The Lion Guard Adventure Roars Into Animal Kingdom #DisneyKids

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Adventure debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and this photo scavenger hunt allows fans of Disney Junior’s newest animated show “The Lion Guard” to become an Honorary Member of The Lion Guard, and our whole family had a wild day taking part in the fun.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

Kion, the lion cub son of Simba and Nala and future king of the Pride Lands, has come to the park to find new friends to join the Lion Guard. But where is Kion—and where are his fellow protectors of the Pride Lands: Ono, Bunga, Fuli and Beshte?

To start your adventure, visit select merchandise locations around Animal Kingdom to pick up a guide map that is full of kid-friendly facts and clues to engage your child’s curiosity and inspire them as future “protectors” of wildlife.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

Here is where you can pick up your The Lion Guard Adventure Guide Maps:

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Africa

  • Zuri’s Sweet Shop
  • Mombasa Marketplace
  • Festival of the Lion King

Discovery Island

  • Island Mercantile

Asia

  • Maharajah

Using your map, set out on your quest to take a picture with five kid-sized statues around the Park.

KION – Fiercest

Lions like KION communicate and scare off enemies with their fierce ROAR. ‘ROAR’ like KION!

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

ONO – Keenest of Sight

Birds use their KEEN EYES in flight to hunt insects. Use your KEEN EYES and your arms ‘like wings’ to fly like ONO.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

BUNGA – Brave

Honey badgers like BUNGA, with their thick, armor-like skin are fearless and BRAVE. Raise your arms and shout ‘Zuka Zama!’ Show how BRAVE you are.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom Bunga and Zoe

BESHTE – Strongest

Hippos like BESHTE love to rest in cool water. But on land, they can use their STRONG LEGS to out run a human. Flex your STRONG ARMS AND LEGS like BESHTE.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

FULI – Fastest

Cheetahs like FULI, the fastest animal on land, use their tails for balance to run up to 70 miles per hour! Crouch down like FULI, ready to run your FASTEST!

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

What makes The Lion Guard Adventure a great addition to your day at Animal Kingdom is that all of the figures are conveniently ‘hidden’ on a normal path through the park as to not take too much time away from the attractions and shows.

The adventure ends at Rafiki’s Planet Watch where you take The Lion Guard Pledge before you receive your Lion Guard Mark of the Shield and become a new member of The Lion Guard.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Lion Guard Pledge

I promise

To use my keen eyes

To see right and wrong,

To use my roar, and

To be brave, fast, and strong.

The Lion Guard Adventure Disney's Animal Kingdom

I will protect

My animal friends.

I pledge to the Lion Guard, 

I will defend!

We really had a good time playing The Lion Guard Adventure, which only added an additional 30 minutes to our day due to Zoe wanting to take the perfect Selfie, and it is something that we will definitely do again on our next visit to Animal Kingdom.

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La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Introduces New Acts And Special Offer

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Introduces New Acts And Special Offer

 

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is always evolving with new additions, and the newest acts introduced into the show honor the past while looking forward to the future of entertainment.

 La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World
                     Courtesy of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

Aerial Bamboo may be new to La Nouba, but this rare performance has a deep history that starts in China and involves a pole-shaped apparatus, originally made of bamboo but now made of steel, suspended from the ceiling, with attached loops used for a variety of tricks and stunts.

 La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World
                      Courtesy of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

This breathtaking performance marks the United States premiere of Russian couple Alexander and Ekaterina Abramov that will have you on the edge of your seat as Ekaterina is held only by Alexander – his arms, his feet and even his teeth – as he himself hangs by his feet or arms high above the stage.

 La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World
                     Courtesy of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

I was spellbound by their talent, and I am pretty sure I didn’t breathe as the duo performed and she spun like a top. It was fantastic!

As a huge fan of America’s Best Dance Crew (Yes, I know I am dating myself here), I was really excited to see this B-Boy trio take the Cirque du Soleil stage for the first time!

 La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World
                      Courtesy of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

If you aren’t familiar, B-Boying is a physically demanding form of dance, in which performers execute acrobatic tricks and moves, including flips and spins, to music.

 La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World
                  Courtesy of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

The La Nouba artistic staff scoured the globe for its three inaugural B-Boys: Josh Ortiz (“Incredible Josh”), Jean Carlos Lloret (“Bebo”) and Dmytro Li (“Flying Buddha”). The three hail respectively from the Bronx, N.Y., the Boston area and Ukraine and are performing together for the first time. All three have been dancing since their youth and bring their own unique styles to the act.

I got the chance to see them dance on the La Nouba Stage (I totally geeked out), and it was a treat to see them up-close!

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World New Acts January 2016

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World New Acts January 2016

What makes these acts work so well is that La Nouba brought back original choreographer Debra Brown, original composer Benoit Jutras, and original lighting designer Luc Lafortune to seamlessly integrate these new acts into the show.

And if that wasn’t enough, La Nouba has created a new partnership with Morimoto Asia.

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World Morimoto Asia

From now until July 31, 2016, all La Nouba by Cirque du Soliel guests will have the opportunity to purchase an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage on the Morimoto Asia menu and receive a complimentary four-piece California Roll or Vegetable Roll when they show their La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil ticket stub.

Morimoto Asia Cirque du Soleil La Nouba Special Offer Flyer 2016 Disney Springs

Morimoto Asia is located at The Landings at Disney Springs, approximately a 5 minute walk from the La Nouba Theater, and is a great way to round out your evening at Disney Springs!

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World Morimoto Asia Sushi

If you can’t tell, I REALLY enjoyed the newest additions to La Nouba by Cirqu du Soleil and suggest that you check them out soon!

 La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs Walt Disney World

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Wordless Wednesday: Passing By Hagrid’s Hut

Wordless Wednesday: January 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday Universal Orlando Resort Islands of Adventure Hagrid Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to a door that I would love to knock on one day.

Who wouldn’t want to knock on that door, and be welcomed in by Hagrid for a cup of tea by the fire?

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Wordless Wednesday: Wisdom On A Wednesday At Animal Kingdom

Wordless Wednesday – January 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday Animal Kingdom Harambe Market January 2016

It does not matter who

you are or where you

are from. We are all

Children of the World.

I found this week’s Wordless Wednesday on the streets of the Harambe Market in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and it’s message rings loud and true.

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#OntheGo Around the Parks: Taking It Easy In The Magic Kingdom

#OntheGo Around the Parks:

Taking It Easy In The Magic Kingdom

 

An awesome perk of living so close to Walt Disney World is being able to pop over for a quick visit, check out my last visit to Epcot, but it also means that when the Parks are busier you tend to steer clear of the crowds.

However on Monday I decided to venture to the Magic Kingdom for some time with my friend John for an easy, breezy day.

Now I say breezy, because it was definitely ‘Florida Cold’! We moved from Virginia and I went to school at Virginia Tech in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Go Hokies!), so I know it’s not cold-cold…but my blood has thinned considerably!

It was a beautiful day with a super blue sky! It was gorgeous.

#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016

It was the perfect morning to take a leisurely stroll to Cinderella Castle where we caught part of Dream Along with Mickey (which I hadn’t seen in awhile).

#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016

We are both trying to get 10,000 steps a day, so we decided to take a walk through Fantasyland. The area was busy but not crazy. I had to stop to take a picture of Zoe’s favorite Princess’ Tower.

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And we also made a new friend. This little guy was so adorable!

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The wait for Haunted Mansion wasn’t awful (25 minutes), so we decided to see if there was room for 2 more…

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#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016

 

#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016Afterwards we decided to set sail on the ‘Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed’, and I had a lot of fun trying to catch some of the reflections. I’m going to go back with my DSLR to see if I can catch some better shots, but it was a fun photo adventure!

#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016

#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016

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We caught a quick bite to eat at Pecos Bill…but I forgot to take a picture of my burrito…I was hungry! However, I will say that I really wish they’d bring back some of the BBQ options.

When we were done with lunch we flew over to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room for a sing-along with some of our favorite feathered friends.

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Our last ride of the day was on Pirates of the Caribbean, and while we were splashed quite a bit we had a great time.

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#OntheGo Around the Parks Magic Kingdom January 11, 2016 Pirates of Caribbean Hat Man

It was a great day with a great friend (Check out John’s Big Fat Panda site for his antics), and I can’t wait to take you along #OntheGo Around the Parks soon!

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Don’t forget to follow @onthegoinmco on Twitter & Instagram for all of our adventures!

 

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#OnTheGo Around the Parks: An Afternoon at Epcot

 

#OnTheGo Around the Parks:

An Afternoon at Epcot

One thing that I really love doing is walking around the Parks, and while I usually tweet and Instagram my day I thought it would be a nice change to share my afternoon and my thoughts here.

It was a chilly (by Orlando standards) and slightly overcast afternoon at Epcot, but it was great to get out of the house for a few hours before I picked Zoe up from her after-school activity.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

I didn’t have any plans or FastPass+ return times, and I wasn’t in a rush so I decided to take an easy stroll around Future World.

My first stop was to see Baymax in his new Meet and Greet area in Innoventions West.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

This was my first time seeing the area, and it was great to see I wasn’t alone! He had a large line, and while his workshop background may seem sparse it fits right in with all of the construction that is going on inside of Innoventions.

After a quick picture, I decided to head over to The Seas with Nemo & Friends.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot The Seas with Nemo & Friends Exterior

This is one of Zoe’s favorite rides, and when we ride it’s often filled with a lot of pointing and chatting about what is going on around us so it was weird to ride it in silence.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

There was a lot of activity in the tanks as people were snorkeling. I would love to try that one day!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

I also had to find one of my all time favorite Hidden Mickeys…

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

And Nemo!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

Heading over to The Land Pavilion I decided to keep up my Hidden Mickey Hunting, and found this little guy.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

While Soarin’ is closed until later this year, it was nice to see that the Pavilion was still chocked full of people!

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Living with the Land has always been one of my favorite rides!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

I found a ton of Mickeys and got to see a Florida Snowman.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

Before I leave, I always take a moment to say goodbye to the balloons.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

The latest addition to Epcot is the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

The Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival is a 3D experience that begins with a short film where you hear from John Lasseter and Ed Catmull talk about the beginnings of Pixar by showing the progression of their work.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

The Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival features 3 shorts in ways that you have never seen them before.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

‘Get a Horse’ is the first short that pops off the screen (literally) bringing this classic short to life in a whole new way. While the 3 and 4D effects were really well done, what really was amazing was to hear Walt Disney voicing Mickey ringing through the theater. I won’t lie…it gave me chills.

‘La Luna’ really sparkled in the 3D format, and it was really nice to revisit a short that is one of my favorites.

And finally, ‘For the Birds’ is a really quirky and fun short that ends the experience on a solid laugh.

We’ll miss you Captain EO, but I have to say that I really enjoyed watching the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. I can’t wait to bring Zoe back with me next time!

Then it was off to Innoventions East to visit Colortopia Presented by Glidden.

If you haven’t had the chance to stop by and experience the newest spot in Innoventions…what are you waiting for?

Onthego In the Parks Epcot Colortopia

I really love all of the the different interactive areas and activities, and it is a really great way to spend some time out of the Florida elements.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot Colortopia

Seriously, what are you waiting for? I promise that you will really enjoy Colortopia…so go!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

Walking out of Innoventions East I ran into the Jamminators. And while these guys have several identities throughout the year, I always like to stop for a second to watch them perform. They are a really fun group.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

And I was in luck, because today was ‘Junior Jamminator Day’ and I am now an honorary Jamminator!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

I haven’t ridden Test Track in awhile, so I decided to head over to the single rider line. It was a 25 minute wait, not too shabby, but it was nice to just relax and go with the flow!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

When you go through the single rider line you don’t get the full design experience, but the car I chose placed 2nd which is much better than when I do the designing so I will call it a win!!!

And it wouldn’t be a trip to Epcot without riding my absolute favorite ride in the world…Spaceship Earth.

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

All in all it was a lovely afternoon at Epcot, and I hope that you enjoyed tagging along with me on my trip!

Onthego In the Parks Epcot

See ya real soon!

 

-Shelley

 

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Osborne Lights Hidden Gems

Osborne lights
Osborne lights history display

As many of you already know, this is sadly the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After 20 years the lights will be packed up to make way for some awesome new changes coming to the Studios in the forms of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land over the next few years. We can certainly hope that the Osborne Lights will return to us in some incarnation down the road, even in another location would be fine, but for now we have to assume that this is the end.

I don’t mean to say this in a melancholy way, but rather to give each and every one of you the encouragement to go out and catch the Osborne Lights for one final (or first) time if there’s any way you can. The last night will be Sunday, January 3rd, 2016, and I am personally planning to be there until they shut it down and kick me out. The lights started just three years before I moved to Florida and first experienced the Osborne Lights in their previous home on Residential Street in 1998. They moved the lights to the Streets of America in 2004 after Residential Street closed. For the past 17 years the lights have been the highlight of the Christmas season at Walt Disney World and are my must do above all other holiday traditions here.

This year it seems that the Imagineers have gone an extra step in adding even more hidden gems to the light display as a final send off. Each year it has been tradition to find the black/purple cat that was mixed in from Halloween decorations from the Osborne family. The first fifteen or so years the cat was placed once and stayed in the same location for the whole duration of the lights in November and December. The last few years the Cast Members made a fantastic decision to move around the cat from week to week, which makes it even more fun for those of us who are fortunate enough to go multiple times throughout the eight weeks of the Osborne Lights.

Among some of the fun things I have discovered hidden in the lights the year, in addition to the dozens of hidden Mickeys, are some other characters in lights, some peeking out of windows, others hanging from fire escapes, and even more in window displays. You can literally spend hours exploring all the corners of the 7+ million light display. I love that the canopy on San Francisco Street and how it has changed over the years, now including one of my favorite dancing projections of Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas when What’s This plays. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pictures of the Osborne Lights and a few of these hidden gems that I’ve discovered. I hope that you all have gotten a chance or will get to see the lights before they shine and dance for the last time on January 3rd.

All white angel in memory of Jennings Osborne
All white angel in memory of Jennings Osborne
Arkansas Razorback
Arkansas Razorback
Osborne family stockings hung above the fire
Osborne family stockings hung above the fire
Tinkerbell
Tinkerbell
Incredibles logo
Incredibles logo
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo
Mickey and Minnie silhouettes
Mickey and Minnie silhouettes
Hidden Mickey and Jack Skellington
Hidden Mickey and Jack Skellington
Scrooge McDuck
Scrooge McDuck
Mary Poppins penguin in top window
Mary Poppins penguin in top window
Clarabelle Cow in upper right window
Clarabelle Cow in upper right window
Tony's from Lady and the Tramp
Tony’s from Lady and the Tramp
Hanging upside down Animal
Hanging upside down Animal
Miss Piggy
Miss Piggy
Kermit hanging on the ladder
Kermit hanging on the ladder
Kermit playing banjo
Kermit playing banjo
Hidden Baymax head
Hidden Baymax head
Mr. Potato Head Santa Claus
Mr. Potato Head Santa Claus
Roger Rabbit
Roger Rabbit
Santa Stitch
Santa Stitch
Dalmatians
Dalmatians
Dancing stars on the canopy
Dancing stars on the canopy
Jack Skellington head
Jack Skellington head
Toy Story Alien
Toy Story Alien
Star Wars First Order and Jedi symbols
Star Wars First Order and Jedi symbols
Hidden Olaf in white at the bottom of the window
Hidden Olaf in white at the bottom of the window
Purple cat 1
Purple cat 1
Purple cat 2
Purple cat 2
Purple cat 3, Hidden Mickey, and Toy Story Alien
Purple cat 3, Hidden Mickey, and Toy Story Alien
See You Real Soon
See You Real Soon
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Dreaming of a Disney Christmas: Christmas Ornaments With Character

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Dreaming of a Disney Christmas: Christmas Ornaments With Character

Adding a touch of Disney magic to your Christmas Tree is as awesome as ever with these new Christmas Ornaments from Disney Parks.

I’ve shared several of these Disney Christmas Ornaments over the years, but I love how they keep getting better with even more details and expanding to new characters.

All of these ornaments are $19.99 plus tax, and I would love to hear which ones are your favorites!

Don’t forget you can use the Shop Disney Parks App available on iTunes and Google Play Store to find these and more great Disney Parks items with free shipping!

 

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A Visit To The Star Wars Launch Bay For Beginners

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

Visiting the newly opened Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can seem intimidating if you aren’t familiar familiar with the Star Wars Saga, but fear not because it is actually a really great place to start your Star Wars Fandom if you keep a few things in mind!

The first thing to know is that there is no shame in admitting that you aren’t a huge Star Wars fan! After the initial gasp, you will find that the only thing that Star Wars fans are more passionate about than the movies is sharing their love of the movies!

Now that you’re ready for your visit to the Star Wars Launch Bay, here are a few things to do to make your visit awesome!

1. Bring a friend who is familiar with Star Wars with you.

While visiting the parks alone is always fun, having a friend visit with you who is familiar with Star Wars is a great resource for any questions you may have along the way.

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

2. Once you arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head directly to the ABC Soundstage to watch ‘Path of the Jedi’.

This dramatic 10 minute film compiles exhilarating Star Wars movie moments to tell the tale of the Jedi Order’s fall and return.

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Order protected the galaxy and brought peace to the Galactic Republic—with the help of a mysterious power called the Force. A young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker—secretly influenced by the scheming Darth Sidious—turned to the Dark Side of the Force and brought ruin to the Jedi. Anakin became the dreaded Darth Vader and Darth Sidious became the evil Emperor Palpatine.

A generation passed and Anakin’s children, Luke and Leia, joined the Rebel Alliance to oppose the tyranny of the Galactic Empire. With the help of a charming rogue named Han Solo, Luke and Leia succeeded in defeating the Empire and turning Darth Vader away from the Dark Side.

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi retells this epic saga and hints at what’s next! The Star Wars story continues in the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens—Luke, Leia and Han return along with a new cast of brave heroes and dastardly villains.

3. Don’t skip the line to enter the Star Wars Launch Bay.

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

Why it may be extremely tempting, don’t skip the line to line to enter the Star Wars Launch Bay through the Launch Bay Theater. because the queue is FULL of great details and images!

4. Get Hyped by watching the ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ short film in the Launch Bay Theater!

Inside this stellar screening room, watch a stirring short film celebrating the Star Wars saga. Running continuously throughout the day, this 10-minute “behind-the-scenes” movie includes exclusive interviews with the directors, writers, producers and other key players responsible for bringing the Star Wars galaxy to life.

Now why will you get hyped? I’m glad you asked!

The short film’s interviews are a great glimpse into the passion that the creators have for Star Wars with peeks at the movies.

5. When you are waiting in line for the amazing Meet and Greets in the Star Wars Launch Bay, make sure you pay attention to the trivia that is playing on the screens.

While the Meet and Greet queue itself is full of great props and replicas from Star Wars, along the walls you will find screens playing Star Wars Trivia. This is a great opportunity to learn details from the movies and to find out even more by asking questions.

6. Learn to read Aurebesh…No really…do it!

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios
Super huge thanks to Christie for letting me use her photo! You can find her on Instagram and Twitter!

Along the walls of the Star Wars Launch Bay you’ll see sayings from the movies in Aurebesh, and if you ask a Cast Member they may have the Aurebesh alphabet with our alphabet to help you ‘decode’ the messages.

7. Take your time!

The Launch Bay is full of great galleries chocked full of costumes, props, models, actual items from the movies, and more so make sure you take your time to read all the plaques and to ask the near-by Cast Members questions.

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

8. Bring something to trade with the Jawas.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but bringing something to trade with the Jawas is always a ton of fun!

Star Wars Launch Bay Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Jawas love shiny things, don’t we all really, however you can see in my video that I traded an On the Go in MCO button and things went swimmingly!

9. After you’ve had the full Star Wars Launch Bay experience, pick a character that you really liked to learn more about before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18, 2015!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poster

Find your favorite character, find out more about them, buy some fun merchandise, and have fun…just keep away from Bobba Fett…he’s all mine!!!

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A Day Celebrating Holidays Around the World At Epcot

On Friday, November 27, Epcot began their holiday festivities with their annual Holidays Around the World line up. This post will be extra picture heavy as I think they tell the story better than I could.

Entrance Entrance2 Thumper Bambi StitchHoliday DonaldGoofy Snowflakes IMG_8704 IMG_8706

My family and I like to make a day of the special events each year. We always make reservations for the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package and spend the day going around World Showcase listening to the different storytellers. I love looking at all the decorations that are country-specific too. We also make sure to sample some of the special holiday treats that are available – make sure to pick up a passport!

bûche de Noël
bûche de Noël
Gluhwein
Gluhwein
Frozen Peppermint Trifle
Frozen Peppermint Trifle

All of the countries feature a special holiday performer or storyteller (or two). We can never fit in all the storytellers in one day, but I have seen all of them at least once before. There are descriptions posted at each country that are worth a read even if you don’t catch the performer. Here is a description of all of them with pictures of the ones we caught over the weekend, plus some of the decorations in the countries.

Canada – The Holiday Voyageurs perform on the Mill Stage singing songs and describing holiday traditions of different regions in Canada.

Canada at night
Canada at night
Canadian Moose
Canadian Moose

United Kingdom – Father Christmas tell us what the holiday season is like in the United Kingdom and explains the mistletoe custom. There’s also a short sing-a-long of Deck the Halls, a song that comes from Wales.

UK Garland
UK Garland
Holiday Tea Set
Holiday Tea Set
Description Card
Description Card
Father Christmas
Father Christmas

France – Père Noël tells us the story of Babette and her Christmas wish. Through the story we learn about french customs.

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Morocco – Hear about holidays and festivals in Morocco, focusing on celebrating the harvests with dances and feasts.

Japan – Listen to the story of the Daruma doll and New Year’s celebrations in Japan.

American Adventure – Hear about the traditions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and the histories behind them. Santa and Mrs. Claus also meet and Voices of Liberty wear Dickens style clothes and sing songs of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This year there is a gingerbread Capitol building and Washington Monument inside the rotunda.

Gingerbread Capitol and Washington Monument
Gingerbread Capitol and Washington Monument
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Capitol Building
Voices of Liberty
Voices of Liberty
Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree
Santa and Mrs. Claus
Santa and Mrs. Claus

Italy – La Befana is a witch who brings presents to children in Italy on the Eve of the Epiphany. She tells a story of searching for the Christ child.

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IMG_8814Germany – Helga tells us all about the Christmas traditions in Germany, many of which we have adopted here in the United States like the Christmas tree and the nutcracker.

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China – The Lion Dancers perform and bestow good luck wishes for the New Year.

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Norway – Sigrid explains the holiday traditions of Norway while Julenissen tries to make her believe in the Christmas gnome, with a lot of help from the audience.

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Mexico – Mariachi Cobre and dancers perform traditional songs and dances. Musicians and dancers are fantastic in this and there’s even a piñata for the kids.

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The headliner of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World is the Candlelight Processional. A celebrity narrator reads scripture from the Christmas story surrounded by a choir and an amazing orchestra. Our narrator was Gary Sinise. It’s definitely a must-see. We like getting the dinner package at least once so we get seats without waiting in a long line. Other times we’ve stood in the back and still enjoyed it.

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Of course, we have to end the day with Illuminations, which features a special holiday ending at this time of year with the countries wishing for Peace on Earth.

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Spending the day at Epcot during the holiday season will definitely get you into the spirit.

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Colortopia Presented By Glidden Is Now Open At Epcot

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

Colortopia Presented By Glidden Is Now Open At Epcot

New interactive exhibit creates colorful experiences for Guests of all ages

Colortopia Presented by Glidden is a new and colorful experience opened at Epcot, and it is such a great addition to Innoventions East!

Colortopia is an interactive, educational experience that is full of memories, inspiration, and fun.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

To experience the Colortopia exhibit, the Glidden brand has created three unique walk-through areas that bring to life color theory, the psychology of color and the perception of color, all while engaging Guests in fun and surprising hands-on activities.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

The three areas of the exhibit include:

  • The Power of Color – After you enter this specially designed standing theater, you find yourself engulfed in color that is overwhelming in the best way possible to explore the psychology of color. It really gets you thinking of the immediate response and memories that color holds.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

  • The Color Lab – There are two activities located inside The Color Lab area that are incredibly interactive and competitive.

    In Color Mix ‘n Match, you use slides to mix red, green and blue to create bold new colors. I played this game several times through, because it was incredibly interesting to learn how color is mixed and tons of competitive fun. I don’t mean to brag…but I am a Honolulu Color Guru!

    Spinning Spectrums is the second interactive area in The Color Lab that shows the persistence of vision through painted spinning discs. Before pressing the buttons you have to guess what color their eyes will perceive once the multi-colored discs start to spin quickly, which is trickier than you may think!

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

  • Color Our World –  Guests can play with fun color shadows while they wait to receive a magic paint brush, which they can use in the studio to bring the world around them to life with their personal color choices.

Combining Glidden paint’s rich tradition of innovation and color inspiration with the creative power of Walt Disney Imagineering was a perfect collaboration to create a one-of-a-kind experience that engages visitors with color in ways they never have before,” said Max Wetzel, chief marketing officer and general manager of home centers, PPG Architectural Coatings, U.S. and Canada, makers of Glidden paint. “With the Glidden brand, we know the important role color plays when selecting paint for your home. Color also has a powerful role in our everyday lives, and it is truly brought to life in the Colortopia exhibit.

Colortopia by Glidden paint demonstrates that color is not only a visual treat, but also a dynamic and emotional experience that fits in well with Disney’s history in color exploration and innovation.

Starting with Disney’s premier full-color film in 1932, our company has been fascinated by color,said Melissa Valiquette, vice president, Epcot. That fascination is evident throughout our parks and our resorts and is why we’re thrilled to collaborate with Glidden as we work together to bring Colortopia to life for our guests.”

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

If you think that the fun ends when you leave the 3,700 square-foot exhibit you’re wrong!

The Colortopia experience extends beyond the exhibit with the Colortopia mobile app and website, allowing Guests to bring a world of colorful fun into their own homes.

Colortopia Glidden Epcot Innoventions

I can’t wait to share more about the Colortopia App soon! 

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Things To Know On The Go: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Things to Know On the Go Header Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on select nights from now until December 18th, and this separate ticketed event is a great way to kick off your Holiday Season!

As with any Special Event at Walt Disney World planning is key to making your most of your time, and with so many exclusive entertainment, character, shopping, or food offerings prioritizing your ‘Must Do’s’ is as important as ever!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

So here are 10 things to keep in mind when you are creating your game-plan for attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

10 Things To Know On The Go: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

1. While the event begins at 7 pm, you can gain access to the Magic Kingdom at 4 pm and if you are in the park before the event you can get wristbands inside the park in Tomorrowland and Adventureland.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

2. FastPass+ is not offered during the Party, so arriving early can help you knock out some attractions as the crowds will begin thinning as the party begins.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I suggest catching a ride on the Jingle Cruise as soon as you arrive, because the lighting is better for viewing all the festive additions to the attraction.

3. During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party you can find several locations around the park offering Hot Chocolate and Sugar Cookies.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

If you have allergies or dietary restrictions they offer apple juice, apple slices, grapes, and gluten free cookies at the same locations.

4. If you don’t arrive to the Party early, don’t fret that you’ve missed the Castle Lighting. ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ is performed at BOTH 6:15 pm and 8:00 pm.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

5. The Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade steps off from Frontierland twice a night during the Party, and really there is no bad spot to watch from.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I will say that it is a slower moving parade, so if you are on Main Street you will have quite a wait for the parade to reach you.

6. This year I switched up my Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party game plan, and I really enjoyed it!

Now hear me out on this before you completely judge me…

As soon as the 6:15 pm ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ was over, I went on the hunt for a spot to sit in front of the castle.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Celebrate the Season

While we did invest quite a chunk of our night to sitting (Thank you Heads Up for being a great app to have on your phone for the kids) from our spot we saw Celebrate the Season, A Frozen Holiday Wish, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Celebrate the Magic, and Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season without moving with Cinderella Castle as our backdrop.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Once Upon A Christmas Time Parade

However, since the girls were rested we were able to stay the rest of the party and enjoyed shorter waits for attractions and characters as the night went on.

Believe me when I say that this plan isn’t for everyone, and you need to make sure that everyone in your group is completely on board.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Celebrate the Magic Holiday Tag

We were really lucky to have made friends with a wonderful family around us from Louisiana, so we were able to go on Hot Chocolate and Sugar Cookie runs together for the gang during the longer breaks.

7. The Exclusive Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card this year is adorable as it features Olaf and the Snowgies!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I suggest grabbing your card early, not because they will run out but because you might forget after a long night of merriment!

8. I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but the Party Exclusive merchandise is great!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I HAD to have this ornament!!!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

9. New this year is performances by VoicePlay. Voice play is an acclaimed acapella group who you may know from ‘The Sing-Off’, and they take to the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland between performances of ‘A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas’.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas PartyTheir show is short, sweet, and super fun! I totally recommend catching them at least once during the Party!!!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

10. ‘Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’ is a WONDERFUL fireworks show that includes perimeter launches, and while watching facing Cinderella Castle is the way that most people go don’t be afraid to watch from New Fantasyland. It is gorgeous!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

BONUS!!!

11. If you love meeting Characters, you will LOVE Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

You can find…

  • Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws – Storybook Circus (If this is your top Character priority, as soon as you arrive head back to his area)
  • Donald, Scrooge McDuck, Daisy, Minnie – Storybook Circus
  • Santa Goofy – near Barnstormer
  • Big Al, Liverlips, Shaker and Wendell – Liberty Square
  • Seven Dwarfs – Fantasyland near Mine Train (very popular! Line up by 6 to meet them.)
  • Princesses with their Princes – In Princess Fairytale Hall, you can find Cinderella with her Prince and Rapunzel with Flynn Rider. Just outside in Fantasyland, you will find Aurora with Prince Phillip and Snow White with her Prince.Tiana and Prince Naveen can be found in Liberty Square.
  • Tigger and Friends – Fantasyland near Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Santa Claus – Town Square (Not Party Exclusive, but I thought I would leave him on the list)

You can see more of our pictures from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on our Facebook and Instagram Pages, and to follow along on our adventures make sure you follow us on Twitter!

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Flashback Friday: My First 5K Race

RaceA little over five years ago, I completed my first 5K race. To some this may not have been a big deal, but to me it was huge. I had just had major knee surgery two years before and really had to train and work hard to be able to complete the race in close to the “required” 16 minute per mile pace.

Why do I bring this up now, you ask? It was a Halloween themed race, the inaugural Mickey’s Halloween 5K, and to my knowledge, the only 5K to go through the Magic Kingdom. Plus, we are on the verge of back to back runDisney race weekends starting next week.  This was also one of the most fun races I’ve ever done out of my almost twenty races to date.

So, I thought I’d share some of my pictures and memories from the race since it is almost Halloween. It started at the Transportation and Ticket Center, then the race course went on World Drive under the water bridge and up to the Contemporary. The course took a left along the bus loop and into the Magic Kingdom.

Not ready for the race
Not ready for the race
Entering the Magic Kingdom
Entering the Magic Kingdom
Chip and Dale
Chip and Dale

Stepping onto Main Street for the first time as a part of a race was magical to say the least. Cast members greeted us and cheered as we approached the castle. There were even a good amount of characters like Chip, Dale, and Goofy  dressed up in Halloween costumes meeting guests along the course. There were also villains like Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, as well as Tweedles Dee and Dum, Buzz, and Woody.

Castle
Castle
Queen of Hearts and Tweedles
Queen of Hearts and Tweedles
Grave digger
Grave digger

I loved running down Main Street, through Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, the Hub, and out through Tomorrowland. My second favorite part of the race aside from running through the park was seeing the Haunted Mansion grave diggers posing with runners pretending to be dead in front of a grave on the ground complete with headstone. One of my biggest race regrets was not stopping for this photo op. Luckily, I was able to do it a few years later during another 5K.

Running under the water bridge
Running under the water bridge
Mickey and Minnie at the finish
Mickey and Minnie at the finish
Finished!
Finished!

 

I don’t know how many others of you got to experience this 5K through the Magic Kingdom, but it was definitely my favorite 5K here. Happy Halloween!

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