Friday, January 30, 2015

Fortnum & Mason: Tea at the Gallery

I'm taking you all out for tea today...

...but this is not going to be any ordinary mug-in-the-microwave sort-of beverage...

We're going to do this teatime properly - we're off to LONDON to the minty green windows of one Fortnum & Mason department store...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Where in WDW: Looking Up

It's funny how a familiar space can suddenly transform when you look at it from a new perspective.  At Walt Disney World, I often find myself discovering details I never noticed before by simply looking up.

Take this ceiling for instance.  I had probably stood in this spot a dozen times before I noticed the lovely beams, retro posters, and chandy candy above me.  Do you know where to find it?  Post your guess in the comments!

Find Disney parks scavenger hunts here and more weekly trivia challenges here!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Disney's Contemporary Resort: Tower Club Suite Tour

Get ready, my friends, because in this blog post I'm taking you on a tour of an incredible suite at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

See where those kids are standing?  They're on the fourteenth floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort, home to the Tower Club Concierge Level and the suites.

Today we're going to visit one of those balconies with that Magic Kingdom view...

I could castle gaze all day, but that's not all this post is about!

We're also going to step inside from the balconies to have a look at a gorgeous one bedroom suite at Disney's Contemporary Resort!

One of the reasons my family loves to stay at the Disney World resorts is because of the extra mile the cast members go to make your stay special.  This magic might take the form of a simple Mickey sticker or pin trade...or it might be some really big pixie dust in the form of a room upgrade.

Last year at the Contemporary, we were upgraded to a theme park view suite in the Tower Club.  We've staying in a standard room in the Atrium Club on the twelfth floor in the past, but the suite experience took things to a whole new level of deluxe.  Shall we explore?

Friday, January 23, 2015

London Lanes

"Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists."  --Life of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell

Samuel Johnson obviously loved London.  He's the one who said, "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

In my last London trip report installment, we were enjoying a cold March morning in St. James's Park and walking along the Mall, approaching Buckingham Palace.

The changing of the guard was about to begin - streams and streams of tourists and school groups were crossing Green Park to get a place against the gates, but I was headed in the opposite direction, into the city.  I'm sure the changing of the guard is very interesting, and I would love to see it one day.  But I had only one day left of my trip, and I just wanted to be in London.  I wanted to walk around - through those streets and squares, lanes and courts, parks and alleys and arcades.

I wanted to stop outside the Ritz and imagine I was meeting my dear friend Kate for tea there...we would talk fashion and fabulous coats, of course. ;)

I wanted to peer in the shop windows in Burlington Arcade and note which stores the royal family patronizes (you'll find a Royal Warrant with a crest on the door!).

I wanted to stop and say hello to Mr Darcy. it's not Mr. Darcy, it's Beau Brummell, famous dandy and friend of King George IV.  He was basically the leading hipster of the early nineteenth century...doesn't he just look like it from his pose??

I wanted to find some bright red phone boxes, looking warm and cheerful against the greyness of the day.

I felt like Poirot could have emerged from one of those houses at any moment.

I wanted to stroll through Mayfair and admire all the houses and habitations as Mr. Johnson recommended four hundred years ago.  It's quite different now, doubtless, from what it was in Johnson's time, but there are still so many stories crowded onto every London street.  They seem to be brimming in every window.

Yes.  I know.  I'm waxing whimsical.  London does that to me!

I did have an eventual destination - I wanted to find the lovely Farm Street Church I had visited the last time I was in London.  It's tucked down a quiet lane, and it's so beautiful inside...

The black and white tiles on the ceiling are so unique and striking.

Such a gorgeous, peaceful place!

Back out on the street I admired more little scenes - look at those bursting window boxes!

It looks like a cake decorator piped on the columns and frescos on this house.

I spotted what must have been a fashion photo shoot going on!

Looking back on my trip, a part of me wonders why I didn't make a more concrete timetable for that last London day.  Instead I just wandered wherever my feet took me.

But as Samuel Johnson would hopefully agree, that's really not a bad way to spend a London day!

Find more Europe updates here.
Previous Post - St. James's Park
Next Post - Fortnum & Mason

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Centerpiece Shop at Marketplace Co-Op

I thought we'd do some Disney shopping dreaming today, guys.  Let's head to Downtown Disney to have a browse around the fabulous new Marketplace Co-Op store...


We've looked at the accessories and handbags down at Cherry Tree Lane, but today we're going to peruse the dining ware section.

Marketplace Co-Op is a large open space divided up into mini shops, and Centerpiece houses charming cookware, kitchen supplies, and serving sets...

Who wouldn't want a castle in their kitchen?  Those were just ceramic keepsakes, but note the mad tea cups salt and pepper shakers right next to them.  I missed this in the store, but apparently they also carry shakers shaped like Fantasyland trash cans.  I'm not quite sure I want my salt coming out of a trash can, but they are pretty cute!

There's a selection of tumblers featuring classic Disneyland attraction poster art.

Love these colorful glasses for the Enchanted Tiki Room - and that wasn't the only merch inspired by the tropics...


Are those ALOHA plates I see?  Just like at the Poly!  Also love the tiki gods on the top shelf.

More pixie-dusted plates, aprons, towels, and dishes...

I always love looking at Disney mugs, but - especially when you're flying to Florida - they're so big and breakable bringing back home.

"Try the grey stuff - it's delicious!"  I feel like the cupcakes at Be Our Guest should be served on these, don't you?


Chalkboard art seems to be on trend these days, and I love Disney's version of it!

Curley cue castle placemats - you'll also find the spires in black and white on a mug...

"Happiest Place on Earth."  Love it. :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Disneyland Scavenger Hunt

I have a new challenge for you all today - especially all my Disneyland readers!

The tiny, half-hidden details that you walk by about ten times before actually noticing are what make me love the Disney parks so much; I've written lots of scavenger hunts for Disney World, and now it's the West Coast's turn.

Below you'll find a list of little sights from the original Disneyland park in California.  See how many you can recognize!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Finds: 1.16.2015

Anybody feel like some Friday pick-me-up pixie dust?

Castles are always day-brighteners. :)

--Lots of fashion, fun, and snark on Suri's Burn Book this week.  Princess Estelle of Sweden is adorable.  And that is a fabulous outfit-umbrella pairing.

--Found a new favorite funny blog (thanks to Mouse on the Mind!) - Spaghetti Toes shares illustrated silly kid's quotes.  I like Elsa's waffles, but then again it's hard to top Cinderella wrapped in bacon!

--It's not a Friday link-up without some Bored Shorts TV.  All police interrogators should probably use "Do you want me to tell your Mom?" as a scare tactic. ;)

--Raise your hand if you've been watching the new season of Downton Abbey!  I love that you can catch up online if you miss the live episode.


--Inside the Magic shares a video tour of a new deluxe studio at the Polynesian Villas.  I do like Lilo and Stitch hidden in the fold-out bed!

--This Happy Place Blog reflects back on the Hollywood Studios sorcerer hat - it's coming down this week!  It'll be so strange to walk down Hollywood Blvd without it, but I'm excited to be able to see the Chinese Theater again.  WDWMagic has photos of the demolition.

--The Main Street Mouse reports on a new Baymax cupcake at the Commissary at Hollywood Studios.  It involves chocolate, caramel, and banana.  I'm intrigued.

NEW POSTS: Epcot Coffee and Cupcakes -- St. James's Park, London -- Casey Jr: Disneyland Classic -- Wild Africa Trek Eats

NEW VIDEOS: Electrical Water Pageant -- Winter Wardrobe Favorites -- Holiday Brunch -- Disney's California Adventure Fun

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wild Africa Trek: Snacks on the Boma

We're escaping this winter weather with a trek to the wilds of Africa...

I've posted an overview of the amazing Wild Africa Trek tour offered at the Animal Kingdom Park, and today we're going to take an in-depth look at the last part of the tour...the part that involves the snacks. ;)

After all the dodging hippos, tramping through the jungle, crossing rope bridges, and dangling over crocodiles that goes on in the first part of the tour, you will probably be more than ready for a rest!  Your safari truck takes you over the same savannah that the Kilimanjaro Safari trucks cross, but half-way through you get to make a stop at a little covered terrace up the hill.

This is called the boma, just like the Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant (boma meaning a sheltered place out in the bush).  We had noticed it many times from afar on Kilimanjaro Safari and were so excited to be stopping there ourselves!

As soon as you get off the truck, your safari guides will set up the tables with cheerful check table cloths and the food - a small round bento-box-type tin for each person and a lovely carafe of Pineapple Orange Guava juice!


You do have a water bottle with you on the trek with opportunities to refill, but the POG juice was so refreshing and delicious.

Now let's look in the box!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Disneyland's Casey Jr. Circus Train: Storybook Land Part II

Casey Jr.'s coming down the track, with a smoky stack...Casey Jr.'s back!

You may know Casey Jr.'s catchy tune from the old Disney cartoon or Dumbo, or - if you're a Disney World aficionado - you'll recognize it from the Welcome Show at the Magic Kingdom.  It's such an appealing song - and at Disneyland in California you can actually catch a ride on the spunky smoky stack steam train!

Are you ready to hit the rails?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Breakfast in St. James's Park

I am on the very last day of my "Emma in Europe" trip report, and I'm kinda sad.  It's been really fun getting to relive it through writing the blog posts!

When last we left off, as you may recall, we were in London Town.

Good morning, Westminster!

Our hotel - the Marriott Town Hall - was just across the bridge from Big Ben and right next to the London Eye.  It was so much fun to step out of the lobby and be greeted the sight of those London icons.


There was a steel grey sky sort-of morning, but that wasn't going to stop me from exploring!  I headed up past the Eye to the Golden Jubilee bridges to cross the Thames.

I strolled through Trafalger Square.

There was some filming going on in front of the National Gallery.  It was a chilly morning, and everyone was bundled up...

...except for the mermaids!  Brrr...

I stopped by a Pret a Manger for a coffee and a lovely croissant, but I couldn't stay inside long.  I decided to take my breakfast out to St. James's Park.