Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Versailles and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet: A Real-Life Belle's Village

Considering how the palace of Versailles is featured in Epcot's Impressions de France (you know...when the guy pops the cork on the wine bottle and then we cut to all the fountains??), OF COURSE my brother and I had to travel there during our recent Impressions-inspired trip!

I even partially chose our hotel location to be near the RER C, the train line that goes out to Versailles from Paris.  So on the morning of day II of our travels, we rose early, found a quick patisserie, and then strolled over to the Javel station.

You could see the Eiffel Tower down the track.  EPIC.

It was about half an hour journey to Versailles Rive Gauche.  It's the last stop on the line, and it seemed like everyone on our train was going to the palace as well!  There were people right outside the station directing everyone towards Versailles (a 5-10 min walk from the station).  I found this to be slightly suspicious, and as it turned out the people were trying to direct you a touristy shop right on the way to the palace where they would try to sell you overpriced tickets.  I had ordered our tickets online beforehand and gotten a 2-for-1 deal.  Oh yeah.  Those Disney planning instincts come in handy! ;)

It was only 9:30 - and Versailles had just opened at 9, but already it was crowded enough and would be even more crowded once we got inside.  If this was what it was like in March, I'd hate to think what it's like in the summer!  Paris itself and the rest of France were relatively quiet, but Versailles was the exception.

We had our ticket all printed out, so the only line we had to wait in was security, which was quite short.  You aren't allowed to bring food or drinks into the palace, though you are allowed to take them into the gardens.  We brought a baguette and drinks (ORANGINA) to have a picnic lunch, but luckily there was a bag check where we could leave them - they even had plastic bags to put the food in, which was great since I didn't want to leave my purse and that was the only bag I had.

I dressed my royal best for Versailles, naturally!

We picked up our audioguides (which were free...or included!) and sauntered through the majestic rooms.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Banana Bread Pudding and Main Street Bakery Reminiscing

Happy Monday, friends!  This week's sweet treat is going to be a classic from the Main Street Bakery.

As many of you probably know, the Main Street Bakery is currently being refurbed into a Starbucks location, set to reopen in early summer 2013.  From the interwebs I have gathered that this could be as early as mid May or as late as late June - we'll be returning to Disney in early/mid June, so I'm hoping it'll be open for us!  They'd better still have those cinnamon rolls and some amazing cupcakes.  I know the cinnamon rolls are now at Gaston's, but it won't be the same if I can't eat one on Main Street.

But today's sweet treat is another tasty dessert/breakfast item from MSB (that hopefully will return at the reopen!):

This, my friends, is banana bread pudding.  I had to summon up all my will power NOT to just get another cinnamon roll on the day I ordered this, but I'm so glad I did.  It was LOVELY.

It was crispy and crunchy on the outside, with a perfect dusting of powdered sugar; and on the inside it was nice and soft and moist.  Extremely delish.

Excuse me while I attempt to eat a JPEG file.  Major yum.

Have you even tried MSB's banana bread pudding?  And what are your thoughts on the new Starbucks location/bakery set to reopen soon?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

At the Boardwalk

Usually, when I post about a quiet corner at Disney World, it's a public space - a little courtyard or cozy corner in the parks, or a resort lobby.  There are plenty of tucked-away public places where you can quietly relax, but of course it's pretty nice when you have a Disney space that's all your own - like when you're staying at the resorts!

So this weekend, to mix things up a bit, I thought we'd get ourselves a key to the world card and step inside a room at the Boardwalk Inn!

So.  Technically, check-in at Disney resorts is at 4pm.  Technically, you aren't guaranteed your room until 4pm.  But as all you Disney snobs out there know, sometimes you get lucky with a ready room well before then!  Luck favors the early bird, and the people that check in first thing in the morning get the rooms that were unoccupied the night before.  So, naturally, my fam likes to check in as early as possible to get the maximum time and enjoyment out of our resort room!

On the last occassion that I stayed at the Boardwalk, I was strolling up towards the Port-Cochere at 7:30 in the AM.

The quiet, pink light of sunrise was still in the air, painting the colorful Villas in a rosy hue.  Pretty magical.

Hello Boardwalk!  I used to spend my days hanging out right here. ;)  Interesting Fact: lots of guests would think they had to go in the door beneath the sign for the part of the resort you were staying in - DVC guests under the villas sign, and Inn guests under the Inn sign.  LOL - you can use whichever door you like!

But enough with the entrance.  Let's get to the room!

The rooms at the Boardwalk Inn are a lovely blend of elegant and fun.


I love the fresh white bedspread and the pretty yellow stripes on the wall.  Someday I want to paint or paper a room in yellow stripes...

And I'd love to have that pretty yellow blanket someday too.  Pretty much all my decorating aspirations have their roots in Disney decor.   I cannot deny it.

OH HAAAY.  It's STACY!  Everybody do the must-do! :)

Love the sofa, and love that it folds out into a bed!  Also love that painting above it.

It wouldn't be a Disney resort room without some specially-themed work of art!  And don't you just wish people still wore hats like that??  I do.

So many little details to enjoy...like the Boardwalk pillows with that awesome fringe.

...and a very Victorian Minnie Mouse sitting beneath the lamp.  I love the buttons on her boots!

Even the luggage rack is extra pretty!


The bathroom and sink area, complete with a few...

...hidden Mickey's!

If you have a garden view, your room will look out over the Rose Courtyard's branches and bushes.  On the other hand...if you get a boardwalk view...

The garden view can be lovely too, but a boardwalk view is pretty darn magical.  There's the music floating up, the sound of the friendships going to and fro, and a never-ending supply of people watching.  I could just sit out there all day. :) This is why a Disney resort room is so much more than an ordinary hotel room where you would just go to to sleep and shower.

It's a quiet corner that demands to be savored - if you're just rushing to and from the parks the whole time, you're missing half the fun!  You have to take an hour, and sit before the window with some coffee and a pile of books...

Ahhhhhhhh....and then if you do have a Boardwalk view, you have to sit lazily on your balcony after a long day of Disney-ing to watch the lights and the crowds and the entertainers below:

But maybe the MOST magical and loveliest thing to do when you have a room at the Boardwalk is get up a little bit early to enjoy this...

Sunrise over Crescent Lake.  Gorgeous!

Friday, April 26, 2013

This Week's Fab Friday Finds

Glad as I am that it's Friday, this week really seems to have flown by!  But then once spring arrives, time always seems to speed up somehow!  So.  You're invited to grab a cup of coffee and slow down for a bit with some fun friday finds from around the interwebs!

1. For some reason I could not stop watching the two little youtube princesses Sophia Grace and Rosie (from the Ellen Show!) this week.  Love it when they visit Disneyland.  SO GOOD.

2. It seems like there have been a ton of big Disney announcements over the past few days.  I think I'm most excited for the new Magic Kingdom parade, Festival of Fantasy!

3. Running at Disney plans which new things to try at Hollywood Studios.  Love this post series, and I think she should be sure to get to Animation Academy. ;)

4. I don't think I'll have a wedding to plan anytime soon, but I can't help loving the blog Style Me Pretty.  This recent post featured a Great-Gatsby-inspired photo shoot!

5. Did you catch my guest review of the Riverside Mill over on the Disney Food Blog?  Definitely my favorite Disney food court.  Yum!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to: Lovely Paper Roses

With spring finally arriving and the whole world breaking out into bloom, I thought it might be fun to feature some flowers here on the blog!

I learned to make these paper roses when I worked on the concierge desk at Disney World - they are so fun and easy to make - and so pretty and delicate once you're finished.  Ready to learn how?  Let's go!

First, gather your supplies!  You'll need a stapler, some tape, a pair of scissors (this one's optional - I tend to fold and rip the paper, but cutting it might be easier), and of course the paper!  Printer or scrapbook paper works best - you want something heavier than newspaper but lighter than cardstock.  Use colored or patterned paper for a colorful rose - and of course paper destined for the recycling bin is great too!

I usually start with a sheet of 8.5 by 11 paper and cut it in half so that it's 8.5 in. by 5.5 in. Then you're going to cut it in half again to get two little rectangles.

Cut each of the rectangles into three strips.  Basically we're creating six small strips of paper, each one about 4.25 in. by 1.8 inches.

Don't worry if you don't get the dimensions exactly right - you could actually use strips that are either larger or smaller to make a larger or smaller rose, but they should still have that rectangular shape.

Next, you're going to take those six strips and lay them crossways on top of each other, alternating - first one going horizontally, then one going vertically, and so on.

Once you have them all stacked up, staple them together in the center of the top strip - the staple should be running parallel to the top strip.  Now we're ready to start working on the rose itself!

Fold the top sheet into two long triangles and prop them up so that it looks like a little mountain range.  Sometimes it helps to draw or imagine a line connecting one corner of the strip to the opposite corner, then fold along that line.

We're going to be rolling this piece to make the rose bud in the center of the flower.  I like the bud to be as small as possible, so I usually fold down the tips of the mountains.

Then we're ready to start rolling!  Beginning at one end, roll the paper in on itself into a little cylinder until you reach the center, where the staple is.

Then take the other half of the paper (or mountain range!) and wrap it around the bit you've already created.  Use a piece of a tape to secure it.  Your rosebud should look something like this:

Next, we'll start on the petals.  The petal on the inside should be a little bit smaller than the rest, so tear or cut off about half an inch (or even less) from each side of the next strip of paper:

Make sure you take off a little bit on both sides - I know in the pic it only shows one side!  Once you've shortened the strip that you're working on, you're ready to make it into a petal!

Gently roll back the paper at each of the four corners on the strip of paper you're working on.  You want to make two points, a sort-of double arrow, like this:

Once you have all the corners rolled, you're going to wrap those two pieces around the rose bud.  It's easiest to prop one side up and pinch it around the center, then wrap the other side around it...

To get the rosebud to stay in place, you can just use a piece of tape to tape the petals together, or you can fold the little wing of extra paper that will be left on either side underneath the center.  This part is kinda tricky to do and tricky to explain in words.  If you watch the video it might make more sense, but just stick with the tape if it's getting confusing! :)

With the next sheet of paper, you're going to do the exact same thing - roll in the edges to create the points, fold up the petals around the center and use tape or fold the edges under to get it to stay.

Keep on doing this until there's only one sheet left!  Now if you don't want to give your rose a stem, then just repeat the same steps on the last sheet of paper, and you're all done!  But if you would like a stem, then fold that last sheet in half.

Probably it will already be a little inclined to fold in half.  Starting at one of the corners closest to the rose, roll the paper in on itself to create a cone.

Once you reach the center where the staple is, wrap the other end of the paper around the cone you've already created and give it a piece of tape to keep it in place.  It's easy for the stem to come off of the staple, so be kinda gentle when you do this step.

And VOILA!  You have created a darling little paper rose.

There are so many things you could do once you've made one of these.  You could make it into a piece of jewelry - a ring or a hairclip.  Or you could make a whole bunch for a Mother's Day or May Day bouquet:

Or you could go really crazy and do what I did last year, which was make tons and tons of roses and form them into a Minnie Mouse head!

And finally, here's the video tutorial from my youtube, in case anything in the post didn't make sense.  Hope it's a perfectly rosy day!

p.s. For those of you that are pinterest savvy, here's an abbreviated version of the tutorial: