Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy Friday: Five Fun Web Finds

HAPPY FRIDAY FRIENDS!  Ready for some fun links to get you through the day to the weekend?

1. Does anybody else read Suri's Burn Book?  That blog just makes me laugh.  I love how "Suri" has such a rivalry with Kate Middleton and the royal baby...when the baby isn't even born yet!

2. I finished up my old trip report, Downton Disney, over on the DIS this week!  Sniff, it's always a little sad to leave an old trip report behind, but I can't wait to start a new one.  I return to WDW in less than two weeks!!

3. While I admire Oh My Disney's attempt to compile a list of eligible Disney bachelors in honor of the premiere of the Bachelorette this week, I have to say I'm not impressed.  I suppose most of the really swoon-worthy Disney men are already taken by Disney princesses, but this list is still uninspiring.  Half of them are villains and the other half  are just...I  And Le Fou??  Really???

4. I've been in a wedding mood this week after attending a friend's nuptials this past weekend.  I love the flowers in this post from Style Me Pretty - and that shrug is gorgeous!

5. Hop over to I Am Still Blooming where I did a guest post last week...I did some reminiscing about my time working on the club level at the Boardwalk!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where in WDW: Mini Wicker Chairs

I was so impressed with all the guesses for last week's #WhereinWDW trivia!

There are some lovely lilly pads in China and Japan as well, but those who spotted the signs got it on the nose: those water lillies can be found during the Living with the Land ride at Epcot!

Ready for a new Disney World trivia challenge?

There are plenty of adorable kid-sized chairs and couches at the tv and children's areas around property.  But have you seen these darling little wicker chairs??

Be sure to post your guess in the comments!  Good Luck!

And for more hidden details and find-it-in-WDW challenges, don't forget to check out the MK Scavenger Hunts eBook! ;) 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shopping in France

Monoprix.  Naf Naf. C&A. Printemps. Galeries Lafayette.

These names have a magic quality in my book.

If you live in France, maybe they sound as prosaic as Target and JC Penny.  But ever since I first encountered them in French textbooks in high school, they have sounded like travel and adventure and excitement to me!

You see, those words are the names of French department stores.  And today's Emma-in-Europe trip report post is going to be all about a wonderful shopping morning in Tours!

SO.  As you may recall, we had just arrived in the Loire Valley the previous morning and had spent the day visiting the amazing castle of Chenonceau.

I don't think I really mentioned our hotel in Tours yet.  It was called the Hotel Vendome.  In the months leading up to this trip, I had been on a mission, scouring TripAdvisor and the internet to find the most charming hotels/b&b's/hostels at the lowest rock-bottom, student-budget prices possible.  The Hotel Vendome was one of the most successful finds in terms of great atmosphere for a great price.  Our room felt like a castle:

Look at that candelabra!  Also, check out the staircase:


You know you're in France when you take a windy, rickety spiral staircase to get to your room!  And the other rooms in the hotel were just as charming.

SO.  We woke up in our castle-like room at the Hotel Vendome quite early.  When you go to Europe, it's just like when you go to Disney: there is no time to waste on sleeping.

It was too early for the shops to be open, so we went to explore a little park down the road that the hotel owners had told us about.  I can't hear about a charming town park without going to explore it!


Ahhhhhhhhh....look at how darling and French it all is.  Why can't American architecture have as much personality as these old balconies and houses and doors?

I was impressed with the flora as well.  I have no idea what those huge leafy things were, aren't they crazy?

Soon we branched out into the city streets.  They were much busier than they had been Sunday morning.  Now they were filled with people hurrying to work!  The shops weren't open quite yet, but at least the window browsing could begin!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Review: Wilderness Lodge S'mores Cupcake

I am SUPER excited to start off the week with a guest post from Melissa Sue of the wonderful blog, Mouse on the Mind!!  She has some gorgeous pics and a review of a classic Disney cupcake to share.  Here's Melissa:

Happy Monday, pixie-dusted friends! This week's sweet treat is a trendy take on a classic, childhood delight at one of the coziest resorts on property …

Have you guessed yet that we're talking about the S'mores Cupcake from Roaring Fork at Wilderness Lodge? Because we are!

{photo credit: Melissa Sue}

I purchased this delicious beauty back in October 2012 to split with a girlfriend during one of my many solo trips to the World. It was a gorgeous early fall day, and we decided to take it up to the exterior balcony, overlooking the Lodge's gorgeous terraced yard.

{photo credit: Melissa Sue}

It was a beautiful day, and our visit was timed perfectly to coincide with pool games, so we had an excellent soundtrack to enjoy as we cut the cupcake in half …
This is one of the most unusual cupcakes I've ever tasted! The cake is graham-cracker flavored, which is surprising but it's also warm and slightly spicy. In place of the typical frosting, there's some thick, sticky, ooey-gooey lightly browned marshmallow on top.

{photo credit: Melissa Sue}

But where's the chocolate? There is a single square of Hershey's chocolate on top and another embedded in the middle of the cupcake … but it's not warm or liquid  … it's just a square of chocolate. So don't expect the real roasty, toasty s'more experience here.

Overall, it was a very unique take on a s'more, and my companion and I enjoyed it. Not sure I'd order it again … but that's more due to the fact that there are so many delicious cupcake options to be found around Bay Lake! Onto the next one!!

Have you tried the Roaring Fork's s'mores-inspired dessert? Let us know what you thought!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Under the Grand Staircase


When I used to work at Disney, I never knew when my 'weekend' was going to fall - it usually wasn't the normal Saturday and Sunday - but I would always celebrate it by getting out to explore a resort or park.

After a morning at the MK, a boat ride over to the Grand Floridian was just the ticket for a relaxing afternoon!  The strains of the orchestra or piano, that soaring atrium, all the pink and cream elegance.  Ahhh...

At the Grand (as at just about every other Disney resort), there are almost too many quiet corners and charming armchairs to choose from.  The one that this update is dedicated to might be one you walk right by at first...

If you get to the elevator right in front of the Grand staircase, then you've gone too far!  (Although, as an aside, can be just appreciate the adorable Cinderella scene on the floor here?)

Seriously, how sweet is that??  That's my favorite moment from the whole film, when he surprises her, and she's all shy, and he kisses her hand and and...

Sorry.  Weren't we talking about Disney princesses??

No, it was quiet corners you say?  Oh.

Here we are!  No, it's not that desk (I think that's a back-up concierge desk, though it's most often empty).  This is actually the view you'll get when you sit in this little quiet corner of the Grand.

Don't you just love those big giant windows??  They're on either side of the grand staircase, almost tucked behind it, and THIS is the bench I like to sit on.

Yes, I took a close-up of the bench's upholstrey.  Isn't it pretty?

The people-watching potential is always something I take into consideration when choosing a spot to set up camp.  This one is EXCELLENT.  First of all, do you see that sort-of triangular section of the panelling, just to the right of the bench?


I'm not even kidding you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where in WDW: Water Lillies

Happy Windsday everybody!  Isn't Windsday such a pretty way to say Wednesday?  Pooh Bear totally got it right.  I think we should always call it that.

So.  Last week's retro fashion spot was one of the window displays on Mickey Avenue at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  But are you ready for a new #WhereinWDW challenge?

We're going from fashion to floral.  Where in the 'World' might you have seen these pretty water lillies?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flowers and Fireplaces at Chenonceau

Among gentle spirits of the air, my France awakens with the early dawn...

You know that scene in the Impressions de France movie at Epcot, where you're floating down the river and suddenly come across a gorgeous castle?

That castle is called Chenonceau, and it was on my must-see list for our trip to France!

We caught the train to Chenonceau from Tours.  Have I mentioned yet how much I adore train travel?  Just the list of cities up on the board makes me excited: Lyon, Poitiers, Orleans.  (Make sure you're saying them in a French accent in your head.  That makes them even more exciting!).

It was about a half hour journey, and the tiny station was right next to the castle.  You literally stepped off the train and into the parking lot!  Past tiny European cars and big tour buses, we followed a long avenue of tall trees...

Soon we came across a lovely green garden, and just across the round hedges and fountains and gravel paths I caught a glimpse of the castle...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Disney Chocolate Milkshake

There are so many unique treats at Disney World - the dole whip, the mickey bar, the carrot cake cookie sandwich, all those cupcakes! - that sometimes you overlook the good, old-fashioned classics...

Like the chocolate milkshake.  Today we're going to take a look at a Disney chocolate milkshake.

You'll find milkshakes all over the place at WDW, but I think they really know how to do a milkshake right at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner in Hollywood Studios.


My brothers agree - and they're milkshake experts!  I think Athos may be planning something evil while he sips his milkshake!  The cast members at the Dockside Diner seem to have made an art of packing the MAXIMUM amount of milkshake into one cup.  They pile it up into these beautiful mountains of chocolate chilly goodness so that it's truly a work of art!

The first time I tried a milkshake here it was the power of suggestion that got me - I was waiting in line to order a sandwich, and the milkshakes going by looked TOO good not to try...

Just be ready to drink it down, cause on a hot day these things melt fast! about a tasty lunch!  The chicken salad sandwich here is one of the best sandwiches on the planet, and the milkshake is the perfect way to round off the meal - and if you're on the dining plan, it counts as either your drink or your dessert for the counter service meal!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Snug Spot at the Wilderness Lodge

One of my favorite approaches at Walt Disney World is the approach to the Wilderness Lodge.  It's so dramatic.

First you see the resort rising so impressively in the distance that the cars and parking lot just fade away.

As you ascend the steps and follow the bison footprints through the prairie grasses, it's hidden for a moment, and the first strains of Western music reach your ears.

The flowers outside the Wilderness Lodge - especially in the springtime - look like a rainbow exploded.  SO PRETTY.  And you may even find some buffalo wandering amongst the daisies...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Fab Friday Finds

Don't you just love alliteration?  I was tempted to title this: "Five Fab Finds for a Fun Frittering away of your Friday," but I resisted. ;)

It's FRIDAY!  That means it's time to share some fun links from around the interwebs for your weekend perusing needs:

1. Is that a new disney cupcake I see over on the Disney Parks blog??  It's themed for the "Monstrous Summer" and I love the Sully-inspired icing - can't wait to try it!

2. The Disney Food Blog did a fun post about assorted Disney merchandise.  I'm totally looking for those princess fascinators the next time I'm in the parks.

3. Confession: my family loves to watch Tobuscus videos.  Tobuscus (aka Toby)  is sometimes off-color but always quirky, and he just makes us laugh.  And I'm kinda impressed that he's carved a career for himself just by playing video games and making hilarious videos.  I liked this song he did about the Vine app.

4. Have you seen the pocket princess fan comics on tumblr?  They are so cute!  I can sympathize with Belle in this one.  I wish my dinnerware could sing and dance!  (I wish the silverware at Be Our Guest did at least!)

5. Last week I did a vlog while I was working on the last pieces of my Magic Kingdom eBook, and now it's out! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Where in WDW: Retro Fashion Spot

For this week's #WhereinWDW trivia post, we're going vintage.

I love the stylish ladies in this poster (Can somebody tell me why people don't dress as fabulously as this anymore? ), but do you know where in Walt Disney World to find this retro "fashion spot?"

And the answer to last week's trivia: that arched view is from inside the narrow porch of the Stave Church in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.  The porch is so tiny you might not realized there's room to squeeze in, but it is a great spot to hide from the rain!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tartelettes in Tours

I thought we'd head back to France today with some more photos from my recent trip...and since I missed the usual Sweet Treat Monday post, I thought we'd make it a patisserie post. :)  Get ready for some deliciousness!

We left off in the town of Tours in the Loire Valley.  My brother and I were strolling through the streets, killing some time before we had to catch a train to see a castle.  In between the shops, we spotted a very tempting boulangerie:

Naturally, we had to stop in and have a look around...

It was like walking into bread heaven.  All that golden-brown, perfectly-baked, crusty goodness was almost too beautiful to be believed.

And THEN.  There were the tarts.


There were SO many tarts, and they all looked SO beautiful!

The question was: which to choose?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunts eBook

The Magic Kingdom Photo Scavenger Hunts eBook HAS ARRIVED!

It has its own bright, shiny page on Amazon right here!  It's $2.99, and you can download it to your kindle - or ipad/iphone/ipod touch or nook as long as you have the kindle app.

The eBook has twelve different scavenger hunt challenges, each composed of ten Disney details and scenes to discover.  That's over a hundred photos of the Magic Kingdom to enjoy!

Every land has its own list, and there are also some special hunts - one dedicated to different views of the castle to find thoughout the park, another just for couples (perfect if you're on your Disneymoon!), one full of not-to-miss details if you're on your first visit to WDW, and finally one for any Disney experts! ;)

To get a preview, click over to Amazon, and you can see the Main Street 
Scavenger Hunt.

If you do buy the book, be sure to leave a review!  I'm thinking of putting up a PDF version on my etsy shop -- if you don't have a kindle and would be interested in that, leave a comment to let me know!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wishes from Main Street

This very evening at 10pm, Wishes will light up the sky above the Magic Kingdom.

This very evening, for the space of twelve minutes, Disney goers in the park and all around the Seven Seas Lagoon will be caught up by the music and the fireworks and the pixie dust.

There's something kinda comforting to think that the magic of Wishes is happening every single night for somebody, even when you yourself aren't one of that lucky number sending up your own wishes alongside the Disney ones into the night sky.

So if you'll be away from Wishes tonight and are missing it like I am, you're invited to relive it in pictures with another Where to Watch Wishes post!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Window Washers of Tomorrowland

Maybe you've heard of the window washers of Fantasyland.  At the windows inside Pinocchio's Village Haus (the ones overlooking It's a Small World), you'll often see cast members writing messages with window washing fluid and a rag for the people setting sail on the happiest cruise that ever sailed.

Well I always thought that was some pretty fun pixie dust, but I have to say it was the window washers of Tomorrowland that really blew me away.

To find these window washers, head to Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe.  That's where I spotted them this past January.

Cosmic Ray's is a fun place.  I actually saw the window washers not in the Sonny Eclipse room (where this pic was taken), but up near the seating area just off of the Sandwich Bays, where there's seating out on the balcony.

OK, how fun would this be?  To just draw on the windows at the Magic Kingdom all day.  So I know from personal experience that that's not actually all you get to do when you're a cast member, but I can dream. ;)  They were doing tic tac toe with the families on the other side of the windows as well.  My favorite was this one:

Tinkerbell!  It was really good too - if that sketch was on a t-shirt I would buy it!

I wonder what other characters that CM does - her Tinkerbell was great!  Maybe they'll make this a thing, the way the water painting on the ground has become a thing.

You've got to love the unexpected pixie dust!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Where in WDW: An Arched View

Heyyyy guys!  Wanna see a sneak peek of my scavenger hunt ebook?  I've been working on the cover, and I'm kinda excited about it...

There are giong to be over a hundred photos and a dozen different scavenger hunt lists inside.  I'm aiming to have it up THIS MONDAY!!

So.  Last week's fishies were from the Polynesian.  Ready to put your mind to a new Disney World trivia challenge?

#WhereinWDW can you find the above view?  You might not even know, from the outside, you can fit in this space, but it's a great place to escape from the rain!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Very Local French Morning

Tuesdays seem to be my Europe day on the blog. :)  I thought I'd continue the "trip report" of our Impressions de France IRL trip and share another fun patisserie and some more beautiful sights!

After one day exploring Paris and the next day exploring Versailles, we were ready to discover some other parts of France.  Our next stop was the Loire Valley, home to many of the gorgeous castles featured in the Epcot movie!

The early hours of that morning found us ascending the endless escalators and weaving through the serpentine tunnels of the RER and metro system to get to Gare Montparnasse, where our train to Tours departed from.

When I'm still getting to the station to catch a train, I'm convinced I have to hurry hurry or I'll miss it.  But once I get there I can relax a bit, and maybe stop
by a bakery...

PAUL is a big bakery chain in France, but it's pretty tasty!  When I hear the word "Paul" associated with the Epcot France pavilion's new boulangerie, I thought it might be related to the real PAUL in France, but google has since informed me that Monsieur Paul is actually a new restaurant named after an Epcot chef.  It'd be fun if they brought a French chain in though, the way they have Mitsukoshi in Japan!

AHHHHHH....look at all those trains going to so many exciting places!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Kringla Cloudberry Horn (and Secret Cloudberry Bush)

Let's take a trip to Norway today, shall we?

Or, to be more specific, to a lovely little place called Kringla Bakeri og Kafe.

At what other bakery can you find little trolls standing guard over the treats?

On those hot and humid Florida days, the cases will often fog up, and it's as if you're searching for the sweets through a Norwegian mist!

Hmmmm...what to get?  Today let's go with the cloudberry horn.  Sometimes you'll see this called a troll horn as well.  It sounds like the troll horn has a lingonberry cream, while the cloudberry horn has a cloudberry cream!  I like the cloudberry slightly better than the lingonberry, but that's probably just because cloudberries have a better back story.

Wanna hear it?