Happy Star Wars Day

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May the 4th1

Every year on May the 4th, fans of the Star Wars franchise celebrate their love of the series.

The Disney Store locations throughout the US are getting in on the fun today and offering some family friendly events.

The first 100 guests at each store on May the 4th will receive a limited edition Star Wars Pin. New Star Wars merchandise will be also be introduced, including talking action figures.

Children 3 and up can participate in some “Ways of the Force” activities that include:

* Lightsaber training
* How to use the Force for good like Obi-Wan
* Assist Luke Skywalker in defeating the Death Star on an interactive wall
* Participate in a medal ceremony

These are all fun activities in which Yoda would definitely approve.

 
If you cannot make it to a Disney Store, here are some ways that you can celebrate at home:

* Put on some music from the film and have a lightsaber battle. If you do not have the lightsaber toys, pool noodles work as excellent stand ins.

* Costume fashion show! Dress as your favorite characters and have an in-home parade!

* Host a movie marathon. Make some popcorn and dim the lights for an evening of pure Star Wars magic!

*Get out those Star Wars Lego kits and build your own movie set. Film some scenes with your phone and create your family’s own version of a Lego Star Wars movie!

* Support your local comic book stores. Most are holding their own May the 4th events today. Check to see if there is one near you and have a family day.

 

Wishing you the very happiest May the 4th.

 

 

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Dconstructed Is Pure Disney Remix Magic

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Photo: Walt Disney Records The Walt Disney Company

Photo: Walt Disney Records
The Walt Disney Company


Just a spoonful of dance music makes the adrenaline go up…in a most delightful way!

Disney has just released, “DCONSTRUCTED”, a remix album of some of the most beloved movie music of yesterday and today.
The songs have been re-worked and given an edge that we would not normally expect from the family-friendly company. These are definitely not the type of tunes that you hear on Radio Disney or the Disney Channel.

“DCONSTRUCTED”, is working out at the gym….blasting your car stereo…or going for a long run type of music. It is a big welcome surprise all rolled into 14 entertaining tracks.

Some of the top electronica and house mix-masters in the business including Avicii, Kaskade and Armin Van Buuren were added to the album and brought new life to the music.

While some of the songs on the album are good old fashioned remixes; a few are industrial trance tracks and violent dubstep remixes that could easily be played in a trendy New York nightclub.

“The Muppet Show” theme song and “Fall” from Tron Legacy are two of my favorites from this album because of their edgy take on the iconic music.
“The Main Street Electrical Parade” song from the parks also makes an appearance and does not disappoint.

Here is a list of the tracks:

1. “Circle of Life” (Mat Zo Remix) – Carmen Twillie & Lebo M.
2. “Derezzed” (So Amazing Mix) Remixed by Avicii featuring Negin – Daft Punk
3. “Let It Go” (Armin Van Buuren Remix) – Idina Menzel
4. “Roar” (Yogi Remix) – Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso
5. “Partysaurus Overflow” – BT & Au5
6. “UNKLE Reconstruction” (U.N.K.L.E.) – Michael Giacchino
7. “Fall” (Japanese Popstars Remix) – Daft Punk
8. “The Muppet Show Theme” (Shy Kidx Remix) – The Muppets
9. “Hey Pluto!” (Stonebridge Remix)– Stonebridge
10. “Once Upon a Dream” (Trion Remix) – Bill Shirley & Mary Costa
11. “Main Street Electrical Parade” (Extended Mix) – Shinichi Osawa
12. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Alfred Montejano Hyper Remix) – Randy Newman
13. “Baby Mine” (House Version) – Kaskade
14. “Pineapple Princess” (Kinsey Moore Remix) – Annette Funicello

If you are training for a runDisney marathon or are a fan of electronica dance music,
I highly recommend, “DCONSTRUCTED”.

It is one of those albums that you can listen to from the first track to the last and for $10.00…even Scrooge McDuck would approve this purchase!

You can purchase, “DCONSTRUCTED” through iTunes or Amazon.

Keep calm and dance on!

The Merchandise Freeze Out

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The popular Anna and Elsa dresses that are found at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The popular Anna and Elsa dresses that are found at the Walt Disney World Resort.


“Currently Unavailable Online” and “Sold Out” are the messages that parents are greeted with as they search online for merchandise related to Disney’s “Frozen”.

The site Jezebel posted a very honest and blunt article this week (warning: there is some foul language) about angry parents taking to The Disney Store’s Facebook page to vent their frustration at not being able to locate Anna and Elsa products.

Anna and Elsa dresses and dolls are being sold on Ebay with a markup of several hundred dollars. The supply is not meeting the demand right now, and Disney is working feverishly for a resolve.

I have to admit that I was not fully aware of this issue until our trip in Walt Disney World trip in March, when we scoured several stores for princess dresses for friends.

The first place we looked was Castle Couture; a store in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland that carries princess dresses. The place was swarming with people and cast members were at the ready to tell people that they were completely out of stock.
They had just received a shipment the day prior and were immediately sold out. We were given some advice on where else in the resort to look for dresses, and knew at this point that this was going to be an adventure.

As we were shopping on Main Street U.S.A. later that day, we saw a bunch of people in the back of the store around a rack. We noticed there were a few Anna dresses (no Elsa dresses at all) and I went over to get in on the fury. They did not have the size we needed, so we asked a cast member if there were any other dresses in stock, and she was able to locate one in the stock room.

The following day we were in the Norway Showcase at Epcot shopping at the Puffins Roost at just the right time. There in front of us was a cast member guarding a stack of Elsa dresses that were still in the packaging.
It seems that finding these dresses was just a “right place at the right time” scenario.

The priority for “Frozen” merchandise seems to be that the items are sent to shops at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The Disney Stores do get shipments of dresses; however they are less frequent and sometimes gone before they even hit the rack.

The Disney Store has been answering “Frozen” merchandise questions on their Facebook page with responses that give a late April and May timeframe for more related items. New merchandise went up on The Disney Store’s website midday on Tuesday and most of the coveted items were sold out in a matter of hours.

Here are some of my suggestions of where to look for “Frozen” items:

Ask your friends if they have a scheduled trip to one of the Disney resorts. They may be willing to pick up some merchandise for you from the parks. The stores that I know definitely do receive the stock per information from cast members are Castle Couture and Disney Clothiers at the Magic Kingdom, Puffins Roost at Epcot and World of Disney in Downtown Disney.

The Disney Store currently has several style of t-shirts available in limited sizes. You could also call your local Disney Store to inquire about the merchandise and ask when the items will be stocked and delivered. The stores are getting very limited quantities of t-shirts and dresses.

Walmart is also carrying merchandise including t-shirts and toys that are posted online sporadically. One of the t-shirts posted this morning was sold out while I wrote this article. Call the Walmart in your area to check on availability. Sometimes they carry items in the store that are completely sold out online.

Target and Toys R US are both selling variations of the Elsa and Anna dresses. While sold out online, I did see an Anna dress at Target the other day. The quality is pretty terrible and the material is really bad and scratchy, but if you are in need of a dress quickly, this may be an option. Call the stores prior to driving there since these dresses are highly in demand.

Acme (a division of Albertson’s) had racks of Disney brand “Frozen” shirts in various sizes in two grocery store locations that I visited last week.

Etsy sellers are posting “Frozen” inspired merchandise like shirts, dresses and jewelry. Some of the outfits are absolutely stunning and are made with high quality materials so they are more comfy than the mass-produced dresses.

Feeling in the crafting mood? Purchase a turquoise or light blue dress like this one from Kohls, white cardigan (or make your own cape out of tulle or sheer material) and some sparkly glittering ribbon. Find a plain cameo with a photo slot from a craft store and print out a photo of Elsa that you find online or use stickers to make your own Elsa jewelry. (Just don’t resell because there are copywrite laws)

Just like Elsa’s self-created winter storm….this too shall pass.
Hopefully we will be seeing more and more merchandise in the coming months.

Must See FREE Christmas Displays at Disney

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Tree outside Hollywood Studios.

Tree outside Hollywood Studios.

Holiday vacations at Disney really put guests into the spirit of the season. Many who vacation during this time of the year also purchase separate tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party; an evening celebration with a themed parade and Christmas-inspired activities. This experience can get rather costly on top of the additional expense of the trip itself, so I have created a list of holiday displays that will not cost a thing…and will result in some great Disney memories!

Many guests of The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness go all out and decorate their sites with Christmas decorations.  These displays are sometimes really elaborate with lights, lawn ornaments and giant blow up Disney characters.  Plan an evening stroll with the family and remember to bring your camera!

The Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian is a giant baked goods masterpiece! The house was made in an old Victorian style with love using 800 pounds of flour, 1050 pounds of honey and 600 pounds of sugar. While there, stop by the Grand Floridian Bake Shop to pick up your very own gingerbread house, cookies or special holiday ornaments. Yum!

During the holidays, Disney’s Festival of the Seasons takes over Downtown Disney. Store windows are adorned with holiday-themed displays and street performers enchant guests with carols and Christmas songs. Santa can be found in front of the World of Disney store from 12:00 PM- 10PM through Christmas Eve…and the best part….visits are free!

Are you having a meal at one of the restaurants found in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? This hotel is arguably the most beautifully decorated during the holiday season.  Sit down on one of the chairs by the lobby fireplace and enjoy a few moments of cozy rest before your meal while viewing the towering trees, garlands and wreaths.

The lobby of your Disney hotel will also have a Christmas themed display. We stayed at Disney’s Dolphin resort several years back and were in awe of the giant Christmas tree in their lobby.  It was a welcome treat during our check-in process….we had something to view while waiting in a very long line.

Do you have any advice on free Disney holiday displays? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Disney Firsts

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Do you remember the first time you saw the castle? Photo Credit: Julie K.

Do you remember the first time you saw the castle?
Photo Credit: Julie K.


We can all probably think back and remember the feeling of our first Disney vacation. The moment we entered the gates, stepped on to Main Street, U.S.A. and caught a glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle in person. That iconic scene that we viewed countless times on television was right there before us!

Disney Firsts are moments that we can remember for a lifetime and make great photo opportunities.

My suggestion to Disney travelers is to space out your Disney Firsts. Don’t try to do them in one vacation, but plan your firsts over several trips to get the most out of the wow factor. Too many “wows” in one trip can be magic overload; so plan accordingly.

Here are my suggestions for some Magic Kingdom Disney Firsts for your next trip:

1. First Ear Hat– This is a milestone for any fan of Disney. Getting your first ear hat is equal to officially joining the club. There are several locations to purchase personalized Mickey ears in the parks. My personal favorite is Sir Mickey’s in Fantasyland; however, I am only partial to this location because the store can be found in the shadow of Cinderella’s castle.

2. First Haircut– If you have a little one who is due for their first haircut, consider making an appointment at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, U.S.A. Cast members make this experience incredibly memorable by presenting your little one with a certificate and ear hat to mark the occasion! The first haircut package is currently $18. Call 407-WDW-DINE to make your appointment.

3. First Character Experience– Does your first time WDW traveler have a Disney favorite? Character meet and greets can be found in all the parks and photographers are on hand to catch those special moments. Plan accordingly because the wait times for the popular characters can be long during peak park days.

4. First Mickey’s Premium Bar– This Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream is one of the most sought-after food items in the parks. Purchase one and get that camera ready (and some wet naps) because this magical moment can get messy.

5. First Rides On Dumbo and Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel (formerly Cinderella’s Golden Carousel) – These rides appear on many Disney ads because they are some of the most family-friendly experiences in the parks. One member of your party can be appointed the official photographer to capture the smiles and giggles of the first timer!

Are there any other Magic Kingdom Firsts that you recommend?

Holiday Shopping at Walt Disney World

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Mickey Mouse figure purchased by my parents on their honeymoon. He is still greatly cherished after all these years.

Mickey Mouse figure purchased by my parents on their honeymoon. He is still greatly cherished after all these years.

There is nothing like spending the holiday season at the Disney Parks. The decorations, the music and the SHOPPING! Speaking of shopping…if you are traveling to the Walt Disney World resort prior the holidays, it’s the perfect opportunity to get all of your shopping done for everyone on your list.

Create a Shopping Plan

Just like Santa, you will want to make a list of all the people who you are shopping for and come up with a plan. Make sure to decide in advance a general idea of what you are purchasing, so you are not spending your entire vacation in the retail stores. Also keep in mind that if you are flying, you will want to purchase items that pack and travel well without taking up a lot of space in your bags.

Disney’s website has a search tool for finding the stores that sell the items on your list. Simply type in the item that you are looking for and all of the stores that carry the item will be listed.

Here are some ideas of simple and easy gifts for everyone on your list:

Ornaments

Every one could use one more ornament on the tree, right? This is an item that receivers can use year after year. They are both inexpensive and travel very well, so they are the perfect gift for anyone on your list!

Disney has entire walls dedicated to Christmas decorations in several stores as well as specialty Christmas shops in two locations; Disney’s Days of Christmas in Downtown Disney and Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom.

T-Shirts

T-shirts can be found in many stores in the parks. When deciding to buy shirts or any type of clothing, be sure to check on sizes and ask recipients about their favorite Disney characters before your trip. This will simplify your shopping and cut down on those calls back home.

Jewelry

Disney trading pins make excellent gifts for the collectors in your life, and they are really portable. Retail locations throughout the resort also offer necklaces, rings and bracelets adorned with your Disney favorites. Add a little Disney “bling” to someone’s life!

Toys

There are thousands of toy options to choose from at Disney; from light up swords to Legos, you are sure to find the perfect gift. Stuffed animals are wonderful presents and knowing that they came from the resort, makes them even more special.

Mugs

One of the easiest and most cost-effective gifts is a Disney-themed coffee mug. They come in all shapes and sizes and are adorned with almost every Disney character. They are portable and make the packing process a breeze.

Global Treasures

For the world-traveler in your life; think about visiting the shops within the World Showcase at Epcot. Items from each highlighted country can be found in their resident shops. You will find jewelry, art, housewares and even apparel items that are specific to each country. Plan on at least an afternoon exploring each country and their corresponding retail shops.

What About All Those Bags?

While staying on the Disney property, there is an option to have your purchases sent back to your hotel room, so you aren’t walking around the parks lugging bags. If you are staying at an off-site resort, purchases can be sent to a location at the front entrance of the park. You can pick up your merchandise when you leave at the end of the day.

“The Deals”

If you want to go offsite during your stay, the local Orlando outlets can be a nice place to visit for some deals. The Character Warehouse is Disney’s outlet shop and offers some discounts on clothing, accessories and toys. The stores can be found in one of two Orlando Premium Outlets; International Drive near Universal Studios and Downtown Disney. Something to consider: If you have a car, this may be a way to save some money on merchandise, but when taking a taxi or paying for a shuttle, the cost of the trip may outweigh your savings.

The Disney Store

Souvenir shopping can be effortless if you wish to purchase items before you leave for your Disney vacation. Select Disney Parks Products can be found on the Disney Store.com website. Sales on the site occur often and free shipping options are available for purchases of $75 or more. Have the items shipped to your home and save them for your return. This could save a lot of time in searching for those perfect gifts in the parks.

To “Wrap” This Up

Planning ahead for your Disney souvenir shopping could potentially save a lot of time and money…and allow more time for magical memories.

Do you plan to do your holiday shopping at Disney? Have any tips or tricks?

Caw! Caw! Roar!

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Adventure is out there

Have you ever dreamed of going on an adventure like Carl and Russell from the movie, “Up”?  Searching the land for new discoveries and exploring the world around you? Consider making your wishes come true on your next Walt Disney World vacation. Here are some suggestions for the most exciting “Up” themed day at the resort.

“Caw! Caw! Roar!”

Begin your journey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and become a Wilderness Explorer for the day. Pick up your free official Wilderness Explorers Handbook and earn badges by completing activities throughout the park. Disney cast members serve as your Troop Leaders and Badge Guides and help you along the way with some direction and answers. By finishing your tasks, you will learn about wildlife, culture and even recycling!

“Adventure is out there!”

Grab your grape soda pins and head on over to Downtown Disney to soar on the Characters in Flight balloon. This giant helium balloon takes guests on a tethered 10 minute flight up to 400 feet in the air. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Walt Disney World Resort and surrounding landscape.

Fly during the day to see up to 10 miles away, or at night to see the twinkling lights of the city. You can even plan your flight during the fireworks in the parks to further enhance your experience. Check your park map or My Disney Experience app for nightly fireworks schedules.

The Characters in Flight balloon does not fly during storms or if the wind speed is greater than 22 miles per hour. Guests under the age of 9 must be accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older. The cost associated with this experience is currently $12.00 per child and $18.00 per adult. The hours of operation are 8:30 AM- 12:00 Midnight.

“Chocolate, I smell chocolate!”

After your flight, grab a meal at the Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney and dine amongst a setting that will remind you of Carl and Russell’s destination; Paradise Falls. Enjoy the lush trees and tropical birds as you enjoy American-style cuisine. Russell’s bird friend, Kevin would approve of the Sparkling Volcano dessert. Made for three or more people, this giant chocolate brownie cake is served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce!

After dinner, stroll through Downtown Disney, check out the shops and start planning your next Disney adventure.

Do you plan theme days for your Disney trips?

Saving Those Pennies For Disney

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Our Disney Jar

Our Disney Jar

Since we have already paid the hotel bill in advance for our upcoming Disney Vacation, the focus has shifted to saving for meals and tickets for the parks. In our household, we have introduced the Disney jar. It is proving to be a great way to save money; in fact, it is so successful, that we may need a bigger boat…er, I mean jar.

Your Disney jar can be anything from a simple mason jar, to one of those large empty water cooler jugs. Make decorating your jar into a family event and use paint, stickers or even make a likeness of your favorite Disney character. Let your inner Bob Ross out for the occasion!

Here are some tips for filling that Disney jar:

1. Whenever a family member leaves change or paper bills in the laundry, the money goes directly into the jar.

2. Money saved through couponing or by using a store discount card is usually printed at the bottom of your receipt. As soon as you come home from your shopping trip, visit the jar and deposit an equivalent of the funds you saved.

3. Birthdays and holidays can mean monetary gifts from family. Try to save that money for your trip. (Another tip:  If family members ask for gift suggestions, Disney Gift Cards are an excellent option since they can be used throughout the parks and resorts.)

4. Anytime you see a penny and pick it up, put it in the Disney jar for good luck!

5. Yard sales are a terrific way to earn a little extra cash. Round up some items that you no longer use and have a family yard sale day. All the proceeds can go towards your trip.

6. Make saving into a game. Allow each family member their own jar and give a small prize to the person who saves the most money every week.

7. Make counting your Disney funds into a weekly family celebration. Create a tracking chart so you can see the progress of your efforts. Each week, choose a different family member to be the designated “Disney Jar Captain” who counts the money and writes down the total. Having a visual of the money saved will help to inspire additional contributions to the jar.

The most important part of the saving process…just have fun! Knowing that the end goal is to use that money for a magical vacation should be what drives the saving.

How do you save for your trip?  Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Magical Ornaments

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Have you seen these incredible Mickey Ear ornaments from The Disney Store? There is an entire series of ornaments that includes Space Mountain, Alice in Wonderland and even the Haunted Mansion. The pictured ornament is a series of steampunk Mickey Ears by artist Costa Alavezos, and this one even lights up!

In an effort to prevent me from draining our checking account by purchasing all of the ornaments, I have just handed over my debit card to my husband.