Friday, November 30, 2012

Foodie Friday: Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Review



The long-awaited Be Our Guest Restaurant is now open... and it does NOT disappoint. This restaurant serves a counter service style lunch and  a table service dinner. When you walk into the restaurant for lunch, you are directed down the hallway to the right, flanked by three suits of armor on each side. These suits of armor are, different. This is the Beast's castle after all! Pay attention as you walk through here. While you wait, digital menu screens in the center of the hallway show you photos of the food you are about to order, hopefully making it easier to decide.                                                                                                        


The next room is themed after the parlor in Beauty and the Beast, with the fireplace and huge wing chair that Beast sits in. The Cast Member here gives you a magical “rose”, which tells Cast Members where to bring your food, and is activated by a Mickey head on the side of the check-in desk. You proceed to a register and place your order. At lunch, touch-screen, automated terminals are available for guests to order using credit cards. For special dietary requests and cash orders, cashiers are available. And in addition to the “rose” telling Cast Members where to bring your food, Cast Members also use a special "blackberry type" device to see which tables need clearing, where your order is in the kitchen and other "official castle" communication. Once your order is placed, you’ll sit down and your order will be delivered to you on real tableware, no paper and plastic! You pick up your napkins and silverware in carts near the self serve beverage areas in each dining room. Food delivery is done in a very unique and appropriate fashion befitting a castle, wheeled out in fancy glass-covered rolling carts. The hot food is under glass, and cold items are on the next shelf down. (Remember, the servers find you based on your magic rose!)

Here is the basic lunch Counter-Service Menu: Sandwiches and salads on the menu include a tuna Niçoise salad and a Croque Monsieur sandwich with carved ham, Gruyere cheese, béchamel and pommes frites, Carved turkey on a warm baguette with Dijon mayonnaise, or a grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread. These are also served with pommes frites. A braised pork dish is also available. Vegetarians will enjoy a loaded vegetable quiche or quinoa, shallot, and chive salad. For the kids at lunch, there is a carved turkey sandwich, roasted pulled pork, Mickey meatloaf, seared mahi mahi, or whole-grain macaroni topped with marinara and mozzarella. Desserts include strawberry cream cheese. lemon meringue or triple chocolate cupcakes, a chocolate cream puff, or a passion fruit cream puff.


At lunch you have three dining rooms to choose from: the West Wing (to the left) and Rose Gallery (to the right), as well as the main ballroom. I was told that in the Table-Service dinner, only the West Wing and main Ballroom will be opened. The Rose Gallery will be used as a "staging area" for the dinner hour, as well as "overflow" dinner seating when necessary.


The centerpiece of the Rose Gallery is a 7 foot wooden music box figure of Belle and Beast a gift from Belle’s father, Maurice, on their wedding day. The figures turn and dance while music-box versions of the soundtrack you hear throughout the restaurant play. Each side has a different front detail so be sure to walk around and look at all sides. There are many tapestries on the walls depicting scenes from the movie as well as some others that are not. Carved roses are featured throughout the room.




The West Wing is truly an amazing setting. The lights are very dim, the tapestries and walls are shredded and clawed, and you’ll see a familiar portrait on the wall as well as a shimmering rose under a glass jar! Notice what happens when all the petals fall. Lightening and thunder flash and crash around you. If you have smaller diners they may find the thunder a bit noisy, and remember it is quite dark in this room, you are in the Beast's West Wing after all!






The elegant ballroom is the largest dining area. As you enter, look up. The centerpiece of the room is the painted ceiling, featuring winged cherubs and clouds as well as massive chandeliers! My favorite part of this room is the snowfall projected outside the windows that overlook the French countryside. Seating here is comfortable and elegant, with marble tables and terrazzo floors with mosaics. The combination of the 20 foot ceilings and the terrazzo floors can make this room a bit noisy during busy times however.





My choice for lunch was Croque Monsieur sandwich. The bread was a hearty whole grain and the ham was cut in thick slices. The gruyere cheese was nutty and salty and perfectly melted, and the béchamel soaked into the bread.  The fries, excuse me, Pomme Frites, are good, but not memorable. Ketchup is served in a ramekin, no packets here! There is a carrot ketchup on the kid's menu, and next time I think I'll ask to try that. For dessert I had the Triple Chocolate Cupcake featuring chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate ganache. It was excellent and very rich. If you're not a chocolate lover, you might want to go with another choice here. Note those little plastic wrappers on the cupcakes? Trust me, just dig into them with your spoon. On my next visit, I plan to order the steak sandwich, I saw it being delivered to tables around me and it looked wonderful! If you visit at lunch, take your time and look around all three dining rooms and notice all the hidden details (I've only shared a few here ;) ! ) I visited during one of the Passholder Preview weekends and I have heard that some of the prices pictured above may have risen slightly since then, so keep that in mind.

Disney Dining Plan: One quick-service credit for lunch; one table-service credit for dinner
Tables in Wonderland: Dinner only.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why I love Walt Disney World, by Adam

  We all know about the rides, shows, food and more at Walt Disney World, and no doubt have favorites. I definitely have ones that I love and do every time, but they are not why I love Disney World and keep going back time after time.
  What I really love is the quality family time we have and the memories we make while there. That's not to say that I don't love riding Space Mountain, or watching Wishes, or eating a Mickey Pretzel or meeting Mickey Mouse, which I do. In fact, one of my best memories was when my son saw Mickey for the time. The first time we went to Disney World was just before my son turned two, and everyone told us that he was gonna be afraid of Mickey, they couldn't have been more wrong. Mickey was still back in Mickey's Toon Town the first time we saw him, it was still about the same setup they have now at the Town Square Theater, you wait in line then they take a small group at a time in a room to meet Mickey and Minnie. One difference was that in Toon Town from now is, when they took you in the room you could see Mickey right away as opposed to have to go around the wardrobe cabinet, hence keeping Mickey out of sight. So, as we entered the room, my son saw Mickey right away and started to yell. Not "I'm scared, get me out of here" yell, but "I wanna see Mickey, get out of my way". At this time he wasn't really walking yet so my wife was carrying him and he almost pushed out of her arms. Finally, it was our turn and my wife put my son down and he started to crawl over to Mickey. He turned back to look at us, I think to make sure it was ok, then continued on and then Mickey got down on the ground with my son, which was great. We then got our pictures and it was time to go. Needless to say, my son did not want to leave.
  I have to say, that was one of my favorite memories from Disney World, but most certainly not the only one. I also loved the time we were watching Wishes and my son, in a stroller, reached over and grabbed my hand then reached up and grabbed my wife's hand, so we could all watch together. It was really sweet and he was only 2 at the time so it got my wife crying some happy tears, because he wanted us both near him.
  All the great memories I've made, and will make, are why I love Disney World. So do you have any great memories from Disney World? Why do you love going to Disney World? Let us know in comments below or over on the Addicted to Mickey Facebook page. As always have a Magical day and see you real soon!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: Alfredo Linguini


One of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies, it’s time to learn a little bit about Alfredo Linguini from Ratatouille. Besides his extremely hilarious and fun name, Linguini is a powerful character that teaches us a lot about friendship, believing in yourself, and group effort. Linguini is the son of Auguste Gusteau, the famous Paris chef. However, nobody knows of his relation, even Linguini, and so the awkward gawky garbage boy at Restaurant Gusteau feels as if there is no hope for him in any profession. He ruins a soup created in the kitchen but before it is served, Linguini meets his new and lifelong friend, Remy, the mouse chef.


Image: http://tinyurl.com/cqx4cov

Linguini was working to support himself and his mother, but she tragically dies at the beginning of the film, leaving Linguini alone to make something of himself in his Paris apartment. With Remy’s help, Linguini makes Gusteau’s famous once again and befriends a fellow cook name Colette who teaches him the ins and out of the kitchen and how to make delicious food. It’s not long before Linguini falls for Colette and Remy helps this along. The two eventually start a relationship.

Image: http://tinyurl.com/bufu7a6

Soon it is realized that Linguini is the true heir to Gusteau’s fortune, and he suddenly inherits the restaurant. Linguini, with the help of his rat friends, impress food critic Anton Ego. However, due to the rats in the kitchen, the restaurant is closed. Linguini becomes a waiter with Colette at a new bistro named La Ratatouille.

Image: http://tinyurl.com/cnf4f62

 Linguini is a shy and lovable character trying to find his way in the world and with Remy and Colette’s help, it seems he finds it. Unfortunately, Linguini cannot be found at Walt Disney World as he has so much to do at La Ratatouille.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Disney Guru Travel~Cyber Monday Deal



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We are looking forward to working with YOU!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What the "Addicts" are Thankful For

Shannan Wright: I am first and foremost thankful to Walt for making this all possible. I'm also thankful to Kelly of Disney Guru and Nancy of The Affordable Mouse for giving me the courage to start writing and sharing my love of Disney with so many of you. I am thankful for the good times that Disney has allowed me to have with my family. We have made several trips to Disney with my parents, allowing for bonding time with my children. We have Disney movie night that provides us family time together.

 Adam McVeigh: I'm thankful for the quality time with my family that Disney provides. Thankful for monthly payments on annual passes, so I can afford one, and that I live close enough to go as often as I can afford. I'm thankful for the great cast members behind the mask of characters in the park, and for them bringing the character to life for my son. I'm thankful to be able to share all the memories and experiences with my wife and son. I am thankful to be able to share my photos and stories here, and that all our fans take the time to read them. And lastly, at Disney I'm thankful for giant ice cream cookie sandwiches, because well they're giant ice cream cookie sandwiches, and Mickey pretzels, because I love Mickey and I love pretzels.

 Amy Decker: I am thankful for Uncle Walt and Uncle Roy and all of their creativity and dreams. As a passholder I feel as I am a member of the extended Disney family, and I am so thankful to live so close to Walt Disney World so we can experience the magic whenever we want. I am thankful for being a Disney mommy so I can experience all things Disney through the innocent eyes of babes. I am thankful for runDisney and all of the Disney races which are so amazing. I am thankful for Disney Junior and all of the shows that my little princess adores. Disney really does add happiness to every aspect of our lives and the word thankful just doesn't seem to truly describe our amount of gratitude for all things Disney.

 Angela Burford Pulsifer: I am thankful for being a pass holder and living only an hour and a half away from WDW. I am thankful for all the cast members who work to keep the parks so beautiful and clean. I am thankful for It's A Small World ride, a classic and my girls love it to pieces. I am thankful for the New Fantasyland. I am thankful for the wonderful memories made at Disney and for the many more to come. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who works his tail off so we can experience Disney as much as we love to.

 April Phillips: I am thankful for the magical feeling everyone at the Disney parks helps to create, from the first cast member you see who is checking your bag all the way to the characters who all make sure to make each Disney experience as magical as the first time! I am thankful for the first ride we get on which is Pirates of the Caribbean every visit to Disneyland and the first bite of clam chowder from right outside Pirates! I am thankful for all the yummy snacks that help to ruin my diet every visit! Most of all I am thankful for every memory that Disney has helped my family create whether it has been in a park or just a Phillips Family Disney Movie night at home, Disney has kept the magic alive for us!!!

 Darleen Linquist: I'm so very thankful for Walt & Roy Disney and their vision and what they gave to the world. I'm thankful for all the wonderful memories that Disney has made possible and for the magic it provides to so many people. I'm most thankful for all the friends that I've made because of our shared love for Disney.

 Dawn Mathis Losch: Well, Besides family, being that this is a Disney Thanks, I will have to start off first of all I am thankful for Walt Disney, for not giving up on his dream, for providing so many family memories for all of us to share. I am thankful for fast passes so we don't have to wait in lines so long,and lastly,I am thankful for Annual Passes that let us enjoy the world all year long,and I am thankful for dole whips and school bread too:O) Lastly, I am thankful for all my friends at A2M we have all made, and getting to share all our thoughts, and ideas all year with all of you readers :O)

 Heather Mandosa: At this time of year, there are so many things that I am thankful for. When thinking of Disney, it is easy to reflect on the different aspects of my life that have been touched by Disney. I am thankful that I have a family that loves Disney. I am thankful that I have found other people in the world that love Disney as much as I do.  I am thankful that, upon hearing that there would be a new baby in my extended family, my five year old excitedly exclaimed that there would be a new Mickey fan in the world.  I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to travel to Disneyland and Disney World as a child, young adult and now parent. The memories made at these locations will last forever.  I am thankful that I am able to plan trips for the future. I love the opportunity to plan trips with my family.  Whether it be a group of 4 or 24, it is such a wonderful gift to be able to spend time together in the place that can bring the kid out in just about anyone.

 Kayla Justice: Disney. I am thankful for Mr. Walt and Roy and their dreams and how they continue to inspire everyone to achieve their dreams. I'm thankful for my education and that Disney provides things like the college programs and internships so that I can be part of the magic. I'm thankful for all the cast members who do a great job everyday and make magic for every guest. I am also thankful for all the great friends I've made because of Disney and every Disney movie that gives me hope when I'm feeling down. :)

 Shelby King: I am thankful for Walt and Roy Disney, for the movies and the parks. I am also thankful for all the memories that I have been able to make with my family while at Walt Disney World.  The other thing I am thankful for is the Disney College Program so that I could become a cast member at the place I love the most.

 Will Bumgardner: I'm very thankful for Walt and the entire Disney family for giving us the opportunity to leave the real world from time to time and be able to enter such an amazing and magical place. I'm thankful for the opportunity to visit Disney parks as much as I'm able to. Seeing my son's eyes light up when we visit makes each trip even more worthwhile. I'm thankful for being able to share my thoughts and ideas with other people that truly enjoy Disney.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: Flynn Rider

If there is a thief we all love, it’s Flynn Rider…or should I say Eugene Fitzherbert? Making his debut in Disney’s Tangled (2010) Flynn was on a mission with his partners in crime (The Stabbington  Brothers) to steal the jewels of the lost princess of Corona. That’s before he suddenly finds himself face to face with a lonely and adventurous girl named Rapunzel. Being conniving and clever as he is, Flynn initially thinks with the flash of his “smolder” he’ll soon put Rapunzel under his spell and make off without a trace.


Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/8768cdg

He’s surprised when the independent and dream-filled Rapunzel has other plans. Throughout his journey with Rapunzel we learn many things about Flynn. He grew up in an orphanage when he was a child, constantly reading stories of “Flynnigan Rider” the rich and daring hero; This is where he got his name. Flynn eventually tells Rapunzel that he took the name after the character and his real name is Eugene. Yearning for the same recognition and riches as Flynnigan, Eugene becomes one of the most wanted thieves, but it turns him into a wanted man rather than leaving him with peace and all the money he could enjoy. Flynn is now constantly on the run until he meets Rapunzel.

Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/amhv8ba

 He realizes that it’s not just his dreams that matter, but as he falls in love with Rapunzel, that she is his dream and he learns to care for other people in the process.  Unfortunately, Flynn no longer does meet and greets with Rapunzel at Walt Disney World. He may make some random appearances during special events and parades. Somebody must stay home and feed Maximus his apples!

Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/bfasjn3

Fun Fact about Flynn Rider:
They just can’t get his nose right.
Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/bj6og5s

Monday, November 19, 2012

Disney in the Aloha state!!



When my husband joined the Army in August of 2009 we were very excited for the new adventures that we would be encountering and couldn't wait to see where we would be stationed. My oldest son, who was 8 at the time, kept saying he wanted Hawaii, I told him we would end up somewhere very cold or very hot most likely!  Well in December of 2009 my husband called and said "we are off to Hawaii!"  Everyone was so excited for us, as was I but my first thought was, it is so far from all things Disney!  I started to research and found that Disney on Ice never comes to Oahu, which is what always keeps us from going through withdrawals in between Disney vacations, but there is a Disney store!    Well Mickey must have heard my cries because the summer after we moved here, they started to build the Disney resort Aulani!  It took about a year and half for the hotel to be built. it is located in KoOlina.  Aulani is surrounded by 4 lagoons that are the calmest waters on Oahu, has the bluest water and most beautiful sand.  They built Aulani with the true Disney spirit but added real Hawaiian details.  For instance, instead of looking for hidden Mickey's you are on the look out for Menahue's!  The hotel is gorgeous, of course, and there are plenty of activities for the kiddos.  They have movie nights outside where they play a Disney movie on a big screen and they tell stories of Hawaiian culture.  There is a lazy river and a couple of pools, one area is full of water slides.  Also, there is a place to snorkel with local fishes!  I had planned on going to Disneyland for my birthday this year in October, but since we are moving so soon and there is a lot to do and we are starting Disney World adventures in March I decided to not go.  But I needed a Disney fix so I told my husband all I wanted for my birthday was to go to the character breakfast at Aulani!  I called a month in advance to make reservations but in order to make them that early in advance you must be staying there and have reservations but the wonderful cast member told me to call the day before and they could most likely get me in.  So, the day before my birthday I called Aulani and they said they were full:(  But to call back the next day and I could get on the wait list, I was so sad.  Well the next day, my birthday, I woke up and called and they said they were full but I could get in for sure the next day, I told the guy he had made me birthday and he asked me to hold on, when he came back on he asked if we could be there at 10:45 that day and I said oh yes!!  As usual, Disney comes through again!  The character breakfast at Aualni is called Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki. It is hosted by Aunty, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.  When you first check in to the restaurant you are taken to have you picture made with Mickey and then to your seats.  The hostess tells you a bit about the decor, which is made from coconuts, inside and out!  The food is amazing with a mixture of Disney breafast favorites(Mickey waffles), Island favorites (Loco Moco) and regular breakfast items.  Aunty sings songs and hosts parades and fun songs in front of the restaurant while Goofy and Minnie come around for pictures and to play with you at the table!  They actually had the entire restaurant sing Happy Birthday to me and taught us some local songs!  Goofy was as silly as ever and Minnie was as sweet as I have ever seen her!!  We have been to every Character meal in Disneyland and I would have to rate Aunty's one of my favorites ever!! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Foodie Friday: Plaza Restaurant Review

Many people don't know about this place in the Magic Kingdom. I have been to MK over 100 times and never seen this place located behind the Plaza Ice Cream establishment. . My husband and I found this little gem after figuring out its not a good idea to forgo reservations on MNSSHP night. It was a cute little  place, very snug and warm. Being a busy night, it was kind of congested, but that's to be suspected. Our drinks were quickly served and orders were taken. We ordered a meatloaf dinner and out comes this plate big enough for 3 people to eat! It consisted of 3 huge chunks of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn. I looked at hubby and said there was no way I was finishing this! I am trying to eat healthier and watch what I am eating, and didn't want to over do it, so I ate less than half the meal.

 So, the portions are huge, the wait staff was very friendly, even spoke Spanish to the couple dinning next to us. As far as taste,it was ok, average for Disney fare. Better than a counter service meal, but not as good as most table service meals. The menu was kind of small. This is a great place for a quick sit down lunch.

This meal cost 16.99,which was a good deal for all that you got!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: New Fantasyland Preview




I was privileged to be able to attend the Passholder Preview of the New Fantasyland this past weekend and wanted to share a few tips and suggestions about what your experience might be like if you are signed up to attend one of the upcoming previews. I will do my best not to spoil anything for you. I did both "attractions" in "Stand-By" mode as well as "Fast-Pass" mode. Here is what you might expect if you're going, and my tips on getting the most out of your "Preview" experience:

Your experience begins at the TTC to pick up your wristband. Yes, I said TTC, NOT the MK ticket turnstiles or the entrance area of the new Fantasyland. So if you're staying on property or if you're already in the Magic Kingdom and your preview is later in the day, you need to keep this in mind as you plan travel times etc. The first preview of the day is scheduled before the park opens, so it's very important to go to the TTC first if you're staying on property. They request you check in there about 1/2 hour before your assigned time. This is very important to know for the early morning preview times. I did, however, see cast members at the Fantasyland entrance area handing these out as well later in the day, but I wouldn't count on that being the case.

You will get a wristband which will tell the cast members what time and which "experience" you are signed up for, Belle or Ariel. Everyone can ride the Ariel ride and "tour" the Be Our Guest restaurant along with Gaston's Tavern and the new gift shop. The "meet and greet" in Ariel's Grotto and the "Enchanted Tales with Belle" are the two variations guests could have signed up for. When I was there the meet and greet with Ariel was very "light" and I was invited to go meet Ariel as I exited the "Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid" ride. Regrettably I decided to forgo this experience. So, TIP: Even if you signed up for the "Belle" experience, you might be able to do the "Ariel meet and greet" at Ariel's Grotto!

I had chosen the "Enchanted Tales with Belle" experience and was very glad I did. You enter Maurice's cottage and see where Belle grew up and Maurice's workshop before you experience your time with Belle. TIPS: Try to get as close up to the "railing" in the front as you enter Maurice's workshop, or at the very least have a good view of the mirror near the cast member at the front of this room. If you do the fast pass or Guest Assistance Card for this you will NOT get to see the "living area" of the cottage. I would suggest you try to do the "stand by" cue first if at all possible. If you have children you should know that there are several "parts" in this "show/experience" (not my words, the cast member I talked to about this described it like that) so if they are shy, or have special needs you may want to prepare them for this as the cast members in the next area will most likely call on them to help Belle by acting out various parts. If possible, have them do it, it's very fun, and it's a fairly small group of people going through at a time. There is also a photopass photographer taking pictures of everyone participating and Belle takes her time at the end to thank each one that had a part and takes a picture with them.

The next thing you will see is the Be Our Guest restaurant. On my visit ... wait for it... they were OPEN for BOTH lunch and dinner! Talk about a great surprise!! Ok, a few TIPS here: The "Self Guided Tour" listed as a part of the preview is really just what I would call a "Peek" into the main Ballroom dining area. Which is great, don't get me wrong, but you don't get to see the other two dining areas, or get to see some of the very special things in the entry area etc (listen closely in the cue area with the suits of armor!), so if at all possible I would suggest trying to have a meal, or even just dessert here. The portions at lunch were large and most could be easily shared, and they're priced very similarly to the other quick serve restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. I was told that the  "Rose Gallery" seating area is only open at lunch, so you may want to eat in this room if you go for lunch. They were also taking reservations for dinner and were allowing you BACK into the area to eat later if you chose to do this if your preview time was earlier in the day. (Check in with a cast member at the entrance, your name will be on a list.) As with all things Disney, things are subject to change and your experience may differ here. At lunch, once you order your food you are free to choose a table and get your drink as well as wander around the restaurants three seating areas. But beware, if you haven't found a table by the time your food is ready to be delivered to you, you will most likely be "tracked down" by a server. The technology used here is amazing.

Servant welcoming you to Be Our Guest Restaurant

  
Belle and Beast music box in the Rose Gallery Room at Be Our Guest

Mosaic feature at Be Our Guest

The next area you'll see is Gaston's Tavern and the merchandise shop for the area. Both are themed extremely well and the shop carries some "area exclusive" merchandise. They limited the merchandise purchase to 1 or 4  of each item per person (depending on what it was), during the preview time.

                            Themed merchandise

              Gaston welcoming you to his Tavern

The last area you'll visit is the Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid ride and Ariel's Grotto. Since I don't want to give away any "spoilers" here, I'll just say that this ride is a lot of fun and captures the essence of the story and movie very well. It is a "dark ride" in a "clam shell" (think Haunted Mansion or The Seas with Nemo and Friends) and there is one area that might be a bit "scary" for the younger guests, but it's brief and all but the most timid should have no issues here. Again, the themeing here is amazing. I experienced both the fast pass and stand by cues and would recommend experiencing the stand by cue first. You will miss some fun things if you only use the fast pass line.


Overall tips: Look for all the "Disney details"... EVERYWHERE... Look UP, look DOWN at the pavement, notice the lighting fixtures, just look everywhere, this area is themed beautifully. You can ride the Under the Sea ride and experience Enchanted Tales with Belle (if you signed up for that experience) as many times as you would like during your assigned time. If you didn't sign up for the "Belle" experience, it's worth seeing if you can experience that as well, and vice versa with Ariel's Grotto. It seemed like it depended on the cast member overseeing the area as well as the crowds at each place as to whether you could do both.



I hope some of these tips are useful to you in planning your time during the preview. I had a wonderful experience during this preview time and I hope everyone else that is able to attend does as well!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: Contributor April Phillips


Hello fellow Disney addicts!!  My name is April and I am a 32 year old proud wife to an Army soldier and grateful mother to three amazing children!  I can't tell you the exact moment that I fell in love with all things Disney because it seems that Disney has always been a part of my life!  I can't think of any better feeling than the first time you spy the first sign with Mickey on it letting you know you are close!  There is a magical feeling that takes over as soon as you step onto any Disney property, every cast member seems so happy to see you, not because they have to but because they are truly happy to see you!  It is how the world should be, we should all have that magic in our lives!  I grew up six hours away from Disneyland and my parents took me a few times growing up but when I got married and we started our own family we began going every year and believe it or not, since we have been living in Hawaii we have still been going once or even twice a year!  We are moving to Kansas in February and decided to buy annual passes for Walt Disney World!  We have our first trip planned for March already and couldn't be more excited. My kiddos have all also got the Disney gene, my 10 year old son knows more Disney trivia than anyone I know, my daughter is 8 and is a true Disney Princess, and we named her Emma Aurora after my favorite Disney Princess! And my little 4 year old pirate spots hidden Mickey's in everything!  I look forward to sharing what our experiences have been with Disneyland and Aulani and letting you all share our new journeys in Disney World!! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Disney Guru Transfer Week!!




Are you ready for an early Christmas present?  It's Disney Transfer Week!  For one week only, you can transfer your reservation to Kelly with Disney Guru Travel and take advantage of incredible freebies, just for Addicted to Mickey Readers readers.  If you booked your Disney World package with Disney (by phone or online), you can let Kelly help you with your vacation planning.  

When you transfer your reservation, your reservation stays exactly the same.  The only change is Kelly's agency will be added to your reservation.  Then Kelly can then help you plan the rest of your trip with her famous itinerary planning, dining suggestions and reservations,  You also get lots of freebies including:
  • MousePerks - Hundreds of crafts, activities sheets, tips, and more created just for our guests.  Receive magic in your email box!
  • Disney Theme Park Guide Maps - Learn your way around the parks, before you get there with Disney Theme Park Guide Maps
  • Autograph Pictures of Mickey Mouse - Your kids will love the autograph pictures of Mickey Mouse!
  • Disney Florist In Room Gift - You choose which Disney Florist gift you prefer.  If you have kids, you can choose the personalized Mickey Mouse ears with autograph book and pen.  This gift is delivered to your room at Disney World.  This gift is valued up to $208 for 4 children.  OR you can choose the Mickey Treat Cooler with Mickey Mouse plush, Mickey clock, snacks, and Mickey Cooler (valued at $75).  You pick the in room gift, best for your family!
It is a simple procedure to let Kelly  take over your reservation.  You will complete this form.  Kelly will contact you to see if you have any additional questions and then email you a transfer form.  You will sign the bottom of the transfer form and fax to Disney.  It then takes Disney about a week to add them to your reservation.  Everything else stays the same on your reservation.  Then let the fun begin!

Transfer Week is held only one week from 11/11/12-11/18/12

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Downtown Disney with Little Ones

  When going to Walt Disney World we all know that the theme parks and water parks have many things to offer for little one, but they can also be quite expensive. One place on Disney property that has many things for little ones to do for relatively inexpensive or even free is Downtown Disney.
  First you have Once Upon a Toy, which as the name implies is a big toy store and what kid doesn't love toys? Did you know that you can make your own Mr. Potatohead? Well for $19.99 you can get a box and fill it with all your favorite pieces, many Disney exclusive. Now say you don't wanna spend the money, well they have tables set up where your little ones can build and play with Mr. Potatohead to there hearts content, or at least as long as you want them too. Do you have a little builder in your family? Head over to the Lego Imagination Center, out front they tables set up where you can build away, and two of them have racetracks so you can build cars and race them, and all for free.
  Now if your little ones want to ride some "rides", there is a kiddy train, much like what you'd see at a mall, a carousel, and of course the newly reopened Characters in Flight, which is fun for the whole family. Do you have a little one who's in to race cars? Check out Ridemakerz where your little one can make there own remote control car, for more info check out a review here, or at least pick the parts while you build it. If you have a little one who likes stuffed animals check out the Build a Dino inside the T-Rex cafe, which can be a great place to eat with little ones, though it can get very loud and kinda dark at times so be advised.
  Do you have a little princess with you? Check out Basin where you and you little one can try out all different kinds of soaps and other "smell good" stuff. Or maybe stop into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for the ultimate princess makeover. As with most places in Disney World there are water play areas, so bring a change of clothes for your little ones. If you forget to bring extra clothes you could check out Disney's Design a Tee and let them design their very own Disney shirt.
  Of course we can't forget the one thing that millions flock to Disney World for and that is food. Now most little ones aren't gonna get excited by the "exotic" foods in the World Showcase at Epcot, but most will love to have some sweet treats. You have Goofy's Candy Co. where you can get a custom candy apple, or any variety of cookie or cupcake. Honestly I prefer here over any World Showcase restaurant.
  These are just a few of the things to do with little ones at Downtown Disney, but as with the rest of Disney World there's always more to do. Have you done any of these? What is your favorite thing to do at Downtown Disney with little ones? Did I leave any thing out? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page. As always have a Magical day and see you real soon!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Disney Guru News and Discounts~Week of November 5, 2012



Disney Guru News and Discounts~Week of November 5, 2012

Hi Addicted to Mickey Fans!! Kelly Ortiz here of Disney Guru Travel check out the news and deals for the week! As always we would be honored to help you plan your magical vacation! Check out what our clients have to say about our FREE services.  Click here to request your vacation quote, and be sure to mention that you found us right here on Addicted to Mickey. Hugs!

What's New?

Disney Cruise Line - was recently recognized as the No. 1 Cruise Line in the Large-Ship category in the Condé Nast Traveler 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards! As a pioneer in the family cruise market, Disney Cruise Line provides a unique vacation experience where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and children can celebrate beloved Disney stories.
Disney Cruise Line has received more than 100 distinguished awards and recognitions from the travel industry since first setting sail in 1998. Recently, Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers placed three Disney ships in the “Top 100 Cruise Ships of the World,” with the Disney Magic® being voted No. 1 and the Disney Dreamand Disney Wonder®tying for No. 2. Travel + Leisure also named Disney Cruise Line the No. 1 Cruise Line for Families for the fourth consecutive year.
New Regional Homeports and Itineraries
With four ships in the fleet, your Clients can sail to more destinations than ever before from a port close to their own backyard.
  • Disney Magic is currently sailing from Galveston, Texas, for the first time. Starting in 2013, your Clients can choose from 4-night Caribbean getaway cruises, 6-night Western Caribbean sailings and 8-night itineraries that travel to Walt Disney World® Resort and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
  • In December, Disney Wonder will begin sailing from Miami to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean.
  • In 2013, Disney Magic returns to Europe with 4-, 7- and 12-night sailings from Barcelona with first-ever stops in Venice, Italy, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, Ephesus, Turkey, and the Greek Isles.
  • Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream continue to sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries departing from Port Canaveral, Fla.
Book a vacation on the award-winning Disney Cruise Line today!
Universal Studios
The new TRANSFORMERS. The Ride-3D at Universal Orlando Resort is the greatest battle you'll ever ride. This ulta-immersive sensory experience puts you on the front lines of an intergalactic war between the Autobots and Decepticons.
You’ll  fight alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as you protect the Allspark from being captured by the enemy. The line between fiction and reality blurs as epic high-definition 3D film is fused with fight simulation technology to redefine thrill rides. The battle continues Summer 2013 at Universal Studios Orlando Resort.
Disney Discounts
Walt Disney World
Stay, Play, Dine & Save Package -For a family of four on a 5-night/6-day Walt Disney Travel Company room, ticket and dining plan package at select Walt Disney World®Resort hotels! For stays most nights 1/2-3/7/13. Book now through 12/31/12. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same package for 2 Adults, 1 Junior and 1 Child. Tickets are for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use.
No group rates or other discounts apply. Offer excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas, and is not valid at Disney's Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms. Advance reservations required. Excludes gratuities and alcohol. Children age 3–9 must order from the children's menu, if available. Some Table-service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.
Military Discount - Active duty and retired members of the US military can get specially discounted rooms at the Disney resorts most nights from October 1, 2012 – September 28, 2013 except November 22, 2012 through November 24, 2012; December 23, 2012 through December 31, 2012; and March 25, 2013 through April 4, 2013. Service members can also get up to (6) 4-day Park Hopper tickets for just $156.00 at their base ticket sales office.
Disney Cruise Line
Kids Sail FREE on select 6 and 8 Night Disney Cruise sailings out of Galveston. Book a 4A-11B stateroom from January 4-March 1, 2013 with two paid adults in the room and kids 17 and under sail for free.
Special Verandah Offer On Galveston Sailings Book a verandah stateroom (categories 5A-7A) for the price of an oceanview stateroom (categories 9A-9D) on most 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, Sept. 22–Dec. 21, 2012. (Offer excludes November 17th sailing).
Military Discount Special military rates available for cruises through December 2012. As low as $60 per guest per night!Rates vary by cruise.
Aulani
Two Nights FREE! From September 10, 2012 and December 18, 2012 book a minimum of three nights at Aulani and your next two nights are free! (Must book a minimum total of 5 nights). Offer available most nights. Book now through November 10th.
Universal Studios Discounts
Save and Play Getaway - Save up to $350 on a Universal Orlando®Vacation PackageA 4-night vacation include on-site hotel room, park tickets and free Express Pass for a family of four starts from $1,509 tax inclusive.

Monday, November 5, 2012

**Spoiler Alert** Frankenweenie Movie Review

After our visit with the Mouse for MNSSHP , the next morning we went to the AMC theatre in Downtown Disney to see "Frankenweenie". The place is awesome, the choices for food were too many to count, and the drinks consisted of a drink station you could have vanilla root beer, orange slice, or whatever you wanted. On to the movie. We chose to see this movie in 3-D. I have seen other movies in my town in 3-D, and they weren't the 3 D I am used to in Disney. This movie was real 3D! The movie starts of with the usual dark black and white from Tim Burton. It had a Halloween effect to it and was stop motion, which made it even better. Basically it goes on to tell the story of a boy, Victor, and his dog, Sparky. Victor is a young scientist type, and loves making things, including movies. If you've ever lost a dog, make sure to have tissues handy!! I sat and bawled like a baby!!! Victor's new science teacher showed the kids that even in death, the animals can still live by attaching the animal to an electric current. Well, Victor takes that to the next level, digs up the dog, and a true Frankenstein moment happens! The bully kid in school asks Victor to show him what happened, and before you know it, all the kids in class are digging up their pets. Something goes wrong in the experiment and they all turn into mutants that ravage the town, and make a mess of everything! Before you know it, the town is a mess, the mayor is not happy and his niece is taken to the top of the town's windmill. Victor goes to save her form her mutant batcat, and is thrown into the bottom of the place but Sparky comes into save the day. He drags Victor out just in the nick of time from certain death, then goes back in. The place is on fire and the building collapses with Sparky in it. There is nothing left for Victor to do but watch in horror, for the second time as his beloved Sparky dies. I am not gonna give away the ending, it was a really good movie. I cried, so much I had to collect myself before we could leave. The movie makes for a great family fun day at the movies and it was a really great film, and one of Tim Burton's best. Just be prepared for a tear jerker.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Food Friday: Review of Food & Wine's "Scent" Seminar


I know many of us have a "Bucket List", and some of us even have a "Disney Bucket List"... I know I do! I got to cross off one of the things on my list on my last visit! I was able to attend the "Scent" seminar during this years Food & Wine Festival. What... you've never heard of this? Well, maybe that's because this is only the second year that it's been offered and it's only offered once during the entire Festival! (So, ok, the "Party for the Senses" is still on my "List", but at only $14.00, in my opinion, this experience is one of the best values being offered during the Food & Wine Festival, and was much easier to "cross off" the list at that price! Not to mention more limited in availability!)

What is a "Scent" seminar or dinner? I'm glad you asked! Chandler Burr is the man behind this event. He was the New York Times perfume critic from 2006-2010, and is the Director and Curator of the Center of Olfactory Art at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. According to his website: "Scent Dinners are the combination of fine dining with a stimulating interactive master class in scent & perfume, two parallel dinners, one olfactory and invisible, the other gustatory and edible. For my olfactory dinner, with each course I have guests enjoy professional-grade gourmand perfumery raw materials... Teaming with the chef we generate a menu that reflects in each of his culinary, edible courses with the gourmand perfumes I've used in my olfactory dinner. A Scent Dinner is the intersection of fragrance and fine dining."

Ok, that's all to say that basically, the raw materials that were used in a perfume are passed around on blotters for everyone to enjoy and to guess what the ingredient is and then those same ingredients are used in cooking the various courses of a dinner. In our case, it was a three course tasting meal based on the ingredients used in three beautiful perfumes by Guerlain. The last blotter passed around for each course was the actual perfume so we could see how all the scents came together in the perfume. With each scent there was a discussion about whether it was a natural or synthetic scent, its origins and how that scent is used in either dining and/or perfumes. Everyone had a lot of fun experiencing the scent and trying to guess what it was, and it encouraged a lot of fun interactions and side discussions at our table. There were also many fun and interesting facts along the way. Did you know that 95% of your "taste" experience is actually smell? Or that smell is the first sense we develop?

          Chef Matt Maslowski and Chandler Burr

Epcot's Chef Matt Maslowski was the chef that created our amazing meal. It was amazing not only because of the creativity and flavors, but because he was only given the "scent ingredients" less than two weeks before the seminar. We started out with some Martini prosecco which went with all three courses. Our first course was based on Ambre Nargule by Hermes and was "Epcot's The Land" Black Bass which was braised with tonka and vanilla beans, topped with a micro greens salad with a toasted sesame and honey vinaigrette all finished with cinnamon dust.

Fish Course and the blotters of the scents used to create it.

The second course was based on Terre D'Hermes. It was slow roasted pork tenderloin infused with pink and black peppercorn and juniper with an apple parsnip puree with essence of cardamom and vanilla.

                                Entree Course

Our last course was based on Unjardin En Mediterranee. For dessert we were treated to a citrus sponge cake with lemon, lime and orange and carrot sorbet on top of a coconut meringue with green fig compote.

                           Three Course Dessert

Chandler Burr with the three perfumes that our dinner was based on.

One interesting thing that was brought out about perfumes was how they are marketed as either feminine or masculine, and that we really should just wear whatever we like and what smells good on us and not pay attention to whether they are supposed to be for a man or woman. 

This was really a one of a kind and unique experience; and the friend that I attended with and I not only thoroughly enjoyed it, but are still talking about it weeks later. There is only seating for about 125 people at these seminars, and it showed sold out online. We took a chance and asked at the desk that morning and were fortunate enough to get same-day tickets! Let me know if you think you'd like to try to attend this seminar next year and what's on YOUR Disney Bucket List!

If you're interested, for more information go to: http://www.chandlerburr.com/newsite/page0/ScentDinner.htm

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Resort Review: Caribbean Beach


 Being the value resort pros that we are, it came to a surprise  when in 2010 we were able to book Port Orleans: French Quarter for a decent price. We loved that resort and by the time our 2012 trip rolled around we were bitten by the moderate bug! This time? Caribbean Beach! As a Pop Century addict I was a little disappointed and just a bit let down by the pictures. When I come to Disney, I usually come to be immersed, but I was open-minded and hopeful that Caribbean Beach would become my new favorite. As we pulled up to check in at the custom house, I was anxious. We received the key and headed to Martinique where our room was located. I was content with our section, as Maritinique was a bright blue and red and fairly close to the food court as a standard. The rooms were a decent size, though I didn’t care much for the decorations. I did feel they were better than Port Orleans: French Quarters rooms which were still receiving upgrades on our stay. Remember, you can also book a Pirate room for a little more if you or your little ones are fans of Captain Jack Sparrow!

It took a couple days for us to warm up to the resort, as we weren’t exactly feeling the Disney magic in Caribbean Beach. Caribbean Beach seemed to be the more relaxing and slow-moving. We walked around the resort many times, visiting the other villages which include Jamaica, Barbados, Aruba, and Trinidad. Don’t let this review get you down, because I can tell you that we are now Caribbean Beach addicts and it was terribly hard to leave! Within a few days we were all in love with our morning walks to Old Port Royale to fill up our mugs before heading back to get ready to go to a park. Old Port Royale is the food court/giftshop/arcade at CBR which also includes a restaurant called Shutters. We never ate there, but eating the quick service meals was good enough for us. The food is what you can usually expect at most of the resorts and the seating area is a big enough size. Many times I walked to the hotel during the afternoon rest just to fill my cup up with tea and set in the corner near a window cooling off and enjoying the bustling of Disney guests while looking out into the beautiful lake. The decoration of Old Port Royale was very enjoyable and the colors were bright and cheery. 
We also ate breakfast outside one morning by the fountain with the cool wind blowing, it was heaven! One of my favorite parts of Caribbean Beach is the small beaches surrounding the lake. While guests are not allowed to go in the water, hammocks are set up where we would often laze around. Evenings, when the sun was setting, the beach was my favorite place to go and catch up on life back home.  If I could have only laid there forever!

Caribbean Beach also has a Marina where you can rent everything from Sea Raycers and bicycles, to canoes. We’d read that surrey bikes were fun and so my brother and I decided to give it a try. $19 for 30 minutes on a 2-seater surrey bike, we took off around the resort, pedaling our way through the villages. I have to say, despite having two people pedaling, that bike was a workout! There are some small hills and those were tough! Despite this, it was a good time and I suggest renting something from the marina on your next stay! For those of you that are health conscience, Caribbean Beach is a great place for runners. The sidewalk is wide enough for a few people and I even went out on a run myself one morning, it was extremely pleasant! As for the transportation, we decided to take the bus a few times for the first time ever on Disney property. It really is up and down, and depending on your village it can take a while, as the bus must stop at every destination. If you have a car, I would suggest driving it most of the time.



Here’s a wrap-up and my grade for Caribbean Beach!

Food: B+ (Average, usual Disney selection)
Rooms: B+ (Good amount of space, clean)
Theme:  A++++ (This place is gorgeous! From the colors, to the beaches, to the food court; spectacular!)
Entertainment: A (My brother and I had a little too much fun in the photobooths and playing air hockey in the arcade. During the summer (not sure if this is still going on) they also show Disney movies some nights in front of Old Port Royale around 8PM)
Transportation: C (Really just luck)
Cast Members: B (We didn’t really see much of them, but they were friendly enough)
Mood: A+ (Relaxing, happy, all-around good time!)
Total: A- (Will definitely be going back!)