I hope that you are not in the same boat as I am…The holidays are less than a week away and I am TOTALLY unprepared, because I I have a ton of shopping and decorating left to do!
However if you are looking for a last minute gift from Walt Disney World, the Shop Disney Parks App (available for Apple and Android devices) has your back, because today is the last day you can order goodies from the theme parks with 3-Day Express Shipping!
If you aren’t familiar with the Shop Disney Parks App, you should be! The app is completely free, and allows you to shop for authentic Walt Disney World Resort merchandise some of which has never before been sold outside of Disney Parks and Resorts. Using the app you can:
Search and browse thousands of gifts, toys, collectibles, costumes, pins, Mickey ears, and more.
Use the map to see what souvenirs and keepsakes are in stock near you in Walt Disney World Resort.
Scan an item you love in a Walt Disney World Resort store to view it on the app.
Ship your purchase to select Walt Disney World Resort hotels or have your order shipped right to your door! Shipping is available to all 50 states in the U.S., but does not include P.O. boxes.
Track your package as they make their way from Cinderella’s castle to yours.
One of my favorite gifts to give are ornaments from Walt Disney World, because they are easy to transport and are extremely personal. Every year the line of ornaments expands, and here are some of my new favorites!
All of these ornaments are extremely affordable (under $20) and are perfect for any Disney fan!
ALEX AND ANI bracelets are some of my absolute favorite Disney Parks exclusive merchandise pieces, and I wanted to share all about these awesome bracelets!
Wearing the Magic: Disney Parks Collection by ALEX AND ANI
If you aren’t familiar with them ALEX AND ANI bracelets are eco-friendly, created in the United States, full of positive energy, and inspired by meaningful memories.
What makes these bracelets truly unique is that these may look like traditional bangle bracelets, but they are an innovative signature expandable bangle concept that is completely adjustable with a built-in expanding slide feature making them a perfect fit any wrist shape or size.
The best way to wear ALEX AND ANI bracelets is by ‘stacking’ several bracelets which they call having a ‘Charmed Arm’ representing your favorite Disney or Star Wars movie, theme park, character, or words of wisdom with exclusive designs for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
Bracelets are also available available in several styles to suit any outfit or occasion. You will find the charmed bangles with metal and enamel charms, traditional bangle perfect for stacking, beaded bangles perfect for adding a pop of color to your stack, and wraps that gently go up your arm from your wrist.
ALEX AND ANI bracelets are made of Rafaelian gold and Rafaelian silver making them extremely easy to care for and durable for everyday wear.
The Disney line of ALEX AND ANI are exclusive to the Disney Parks, and can only be purchased three ways.
At Walt Disney World:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Discovery Trading Company
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Bayview Gifts
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Keystone Clothiers
Disney Springs Town Center – ALEX AND ANI Store
Disney Springs Marketplace– Tren-D and World of Disney Store
Epcot – Mouse Gear
Magic Kingdom Park – Emporium
The Disney Store online (http://disneystore.com) carries a large selection of ALEX AND ANI bracelets, and if you sign up for email alerts you can even find them on sale!
The Shop Disney Parks App (available for Apple and Android devices) lets you to find the bracelet you are looking for from home! If you are an annual passholder, make sure you connect that to your account to receive your discount.
PANDORA Jewelry and Disney Parks have teamed up to create a line of jewelry that any Disney fashionista will want to own! You can choose from exclusive charms, rings, necklaces, and earrings to personalize any look.
When you are designing your look to commemorate your magical memories you will find pieces designed around iconic characters, pretty princesses, Disney Parks, holidays, and even runDisney participation.
In addition to the popular bracelets and charms PANDORA has created earrings, necklaces, and stackable rings to add a touch of Disney magic to any outfit.
What makes PANDORA so wonderful is that you can start your collection with one or several pieces, because the price point is affordable for most budgets and each item in the collection is handcrafted with hand-set stones that are never plated to ensure quality and durability.
These PANDORA charms and jewelry pieces are extremely popular, so if you see a piece you like buy it when you see it! When visiting Walt Disney World you can find the largest selection of PANDORA at their store in Disney Springs and at the newly redesigned Uptown Jewelers on Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. Or if you want to shop from home The Disney Store carries a selection online or with the Shop Disney Parks App available for Apple and Android devices.
How to start the perfect PANDORA bracelet
1. Choose your bracelet.
The first step is to choose your bracelet, and there are a lot of great options available! There are sterling silver, gold, leather, and cord options in different lengths, but they all feature the patented PANDORA clasp that is very secure and easy to put on by yourself. There are even Disney Parks exclusive bracelets available.
2. Choose your clips and spacers.
Clips are the beads that don’t move that keep the beads divided into three sections, and spacers are beads that are skinnier that help the beads from rubbing together.
3. Choose your beads.
Now this is where the fun begins!!! You can choose one or several charms to represent your favorite Disney memories, characters, or parks. The possibilities are endless!
Town Center At Disney Springs Welcomes The Trophy Room May 23rd
An exclusive athletic retail boutique to open in Walt Disney World’s Town Center at Disney Springs
Marcus Jordan, son of Michael Jordan, will be opening the first Trophy Room boutique in Town Center at Disney Springs in the Walt Disney World Resort on March 23rd at 5:23 am, which is a fitting nod to Marcus’ father.
The Trophy Room is a unique athletic footwear and apparel boutique featuring premium products, memorabilia and exclusive merchandise – all in a one-of-a-kind setting. The store takes its name from the place in the Jordan family estate where the family’s awards were displayed and that served as a source of inspiration. The retail environment will include a display of rare Jordan family photos, home videos and limited edition memorabilia.
“I’m thrilled to bring Trophy Room to life as part of the world-class shopping and dining expansion at Disney Springs,” said Marcus Jordan, Founder and CEO of Trophy Room. “As a University of Central Florida grad, I spent much time learning about Walt Disney and was inspired by his pioneering spirit. It is a true honor to build my dream business at Walt Disney World.”
Attending the Grand Opening of the store is sure to be a hot ticket, and here is some information you will need to know if you are looking to snag a pair of the exclusive sneakers.
About Trophy Room
Trophy Room was founded by Marcus Jordan, son of NBA legend Michael Jordan. It is an elevated and unique retail boutique experience, inspired by the Trophy Room in the Jordan family estate. Trophy Room offers footwear, apparel and exclusive merchandise that will serve as trophies for its loyal and dedicated consumers. For more information, visit TrophyRoomStore.com and follow @TrophyRoomStore on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat.
Dramatic Enhancements Announced At The Florida Mall
Premier Orlando Shopping Destination Enhancing Customer Experience
Simon (NYSE: SPG), a global leader in retail real estate, announced today that The Florida Mall will undergo a significant interior and exterior makeover. These improvements will enrich the guest experience, seamlessly blending with the design concepts found within the recently completed Dining Pavilion and exterior Plaza. The announcement comes as The Florida Mall celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Scheduled to begin in May, the improvements will create a brighter, more inviting atmosphere inside the center. Overall, The Florida Mall will be modernized with a timeless color palette and clean architectural lines. Additional plans include:
More than a dozen new or enhanced seating lounges throughout the property featuring mobile device charging stations and upgraded furniture, giving shoppers the opportunity to relax and recharge in a comfortable space during shopping breaks.
Improved lighting throughout the center with illuminated ceiling fixtures featuring state-of-the-art LED lighting, expanded sky lights, and raised ceilings to maximize the property’s existing natural light.
New neutral tile flooring in light tones throughout the center, along with upgraded and remodeled mall entrances.
Colorful, resort-style landscaping improvements incorporating native Florida plants and additional palm trees at all four property entrances.
Updated way-finding signage to further assist shoppers in locating a store, restaurant or entertainment venue.
The dramatic enhancements will also include a new, experiential play area located in the wing by Crayola Experience and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The immersive playscape will be designed to promote creative play among children ranging in age from toddler to early elementary. A social environment for kids and parents, the play area will include interactive and multi-sensory elements like soft-touch floor matting, sculptural climbing features, adult and kid-friendly seating, and more. Further details about this exciting new addition will be announced in the near future.
“The Florida Mall has proudly served the Orlando community, visitors and international tourists for 30 years. This renovation is a culmination of the substantial investments we have made in the center over the years, most recently with our premier Dining Pavilion,” said Brian Hanson, General Manager at The Florida Mall. “These enhancements are designed with families, retailers and our shoppers in mind, and we look forward to sharing this new and refined shopping experience with the community.”
Construction activity is expected to be complete by spring 2017. The property and its retailers will remain open and operating throughout the project. The architects on this project are GH+A Design and Cuhaci & Peterson, and the General Contractor is VCC.
I am always looking for fun ways to add a touch of Disney flair to my home, and on a recent visit to Mickey’s Pantry at Disney Springs I found some great Disney Kitchen items that were too cute not to share.
If you can’t wait to pick up these goodies on your next visit to Walt Disney World, I’ve included the Disney Store links when I could or you can download the Shop Disney Parks App (iTunes and Google Play) to shop the Disney Parks from home.
This colorful ceramic cannister-shaped cookie jar brings a world of whimsy to your kitchen with its contemporary design pattern featuring the best of Mickey and the gang along with bakery symbols and Fantasyland Castle icons that measures 8 1/2” H (including lid and handle) x 6 1/2” Diameter.
This Mickey Mouse and Friends Apron for Adults has all the ingredients to make it a delicious favorite in the kitchen. The bold design with its allover characters and utensils print provides the perfect recipe for fun printed on 100% cotton.
Mickey Mouse and Friends Colorful Kitchen Bamboo Cutting Board with Prep Trays – $39.95
This bamboo cutting board comes with 4 prep trays is really neat way to bring a little fun to your Disney Kitchen.
Mickey’s here to lend a hand with the drying up. The red towel features an embroidered Mickey’s glove appliqué while the coordinating black towel has an allover Best of Mickey design that is sure to add some ”Spicy” fun to washing up.
Minnie’s happy to help out with a spot of drying up using this dish towel set. Both cotton towels feature different designs with ”Sweet” Minnie’s signature polka dots covering one towel while a large bow appliqué decorates the other.
A friendly face will protect your table and countertops when something hot comes off the stove or out of the oven. Mickey can take the heat with our Aluminum Mickey Mouse Trivet. Plus, he looks mighty cute hanging around the kitchen that measures 8” H x 9 1/2” W.
Mickey Mouse Glove Oven Mitt
I don’t think that there was ever a more perfectly Disney oven mitt than this Mickey Mouse glove oven mitt!
To kick off the launch of the limited edition and Brazilian inspired TILLFÄLLE collection, IKEA Orlando hosted an exclusive launch for their IKEA FAMILY members.
To created the TILLFÄLLE collection, IKEA designers visited Brazil to create a line inspired by the spirit of Brazil while staying true to their roots in Scandinavian simplicity.
The line features bold patterns and mixed colors that are easy, fun and full of energy.
From larger furniture to smaller accessories, this line has fun accessories you can mix in with your existing decor or pieces you can design a whole room around.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the TILLFÄLLE collection:
TILLFÄLLE Occasional Table – $159
TILLFÄLLE Paper Napkins – $1.99
TILLFÄLLE Serving Bowl with Stand – $22.99
TILLFÄLLE Dish Towels – $5.99
TILLFÄLLE Coffee Table – $119.00
TILLFÄLLE Cushion Cover – $5.00 (Insert sold separately)
TILLFÄLLE Candlesticks – $19.99 to $59.99
The TILLFÄLLE is perfect for adding a touch of fun & whimsy to your decor, and during the IKEA FAMILY event I did purchase a few cushion covers and paper napkins. I can’t wait to go back to pick up a few candlesticks for the top of the buffet in our dining room.
You can’t order the TILLFÄLLE collection online and supplies are extremely limited, so you may want to check online to see if your local IKEA store has the pieces you are looking for before you go.
Don’t forget to sign up for the IKEA FAMILY program to receive special offers and invites like this one!
Disney and LeSportsac are at it again with a new Spring line of purses in the Disney | LeSportsac featuring Mickey and Minnie Collection that are perfection.
There are four different designs with several special feature pieces in this 60 bag collection that is, as always, on trend with a bag for everyone.
Disney | LeSportsac – Mickey Loves Minnie
The Mickey Loves Minnie print has a vintage feel starring the classic Disney couple walking hand in hand, dancing, flirting, and falling in love. I ADORE this pattern!!!
My favorite bag in the Mickey Loves Minnie print is the EveryGirl Tote ($108), that measures 11 x 12 x 7 inches with aZipped main closure, Pleated front pocket with zipped closure, Lightly padded bottom panel, 9 in (22.86 cm) Handle drop, Interior back wall zipper pocket.
Disney | LeSportsac – Spring Fling
Spring Fling is a pastel spring floral print featuring everyone’s favorite sweethearts Minnie and Mickey in a garden of love. This saccharine sweet pattern will add just the right amount of pop of love to your outfit.
My favorite bag in the Spring Fling print is the Voyager Backpack ($144) that measures 16.5 x 13.5 x 5.5 inches and features a Drawstring main closure, Top flap with quick release clip lock closure, Exterior front pocket with zipped closure, Two exterior side pockets with clip lock closures, Adjustable shoulder straps, Three interior mesh pockets, Interior signature zip/open pocket. I have ALWAYS wanted the Voyager Backpack, and this is my favorite so far.
The square Spring into Lovecosmetic showcases everyone’s favorite ears and bow over the print.
Disney | LeSportsac – Blooming Love
Blooming Lovefeatures Cherry Blossom Lightning metallic ripstop nylon fabric with embossed Mickey and Minnie head silhouette design that is sure to be an instant classic and must have for your collection.
My favorite bag in the Blooming Love pattern is my ‘Go To’ LeSportsac bag! The Small Cleo Crossbody ($86) measures 9 x 9 x 4.5 inches and features a Zipped main closure, Exterior front zipper pocket, Exterior back open pocket, Adjustable shoulder strap (Max. 50in / 127cm), Interior signature zip/open pocket. Don’t be put off by this bag’s smaller size!
Disney | LeSportsac – Checks and Bows
Checks and Bowsis a classic picnic blanket print of blue and white that features the classic three circle Mickey and Minnie with her signature bow silhouettes. It is a simple pattern that will make you want to head to the park for a lovely day.
My favorite bag in the Checks and Bows pattern is the Small Edie Backpack ($123) that is perfectly on trend for the spring and measures 11 x 10 x 5 inches that features a Drawstring main closure, Top flap with hidden magnetic snap closure, Side zipper for main compartment access, Exterior front pocket with zip closure, Adjustable shoulder straps (Max. 30in/76.20cm), Top loop, Interior back wall signature zip/open pocket, All metal hardware.
Playing off this sweet print is the graphic rectangular cosmetic Love Checkthat takes Minnie and Mickey’s smooch front and center.
The Springtime Outingmini tote is also check based featuring an oversized Minnie silhouette.
I am a HUGE fan of the Disney | LeSportsac bags, because they are the perfect weight to carry in the parks with storage for days and perfectly sized sleeves & pockets.
I can’t wait to bring you even more information about this amazing line of bags.
Disney TAG is the newest store to open at the Marketplace Co Op in Disney Springs, and features key travel essentials called Disney Travel-Accessories-Gear or Disney TAG that let you Travel With Character.
Located where Zoey & Pickles formerly was in the Marketplace Co Op, the store brings a lovely touch of whimsy and fun to organizational items that are almost always utilitarian in design.
As soon as I walked in, I found myself drawn into the eclectic mix of items focused on making travel both more comfortable and organized.
There we so many great pieces in Disney TAG, but here are a few of my favorites!
I absolutely LOVE this pattern featuring a fun mix of silhouettes of characters, distinctly Disney vacation highlights, and transportation icons. The bright colors pop against the black background making it a piece that you will be able to quickly locate on a luggage carousel, too.
You can find a large variety of luggage tags, but these were my favorites! These luggage tags are oversized and are a hard acrylic to help with durability. How fun would it be to keep WDW and DLR tags to use especially when you are heading to those locations? Answer…lots of fun!
Not every product that I use comes in a size that is approved for travel, so this Travel Bottle Set is a fun way to take your favorite products along with you. With the bottles featuring character couples (Donald & Daisy FTW!!!), you could split the set between two people to use with items that go together like shampoo & conditioner or face wash & toner. Perfection!
This iPhone 6 Case features a pattern that you can find throughout Disney TAG, and it is perfect for any Disney vacation. From a trip on the monorail to sailing with Disney Cruise Line, you are set with this phone case.
I know what you are thinking…an electric toothbrush? Just take a second look at the packaging. There are two heads with this electric toothbrush, so you could pack one per couple on your trip to help save precious toiletry space. Plus, you get to start your day with a magical thought.
The Monorail Throw is a bit pricey, but it is a great weight that will fold nicely into a larger carry-on so you can nap in comfort while you are On the Go.
Zoe has gotten me into these Sleep Eye Masks, and I really love the fun design of this one. How could you pass up napping under a fun pair of Mickey glasses?
These Reusable Totes come in handy when you are traveling, and are useful for so many things! Some ways I like to use them are a small hamper for hotel rooms for shorter trips, a way to consolidate purchases, and as a pool bag to carry my sunscreen and snacks without packing an additional bag.
When I was a little girl one of the COOLEST things I ever got for traveling was a collapsible cup, so imagine how excited I was to see this hanging up. Cut me some slack…I am easily amused!
This Travel Flats and Tote is ideal for longer trips, because the flats are a great way to stay comfortable and the tote lets you keep just a few items near your seat so you can stow your carry-on to clear up valuable leg room.
I love a patterned umbrella, and the umbrella with the TAG pattern was my first purchase from the store! It is so great to see fun umbrellas back at the park again!
I learned the joys of a Neck Pillow late in life, so learn from my mistake and pick up one before your next trip. You won’t regret it or this Haunted Mansion print.
You can find all of these and more at the Disney TAG store open daily from 10 am to 11 pm in the Marketplace Co Op located at Disney Springs in the Marketplace.
At the #ZootopiaEvent I had the chance to be a part of a roundtable interview with the film’s Co-Director Jared Bush, Producer Clark Spencer, and Screenplay Writer Phil Johnston to get a glimpse into the process of creating the story of Zootopia.
Inevitably the discussion of Zootopia Easter Eggs came up, and having just seen a preview of the movie I was really excited to get the stories behind some of their favorite details.
An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in an interactive work such as a computer program, video game or DVD menu screen. The name has been said to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt.
None of the Zootopia Easter Eggs I’m sharing are ‘story spoilers’, they are just really fun touches to the world of Zootopia!
8 Zootopia Easter Eggs
1. The Corner of Tujunga & Vine
“If you look at when they,they arrive at the Rain Forest district, the sign says Vine and Tujunga, and Tujunga is the crappy warehouse that we had working in for the last two years. They moved us – they’re renovating our main Disney animation building, and they put us in a warehouse with a leaky roof…But it was such a, sort of a family building environment because you really kinda, okay, we’re all stuck next to the planes, and the trains, and the weird junkyard, and who knows what else.
So that’s my favorite because it’s one of those very specific things that people that worked in that building, it’s really something for them, that they all – and when we got to the premiere, everyone really liked that, that didn’t see it before.” – Jared Bush, Co-Director – Zootopia
I wanted to mention this Easter Egg first, because it really showed how much heart the cast and crew of Zootopia worked with on this project. How awesome is it that they have this memory to share with the world!
2. Who knew an Arctic Shrew could be a kingpin?
This one walks the line between obvious and Easter Egg…but I’m counting it! You don’t want to mess with Mr. Big, because this Arctic Shrew might ice YOU!
3. Double the Weaselton
“And we’re like, and we have a weasel. Oh, well, we should call him, uh, Weasel. His last name is Weaselton, and then Jim Reardon’s like, it should be Duke Weaselton. It’s gonna be Duke Weaselton. And then we’d always been looking for what role could Alan play, and there was like, I think this- these things are all coming together. Let’s make that happen. And so it was kind of perfect.” – Jared Bush, Co-Director, Zootopia
Alan Tudyk is the voice of Duke of Weselton in Frozen, and I adore how he is back to voice Duke Weaselton to really drive the connection between the two characters similarity home!
4. Elephant Princesses
“In the background, you’ll see little animation in the background characters or signage that is- we still discover that, and it’s entertaining as we’re going through it. So there’s even new stuff for us going through it, having seen it in different forms a thousand times.” – Jared Bush, Co-Director – Zootopia
Now while I cannot take credit for finding this Easter Egg, it is such a wonderful example of how much thought goes into creating the background of Zootopia!
5. Chief Bogo thinks you should Let it Go
Do you think that this is some cartoon musical where your insipid dreams come true?
Well, Let it Go.
“Phil was working with us on Wreck-It Ralph and said, hey, Jennifer [Lee], do you wanna come out to LA and work on this project? So he kinda brought her out, so then to have Phil write a line that is back in there, that’s the true kind of inside – the audience is gonna enjoy it for the reference to Frozen, obviously, or hopefully they will.” Clark Spencer, Producer – Zootopia
There are quite a few Frozen zingers in Zootopia…and every single one of them made me laugh!
6. Sloth dreams do come true
This is also one of my favorite Zootopia Easter Eggs!
Kristen Bell is a sloth fanatic, and her dreams came true as she plays Priscilla the Sloth at the DMV…Department of Mammal Vehicles.
7. Bootleg ‘Disney’ Movie Hustle
Seems like Duke Weaselton has QUITE the Bootleg Movie Hustle going on in Zootopia! He’s got the latest blockbuster movies available! Pig Hero 2, Wrangled, Wreck-It Rhino, Floaten 2, Giraffic, and Mewana…he’s got them all!!!
8. Is it a Jug-Band Christmas in Zootopia?
If you haven’t seen Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, well then you are missing one of the saddest and most beautiful Christmas Specials ever created. It is one of my absolute favorites, so you can imagine my excitement when a character named EMMET OTTER was introduced!!!
When Zootopia opens in theaters on March 4th, I can’t wait for you to experience these Easter Eggs and to find some that aren’t included because they were spoiler-ish.
I can’t wait to see Zootopia again to find even more!
First off, I just want to say that this is in no way shape or form a sponsored post…it is just something really cool I wanted to share. I subscribed to Fandom of the Mont with my own money and on my own accord.
I’ve been looking at all the different subscription services that are around, and I finally decided to try one so I subscribed to Fandom of the Month.
Fandom of the Month is monthly (with some surprise boxes offered outside of subscriptions) jewelry subscription that includes 3-4 handpicked fandom inspired jewelry items, with a surprise theme!
Past items included have been:
Earrings, necklaces, rings (size 7 or adjustable), bracelets, keychains, and pins. Each month the jewelry comes in a hand screen printed muslin drawstring bag with a custom postcard and a custom magnet. Also the mailing boxes are super cute!
Now while the theme is a surprise, but you will want to follow their Instagram because they gives clues to upcoming themes, updates on shipping, and special announcements.
How it all works…
Visit the Fandom of the Month website to choose which subscription you would like. Boxes start at $12.00 (Shipping is an additional charge of $3.75 in the US, $8 for Canada, and $11.50 for International), but the longer you subscribe the price goes down.
Also don’t be shocked if you have to wait a month before you are able to sign-up if you sign up later in the month, because the spots are limited and they do fill up.
And then you impatiently wait for the boxes, which are delivered between the 20th and 25th of every month.
And don’t forget to keep in mind…
Once you subscribe to Fandom of the Month Club, your subscription will automatically renew at the end of your cycle.
You may cancel ANY TIME, simply log into your account and cancel.
There are no penalties or fees for canceling.
Due to the extreme savings offered in our boxes, we cannot accept returns or grant refunds for already received boxes.
Once a payment has been processed the sale is final. You may however cancel for future months.
Now, let’s look at my first box where the theme was Death Eaters!
Horcrux Charm Bracelet
Dark Mark Earrings
‘Have you Seen this Wizard’ Compact
Death Eater Mask Muslin Bag
Bellatrix Lestrange Magnet
Fandom of the Month Postcard
I have to say that I am really pleased with my first Fandom of the Month, and I can’t wait to see what February’s box has in store when the theme is Classic Alice in Wonderland!
Some of you may have heard of this cute little astromech droid named BB-8 from this little indie flick called Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I have fallen in love with BB-8 and thought I’d share some of my favorite merchandise gems I’ve found featuring this adorable new droid.
We’ve all seen the Sphero BB-8, which looks amazing by the way. There are tons of the usual merchandise offerings like pins, shirts, hats, backpacks, phone cases, MagicBands, etc. for sale in the Disney Parks and all over the internet. I’m going to share some of the more unique items I’ve come across online in particular, but not in any specific order.
4. This BB-8 mini fridge is perfect for storing cold drinks under or on your desk at work, and it is stylish too!
5. This Rey LEGO mini figure comes with a cute little BB-8 and her Jakku-wear. You can find them both in this Millennium Falcon LEGO Set.
6. I have a tendency to lose flash drives, but I have a feeling I’d be able to keep my eye on this BB-8 storage device.
7. I cannot decide if I have to have this BB-8 suitcase, or if I just need it. 😉
8. This car decal will be mine! I mean it even has my initials on it. Maybe this is part of why I love BB-8 so much. Currently this isn’t available from purchase individually on TeeFury, but only as a part of the Galactic Bundle. I guess I may just have to get more Star Wars stuff. Oh well.
And as a bonus, I have my own favorite piece of BB-8 merchandise…The BB-8 Interactive Hoodie from the Disney Store that uses the Disney Store Become App.
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.
And while Give Kids the World has a special site set up for #GivingTuesday donations, but inside of their Memory Market is a special Alex and Ani bracelet created especially for Give Kids the World.
As the heart and soul of Alex and Ani, CEO, Founder and Creative Director, Carolyn Rafaelian, created Charity by Design, which serves as a unique division focused solely on giving and making the dreams of charitable organizations come true.
Carolyn creates customized symbolic charms that capture the essence of a charity making it more accessible to the public while raising awareness and funds. Through December 2015, 20% of the proceeds received by Alex and Ani from selling the “Sweet Treats” Bangle, with a minimum donation of $25,000, will be donated to Give Kids The World.
The Ice Cream Cone not only represents ‘Ice Cream for Breakfast’, but also exudes blissful energy in connection to shared moments with loved ones and is a carefree symbol of the simple enjoyment found in savoring a decadent treat.
The Alex and Ani Sweet Treats Bangle is available in Gold and Silver Tone for $28, and it is a great addition to your Disney stack!
Artegon Marketplace Celebrates First Anniversary With #AntiOrdinary Events
Free admission festivities include amped up Signature Events, Concert with Superstar Recording Artists, fun for all ages…and a Real Housewife of New Jersey
This week Artegon Marketplaceis hosting a week-long line-up of free admission festivities and amped up signature events to celebrate its first anniversary.
They are also celebrating a transformation that has created a unique shopping experience to create Orlando’s most eclectic, diverse and truly original shopping, culinary and entertaining destination.
I had the opportunity to walk around Artegon Marketplace with David Miskin (Chief Creative Officer and mighty fine dancer), Amy Higgins (Vice President, Leasing), and their wonderful team to take in the changes that have taken place since their doors opened last year.
If you haven’t had that chance to visit or haven’t visited in awhile, you will be bowled over by the changes, additions, and re-invention of the Artegon Marketplace.
Artegon’s Anti-Ordinary First Anniversary Spectacular kicks off on Monday, November 16 with a free wine stroll and tasting of more than 10 varieties of vino with a special guest appearance by one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey; continues nightly with special events for every age, from a movie night to family food truck rally; and culminates on Saturday, November 21 with a free live concert hosted by Orlando hometown favorite, Joey Fatone from the legendary boyband N’SYNC.
Here’s the week’s line-up; pop the champagne and let’s get this party started!
Monday, November 16, 6-9 pmSip. Stroll. Shop.
Cheers to Artegon’s anniversary!! During this signature event, Wine Stroll guests will meander by wine tasting stations scattered throughout the entire center. Shoppers can sample more than 10 varieties paired with bite-sized morsels that perfectly enhance each wine – all for free (while supplies last). Sip and stroll through the center while enjoying live Jazz and Flamenco music. As you’re sauntering from station to station, you might just bump into New Jersey Housewife Melissa Gorga! Be among the first 150 shoppers in line at the anniversary edition of the Wine Stroll and receive a commemorative Artegon-embossed stemless wine glass. Do a little shopping. Earn free movie tickets. See you Monday.
The ARTegon Co-op is popping up at Artegon Marketplace. 6-9 P.M. An anti-ordinary art-oriented pop-up shop is celebrating its arrival at Artegon through an Opening Gala, spearheaded by Orlando’s own Justin Skip Skipper and Chris Tobar Rodriguez. Opening festivities involve appetizing foods and bubbly drinks (while supplies last) plus live music by DJ BMF. Join the celebration of #AntiOrdinary #art #cooppopupshop
Tuesday, November 17, 5-7 pmThe Art of Beer
Craft beers have tapped into America’s love of suds. The celebration continues on Tuesday with the anniversary edition of The Art of Beer. Sample and savor more than 10 styles of Florida craft beers (while supplies last). The first 150 guests in attendance will enjoy their brewskis from a commemorative Artegon-embossed glass mug. Use the mug to try out one, three or all 10 of the craft beers. What else goes well with beer? Food and music! Enjoy discounted meals from Artegon food vendors while kicking back to the Smoking Torpedoes. Real Radio 104.1 talk show host favorite Dirty Jim will make an appearance and give away prizes to local loyal fans. And that’s not all. Former Orlando Magic basketball player Nick Anderson will be there. See you Tuesday.
Wednesday, November 18, 6:30-10:30 pm The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Come watch the most eagerly awaited movie of the year and celebrate the Cinemark Theatre’s renovation at Artegon Marketplace. Check out The Hunger Games:Mockingjay: Part 2 at Cinemark Artegon.
Let the battle commence on an extra-large, ceiling-to-ceiling screen with custom sound, all in the comfort of stadium seating. Stay tuned to see how you can win tickets to a sneak preview of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 before the entire country sees it. (Attendance limited to contest winners.) Visit www.Artegon.com for details.) See you Wednesday.
Thursday, November 19, 11 am – 8 pmPrize Day, All Day
As a “ThankYou” to everyone who’s made Artegon Marketplace the area’s most eclectic, diverse and truly original shopping, culinary and entertaining venue, the center is giving away prizes every hour on the hour from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to lucky shoppers. Prizes include gift cards to a number of Artegon’s new retailers and artisans, free meals at the center’s eateries, free movie passes – and other unexpected surprises throughout the day. In order to win the prizes, shoppers must be present. See you Thursday.
Friday, November 20, 5-9 pm.Food Truck Family Night
Bring the entire family to Food Truck Family Night on Friday and taste the offerings of local gourmet food trucks, with selections cooked fresh right on the spot. Shoppers who spend $20 or more during the event will receive a $5 Food Truck Buck to spend at any food truck of their choice that evening. Enjoy meet-and-greet opportunities with mascots UCF’s Knightro, Solar Bears’ Shades, Orlando Magic’s Stuff, three Orlando Predators dancers, and Orlando City’s street team. See you Friday.
Saturday, November21 , 11. am – 9 pmArtegon’s Festival of Music
The grand finale of Artegon’s Anti-Ordinary Anniversary Week Spectacular is Artegon’s Festival of Music, including all-time favorites and up-and-coming recording artists and entertainers. The entire community is invited to experience the stylings of the following recording superstars and entertainers at this free concert. The celebration kicks off at 11 a.m. with local entertainers, followed by a DJ getting everyone into the groove at 4 p.m. and headliners at 5 p.m. Sample from a variety of food trucks presented by Food Truck Crazy. Shoppers who spend $20 or more during the event will receive a $5 Food Truck Buck to spend at any food truck of their choice that evening. Meet and greets with select artists will be available.
Samantha Mumba is an Irish singer and actress whose hit single Gotta Tell You reached the Top 10 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland in 2000. Her album Gotta Tell You stayed on the charts for six months and is certified platinum with a total of four million copies sold to date. Mumba enjoyed five more Top 10 hits in the UK and her song Baby, Come Over peaked at 50 on the US charts.
Judy Torres is known as “The Queen of Freestyle.” She scored club hits with songs such as Please Stay Tonight, Come into My Arms, Love Story, I Love You, Will You Love Me, No Reason to Cry, and chart- topping remake of Journey’s Faithfully. Torres has performed non-stop to sold out crowds since the release of her first single in 1987. In 1998, Torres joined iHeart Radio’s 103.5 FM KTU in New York as an on-air personality.
Aaron Carter came to fame very early in life at the age of seven and released his first self-titled debut album at the age of 10. He was one the biggest teenage heart throbs in the late 1990’s and in the early 2000’s. Carter’s second album Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) put him on the map, selling 1.5 million copies. He is set to release new music in early 2016. In addition, Carter has recently starred in the Broadway classic Fantasticks, and competed on Dancing with the Stars.
BEFORE YOU EXIT (BYE)
This Orlando-based band consists of three brothers: Connor, 21 (vocals/guitar); Riley, 19, (lead vocals); and Toby, 17, (vocals, guitar). They caught the attention of the legendary music manager Johnny Wright, who signed the group. Wright also manages Justin Timberlake and many others. BYE was named the winners of the Macy’s iHeart Radio Rising Star campaign, and performed at the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. BYE has had three hit singles on the Radio Disney charts.
Part of the hip hop duo with DJ E-Z Rock, Rob Base is most famous for his hit single It Takes two. This song was a Top 40 hit and became platinum, along with their album. They were also known for beingpioneers of the crossover success that rap music would have in the popular music mainstream.
JOEY FATONE (HOST)
Best known as a member of the legendary boyband N’SYNC, Joey Fatone’s current hosting gigs include the announcer on Family Feud; Food Network’s Rewrapped; and Live Well Network’s My Family Recipe Rocks. Joey is also guest host of the live version of The Price is Right in Las Vegas.
Artegon Marketplace Orlando is a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping attraction and artisan marketplace that is reinventing the retail experience for today’s discerning consumer. Located on the north end of International Drive, Artegon caters to both local residents and visitors looking for an eclectic, diverse and truly original shopping, culinary and entertaining adventure. Distinguishing the retail destination is Florida’s largest daily indoor artisan marketplace where over 165 local artisans and crafts people sell one-of-a-kind items. Guests can also discover the area’s only Bass Pro Shops, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Boot Barn and Gods & Monsters, plus blow their own works of art at International Hot Glass, climb a ropes course, take in a movie at Cinemark Theatres, sip craft beers at signature monthly events, and much more – essentially creating their own authentic experience with every visit.
Last week the new Mall at University Town Center opened in Sarasota as a new location for upscale shopping and dining. I had the chance to check it out this past weekend and thought I’d share a few pictures. My mom and I had seen the location last as a dirt patch before construction started, so it was quite impressive to see the change. The grand opening was last Thursday, with celebrities like our friend David Bromstad in attendance to celebrate the opening of the mall at their Macy’s location. Some of the stores are still not open yet, but I would say a good 80-90% are currently open.
The retail center has a range of stores throughout with anchor stores like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s. High end offerings also include Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and more traditional mall mainstays like the Gap, Express, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret. One of my favorite aspects of the Mall at University Town Center is the collection of home, kitchen and housewares stores like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma. I could get lost in these stores along for hours checking out all the fun gadgets and gizmos as well as great decor.
For the opening weekend they had quite a bit of entertainment going on throughout the Mall. I don’t know if this will continue on a regular basis, but it definitely made this feel unlike any mall I’ve ever been to. There were living statues similar to those that used to appear in Epcot. Multiple musicians were spread out throughout the Mall at University Town Center playing music ranging from steel drums, to Celtic violins, to solo guitar players, and even some singing Jack Johnson. In addition to this there were a couple of gymnastic troupes performing in different locations. It made this much more than just your typical shopping experience. I even got to meet Hello Kitty!
Setting itself further apart from most malls, the Mall at UTC for short, doesn’t offer a food court per se. There are tons of places to eat, but most of them are table service restaurants, with a few counter service locations with seating mixed in here and there. There are also counter location like Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Starbucks, and Cold Stone Creamery where you just walk up to the counter and order. We opted for lunch at Seasons 52, a restaurant that was first mentioned to me by our own Gail a while back when talking about their fantastic meals on twitter.
Being that this was the opening weekend at the mall, we decided it might be a good idea to get there not long after the mall opened at 11am on Sunday. This was definitely a good call because parking was even scarce when we arrived a little before 11:30. We also had the good sense to make a reservation ahead of time for lunch at Seasons 52 using the Open Table website. We actually checked in about half an hour before our reservation time since neither of us had eaten breakfast, and thankfully they were able to seat us right away. Others were being told the wait was about 45 minutes unless they could find a seat at the bar, so we were very happy to get in early.
I will say the service was a bit slow, and also our server wasn’t as familiar with the menu as we were from just looking at it online ahead of time, but I will give them a pass since it was only four days after opening. The food was all fantastic. We thought we’d prefer to try several small things, so instead of ordering any entrees, my mom and I split several appetizers.
We started off with one of the recommended flights and flatbreads, where you can choose from several flatbread options and three wine flights for either $15 or $20 for three tastes of different wines and then a full glass of your favorite of the three. This would be a great lunch in and of itself for future reference. We tried the blackened steak & blue cheese flatbread with the Acclaimed wine flight, which consisted of reds that were all rated 90 points or above by Wine Spectator, the Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast or International Wine Cellar. We liked the cabernet the best, but none of the wines were as full bodied as we’d hoped, so we probably wouldn’t choose that flight again. The flatbread was quite tasty as long as you like blue cheese.
Next up we tried some of the seasonal appetizers on the Autumn menu. One that had caught my eye was the cider-glazed chicken skewers. They were served over a fuji apple slaw with sun-dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds. This was our favorite selection we tried. Mom didn’t care for the slaw as much as I did, but still enjoyed the dish overall. We tried a cup of the porcini mushroom bisque in hopes that it might be similiar to the Portabella mushroom soup at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, but it was different. Good, but not as creamy as I’d hoped. I liked dipping the small garlic breadstick that came with it in the bisque to combine the flavors. Mom also ordered the carmelized brussel sprouts with crispy bacon, garlic and a parmesan crust. I’m not usually a fan of brussel sprouts, but paired with the bacon and cheese worked really well. We also ordered the organic baby spinach and carmelized pear salad with toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, and a sherry walnut vinaigrette. The salad was very good too, as long as you like blue cheese. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of blue cheese, in case you hadn’t guessed, but I did like what we had.
Last up was our dessert. Seasons 52 has a tray of mini desserts called mini indulgences that are about shot glass size and very affordable at only $2.75 each. These do change seasonally, so the offerings may very, but there were several intriguing choices. We opted to split the lemon and blueberry curd, and the pumpkin pie with a ginger snap cookie. We enjoyed both desserts, but mom and I both agreed we liked the pumpkin pie the best.
The food at Seasons 52 is all 475 calories or less per menu item, which is nice to know. They use seasonal and fresh ingredients to mix up the selections every few months. Their name, in case you were wondering where the 52 comes from, refers to the 52 different wines that are available by the glass. The food pictured above was enough for two adults to get two full meals each out of it and it was very reasonably priced coming to less than $60 before tip. The leftovers were even great the next day! I really enjoyed this restaurant at the Mall at UTC, and it will definitely be one of the reasons I come back. I’d also like to try their Kona Grill, The Capital Grill, and Brio restaurants. Friends have also recommended the Rise pizza restaurant here, which offers gluten free and traditional pies with your choice of toppings.
If you are looking for a different place to get some of your shopping done, the Mall at University Town Center offers a unique sense of style, mixed with Florida casual fun. This will now be my go to location for the Apple store, which cuts my drive time in half to the next closest location, and it is more than twice the size of the one in Brandon. I also like I can now go here for my Cheesecake Factory fix when I need one. Check this new mall out when you get a chance and let me know what you think.