Monday, March 31, 2014

Disney Cruising without Kids

   My husband and I like to take a little trip for our anniversary every year.  I researched about a half dozen destinations including NYC and all inclusive Caribbean locations.  The thought of an adult only Disney cruise came in my head.  I looked up the cost for the two of us and it was well in my budget and included food!  We chose a three night cruise on the Disney Dream.




This cruise was our 6th, which upgraded us to Platinum Members of the Castaway Club with Disney Cruise Line.  We are no strangers to the high seas, but this was the first time we had cruised without kids since they were born.  Our very first Disney cruise was for our honeymoon six years earlier.

What do you do on a Disney cruise without your kids?  Anything you want!  We chose to make it a relaxing vacation.  I booked a couples cabana massage months earlier, but my husband sprung for the Rainforest Pass when we were touring the Senses Spa.  (More on that later)

We decided to splurge for a verandah stateroom, which includes a balcony.  It really doesn't matter what type of stateroom we have, but it was lovely sitting on the balcony in the morning and watching the stars at night.  The rooms are quite spacious compared to other cruise lines.  The extra square footage is helpful when you have a family of four.




 We took advantage of the adult only areas of the ship, which includes a pool, hot tub and of course, the spa.  Senses Spa has every indulgence one would need.  There is a full service salon as well as wide variety of spa treatments.  The Rainforest Room had three saunas.  We were given a scented scrub each day of our cruise to use while sweating in the rooms.  There are four different Rainforest showers to rinse off in, each with an array of settings and temperatures.  The Rainforest Pass also includes two hot tubs that look off the side of the ship and heated stone loungers where it seems most came to nap.  Ha!  Our couples massage was in an open air cabana on Disney's private island of Castaway Cay.






We took full advantage of riding the AquaDuck together.  Our kids aren't tall enough just yet, so it was extra special to be able to enjoy it, just the two of us.






Another adult-only perk we experienced was dinner at Palo.  We did this on our honeymoon, so we only found it fitting that we do it again for our anniversary.  This is an upscale restaurant with an extra charge.  The menu is small, but the entrees are to die for.  The chocolate souffle is enough reason to book this on your next cruise.  





We enjoyed our cruise so much that we booked another one for our next anniversary.

Happy sailing!




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who's Who Wednesday: Daniella Schmidt, Sandwriting by the Sea



How did you become a Disney fan?

 I have always been a Disney fan since my first visit in 6th grade. In college I thought of the possibility of working there, way before the Disney College Program came to be. In March of 2007,  I married my husband there in the Disney wedding pavilion with our reception at the Atlantic Dance Hall and fireworks dessert party in Italy World Showcase. That was the beginning of sharing our love of Disney with friends and family and now our son. Since then Disney is just a part of our everyday lives.  For the past four years, I've spent my days sending people to the happiest place on earth as a Disney Vacation Specialist and I can truly say I love my job!

Tell us about your creative process/how you make your photos....

I began my Sandwriting By the Sea business in 2010 after losing our first son at 35 weeks. The idea of creating these photographs came to me after someone in Australia created a beautiful one in memory of our son.  I offer several different styles of Sandwriting photographs.  Some I can only offer at certain times of the year. I love photography and I am from the beach and thought it was a great idea to create these for happy occasions and celebrations.  I take all my pictures on the beaches of Cape May, NJ. I write the messages or letters in the sand with a stick, photograph them and that is it.  Weather is a big factor and can affect my work and I have to watch the tides and the conditions of the beach to make sure they are just right to work with.

Why/how did you choose this particular product...

I thought my alphabet Sandwriting name photographs would make a great centerpiece for anyone that may not be celebrating anything and just love the beach. You can display your family name, a wedding or birth. Of course, I had to throw in some fun Disney ideas for Disney weddings and Disney fans. The ideas are endless but I create the majority of them for weddings and anniversaries. These particular products I can create from the comfort of my home using the Sandwriting letter pictures I took on the beach and can provide them year around. People love giving them as gifts. They tell me it’s the talk of the party when someone opens it. It makes me happy to know I am making someone happy.

What makes this product unique...

No one Sandwriting is alike. Whether it is my personalized sandwriting photographs on the beach or my alphabet sandwriting name photographs, they are all unique and you won’t find another one like it. I have had people request how they want the water to look or the sun to hit the water in a pictures but its nature and not something I can control which makes each picture one of a kind.
Visit my store here Sandwriting by The Sea

Who’s your Disney favorite character... Mickey Mouse of course

Favorite restaurant...

It’s very hard to choose but I am going to have to say the Cape May Café at the Beach Club. I love seafood and it reminds me of home. I can’t resist all you can eat clams, mussels and crab legs plus I love their salads!

Favorite attraction...

Haunted Mansion. It’s a favorite of our family. We try to ride it as many times as we can when we visit Walt Disney World.


Monday, March 24, 2014

POSTERED: Etsy Store/Product Review

   I don't know about you, but I love a good Etsy find and boy do I have one for you guys!  Have you ever looked at a room and thought, "'I wish I had the perfect framed poster to go there, but I don't want to have to pay a fortune'"?  Well I have the solution for you.  POSTERED on Etsy has the best selection of posters for you and can do custom orders!  The owner of the shop is a sweet and adorable lady named Samira and when I asked her why she wanted to create a shop like this one she spoke from her heart and told me, "'I'm an art teacher who loves to watch movies and TV shows and love creating posters that relate to my favorite quotes or characters. I came by Etsy last year and saw people selling posters and started coming up with so many ideas that I just had to start making. Once I had quite a few designs, I thought it was time to start sharing them with the world. I love when someone messages me saying that it's just what they were looking for or they want to give it as a gift.'"

   Samira does have the best designs!  As a Disney lover I was so excited to order the Peter Pan set.  It was something a bit different than I had seen before and I always love to find something that not everyone will have.This piece really catches the joy and magic of Peter Pan with the quote that is on one of the posters. It just made my heart happy to read it.  I was also very happy to find the custom color Disney movie poster with so many different characters in it.  I have a Disney kitchen and this goes perfectly because you can order it in different colors. I ordered it in red.  What I loved most about this poster is that while it has some characters we are used to seeing, such as Mickey and Olaf there are characters we don't always find as easily, such as Wall-E, Tarzan and Esmeralda as well as Ariel's seashells and the bottom of Woody's boot, just to name a few.  I thought it tied in so many of my favorite characters and items from Disney movies!!

   Now while she has the most amazing Disney posters, she also has a wide variety of posters for everyone. My son is a huge Dr. Who fan and she has some really adorable posters that he would die for, as well as one that I just loved from the television show Friends.  Her posters are very well priced because most of them are emailed directly to you after payment and then you can print them off at a local store and frame them however you would like.  Some of her posters are "ship only", but they are still at amazing rates.  Her prices start at $4 and go up from there, with most ranging in the teens.  She has these amazing deals where you can purchase a group of posters for $40.  If you are looking for a great, inexpensive way to decorate any room of you house, do yourself a favor and go check out POSTERED on Etsy. If you have any questions send her a quick message and she will respond to you very quickly!  My overall experience was amazing and I received my posters extremely quickly just as promised!  This is the link to her shop on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/POSTERED

And POSTERED aslo has a Facebook page:

Facebook.com/POSTERED

Till next time my Addicted to Mickey friends,
Hugs, and Mickey Kisses!!

April

I received free products to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

2 x Peter Pan Printable Poster, Typography Print, Quote Print, Movie PosterCustom Colour  Disney Movie Poster - Movie poster, Minimalist print, Digital Art Print

Friday, March 21, 2014

Great Quick Service in the Magic Kingdom

When people think of Disney World, they think of Mickey and the Gang, Cinderella's Castle, the rides, the shows, and the parades. But do you think about the FOOD? Many Disney enthusiasts do!!! There are many wonderful places to eat at Disney World. If you are like me and my family, you are on a budget. Whether you are on a dining plan or paying as you go, one of the best values in all of Disney is my favorite, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe which is located in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland.



This quick service restaurant has so much to choose from it is sure to satisfy everyone in your family. Menu items range from grilled or rotisserie chicken, to hot dogs, chicken nuggets and burgers. They even have delicious strawberry yogurt for those looking for just a light snack.


There are three bays (individual counters) to help spread out the people that flock to this popular restaurant. Once you get your order, there is seating inside or outside, depending on what scenery your family is in the mood for, or what the weather will allow you.


Some of the outdoor seating area


Indoor seating


But the reason Cosmic Ray's is my favorite is the value of one specific menu item, namely the 1/2 Chicken and BBQ Rib Combo. This dish is the highest priced item of all three bays, but the amount of food you get will easily feed two adults, or one adult and two children. There was even a time that it fed me, another adult, and a teen. This meal comes with the chicken and ribs, but also with mashed potatoes and vegetables. If you are on the dining plan, you may also add a drink (always make sure to ask for the large) and a dessert. Now that is A LOT of food!! But it is only offered on the dining plan for dinner, after 4:00pm, so make sure to plan your appetite accordingly.


Chicken and Rib meal


Chicken "Bay"

So next time you are looking for great food in the Magic Kingdom, head over to Tomorrowland and Cosmic Ray's. Tell them Todd sent you. They probably won't know who I am, but it would still be fun to tell them. And you never know, I may be there too!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Who's Who Wednesday - Joe Rohde


Animal Kingdom Lodge











  

Chances are that there is something at Disney that you love that Joe Rohde, Executive Designer and Vice President, Creative (better known as an Imagineer with WDI), has had a hand in creating.  Joe has brought his creative and artistic background to the Disney Company since 1980 where he started on EPCOT.  Since then, he’s helped design, create or lead projects like Captain EO, the Mexico and Norway pavilions at EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Aulani, New Fantasyland and many, many others.  My favorite project of his, the Adventurer’s Club, has a special place in his heart.  

The Adventurer’s Club was one of his first major projects that he got to add his own special touches to.  I was lucky enough to run into him one night at the club.  He was just sitting at the bar, taking it all in and enjoying the place; you could just see it in his eyes.  He was on property after just returning from Nepal and visiting Mt. Everest for his latest project, Expedition Everest: The Forbidden Mountain.  I was able to sit and discuss the background of the project, his travels involved in it, and the search for the elusive yeti while visiting the tallest mountain in the world.  

Disney doesn’t just build rides, they create experiences.  I think Everest has nailed it, from the time you enter the village Serka Zong, to the actual ascent up the Forbidden Mountain.  Joe brought many items from his multiple trips to the mountains back to have in the Yeti Museum (part of the queue) and throughout the ride.  He even has something from his trip with him at all times.  

Joe is probably most known by his look – the earrings.  Each one has a very special meaning to him.  I just had to ask about them.  He loves telling the stories behind them because of how much they mean to him.  His latest at the time, one he had just been given on his most recent trip to Nepal, has blue and red jewels on it.  Joe has passion; I could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes.  Disney has a great man on their team!  

He loves his job, and everything that he has been able to do with it.  He kept looking around at all the artifacts in the Adventurer’s Club.  He would point out certain items and tell me about them.  Most of the items were his personal items, many coming from his college dorm.  Flags from his travels, a suit of armor, masks on the walll…each item with a story to go with it.  My wife and I spent so much time enjoying the Adventurer’s Club.  After that visit with him I enjoyed it so much more knowing a bit more of what was behind the façade of it.  

Knowing he was at WDW for Everest, he told me he was going to be at Animal Kingdom the next day to do some more work on the ride and some promotional videos for Disney and television companies around the world.  He told me to head over and see it there.  I couldn’t turn that down.  So there I was, headed to AK the next day, and sure enough there was Joe.  He was pointing out items in the queue that he brought back with him, showing items from the local Serka Zong newspaper, every little detail.  Hearing him talk about the yeti was what fascinated me the most.  He had so much passion with how this engineering feat was going to be something that no one had ever seen before.  Boy was he right!  Previewing the ride before it ever opened, seeing it in all its glory, is something I’ll never forget.  

On behalf of all Disney fans out there, I say "Thank You".  And from me personally, Kungaloosh sir!



A2M writer Scott and Joe Rhode


Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Break 2014 Giveaway!

It's Spring Break! Let's warm up with some wonderful Prizes from some Fabulous Disney Pals! We will have several winners, so please be sure to read all the details. Contest begins March 17th 2014 at 12:00AM and ends March 28th, 2014 at 12:00AM. Good luck everyone!   






Mickey and Minnie Poster from #DisneySide parties

One Year Subscription to WDW Magazine!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Keeping Disney in Everyday Life






I have told you all before about my love for Disney tattoos, which is one of my favorite ways of keeping Disney with me at all times!  But that is not the only way we keep Disney alive in our family between our visits "home."  In our house my kiddos bathroom is Disney themed as well as our kitchen.  There are a few Disney photos hung throughout our home and of course the many Disney toys throughout the house!  But we also make Disney a part of our lives in many other ways. Recently we got our first family puppy and his full name is: Walter Elias Disneyland Phillips, Disney for short.  My daughter's last big birthday party was an Alice in Wonderland theme. I of course went a little overboard with the roses being painted red and two tier cake, and croquet set, etc.  There are Disney cell phone cases and purses, and key chains.  My youngest is always finding hidden Mickeys in everything, which warms my heart. My oldest son reads and re-reads Disney books.  Would it be surprising to you if I told you my daughters middle name is Aurora and my youngest son's middle name is John-Michael?  Please don't think we love our oldest son any less but his middle name is after my father.  I think, as many of you understand, to us that love Disney it is not a vacation spot or logo, it is something that gets into your heart and soul and holds on tight.  Really Disney is a way of life, and I choose it!  How do you keep Disney in your family and everyday life?







Friday, March 7, 2014

House of Blues Smokehouse

For those of you who have seen my recent foodie review of The House of Blues, located in the West Side in Downtown Disney, you are going to love the new addition of The Smokehouse.

The Smokehouse is set up in front of  the House of Blues outdoor seating area and bar.The window used to be used as the ticket window for tickets to the shows at the House of Blues for entertainment. This is a counter service meal. As of right now they do not accept the Disney Dining plan, but that is in the works.

You will find all of your Bar b que favorites here..from Pulled Pork to BBQ ribs. See full menu below. We got the ribs with a side of coleslaw and it was really good. The BBQ sauce is more of a "tomatoey" kind of sauce, and they coat it on really thick too! They have outdoor seating so you can listen to the live bands playing in the evening, or take it with you. We were going back to our hotel room, but we could not wait any longer, we ate it as we were waiting for our bus back to our room. It was dark, and we didn't even get a picture of the actual food. But, take my word for it, it was really good. There was a lot of meat on the bones and the coleslaw was nice and tasty. Our food came out pretty fast, and the person working there was very friendly.

I loved the food at the House of Blues, but this food was even better! The BBQ sauce was really good, the coleslaw was crisp, cold, and good. My only wish was that they had french fries as another option. The ribs are comparable to those served at the flame tree in Magic Kingdom, though instead of the dry rub, these are coated in BBQ sauce.

They even have Happy hour at the smokehouse from 3pm-5pm, and again 10pm -till closing.

I give these ribs a finger licking good thumbs up!!!