Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Disney Fireworks from the Polynesian

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE, MY FRIENDS!  I hope you're all having a grand night ringing out the old year and in the new. :)

My favorite place to spend New Year's Eve is the POLYNESIAN.  We stayed there on December 31st a few years ago and watched the MK fireworks from the beach.

Did you know that most of the deluxe resorts give out hats and noisemakers on New Year's Eve?  SO FUN.  And perfect fireworks-watching attire!


To make the NYE fireworks extra special, the Magic Kingdom pulls out a classic fireworks show for the occasion - Fantasy in the Sky.  It has absolutely fantastic music (try to stand close-ish to some speakers so you can hear it!) and a fun plus to watching from the Polynesian is that there are bursts going off from behind the castle AND from the island in the middle of the lake.  So it's like a double fireworks show!

The Polynesian beach IS a popular spot to watch from and does get crowded.  If you want a chair or a hammock, get there early.  But then again, there is plenty of standing space on the sand.

My favorite spot to watch from was (sniff) the far side of Sunset Point which is, alas, now immersed in construction.  It was a little bit more quiet, and your view was framed by palm trees and tiki torches...

SNIFF.  Oh Sunset Point.  I miss you so much.  Hmmm...fireworks viewing this year probably won't be quite as nice without Sunset Point and all that extra space, but you could always hop over to the Contemporary (the perimeter fireworks look SO COOL from the stairwells!).

Also, some VERY IMPORTANT ADVICE if you are watching the New Year's Eve fireworks at Disney World:  After Fantasy in the Sky ends, you'll hear Mickey and Minnie and the gang come over the loudspeakers and talk about how excited they are to celebrate.  Goofy will say that "in just a few minutes" they'll be counting down.


The countdown starts about ten seconds after Goofy says that.  I did not know this a few years ago and thought I'd have time to run back to the room.  I was about twenty steps away from Sunset Point when the countdown started and had to run back and missed getting photos.  GRRRRrrrr...

Learn from my mistake, friends.  If you're waiting for the MK NYE fireworks, just stay in place.

The countdown fireworks are perimeter fireworks shaped like numerals - 10's then 9's then 8's and so on fill the sky.  And then after that it's just a barrage of pixie dust!

GORGEOUSNESS.  Then everybody yells "Happy New Year" and claps and yells...just like this...

Fun times!  I'm sure that viewing the fireworks from inside the park is amazing too, but I just didn't have the stamina to face that sea of people.  My brother has been once, though, and said they had a DJ after the fireworks end and the whole crowd dances along.  So maybe it's not too bad!

Monday, December 30, 2013

White Chocolate Princesses at the Grand

It's Monday everybody.  That means it's the start of a new week (soon a new year!), and we need a new sweet treat to go with it.

Today we're going to this very grand place to stop by this grand gingerbread house...


...to have a look at some of the delicious chocolates and gingerbread and snacks inside!

I hadn't really looked closely at the Gingerbread House's selection of treats until recently.  Since it's just a window I assumed it would be ordinary and overpriced.  Now you did have your standard Snowmen lollipops and it was pretty darn pricey, but they had some interesting things too...

One of the lollipops celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the Grand's Gingerbread House (I didn't realize it'd been around so long!), and I also spy some Mickey gingerbread ear pins in the basket.

A Princess Ariel lollipop - so cute!  But the princess chocolates got far more deluxe than just that...

They sell WHITE CHOCOLATE PRINCESS STATUETTES.  With gold trim!  Just look at how elegant that Belle is!

Here's Snow White.  They're in these unassuming gold boxes - I almost didn't realize what they were until I looked more closely!  There are a few different ones on the counter, but they have a much bigger selection of characters in the back.  The nice cast member listed them off for me, and I almost couldn't believe it - the fab five, pretty much all the main princesses, TINKERBELL...

I wanted that white chocolate Tinkerbell so badly, guys.  But it cost $22.  And I had a feeling it would not travel well.  If you had a December birthday or were having a big Christmas party, though, it would be really fun to get some of the white chocolate characters from the Grand and use them as cake toppers or decorations - they're almost too pretty to eat!

You could also, of course, buy a gingerbread house from the gingerbread house!  There was a whole row of them behind the counter.

If you wanted to go really fancy you could get a gold chocolate Grand Floridian medallion!  Also note the hidden mickeys on the shelf.  ALSO note the cupcakes sitting ready in the back...

I know I already mentioned these in the holiday cupcake guide, but nobody minds looking at them again, right?

Those red chocolate curls are so cute!  And the icing was so creamy and delish...

It did have some of the icing in the middle as well - it was very dense and rich red velvet cake!

Here's another Tinkerbell - this time on one of the window details of the giant gingerbread house itself!

The windows have always had character scenes above them, but it was fun to notice that they were different from years past!  Above is a baby Donald Duck...

Remy and Stitch are hanging out in two of the scenes...

...and I spy Pluto up top!

Last but not least, here's the Hundred Acre Woods crew - Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore.

There's a Grand Floridian Gingerbread House vlog too!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Limited Time Magic Secret Santa + Christmas Card Wreath

My trip to Walt Disney World this December was, as you may have deduced from the videos, something of a character bonanza.  And I actually couldn't have picked a better time for doing meet and greets because it just so happened to be during the Limited Time Magic "Secret Santa" Week.

Whenever you visited a character at the Magic Kingdom that week (sadly it didn't seem to be going on in the other parks), you would get an extra pinch of pixie dust in the form of a cute Christmas autograph card...

I ended up with about 18, but apparently there were 57 different cards total!

Cinderella's card was shaped like a glass slipper decorated with holly - so sweet!

Now, to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this whole Limited Time Magic thing.  Why do something special that only a fraction of guests will be able to enjoy and the rest will be left feeling jealous about?  It's like the Year of a Million Disappointments Dreams all over again.  On the other hand, it was really fun to be able to collect the cards and to see other people tweeting and posting about them...

So I'm still feeling ambiguous, but I do love the cards.  I wish they would make character cards a regular thing, because I absolutely adore any tiny souvenir I get to take home for free.  Especially a card that I can scrapbook or put up on my wall...like this...

I am always looking for pretty scraps of paper to decorate my walls with.  This Christmas I made a whole wreath out of holiday cards old and new...

So pretty and so much fun to go through old postcards and photos to find just the right ones to put in it!  I made it extra large so it dominates the wall...

I think the little Yeti likes it, don't you? ;)

It was such an effective and festive decoration and so easy and inexpensive to make - I used bluetack to put up the cards and experimented until I had them in the right shape.  The oversized bow I picked up at the dollar store - the perfect finishing touch!

ANYway, these new character cards are exactly the sort-of paper goods that would go perfectly in a Christmas photo/card wreath.  Shall we look at a few more of them?

Santa Duffy was technically the "host" of the occassion, and Laura and I stopped by to give him a hug and pick up his card.  Look how the reflected lights in the holly Mickey are themselves shaped like little Mickey heads...such a cute touch!

Each card was printed on both sides - one side had the Secret Santa tag and the other had the character's autograph.  I never knew that Duffy Bear's autograph was a pawprint with a hidden mickey!

Sadly we didn't have time to see Mickey, but we did get to meet Minnie Mouse as Minnie Magnifique at Storybook Circus and got a pretty bow card!


Daisy Duck - or rather Madame Daisy Fortuna (she told our futures) - also had a bow.

And since we were in Storybook Circus, we also swung by to see Goofy and Donald...

Goofy had a silly stocking...

And Donald Duck had a boat!  It kinda reminds me of the old boat from Toontown...

On to the princesses!  Rapunzel had a glowing, floating lantern, and Ariel had a pretty purple shell...


I just love Ariel's swirly and bubbly autograph!

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen shared a lilly pad for their secret santa card...

...while Aladdin and Jasmine shared a magic lamp!

Snow White's Christmas card featured her wishing well.


Merida's had a rather festive Celtic design!


Princess Aurora's card was quite possibly my favorite - it had a blue dress on one side and a pink dress on the other!


I loved Tinkerbell and Periwinkle's snowflake card!  I also love their autographs - definitely pixie dusted!

The Fairy Godmother had a pumpkin card...who knows, it could turn into a coach with just a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo! ;)

Here's the other side of Cinderella's slipper from earlier.

I'm guessing these stockings were filled with coal this year - they belonged to Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia!

Who goes clomping around wearing boots?  Gaston of course!

My last card was for Peter Pan and Wendy Darling - it's the Jolly Roger!  I didn't actually meet them, but there was a cast member standing out where they would be doing their meet and greet, and she was nice enough to give me one!

What do you think of Limited Time Magic and the Christmas character cards?  Did you do any fun Christmas crafts or decorating this year?  Share your thoughts in the comments!