Dec 232014

disney on ice

**Disclosure:  My family received a 4 pack of tickets at no charge in order to write about our experience at the show.  All opinions are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Experience a magical Disney fantasy live on ice! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Presented by YoKids Organic Yogurt. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen and Mater race across the ice like you’ve never seen before! Dive into The Little Mermaid’s enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies! Join the Toy Story gang who are back in town to take on their most daring adventure ever! From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice!

Last Friday night, my family and I headed into Boston to see Disney On Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy at The Agganis Arena at Boston University.  It’s been a few years since we had been to a Disney on Ice production, so we were excited to see the show.

Disney On Ice Worlds of Fantasy Boys

During the show, we had a chance to go through four “worlds” and we got to see the high speed version of four classic Disney stories.

I have to apologize for the photo quality in advance.  The arena wasn’t well lit because of the show. Continue reading »

Aug 262014

If you are new to Disney World, you may not have heard of Dole Whips before. Or maybe you have heard of a Dole Whip, but you’re not quite sure what one is and you’re wondering what all the buzz is about.

Well, let me clear this cult dessert up for you.

What is a Dole Whip at Disney World

What is a Dole Whip?

A Dole Whip is a non-dairy (lactose free) soft serve frozen dessert.  It is made from puree, which is then reconstituted with tap water and frozen before serving. The infamous frozen treat is available in three flavors: pineapple, orange and vanilla – and yes you can get orange or pineapple swirled with vanilla.  Pineapple is original flavor and definitley my personal favorite! A Dole Whip can also be combined with pineapple juice to create a float and word on the street is that they are awesome, but I have never personally tried one.

Where you can find a Dole Whip at Walt Disney World: Continue reading »

Aug 132014

Dining at Disney World - Fun Without Characters

Disney World is a magnificent place to visit with your family. There are many things for the entire family to enjoy, including exhilarating rides and delicious dining. Many visitors choose to make Disney a family tradition year after year (like my family does), and even then, it can be hard to explore all of the wonderful options Disney has to offer. If you’re going to visit Disney this year, you should take some time to appreciate many of the unique experiences offered, especially when it comes to dining options. For a unique experience, try dining at these fun Disney restaurants that don’t include the traditional Disney characters.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Looking for an interesting and unique dining experience? You’ll need to head to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant if you’re spending some time over at Hollywood Studios. This fun restaurant has memorable booths shaped like classic ‘50s cars. This décor gives you the feeling that you’re actually experiencing a drive-in theater. The dining experience is made complete with tasty food and fun movie clips. If you have boys, they are going to love this part of Disney, I promise! Continue reading »

Aug 122014

Disney World Character Meals

At Disney World one of the most coveted things to do is to eat with the characters.  My family travels to Disney World every year and we have dined at most of these restaurants – some more than once!   If you want to eat amongst the characters, fear not,  they happen all over the Disney Kingdom! Advanced reservations are highly recommended and can be made at some restaurants up to 180 days in advance. The meals are either served buffet-style, family-style, or plated. Just sit back, relax and enjoy your meal as the characters will make their way around to each table. If you chase them, they might run away! Enjoy a variety of meal options and have fun checking out Disney World’s Character Meals.


The Garden Grill

If you love Chip and Dale’s, you have to come to the Chip and Dale’s Harvest Feast. It is located in the Land Pavilion of Future World. This restaurant features dinner with Mickey’s gang including Chip and Dale, and of course, Pluto. They are all dressed in their farmer’s best too. The kid’s menu has chicken tenders and mac and cheese on it. Reservations are recommended here.

Princess StoryBook Dining Continue reading »

Feb 162014

My family are regulars at Roger Williams Zoo in Providence.  We have had a membership there since my oldest was two years old (that’s seven years for those of you who are keeping track). Sometimes, depending on the day, there are docents (volunteers) around the zoo that help to teach guests about the animals there.

On our last visit, which was about two weeks ago, we ran into a docent over by the elephant exhibit that was holding something that looked quite interesting.  Sure enough it was elephant poop.

The docent asked the gruesome twosome if they wanted to touch or hold it – don’t freak out, it was shellacked, so it was safe to touch. The boys weren’t sure about it at first:


My little man ran away and wanted no part of it at all, but my nine year old was a little bit braver.  He was leery, but he touched it. Continue reading »

Dec 172013

Remember last month when I told you all about the Magical Express?  The Magical Express is complimentary round-trip airport transportation and luggage delivery for guests who are staying at Disney resorts.   The day before your flight, you’ll get an envelope on your door with the time your bus leaves the resort for the airport.  It’s usually two to three hours before the flight.

Let me start by saying that the Magical Express isn’t so magical on the return trip back to the airport.

Continue reading »

Dec 162013

One of the things that we like to do when we go to Disney World is pin trading.  What is pin trading?  Disney Pin Trading is a fun, interactive experience where guests can trade collectible Disney pins with Disney Cast Members and other guests (although I don’t think many people trade with other guests – at least not that I’ve seen).

All you have to do is locate a Cast Member wearing a lanyard with Disney pins and find a pin you’d like. Then present them with one of your Disney pins to trade.


Continue reading »

Dec 152013

Hidden Mickeys started out as inside jokes among the Walt Disney Imagineers. A Hidden Mickey is an image of Mickey Mouse concealed in the design of a Disney attraction (ride, resort, etc…). Originally, it took the shape of a head and ears silhouette,, i.e. one large circle with two smaller circled on top in the appropriate place.

In designing, constructing or adding the final touches to an attraction, Imagineers subtly “hide” Mickey Mouse silhouettes in plain sight. Soon, it became a tradition, and as the word spread, Disney fans everywhere went on the search for Hidden Mickeys in Disney movies and theme parks.

I ordered a book off of Amazon a few years back that listed many of the Hidden Mickey’s scattered throughout the parks & resorts at Disney World (there is a separate book for Disneyland) and the boys and I always love searching for them every year.

Here is one that’s hidden inside the Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot.  There are at least three on that ride (that I know of), but this is the only one I was able to snap a good picture of.


Do you search for Hidden Mickey’s when you go to Disney?

Dec 142013

On our last night at Disney, we decided to head back to the resort and let the boys play at the arcade for a little while.  We walked past it every day and they kept asking & asking to play, so we let them.  Chris got them each an arcade card with $10 loaded on to it and they played until their money was gone (which didn’t take long).  They each got to play about about a dozen or so games.


Continue reading »

Dec 122013

About a month before my family was scheduled to go to Disney World recently, I got an email from Disney with this as the subject line:

“You’re invited to participate in a special test during your upcoming trip!”

It was a Sunday and I was at the playground with Chris and the boys when I got it.  I was giddy when I saw the email that day because I knew exactly what it was in reference to thanks to a friend of mine who had gone to Disney a few weeks prior.

It was an offer to test out their new MagicBands.


MagicBands are wristbands that are an all-in-one device and they effortlessly connect you to all the vacation choices you made.

Once I got that email, I signed up for our Magic Bands on  I was already registered on the site because that’s how I booked my dining reservations, but if you’re not registered – you will need to do so before you go any further.  I was able to customize all of our bands, which basically meant that we could pick our colors and have our names printed on the inside of the bands.  If I didn’t customize them, they would have just given us grey ones when we checked in.  Plus, while I was on the site, I linked our reservation and all our plans to the MagicBand, so it was all loaded on to the band for me. Continue reading »

Dec 102013

One of the things I truly love about staying at the Caribbean Beach resort in Disney World is that they show “Movies Under the Stars” every night (weather depending, of course).   Each night, they blow up a big inflatable movie screen and show a “G” or “PG” rated, family friendly Disney movie.  The movies are played at Old Port Royale, which is the hub of the resort and the movies are shown right next to the main pool, so you can literally hop out of the pool and catch the movie.

The cast members set up chairs in front of the screen, but there are also tables in case you want to grab a meal or snack while you watch – which is exactly what we did.

Continue reading »

Dec 082013

Every time we go to Disney, Chris tries hard to convince the gruesome twosome to go on Splash Mountain with him.  Usually, he can bribe them somehow and get them both to go on with him, but this year was different.  The oldest wanted nothing to do with it no matter what Chris offered him, so Chris and the little man went on by themselves.

Here’s a copy of the photo they snap as they fall down the big drop on the ride (they are in the front).


You’re welcome.

Dec 072013

During our past three trips to Disney World, we have stayed at the Caribbean Beach resort.  It’s very family friendly and we really like the atmosphere there.  At Caribbean Beach, the rooms are divided into six brightly colored villages representing different areas of the Caribbean. Trinidad, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica. The villages are all centered around a lake and each village has its own small man-made beach.

There are signs posted that no swimming is allowed in the lake, but the kids are more than welcome to play in the sand.  The quick service meals at the food court there are actually served in little plastic buckets that come with shovels, so it ends up working out perfectly if the kids want to spend some time at the beach.

We usually don’t spend a lot of time at the beach area -just because there is never enough time. This year, we spent about an hour at the beach in our village of Jamaica and here are some of the pictures:

Continue reading »

Dec 062013

On our last night at Disney World, we made reservations at our favorite restaurant.  Teppan Edo.  It’s located in the Japan Pavillion in the World Showcase at Epcot.

Celebrate authentic Japanese cuisine during an exciting dining experience that’s part meal, part show. In the communal ritual of Teppan-yaki-style cooking, skillful chefs chop and stir-fry dishes on grills at your table.


Select from steak, chicken, seafood and vegetable entrées, which are served with Udon noodles and steamed rice. You can also enjoy such favorites as teriyaki chicken, potato-vegetable croquettes, tempura and edamame. Continue reading »

Dec 022013

Do you ever kick yourself for not trying something sooner than you did.  Well, I am totally kicking myself for not signing my boys up for the Jedi Training Academy during any of our previous trips to Hollywood Studios at Disney.  Honest to god, I think it was the highlight of our trip this year.

Wondering what the Jedi Training Academy is?  Junior Jedi knights learn to use the Force in a 20-minute training academy “show” as they prepare to meet the Dark Side.

Here’s the description from the Disney website:

“Kids between the ages of 4 and 12, don a brown robe and pledge the Jedi Oath under the tutelage of a Jedi Master. The brilliant Star Wars fanfare stirs your spirit as you learn how to use The Force—and your wit—to wield your light saber. Behold how the Jedi Master hones your battle skills, for you never know when you will have to defend yourself against the Dark Side!”

The Jedi Training Academy offers 15 shows daily with 15 children participants per show.  As a result, if your child wants to participate in the show, signing them up for the Jedi Training Academy should be the first thing you do when you get to Hollywood Studios in the morning.  I am dead serious – the day we were there, the spots were full in less than an hour (or at least that is what the cast member told me).

Sign-ups take place at the ABC Sound Studio (where Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey used to be). You NEED to have your child with you to sign up!  When it was our turn to sign up, the cast member asked each of the boys a few questions such as their age and if they can follow directions.  After they answered, the cast member handed us a little piece of paper for each of the boys with their names and the return time for their show.  We had to be back at the ABC Sound Studio 30 minutes prior to the show to get their robes, etc, so if your kids are in the show – plan on an hour total.


Here they are after they got their robes: Continue reading »

Nov 302013

On our last full day in Disney World, we decided that we would spend our last morning at the Magic Kingdom.  We figured that we’d stay until 1pm or 2 pm and then head over to Epcot because we had dinner reservations over there.

My little guy has always been more of a snacker than an eater, so when he asked if he could have a pretzel for lunch instead of an actual meal, I agreed. We stopped at a snack stand in Tomorrowland and he was thrilled when the pretzel came out and it was in the shape of Mickey.


The rest of us had a “normal” lunch, but I wasn’t in the mood to argue with him about his choice that day, so he got his way.  Hey, we were on vacation, right?

Nov 292013

We had just as much fun during our second day at Hollywood Studios as we did during our first.  Maybe even more.

Do you remember the Mike & Sully shaped shrubbery display that I had some pictures of from our first day?  Well this is on the other side of that:



Here are a few pictures that I snapped while we were in line for the Toy Story Midway Mania ride.  We absolutely love that ride and went on a bunch of times throughout the two days that we spent at that park. Continue reading »

Nov 272013

One of the things that my family really likes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!  It’s about a half hour long show that’s filled with fight scenes, explosions and all sorts of cool stuff!

Against the backdrop of temple ruins, Indiana Jones makes a grand entrance and the show swings into non-stop action. In pursuit of the golden idol, Indy and his companion Marion battle dangerous bad guys, leap from tall buildings and make other daring escapes as fake bullets fly and a moving vehicle bursts into flames. The edge-of-your-seat suspense comes to a climax in an explosive finale!

Here are some of the pictures I took during the show:

Continue reading »

Nov 262013

Last year when we went to Disney World, my nine year old and Chris decided to get their faces painted while we were at Hollywood Studios. My little guy opted out, but this year when we walked past the face painting stand – they both wanted to get their faces painted. So, we let them pick out a design and get all painted up.

Here are their “before” pictures:



First up was the little guy. He’s never let anyone paint his face before and honestly, I thought he was going to back out, but he surprised me & went along with it – and ended up LOVING what he got. Continue reading »

Nov 252013

If you’ve been around for a while, you may remember that when we visited Disneyland back in April, my nine year old built his own droid in the gift shop of the Star Tours ride. When we were in Disney World in August of 2012, they didn’t have a station where people could build their own droids yet, but they did this time around – and you guessed it, the boys wanted to build their own droids.


When we got there, the station was already set up and all the parts were separated so that the kids could find them easily.  There were ONLY two building stations, so we had to wait quite a while before it was our turn.  Once we got to the the table to build, the cast member explained what the boys needed, so they didn’t have to figure it out all on their own. Continue reading »