A Day At Disney Hollywood Studios

Our Disney trip was last summer and I still haven’t covered it all yet! Slacking off here!

Above is the planned itinerary for our day at Disney Hollywood. Of course it is just a plan, so things change, but the plan sure helped us get the most out of it!

The day started off early for Arthur and I. We got up and caught the bus from the campground to Disney Hollywood to be there before the park opened. I wanted to be sure Arthur was able to attend Jedi training! Once the doors opened, we quickly made our way over to Indiana Jones stunt show area and got Arthur signed up. Then we had a little time to kill before everyone else arrived.

I’m in the process of raising geeks, so Arthur made our way to the Star Wars side of Disney Hollywood. We had a lot of fun meeting some characters and checking out the amazing displays they had set up.

It was really nice to get in early. We were in and out of character meet and greets in no time. 

We made our way back to the park entrance to meet the rest of our party. Then it was a little bit of wandering in and out if buildings to avoid the sprinkling rain. The rain was a little nerve racking because it could cancel out Arthur’s Jedi training, so we were constantly checking the weather reports. Thankfully we were good to go!

Jedi training is amazing! During signups, they give you a time to come back, when you arrive, they give the kids a Jedi cloak and have them march to the stage. Once there, the kids are given lightsabers and taken through a series of moves as a group. It is a bit of a show too, with the teachers interacting initially with Darth Vader, the Seventh Sister Inquisiter, and Kylo Ren briefly. Then the kids are given the opportunity to face either Darth Vader or the Inquisitor individually. Big tip for this one: make sure your kid goes to the bathroom prior to this show as they hydrate them before going on stage!

We used our fast pass for this park to see the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. This was amazing! It was stuntmen and women reenacting scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rolling boulders, flaming airplanes, whip work and people flying through the air! The kids and adults in our party were awed through the whole show. There is also some audience interaction when they pull some of the audience members on stage to be bystanders during some of the stunts. Definitely a show worth seeing!

Chiara had another fun princess interaction, just like at Epcot, when she got to walk away with Sophia the First. She was the last one in line before the princess’ break, so Sophia took her hand and walked away.

Our lunch was at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante. Delicious option for a meal, but truthfully this was probably a little too heavy for lunch. Especially if you will be walking around more in the summer heat of Florida. Large portions, friendly staff, delicious food! There is the added benefit of getting to reserve your seats for Fantasmic, the amazing Disney Hollywood show. We ended up missing the show because everyone was wiped, but mom and I had seen it on another visit, and the show is amazing!


Other highlights from the day included the kids, and my almost 30 year old brother, making their own lightsabers. Arthur made his to look like Kylo Ren’s, Chiara made herself a purple one to match my Mace Windu one. Josh, my brother, made himself a green one. 

We also rode Star Tours several times! This is an amazing ride that starts off as a tour through the galaxy, but you go astray, end up in a battle, facing Kylo Ren, and finally making it safely back to the start. Arthur, my sweet little Star Wars geek, loved this ride a lot!

We may not have followed our itinerary very closely, but we still had a blast. That is the most important part of vacation after all!

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movie growing up. As soon as I found out they were making a live action version, I was over the moon about it! Then March 17 finally came, and now it’s time!

Emma Watson as Belle is fabulous! Little Hermione has grown up and is perfect for the role. The music is perfect, as I remember from childhood, with just enough of a change to make it new. There were parts, when Belle was singing about wanting more on the hillside, where the animation/graphics is a little questionable, but as the rest of the movie has fabulous animation, I let it go.

More was added to the storyline to explain the curse, the town’s lack of knowledge, and to make the timing a little more believable. The enchantress was a little more vicious than she came across in the cartoon!

Most powerful scene for me was the ballroom scene. I was smiling like a lunatic through the whole scene. Don’t judge me, but happy tears for the sheer beauty of it may have happened….

I know there was a lot of anger/confusion/weirdness over Lefou being the first “openly” gay character. It’s not a spoiler, but other than one scene at the end where Lefou dances with another guy, he’s no more “openly” gay than he was in the cartoon. We watched the cartoon the following day to verify.

There were several songs I wasn’t familiar with, but I was informed that the musical had several songs that weren’t in the cartoon. The actors and actresses they had for this film did great with the songs. Emma Watson of course was great. Dan Stevens as Beast was also great. The biggest surprise for me was how amazing Luke Evans was as Gaston! His singing in the tavern was spot on. His character was a little more evil than cartoon Gaston was, but most live action Disney movies add a little more violence.

Disney magic continues, I can’t wait for this to be released to own and watch again. The theaters were crowded, I know many were sold out, but when you get the chance, be sure to see it. Whether you loved or liked the original, even if you never saw it, you’re sure to love it.

A Day at Epcot

It’s been months since we were in Florida, but I still remember how much fun we had! Then I looked and realized I never fully blogged about our trip. Bad Stevie! I did briefly talk about Epcot, and how we drank our way around the world. There is so much more that we did that day!This trip to Disney started with a lot of planning. Our first Disney trip, Epcot was a half day, boring stop. After hitting Pinterest, I came up with the following itinerary.

Mine was handwritten, then my mom did her thing to make it pretty.

I usually try not to start days like this in the gift shop, but we needed to so we could buy the kids passports.

The passports come with stickers, featuring the flag and different sites from that country. As you go around the world showcase, you stop at each KidCot station and someone will write a little note in the native language. 

If you don’t want to get the passport, you can pick up a Duffy fan for free at any station. Chiara wanted the fan, as well as her passport, mainly so she could color it!

The itinerary was set, but as usual, we didn’t get to everything, but here was our day by country:

MEXICO: Here we only stopped for a drink, churros

NORWAY: Norway included a visit with Anna and Elsa, easily the most beautiful Elsa I’ve ever seen. My brother was enchanted.

We also rode the ride Frozen Ever After, it’s a really fun log ride! KidCot station, drink and moving on!

CHINA: China was a fun country. KidCot, drink, but with the addition of a lunch stop. Who doesn’t love Chinese food? Then we made a stop at the gift shop for some fans. If you buy a fan, be sure to ask the workers to write your name in Chinese on the fan. Here is mine:


AFRICAN TRADING POST: There was no KidCot station here, but Chiara had a lot of fun playing the drums while the grownups enjoyed their drinks. It’s vacation and we’re outside, play on!

GERMANY: I was really looking forward to Germany because I read about a shop called Karamel-Küche. I think it is really expensive, even for Disney, since this delicious strawberry cost $5 alone! Tony was really excited to find liqueur chocolates at another stand too. KidCot, drink, and moving on!

ITALY: Italy is a personal favorite, after all, I married an Italian! 

The kids enjoyed gelato while the adults had their drinks. Quick stop at the KidCot station before moving on.

THE AMERICAN ADVENTURE: This was a time of catch our breath and let the adults recover from the drinking. Arthur enjoyed copying Uncle Josh’s meditative rest. Then it was KidCot, an American beer and onward!

JAPAN: Chiara really enjoyed Japan! When traveling through, we stopped at Mitsukoshi. Here, you get to pick out an oyster and keep the pearl found inside. Chiara got a very pretty silver colored pearl and she chose a small glass bottle I think purple sand or hold it. They have many settings available for your pearl, including Cinderella’s carriage! KidCot, alcohol, then moving on.

MOROCCO: Sadly we missed the meet and greet with Aladdin and Jasmine, but we enjoyed the mosaic work here. KidCot was fun, I especially enjoyed learning the words they featured. Drinks and then onward.

***We backtracked to Norway at this point for dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for our princess dinner. This was another big treat for Chiara because we met Belle at the door and during dinner, four different princesses came to our table.



Dinner was delicious, meeting the princesses was really fun, then we were on our way again.***

FRANCE: Walling to France after dinner (that’s fun to say), Chiara saw Aurora, then the Princess took her hand and led her right to the front of the meet and greet line. Chiara was in heaven! I always love seeing he mini Eiffle Tower in France! The fountains and architecture here are very beautiful as well. My brother treated us to mini eclairs while here and they were delicious. KidCot, alcohol and continue on.

UNITED KINGDOM: Those of us that were drinking hit the Rose and Crown Pub for our beverages and the pub itself was beautiful. Exactly what I think a pub would look like in England! The kids enjoyed playing in the phone booth before we hit the KidCot station and then we were off of our last country.

CANADA: Canada wasn’t super thrilling, mainly because we lived near Canada for so long. We did however meet some really fun French guys, who worked at Epcot, and had a nice long talk with them before the light show began. KidCot, a beer before last call, then off to find our place for the Illuminations show.

The light show was fabulous! The giant globe on the water moves around, lasers shooting through the air, fireworks, music and projection images on spraying water. Definitely worth staying late for the show!

It was such an amazing day! With a little planning Epcot can be so much until, so take a little time, make your own itinerary and enjoy!

In This House We Do Disney

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Another Pinterest success! I love things like this, and I’m happy that it suits our family. I can’t provide credit because my pin tells me the Etsy listing is no longer valid. I did change a lot of the sayings to suit my own preference, so here’s what I ended up with:

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Just keep swimming – Finding Nemo
Let it go – Frozen
All it takes is faith and trust and pixie dust – Peter Pan
We’re all mad here – Alice in Wonderland
At last we see the light – Tangled
Never lose sight of what’s really important – Princess and the Frog
To infinity and beyond – Toy Story
Giving up is for Rookies – Hercules
Want adventure in the great wide somewhere – Beauty and the Beast
The right path isn’t the easiest one – Pocahontas
Hakuna Matata – Lion King
Bear necessities – Jungle Book
Makes the world go ’round – Sword in the Stone
Life’s no fun without a good scare – Nightmare Before Christmas
Our fate lies within us – Brave
There’s always a way to turn things around – Inside Out

Yes, I did use fun fonts. I went to fontspace.com which has a ton of amazing fonts. I think I downloaded about 15 different fonts!

Then it’s just print it out, I used some very fancy paper I had leftover from my Happily Ever After couples project, and frame it up. I raided some thrift stores this afternoon and found two like this. There were some flower paintings in the frame, but I cut those right out. Now I have this fun project to hang on the wall, I just need to find the right place…..

If you decide to make your own, feel free to use my wording, or make up your own. What from Disney inspires you?

Try the Grey Stuff……. It’s delicious!

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This is a pin that I’ve only recently pinned and it looked scrumptious (maybe I should say delicious?)! Then on Girls Night, Emily, our hostess made some. The picture above is actually the stuff she made. It is super rich and super yummy! Don’t overindulge, savor.
My recipe, which was very similar to the one she used, came from this site.
To make this amazing desert, all you need is:
•1 regular package of vanilla pudding (not family sized)
•1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk (I used 2%)
•12 Oreos (not double stuffed)
•1 8oz tub of cool whip
•2 or 3 tbs of chocolate pudding mix
•sprinkles or edible pearls (optional)

Start by mixing your milk and vanilla pudding mix, then refrigerate while you complete the next step:

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Use a food processor, or just smash them manually, but grind up your Oreos until you have a fine powder:

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**Side note on how important it is to read directions:12 Oreos, not a package. My Grey Stuff, while still yummy, was definitely brown.**

Combine your Oreo dust and vanilla pudding, mixing well. Mix in your Cool Whip, I pulled out my hand mixer at this point because my Cool Whip was still a little solid. Slowly add your chocolate pudding mix, stirring as you go, so hopefully yours will be grey instead of brown!

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**The picture does make it look grey, but trust me, brown!**

Refrigerate for at least an hour, then serve up on brownies, or just in a bowl like pudding, which is what my kids call it, decorating with sprinkles or pearls at your discretion:

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All in all, delicious! And who knows, maybe next time it’ll be grey……

Happy dining!

Inside Out

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Unsurprisingly, Pixar has done it again. They’ve created a world inside our own that is funny, entertaining and pulls at the heartstrings. My family and I went to see Inside Out today, opening day, as the kids and I were very excited to see it!

The story begins when Riley is born. A cute baby girl, and inside her head, we’re introduced to Joy, an emotion. Joy lives in Headquarters, inside Riley’s head. Joy sees what Riley sees and, when pressing a button on the console, allows Riley to feel joy. Joy is immediately joined by Sadness, who, when pressing the button in the console, causes Riley to feel, you guessed it, sad.

As Riley grows, other emotions move into Headquarters, Anger, Fear and Disgust. All of the emotions are important to a person, Fear helping to keep Riley safe, Anger helping Riley be assertive and Disgust helps to keep Riley healthy (you don’t want to eat food off the floor, eew!) Joy has come to realize that all the emotions are important, but she doesn’t understand the point of Sadness.

Shortly after the movie starts, Riley’s family is moving across the country to San Francisco. All of the emotions are upset, except for Joy, who is determined to stay positive.

Sadness begins to touch memories that were once happy, like Riley playing with her best friend, causing a happy memory to turn sad. Joy doesn’t understand why they stay sad and begins limiting Sadness’s access to different parts of Headquarters. As usual, when limits are placed, they have to be broken. Sadness tries to access the Core Memories, specific memories that power Riley’s Islands of Personality. Some of Riley’s Islands include Family Island, Friendship Island and Goofball Island. These Islands help shape Riley’s personality, making Riley Riley. When Joy tries to stop Sadness, Joy, Sadness and all of the Core Memories are sucked out of Headquarters and into a different part of Riley’s mind.

This leaves Joy in charge of getting them back to Headquarters before Fear, Anger and Disgust can cause too much damage. As they’re trying to make their way back to Headquarters, they’re forced to watch as the Islands of Personality begin crumbling into the Memory Dump, where forgotten things go.

They enlist the help of Riley’s former imaginary friend Bing Bong, and Joy tries to leave Sadness behind, still not understanding her purpose. Joy and Bing Bong end up in the Memory Dump and nothing comes back from the Memory Dump.

This movie had a great deal more feeling (ha) than I was expecting. I found tears forming when Joy begins to understand the importance of Sadness. None of us can only exist with one emotion ruling us. Without Sadness, would we really appreciate the Joy?

The kids enjoyed the movie and Tony even admitted that it was a good movie. He is a little more discerning than I am. Don’t think it’s all sad either, especially at the end, we’re allowed a look inside other people’s Headquarters. If that doesn’t make you laugh, you may actually be dead inside.

Happy viewing all!

Disney’s Frozen

Disney's Frozen

Wow, so it’s almost been three weeks since I’ve seen this movie, but I am still loving on the music, plot-line and characters from it, so what to do, what to do, oh yeah, blog about it! The movie is still in theatres so I feel this blog could still be helpful to some people. Even once it’s on DVD, this may give people a heads up about the movie.
I want to start by saying how amazing the movie was! The previews showed that it was going to be another cute Disney movie about siblings, an adventure and magic. There will be spoilers in this blog, because to tell you about the best part of the plot, I will have to tell how it ends. It’s just so great, I can’t keep it to myself!
I’ve been told by my husband, family and friends that I am too easy when it comes to movies, but Frozen hit me out of left field with how deep some of the story lines went. Let’s be honest, the first several Disney princesses were kind of wimpy! Snow White, accomplished nothing, ran away from her problems and had to be saved by a prince. Cinderella just went along with the status quo, not expecting better, until fate intervened. Sleeping Beauty, well her name kind of says it all, slept through her story and needed a prince to save her.
I was happy all around when Disney princesses got bolder and braver. Ariel wanted something different, so she defied her father to go after her heart’s desire. Esmerelda had a fiery spirit and defied all authority to do what was right. Jasmine ran away from home because she didn’t like the status quo anymore! I could go on and on about the evolution of the Disney female characters, but why don’t I tell you why Frozen has the best ones?
We start with Elsa and Anna, two sisters from the kingdom of Arendelle. They are best friends in the beginning, both enjoying Elsa’s power to create snow and ice. An accident leads to Anna getting hurt and her memories of Elsa’s powers are taken from her during the healing.
The girls grow up, not playing together anymore, because of their parents decision to keep them apart to keep Anna safe. The parents still clearly love both of their girls, but I can’t help but think that hiding Elsa’s powers from everyone and keeping them apart wasn’t the best choice.
When the girls are left on their own, Elsa is eventually crowned as the new queen. Anna, who is so desperately lonely falls for the first guy who gives her attention. This is pretty common in Disney movies, and you start by thinking, oh how sweet and typical!
Elsa’s power is shown to everyone during an altercation between the sisters and Elsa is so worried about what will happen that she runs away. This is the scene of my favorite song in the movie, and possibly one of my favorite Disney songs ever!

Let it go is all about letting go of the past so you can embrace things you didn’t think you could have. Just a really powerful song!
Anna decides to go after her sister to bring her home. She leaves her new fiancé in charge of Arendelle while she is away. She eventually meets Kristoff and his reindeer Sven and they help her combat the elements to find Elsa. Did I mention that Elsa created an unending winter as she ran away?
Once the sisters are reunited, Anna wants her sister to come back home, finally realizing why they were kept apart, but now she thinks they can be friends. Elsa is so worried about hurting her sister again, which of course makes her powers unstable and she hurts her even worse than when they were children.
Kristoff rushes her back home to her fiancé after their troll friends tell them only true love can stop her heart from freezing. After all, in Disney movies, true love breaks all the spells! The biggest shock in my life, came when her fiancé turned out to be a complete tool who was using her for her kingdom. He left her for dead, planning to have Elsa killed for her crimes against her sister, leaving him free to rule the kingdom! I was shocked that Disney had a plot line this serious!
Anna, still worried about her sister, manages to fight off the freezing heart long enough to try and save her sister. Elsa is destroyed, thinking she killed her sister, but when the evil fiancé tries to kill her, Anna uses the last moments of her life to save her sister. Of course, what is this? An act of true love!
Disney has finally made an entire movie about strong female characters! There is a love story, both fake and real, but they take the back seat in this movie compared to the relationship between these sisters. It shows young girls that true love doesn’t solve all problems, love is important, but please don’t wait for your ‘prince’ to come along!
There are characters that I didn’t delve into, really just wanted to touch on the highlights of the movie. We have Olaf the Snowman, the Rock Trolls. It’s just all good. The music is amazing! I downloaded the soundtrack when we got home from the movie. Chiara, my three year old, has fallen as in love with the music as I did! We sing these songs constantly! This movie can’t come out on Blu-Ray soon enough to suit me!