Tag Archives: WDW

Animal Kingdom Day

On a cloudy Tuesday we made our way to Animal Kingdom. We rode Na’vi River Journey for the first time. It was magnificent! It was like being immersed in a whole new world. The colors and the vegetation, the huge insects and animals, and the sound track of life in Pandora blended into most memorable moments.

Then it was on to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We have ridden this many times, but because there was cloud cover and it was feeding time, we saw more animals than we had ever seen before. I always love seeing the flamingoes, and there were lots of them out and about. Ida loved the rhinos, with their big horns, instead of noses.

And one of the highlights of the day was a Memory Maker moment. Jake became Rafiki and baby Elinor became Simba. It was magical!

Then we had a delicious dinner at Yak and Yeti. Oh, that mango pie! And we tasted a new favorite: the green bean appetizer. So good!

Another lovely day at Walt Disney World!

Meet me at the Kingdom!

Donna

Loving Myself

Nine (9, IX, nueve, yhdeksan, neuf, GAH! single digits) nine days to go in striving to be a healthier me when I meet up with Mickey in WDW.

Here is my renewed mantra:

Eat like you love yourself.

Move like you love yourself.

Speak like you love yourself.

Act like you love yourself.

Thanks to hplyrikz.com on Pintreest!

I have not lived my life this way.  But now I am convinced that I have to love myself, so I can better love those around me.  If I eat, move, speak and act like I love myself, then perhaps I’ll can put my self-destructive ways in the rear view mirror once and for all.

  1. Eat like you love yourself–Healthy, nutritious foods that fuel my body.  Bye-bye sugar and salty treats.  Hello veggies, lean proteins and other complex carbs.
  2. Move like you love yourself–Move my body through space everyday.  And get involved in strength training of some sort.  Bye-bye couch potato.  Hello walking and BodyGym (with special thanks to Marie Osmond).
  3. Speak like you love yourself–This one will takes time.  Bye-bye all negative self talk.  (I’ve been so good at this.)  Hello positive self talk.  No more I can’t.  I am an Ameri-CAN!
  4. Act like you love yourself–this one moves into other areas of my life: spiritual, mental, financial.  I will move toward loving myself in all these areas of my life.  This will take much contemplation and planning.

That’s enough to chew on today.  Meet you at the Kingdom!

Donna

WDW Magazine and Disney Files Magazine

Ten days from now my vacation to Walt Disney World begins! Whoopee!!

Today I received my October issue of WDW Magazine (see featured photo) and my fall issue of Disney Files Magazine, which is the magazine for Disney Vacation Club Members. Talk about timing, right? As I’m looking through the magazines, I am getting all kinds of jacked up for my holiday!

Reading Taste the World at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival in WDW Magazine has me drooling as I contemplate making my way around World Showcase Lagoon sampling what is on offer, both food and drink. A nibble of this, a sip of that and on to the next booth. Mike and I will be over the moon sharing the small plates and drinks of the festival. Yummy!

Perusing Halloween’s Not-So-Scary at Walt Disney World also from WDW Magazine, I can hardly wait to watch Happy Hallowishes again. There’s something about the colors of these Halloween themed fireworks that draw me in. And I am so excited to watch Mickey’s Boo to You! Halloween Parade again. It’s so fun to see all of the Disney characters in their Halloween costumes. And the Disney villains are out and about, too. But my favorite part of the parade is the gravediggers from the Haunted Mansion as they drag their shovels along the pavement. And this time, for the first time, I want to go through a few candy lines to add some goodies to my trick-or-treat bag. Then I’ll top off the evening by sharing a Not-So-Poison Apple cupcake.

This will be an overwhelmingly exciting week, and it cannot come soon enough!

Meet me at the Kingdom!

Donna

Play Disney Park Mobile App

With only fourteen days until my Walt Disney World vacation, I researched the new Play Disney Parks app. This app looks like so much fun! It only works when you are at a Disney Park. And apparently it works at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The article below explains how it all works. (Edited for content that applies to WDW)

Play Disney Parks App Debuts at Walt Disney World Resort on June 30

Thomas Smithby , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

 

We’re so excited to share this news with you! The all-new Play Disney Parks mobile app will make its official debut at Walt Disney World Resort on June 30. The app will be free to download, and guests can pre-order today on the App Store and Google Play to have the app automatically downloaded on their device.

As we previously shared, the #PlayDisneyParks app was designed for families and guests to enjoy together. With group play that enables everyone to join in on the fun, guests will turn wait time into play time with all-new interactive experiences and activities created for select attraction queues, including: “Playset Party” at Toy Story Mania! in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, “Off to Neverland” at Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom, “Rocket Race” at Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, and “Andy’s Boardgame Blast!” at the new Slinky Dog Dash coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And there’s even more to explore in the app!

Guests signed into their Disney account (available to guests 13 and over) can also earn, collect and share uniquely themed achievements, rewarded for playing games, answering trivia, completing challenges and experiencing select attractions across Walt Disney World Resort. And with the Disney trivia feature, there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy as guests can discover fun facts about their favorite theme parks.

This first-of-its-kind Disney app will also allow guests to celebrate the songs of Disney in a whole new way. Access Apple Music®* from within the app to tap into a curated audio experience featuring official playlists inspired by beloved theme park lands, attractions and characters – and some favorite memories too. Apple Music subscribers will even be able to add favorite Disney tracks direct to their Apple Music library allowing them to live and re-live the magic of Disney parks music at home.

And this is just the beginning. The Play Disney Parks app will evolve over time with new experiences and offerings, including the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, coming to Walt Disney World Resort in late fall 2019.

For the latest information and updates, follow the dedicated Play Disney Parks pages –Walt Disney World Resort – and be sure to order the app.

Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations, and features may vary by handset, service provider or otherwise. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first. Some features require separate theme park admission.

*Some features require Apple Music subscription and are only available on iOS devices. Separate terms and conditions apply.

Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Google Play is a trademark of Google LLC.

This will be a great way to pass the time while waiting in line for attractions. I’ll let you know how it all works out.

Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

PS-Thank you to Disney for today’s featured photo.

Life’s Pendulum Swings

There are only eighteen days now until I head south from Illinois to Florida and Walt Disney World.

Well, Friends, we are in the fire. Mike (my loving man) has a theory that life is a pendulum swinging back and forth, so that the highs in our lives are balanced by the lows in our lives. This Disney trip is a dream coming true, so if Mike’s theory is correct, then there is probably a nightmare to balance it out. There may be something to his theory.

Last night Mike’s boss passed away. He lost his battle with cancer even though he had fought valiantly. We are deeply moved and saddened at his passing. He and his family have been great friends and benefactors to our family. Mike has worked very closely with him, so he will feel this most deeply of all. I pray that God will comfort Mr. B’s family in this time of mourning.

Now just this morning we heard that Mike’s sister was rushed to the hospital with some health issues. She is in our prayers. We believe in a God of miracles. He who created this universe cares about each cell in our bodies. I pray for healing for Mike’s sister. I pray for wisdom and competence in those who care for her. I pray for peace for her and the family.

So, it’s been quite a 24 hours here in Lake Bluff. But we remain ever in God’s hands, believing in His mercy. We know that nothing can happen to us that He does not allow, and all things work to the good for those who love Him.

Peace to you and yours, Dear Readers. Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

 

WDW Radio Podcast

Twenty-one days from now I leave for Walt Disney World and Disney’s Old Key West Resort. It’s just three weeks from today, Baby! (Insert Happy Dance here.) 🙂

Usually when I walk or work out, I listen to my favorite music to help the time to pass and make it more enjoyable. It’s usually Bubble Gum Pop or Contemporary Christian music. Today I wanted something new for my walk, so I joined my first Podcast. Jake, my son, (see photo above) has been talking about Podcasts and how they help him when he works out for quite awhile now. Well, I finally took the plunge.

Since we’re so close to our vacation now, I wanted something Disney-entyishtic. I landed on WDW Radio, Episode #529-Olivia’s at Old Key West LIVE Dining Review. Boy! This is right up my alley! The Podcast is over an hour long. My walk went by so quickly, and I’m ready for more tomorrow. I’m getting some great ideas about new things to try this time at Olivia’s, my favorite, WDW restaurant.

I am a Disney Vacation Club Member, and my home resort is Old Key West. My HOME resort, oh yes, it really does feel like my home away from home. So I’ve eaten at Olivia’s Cafe many times. I usually order the same thing each time, but this time I’m branching out. I hope to share entrees with Mike, my honey, so we can try more dishes. This Podcast has me all jacked up. 🙂 I am so excited to make some alternative choices this time!

Anyway, if you are a Disneyphile, as am I, give WDW Radio a listen. You won’t be sorry.

Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

 

2018 Food and Wine Festival Picks Recapped

Just 22 days now until my Walt Disney World vacation. Woo hoo! When I last visited WDW in 2015, I spent only one day at EPCOT, and the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. I had a lunch reservation at San Angel Inn Restaurante. Well, once I’d had my lunch, I was too full to enjoy any of the festival booths. Lesson learned. This year I have no meal reservations for my EPCOT day. I am going to enjoy the food booths this year!

Thanks to DFB (Disney Food Blog) Guide to the 2018 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, I was able to make some choices in advance. Listed below are the booths and foods that I will choose from.

  • Wine & Dine Studio-Butternut Squash Ravioli
  • Active Eats-Loaded Mac and Cheese
  • Hawaii-Kahlua Pork Slider
  • Refreshment Port-Beef Brisket Poutine
  • Canada-Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll
  • France-Crème Brulee
  • Belgium-Belgian Waffle
  • Hops and Barley-New Brunswick Slider
  • Germany-Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll
  • Brazil-Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions
  • Canada-Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon
  • Italy-Cannoli
  • Ireland-Roasted Irish Sausage

That’s a lot of choices, but the portions are small, and Mike and I will split everything. It’ll be just enough to get a taste of each item. This is so exciting! We will eat around the world. 🙂

I also found in the DFB Guide to the 2018 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival a Vegetarian Crawl. We have three vegetarians in the family so I thought it was worth a look. Here’s what they suggest:

  • Chocolate Studio-Sweet Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Whipped Cream
  • Earth Eats-IMPOSSIBLE “Burger” Slider with Wasabi Cream and Spicy Asian Slaw on a Sesame Seed Bun
  • Active Eats-Active Eats Energy Bar Bites: a mixture of Chocolate, Nuts, Dried Fruit and Dates
  • Cheese Studio-Maple Boursin Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel and Pecan Crunch
  • India-Warm Indian Bread with Pickled Garlic, Mango Salsa and Coriander Pesto Dips
  • Greece- Vegan Loaded Greek “Nachos”: Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles and Vegan Tzatziki
  • Ireland-Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread
  • Belgium-Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream
  • Africa-Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with Vegan Yogurt and Quinoa
  • Brazil-Pao de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread

The featured photo for today is from three years ago. We’ve been through a lot since then, but through God’s grace and blessings, we are more ready than ever to enjoy this vacation/family reunion. Bring it on!

Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

PS. Make sure to check out Disney Food Blog (DFB). It is my absolute favorite Disney blog, and I look forward to every post. If you are at all a Disneyphile, then please look for it online. And special thanks to AJ from DFB for never disappointing!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Anticipation

There are only 24 days now until we leave for WDW.

Today’s featured photo was taken three years ago at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. Mike was Indiana Jones. I was some strange mix of Skeleton Mickey with Minnie ears. Jake was a writer. And Eliza was Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. We had so much fun that night! Even though we mostly walked around and chatted.

I absolutely loved the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular! And the Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade was so fun, especially when the Headless Horseman led it off. But my absolute favorite event of the evening was the Happy Hallowishes Fireworks Show. It is, hands down, the best fireworks show that I have ever seen.

We have tickets to attend again this year. I will once again be in my Mickey Skeleton shirt, but I have better Minnie ears for this year, and I have some Mickey trousers to wear this year. It will be too much, and I will love it! Mike has decided to be Indiana Jones again. I don’t know how the kids and grandkids will dress, but it doesn’t matter. Just being there with them will be so much fun!

Here’s a bit from Disney about the party:

Halloween Fun Awaits at an After-Dark 
Special Event in Magic Kingdom Park!

The Happiest Haunting on Earth 

Halloween… with a Disney Twist!
The witching hour’s almost here, so get your favorite costume ready for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a separately ticketed event in Magic Kingdom park!

Back again in 2018, it’s the happiest haunting on Earth! Don’t miss your chance to collect candies, sweets and frightfully delightful treats—all while the park hosts grim grinning ghosts, eerie entertainment and Disney Characters that go bump in the night.

Best of all: since the tone of this event is “not-so-scary,” that means children of every age can enjoy the fun!

Disney Villains perform the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween PartyDisney,

It’s Fun to Be Bad

The mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus return in 2018 to throw a Halloween party.

With only a few hours to run amuck at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Winifred, Mary and Sarah decide to use their magic to host a decidedly wicked fun fest.

Enlisting the help of the Disney villains, the 3 sisters mix sinister shadows, terrifying nightmares and use the nefarious powers of their frightening colleagues to conjure the ultimate Hocus Pocus Party Potion—and cast a spell on everyone in Magic Kingdom park!

Look for appearances from Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie and Maleficent. Combine them and other great Disney villains with amazing dancers, wild visual projections and otherworldly special effects to make Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular a not-to-be-missed Halloween treat!

Separate Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party admission is required. All entertainment is subject to change without notice.

A headless horseman rides a horse and holds a candlelit jack-o’-lantern near Cinderella Castle

A Truly Spooktacular Procession

Party with the grim grandmaster of this eerily awesome parade—he’s literally lost his head!

Returning in 2018 at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a hair-raising ride by the Headless Horseman himself will begin the festivities, followed by a collection of frightening floats featuring Disney Characters in Halloween costumes.

Prepare for a cauldron of grave-digging delights as the stars of the Haunted Mansion steal the spotlight in this family-friendly parade. Boo-lovers beware—you’re sure to have one scare-tastic time…

And remember: it’s really not so scary; just fiendish fun!

Five kids in different costumes walking into Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Happy HalloWishes

Celebrate the hallowed season with a spider web of pyrotechnic effects and haunting melodies.

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2018, the Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion invites you to “drop in” as Disney Villains light up the night with fireworks and a wicked version of melodies from Disney’s past that echo through the night—and creepy colors crawl over Cinderella Castle.

The “scare-abration” gets into full swing when some of the Disney Villains we most love to hate—including Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Jafar and Oogie Boogie—croon their scary tunes and do their best to steal the show.

Happy HalloWishes includes a Disney soundtrack of creepy classics including:

  • “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” from the Haunted Mansion attraction
  • “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” from The Little Mermaid
  • “Never Smile at a Crocodile,“ from Peter Pan
  • “The Skeleton Dance,” from Silly Symphony – The Skeleton Dance
  • “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?” from The Three Little Pigs
  • “Oogie Boogie’s Song,” from The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • “Night on Bald Mountain,” from Fantasia

Can you see why I’m so excited about the party? Plus the Magic Kingdom is decorated in a fall/Halloween theme. It is delightful! Last time my October birthday boy Jake, who loves Halloween, relished the whole experience. Here’s hoping we all enjoy it this year, too.

Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

My Noom Life

Twenty-seven days and counting until we head for Florida and Walt Disney World. As the days creep forward, I become more and more convinced that I have GOT to do something to prepare myself for all the walking at WDW. Even using an Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV), I will still need to walk to and from bus stops, and to and from the EVC rental locations. So…I am spurred to make sure I am walking for 15-30 minutes straight each day until we vacay.

Also to that end, I joined Noom this week. Here’s part of what they say about themselves from their Facebook page:

Mission
We help people around the world enjoy healthier lives through better nutrition and exercise.
General Information
Products
Noom Coach, Noom Health, Noom Walk, Noom CardioTrainer
It is a calorie based program broken into three categories: green foods, yellow foods and red foods. The categories are based on calorie density and/or highest concentrations of healthy nutrients. They are quick to explain that “red doesn’t mean bad and green doesn’t mean good. Red foods simply raise a red flag for foods that contain a lot of calories without filling you up.”
There is also an exercise portion of the program which I have been too sedentary to qualify for yet. But I am working (walking) toward qualifying.
Since my stroke a year ago last April I had lost 65+ pounds, but I have been stuck there, and had even gained 5+ pounds back. This is what prompted my choice to sign up for Noom. I really like that it is making me more aware of portion sizes, and of what I’m actually putting into my mouth. I’ve been on the program for a week now and have taken off five pounds. The absolute hardest part for me is weighing myself every day. Gosh! I hate that part! Hopefully, it is teaching me how our weight naturally fluctuates on a daily basis.
More on this as we go. Meet me at the Kingdom.
Donna
P.S. It is a glorious Fall day here in Lake Bluff today. Hooray!

My Ten Must Dos at WDW

Only 34 days to go until we travel to Walt Disney World. It is creeping closer and closer. Yay!

Here are the 10 things I am the most excited about for our trip to Walt Disney World in October:

#10 Riding it’s a small world.  It is my favorite ride!!

#9 Celebrating our unbirthdays with “the dip” (see below) and birthday cupcakes.  Woo hoo!  Happy unbirthday to us!

#8 Exploring EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival.  Looking forward to tempting tidbits of tasty treats.

#7 Experiencing Minnie’s Seasonal Dining at Hollywood and Vine, Halloween Edition for the first time ever.  I mean, Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy in their Halloween costumes! Plus the food looks yummy.

#6 Spending the better part of a day at Disney Springs exploring and shopping.

#5 Eating at Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. This is by far my favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World.

#4 Experiencing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween.

#3 Spending plenty of resort time and pool time at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.  It is, seriously, my Happy Place.  When I’m chilling at Old Key West I can actually feel all stress leaving my body.  It is the ultimate in relaxation for me.

#2 Meeting and greeting Mickey at Magic Kingdom. I am so ready to shake Mickey‘s big, white-gloved hand and get a picture with him and my family.

And the #1 thing that I am excited about…Looking at the faces of my husband and children and their spouses and children and spending some quality time together in this beautiful place.  This will be a family reunion extraordinaire!

Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

*The dip: In a pie plate spread 8 oz. of cream cheese.  Next sprinkle 6 to 8 cut-up green onions on top.  Then spread a can of No Bean chili on top.  (We usually make a second dip with Vegetarian chili with lots of beans.)  Finally sprinkle 8 oz. of grated cheddar cheese on top.  (We prefer sharp cheddar.  The shaper the better.)  Microwave for five minutes and serve with your favorite chips.  (We usually heat it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes instead, because it seem to hold it’s heat longer.)

Pilgrimage to better health to meet Mickey. A 14 month Quest.