Disney……FastPass+

At 1am, 60 days out from arriving to Walt Disney World, you may begin booking your FastPass+ experiences on MyDisneyExperience.com for each day you are at the parks. Now, it’s not necessary to wake up in the middle of the night, but the earlier you book the passes the better. You may select up to three Disney FastPass+ experiences in one theme park per day.

Once your FastPasses are booked, download the MyDisneyExperience App for your phone. Then you are able to change around your FastPass+ experiences on those days. Also, your FastPass+ experiences are linked to your MagicBands.

When you arrive for example at the Magic Kingdom; and have used your three FastPass+ experiences for the day, go to the FastPass+ kiosk and redeem an additional experience (a total of 4 per day). However we learned that if one of your party does not go on a ride, then you are unable to redeem the fourth experience. Ex. Mr. and Miss Modhousewife went on Tower of Terror and I did not. We were not able to receive our fourth experience. Then the next day at Animal Kingdom, I went through the line for Everest, clicked my MagicBand at the ride’s arrival window and then I exited the ride. That way the system believes you used your FastPass+; and now it’s time to book your fourth experience.

Note: If you use the Extra Magic Hours there are many experiences that FastPasses are not needed; and then you can change your FastPasses easily in your phone app.

FastPass+ Needed – 

Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Princess Fairytale Hall (Ana & Elsa), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Wishes Fireworks

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Epcot: Mission Space, Test Track,  and Soarin

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Hollywood Studios: Star Tours, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Fantasmic, Toy Story, Disney Junior – Live on Stage, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage and Frozen Sing-A-Long

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Animal Kingdom: Festival of the Lion King, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR

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I hope this helps you book your FastPass+ experiences.

Have a magical day!

Disney….Be In The Know Before Entering The Parks!

Here is my list of things to know before entering Disney World’s magical parks:

1.  MagicBands – This is your key to fun! These are only available to Walt Disney annual pass holders and guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. This is your all-in-one device that unlocks your hotel room door, allows park entrance, FastPass+ check-in, links to the Memory Maker/Disney Photo Pass and syncs to  your credit card to make purchases.

If you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel and are not a Passholder, you will receive a card when you purchase park admission—and you have the option to purchase a MagicBand online or at select retail locations at Walt Disney World Resort and beyond.

MagicBands are shipping to your home 30 days prior to arrival. Plus, you can add fun accessorizes that can be purchased at any gift shop.

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2. Ponchos – This is a Disney Must-Have! Either purchase before your vacation or at any Disney gift shop. Don’t let the rain keep you from enjoying your Disney vacation….it rains at least once a day. Also, if there’s hours of rain, get those ponchos on and hit the parks. Patrons tend to leave and the rides have no lines……why waste a FastPass+.

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3. The Backpack – As a family of three, we are only in need of one backpack. These are the items in it: ponchos, sunscreen, antibacterial wipes and liquid, bottled water, granola bars, cell phones. (Since the MagicBand is linked to our credit card, we do not carry a wallet.)

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4. Extra Park Hours – If you are staying in a Disney Resort, take advantage of extended park hours…Extra Magic Hours. This enables your family to enjoy time at the parks above and beyond the standard operating schedule. Ex. The morning Magic Kingdom opened at 8am, we were able to ride Space Mountain without wasting a FastPass+. Then we got on the MyDisneyExperience phone app and changed to new ride FastPasses+.

View Extra Magic Hours online or ask your concierge.

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5. Memory Maker – This trip we purchased the Disney Memory Maker. Disney PhotoPass service lets you capture your vacation memories in great photos throughout the parks. Purchasing the Memory Maker allows for unlimited digital downloads of all your memories including select rides photos and videos. If purchased before your trip, there is a $30 discount. (Note: I was disappointed that there were not more Photo Cast Members in the parks…I felt like I had to hunt these people out…..especially in Epcot.)

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6. Buttons – When making your travel arrangements or checking-in at your resort’s concierge, make sure to tell them if you are celebrating any special occasions: first time at Disney, birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoon, engagement, etc. A special button will be created that you need to wear at the parks and at meals/entertainment. Magical things could come your way!

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I hope my list helps….the next few blogs will focus on each park!

Have a magical day!

Disney…..The Experience Begins & The Polynesian Resort

9 months: Flights, Resort and Park Hopper Passes booked!
180 days: Dinning and Event Reservations booked!
60 days: FastPass+ experiences booked (1am)!

Also, 60 days from arriving at Walt Disney World, your resort check-in begins on MyDisneyExperience.com. For the Polynesian, I requested early check-in, the Rorotonga Building (building closest to the Main Lobby with Monorail transportation) and a balcony (I received all options requested).

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Arrived: After arriving in Orlando, we took the complimentary Disney Magical Express (30 minute drive) to the Polynesian resort. Once the bus ride began, I received a text from the resort informing me that our room was ready along with the room number. We were able to bypass concierge to check-in since our Magic Bands were automatically synced with our room. However, when we arrived at the Polynesian, a cast member was waiting for our family with leis, double checked our reservation and answered any and all questions we had.

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This was our family’s first visit to the Polynesian resort. The decor along with the friendly and informative cast members, created a welcoming island atmosphere. We knew our lugguage would be waiting in our room later in the evening, but we wanted to drop off our carry-ons and put valuables into the safe. Our safe was malfunctioning, but with the help of the maintenance staff our problem was fixed very fast and we were on our merry way to Disney Studios.

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But let’s talk more about the Polynesian.

1. Dining Options (All dining can be purchased with your Magic Bands….charged to your credit card on file)

‘Ohana / Tambu Lounge – Reservations required – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We did not eat here but I heard the food is excellent; and the character dining is magical for children of all ages. But their bar holds a special place is my heart…..The Pineapple Drink!

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Kona Cafe – Reservations required – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Voted “Best Breakfast” at Disney…probably for the Tonga Toast – Banana-stuffed Sourdough French Toast rolled in Cinnamon Sugar and served with a Strawberry Compote and your choice of Ham, Bacon, or Sausage. This was breakfast the last day:(

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Capt. Cook’s – Quick Service – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was our go-to place for poolside breakfasts and lunches. The food is delicious…..try the grilled chicken sandwich on a sweet coconut bun!

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Pineapple Lanai – Quick Service for Dole Whip…need I say more! And it’s right by the pool.

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Kona Island – Quick service for coffee/pastries to cocktails/sushi. I got my iced non-fat latte’s here each morning and located right by the monorail entrance/exit doors.

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Barefoot Pool Bar – Right by the pool to make sure your afternoons/evenings are more enjoyable.

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Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Show – Reservations are required. Great food, wonderful entertainment and a Disney “Must-Do”. This is one of the hardest reservations to receive…so make sure to call immediately at 6am on your 180 day out mark. Also, this dining experience must be paid for in full while making reservations. There are two seatings: 5:15pm and 8:15pm 4 days a week.

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – Stop by for some cocktails, appetizers and music on your date nights.

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2. Pool – Make sure to enjoy your resort. The pool and it’s views are amazing! We made sure to have downtime at the pool each day.

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3. Children’s Activities – Come to the pool for hours of games for the kids. Or make your child a reservation at the Lilo’s Playhouse if you need an adult night out. Miss Modhousewife participated in both. She loved the playhouse… especially dinner with new friends, making cookies, doing science experiments with the Nutty Professor, watching movies and a late night snack.

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4. Shopping – There’s a convenience shop for snacks and anything you may have forgotten at home. Plus there’s a great shop for souvenirs,  Boutiki! Note: If you purchase items in the parks, you are able to have them shipped to your resort’s main shop. Then you have the option to ship those items to your home. We had holiday ornaments shipped to our house.

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Well, I hope I am helping you begin your Disney experience. More to come….so much information to share with you!

Have a magical day!

 

Lilly Craze At Target

Lilly Pulitzer® released its limited time Target fashion/home decor collection today. In the past decade, Target has been introducing high-end designers; and Lilly Pulitzer® is now placing and pricing their merchandise for the masses….making an even bigger profit on their quality products.

And “limited” is completely true. The collection went on sale online at midnight causing the website to crash due to the masses ordering. The online merchandise sold out within a few hours.

I was at Target at 7:40am (Sunday Store Hours: 8:00am) and I was greeted with a long line of waiting women….two girls in front of me left their after prom party for a chance at Lilly! While waiting, Starbucks gave samples of their Creme Brûlée drink; and the Target manager passed out maps to locate the merchandise easily within the stores.

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But that was before the crazy train came! When the stores opened at 8:00am, women in the front of the line took their carts and blocked other women from entering the store. I had to RUN around an obstacle course of 4 red carts just to pass through the front doors.

When I was finally in the store, I was racing other women to the FOUR racks of women’s clothing. Women were tearing clothes from the racks and filling carts without even looking at sizes……obvious that these items will be sold on eBay! Others grabbed handfuls of clothing and headed to the fitting rooms with others following behind to get any items that did not fit correctly. The racks were empty in five minutes! To quote a manger, “This was worse than Black Friday”.

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Since, I had done previous research, I knew exactly what I wanted to purchase. I was able to locate the wanted clothing, grab my size and head directly to the girls’ department. However, others were not so lucky. A friend of mine was elbowed in the ribs; and another lady’s items were stolen from her hands. It was not the best show of humanity.

In the end, I was happy with what I was able to purchase for myself and Miss Modhousewife with a total bill of $100 and the quality is great. In the Lilly stores, I would not be able to purchase one dress for $100…so the savings are super!

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Target managers also told me that they will not be getting more merchandise.

It was truly an adventure in shopping!

Happy Shopping!

Orange Dreamiscle cake

There are lots of recipes for Orange Dreamiscle Cake on Pinterest. I wanted something easy that I could use Cool Whip as a topping….and I found one.

Ingredients:

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1. Follow directions on the cake mix and put batter into a 13×9 in pan.

2. While cake is baking, mix Jell-O and 1 cup of boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.

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2. Remove cake from oven, cool for 20 minutes and poke holes with a toothpick.

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3. Pour Jell-O mix all over cake and place in the refrigerator.

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4. Remove cool cake and ice with Cool Whip.

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5. Then it’s ready to eat. Keep refrigerated.

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To be honest, the cake was ok. Not my favorite cake recipe but it’s definitely worth a try.

Happy Eating!

White Chocolate Dipped Lucky Charm Treats

St. Patrick’s Day is just a week away; and I hope you are ready to celebrate. A great treat that my whole family loves is White Chocolate Dipped Lucky Charm Treats. They are simple and tasty…..plus, magically delicious!

Ingredients: Use the generic Lucky Charms (tastes the same).

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Directions:

1. Make Lucky Charm Treats (follow your recipe for Rice Krispie Treats). I prefer to melt my butter and marshmallows in the microwave then add them to a large greased bowl already containing the cereal.

After putting treats into a pan, put into refrigerator to harden.

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2. Into a greased pot, add a bag of white chocolate chips and a tablespoon of Crisco shortening. Put on a melting setting and continue to stir until smooth chocolate.

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3. Take the treats out of the refrigerator and cut into squares.

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4. Dip each square into the chocolate and then set on wax paper (chocolate upside) until the chocolate hardens.

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5. Then enjoy with a big glass of milk!

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“Someone has taken me lucky charms!”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

Banana Dolphins!

I am a proud (and sometimes crazy) swim mom! To end the short-course season, I am making my daughter’s team mates this healthy snack to eat while they wait the long hours in between events.

Ingredient: Strawberries, Blueberries and Bananas. (You can substitute the berries with green and purple grapes.)

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1. Wash all fruit. Cut strawberries and place them along with the blueberries in a small container.  Then cut the end tip off the banana.

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2. Then cut a slice into the banana to make the dolphin’s mouth.

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2. Cut the bottom half of the banana off. And then draw eyes with a sharpie.

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3. Place a blueberry in the dolphin’s mouth and then place dolphin in the pool of berries. Then eat!

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Enjoy!

 

Disney Dining

As I look out on the snowy arctic tundra that is Cincinnati, Ohio, I remind myself that my family will be happily vacationing in sunny Disney World in three months.

I started planning this trip as we left the Disney property after our last trip in June 2013. I have done even more research for this trip; and the dinning is one of my favorite parts to plan.

After reviewing the dining plans again, we have declined. For our family of three, we don’t save and would end up with wasted food. Plus, the dining plans do not account for alcohol in the parks (the margaritas are amazing).

We are not breakfast people and just like the last trip, I will bring a stash of Costco granola bars. Then we end up buying coffee (Starbucks is finally available in the parks) and a milk. Lunches are always quick service spots in the park or back at the hotel pool. Normally the servings are large and we end up splitting lunch.

However, dinner at Disney is always an experience to be treasured. In 2013, we dined at:

50’s Prime Time Cafe  (Disney Studios) The pan-fried chicken is exactly how grandma makes it!

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Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom) We will be eating here again this upcoming trip. The atmosphere is amazing. Ask to sit in the West Wing and see the rose.

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Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom) Note: This dinner does require two meal tickets/person on meal plans.

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Coral Reef Restaurant (Epcot) The atmosphere is amazing and seafood lovers will enjoy every dish here.

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San Angel Inn Restaurante (Epcot – Mexico) One of my favorite dinners…margaritas!

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This year, we will be dinning at the following:

My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party  (Grand Floridian Resort) Miss Modhousewife’s Birthday Present.

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Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Polynesian Resort) Twenty years ago, I attended this show; and I am sure it’s even better now! At reservations, make sure to let them know if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary….you may be pulled on stage!

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Kona Cafe (Polynesian Resort) Voted best breakfast in Disney, we will be having a wedding anniversary brunch here the day we leave.

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Le Cellier Steakhouse (Epcot – Canada) This restaurant has been voted as one of the best steak houses in Disney.

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 Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridan) After much debating on all the adult-only fine dining , we decided on this restaurant for our anniversary dinner. Miss Modhousewife will be enjoying an evening at our resort’s Children’s Activity Center.

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Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant (Disney Studios) Really looking forward to this one with tons of American fare.

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Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party  (Magic Kingdom) After much research, I came upon this gem and can’t wait for dessert and fireworks under the stars (and seats).

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T-Rex (Downtown Disney) Since we aren’t doing lots of character meals, Miss Modhousewife will love this pre-historic dining adventure.

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Tutto Italia Ristorante (Epcot – Italy) We figured at some point we were going to crave Italian food.

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Our favorite Fast Service lunches:

Casey’s Corner (Magic Kingdom – Main Street USA) Great Hotdogs and huge servings.

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Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe   (Magic Kingdom) Great burgers and fries.

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Happy Eating and Have a Magical Day!

Fifty Shades of Grey – Um, There’s No Words

……because I laughed through the whole movie. To quote a friend, “This movie is awkward.”

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First, I am a huge fan of the books. I realize that they are not literary masterpieces, but the story was unique and fun to read. I went into this movie knowing this was not going to win Oscars, but I was so disappointed by the screenplay and acting. In fact, there were moments I was so embarrassed for the actors that I just wanted the scenes to stop!

Regarding the screenplay, there is not enough dialogue between the characters and fails to produce a love story between an innocent finding her voice and a misguided man learning to love. Vital points in the book were left out, some scenes were oddly placed and I was truly missing Ana’s inner-dialogue/inner-goddess to help explain her feelings. Most of the time, I thought these two people did not like each other.

Also, besides there being absolutely no chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, I think they attended the Joey Tribbiani School of Dramatic Arts (smell the fart acting). However, Dakota Johnson does do a good job of bringing Ana to life; but Jamie Dornan is so stiff (pun intended) and fails to be Christian the “asshole”. When Jamie tries to use the word “fuck” or any dirty language…it seems forced and too polite. This saddens me because his performance in The Fall (BBC) was incredible. He had a hard time hiding his hot Irish accent; and he was completely uncomfortable in all the sex scenes.

Things to take away:

1. The sex scenes are not hot and anti-climatic (pun very much intended).

2. The background music in the entire movie is cheesy.

3. The movie just stops! Again, very anti-climatic!

4. Dakota Johnson should never dance and she likes to be naked.

5. Jamie Dornan looks amazing without clothes (highlight of the movie).

6. Do not watch this movie unless you have read the books.

7. Every time Jamie Dornan uses dirty language, it makes me giggle.

8. You will find yourself telling the movie “that didn’t happen that way” or “that happened in the second book.”

9. If your husband/boyfriend is hoping for a downstream effect from their wives/girlfriends watching a hot movie, they would have better luck after an episode of General Hospital or Young & the Restless.

10. The saving grace was watching the movie with friends and giggling like a school girl because the movie is so bad it’s funny. And yes, I am seeing it again tonight.

Will I see Fifty Shades Darker and Freed? Of course, but my expectations will be very low and it will just be another fun GNO!

Enjoy the movie!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hearts

Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day Weekend is here; and what better way to treat your sweetheart than to make homemade chocolate covered strawberry hearts. (Plus, it’s really easy!)

Ingredients: 1 bag white chocolate chips, 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2 teaspoons Crisco shortening, 1 package of large strawberries

1. Lay out wax paper and a cooling rack.

2. Wash strawberries and cut out the greens.

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2. Cut the strawberries in half and then pair and shape with a carving knife. Keep shape with a tooth pick.

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4. Melt chocolate chips on a “melt” setting on the stove. Make sure to add a teaspoon of shortening to each pot of chips. This helps the chocolate harden.

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5. With a spoon, cover the strawberries with chocolate and add your favorite sprinkles.

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6. Let chocolate cool and harden. Then remove tooth picks. And Enjoy!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!