Month: June 2014

My Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah Day at the “On-The-Road” Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!

Disney Social Media Moms OTR

Today is the my one year anniversary of blogging!

It’s been a wonderfully fun year of creating Disney-Inspired treats, crafts, planning parties, sharing vacation tips and reviewing Disney products.  I found out very early on that the best thing about blogging is getting to know fellow Disney fans and bloggers!  Thank you to each and every one of you that have stopped by my blog and taken the time to read a post or two.  It’s because of you that last week I was invited to a special event that many bloggers dream of attending.  This pixie dust filled event was called the spectacular On The Road Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!  OK, I added the spectacular, but it truly was over-the-top wonderful!

During one week in June, the On-The-Road Disney Social Media Moms Celebration had moms and a few dads showing their Disney Sides in three cities across the U.S.– Chicago IL, Philadelphia PA, and Phoenix AZ.  I was lucky enough to attend the celebration in Philly.  It was a day full of Disney details, Disney knowledge, outstanding blogging tips, inspirational stories and just as importantly, Disney Blogging Friends.  Today I’m honored to share this day with you through photos and by passing along a bit of information that I took home with me that day.

It was Thursday, June 19th and my alarm went off at 3 am.  I jumped into the shower,  belly full of butterflies doing flips worthy of the US Olympic gymnastic team, and head repeating, “You will NOT be late. (If you know me, then you know that I’m habitually late.  I really do try to be on-time, but it just never seems to happen.)  Successfully, I made it on the road by 4:15 am ready to fight the rain and fog but couldn’t be more excited to travel to my destination!  I carpooled with THE “Disney Pinterest Queen” Linda Stevens Jones.  We had a lovely drive talking Disney and family.  You really should check out Linda’s boards.  She has 47 Disney themed boards with a total of over 9000 of the Greatest Disney pins.  Don’t believe me?  She has over 45,000 followers to back me up on that statement.  Here’s a link that will take you straight to Linda’s pins.

http://www.pinterest.com/greatwdwtips/

Before we knew it, Linda and I had arrived!  We eagerly entered the Crowne Plaza hotel and scouted out the registration table.

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At registration we were given an official Disney Social Media Moms lanyard and a cool DisneySMMoms bag with all sorts of goodies inside!

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The event room was decked out in true Disney fashion!

From the balloons…

Disney Social Media Moms On The Road To the presentation stage…

Disney Social Media Moms On The Road

To the table settings… (How stinking cute was our table setting!  Get it?  Character Limit 140 :) )

#DisneySMMoms 2014Everything and EVERYONE was rockin’ their Disney Side!

#DisneySMMoms 2014

Yep, my Disney Dork, I mean Disney Side, really came out at this event.

I think everyone was having so much fun getting to know each other that they had to resort to food to get all the moms back to their tables!

Doesn’t a Mickey Mouse Rice Crisp Treat make breakfast even better?

It was just too cute to eat.  I had to take it home for the kids!

Disney Social Media Moms OTR

 

The core part of the event started and things got even better!  I mean, take a look at the first speaker, Gary Buchanon.  Would you expect anything short of entertaining?  Gary’s the Social Media Managing Editor of the Disney Parks Blog and he knows how to show his Disney Side with the best Disney Bounding people.  Not only did he get us up-to-date on the latest craze, Disney Bounding, (if you don’t know what Disney Bounding is then check this out: http://blogs.disney.com/disney-style/fashion/2014/04/09/leslie-kays-top-10-tips-for-disneybounding/ )  Gary and Jennifer Fickley-Baker, also a Social Media Manager for the Disney Parks Blog, shared the newest Disney Park happenings complete with their creative marketing campaigns.  I have to say watching the videos made us all dream we’d walk outside and end up on Main Street USA.

One of my favorite marketing campaigns that they shared was for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  It was great to watch their  “Behind the Scenes” blog series about the making of the now open crowning jewel of Disney’s Fantasyland Expansion Project.  The Seven Dwarf Mine Train is categorized as a Family Coaster and I can’t wait to ride it with my family! If you’re a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fan, get in on the personality fun at http://bethe8thminer.com/

Disney Social Media Moms On The Road

 

After being doused with the perfect amount of pixie dust, Noah Lomax of Hewlett-Packard took the stage next to teach us about the company’s latest and greatest offerings for the crazy busy people in our lives. Stay tuned – I’ll be filling you in on these great products in the near future.

Victoria Lim, multimedia expert with the Disney Parks team, spoke next and I have to say, I learned SO much from her.  I wish she could have spoken for hours.  She shared all kinds of doo-dads (technical term) to get me moving towards an important goal I want to conquer in this second year of blogging – VIDEO tutorials!  I never thought I could be capable of doing it, but with the knowledge I gained from Victoria I’m confident I can!  Thank you Victoria!

Maria Bailey of BSM Media ~ Marketing With Moms! ( http://www.bsmmedia.com/ ) presented an amazing panel of Mom Entrepreneurs that shared their success stories.  These women have guts to take chances.  They all moved full steam ahead until they achieved their dreams.  I think Walt would be proud to know Maria partnered with the Disney company to bring these women to speak with us.   One of the entrepreneurs, Jen Grover, creator of the Butler Bag ( http://www.jengroover.com/ ) said something I won’t soon forget.  It applies in all aspects of our lives and therefore, I’ll share it with you.

We should have more fear of regret than a fear of failure!

Last but not least Debi Silber, The Mojo Coach ( http://www.themojocoach.com/ ) took to the stage AND floor.  That woman has energy!  She motivated us all to take better care of ourselves and urged us to get rid of our limiting beliefs.

Do you have a limiting belief that is holding you back from fulfilling a dream?  “Let It Go!”  I glad that one year ago today I didn’t let my doubts stop me from starting this blog.

Thank you again for following me on my Disney-Inspired journey in life.

Disney Social Media Moms On The Road

A big thank you to On-The-Road Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!

#DisneySMMoms

 

Walt Disney World Spotlight ~ Can you believe she chose Belle over Elsa?

Walt Disney World Spotlight ~ Enchanted Tales with BelleIt’s shocking, I know.  How could a three-year old little girl chose to celebrate her birthday with Princess Belle over Queen Elsa from Frozen?

If you read my blog posts over the past week, then you know my daughter had a Princess Belle themed party to celebrate her third birthday.  She had a wonderful time and is still talking about it this week.  Yesterday on the blog, I had a lovely guest comment on the birthday party simply stating that she wishes her nieces would choose a party theme like Beauty and the Beast.  However, her nieces are obsessed with the film Frozen, so that’s going to win for the party theme this year.

I get it.  My daughter is crazy over the Ice Queen and her sister too.  She sleeps with both an Anna and an Elsa doll.  She wears a different Frozen-themed t-shirt to match her Frozen-themed underwear just about every day.  The Frozen soundtrack is on repeat in my SUV.  So what’s up with the birthday party choice?

Magic!

Walt Disney World is an amazing place, filled with real-live Princesses, dancing mice and giggling bears.  HOWEVER, by themselves, whether in a storybook, on a movie screen or even walking around in a park, they fall short of true MAGIC.  True magic is the stuff you feel when your toes twinkle, your heart soars, and you know something special is happening.  True magic happens with an experience.  My daughter experienced a few precious moments with Princess Belle at Walt Disney World within the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland.  In those moments she fell in love with Belle’s dress, her gloves, her twirl and of course her kindness and beauty.  This was all before she ever saw the film Beauty and the Beast.  And to think, we almost “skipped” this moment.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

I should clarify.  We almost “skipped” this attraction experience.  My son, Gavin, is seven years old.  For seven years, my husband and I have looked for Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse and the gang, and a few other classic characters.  Not once did we give a thought to stop and visit a Princess.  Then along came the Fantasyland Expansion project, complete with Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle opened its doors to the public in December 2012 and I admit that during our first trip to the Enchanted Forest we skipped right over this attraction.  Maybe it was out of excitement for the Voyage of The Little Mermaid attraction or eagerness to eat at the Be Our Guest Restaurant, or quite possibly the thought, “I’m not waiting in THAT line to see Belle “, regardless we walked right on by Maurice’s cute little home.   Luckily my parents, whom had taken the time to experience the attraction, scolded us and ushered the entire family of 13 to visit Maurice’s cottage during our following trip in the fall of 2013 and then again in January 2014.  Our first visit was spectacular and Belle became a quick favorite.  However our last visit was unsurpassable.  What an experience it was!

Today, I’d like to share with you a brief overview of this attraction in hopes that you take the time to plan into your vacation schedule this opportunity to create an amazing magical memory.

When entering the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, you’ll find nestled among welcoming trees and surrounded with creations by a true inventor, Maurice’s cottage.  Take time as you walk along the path leading into the cottage to notice the many special touches that remind you that you’re heading to one unique man’s home.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

When you enter the cottage, you’ll find yourself in the main room, which is a waiting area for the main event.  Now’s the time you’ll want to check out Belle and Maurice’s home.  My favorite find in the room is a portrait of Belle as a young child with her mother!  Soon a cast member will usher you into Maurice’s workshop complete with gadgets and gizmos of plenty! (a nod to Ariel that I couldn’t resist)  A few moments later you’ll be magically transported to Beast’s castle, where children and adults take part in performing a story for non other than Belle.

Storytime with BelleMadame Wardrobe will BLOW YOUR MIND!  She’ll fool any adult into believing that she’s a living, breathing wardrobe.  She interacts with the guests in the room and helps the new performers prepare for their big moment.  Once the actors are spot on in their roles, all the guests walk into the Beast’s library to get in place for Belle’s big surprise.  Now if you agree that Madame Wardrobe is pretty amazing, you’ll be in shock when Lumiere shows up.  You have to meet him!  You’ll spend a least a portion of your time trying to figure out how he works.  For a few adults I have to say he stole the show!

However, for the children ready to strut their stuff when Belle enters the room, a bit of stage fright can occur in a mere second.  Nonetheless, the lights turn on and it’s showtime!  Here’s where magic is made.

A little Chip hops up to Belle…

Enchanted Tales with Belle

 

 That was it!  That was the moment where magic happened and Belle defrosted the Ice Queen and took the throne in my daughter’s heart.

It happened in just a few seconds, but what a few seconds there were!  Shortly after, Belle posed with each child for a photo and gave them a bookmark to remember their meeting.

Let me just say, she didn’t need a bookmark…

You never know where Magic will happen.  It seems to be that these moments happen when you least expect it.  If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, live in the moment, slow down, take your eyes off your map and phone. Look around you.  A moment of Magic can strike at any moment!  I hope you make time on your Walt Disney World vacation to visit Maurice’s cottage.  It’s an experienced you won’t forget!

Princess Belle Inspired Party: Decor, Activities and Party Favors

Princess Belle Inspired Birthday Party

Experiences Make Magical Memories

When I plan a party, I do my best to have all aspects of the party designed to compliment each other and tell the story of the party theme.  With every turn, I try to submerge the guests in the theme of the day. Today I’m concluding my recap of my daughter’s Princess Belle inspired party by sharing with you the decor, activities and party favors. I’ve included them all in the same post, as it’s often the case that the decor of the party is part of an activity or a guest favor.  For example, for this party, instead of handing out traditional favor bags for the children to take home, I planned two themed activities where the kids received the “favors” as part of an activity. At my daughter’s Princess Belle birthday party we had a total of 12 children attending, eight boys and four girls.  The ages of the four girls were four, three and (2) one year old girls, so although the party was for a birthday GIRL, boys ruled most of this day.  Needless to say, having a princess tea party wasn’t the best option for this party.  I looked to Belle’s dad, Maurice, for some help.

Maurice’s Workshop

Princess Belle Inspired Birthday Party ~ Activities ~ Maurice Workshop

At Maurice’s Workshop each child had the opportunity to build a wooden bird house.  At the end of the day, our little guests took home their caddy from this project, complete with safety glasses, magnifying glass, and measuring tape.  I purchased the items inexpensively at the dollar store and from the Oriental Trading company magazine.  Here’s a look at my son’s finished bird house.

Maurice Workshop Kids Activity

 Story time with Princess Belle

How could we have a Princess Belle inspired birthday party without Belle making an appearance to wish the birthday girl a happy birthday?  Originally I wasn’t planning this activity, BUT Victoria’s big brother, Gavin announced while planning the party that Belle would “probably show up”.  Well, with Victoria hearing those words, she believed it was going to happen.  So what was a mom to do?  I visited a local costume shop called Taney’s ( http://www.taneyscostumeshop.com/ ) hoping to find Belle two weeks before the party.  Score!  Even better, when I asked if the owner knew someone who could play Belle for the party, he recommend a local high school theater student named Ally.  This was Ally’s first time playing Belle for a birthday party.  I’m so happy she agreed!  The moment my daughter saw Belle her birthday experience turned into pure magic!

Princess Belle Inspired Birthday PartyBelle read the story of Beauty and the Beast to the children at the party.  When she was done, she presented Victoria with the book.  Each of the children attending received a personalized gift from Belle, which was a story book tailored to the child’s interests.  Even boys like Belle when she hands out gifts!

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Decor that doubles as guest favors

Guests were invited to pull up a chair and grab a book while dining in the “Beast’s Library.”  If you’ve seen the animated film, then you know that Belle loves to read.  Our local library has used book sales often.  I stopped into the library, told them about the party and they helped me find the most wonderful classic books in mint condition.  They were exactly what I was looking for to showcase Belle throughout the party, without putting Disney’s animated image of her on everything.  Lesson learned:  Never underestimate the power of a yard sale find when  your planning a party.

Princess Belle Inspired Birthday Party ~ Favors and DecorEach family attending the party was sent home with one of the small photograph frames you see in the above photo.  The frames invited adult guests to browse and take home a few of Beast’s books.   Underneath the framed statement was a photograph of the birthday girl in her yellow dress that she wore at the party.  Again, these weren’t expensive favors, since I found them for $1 a piece, but they were a simple reminder of Victoria’s special day.

When planning any party, I recommend checking your Dollar store and dollar bins at your favorite stores before purchasing any party supplies.  You’ll be amazed at the inspiration you can find.

 Belle Birthday Party

 As the adults gathered up their children at the end of the party, Victoria really enjoyed handing out little chocolate roses in miniature treat boxes.  The tags read,  “Thank you for being my Guest.  Love, Victoria”.

Here’s a tip you may not be aware of: Solid chocolate candy, when kept at a cool temperature, can last a really long time before going bad.  I found our chocolate rose candies on clearance after Valentine’s Day.  It was the only thing I purchased a head of time!  However, the candy was still fresh the day of her party.  Talk about a money saver!

Last but not least, if you’re planning a Princess Belle party, here’s a decor tutorial gift for you!

 Belle Birthday Party ~ Dessert table decor

“Be Our Guest” inspired dinner plate garland tutorial

Does your daughter have a Belle tea set?  Each set includes saucers.  To make this super simple and cute table garland, take one of the saucers to your scanner and scan it.  Edit the image by increasing the contrast just a touch so the highlights jump out at you and the colors become more vibrant.  Increase the size of the image until the plate almost touches the sides of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of white card stock paper.  Then print and cut out the plates!  I also traced the plates onto a thicker piece of card stock and add it to the pack of the plate.  This made it stronger and also allowed me the ability to glue the ribbon for the garland between the back and front of each plate.  Talk about a quick and inexpensive way to make the dessert table pop!

Victoria's Belle Birthday Party

I hope this review of the decor, activities and party favors gave you a few new ways to look at designing your parties!    One thing that I learned during the party…if it’s Victoria’s birthday party, make sure that the sugar cookie icing is yummy and a successful party is in bag!

 

 

Princess Belle Birthday Party: “The dining room proudly presents…”

Our Beauty and the Beast Inspired Lunch!

This photo was taken from http://blogs.disney.com/
Photo courtesy of http://blogs.disney.com/

 

Today I’m continuing the recap of my daughter’s Princess Belle inspired birthday party by sharing the party’s food menu.

The menu was inspired by the animated film, “Beauty and the Beast”.  The story line of the film took place in the fall and winter seasons so Lumiere, with his enchanted friends, offered Belle quite a hearty meal. Our party took place outside in the middle of the summer month of June, so I chose to serve a lighter menu but still tried to stay true to the film and the Be Our Guest Restaurant menu at Walt Disney World.

Here’s what our guest’s were treated to at the birthday party!

Appetizers

  • Mini Crescent Dogs (shown on Lumiere’s platter)
  • French Onion Dip Meatballs
  • Mini Spinach and Bacon Quiche
  • Brie Cheese with crackers

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 Entrée

  • Croissants
  • Bagels
  • French Rolls
  • Sandwich Rolls
  • Deli Meat Platter with Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham, various cheeses and condiments
  • Pommes Frites (French Fries)

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Beverages

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The drinks offered at the party where that of the average party- water, milk, white grape juice and a variety of sodas.  In addition, I made this pretty pink punch.

http://www.food.com/recipe/baby-shower-pink-cloud-punch-125733

I used  this recipe for the punch called, Pink Cloud Punch.  I did tweak it and used raspberry lemonade- SUPER yummy!

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 Dessert

Talk about saving the best for last!  If you know me, then you know that, similar to a three-year old, this is my favorite part of any meal. Who doesn’t love sugar?  The color theme for the party was pink (a nod to the red rose) and yellow (a reference to Belle’s dress).  I decided to keep with that theme when choosing and making items for the dessert table.  In addition I looked to the Be Our Guest restaurant menu for dessert ideas.

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  • Lemon cupcakes
  • Pink chocolate covered creme puffs
  • Rose sugar cookies
  • Princess Belle cherry and vanilla birthday cake (Didn’t Wegman’s bakery department do a wonderful job placing Belle in a pretty rose garden?)

Victoria's Belle Birthday Party 035

 “Try the Grey Stuff!  It’s delicious!  Don’t believe me?  Ask the dishes!”

It really is delicious!  Wondering what’s in the Grey Stuff?  All things good! There’s vanilla pudding, whipped cream, Oreos…sound good?  It’s super easy to make too!  Here’s where I found the recipe.

http://www.thedisneydiner.com/2013/02/try-grey-stuff-its-delicious-heres.html

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  • Cupcakes with pink and yellow iced rosettes on top.  How can we leave out the chocolate lovers?
  • Yellow candy covered chocolates

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Is your belly full now?  I hope you enjoyed the menu!  If you’re still hungry, check out the menu for the Be Our Guest Restaurant at Walt Disney World.  I’m certain you’ll be wishing they offered delivery!

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/be-our-guest-restaurant-lunch-menu/

Up next on the blog, this Sunday stop by to see the Princess Belle inspired party decor and activities!  Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

Princess Belle Birthday Celebration ~ $5 Chalkboard Wreath Tutorial

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“Be Our Guest” at my daughter’s Princess Belle themed birthday party!

My daughter’s Princess Belle themed birthday party was this past Saturday.  I’m thrilled to say she had a wonderful time AND it didn’t rain!  Talk about a success!  I can’t wait to share the details of her special day with you.  Over the next week, you can look forward to posts where I’ll share the Beauty and Beast themed food, desserts, decor, activities and party favors.  Of course I have to throw in a tutorial post or two, so today I’ll begin the party by sharing with you a quick tutorial on the welcome sign that our guests saw as they arrived.

Chalkboard signage has been hot for the last few years and I’ve been looking for just the right opportunity to make one.  Since Be Our Guest is an iconic phrase sang in the film, “Beauty and the Beast”, I felt that Be Our Guest worked as a perfect greeting message for our arriving guests.  I decided to marry the partnership of a welcome sign with the phrase by utilizing a chalk board inside of a wreath.  However, I wanted to complete it inexpensively and quickly.  I gathered the following dollar store and craft store items and went to work.

Be Our Guest signage supplies

 The key to this project is the black foam-core board that the items are laying on in the photo above.

I found the black foam-core board at our local Dollar Tree store!  Black foam core looks exactly like a chalk board and chalk presents well on it too. I chose to use foam-core because it was a simple solution to get the project done quickly.  It’s important to know that you can’t put any amount of water on foam-core and expect it to wipe completely clean without destroying the surface.  I used a dry tissue to wipe off some minor mistakes, but it didn’t return to the crisp clean state that I started out with.  Lesson to be learned:  Make sure you know what you’re going to write before you start!

Be Our Guest wreath supplies Here’s an overview of how I completed the wreath.

The frame, purchased from Michael’s craft store as a double set for around $2 (with a coupon) was painted yellow and allowed it to dry.  While drying I hot glued on the dollar store pink rose buds on to the Target store grapevine wreath (found in their dollar bins) and measured the opening in my frame.  I cut a piece of the foam core just a few centimeters larger than the opening and hot glued it to the back of the painted wooden frame.  That’s it!

 Next the lettering!

Be Our Guest wreath supplies

Writing on black foam core was incredibly easy and the chalk that I used made the writing very clean.  You can use an average piece of chalk, but I decided to purchase the Allary set that is pictured above. The set was a bit pricey at $8.99 (Amazon), so my $5 calculation for the wreath price does not include the chalk.  However,  I absolutely love the set and can’t wait to use the other colors!

Here’s the finished piece as it greeted guests on Saturday.

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I hope you’ll be MY Guest this week as I share more Beauty and the Beast themed details of my daughter’s special day.

Up next, the dining room proudly presents- you’re dinner…or in our case lunch!