Monday, April 28, 2014

Disney World 24 hours 2013 Monstrous Summer All-Nighter

Are you looking forward to the Disney 24 hour event this year? Wondering what to expect? Well, let me tell you all about how last years' Monstrous Summer 24 hours event went down!

 The park opened at 6 am. Many characters, the Mayor, and the special stars Mike and Sully hopped on the train. They opened the park and set off fireworks. I watched this part live at home. We don't live far away so we waited a little while to take our trip over to the park. The parking lot was very full when we got there so we had to park on the grass. Not too long after we arrived the Magic Kingdom parking lot was closed. People were parking at Epcot and being bussed over.  

 We watched the Celebrate It parade, featuring Monsters University characters Mike and Sully. After that we basically just walked around, people watched, rode rides, ate, and walked around some more.

 Once it got to be later in the evening, near time for fireworks, it got super busy in the hub and on Main Street. We were like little sardines, but I don't regret being there in any way! Through the night they had dance parties, they even showed Monsters Inc all night up until about 3 am! They have a spot in Tomorrowland and the ground is padded, there was a huge screen, and they just kept playing the movie. It's a perfect spot to just chill and relax. Later on around 1 am, there began to be more and more bodies all over the place. None were in the way of anything, there were just sleepy people all over. For the most part the smaller kids had gone back to their hotel, but there were some babies and kids sleeping in strollers. 

 There was also tons of themed food all over. From apples to cookies to lighted drinks to ice cream, you name it. Blue and green was in. They even had blue and green cotton candy. A little tidbit, if you don't like green apple stay away from the green Mike items. The CM's in the candy store were just giving away huge chunks of cotton candy away, that little kick of sugar sure got people dancing again! There were also limited edition items such as ears, t-shirts, pins etc...

 One of my favorite things we did was to meet up with a bunch of other Disney bloggers and fans from all over. I met one of my favorite podcast people, and some super cool online Disney friends.

 The characters were out until 5am but the park was almost dead by that time.The DJ at the castle was still pumping up the beats and by 2 am the cast members really cut loose. They were dancing and singing, and everything.

 The rides during the night sometimes closed down for a little while so they could clean them, and not many places were available for real food. A lot of the places to eat were closed by 7 pm. There were plenty of places to get burgers and fast food items as well as fruits, popcorn, cotton candy and drinks.

Special edition cupcakes

So, what are my top tips for surviving an "all-nighter" at the parks? 

Number 1- It was hot and muggy!! As you can see from this picture on my way to the park it was 99 degrees! Remember this year they are asking us to dress up this year... so dress cool!

Number 2 - Stay hydrated!!

Number 3 - If you plan on going in the daytime, bring sunblock!!!

Number 4 - If you plan on driving be prepared. As it got later in the day even the buses were stuck in the traffic getting to the parks, some for a few hours!

Number 5 - Go early if you plan on a sit down meal. Better yet, plan ahead and make ADRs if you think you want to do a table service meal. I don't know Be our Guest is going to stay open the whole time or not this year.

Number 6 - Shoes...bring the tennis shoes or something comfy. 24 hours is a loooong time to be on your feet!

So, what was my favorite thing about the whole 24 hours? Well, I have 2. About 5:45 the DJ at the castle played his last song. It kind of became a theme song for the night, so after some fist pumpin' and jumping up and down, we were all told to gather to the front of the park, in front of the train station. Mickey and Minnie came out in their pajamas, and they led the Kiss goodnight... M.I.C.... See ya real soon.. K.E.Y. Why? Because we like you, M.O.U.S.E. They thanked us for surviving the 24 hours and said goodnight. We waited a little longer and got to see sunrise over the castle, something I have never seen before. I wish my camera batteries had lived that long because it was so beautiful. 

 So there you have it, my 24 hours in a nutshell. I can not wait till May when we get to do it all over again! Will you be there?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Flower and Garden Festival: Florida Fresh Watermelon Slushie

Last year at the Flower and Garden Festival they had a watermelon drink. It was just fresh watermelon thrown in a blender and served. It was good, but not as cold as I would have liked it. This year they put a nice fresh spin on it and made it a slushie.

This treat is located at the Florida Fresh booth. Is is served in a nice glass as a watermelon slushie, but this time it is has passion fruit added to it. It was nice, cold, and really refreshing. I loved the passion fruit addition to it. It brought out a really nice flavor to it. I also like the nice price at only $2.75 a glass!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

FAQ: So you're considering doing a Giveaway with A2M

First of all, thank you for considering joining a giveaway with us! Hopefully this will answer many of your general questions.

I will set the giveaway up on Rafflecopter. The entrants are then required to "like" or "favorite" pages on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy etc, or tweet about the giveaway, make a blog comment, things like that. Whatever you decide, since I asked you to join.

I usually run the giveaway for a week or two. The winner is chosen randomly through Rafflecopter. What it's meant to do is bring lots of traffic to your page(s)!

Addicted to Mickey is a licensed travel agent with Magical Vacations by Me with a specialization in Disney Travel. While we love our fellow TAs, we request that our giveaway partners NOT be travel agents. Thank you in advance for understanding.

I will share the giveaway daily at various times on the Addicted to Mickey Facebook page. I ask that you commit to sharing the giveaway a minimum of three times a week on your business page(s) at various times of day to hopefully attract different audiences. It's also suggested and preferable to share on your personal page as well if at all possible.

The blog post will also be on our Pinterest. You may want to share separately on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and any of your other social media outlets for the most possible "reach".

I request that you not run any other giveaways at the same time that ours is running.

There is no cost to participate in the giveaway other than the cost of the item(s) you are donating.

In some cases there may be a few various products/companies and/or Facebook pages involved in a giveaway, usually with the same theme (ie: all having to do with Maleficent or particular holiday etc...). This is designed to bring more exposure to the giveaway and again, bring more traffic and attention to your page(s).

I will notify the winner via email and a post to the Addicted to Mickey FB page after verifying that they have completed the process properly (that they have "liked" the pages etc...), and then provide you the mailing information. The winner will typically have 24 hours to respond. If I don't hear back from them I will run the Rafflecopter again and choose another winner. NOTE: If the product is something that will be customized or chosen in some way by the winner, I will provide you the contact information and you will then communicate directly with them to fulfill their prize. You will then send the prize to the winner so there is less risk of damage or loss between too many hands. I request that this be done in a reasonable time, usually two weeks or less from the time I notify you of the winner's information. If that's not possible because of unforeseen circumstances please keep in touch and keep me advised so that I can inform the winner of the situation.

Many of our giveaway partners choose to submit an item for "Review" as well as an item for a giveaway. The review makes the giveaway more "personal". One of my writers will review an item from your shop, sometimes even reviewing the "process" and "customer service", and write it into a blog article. Once the article is posted I share it on the FB page and it will have a link to your shop and FB page as well; even Pinterest if you want.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What is a Fish Extender?

If you have ever been on a Disney Cruise, it is almost certain you have seen these pocket things hanging outside some cabins. If you have wondered what they are and what they are for, then your questions are about to be answered. These are called "Fish Extenders".

A fish extender is just what you see in the picture above, a bunch of pockets that are hung from fish outside of a cabin that has the cabin number on it. With the remodeling of ships, Disney has been using shells and seahorses as a number plate also. But since at the time there were only fish cabin number plates, the term started as, and remained, fish extender. The number of pockets can vary by how many people are in the cabin and participating in the Fish Extender Exchange. These fish extenders can be hand-sewn, bought online, or pieced together from anything that creates pockets.

The purpose of a fish extender is to receive fish extender gifts. These gifts are either store-bought or home-made gifts. They are usually Disney related in some way. But sometimes they are small gifts that represent an area that people come from. These can be neat gifts when people are from another country. Gifts can range in price and imagination. It is totally up to the giver as to what or how much they give. Some fish extender gifts include coozies, candy, magnets, key chains, first-aid kits, cups, light cards, coasters, and pirate themed items for pirate night. People have different ways of giving, as usually there are no set rules. Some give one gift per cabin, others one per person. And even others give multiple gifts per person, spread out over the length of the sailing. People deliver their gifts at all times of the day and night. But part of the fun is to try to make sure you do not get caught!!

The fun of participating in a Fish Extender Exchange is to meet new friends from around the country, and around the world. Many groups that form will have a meet and greet before the ship sails. Some of the fun for me is to give some of my Disney Addiction and enthusiasm to others I hope feel the same. But also it is to see the fun ideas other Disney Addicts come up with. Of course the smiles on my kids' faces are priceless when they see great toys or crafts inside their pocket. I like to get my kids involved in the making of the gifts too, for added excitement.

If you are planning a Disney Cruise, and want to look into participating in a Fish Extender Exchange, all you need to do is search Facebook and disboards for "Fish Extender" and you will find groups that are available to join. Fish Extender Exchanges is not officially recognized or promoted by the Disney Cruise Line.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Flower and Garden Festival: Fleur de Lys-Confit de Canard

This year my duck loving husband was super excited to see duck on the menu during the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. We stopped at the Fleur de Lys in the "France" pavilion to get him his dish.

Confit canard, pommes de Terre sarladaise. In other words it's pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes. He said it was really good. The duck looked like pulled pork, with a nice glazed sauce on it. Underneath was a dollop of the garlic and parsely potatoes. He says it was some really good duck. The small dish was 5.50

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dixie Landings/Port Orleans Riverside Review

I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World since 1996.  My family and I went down for a week in late April/early May for a week and stayed at Dixie Landings.  Being a family of five, it was always hard trying to find places to travel to without having to rent two hotel rooms.  We chose Dixie Landings because the Alligator Bayou section of Dixie Landings had a trundle bed that allowed five guests in a room.  I had grown up on all things Disney, but had never visited a park before.  My mom bought the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World along with the Birnbaum guide.  I read both books from front to back to memorize everything about the resort, the parks and everything else.

Once we arrived on property, I remember looking around and taking it all in.  We were in antebellum south with names of major cities and ports above us.  There was a TV playing cartoons in the lobby, so my brothers and I went there while my parents checked in.  Once we had our arrival packet with the resort map, park maps, times guides and our Key to the World cards, it was off to our room with luggage in tow.

The resort, a moderate, has all the looks and feels of a deluxe resort without the price.  Whenever we have stayed there in the years since, we always choose rooms in the Alligator Bayou section because of how comfortable they are.  There are three small pools in the Alligator Bayou section which are almost always empty.  The main pool on Ol’ Man Island is the busiest pool.  Guests wanting to stay in plantation style rooms can choose the Magnolia Bend section of the resort.  There are also two pools in this section.  The resort has a marina with rental boats that you can take all the way to Downtown Disney.  There's also a fishing hole and bar on Ol' Man Island. We always enjoyed a paddle boat trip around the area, usually going to Port Orleans French Quarter and turning back.  The food court, located in the main building, is complete with a working water wheel.  What a beauty it is too!  I feel the food court is one of, if not the best, on property.  Inside the main building is a full service restaurant that we’ve never eaten at, but have heard wonderful reviews of.  You can’t forget “Ye Ha Bob" at the River Roost Lounge Bar - he’s not to be missed!  Also in the main building is a large gift shop (one of the largest resort gift shops).

For anyone wanting a great family or romantic atmosphere, this resort should be at the top of your list.  I cannot recommend it enough!  I’ve always wanted to become a Disney Vacation Club owner, and have said that if Port Orleans Riverside ever becomes a DVC resort, I want to be the first to buy into it!

(Here’s a tip, when booking, ask for a room in a preferred location – buildings 14, 15, 18, and 27.  I also recommend buildings 17 and 26.  These are all close to a small pool, the main building, and the bus stop.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mom Approved Costumes $30 E-Gift Card Giveaway

A2M has partnered with another fabulous company to bring you amazing merchandise.  All Mom Approved Costumes are comfortable with no itchy underskirts or fabrics, completely finished seams and hems, and no buttons or ties to frustrate little fingers! Machine washable. Stretchy, soft and very comfortable-perfect for everyday play! The stretch bodices accommodate a variety of sizes making each size more versatile. Beautiful and won't shed glitter everywhere. Comes in S-XL. Sells for $29.99. Check her out here: Mom Approved Costumes

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flower and Garden; Lotus House Popping Bubble tea

I look forward to any time I find a place that has bubble tea. It has become something I get when I go to the mall, and now at the Flower and Garden Festival! I was so happy they brought it back. This wonderful treat is located at the Lotus House in China.

Bubble tea, for those who do not know, is a really sweet tea blend. It almost tastes like tea with sugar and a little coffee added. At the bottom are jelly tapioca (balls or bubbles). You drink the tea and the tapioca balls. They are sucked up through a fat straw and you chew on them. They are totally edible and kinda neat to chew. If you have ever had orbitz as a kid this is kinda what the orbitz balls tasted like.

You receive a nice size glass for only $5.25.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

AOS Design Necklace Review

As a mommy to a fashionista three year old, it is often hard to find jewelry that not only looks beautiful but is durable enough to be handled by a toddler. Well, when my Cinderella Pearl Cage Carriage necklace by AOS Design arrived in its delicate pink sachet, I was excited and surprised. Finally, a piece of jewelry which I felt confident in sharing with my little princess. The carriage itself was big enough and durable enough that I didn't give a single thought to accidental choking, or swallowing, of the well encased black pearl. The chain on which it came, was a sturdy silver chain, which I was confident could outlast any day at the playground, and it did.

Opening jewelry in front of my little princess is basically an invitation for her to wear it, so she did, all day. It was magical. She wanted everyone to share in her joy of her Mommy's necklace which she got to wear. She made everyone at the playground look at it, and respond to the question, "Don't you think it's beautiful", to which everyone of course confirmed. She kept referring to it as her "special mommy princess" necklace, which made not only the necklace, but the day, that much more special.

So, if you are looking for a gift for a fellow mommy, a child with impeccable fashions sense, or anyone in between, a necklace from AOS Design is sure to do the trick. Beautiful, durable, and Disney themed, you really cannot go wrong!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mickey's Teen Town ~ What Disney Means to Me

Editor's Note: We're very excited to introduce a new monthly series here at A2M called Mickey's Teen Town! Please welcome our newest writer Sydney. We're looking forward to getting her special teen perspective on all things "Disney"! P.S. She's also a very talented artist. Check out her art at the end of the article!
         Some people like to call Disney childish and loving it kind of silly. Well, Disney has been a big part of who I am. Not many people understand just how much Disney means to me personally. For one thing, I grew up watching Disney movies and going to Disney World. I had princess costumes I would play dress up in with my cousin when we were little (and later on passed them onto my little sister). I had a Cinderella themed room growing up.

            Disney also inspired me to get creative with drawing and the art of story telling. I remember at one point I wanted to become an animator for Disney. It helped me grow more creative with both art and writing and now I can’t go two seconds without thinking up a story in my head or thinking of something to draw. That’s how much of an impact it had on me growing up.

            About seven years ago now, my family and I lost everything in a house fire. Shortly before that happened I got sick and had to be pulled out of school due to my grades gradually slipping because I didn’t feel well at all. Shortly after our house burned, we took a trip to Disney World with my cousins and for a short time, I forget about everything that was bothering me. I was smiling and laughing genuinely because there, I was happy. I wasn’t in the real world and reality couldn’t hurt me. After we got back, it would be about three years before we got to return. In that time period, we learned I had a quiet form of epilepsy. I spent a lot of time crying and wishing and praying to get to go back to my happy place, which was Disney World.

            Through that hard time I watched a lot of Disney movies, and whenever a Disney special would come on TV I’d record it and watch it over and over again. Some could say it was obsessive, but to me it was something familiar in a very confusing time.

            No one really, truly understands why I love Disney so much. But Disney taught me some pretty important things in some very trying times. Never stop dreaming, always wish on stars, never grow up, keep moving forward, and never lose hope.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Fun Friends Giveaway

Who wants to win a $150.00 Disney gift card?! We've teamed up with several of our Disney Pals to bring you this great opportunity to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Disney Touch - Area Music

Disney has that special touch that makes them unique over any other company in the world, especially when it comes to their theme parks.  I've been to Walt Disney World over one thousand times, and each time I visited, there was always something new that I never noticed on a prior trip.
Other times, I went because of an experience or memory that I wanted to do all over again.  The one thing I got to really enjoy and take in during all my visits to the parks was the subtle area loops and background music found entering or leaving the parks, in queues, strolling down the path to a new land and many other locations.  The way Disney blends music going between lands is seamless.  Have you ever noticed the change of music from Main Street USA into Adventureland?

Crossing the bridge, the change is so slight, but it's how Disney welcomes you to that area of the park.  I used to go and study, do homework or just people watch throughout the parks.  In all those times, I'd catch myself humming along or tapping my feet to the music.  To me, EPCOT has some of the greatest background music of any of the parks.  The entrance loop and the Innovention loop mixed in with the Fountain of Nations music is some of the most calming and enjoyable music out there.  It's rare that a day goes by that I don't listen to any of those songs even here at home.  It's what takes me back to the magic.  So the next time you're in the parks, stop and listen.  I think you'll appreciate those small Disney touches even more.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Foodie Friday: Epcot Refreshment Port Croissant doughnut

I had to see what all the fuss was about at Epcot's Refreshment Port. I kept hearing of this amazing doughnut croissant thing. It has been named the Cronut, or croissant doughnut.

While at the Flower and Garden Festival I had the chance to finally get this thing and try it our for myself. I got up to the line and ordered what I thought was just a sugar doughnut. I got a ginourmous sugar topped item on the outside, so I had to take the top off. I was amazed to see lots of doughy layers inside, just like a croissant has. It was warm, and the top was super crunchy, but the inside was fresh and doughy, like a donut, yet, like a croissant. The cronut tasted AMAZING! It was well worth the 4.49 they charge for this big boy. We shared it!!
Have you tried the Cronut? What was your opinion?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Disney Nerds Podcast

I have just recently started to get into podcasts and look forward to new episodes each week as they're released.  I currently subscribe to 17 podcasts, with 16 of those being Disney podcasts.  My newest podcast added to the list is The Disney Nerds Podcast.  Being a huge Disney nerd myself, I don't know why it's taken me until now to find these guys.  On my drive in to work this morning, I put on the latest episode and started my Monday off the best way possible - listening to people who share the love and passion of Disney talk about the man we all love!

The Disney Nerds Podcast currently has 26 episodes out, giving you plenty of time to catch up with all of their shows.  Episode 26 is one that everyone should listen to as they have a special guest on.  Logan Sekulow, the creator, producer and director of the newest Walt Disney biopic, As Dreamers Do, talks about his personal love of Disney and what inspired him to create a film on young Walt.  I've known about the film since late last year as they were finalizing the script and have been waiting patiently for it to come out.  The release date is almost here and Logan mentions different packages that the public can buy as preorders, some that even get your name in the credits!

Without going into the episode too much, I recommend everyone go on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbeam, or their website to listen to not just this episode, but all of their previous ones too.  Ed is a great host and connects with all of his listeners, Disney nerd or not!  Enjoy the show!

Also, don't forget to rate them on iTunes to help get their name out even more so others don't have to wait to find them like I did.

The Disney Nerds
Disney Nerds Podcast Facebook

Don't forget to check out As Dreamers Do as well and preorder before time runs out.
As Dreamers Do Facebook
As Dreamers Do
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