Tag: Disney with kids

Breakfast with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland Resort

PCH Grill at Paradise Pier

Are we having breakfast with Mickey?

For my family, every Walt Disney World vacation includes a breakfast with Mickey Mouse at Chef Mickey’s.  The kids enjoy visiting, getting autographs and taking pictures with Mickey and his closest friends.  So when planning our trip to Disneyland Resort in California, Gavin and Victoria asked if they would have their traditional breakfast with Mickey.  After a bit of research I found that the only location at Disneyland Resort to offer breakfast with Mickey is at Disney’s PCH Grill located at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. If you’re planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort and you’d like to know more about this breakfast experience here’s more information!

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

Disneyland Resort has three hotels, and each has its own character dining opportunity. Disneyland Hotel is home to Goofy’s Kitchen, where Goofy hosts a fun-filled dining experience where a few of his friends (characters vary, but history shows usually Chip, Dale and Minnie ) join him for a goofy good time. At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa guests can dine with a host of furry Disney characters at Chip ‘n Dale’s Critter Breakfast located within Storytellers Café.  Last but certainly not least, guests can enjoy a tasty buffet with, non other than the king of the kingdom, Mickey Mouse and his closest friends (minus Goofy of course) at PCH Grill located within Paradise Pier Hotel.

Disney's Paradise Peir Hotel

To get to PCH Grill you’ll enter the hotel under the beautiful porte cochere and walk to the right.  You’ll find Mickey in Paradise gift shop and just beyond the shop is the restaurant.

Surf's Up Breakfast at Disneyland

We had breakfast reservations for the first spot of the morning. Our party consisted of ten, so I made sure to have our reservations booked in advance. (Reservations can be made 60 days in advance.) I had never entered into a character dining experience just as it opened.  It was pretty cool to see the calm before the crazy storm of children and characters.

Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey @DisneylandThe décor of the restaurant was beach themed. Thatched roofs and surf board accents were found throughout PCH Grill.

Surfs Up Breakfast

Let’s go fly a kite on the beach! I especially loved the Mickey Mouse hand holding onto all of the kites that hung from the ceiling – so cute!

Character Experience Review

Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends

The characters were dressed for the beach! Minnie and Mickey Mouse looked adorable in their Lifeguard attire. In addition to seeing Minnie and Mickey we spent a few minutes with Stich, Pluto, AND Daisy Duck. Each time we eat at Chef Mickey’s located in Walt Disney World, the kids are disappointed that Daisy Duck is not there. They were so excited to meet her this time!

Meeting the characters was a blast, but I do have to warn you that it took a long time to meet them all.  I quickly noticed a difference between the experiences at Chef Mickey’s and the Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey.  In California, character dining is much more laid back.  When we arrived our party of ten was all over the place. Gavin had to use the rest room and my nephew had fallen and had cut his lip so my sister-in-law was tending to him. They seated us anyways and told us to visit with Mickey Mouse whenever we were ready – which was really nice to not be rushed. In Florida, unless your entire party is ready with bells on, you’re not getting in!

Mickey Mouse is stationed in front of a themed backdrop, waiting for you to visit and his friends wander about the restaurant visiting guests at their table.  Because it’s so laid back we noticed each character danced, played with the children, and wandered about without a clear visiting route to the table.  Stitch and Pluto danced with the kids at the very beginning, but then Stitch disappeared and we didn’t see him back in our section of the restaurant for our entire lengthy stay. My brother and his family, my parents, and even my husband left the restaurant before Minnie Mouse came to our table. I stayed with Victoria and Gavin while Cast Members cleaned our table off and eventually she found us!


Surf's Up Breakfast with Mickey

The Cast Member assigned to our table was wonderful!  He attended to our large party and all of our craziness with a smile and professionalism.  He even gave each one of us this super cool pin!


OK- so I’m not a huge food critic but I have three words for you.  Banana-Carmel French Toast! It was yummy times ten. The other food paled in comparison.  All jokes aside, the food options get two thumbs up from me! The kids had a great big helping of fresh fruit. Gavin ate a ton of a variety of food~ so no complaints there!

Surfs Up Breakfast with Mickey and Friends

     Surf’s Up Dude!

The kids and I agree, if you’re not in a rush, and you’re looking for a laid back breakfast with character fun, Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey and friends is a great choice!


Back-to-School with an Olaf Inspired Pencil Holder

Frozen Blog Hop

The sun is shining.  The birds are tweeting and my kids have been running round singing Olaf’s “In Summer” during this beautiful season we’ve been enjoying in Pennsylvania.

They’re not alone.  While talking with a bunch of fellow Disney-Inspired bloggers, we all realized that Frozen is just as hot as the blazing sun outside.  We decided to group together to bring you our best Frozen Inspired fun for you to read, pin and share as you hop around our blogs.

For my post today, I’d like to share with you how to make an Olaf-Inspired Pencil Holder.

Olaf Pencil Holder

Due to all the extra snow days we had last year, the district is trying to prepare for this winter by starting the school year earlier.  Trying to get my son prepared, I have school on the brain.  While picking up supplies the other day, I bought McDonald’s happy meals for the kids’ lunches.  With the Frozen soundtrack blaring in the background, I handed Gavin and Victoria their milks and couldn’t help but think of little Olaf’s adorably shaped head.  Pairing school with Olaf, I came up with an Olaf Inspired Pencil Holder!  My mind works in strange ways, I know.


Olaf Pencil Holder Supplies

  • One cleaned McDonald’s milk container
  • Orange, white, black and brown felt
  • Two google eyes
  • Glue Gun with glue

Draw Olaf’s nose, eyebrows, mouth and tooth onto the felt and cut them out.

Olaf felt pieces

Hot glue the back of each piece and attach them to the milk bottle.

You’re done!  It’s that simple!

Can’t get enough of Olaf?  Hop on over to another fun Frozen post!


Use UP! those left over jelly beans with this simple craft idea.

Up Inspired Preschool ArtA week and a half after Easter and my family is still consuming candy.

Yesterday was a rainy cold day, so Victoria and I were stuck inside with “the candy”.  Of course I visited the candy shelf in the pantry.  After devouring a few candy Kisses, I decided to stop the cavity-causing madness by choosing to take some of that candy and use it for creating a bit of Disney Pixar-Inspired art.  Looking at our big bag of jelly beans I couldn’t help but think of the beautiful balloons in Disney Pixar’s movie “Up”.  “Up” is a movie that can be seen on The Disney Channel quite often, so it’s one that both of my kids know and enjoy.  When I asked my two and a half-year old daughter, Victoria, if she wanted to work on an “Up” project, she was ready to start that very moment.  The project took us about 15 minutes to complete which included looking for glue, finding the brown and blue crayons and taking a few pictures.  It was the perfect amount of time for Victoria to stay engaged in the task.  It was an added bonus that we had the chance to talk about the different jelly bean colors while she worked on her gluing.  Here’s a brief photo tutorial of our Pixar-Inspired Preschool Art.

Up Project

We started with a heavy weight white piece of card stock.  I wouldn’t recommend using regular copy paper.  It won’t be thick enough to support the glue needed to hold the jelly beans.

Disney's "Up" Jelly Bean Project

Mommy assisted with the outline of the house and helped her fill in some of the coloring.  Otherwise, she could call it her own.  She was so proud giving it to her big brother after school.

"Up" Inspired Preschool Project

We allowed the artwork to dry for three hours before the big unveil.  By that time our tacky glue had dried clear and the jelly beans were secured.

Upon seeing Victoria’s artwork, big brother Gavin announced it was the best artwork she had ever done.  Victoria had a huge smile.  And I smiled when he asked, “Can I eat the jelly beans now?” and I responded, “Sorry, they’re glued on.”  Up, up and away go the jelly beans!


How to Become a Wilderness Explorer at Walt Disney World

Wilderness Explorer program at Disney's Animal Kingdom

“A Wilderness Explorer is a friend to all, be it plants or fish or tiny mole.”

If you’ve ever watched the Disney/Pixar film, “Up”, then you know how important being a Wilderness Explorer is to Russell.  Earning all those badges can be hard work!  Did you know that your little explorer can become an Official Wilderness Explorer while visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Today we celebrate Earth Day.  The day where the world shows its support for environmental protection, is a perfect day to share with you information about Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Explorer program.  This educational and challenging activity involves your child participating on a self-guided adventure throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.  During his adventure, he can earn more than 30 different sticker badges to complete the 40 page Wilderness Explorers Handbook. The handbook and miniature challenges are included with the cost of your park ticket, so don’t worry about any extra fees.  It’s up to your child and, of course your family’s schedule, as to how many badges he earns in one trip to the park. Explorers are not required to fill the entire book in one day.

Wilderness Explorer HandbookThis past fall, my son Gavin became a Wilderness Explorer.  During our visit at Animal Kingdom, we stumbled upon the Wilderness Explorer sign-up kiosk located on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island.  We noticed a bunch of children yelling “Caw Caw Roar“, so headed over to check it out.  There Gavin met a Troop Leader and a Badge Guide.  They welcomed him into the program and helped him earn his first badge, “The Wilderness Explorer Call Badge”.  Then his Troop Leader handed him a pencil and a handbook, which included a map showing all the badge-earning challenges he had before him, and sent him on his way.  We quickly discovered that we could spend more than an entire day earning badges, but didn’t have quite enough time that day to complete them all.  So we decided to complete badge-earning challenges which were at the attractions that our family already predetermined to see that day.  The one badge-earning experience that really stood out from the rest was at Conservation Station.

Disney World September October 2013 259At Conservation Station Wilderness Explorers can earn a handful of important badges in one location!

Conservation Station was where Gavin learned about conserving natural resources, caring for our planet Earth and the animals that inhabit it.  During the years of working at Walt Disney World and then over a dozen trips to parks after moving back to Pennsylvania, I never took the time to go to this attraction before our Wilderness Explorer day.  What a mistake that was!  It’s a wonderful experience where learning meets fun.  Of course it is, this is what Disney does best!

Disney World September October 2013 269Although earning badges was fun for Gavin, Victoria spent her entire time at Conservation Station brushing the animals.  Don’t forget to wash your hands when you leave this station.  You’re child will earn his “Hand Washing Badge”.

Gavin truly enjoyed participating in the Wilderness Explorer program.  We plan to take his handbook with us the next time we visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and we’ll complete some new challenges until he’s earned all the badges to complete his handbook.

I encourage you to stop by the Wilderness Explorer sign-up kiosk during your next trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  When you do, tell them we said “Caw Caw Roar!”

Wilderness Explorer discoveries




Top Five Free Children’s Activities at Walt Disney World

Free adventures at Disney World

Vacationing at Walt Disney World isn’t cheap.  It’s nice to know that there are things you can enjoy in your down time from the parks that won’t add to your vacation expenses.  Today I’d like to share with you and your family our family’s top five things to do at The Walt Disney World Resort that are free for all guests to experience.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

1. Disney’s Boardwalk Entertainment

Varying from day-to-day, you will often find jugglers, magic shows and other street entertainment while walking along the Boardwalk.  Our favorite time to visit Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is in the evening.  When Epcot’s world-famous “Illuminations” show fills the night air with a beautiful display of fireworks you can see the fireworks from the Boardwalk.  If you’d like to explore Disney’s Boardwalk, and you’re staying on Disney property, you can get there by taking a bus to the Disney Hollywood Studios.  To the right of the park’s entrance you’ll find a boat launch, which can take you to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.  If you’d like to walk to the resort instead of taking the boat, there is an illuminated path to stroll along.   If you’d prefer to drive there, you’ll find Disney’s Boardwalk Resort located in the Epcot Resort Area.  At the security gate of the resort, let the officer know that you’d like to check out the Boardwalk’s entertainment and he will tell you where you can park.

Free Adventures at Walt Disney World


Riding the monorail does NOT require a theme park ticket.  We love taking a ride on the monorail simply to enjoy the sights.  The monorail track has two different routes.  In the Magic Kingdom Resort area the Resort Monorail will stop at The Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  If you get off of the monorail at the TTC you can hop the rails over to the Epcot monorail route.  The kids love to ride and look out the window.  I enjoy getting off at the different resorts to check out themed décor and of course, their shops!  Warning, the shops may result in spending…

Electrical Water PageantPhoto credit: auntie rain / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

3. Electrical Water Pageant

The Electrical Water Pageant has captivated guests with its beautiful pageantry of lighted floats synchronized to a fun musical score since 1971.  I remember seeing it as a child during the 1980s when my family stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  Now when I visit WDW with my family, we often watch the show at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Regardless of where or when I’ve watched the dolphins dance across the water or saw the Crocodile chomp away, it’s always magical.   Every evening the parade performs in six different locations on the two waterways located in the Magic Kingdom Resort area, Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon.  This would be a perfect show to catch if you’re visiting resorts off of the monorail loop one evening.  As a reminder, there’s no cost to watch the pageant!  To find out more information about the pageant, such as show times and locations, please visit the link below.  It will take you directly to the Electrical Water Pageant page on Walt Disney World’s website.



4. The Lego Store at Downtown Disney

My son LOVES this place.  Located outside of The Lego Store at Downtown Disney is a wonderful Lego construction area for kids to create their own race cars and then put them to the test against each other.  The photo above of my son and nephew building their cars, shows an example of one of the several tables with Lego building supplies that are stationed through the common area.

IMG_2434I apologize for the poor quality of the Lego Store images.  They were last-minute photos with my cell phone.  Regardless, I think you can see from these photos, this is serious business for the little builders.  They’d race and rebuild and then race again.  No lie, the boys would have played for more than an hour if we did not move them along to another store.

DSCF87575. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Settlement/ Marina Area

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is truly a gem that is often overlooked when planning at Disney vacation.  There are so many fun and unique activities that you can do at this resort that I’d highly recommend all Disney vacation planners to take a look at this resort’s line up of fun experiences.  However, today I’d like to share with you the “free” activities that we like to experience at The Fort.

A Disney vacation can be, at times, overwhelming to small children.  Midweek during our vacation we always plan a couple hour excursion during the day to Fort Wilderness.  When in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area the best way to get there is by boat, the boat ride alone is wonderfully relaxing.  Then when we dock at the marina we head to the playground.  It’s simple, with a few swings and a climbing area, but it’s just what a little Mouseketeer needs to have a bit of down time.  Each time we visit we go during the day in the middle of the week, so there’s hardly any resort guests around.


Within the Settlement area is ton of things to experience.  To name a few, you can visit the Tri-Circle-D Ranch Stables to see ponies and horses, shop at The Settlement Trading Post (obviously this could cost you some money) or check out the Fort’s restaurants (again you may end up opening your wallet.)   Our family believes that hidden inside The Settlement area is the Fort’s hidden gem, Trails End Restaurant.  We’ve often eaten there for lunch.  There’s no wait time and the food is fantastic.  On the beautiful wrap around porch you’ll find games of checkers and building blocks for you and your children to play with.  In the evenings I’m certain they’re used by restaurant guests, but during the afternoon, when guests are at the parks the porch is empty and waiting for fun to be had.  Last but not least, enjoy a stroll on the beautiful sands of the marina’s beach.  During our walks at the Fort we’ve even come across an armadillo or two!

Disney Easter Disney Birthday 134

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s review of my family’s top five picks for Fun Free activities at Walt Disney World.  Is there a free activity that you like to do while on vacation at Walt Disney World?  If so, I’d love for you to share!

Have a Fantastic Friday Everyone!