Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Where in WDW: Bright Tiles

Apparently the Disney Parks Blog has had a hard time lately coming up with tough photos for their own Where-at-Disney-Parks trivia.  I can sympathize - it is hard to fool you guys! ;)

Last week's cute car alarm was guessed by Jennifer and by Laura on twitter (in record time I might add!).  You can find it at Art of Animation, right before you enter the Cars pool.  But I think this Windsday's photo might be a little trickier...

Have you ever found yourself standing on these colorful tiles somewhere at Walt Disney World?  Share your guess in the comments!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summertime Strawberry Cupcake!

Welcome to another Sweet Treat Monday, my friends!  As you can tell from the title, today's Disney World dessert is going to be...yes...yet another cupcake.

But this one is SO PRETTY.  I just had to share it!!  To find this summery, strawberry cupcake, you'll need to head for the CUPCAKE MECCA of WDW...

Starring Rolls at Disney's Hollywood Studios has to be one of the top destinations for any cupcake snob.  They still have their amazing original trio: the peanut butter chocolate, the red velvet cheesecake, and the AH-mazing chocolate butterfinger.  But they also have a ton of fun new varieties as well!

Take for instance, this cupcake in a TREASURE CHEST - it even comes with a key!  The Disney Parks blog featured this awhile ago as Jack Sparrow's cupcake and said it would be available in multiple parks - Starring Rolls was the only place I spotted it, but then it may be elsewhere as well!  But $8.99 was a little too much (even for me!) to shell out on a cupcake, so I turned my attention to the lovely new PINK treat:

I love that there's a WHOLE strawberry on top.  That's just decadent.

This is the strawberries and cream cupcake.  Apparently it's a seasonal thing just available for the summer (that's probably why they marked it up to $4.99 - the other cupcakes were still $3.99).  The chefs at Hollywood Studios seem to be doing this a lot lately - doing holiday cupcakes and making them available at several locations throughout the park.

It deserves an instagram photo too, it's so pretty...

This summertime cupcake does not have a filling (which is kinda sad), but the cake looks strawberry and the icing is also strawberry, so it's basically all fruit all the time!

Confession time...I didn't actually try the s&c cupcake.  I KNOW.  It was one of those last-minute decisions where everyone else has ordered and you just blurt out a choice because the clerk is waiting.  But I was pretty pleased with what I got...

OHHHHhhh...that butterfinger cupcake is just SO hard to resist. ;)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Cutest Minnie Mouse Ears EVER

I have some MAJOR Minnie Mouse cuteness to share today...

...not only cute, but also fully fashionable!

But to truly appreciate these fabulous mouse ears, you have to see them in their native environment.  Let's set the scene:

It was the last morning of our Disney vacation, and we were spending it at Hollywood Studios...

I was soaking in the art deco fabulousness that is Mickey Avenue as we were slowly heading out of the park, when a window display caught my eye...

My tastes are often more old-fashioned, and I LOVE retro things, so just that cute poster would be enough to make me ooh and ahh - but then I realized there were some Minnie Ears just behind the hats...


The grey.  The pink.  The felt leaves.  The buttons.  The little scalloped border.  I loved every little thing about it!  And it's so 20's/30's - kinda Great Gatsby or Downton Abbey-inspired!

You know when you're in a store, and you suddenly see something and just think, "That looks like ME."  It was one of those moments! :)

And then I noticed yet another completely fashionable pair of Minnie Ears...

It's hard to tell from the reflection, but look at those feathers!  And the beads!  I think I prefer the felt pair, but STILL.  This is completely fashion-forward mouse headgear here.

OF COURSE I had to go in the shop (Adrian and Edith's Head to Toe Shop!) just to see what else they had...

Look - there were even Oswald the Rabbit ears!
More feathers and bows and beads!  I love how creative they have gotten with the Minnie Mouse ears and mouse ears in general.

They're totally instagrammable. :)

In the end I, surprisingly, did not buy them - it was the last day of our trip so I wouldn't be able to wear them around the park, which is half the fun of mouse ears!  But luckily one of my brothers works at Disney...and I've made it pretty clear to him what I want for Christmas. ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Magic Plus: Early Impressions

**October 2013: Find some new Fastpass+ and Magic Band tidbits here!**
**January 2014: Read about our MagicBand and Fastpass+ Experience**

One of the (many) fun things about our Disney trip this June was that I got to see the beginnings of the new My Magic Plus system that is just starting up at Walt Disney World.  So I thought I'd share some of my early impressions here!

Believe it or not, it's a small world (did you know that technically that ride is never spelled with upper case letters?) is now a fastpass.  CRAZINESS.  But then that is only one of all the crazy new things going on in the parks with the Fastpass+ and My Magic+.

The first thing you will notice is the TURNSTILES.  This we did get to experience (I even vlogged it), and I thought the new touch system was really neat:

This is what the turnstiles now look like - magic golden orbs with a glowing Mickey head.  You hold your card (or Magic wristband!) up to the Mickey, do your finger scan, the orb makes a cute little thinking noise, then Mickey glows green and does a magical chime and you're in!


If there's a problem, Mickey will flash blue (I thought it was funny they stayed away from red...I guess they thought blue was more calming, so you won't get stressed if there's a problem with your ticket!).  The cast members at the turnstiles now have tablets so they can monitor everyone coming in - you may even find that they magically welcome you by name!

Currently it looks like about half the turnstiles are the new Mickey orbs and half are the old slide-it-through kind.  There were cast members with signs out front directing you where to go if you had the new ticket vs. the old ticket.

This girl looks SUPER excited to be welcoming you to Hollywood Studios, doesn't she?  lol - poor thing, it was really hot out.  I wonder if they'll eventually replace all the turnstiles or keep a few of the old ones?  If you're a cast member using your maingate card to get friends in, you still have to use the old turnstiles.

Fastpass+, one of the biggest new things about the new system, had not yet started up when we were there.  With fastpass plus you can basically reserve three fastpasses per person per day in advance, up to 60 days before your trip.  It sounds like it'll have to be for three different rides, and you can use the My Disney Experience app to choose them.

I love it's a small world, but seriously.  Who is going to pick a fastpass for that over a fastpass for Space Mountain?  Or Peter Pan?  Maybe there are some hardcore fans, who knows.  Can you see those pillars under the arch?

Here they are at the entrance to the Peter Pan's Flight fastpass line.  Your fastpass plus choices will be loaded onto your ticket or MagicBand, so you'll just touch it to the sensors on the pillars and go through!

A whole bunch of rides around all the parks seemed to have these pillars set up, though not yet in use, in June.

You can see the two brown sensors by the crates to the right in front of the Big Thunder fastpass line.

What I really want to know though, is how fastpass plus is going to affect the regular fastpass system.  I mean, what if you didn't reserve in advance or don't have a device to use the My Disney Experience app on?  I'm betting you'll still be able to get fastpasses day-of at the attraction (right?), but will they still be paper slips?  Will they now load them on your ticket/MagicBand?  And I'm sure day-of fastpasses will now be harder to get with people reserving the prime times in advance.  It'll be really interesting to see how this all works!

The MagicBand madness had not yet started at the beginning of our trip, but towards the end of it, they started testing the wristbands at the Contemporary and the Animal Kingdom Lodge...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where in WDW: Cute Car Alarm

We're halfway through the week, guys!  Hope everyone is having a nice one.  

You all guessed last week's trivia photo - that Mary Poppins courtyard is right off of the 1900 Park Faire Restaurant at the Grand Floridian, and you can also see it from the monorail!

Now I've got a new challenge!  This is a car alarm that you'll SEE rather than hear... alarm CLOCK that is!  Have you seen these car cuties somewhere in WDW?

Monday, July 22, 2013

NEW Disney World Cupcake Guide 2013

It's no secret that I absolutely love cupcakes - especially DISNEY cupcakes.  They're right up there with disney details as my favorite part of a WDW trip.  I even have an entire pinterest board dedicated to the cupcake pixie dust.

Last summer I packed the sugary pixie dust into an ultimate photo guide to the many cupcakes available around Walt Disney World.
Since then, however, the Disney cupcake scene has been changing!  SO many new and beautiful cupcakes have been popping up in the parks and resorts.  I've been keeping track of them on my Cupcakes page, but I decided that something more was needed...namely a brand new and updated photo guide!
The new infographic has more than 60 cupcakes on it, with over 30 photos and two dozen new varieties.

--there are cupcakes from Be Our Guest and Big Top Treats in New Fantasyland.

--there are wild new animal print cupcakes from the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

--there are about half a dozen cupcakes topped with Mickey ears.

--there are cupcakes from the newly reopened Main Street Bakery Starbucks and Boardwalk Bakery.

--there's even a cupcake that comes IN A TREASURE CHEST.

This was my brother's reaction: "It's like an explosion of cupcakes."
Just like the original guide, you'll find the cupcakes divided up by parks and resorts and then by the restaurant/bakery/food court where they have been spotted.  If there's a number by a cupcake it means there's a picture of it (also numbered).
You may notice that some of the cupcakes from the last guide are not present on this one.  That means that sadly they haven't been seen in awhile and may be gone.  But then Disney cupcakes are constantly changing - you may not find every single one of the cupcakes listed on the day you go.  And you may find something new entirely!  The WDW bakeries seem to have been getting really creative with seasonal cupcakes these days - especially at the holidays!
If you want to find out more about a specific cupcake, you'll find links to posts about particular cupcakes on my cupcakes pageThe 2013 guide is not yet available in poster form, but if you're looking for some sweet wall art, check out the original cupcake poster.

Feel to pin/print/use the new guide (or cupcake explosion) to plan your Disney cupcake consumption for the next time you go!   Or just use it for general sweet treat inspiration - I seriously want to try to recreate some of these lovely confections.

I also want to know: which cupcake will YOU be trying on your next trip??


Friday, July 19, 2013

Summertime Friday Finds: 7/19

I hope everybody has been staying nice and cool this week - it's been a scorcher.  Here are some summertime links for you to enjoy!

1. This Mandarin Orange Lemonade featured by the Main Street Gazette sounds absolutely delicious and perfect for summer.  I will definitely be stopping by Flame Tree Barbeque the next time I'm in the Animal Kingdom for one of these!

2. I recently started running (in the mornings when it's not so hot!) with the idea of doing a marathon at Disney World someday.  Running at Disney recently posted about the Tinkerbell Marathon - doesn't that shiny Tinkerbell medal look cute?  I've been thinking of that whenever I need some motivation. ;)

3. Raise your hand if you are eagerly awaiting news of the royal baby being born!!  Every time I see a post from Clarence House pop up in my twitter feed I think it might be the announcement!  Do you guys think it'll be a boy or a girl?  I hope it's a girl, and that they name her Victoria.

4. This picture from Plus the Magic just made me laugh.  I love how Disney manages to add a little extra pinch of pixie dust to everyday things!

5. Have you checked out some of the new vlogs I've uploaded recently?  One of them I did at an awesome local bakery we visited called the Bakery Nook.  Those mini cakes are too cute. :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where in WDW: Umbrella Courtyard

I'm squeezing in this Wednesday's Where in WDW trivia right before midnight strikes!

Have you ever seen this little courtyard?  It's packed with umbrellas...and can you spot a certain favorite Disney character in topiary form down there??  She's carrying an umbrella of her own!

And you guys guessed the croque monsieur poster from last week correctly - it is indeed at the new Les Halles Boulangerie in the France pavilion at Epcot!

More French Adventuring: Travel Highs and Lows

Does anybody feel like getting away from the real world and going on an ADVENTURE?

Yes?  YES.  Let's go.

Let's go back to France.  It looks like it is going to take me forever to write about my entire Europe trip, but that's ok.  I'm getting there. ;)

When I last left off, we had just finished our time exploring castles in the Loire Valley.  The next morning we woke up early and climbed quietly down the narrow, winding staircase of our hotel in Tours...

I had taken care of the check-out the night before, so we were all set to go, on to the next city!

Train stations in France are so beautiful.  I love those giant arched windows!  We were in plenty of time - I would always rather just arrive super early rather than have to worry about missing a train.  And there are so many fun things to look at in the stations...


The Relay convenience shop had THE CUTEST colorful cards.  Definitely stocked up on a few of those!

Our first connection was a short ride on a regional train that would take us to St. Pierre des Corps.  I know, you probably don't care where we transferred trains, but I just think French towns have such romantic names, I figured I'd include it!  We arrived in St. Pierre des Corps on time, but when I tried to figure out what platform our next connection was leaving from, I was left scratching my head.

"RETARD" is a word I am familiar with - it means LATE.  But our train didn't say retard, it said SUPPRIME.  I had no idea what that meant, but I had a feeling it couldn't be good.

This was the part of the trip when the unseasonably cold March weather hit - there was SNOW in many parts of France, and it was seriously messing with the trains.  It was bitterly cold on the platform in St. Pierre des Corps, but luckily we snagged some seats in a heated salle d'attente (waiting room).  I left Porthos to mind the bags while I went to the office to try to figure out how we were going to get to La Rochelle (our next destination).

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Boardwalk Bakery Cupcakes!

Happy Monday all you lovely blog readers!  I hope everybody's week is off to an auspicious start. :)  Today we are going to travel to some familiar red-and-white striped awnings in quest of a Disney sweet treat...

...but what we find inside may be unfamiliar!  I was so excited to stop by the newly refurbished Boardwalk Bakery on our recent trip.  When I worked at the Boardwalk, I would stop by the bakery all the time for lunch.  That tomato mozzarella sandwich?  YUM.  And they had some of the best cupcakes and lightest icing on property.  I was eager to see what had changed!


To start with, there are now two doors - one as the entrance for the line, the other as the exit/entrance for anybody just wanting to refill their resort mug.

It looks like Hue G. Krazont is still the proprietor!

The interior of the bakery is completely different. There's a winding corral for the line, and no more big, beautiful open bakery behind the counter the way there used to be.  The space felt smaller, louder, and busier as a result.  But at least the case was still packed with treats...

Here's a panorama - as you can see, the cupcakes are front and center!  They have three of the same classics from before: the cappuccino cupcake, the strawberry shortcake, and the oreo bon bon!

More baked goods, breads, and bagels!  I was really disappointed to find they no longer have the pull-apart brioche featured on the Disney Food Blog.  That sounded so delish, and the cast member I spoke with seemed to think it was gone for good. :(

Unfortunately we had just come from a meal, so I just got a cupcake to go.  But another time I want to try one of the sandwiches.  It looks like they've changed up the bread on the tomato mozzarella (on the far left), but I'm glad to see it's still on the menu!

My cupcake of choice was the OREO BON BON.  In former times, my only complaint about this confection was that the cake was vanilla, and I thought it'd be better with chocolate.

Well guess what?  The cake is now chocolate!

And those little chocolate curls look pretty darn delicious!

Here's a shot of the middle: it still has the same delicious oreo cream filling.  And I'm glad to report the icing was as light and wonderful as ever.  I really loved it with the chocolate cake, although my Mom missed the vanilla.  It was a lighter cupcake before, now it's a little richer.  But still definitely worth the trip!

Will YOU be stopping by the new Boardwalk Bakery?  Which cupcake will you pick?