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Friday Five: Disney World Preparation Edition

I think I may have mentioned before, that I am currently in graduate school and writing my thesis on Copyright issues and the Walt Disney Company. With graduation almost here, it is crunch time for my paper. I still have a long way to go and while I was hoping to get to the Walt Disney Family Museum to complete it, airfares to California are insane. Fortunately, I have a very thoughtful funny who is willing to drive me to Florida to get some first hand interviews at Walt Disney World. So, in a few weeks, we will be driving there. Lucky for us, the Flower and Garden Festival will have just started and crowds will be low because it is not yet Spring Break. Even though this is a “business” visit, we are still planning to pack as much fun into our short trip as possible. So, to get us ready for that trip, I bring you this week’s Friday Five – a look at some of the things we are bringing with us!

1. Le Ears Custom Ears – shortly after Halloween, I entered an instagram contest to win a pair of custom ears from the super talented Nancy of Le Ears. Nancy indulged my need for a pair of ears that reflected my graduate school work. Together, we came up with the most awesome (well I think they are), one – of – a – kind ears featuring Disney inspired fine art from Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. I have been waiting months to wear these to the Wonderground Gallery!



2. Lost Boys Club T shirt – Hunny has a spectacular collection of Disney T shirts. Junk Food Clothing makes some great ones, but they are kind of generic. They all feature images of characters. Recently I stumbled upon Lost Boys Club shirts and I fell in love. These shirts are unique and perfect for die-hard Disney Fans. How can you not love a shirt that has a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar on it??


3. Little Gun Tank Outfits –  Ok, so I know I have gushed about her before, but Charlotte is amazing. Thanks to her, CJ will have the most epic wardrobe for our very short trip. I am sure we will have to do 3 clothing changes a day to fit everything in, but it will be so worth it. Make sure you head to her instagram page and ask for a tag when she opens up for orders again in March. And while you are there, enter her 3,000 followers giveaway.

Screenshot 2016-02-19 15.35.54

4. Minnie Mouse Jamberry Nail Decals – I admit it. Unlike most women, I do not like to get my nails done. I can count on one hand how many manicures I have had in my adult life. I usually do them myself and the results are underwhelming. I always look online and see the most adorable Disney themed nails and want them for my trip, but don’t really want to deal with getting them done.  Jamberry nails have changed everything for me (I’ve mentioned this before). Earlier this month, the company unveiled their Disney line and they are EPIC! Gorgeous Disney nails that you peel and stick. No nail salon required. No hefty bill for gel nails or intricate designs. They are super easy to apply and last for about two weeks. Each sheet you order can do at least two full manicures. I purchased the Mickey’s Girl design for this trip (and for CJ’s Minnie themed Birthday party), but I cannot wait to order more………Ariel, I’ve got my eye on you!


5.Customized Celebration Buttons – I love that the  Celebration buttons from the Disney Parks are free. If you are really on a budget and not buying souvenirs, you can still get a button to celebrate your trip. There are so many different Disney-themed celebration buttons for sale, but my favorite are the Child Identification / Emergency ones made by Crowley Castle.  The last time we were in Disney, CJ still was not walking. Over a year and a half later, and things are much different. Having one of these buttons with our information makes me feel a bit more at ease. The buttons are also able to be customized with any allergies or handicaps your child may have.



While there are so many more things, I would love to buy for our trip, I think funny would kill me for spending the money! What are your favorite things to have during your Disney vacation? Let me know in the comments.


Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts

We love the Haunted Mansion in Disney World. You might even say that we are slightly obsessed with it. It is a ride that we must go on numerous times each trip to MK. In fact, one of the reasons that I bought a sewing machine and want to learn to sew is so that I can make the most fabulous tightrope walker costume ever! CJ has been on the ride several times and we are pretty proud that she likes it so much and is not afraid.


We were excited to have our photos taken with the Hitchhiking Ghosts at MNSSHP in September. This was one of our “must-dos” of the party, along with meeting Jack and Sally. The line was very short, so I assume that a lot of people did not know about this feature offered by the photo pass photographers. The photographer was located on the walkway in front of Rapunzel’s bathroom (across from Peter Pan’s Flight) right before the Haunted Mansion. I did not see a photographer in this location during any of our other Days in the Magic Kingdom, so I assume this is a Halloween Party exclusive.

Unfortunately, we missed the opening of the Haunted Mansion shop, Memento Mori, by a week. You can check out some photos of the new store here. The merchandise looks great and it is definitely an incentive for us to book our next trip!  The Disney Store has a pretty good collection of Haunted Mansion items for those of us who cannot get to Memento Mori.


Friday Five: Disney World Vacation Highlights

After 9 awesome days in Disney World , we came home Tuesday a little sad that it ended, but filled with some great memories. Here are the top five highlights from our trip.

1: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – MNSSHP is by far my favorite thing to do at Disney. If you can schedule your vacation around one of the nights of this annual fall event, do it. It is so much fun. Disney goes all out for Halloween. Gorgeous decorations are put up throughout the park and on party nights there are extra special touches, like Halloween themed balloons (Jack Skellington), characters in costumes and special character appearances. Meeting Jack Skellington and Sally was awesome. My husband and I dressed up like young Carl and Ellie and CJ was Kevin ( I told you we were Up obsessed). We got to trick or treat around the park and we saw so many cool costumes. MNSSHP is a ticketed event. It is approximately $60 to attend the event, but it is well worth it.




2: Dapper Day – Although not run by Disney, Dapper Day is a fashionable event that takes place twice a year at three Disney Parks – Disneyland, Disney World and Paris. Dapper Day aims to get people to dress in their fashionable best and head out to the parks in style. There were so many gorgeous outfits and hairstyles in Hollywood Studios that day. I had as much fun being dressed up as watching all of the stylish participants. We Disneybounded as Wall-E, Eve and the stars. It was a fun way to incorporate some Disney into our Dapper Day outfits.



3: Memory Maker – At $149, The Memory Maker  was the best money we spent the entire trip. We have hundreds of photos from our vacation that were taken by the talented photo pass photographers. Even with having my own camera, I would have never been able to capture all of the moments without the memory maker. I was able to be in the photos and we now have the digital copies of them to use anyway we want. The money is well worth it for the peace of mind and ease of not having to take my own camera.



4: Puerto Rico Marketplace Booth at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival – Everything at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival was delicious. I love the idea of bite size food. You can have a little bit of everything without overdoing it.  The Carne guisada con arroz blanco (Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice) was my absolute favorite. The portion was generous and the flavors were fantastic. I will think about this meal for a long time. Hopefully, the Disney Dining blog will post a recipe!




5: Baby’s First Haircut – CJ doesn’t have a lot of hair. Up until a few weeks ago, I would consider her to be close to bald.  This has been extremely upsetting to me. I am not a huge fan of those giant baby headbands. Small ones are fine, but I long to put her hair in pigtails. She did have this fabulous mullet, though. Bald on top, long in the back. Ever since I was pregnant, I knew her first haircut would be in Disney. There was no hair to work with the first two times we visited with her, but this time we had something! I loved everything about the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street. They clearly cater to kids. CJ got the first haircut package, which included personalized Mickey ears, a first haircut certificate and a sample of her hair with some confetti to take home. Her hairdresser, Diane, was a lot of fun and made CJ feel comfortable, which made us feel great. Harmony Barber Shop is small – three chairs for haircuts and a small corner to wait, but it is a great experience. Harmony doesn’t only cater to kids. CJ’s Uncle Chris got his haircut that day, too!


Happy Birthday Magic Kingdom

On this day in 1971, my happy place, the happiest place on earth opened. Disney World has become a second home to my family. I was 21 before I ever got to visit the Magic Kingdom, but I have made up for lost time! We just got back yesterday from our latest trip and it was my favorite one yet. We were able to experience the Food & Wine Festival, Dapper Day and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (all to be discussed in a later post).

My family has a tradition when we vacation in Disney World. We always visit the Magic Kingdom first. Anything can happen after, but my vacation starts once I step on to Main Street. I love the Magic Kingdom. I dreamed about visiting there my entire childhood and it was all I expected and more. Each time I visit, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Happy Birthday, Disney World. Thank you for making me feel like a kid who’s dreams have come true every time we walk through your gates.

photo taken by me, May 2012

Art Lessons: Creations By Hailey

As an artist, a collector of art, a hopeful museum curator and a Disney fanatic, stumbling upon Hailey Haddox ‘s work was a dream come true. I want to own everything she creates. Hailey makes replicas of Disney movie props, as well as other Disney inspired art. Her work is complex and extremely detailed. It is like Hailey brings the animation to life.

Hailey was born in California and spent much of her childhood visiting Disneyland. She still holds an annual pass to the park and visits every chance she gets. She currently lives in Austin, Texas but she is moving to Orlando in the spring of 2015 to pursue her dream of working for The Walt Disney Company. Hailey has big goals. She would love to design the props used on park rides and in parades, as well as design the Limited Edition Disney collectibles. If her current work is any indication, Hailey is on the right track.

It amazes me that Hailey has never formally studied art. She has an amazing technically ability, in addition to her artistic talent. Hailey works with many different mediums, such as wood, paint, glass and jewels, but her favorite to work with is lights. Her most recent piece, a painting in honor of the late Robin Williams, is a beautiful scene inspired by Aladdin. The genie is surrounded by glimmering stars, which Hailey details with lighting that can be turned on or off.


Hailey is a very generous artist. She constantly hosts giveaways for her work on both her Facebook and Instagram. She also takes commissions. Hailey is not creating your run of the mill Disney items. She is making 3 dimensional objects that are featured in movies, like the baby hornducks from Alice in Wonderland. Her work is detailed and is something I would expect to purchase in the different art galleries in and around the Disney parks.  I really appreciate the unique objects Hailey chooses to make. So many artist focus on making pieces based on super popular Disney films, but Hailey is making pieces that appeal to her and her love of Disney, like Madame Leota from the Haunted Mansion ride. When she could not find a replica of the  poison apple from Snow White, she created her own and in doing so, started a fantastic business. I see big things in Hailey’ s future. Take a peak at Creations By Hailey and try to contain your excitement. Her work is amazing.


Friday Five : August Edition

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Happy August! According to the television ads and flyers, it is “Back to School” time. However, I plan on enjoying the last few weeks of summer before school officially starts. I will be soaking up the sun before the days get short again. There is so much to do and experience before the fall. Here are five things to do this August!


1. Guardians of the Galaxy –  Comic Book fans (hello fellow nerds!!) have been waiting since 2010 for the release of this Marvel superhero film. It is finally in theaters today. There is already a sequel in the works set for 2017.



2. Villains Unleashed –  On August 23 in Hollywood Studios, 50 Disney Villains will come together for a nights of partying and mischief. During this special ticketed event, guests can see Hades perform with his band and treacherous treats will be served. There will be a spooky fireworks show and Oogie Boogie will be hosting a Freaky Funhouse Show on Sunset Boulevard. It will definitely be a fiendishly fun event.



3.  Jazz Age Lawn Party –  If you are anywhere near New York on August 16 or 17, make sure you attend this annual event. Held on Governor’s Island, this party is THE place to go for flappers, jazz music, dance lessons and all things 1920s. This party is perfect for families with young kids as well as singles (what a great way to meet someone!). Dressing up is not required, but it is encouraged.  Tickets are available here.



4. Summer Streets –  On three consecutive weekends in August beginning the 2nd, approximately 7 miles of NYC streets from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park are closed off to traffic and opened to the public to walk, run, bike and play. Summer Streets aims to get people thinking about alternative forms of transportation and sustaining the resources of NYC. Summer Streets is like one giant block party with games, a rock climbing wall, a zip line and healthy treats. Learn more about it here.


5. Artist Sketch of the  Month –  Every month, Disney World and Disneyland offer their Artist Sketch of the Month at various locations in the parks. This month’s Disneyland sketch is inspired by Up and features Russell & Kevin. As I have mentioned before, we are huge Up fans. This sketch is a must-have for me, so I have been doing my best to pull some strings or find some friends who will be visiting the park during August! *Fingers Crossed*



Friday Five: Easter Edition

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Waking up and seeing what the Easter Bunny left me was always more appealing to me than seeing what Santa had left. This was partially because I have a huge sweet tooth and the Easter Bunny is all about candy. This is CJ’s first Easter and, as with every other holiday, we wanted to make sure it was special. Here is a list of five fantastic Easter treats. Enjoy!


1. Plush Spring Minnie and Mickey Bunny –  these super soft bunny rabbits are beyond adorable. I was in our local Disney Store the first day these were released and CJ was waving at them and reaching for them. There was no doubt in my mind that they would make their way toward her basket.

1258000441805-1$14.95 at the Disney Store

2. Minnie Mouse Easter Basket –  Sometimes, I think of a theme and I run with it. Most of the time, I go overboard. That is not always a bad thing and this basket proves it. Who wouldn’t want to see all their Easter goodies wrapped up in here?  In addition to Minnie, this seller also has a Sully basket. It might be too late to get it in time for Easter, but there is always next year.


$25 via Etsy

3. Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo Blu-Ray/DVD –  After the extremely long and lingering Winter we have had, a little dose of Springtime, even if it is on the television, is very welcome. This adorable video is perfect for the whole family to watch Easter morning.


$18.49 at Target

4. The Easter Buggy – My favorite non-candy Easter goodies will always be books. I could never get enough of reading as a child and I hope CJ will be the same way. There are so many great titles out there for every holiday and Easter is no exception. Cars fans will love this book and there is a bonus – it includes stickers!


$4.99 at Barnes and Noble 

5. The Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display –  In a perfect world, we would be in Disney World right now enjoying the warm weather and the annual Easter egg display at The Grand Floridian Resort. However, since we have two weeks before we get to Disney World for our vacation, we will stalk instagram and the Disney Parks blogs to see as many photos of these amazing edible creations.

EGG151515SMALLTangled Egg on display at the Grand Floridian