Friday, April 29, 2011


On Wednesday, April 27, 2011 many people's lives changed forever. Tornadoes and storms raged through the south starting in Texas and going up into North Carolina. There have been so many people affected by these storms. Our state of Alabama is in a state of emergency declared by President Obama.

People have lost their lives, their homes, everything. Hundreds have died, thousands have been injured and even more houses have been destroyed. The devastation is everywhere.

Thankfully, my home and my family are all safe. We lost power Wednesday morning and it's still out, but that is a minor inconvenience compared to what others have suffered.

My sister, her fiance and their 3 week old baby girl lost their home. Thank God that they were not at home at the time. They had debated and decided just a short time before the storm hit to leave and go to my mother's house in their basement. When they were able to get back to their house yesterday and see the damage - it's so scary to think what could have happened if they had been there.

A good friend of mine also lost her home. Her, her husband and their 3 children are all safe, but their house is no more. It is now a pile of rubble. Pieces of their life scattered everywhere. They lost everything.

I can't imagine the feeling of knowing everything you own or had is gone and you have to basically start your life over. I have prayed constantly for those that lost loved ones in this tragedy and for those who have to start over. I know God is strong and will answer those prayers. I have already seen it in my fellow citizens. People in other states, who don't know my sister, offering to send a package of supplies. A neighbor, who doesn't know my sister, offering to bring formula for my niece. Friends putting together a drive to get supplies to my friend that lost everything. People on tv helping neighbors and strangers alike. My husband and the crew he works with has been out from 6:30 in the morning until 8 at night working to get all the trees off of people's houses so they can begin to rebuild.

These things make me so proud to live in the community that I do. It's amazing and wonderful to see people getting together and doing what needs to be done to help others. It is such a beautiful thing. I ask that each one of you pray for those affected in the storm. Not just here in Alabama, but those in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Pray that these people can make some sense of what happened and can see through the rubble and the destruction and know that everything will be ok. Know that there are people that care about them and that God is always with them, no matter how bad it seems right now.

Please just pray.

My sister's house

What used to be the back porch.

What is left of my friend's house.


Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Parade

Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade!

Last year when we went to Hollywood Studios, we got to watch the afternoon parade: The Block Party Bash! I loved it! It was a lot of fun and the cast members in the parade did an awesome job - they were all over dancing and interacting with everyone. I still have my little foam ball that they tossed out to everyone! I was so excited to see it again this year.

Mr. Incredible
Dug from Up!

When it was almost time for the parade to start, we got a great seat and I kept talking up the parade to the people we were with who didn't get to experience it last year. When the parade started, I realized that it was not the same as last year. It was new - Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun. At first, I was a little disappointed, but then I realized they had new characters in the parade!

Sully from Monsters Inc.

The cast members were still very energetic and great with the crowd. However, they were not as active as last year. Also, it seems the characters did not interact with the crowd as much as they did last year. But one great thing was the addition of one of my favorite Pixar characters who does not get a lot of recognition: Remy!

Remy on his cheese countdown :)

I love the movie Ratatouille and I love Remy :) I was so excited to see the movie be a part of this parade, as well as Remy and his brother, Emile. There were several other new characters (such as the ones from Up! and Lotso from Toy Story 3) and some old pals as well.


Overall, we all really enjoyed this parade. It was a lot of fun and we are looking forward to seeing it again!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Five on Friday

I have decided to start a serious called "Five on Friday" that will have my top or bottom five things. This could be rides, food, restaurants, parades - anything! To start us off I am going to do my top five attraction/rides in Animal Kingdom. We always start our Disney vacation off at Animal Kingdom so I thought it best to start the series off here as well!

5. TriceraTop Spin - I have to put this on here because my son LOVES this ride. It's the same concept as Dumbo and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. There is just something about going around and around and up and down that my son really enjoys.

4. It's Tough to be a Bug - we love this show! It's funny and entertaining. We love that it is in 3D and has so many other fun parts to it, sounds, sights and smells! The best part is at the end though - don't get up and leave too early or you will miss it!

3. Conservation Station - this is something new that we did on our last trip to Disney.  I can't believe we didn't do it before - we had a great time. My favorite part was getting to talk to the veterinarian there. He was so nice and answered all our questions that we had. We already really enjoyed listening to one of the CM's talk about the different turtles and frogs that she takes care of, plus we got to see her in a live show with a beautiful Macaw! This is really a great place to learn more about animals and what all Disney does to help preserve the Earth!

Beautiful Macaw at the Conservation Station.

2. Tree of Life - this one comes in a very close second. I love looking at the tree and trying to find all the different animals that are carved in it. It's just amazing to see what they can create! Of course, one of my Disney bucket list items is to find all the animals carved on the tree!

1.Kilimanjaro Safari - this is probably at the top of everybody's list when it comes to the Animal Kingdom. This ride is just so fantastic to see all different types of animals! I think what really makes this ride is the fantastic Cast Members who make is really fun and get into it and make it really seem like you are in the wild of Africa on a safari!

Our Kilimanjaro Safari jeep!

What are your favorite rides/attractions at Animal Kingdom?

Do you have any suggestions for me for a Five on Friday post that you would like to see?


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magical Meals Review!

Magical Meals written by Nancy Bobby from The Affordable Mouse!

Since I am planning our first Disney trip that will include staying at a Disney resort and utilizing the dining plan, I have been in search of books/information that can help me best decide since there is so much out there! I came across "Magical Meals: A Guide to Affordable Dining at Walt Disney World" This e-book was written by Nancy Bobby from The Affordable Mouse.

Although I had already decided that we wanted to try out the dining plan and see how it worked for our family, I knew this e-book would be very helpful to me in understanding the dining plan and making sure that I knew all my options for dining before we booked our trip.

One of the great things about Magical Meals is that it is available in e-book format, therefore, as soon as your order it, it's delivered to your email and you can begin your planning immediately! There is no 2-3 day wait period for it to come in the mail and that makes it even better for me. I am the kind of person who when I get something in my head, I have to have it or start planning it right then. I don't like waiting for things, so this made me very happy!

Another great thing about the e-book is that it's an easy read and so easy to understand. Nancy explains everything about dining at Disney World with such simplicity that anybody would read this book and understand - I now (almost) feel like a pro!

*Check out the Free Budget Spreadsheet on pg. 37 :)

Magical Meals consists of 6 chapters all about dining in Disney World. Nancy covers everything from what type of meals are available at Disney World to special things you can do to make whatever you are celebrating (birthday, anniversary, first trip!) even better! There is even an entire chapter dedicated to those of you with food allergies and how to have the best dining experience in Disney World with them!

*There is some great information about Celebrating in WDW on pg. 57!

There are a ton of links in the e-book as well that are a great addition. These take you to different websites with even more tips and hints. One of my favorite parts in the book is where Nancy talks about the pros and cons of the Disney dining plan and how to tell if the plan is right for your family. As she mentioned in her book, the dining plan is not right for every family. It's important to look at all the options available and go from there!

*Check out some great tips about ADR's on pg. 46!

Another one of my favorite parts of the book is Chapter 3: Getting the Most Value out of your Meals. These tips and hints are perfect for me because I am always looking for ways to make our money stretch and get the most out of everything we experience, dining included!

*Pg. 44 has some wonderful tips from other readers to help you too!

If you are planning a trip to Disney World and contemplating the dining plan, or even just want to know a little bit more about it - I highly recommend this e-book. Magical Meals: A Guide to Affordable Dining at Disney World is a fantastic book with tons of information at an affordable price. This e-book is only $10.95!

If you would like to purchase this e-book, you can head over here to do so! Also, don't forget to check out Nancy at The Affordable Mouse - she is always giving out advice and tips to make your Disney World trip so much better! Don't forget to tell her I sent you :)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Travel Plan Tuesday

Last week for Travel Plan Tuesday I discussed the first thing that most people think about when they decide to go on a Disney vacation: When to go. You can read more about it here and see what time of year we like to go and why!

Today we are going to talk about deciding where you are going to stay at when you are on your Disney vacation! There are several things that you need to think about when deciding where to stay.

First you can look and see there are different levels of resorts: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe, plus Deluxe Villas and Campgrounds. Depending on your budget and what type of experience you want to have you will decide which level will best work for you. We will be staying at a Value resort because of our budget and because we won't be spending a lot of time at the resort - mainly to sleep :)

If you are looking for a resort where you can relax, use the pool facilities and will be spending more time at the resort or would just like more space, then the Value resorts are probably not for you. You will more than likely want to check out the Moderate and Deluxe resorts to meet your needs. Also, as the wording suggests, the higher levels will cost you more money per night, unless you can get in when they are running a fabulous deal such as 40% off deluxe rooms!

Once you decide which level you want to stay at, then you can choose the actual hotel! There are several choices in each of the categories to choose from. Each of them have their own theme and decorations that is different from any other one!

Value Resorts:
All-Star Movie
All-Star Music
All-Star Sports

Moderate Resorts:
The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resorts
Caribbean Beach
Coronado Springs
Port Orleans - French Quarter
Port Orleans - Riverside

Deluxe Resorts:
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Beach Club
Boardwalk Inn
Wilderness Lodge
Yacht Club
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Deluxe Villas:
Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House
Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary Resort
Beach Club Villas
Boardwalk Villas
Old Key West
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

There are also 2 other resorts that you can choose from:
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

I recommend checking out each resort online to determine which one you think you will like the best. You can take into consideration price, amenities that are included, dining that is available at the resort, as well as the location of the resort. For example, if you plan on using the monorail as much as you can during your visit, I would suggest staying at one of the 3 monorail resorts: Grand Floridian, Polynesian or Contemporary. Another example would be if you or members in your family love animals, I would suggest staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, as they have rooms that you can look our your window or your balcony and see all kinds of animals in their habitat!

We have decided to stay (for our first on property stay) at the Pop Century Resort. This is the newest of the Value Resorts and is not grouped together with another resort, therefore the buses run only for this resort. We do not plan on being in the room very often and with just 3 of us, there will be enough room for us. We are excited about our first stay in a Disney World hotel so we can experience the magic of Disney 24/7 while we are on vacation!

You may also choose to stay off site for different reasons. We stayed off site on our last trip because a lady at our church graciously gave us a week at one of her time-share resorts, which happened to be in the heart of Disney! I know even if you don't stay at a Disney resort, you will have a magical trip because you are in Disney. We just want to experience the magic a little more this time!

What factors did you consider when choosing your resort? Do you have any recommendations for others in choosing?

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Favorite Disney Snack

There are so many different snack options to choose from in Disney, it's really hard to pick out a favorite. For me, it is easy though because we haven't had the opportunity to try most of them.

On our last trip we were introduced to Goofy's Candy Co. in DTD and the Create-Your-Own Treat! I fell in love as soon as I saw all the choices and knew that we would be coming back for one of these special treats each trip.

There are so many options to choose from for your base, chocolate, toppings and drizzle! Here are the options:

Base: (choose 1)
*Caramel Apple   *Pretzel Rods (3)   *Marshmallow (4 on a stick)   *Mickey Krispy Rice Treat   *Fudge Cookie (Vanilla, Chocolate or Peanut Butter filling)

Dipping Flavor: (choose 1)
*White Chocolate   *Milk Chocolate   *Dark Chocolate

Toppings: (choose 1 - additional toppings are $1/ea)
*Assorted Sprinkles   *mini M&M's   *Peanut Butter chips   *Chopped Peanuts   *Chopped Pecans   *Chopped Walnuts   *Sliced Almonds   *Cinnamon & Sugar   *Dark & White Chocolate Chips   *Crushed Oreo cookie crumbs   *Crushed Butterfinger   *Reese's Pieces   *Coconut   *Trail Mix

Drizzle: (choose 1)
*White Chocolate   *Milk Chocolate   *Dark Chocolate

I choose to go with the Marshmallows (it actually came on a Mickey straw!) dipped in Dark chocolate w/chopped pecans and a Milk chocolate drizzle. It was delicious! I wish I had thought to take a picture of the process or even the finished product, but I did not think about it at the time. We actually kept our treats in the fridge for several days before eating them (in baggies) and they still tasted fresh and delicious!

This is going to become a tradition with us each trip where we head to DTD the first day we arrive and make our own Goofy's Candy Co. Treat!

Have you ever made your own treat? What did you create?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Ultimate Disney Souvenir!

World of Disney store in DTD - any souvenir you can think of you can find here!
The first time we went to Disney World, we didn't really know what to expect in the way of souvenirs. On all of our vacations, we usually get  a t-shirt and then let Nicholas get something else that he finds and likes (normally a stuffed animals, toy, etc.). I had heard about a Christmas store in Disney, but sadly we did not find it on that first trip.

We were completely overwhelmed with the amount of toys, clothing, pens, and stuffed animals there were to choose from. We were on a pretty tight budget, so we limited Nicholas on what he could choose. Thankfully, he was only 2 at the time and not into the "I want every thing I see" stage. We were able to hold off until our last day and allowed him to pick one thing that he really wanted. He picked out a Mickey Mouse soccer ball from Epcot. He also got a large Sorcerer Mickey stuffed animal from his grandparents and we got him a t-shirt.

On our last trip, we knew what to expect and also knew that he would want even more than he did last year, so again we limited him. He ended up with a stuffed Simba (he is currently obsessed with The Lion King). We also got him a shirt and a set of Lion King figurines that we snuck and bought to give him at his birthday party.
Since most of the magic of Disney *for us* is about Nicholas and him having a great time, we don't normally get too many souvenirs for ourselves. The first year, we each got a t-shirt and that was all. This year, however Nick decided to fore go his t-shirt (he isn't as into them as I am!) and give his souvenir money to Nicholas. I decided against a t-shirt this year and ended up getting the Disney throw that they offer at a discount when you spend a certain amount of money.

I finally made it to the Christmas store in DTD and got us our first annual Disney ornament for our tree! Anyone who knows me, knows I love Christmas time and decorating our tree, so this is a perfect souvenir for me!

But, as we were leaving the MK one night we came upon a store that I just had to stop in and drool over! Of course the reason I stopped was this:

My dream Disney souvenir!

I absolutely LOVE this purse! Now, I am not one to buy "label" things. I would never pay that type of money for a purse, normally. But this is a Disney purse! So different :) Alas, I did not come home from Disney this year with the Disney Dooney and Bourke purse. I would like to own one eventually, but it will probalby be a few years before I could save up enough for it.

But for now, I will just go and touch every one of them I see and dream about the day when I get one for myself :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crossing things off my Disney Bucket List

On my other blog, Mommy Working for the Weekend, I had posted my Disney Bucket List(s) in a series of 5. Today, I posted the things I was able to cross off of my bucket list on our last trip to Disney World!

You can check it out here!


Wordless Wednesday ~ 4.13.11


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Travel Plan Tuesday

Our last vacation to Disney World was just a month ago, in March. However, before we had even left on our vacation, I was already planning our next one! I think a lot of the magic of Disney *for me* is planning the trip - everything from the resort, tickets, ADRs and more! If you ask my husband if I like to plan things, he will just laugh - I LOVE to plan! Thankfully, taking a Disney trip requires a lot of planning.

Request your FREE Disney Parks DVD here to help get your started!

Since I am in the beginning stages of planning our next trip, which will be in March 2012, I wanted to share with you the steps that I take to create our magical vacation! Each week I will highlight one thing that I am doing or thinking about for our next trip.

I am going to start with one of the first things most people consider after they decide to take a trip to Disney (or really any vacation for that matter): When to go. Now there are many things to take into consideration when deciding what time of year to go to Disney World. Personal schedule, work, outside temperature, season, holidays are all things to consider.

The past two years, we have gone the same week to Disney World, the end of March. This is Spring Break for some people, but it just fits in perfectly for us for a few reasons. One being: work for me. I work at a university and we have interviews up until the first week in March. Going towards the end of the month ensures I won't miss out on that important time and our "busy" time at work.

Birthday cupcake from Chef Mickey's!

The other major reason we like to go at the end of March is so we can celebrate Nicholas' birthday! He has now been able to celebrate his 2nd and 3rd birthdays in Disney World with Mickey - how magical is that?! We love that we are able to go this time of year and he gets the extra attention that most toddlers love, especially on their birthday!

The time of year we go is when Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival is going on and I love seeing all the beautiful flowers that are in bloom and the fantastic topiary that they create! This time of year is also wonderful weather-wise for us. It's not normally too hot or too cool. Although sometimes at night it can get a little chilly, we just make sure and pack a light jacket in our backpacks and we are fine!

Amazing what they can do with flowers!

Crowds are not too terribly bad the time of year we go, although it really depends on the day and the ride. We do not ride any of the roller coasters, so that cuts down on our wait time considerably.

I'm sure any time of the year is fantastic in Disney, because you are in Disney! I would like to visit at other times of the years, especially Halloween and Christmas to see all the decorations and go to the parties, but for now going in March works perfectly for us.

What time of year do you enjoy going to Disney? What factors do you take into consideration when planning your Disney World trip?


Monday, April 11, 2011

About Me Monday!

Since today is the first day of my new blog, I thought it only fitting to do a survey that's been going around the blogosphere to introduce myself a little bit and let you know more about my Disney style!

I saw this survey at A Disney Moms Thoughts and she got it from Disney Babies Blog! I loved reading and learning more about people through surveys so here goes mine!

First Theme Park Memory: I'm pretty sure the first theme park I ever went to was Miracle Strip in Panama City Beach, FL. I'm not sure if it really is considered a theme park, but they have rides and a small roller coaster, so for me it was! We went to PC Beach every year when I was younger and we loved going to Miracle Strip!
First memorable Disney trip: My first Disney trip was when I was in 2nd grade, but I don't remember much of it. The only thing I really do remember is riding Dumbo and loving it!
First Disney Resort Memory: Unfortunately, we have never stayed at a Disney resort (although that will change on our 2012 trip!), but my first time in a Disney resort was on our trip in 2010. We had breakfast at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary resort to celebrate my son's 2nd birthday! 
Last Disney Trip: March 2011
Next Disney Trip: March 2012

Into the Parks - Magic Kingdom
Tomorrowland - Favorite Ride Past and Present: Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor - it's so much fun! We did the Carousel of Progress for the first time on our most recent trip and I really enjoyed it!
Fantasyland- Mickey's PhilharMagic is my favorite, but my son's would probably be Dumbo.
Liberty Square - The Hall of Presidents - I know, I know - most people don't really enjoy this but my husband and I really did!
Frontierland- Honestly, we didn't really do much here on the past 2 trips - I do plan on our next trip checking out Tom Sawyer Island and am sure it will be a hit with my son!
Adventureland - The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (do you see a theme here? We love these types of rides!)

Futureworld Attraction - Soarin', Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Futureworld Restaurant - We haven't eaten at a restaurant in Futureworld (yet!)
World Showcase:
Favorite Snack - We have not had any snacks yet, but I have several on my list for next trip!
Favorite Drink - Haven't had any yet - any suggestions for next trip?
Favorite Meal - We ate at La Cantina de San Angel for dinner and it was great. The food was delicious (churros = super yummy!) and had the perfect spot on the lagoon to watch Illuminations!

Top 5 Disney animated movies (non Pixar)- 
1. Beauty and the Beast

2. Lady and the Tramp
3. Cinderella
4. Bambi
5. Fox and the Hound

Favorite Animal Kingdom Attraction - Kilimanjaro Safari 

Favorite Hollywood Studios Attraction- Disney Junior! Live on Stage was fantastic!

Favorite Non-Park Restaurant - T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney and Beaches and Cream for dessert!

Hello and Welcome!

Hi! I am Amanda and I decided to create a Disney blog for my new obsession with all things Disney! I have always been a big fan of Disney movies, as we had and watched all of them as a child. We went to Walt Disney World once, when I was in second grade, but never got the chance to go again.

In March of 2010, my in-laws took the whole family (9 of us total!) to Disney World and we had so much fun. From the minute we got there, I was completely in awe and hooked on Disney! We stayed for 8 days and celebrated our son's 2nd birthday at Chef Mickey's! Even my husband, who wasn't completely sold on Disney, had a blast! As soon as we returned home I started thinking and planning our next trip!

Celebrating his 2nd birthday with Mickey in 2010!

I have a good friend who has been going to Disney World at least once a year (usually more) since she was a child. Her parents are DVC members and they love it. We started talking about doing a trip with our families for 2011. A lady at church owns a time share and offered us a room at any resort we wanted for a week. Of course, the first thing we looked at was if they had one in Orlando. Magically, they had one that was right in the heart of Disney World! We booked the trip and were able to go again in March. This time we would be celebrating our son's 3rd birthday and my friend's daughter's 4th birthday - so magical!

Celebrating birthdays with Mickey in 2011!

We had such a great time and before we even left Disney, I was already planning our next trip in my head. We are planning on going again in March, as we love the time of year with Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival and we love celebrating our son's birthday at Disney - there is just nothing else like it!

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival 2011.

The title of my blog comes from my first trip as an adult to Disney World in 2010 - as soon as I saw the first sign, I was bitten by the Disney bug! I hope you will enjoy going along with me as I plan our next trip (and each one after that!) and as I share tips and fun things about what I have learned so far in my Disney planning and trips. Who knows . . . maybe you will be Bit by the Disney Bug too :)