tinga from Mexico actually started my day!

Here are some of the decorations around the park:

Inside the American Adventure

Gudetama tree toppers in Japan's gift shop

I think this was my favorite!!  I have this Spode design on a tea towel in my kitchen which I bought after moving here because it was on our Christmas glasses at home!

Inside the "cookie nook"

Super cute snowman topiary on our way out.

It was an amazing time and my new holiday favorite!!  I also realized I've been to every Epcot festival this year!  Perks of living in FL!  If you haven't been to this one yet, you can still get over in the next few days--it's over Dec 30!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sleep like a Beauty

Have you ever wanted to sleep like a princess?  (Not the Princess and the Pea--that would be me 😂)  I recently came across's new and exclusive line of Disney furniture!  I found beds, dressers, bookcases, recliners, canopies--everything fit for a queen!

Not only do they have gorgeous princess beds (like the twin daybed and the full panel bed)

They also have beds for amateur racers:

And pirates in training!

I especially love this precious bookcase, and the spot for EVEN MORE BOOKS on the side!

So if you're in the market for some magic, try's Disney bed sets and furniture to help your little one have sweet dreams!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Blizzard Beach Birthday

I celebrated my 33rd birthday at Blizzard Beach!  I was so excited to be able to go to a water park for my birthday, being from New York and used to bitingly cold weather around this time!  I'd been to Typhoon Lagoon twice but it's closed for refurbishment, so my friend Kim and I checked this one out!

The theme for Blizzard Beach is a ski lodge that melted away, so there are icicles, snowmen, and Christmas themes all around!  Christmas and Frozen music are the most popular songs played here, with the Christmas music being given a surf remix.  Central to the park is the ski lift that carries you up to the entrances of 2 body slides and 1 family tube ride.  I bought a disposable waterproof camera for the trip, so all the pictures you see here are from before and after all our water activities!  I'll have to scan in my photos when I have them developed!

This is a cute photo op right when you enter (you can click any picture to see it larger).

Now, let's talk about Ice Gator for a minute.  He is featured prominently throughout the park.  He is adorable.  He looks like blue Goofy minus the nose and ears.  I was very excited to see this character! But when I asked a cast member where we could meet him, he said there IS NO ICE GATOR CHARACTER!! 😱  So how do you explain THIS:


Not to mention the various family photos with him on a quick Google image search!!  Even though I'm now 33, characters are still one of my favorite things about Disney!  The cast member said the characters who DO come out only do so in the summer anyway (which makes tourist sense but not temperature sense).  But what about Ice Gator?  

He made his big break...

The ski lift was adorable but a little scary because it lifts up almost vertically just before letting you off and you start to wonder how exactly it is carrying the weight of itself and 3 people... 


The tubes are cute because they're "snow tubes" and the lazy river is as perfect as a lazy river can be (except for the occasional "ice runoff" waterfalls you glide underneath, somehow more slowly than your normal tube pace).  

I don't like freefalls, so I didn't go down Slush Gusher or Summit Plummet (like Kim did), but I did go down Teamboat Springs with a bunch of strangers twice!  It's a large tube fit for 6, minimum of 4 people, and you careen down twisting turns--it's not too scary (a 2 year old rode with us the first trip down)--perfect for me!

I did NOT enjoy Downhill Double Dipper.  It's a tube ride race against whoever you came with (it worked out for everyone ahead of us, so I don't know if they make you race whoever is on the opposite side, even if you didn't come with them) down a chute, you plane off, and then go down another chute.  Having loved the chutes and tube ride, Crush 'n' Gusher from Typhoon Lagoon, I thought it would be another not-so-scary ride.  (Of course I got nervous when I heard the not-amused screams of people who went down before me.)


First, Kim and I were all queued up in our tubes with our feet on the board that releases you down, when the cast member controlling the release instructed us to get out.  Let me stop right here and explain how impossible a task this seems.  There is a current of water from the loading pool all around you, guiding your tube to the chute.  There is nothing to grab onto.  So I had to reach out my fingertips to the tunnel walls next to me and try to push myself backwards.  I eventually had to throw my legs over the side to basically fall off the tube, and the tube capsized and hit my head, and I somehow hurt my elbow on the tube handle, as well as my pride!!  This long line behind us saw the whole thing.  

There was no explanation as to why we had to get out, but in almost 5 seconds we had to get back in!  So of course I was even more nervous, and then I felt that awful drop sensation, knowing I was about to do it one more time.  My whole body was shaking as I careened down into the pool.  I'm lucky there wasn't a "fun photo" taken at the end.  But if big drops are your thing, then I definitely recommend Downhill Double Dipper. 

Here's a cute fountain that's also kind of sad: a snow family watching their cute baby with mouse ears on.  The sad thing is they're constantly dripping, which means they're melting... which is not actually happening but the idea is so sad!  The effect is cool but... yeah.  Cute and sad.

Anyhow, we survived.  We then met my brothers at Disney Springs where I got myself a birthday button which I highly recommend--go to the visitor's center there or at any park or hotel to get a pin for whatever you're celebrating.  People will wish you happies or congratulations all day!