Disney offers some of the best options when it comes to travel for families, multigenerational or couples wanting an experience that is all their own. From the resorts and theme parks in California and Florida, majestic oceans with cruise lines galore, the shores of the Hawaii coastline, and the adventures that take you all over the world….there truly is something for everyone when you book a Disney vacation. The beauty is in your details. RSMLVTravel can help you make your wish a dream come true. 💫
Yes, I am a Disney-fanatic at heart. But, let’s get this straight…I’m a Disney-LAND fanatic. I’ve been to both Disneyland and Disney World, and though I do appreciate what WDW has to offer in ways of hotel selections (Four Seasons Orlando and Golden Oak at Walt Disney Resort, come on!), dining options (you cannot beat Epcot) and those Magic Bands (hello, Disneyland, time to get onboard!), I just can’t let go of the nostalgic experience of the original Happiest Place on Earth. Every time I head to the park I learn about, and try something new and different I didn’t know from the last time. Our most recent stay introduced me to some primo experiences that made our trip feel truly luxurious this time around. And, yes, Disney + Luxury is a thing.
These activities might seem like a stretch, especially since it now costs a family of 4 around $1000 for 2-day park tickets with park hopper, but this is meant to be a luxury post, so let’s pretend the sky is the limit.
Stay…in a Disney Vacation Club 3-bedroom villa at The Grand Californian.The Grand Californian is the first and so far, only, resort at Disneyland to offer Disney Vacation Club Villas. The best and easiest way to have access to these desirable vacation villas is to be a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member. We are not. Instead, we were invited guests of a Disney Vacation Club member. You can also have occasional access to the DVC villas without being a member- I am told it is possible, but quite pricey.
This was the first time I have experienced a Disney Vacation Club villa. I was crazy impressed. A 3-bedroom villa fit my family of 6 and our friends’ family of 3 perfectly. Our villa’s floor plan offered an upstairs and downstairs which allowed for even more privacy between the two families, as we could easily access the upstairs (where my family stayed) without disturbing our friends below.The floor plan included a master suite with 1 king size bed downstairs; two bedrooms suites upstairs, each with 2 queen size beds and private bathrooms; two sofa bed couches (one upstairs, one downstairs); a full sized kitchen; dining room with table seating for 8; and a separate family room area with couches and TV. The loft area upstairs was located between the two bedrooms and included a billiards table (amenities are subject to change per villa and location) .
Our DVC friends stayed in the room downstairs. Our 10-year old daughter and their 13-year old daughter stayed in one of the bedrooms with the 2 queens. Our 5-year old twins stayed with my husband and I in the other bedroom with the 2 queen beds. And, our oldest son, 12-years old, slept on the pull out couch in the loft with the billiards table. The amount of space and the amenities blew my mind that we could all fit comfortably, enjoying each other’s company while also having downtime. We were well-rested and relaxed during our 3-night stay.
The beauty of The Grand Californian is the location in proximity to the park entrances, not to mention the direct access into California Adventure for hotel guests. The Disney Vacation Club Villas at the Grand Californian have a private entrance into the pool area of the hotel. The villa comes equipped with a coffee pot, oven, stove, refrigerator, microwave and pantry space making this a very lovely way to not have to rush in the morning, or to store leftovers, or to keep breakfast foods, snacks, etc., which helps on the budget end of things. However, if you’re not into dining in your villa, Downtown Disney with a Starbucks and some yummy eating options, is just a few yards away. The Grand Californian also offers some fantastic amenities such as poolside cabana rentals for full or half day, childcare options at Pinocchio’s Workshop, and the Mandara Spa.
Eat…at Club 33. The only way you will get to experience this extremely exclusive restaurant hidden in the back alleyways of New Orleans Square inside Disneyland, is to either be a member of Disney’s Club 33, or know one. And, if you know one, be super nice to them so they invite you to dine with them at least once in your lifetime (it’s worth it, trust me).
If you do score an invite, make sure you are very privy to the dress code. No joke, my husband was wearing men’s designer sandals, and they wouldn’t let him in because of the “no open toe shoes” policy. Men are expected to wear collard shirts and slacks, women can be dressy casual, and children under 5 are pretty much exempt from any dress code, but no one should attempt to dine at Club 33 with ripped or torn clothing, bathing suits or shorts. (The policy has relaxed a bit during lunch to dressy casual as they realized people may be coming from a day at the parks.)
The meal itself is a sit down 5-6 course meal, and you can do a wine pairing. There is an extensive cocktail program as well, and one of the best mint juleps I’ve ever tasted (OK, so the only mint julep I’ve ever tasted, but it was damn good!) I would caution against bringing children under the age of 5 years to dinner. It’s a long, drawn out, yet enjoyable, process. We left our 5-year old twins at Pinocchio’s Workshop at the Grand Californian, at first much to my chagrin, but my husband’s insistence. For once, he was right.
Club 33 is only at Disneyland Park. There is no other place like it in all of the Magical Kingdoms, including Walt Disney World. So, not only was this a once in a lifetime experience for us diehard Disneyland fans, but a truly unique one for our DVC member friends who were visiting from the East coast.
The dining room is beautifully decorated and filled with time-old treasures from both the Disney family and several different Disney movie sets. The newly renovated restaurant overlooks the Rivers of America, is upstairs above the Pirate’s of the Caribbean and next to Walt Disney’s Private Apartment (another property with exclusive access inside Disneyland). For a more detailed review of Club 33, check out my post on Luxury Travel Mom.
Watch…the newly revised World of Color Dessert Party in Disney’s California Adventure. If we are being honest, I always dreaded seeing this show, and, frankly, strayed away from encouraging anyone in my group from seeing it. Why? Literally, the worst seats in the world. The show itself, absolutely stunning and quite impressive. But, having to stand on cement for a minimum of 30-minutes to fight the crowds for a decent seat, is no easy task. Especially when the show only comes on at night, and my children are already exhausted from the day. There is no way they are going to sit that long without crying or hanging on me or fighting with each other. So after we saw it once, we were good. I always wondered why there was no other option for seating and viewing like the wonderful VIP area at Fantasmic (not currently showing due to structural changes happening in the Rivers of America for the highly anticipated Star Wars Land). I’m telling you, honestly, again, if I want to see a show like that, I will pay for seats. And, so will my husband (definitely something we have in common that strengthens our marriage). When we heard about the new World of Color Dessert Party, we happily raised our hands and grabbed our tickets.
We have been wanting to see the revamped version of the show featuring Neil Patrick Harris as the MC, and this was the perfect way to introduce our friends (the DVC members from the East Coast) to another unique Disneyland experience. For $79 per person (including children ages 3 and up), you are seated at a high-top cocktail table, and served delicious desserts, elegantly plated on china. The tray is per person as well- as in every person who pays $79 gets to indulge in a sweet and savory selection of desserts, including a Dulce de Leche-filled cookie, Mickey Coconut Macaroon, a selection of fruit and artisanal cheese, just to name a few. Adults can indulge in sparkling wine, and sparkling cider will be available for guests under 21 years of age.
But forget the sparkling cider for the kids…go big and order the punch that is served in a fun water fountain shaped glass that glows in conjunction with the lights during the show. My children were fascinated, mesmerized, and engaged while I got to sit in a seat for 30-minutes sipping my glass of sparkling wine, and no one was hanging on me. The cups are included in the price (menu items are subject to change). By the way, that $79 per person includes tax and gratuity. Reservations are highly recommended. Make yours by visiting Disneyland.com/dine or calling 714-781-DINE.
Enjoy…a night out without the littles by dropping them off at Pinocchio’s Workshop at the Grand Californian. Exclusively offered to hotel guests, Pinocchio’s Workshop is a licensed care facility that provides onsite care services for children 5-12 years of age from 5 pm to midnight (for a fee). It was money well spent for this once in a lifetime opportunity to dine at Club 33. As I mentioned, my husband gently suggested that we look into taking advantage of the childcare services offered at the hotel we were staying at, the Grand Californian. I was not totally comfortable with leaving my precious littles alone in a room with an adult stranger where my two older siblings were not around. I became more open to his suggestion once I discovered Pinocchio’s Workshop.
This truly was a lifesaver. Even though I had it in my mind I was still taking the twins with me to Club 33, by the end of a very full day at the parks, they were super tired and begging me to have chicken fingers and go to bed. They were thrilled with the notion of Pinocchio’s Workshop. I didn’t even have to bribe them. We took a brief tour of the options available for them in the play space: lots of movies, air hockey, board games, crafts…they were in before I could give them a hug and a kiss good-bye.
The staff is very attentive and also very conscientious about the safety of the children. I had to fill out forms upon forms with phone numbers, allergies, emergency contacts, doctor’s numbers, etc. They took my picture with the kids to assure I would be the only person allowed to pick them up. There is even a dinner menu (for a fee) where the boys ordered exactly what they wanted: spaghetti with butter and French fries for one, and chicken fingers with fruit for the other. And, I’m pretty sure they enjoyed that dinner way more than they would have the one offered on the children’s menu at Club 33.
When we came to pick them up, they were the last two kiddos left, and were passed out comfortably on the oversized beanbags in front of the TV. It was a total win/win for all of us, and made the night so much more enjoyable, especially for my older children.
OK…so all of that will put a rather sizeable dent in your wallet during your stay at the Disneyland Parks and Resorts. Want a luxurious tip that costs you nothing? Have your souvenirs delivered for free to your Disneyland Resort hotel using Package Express. Yup, FREE. It’s a long standing service, but one I always forget about. We actually used it this time, as the kids wanted something from the Toy Story Midway Mania store, and there was no way I was coming back that way yonder again after we left. A very easy thing to do…ask your sales person to make it happen. Show them your room key, they will fill out a form, you give them your Disneyland Resort hotel info and voila, you’re on your way without another bag to weight you down. You will feel like a serious VIP.
Disclaimer: This trip was personally fully funded, excluding the World of Color Dessert Party in Disney’s California Adventure, which was a media invite. All words, thoughts, opinions 100% my own.
Usually, I am not into superhero or fantasy type movies, so when a new Marvel movie comes out, I have to admit, I am not the first in line to buy tickets. However, I do have three sons, two of which are totally into all the Marvel Superheroes and the other who is now getting into movies like Star Wars. I took the later to the media screening of Marvel’s latest comic book heroes movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. My son was thrilled beyond belief to get a sneak peek of the action packed sci-fi film. I, on the other hand, just happy to spend the time with him. When all was said and done, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall outcome.
Overall story line:
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
My 10 year-old son’s comments on the film:
“Guardians of the Galaxy is an appropriate movie for kids ages 10 and up. The objective of the movie is a gang of aliens fighting Ronin to save the galaxy. There is humor and action that kept me very engaged and excited to see how it ended. My favorite character was Groot because even though he said very little words, his actions made me laugh. Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie I would see the sequel to, and was worth my while.”
My adult perspective on the film:
As I mentioned, I’m not big on sci-fi, fantasy type films, so it was a bit challenging for me to keep up on who was the good guy, the bad guy and why. But it didn’t take long, the story line falls into place pretty quickly. I adore Chris Pratt, and when I told my son he was the voice behind Emmet in The Lego Movie, well, that just made Guardians of the Galaxy even more awesome. Overall, I thought the story line was exciting, with some endearing moments, and comedic relief. The casting was great. Along with Chris Pratt, the movie also stars Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, John C. Riley, Glen Close and Benicio Del Toro to name a few.
The soundtrack? Even better. In fact, that will might be the part of the movie parents will enjoy most, the soundtrack and the 80’s references throughout connected with many adults in the audience. My son also loved how there will obviously be a Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and already started coming up with his own story lines and questions. The movie is rated PG-13, which I was bit surprised. I guess it takes a lot to get an R rating these days. Some language I was not thrilled to have my son hear, though he is technically 10, not 13, but a pretty mature 10. And, there were a few sexual references and innuendos, thus, why I was surprised it was given a PG-13 rating. Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend the movie to the under 13 set. I may also be a bit conservative in my views, but I was a concerned about how he would handle a few scenes. Nothing too scary, the action seemed right on par with a PG-13 rating. In the end, he really enjoyed the film, and is still laughing at some of the lines and scenes. And, yes, Groot, like Olaf in Frozen, stole the show for me. He brings about a tranquility and optimism for peace.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens in theaters everywhere on August 1st! See it in 3-D if you can.
I was an invited guest of Walt Disney Pictures as a member of the media to preview the movie, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All images (besides my personal photo) are property of Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel.
Last week I had the unique pleasure of being invited to and attending the 5th annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. No matter how many times I visit the park, or participate in special social media events through Disney, I am always amazed at how different each experience is for me and my family.
During the celebration this year, we heard from Jay Ward, Creative Director Cars Franchise, Pixar Animation Studios. My mind is blown every time I hear from one of the brilliant master minds behind Pixar Animation Studios. I really took so much from his presentation at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration this year. His insight also helped me begin to wrap my head around why each and every experience at Disney is different from the next. As I wrote down the words that most captivated me, I started to connnect them to places around Disneyland and California Adventure parks and the feelings evoked when taking a stroll down Main Street, the sights and sounds of parades and fireworks shows, or racing through Carborator County on Radiator Spring Racers. I often feel transported to a time and space as if were really there, making me never want to leave, and take in as much as I can. It’s all in the magic.
Two statements I took away from Jay Ward’s presentation made it all come together for me:
Details are crucial to the storytelling. People have to believe they are really there. – Jay Ward
Only make good stuff. And make less of it. -Steve Jobs
Pixar Animation is not limited in these premises. These actions and thoughts encompass the entire Disney company, and all the people who work to take those dreams and turn them into reality. The next time you find yourself wandering around a Disney park, take the time to notice the magic in the details:
Commitment to the Idea
Authentic and Accurate
Humanize the Idea
It’s no wonder I am particularly fond of the Pixar Studios and seeing how their creative teams make ideas come to life. One of my favorite places at the Disney Parks in Anaheim is in Carsland in California Adventure. Every visit, I feel as though I am living in the movie. I am reminded of my own road trips on Route 66, as the store fronts, street designs and mountainous landscapes exude a most authentic recreation with plenty of attention to detail. Did you know Ornament Valley, the huge rock scape that serves as a backdrop to Radiator Springs in Carsland, took over 2 years to build, 280,000 square feet of rock work, and 4,000 tons of steel to make it look and feel real? Part of my experience with the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was participating in a 2 mile fun run that took me through Disneyland and California Adventure, with the finish line in Carsland. Once there, we celebrated with our families the conclusion of the conference with a grand breakfast and the opportunity to really enjoy Carsland in a private party experience. One final memory from listening to Jay Ward speak, was of him telling us a story about a young boy who visited Carsland at the grand opening. He looked up at his dad and asked, “Is this where they filmed the movie Cars?“. I do believe that statement settles my point.
Full Disclosure: I was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. The Disneyland Resort offered a discounted rate for all attendees and their families.I was not asked nor expected to write about my experience. All stories are based on my personal thoughts and opinions, not those of the Walt Disney Company.
This post is apart of the Instagram Travel Thursday series hosted by SkimbacoLifestyle.com and other fabulous travel writers from the US and around the globe. All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone and used on Instagram.
Follow the feed on Instagram using #IGTravelThursday! Are you following me on Instagram? Find more Disney pics and adventures using #RSMLVDisney.
In April, a collaboration with Disney and Kohl’s, Magic at Play, launched its new line of Disney themed fashions by Jumping Beans for both boys and girls, infants to size 7x. Because I was an invited guest at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I was also asked to purchase items from the line, and provide a review. Not a problem! All four of my kids still happen to fit within the size range available for the line. As soon as I received my gift card, I took off to Kohl’s. Thank goodness I did! The line was being put on the floor the same day I came. I bought a few items, and came back the next day, and almost half of the selection was gone.
Kohl’s provides quality and style for my party of 4 at an affordable price. I was quite pleased with the options of the new Jumping Beans line for Disney. I knew my younger boys would be good with whatever I brought home, they are 3 after all, and as long as it has Mickey Mouse on it, they are the envy of all toddlers on the playground. The other two, I was a bit apprehensive.
My daughter is 8, going on 16, and has a style mind of her own. Though I found the options to be absolutely adorable, I wasn’t so sure she would feel the same way. If she was 2, I would have bought every piece in the collection (I’m not joking), but since she thinks she walks the run way everywhere she goes, I wasn’t sure how she would feel about the tutus and leggings available in her size.
I went with a red and white polka dotted tutu skirt, with matching navy blue leggings with red and white polka dot trim, and a navy tank with a sparkly outline of Minnie on the front, and the red and white polka dot theme on the back. Winning!
I also chose for her the neon pink and gray ensemble that resembled an 80’s outfit I’m pretty sure I wore at her age. Off the shoulder, banded top with a short skirt and biker shorts underneath. Winning again!
Finally, grabbed her the gray and white striped top with a sparkly Minnie on the front, and a peek-a-boo bow in the back. She paired this with jeans skirts, and shorts. In fact, I finally had to hide it as it was showing up in my pictures each day we were in the park.
For my 10 year old son, he was stoked to have the basketball player style shorts in red, white and blue, and also a navy, gray and red pattern. Since he is totally in to baseball, I picked out the Mickey playing baseball athletic style top, that he excitedly said he would wear at his baseball practices as well.
I did hold my breath and bought all three boys the matching Classic Mickey T’s, and breathed a sigh of relief when they proudly wore them to an event during the conference.
My only complaint was with the boys’ shorts in all sizes I purchased (3T and 7x). The waist bands were quite wide and my boys are quite narrow. I normally only buy them shorts with either a working drawstring, or the adjustable waistbands, but figured I would give these a shot. They don’t stay up on any of my boys, so I rubberband them in the back. My daughter’s outfits in the size 6 fit her perfectly.
Even with washing, the Jumping Beans line for Disney still looks great. Will definitely keep up with them through their summer activities and remind them of the fun times we had at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration this year.
You can have some of the magic, too! Kohl’s has provided me with a $50 giftcard to share with my readers, so you can also purchase some fun items from the Jumping Beans Disney line! See more of the adorable pieces by following @Kohls and @DisneyLiving on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or visit the Kohl’s site for more style ideas!
Thank you Disney and Kohl’s Magic at Play for sponsoring today’s post.
Full Disclosure: I was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. The Disneyland Resort offered a discounted rate for all attendees and their families.I was not asked nor expected to write about my experience. All stories are based on my personal thoughts and opinions, not those of the Walt Disney Company.
When I was younger, my family vacationed to Disneyland 1-2 times a year. Walking around the park, and waiting in the lines that would go on for miles, I often thought to myself how much fun it would be to work for Disney. At the time, being a ride operator or the big dream of perhaps playing Snow White in the daily parade would have satisfied me. I just wanted to be apart of the magic. It was the “happiest place on Earth” after all. There are few things that have happened in my life that I never would have guessed to happen in a million years: 1. That I would be the proud parent of identical twin boys, 2. That I would have the honor to work with Disney in the capacity I have been granted since I started blogging 4 years ago.
It all started with BlogHer in San Diego, one of the largest and most premier blogging conferences available to the blogger, no matter how big your site or how many years its been established. During the BlogHer conference, I took advantage of the advanced screening of the movie, The Help. There, I met a Publicist at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and was invited to attend D23 as a media guest. D23 is the ultimate Disney fan conference that takes place every two years. It’s amazing. If you ever have the opportunity to attend, if even just for the Studio Presentation, I would recommend it. Fabulous highlights, insights, and presentations by the brilliant minds behind Pixar Animation and the Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures. I brought my then 6 year old daughter, and she loved it, too. We were both impressed forever with the fun and the magic; we ended up spending two days at the conference.
Shortly after, I joined the TravelingMom network. A network of travel bloggers and writers from around the country and the world. As most of you know, I write as the Las Vegas TravelingMom, featuring sophisticated options for the family traveller. A few months into writing for the network, I was offered an opportunity to participate in a FAM (Familiarization Tour for Media) of an up and coming luxury residential development, Golden Oak, in Walt Disney World. I, nor my children, had ever been to Walt Disney World. I was besides myself with excitement to be included. There, I met the fabulous Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom, learned an incredible amount, and felt quite honored to be included in an exclusive group of travel writers.
Later that year, I tested the waters and pitched my heart out to be invited to the Mickey’s Halloween Party blogger event in Disneyland. My big sell? Nevada schools have a 3-day weekend during the Halloween weekend (Nevada Day), and what better way to spread the word about how to spend it than in Disneyland with Mickey and his gang and all the villains- send a Las Vegas travel blogger!
The following year, I had the surprise of my life when I was invited to a special social media conference, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Walt Disney World. The Disney Social Media Moms Conference was created 7 years ago when Mike Hyland, Director of Disneyland Public Relations, set out to create deep and meaningful relationships with moms involving motivational speakers and networking within an intimate setting. In collaboration with Maria Bailey, of BSM Media and mom blogger marketing fame, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was born. Over the last 5 years, this annual, multi-day conference brings together 150 bloggers and travel writers exclusively invited to attend and learn not only about Disney and what is in store for the immediate future, but also to inspire and connect on various levels. Once again, I was most honored and surprised to be one of the 150 selected, and amongst some pretty big names in the blogging industry.
Shortly after, I attended the debut of Mickey and the Magical Map show at Disneyland, and was one of the select bloggers invited to interview the new Disney Parks President, Michael Colglazier, with a chance to tour Walt Disney’s apartment. Um, wow. Much of this attributed to my connection with the TravelingMom network, which whom I am a grateful and proud member. To be honest, after all this excitement, I was sure my Disney streak was about to run out. I mean, how could one little person like me continue to make a large enough impact for this gigantic company? When the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration invites started to hit my fellow bloggers and writers in-boxes, I truly was not expecting to get one.
But, I did. And, the most wonderful thing about the conference this year? It took place in Anaheim, the home, the birth place of Walt Disney’s dream- Disneyland. The park I spent so much time growing up in and experiencing magical memories, was host to the most magical celebration of all time. To add to the magic, invited bloggers are allowed to bring along 3 additional guests. Though I really wanted my husband to come with me to see what goes into events and behind the scenes, like only Disney can do, I knew in my heart the only person I really wanted to share this with, besides my children, of course, was my mom. The biggest Disney fan I know. The one who passed her Disney gene down to me- I wanted her to have this once in a lifetime chance to get to know Disney the way I have gotten to know Disney over the last few years.
As usual, Disney did not disappoint. Fabulous parties, inspirational speakers, informational hosts and sponsors filled my world for four days in a row. I also checked a Run Disney event with a 2-mile fun run through Disneyland and California Adventure ending at the finish line in CarsLand, off my Bucket List.
My kids started their Spring Break off with a bang, and kept thanking me every day we were in the parks. My twins can’t stop talking about Mater and Mickey and Doc, and ask me every time we get in the car if we are going to Disneyland. I don’t know how else to thank Disney for these amazing opportunities, than to continue to share as much information as I can with you, my valued reader, in hopes that you also find magic in my stories, and become inspired to create your own. As far as me and my continued “work” with Disney? I’ll never forget being at a conference in Vancouver several years ago, and the speaker saying, “Yes, I’m talking to you. The one taking up one of the seats in this room right now. You deserve to be here. That’s why you are here.” As I remind myself of that, and pinch my arm every now and then, I will continue to be grateful for these chances and generous in helping Disney touch the lives of many by sharing what I learn.
Am also reminded of a quote from one of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration speakers, Maxine Clark, Founder of Build A Bear Workshop:
“It’s not what you have, it’s what you give that determines your legacy.” – Maxine Clark
I will have a series of Disney posts on my blog over the next few days covering sponsors and new programs introduced during the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. For now, here is a fun look at our time shared in Disneyland….where the magic begins!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. I was not asked nor expected to post about my experience. All opinions, experiences and thoughts are my own.
Several Photo Credits in the Slideshow Credited to @hyku
Fall in Las Vegas is 90 degree weather, leggings, UGGS, and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. It’s also the perfect time for Nevada Residents to take advantage of the Nevada’s Day holiday with a fabulous Fall trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
All through the month of October, Disneyland gets spookier! Disney Villains running amuck, Mickey and pals dressed in costume, Halloween treats and pumpkin decorations galore. Even the rides get all gussied up in their Halloween finest. Space Mountain turns into a Ghost Galaxy complete with creepy music and ghoulish space creatures appearing from nowhere. Tower of Terror delights with frights from a “supernatural” event that took place there on Halloween night in 1939. And, of course, my absolute favorite, the Haunted Mansion decked in Nightmare Before Christmas with Jack Skeleton and Sandy donning their Santa and reindeer costumes.
Don’t forget the parties! Disney knows how to get the spirits moving with the new Mad T Party’s, “Dead Man’s Party” at California Adventure, and who can forget Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland! My family had a great time at the Mickey’s Halloween Party last year dressing up in their costumes and trick or treating with all the characters. Some of their favorite experiences were Mickey’s Cavalcade, where the characters parade through the pack in their Halloween costumes, Halloween Screams fireworks display, and the dance parties throughout the park.
Here are some other great reasons to attend the Mickey’s Halloween Party:
- The special opportunity to play in Disneyland for three hours before the party starts
- Trick or Treating – candy and healthy treats - in the ultimate Disney neighborhood
- The “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, hosted by “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington (presented exclusively for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party)
- “Mickey’s Costume Party” cavalcade featuring some favorite characters, performed twice nightly
- The Cadaver Dans ghoul quartet, performing Halloween-themed tunes aboard a drifting graveyard-themed raft on the Rivers of America in New Orleans Square and Frontierland
- Dance parties, where guests will “boo-gie” to lively music
- An opportunity for everyone in the family to attend the park in costumes
- Photo locations with popular Disney and Pixar Pals, and Disney Villains
- Nearly all the favorite Disneyland rides and attractions, plus Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
- Complimentary parking for one standard-size vehicle
Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party purchased in advance are $59 most days, while tickets purchased on the event days are $67. All tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and Halloween Night, Thursday, Oct. 31, are $74. Mickey’s Halloween Party is a non-smoking event. Smoking will be permitted in the Esplanade outside the Disneyland Main Entrance.
For more information about Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort, see www.disneyland.com/halloween. This site will be updated with frightfully fun details.
If you think your little ones might get too spooked, don’t worry, there is plenty for them to do, too, like the Monsters U Dance Party, Pirates League and the Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch.
OK- so exciting news for Nevada residents- Friday, October 25th, is the observed holiday for Nevada’s Day. Which means 3-day weekend, and the Mickey’s Halloween Party will be happening that night! If you are apart of the Clark County School District, you will also get the Thursday before off for a Staff Development Day, allowing for a 4-day weekend, October 24-27!
As if you needed more convincing…I’m sharing some of my favorite Fall photos from Halloweentime at Disneyland from my Instagram account. #RSMLVDisney
Join the other fabulous hosts of Instagram Travel Thursday on Skimbaco Lifestyle to discover some fantastic travel posts, images and tips on using Instagram. One of my favorite new travel sites is written by Leigh Hines of Hines-Sight . I have enjoyed following her luxury adventures through the South, a place on my travel bucket list, and following her on Instagram at @hinessightblog.
Disclaimer: Though I do work with Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts occasionally for blogger and media events, this post is not sponsored by Disney. I attended the Mickey’s Halloween Party as a blogger last year, but was not able to attend this year.
Meet Sofia. She was just a girl in the village doin’ alright, then she became a princess over night when the King met her mother and swept them away to live in a castle and a storybook world in Enchancia. Now she is working on how to do “royalty right,” as Sofia the First. My family was selected to screen the new DVD available in stores on September 17th. At first, I wasn’t so sure my twins would be into the series, having it be about a princess after all, so thought I would be watching it with my 7 year old daughter. How incorrect I was. My twins love the entire Disney Jr. Playhouse series– all of them Special Agent Oso, Handy Manny, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, and of course the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Not only do they adore all the characters, but they also love to sing along. And, I’m not kidding when I say they totally get into it- arms up, dancing, shouting back at the TV, they love all of it. Including Sofia the First. The photo below is a bit grainy, but it is the boys at the new Playhouse Disney Jr. at California Adventures in Anaheim, California. They were the groupies of the show, treating every act like they were rockstars!
What is so great about this particular DVD release is the short film addition from Frozen. The boys laugh aloud at the moose. They think he is just hysterical. And, the animation is pretty cool. Which of course, gets me excited to see the animated film this November when it comes out. There is also a Sofia dress up doll kit that my daughter snatched up right away and began putting together on her desk. Immediately I felt like the whole family was involved in the Sofia the First DVD.
Here is the synopsis:
Your favorite little princess-in-training returns for more music, majesty and magical fun, so get ready to have a ball with Sofia the First! Becoming royalty overnight is every girl’s dream, and Sofia is eager to prove she can be a true princess. Visit an enchanted circus, meet a pet dragon and soar through desert skies with Sofia and Amber on a magic carpet ride! But when their high-flying adventure veers off course, it’s special guest Princess Jasmine to the rescue with inspiring advice about trying new things, staying strong and trusting yourself. Sparkling with extraordinary song, unforgettable characters and thrilling surprises, Ready to Be A Princess opens the door to a whole new world of kindness, helping others and being the best you can be!
The dvd itself has 5 different episodes and features cameos from some of your favorite Disney Princesses like Jasmine. The episodes explore everyday experiences like honesty, loyalty, courage, independence, compassion and grace, characteristics of a true princess, and depicts them in a way children can relate. As a mother, I’m often struggling with how to teach my children how to posses these qualities and understand why they are important to practice. The episodes on the DVD certainly help as a guide in some of the intangible parenting issues. There is one episode in particular, “A Royal Mess,” where Sofia takes the blame for an accident her brother James caused. Common sense gets you thinking, “wow, that’s really sweet she did that for her brother,” then as the story goes on, the lesson begins to hit as to why that is really not a good thing to do. I love that story because I know with four children, something like that is bound to happen, if it hasn’t already.
As usual, the voice casting is terrific as only Disney can do. I love trying to guess the actors to the voices, but sometimes I need a cheat sheet:
Ariel Winter (ABC TV’s “Modern Family”) as Sofia, Sara Ramirez (ABC TVs “Grey’s Anatomy”) as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady (TV’s “Let’s Make A Deal”) as Clover & Tim Gunn (TV’s “Project Runway”) as Baileywick
The episodes available on this DVD:
2- “The Shy Princess”
3 – “Blue Ribbon Bunny”
4 – “The Princess Test”
5 – “Two To Tangu” (Jasmine Episode)
Take a trip to Enchancia with Sofia the First and see what being a true princess is all about! You can learn more about Sofia the First by visiting the Disney Junior Website.
Run Time: Approx. 110-minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen (Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions)
Languages/ English, French & Spanish
Next week, my daughter and I will be heading to the Disney Social Media Moms conference at Walt Disney World. It is not our first time to the magical place. Last June, I was invited to learn more about the Golden Oak Resort Homes at Disney World, and was also invited to bring my children. We had a blast! It was our first time ever going to the park. Of course, momma still had some work to do, which meant a few magical moments of her own to experience. One being a special dining experience at The Contemporary Resort, where we will be staying during the conference.
I wanted to share some photos with you from our event. We were not told where we were going, but followed the crowd into what looked like a behind the scenes mechanical area. A few quick turns to the right, and we found ourselves in one of the kitchen’s of the hotel, with beautiful decor lit up all around us. Turns out, Chef Joe was about to rock our world with a unique dining experience along with wine and beer pairing, straight from Disney’s own vineyard of course, for each course.
Though amusement parks are not necessarily known for their culinary delights, I have to admit, every meal I ate at the Walt Disney World Resort, either on my own or set up through the press trip, was delicious. My mom, one of the pickiest eaters I know, was even raving about how great the food was from Epcot to the Hoop-dee-do Musical Review at the Fort Wilderness Resort. The Chef’s Table experience at The Contemporary was no exception. Take a look at my photo journal below and tell me what you think.