Monday, December 30, 2013

A Pixie Dust-ed Trip Report... Sneak Peek!

Hello there, princes and princesses!

Well, a couple of weeks have gone by with things being quiet on the Princesses and Pixie Dust blog front; between last-minute shopping, family time, and holiday meal preparations, my schedule was just a little too nuts to do anything else!

Still, in the midst of holiday madness, I have managed to squeeze in a couple of jaunts to the most magical place on Earth. Yes, I am back in the proverbial Promised Land of the Sunshine State, where I reside just a few hours away from Walt Disney World. I promise that a proper trip report is on its way, but in the interim, I thought I'd give a little sneak peek into my adventures at the Magic Kingdom a few weeks ago!

To give a brief introduction, this particular day was a park-hopping adventure from Magic Kingdom to Epcot and onward to some of the deluxe resorts to check out their famously stunning Christmas decorations... and believe me, they did not disappoint!



When one thinks of the Magic Kingdom at Christmas, the first image that rushes to mind will inevitably be the gargantuan tree that towers over Town Square and casts an aura of holiday cheer all the way down Main Street, U.S.A.- and understandably so; the magnificent display all but commands total awe and amazement as soon as guests enter the park. It is the details in Christmas decor throughout all areas of the park, however, that caught my eye on this most recent trip. Pictured here is a wreath that adorned a window of Gaston's Tavern (though, let's be real- the antlers are a dead giveaway!), one among a smorgasbord of decorations, each themed as impeccably as only Disney can!


Another highlight from this Disney day was a long-overdue visit to New Fantasyland's freshest addition: Princess Fairytale Hall! While I was away at school this fall, I wistfully watched every preview and update until I was green with envy at my inability to visit the princesses' new meet-and-greet location! Luckily, my visit to the new royal roost proved more than worth the wait. Between the beautiful portraits that grace the walls of the entrance hall and the minute (but effective) details implemented by Imagineers, the attraction is so much more than a photo opportunity. One of my favorite Imagineering easter eggs in the Hall is this fairy tale book, the pages of which are opened to the story of  Snow White, who so graciously sacrificed her classic dark ride to allow the construction of this home for herself and her regal friends... a kind princess, indeed!


Amid the hustle and bustle of Walt Disney World's parks (especially during the holidays), the resorts offer a welcome respite in the middle of the day, with unique and festive decorations to boot! In my meanderings through the Epcot resort area, I stumbled across this charming gingerbread carousel in the lobby of the Beach Club Resort. Aside from being adorable and filling the area with a tantalizing spicy aroma, the working merry-go-round gave the resort just the right Christmas-y touch! 


I promise I'll get the trip report up as soon as I possibly can! I hope all of you had a merry Christmas, filled to the brim with magic, love, and yuletide goodness!

- Becca :)


Friday, December 20, 2013

Very Merry Christmas Movies!

Ah, Christmas movies. Warmer than a hug from

I've already touched on my immense love for the films that herald the holiday season, but such a passion couldn't possibly be contained to just one post! So, without further ado, here are five festive Disney flicks, filled to the brim with Christmas cheer and holiday happiness!


5) The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)


(via Wikipedia)
 
Okay, could I compile a list of quintessential Christmas films and not include The Muppets? ("No." The correct answer is "No".) Even though I didn't give this flick much love during my childhood (because, let's face it, A Christmas Carol is actually a pretty terrifying story), it has made a glorious comeback in my young-adult years.... now I can't imagine the Christmas season without it! It's classic Muppet humor mixed with a classic story and a healthy dose of holiday cheer- who could ask for anything more?
 

4) Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse (2001)


(via Wikipedia )

As a child of the early millennium, I spent a decent chunk of her adolescence glued to ToonDisney (may it rest in peace), and anything related to House of Mouse makes me giddy with glee- pair that nostalgic adoration with an overwhelming love for all things Christmas, and we've got ourselves a serendipitous storm of yuletide cheer! This special video release- spun off from  the original Disney Channel Series- follows Mickey and the gang as they try to fill Donald Duck with the holiday spirit, banishing his "Bah, Humbug!"s with carols and cartoons (one of which, incidentally, appears later on in this list)!

3) The Santa Clause (1994)


(via Wikipedia)
 
Filled to the brim with witty one-liners and more quotable quips than there are elves in the North Pole, this Tim Allen gem is sure to warm the hearts of even the most cynical Scrooges during the holiday season! This story of a father's journey from bitter businessmen to Father Christmas himself one of my family's "must-watch" movies every year! And seriously, how could you say no to a kid as utterly adorable as Charlie Calvin?

2) Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

(via IMDb)

My first concern when compiling this list was being able to find the words to convey just how much I love these movies (yes, I'm an English major and finding the words to say things is kind of my job... what's your point?). Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas poses such a problem. Of all of the films and specials on this list, this is the one I grew up with; this is the Disney Christmas movie that I remember watching wide-eyed with my sisters while we anxiously awaited the arrival of Santa Claus. My favorite segment has always been (and always will be) "A Very Goofy Christmas"- it so perfectly captures the magic of the holiday, as well as the importance of family year-round! (Also, I'm a sucker for Max Goof... but let's just keep that between you and me, okay?)

1) Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

(via Wikipedia)

As you can probably tell by this point, I really love "A Christmas Carol". There are so many wonderful things about this half-hour special, but my favorite is the way that it brings characters from every nook and cranny of the Disney canon together to tell the story. Willie the Giant, Scrooge McDuck, and Mr. Toad in a scene together? It seems almost too good to be true! I've said this multiple times already, but it truly doesn't feel like Christmas until I've watched Mickey's Christmas Carol... maybe even twice!

Which Disney Christmas specials are on your family's "Nice" list? Let me know in the comments!

- Becca :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Thrill Ride Edition!

That time has rolled around again for my favorite monthly installment in the Disney blogosphere...


Let's Kill, Refurb, and Marry some WDW thrill rides!

Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I feel obligated to confess that I am not exactly what you might call a "thrill-seeker". In fact, I am precisely the sort of person who would sooner do 20 laps through It's A Small World than set one toe on the Tower of Terror (a feat which I have yet to carry out and pray I never have to). Still, though an adrenaline junkie I am not, Walt Disney World gets a little wiggle room in the thrill ride department... well, enough for me to make this list, anyway! :P


Kill: Test Track

 Never have I ever seen anyone look that happy to be riding Test Track.
The first and only time I ever set foot on the Test Track attraction, I loved it. Now, that reaction is likely the culmination of several factors, like the fact that I was under the euphoric haze of a school trip to Disney World and the fact that I didn't wait an hour and a half for it (single-rider lines are a grossly underutilized resource), but I truly believe that my enjoyment of this attraction boils down to one highly-specific detail: unbeknownst to me at the time, I rode Test Track just days before it was closed for last year's big refurbishment. And guys, I really hate that refurbishment.

While the ride has always essentially been one big advertisement (first, for General Motors; currently, for Chevrolet), the previous incarnation didn't feel like it was; in my memory, it was a ride that took you through the stages of automobile testing in a way that was fun and- dare I say?- educational. The refurbished "Tron Track" (as it has been dubbed by the online Disney fandom) may be full of flashy technology and neon bulbs, but once those things are stripped away, it's all just empty promotion and product-placement. 


Refurb: Space Mountain



Space Mountain is a total classic (I mean, who doesn't love that light tunnel... whatever it's supposed to be!). That said, it's a very old classic, and, while it was refurbished not too long ago in 2009, the ride is only marginally smoother and less ache-inducing than its former self. Nowadays, I find myself increasingly more apt to skip this one each trip... and, honestly, not being that devastated about it. To remove this attraction from the Magic Kingdom would border on sacrilege (and I would never ever wish for that to happen), but a little facelift could do a whole lot of good!

Marry: Splash Mountain



I know, I know- this one is highly contested. Splash Mountain is often deemed outdated and overrated, and folks are quick to point out its mound of flaws that need fixing. Yet, despite all of the hiccups and bumps (and nearly constant breakdowns), Br'er Rabbit and his friends always emerge at the very top of my must-do list. In fact, I think the ride's imperfections are what make it so special. Yes, the animatronics are a little glitchy and the earworm that is "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" could easily drive a jaded park-goer off the deep-end, but seeing Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear get their "just desserts" puts a smile on my face any day!

Which attractions would you kill, refurb, or marry! Leave your answer in the comments, and check out what other Disney bloggers had to say!



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Road to runDisney: Trottin' Like a Turkey

Hey, remember that time a couple of weeks ago when I told you I was starting a "weekly series" on running... and proceeded to neglect it for three whole weeks?

... yeah, me neither!

As I've explained to exhaustion, things have been more than a little bit busy in this kingdom, but I'm back today to share with you a milestone in my Road to runDisney: my very first race!

Note: I have a general rule against selfies, but this one felt necessary!

Not long after I began my running journey, I started itching to get myself entered in a race; I desperately needed something to work toward- a goal to focus my training (and to combat the abrupt halt in motivation that would inevitably befall this easily-discouraged soul). Since all of runDisney's races for 2013-2014 had filled up, I found the next best thing: my local Turkey Trot 5k! My September and October were filled with milestones of every sort: breaking personal pace records, facing the elements in my first outdoor run (blech!), and completing a full 3 miles without falling over, to name a few! By the time November 28th rolled around, I was pumped and ready for action!

Thanksgiving morning, I awoke to find that Mother Nature had set her thermostat to a brisk 19 degrees (which, I think we all can agree, is really dang cold). Immediately grateful for thermal running tights, I grabbed a bit of breakfast, suited up, figured out the new and enigmatic process of applying my bib, and headed out to the race!
Pre-Race... just look at that excited little Floridian popsicle! 

The 5k itself was so much more than I ever dreamed it would be. Yes, it was difficult; yes, I felt like my legs were going to fall off for nearly the entirety of mile two, and yes, my nose went numb approximately fifteen seconds after I stepped outside, but all of that melted away as I sprinted toward the finish line, feeling stronger than ever before. All at once, I understood why us crazy runners do what we do. Maybe this run was "only" 3 miles, and no, I was (most assuredly) not breaking any records as far as time goes, but it was certainly 3 miles longer than I could have run six months ago, and  29 minutes faster than I could have run.... well, ever!

A proud (and pooped) baby runner!

In that moment, I discovered that that is why I run. I run for the endorphins, I run for the camaraderie, but most of all, I run because it shows me that I am capable of so much more than I can imagine. This major milestone brings me one step close to my runDisney dreams and has given me the motivation to keep on keepin' on, right up to the Princess Half!

Did any of you participate in a Turkey Trot this year (or is turkey consumption more of your thing)? Share your experience in the comments below!


P.S.- I couldn't resist adding this picture of me and my #1 cheerleader! (Also, can we institute a rule that mandates the insertion of adorable puppy pictures whenever possible? Okay, cool.)




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

'Tis the Season... for TV Specials!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the season has come for chestnuts to roast, bells to jingle, and- most importantly- to snuggle up with hot cocoa and some quality Christmas entertainment! And where is the best place to get your holiday movie fix? Why, Disney's very own (property) ABC Family! The channel's 25 Days of Christmas campaign is something I look forward to every year, so I thought I'd share the programming schedule so you guys don't miss any of the fun! 

Photo via ABC Family

The next couple of weeks will be a little bit nuts here on Princesses and Pixie Dust (thanks, finals week!), but once things calm down, I'll have lots of new content straight from the parks! Thanks for bearing with me, guys- it means so much!

What's your favorite holiday movie? I'm a sucker for the old Rankin-Bass claymation specials... I love me some Rudolph!

- Becca :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

Gobble, gobble! Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Who wouldn't love this to be their Thanksgiving table?
(Image by Charles Boyer, via A Cartoon Christmas)

As we all prepare to sit down to our smorgasbords of turkey, stuffing, and all the fixin's, I just wanted to write a quick post to tell all of you how deeply grateful I am for your readership. Beginning this blogging journey was sort of a scary step; I've never shared much of my writing and was a bit nervous to jump into the "big pond" of the Disney blogosphere. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the warm and welcoming response that would greet me. In good times and bad, through regular posting and slow spells, you all have been nothing short of gracious, encouraging, and perfectly lovely. This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for you, my blog readers, my Twitter followers, and, most of all, my pals. Thanks for supporting me and making the past few months so very magical!

What are you thankful for today? 

Hope you and yours have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
Love and pixie dust, 
Becca :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Road to RunDisney: The Starting Line

At one time or another, even the very best of us get stuck in a rut. You know what I mean: falling into the same old routine, day in and day out, with nothing to ruffle your feathers a little bit. And when that hits, sometimes the best thing to do is find a brand new hobby that'll lift you out of that funk. Heck, that's what made me decide to start Princesses and Pixie Dust (well, that and the fact that one who is pursuing a career in blogging should probably, you know, blog)!

However, starting this blog was not my only weapon against the drudgery of daily life; the fight against that old ennui, paired with a positively shameful level of personal fitness, enticed me to take up another pastime: running. Now, I have never been, shall we say, "athletically inclined" (nor would my history with sports-related activities suggest so; the swim meets of my youth were attended solely to enjoy the spoils of the illustrious "goodie bag"), but I needed a new "project" and, by my way of thinking, getting myself up and moving was the perfect place to start (also, telling people you're a runner makes you sound super impressive).  And that, my friends, is where Disney comes into the picture (it always does!).

I've been intrigued by runDisney from the first time my high school musical director whined about the crowds caused by the Princess Half Marathon, which happened to fall on the same weekend as our cabaret's annual trip to Walt Disney World. His gripes weren't enough to keep a gaggle of wide-eyed high school students from the Magic Kingdom, but their target piqued my interest: "A whole 13.1 miles dedicated to Disney princesses?", I thought, "how fun!". The thought promptly left my mind until one fateful day a year and a half later when I stumbled across some vlogs and blog posts about some runners' experiences at the 2012 Princess Half-Marathon. At that point, I had been testing the waters at my university's gym, toying with the idea of maybe starting to run. After a good few months of hemming and hawing, I took the plunge (and boy am I glad I did!).

I've been running for about five months now, and I'm set to run my first 5k at the end of the month (actually, in ten days- it's a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot!). I chose to begin running at an incredibly opportune time (feel the sarcasm) for runDisney- read: after every conceivable race had filled up-, so I'm not currently training for a Disney race, but I thought it might be fun to take you guys along on my running journey! Every Friday (which was, incidentally, when this puppy was meant to go up), I'll be writing about runDisney news, my favorite Disney running blogs, and my experiences as I work toward fitness... and (eventually) running through the castle! So, lace up those sneakers- it's gonna be fun!

Have a magical Monday!
- Becca :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's a Small World After All!

It feels a little strange to be saying this (I am, after all, a nineteen-year-old college student), but Disney Junior has been killing it recently.

I grew up absolutely loving Playhouse Disney (the predecessor to what is now Disney Junior); when my family's acquired satellite television, I nearly threw a party because it meant that I had unlimited access to Out of the Box, Rolie Polie Olie, and Stanley... well, until my parents told me to go play outside! Naturally, as I got older, I grew apart from the beloved programming of my childhood, looking fondly upon PB & J Otter while I moved on to more sophisticated entertainment (read: Lizzie McGuire and That's So Raven). In recent years, my attention has been called back to Disney's television for tots, largely due to the momentum the Disney Junior channel has gained with shows like Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sophia the First. Both series have proven popular with preschoolers and grown-up kids alike, and the transcendent popularity of these two shows has gotten me all the more excited to see what lies ahead for the Disney Junior brand.

Well, princes and princesses, I've seen it, and it looks really good.

 via YouTube

I'll let you just take that in for a moment. You alright? Okay, good (I worry, y'know?)

Yesterday, Disney released this teaser for It's a Small World: the Animated Series. To some, the simple fact that such a show is being made is enough to break out a cold sweat, and rightfully so; It's a Small World is a classic attraction with a rich history that could easily be cheapened by poor execution. Timelessness is a fragile thing, easily broken when trends and marketing overshadow the true spirit of the original entity. Heck, it wouldn't be the first time Disney's "upgrading" wouldn't have gone off as the hardcore fans hoped it would.

Still, despite all of that, I think that It's a Small World is going to be a really, honest-to-goodness good show. Why? I'm glad you asked (You did ask, right?)! For starters, I just adore all things Small World and couldn't be more thrilled with all the attention it's been getting recently. Between the lovely picture books and the new Animator's Collection dolls, love for the attraction (as well as Mary Blair's signature style) is the highest it's been in years! Speaking of Mary Blair, quite a bit of her artwork is evoked in this little clip! That, in itself, is even more encouraging; in a world that is becoming increasingly more dominated by CGI and three-dimensional characters, it is so refreshing to see homage paid to the styles of years gone by (especially when those styles are as brilliant as Ms. Blair's).

However, the one piece of the puzzle that puts my anxious mind at ease is the fact that the catchy ditty which scores the trailer was written by none other than the legendary Richard Sherman. Somehow, just knowing that quells any doubt and gives me belief in how special this project is going to be. The same bright, bouncing spirit that drives the original theme song of the park attraction is present in "On Our Merry Way"... and, yes, you'll probably have this one stuck in your head for a few hours days as well!

Currently, Disney is offering up the very vague premiere date of "later this month", but I'll be sure to let you all know as soon as more news is delivered! If you'd like to read more about the teaser and its signature tune, check out this post on Disney's official Insider blog!

Are you as excited as I am for this show? I don't get into Disney Junior as much as some others my age, but you can bet your buttons that I'll be plopped down in front of my T.V. for the first episode!

- Becca :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Once Upon A Christmastime: Celebrating the Season with Mickey Mouse!

Guys, I have said it before and I'll say it again:

I love Christmas. Like, caroling 24/7, elf-level crafting, and can-recite-every-Rankin-Bass-television-special-from-memory love Christmas. The aromas of pine and peppermint, the warm fuzzies of family togetherness, and the magic of one sentimental season when people are able to put aside their differences to celebrate the spirit of giving- everything about it warms the cockles of my heart. And naturally, being that person who begins her annual cycle of yuletide cheer in mid-September, I absolutely adore any situation that lets me bask in unadulterated, unbridled expressions of Christmas cheer... like Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the event (which I don't suspect is many of you), Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard-ticket event in the Magic Kingdom of a similar structure to the Not-So-Scary celebration that runs in the months of September and October. During the party, guests are treated to special meet-and-greets with beloved (and often rare) characters, a festive fireworks display, and a parade that's filled to the brim with holiday cheer. As the spirit of the season kicked off this past weekend at the Magic Kingdom, I thought I'd share my five favorite things about Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

1) The Atmosphere


Okay, this clearly isn't from the Party... but I didn't have a blog to think about then!

If you've never experienced Main Street, U.S.A. at Christmastime... man, you are missing out! Disney never (okay, rarely) does anything halfway, and that fact is unblinkingly apparent in the tinseled, trimmed, and totally decked halls (er- streets) of the quaint, little, turn-of-the-century spot. Wreaths and twinkling lights adorn shop windows, but nothing is so stop-in-your-tracks breathtaking as the tremendous Christmas tree smack dab in the middle of Town Square. Seriously, guys- if a tree can be "dressed to the nines", this one is it. From the first glimpse from the monorail (really, I wasn't joking about it being huge) to when it's an inch from your face, the only syllable able to escape your lips will be: "Whoa".

As you make your way past the magnificence of that enormous evergreen, the experience becomes even richer with the strains of classic Christmas tunes drifting above the crowd... and it doesn't stop at Cinderella Castle! Each area of the park possesses its own festive loop, from a steel-drum-and-marimba rendition of "Mele Kalikimaka" in  Adventureland to low-key arrangements of beloved carols in Liberty Square. No matter where you are in the Magic Kingdom, you're sure to be surrounded by nothing but Christmas cheer!

2) Did somebody say "free food"?!

Okay, so the complimentary cookies and hot chocolate served at the Party may not be "free" in the technical sense (you are buying a separate ticket for all this, after all), but any time I don't have to shell out extra dough for Disney yummies is a fine day in my book! (That, of course, is not to say that I wouldn't invest in some sweet snackage in the parks... School Bread, why can't I quit you?) The cookies (of which you have the choice of either Chocolate Chip or Snickerdoodle) are the perfect complement to a steaming cup of cocoa that will warm your belly right up- not to mention that the dunk-ability factor is off the charts! I should probably mention that the hot chocolate cups are rather petite (and that their contents come from a packet... hey, I'm not picky!), but both the cookies and cocoa are bottomless, so you can fill up to your tummy's content (read: go nuts, you crazy kid!).

Multiple counter-service locations throughout the park hand out these goodies, and are indicated on the Party's guide maps... or by the droves of guests anxiously awaiting their sweet treats!

3) Character Meet-and-Greets

Just a few highlights of my evening (with a special guest appearance from my cousin, Skye)!

I'll come right out and say it: character experiences make Disney for me; if I see a princess, you had better bet that I will turn into an ecstatic four-year-old faster than you can say "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!". Luckily for me, Walt Disney World's hard-ticket parties offer character greeting experiences that are totally unique to any others that you'll find in the parks. From good ol' standby characters spruced up (usually in scarves- y'know, to endure those chilly Florida nights?) for the season to less frequently seen friends, opportunities abound for memorable and exciting experiences! Simply getting to meet characters like Scrooge McDuck and Flynn Rider (check out that smolder!) are enough to make the purchase of a separate ticket worth the while, but it really is the quality of character interactions that put Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (and its Halloween counterpart) head-and-shoulders above the ones that take place on a day-to-day basis. With crowds lighter than they would be during regular park hours, characters are able to spend a little more one-on-one time with guests... and I'm sure you can imagine the kind of shenanigans that ensue!

4) Holiday Wishes!
Also known as the show that needs no introduction. It's Disney, it's a fireworks show- how could it not be absolutely wonderful? On my visit, I watched the show from smack dab in the middle of Fantasyland, where I felt completely immersed in the magic. The program perfectly marries the magic of Disney to the incomparable spirit of Christmas that lives inside all of our hearts... not to mention the breathtaking view of Cinderella Castle draped with thousands of twinkling lights!

5) Once Upon A Christmastime...

via Disney Parks Blog

We all know that Disney knows how to throw a parade... but this is a parade. Packed with more characters than you could ever ask for, a catchy soundtrack, and a special holiday guest (whose belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly... hint hint), the Once Upon a Christmastime parade is a totally immersive experience that surrounds you with the sights, sounds, and, yes, even smells of the holiday season! I don't know about you, but not much else compares to the sweet aroma of gingerbread wafting through the air as the spectacle of toy soldiers and larger-than-life reindeer marching down the avenues of Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Main Street, U.S.A. as they herald the arrival of jolly Saint Nick.

If you aren't able to make it to the party, don't fret! Several sites have reported that, beginning December 21st, the parade will run during regular park hours. I certainly know I'll be making a trip out to see my very favorite Walt Disney World parade!

Have you ever been to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party? Last year's party remains- hands down- one of my most treasured Walt Disney World memories! 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Trick or treat!

With it being Halloween and all, I'll be brief (because really, shouldn't you be in full-on trick-or-treat prep mode by now?), but I wanted to wish all of you a safe and spooky holiday! Tonight, I'll be in full Rapunzel regalia at my university's fall festival, but afterward, I'll be curling up with my favorite spooky Disney flick... The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (it is, admittedly, a very short flick)! Classic and actually quite creepy, it just wouldn't feel like Halloween without the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane!

(Unfortunately, I can't embed the actual video, but you can watch it on YouTube here!)

How are you planning to celebrate? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy haunting!
- Becca :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: Halloween in August!

Happy Sunday, princes and princesses! Can you believe Halloween is only four days away?! I'm can't wait for all of the frightful fun to come!

Even though this week's Snapshot Sunday looks awfully October-ish, it was actually taken way back in mid-August just before I headed back up to North Carolina. Now, some people might've said that it was a tad early to be breaking out the cobwebs and cauldrons, but (putting aside my penchant for celebrating holidays months before it is culturally acceptable to do so) I was thrilled to catch a glimpse of the Magic Kingdom's fall decor before I hit the road. While Walt Disney World's decor is remarkable in its day-to-day existence, the Halloween and Christmas seasons breathe fresh life and even more magic into the place where dreams come true!

I'm a sucker for that cute spook on the bottom left!

Have a most magical week!
- Becca :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Guest Post: A "Not-So-Scary" Adventure in the Magic Kingdom


Today's installment in this spectacularly spooky week on Princesses and Pixie Dust comes to us from my dear cousin, friend, and (most importantly) fellow Disnerd Skye, who recently attended Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom! Since I couldn't make it down to MNSSHP this year, Skye graciously recounted her experience that I might live vicariously through her to share with all of you! Enjoy! :)


My best friend Sarah and I took a trip to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in early September. We decided in July we were going at Fix-it Felix and Wreck-it Ralph. The cost of the party and hotel was cheaper, due to the early planning on our part and the fact we went to one of the earliest parties.  We left West Palm Beach at around 11am on a Friday and arrived to Orlando at around 2pm.  We ate at a McDonald’s on Disney property located near the value resorts.  We then checked into our room at All-Star Music.  We were in the Broadway section. 
                We relaxed about an hour and got ready in our room.  After we donned our costumes, we headed past the piano and guitar shaped pools and towards the bus stop!  We probably stood there outside in the heat for 20 minutes waiting for the thing, all the while people staring at us in our costumes as if they had never seen young adults in costume before.  

               
        We got into the park by 4, since if you buy a party ticket you can enter the park anytime after 4.  We met a friend who graduated from our college and now works at Disney, and off the three of us went to ride The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. 
                Just being there in costume with my best friend and seeing the fall decorations was magical, indeed.  Our other friend had not been on a lot of the rides at Magic Kingdom, so we took her on Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Haunted Mansion.  Surprisingly, she was not a fan of Pirates… WHO ISN’T A FAN OF PIRATES?!  I was dumbfounded.
                We got Dole whip, and then 7pm rolled around and we had to say goodbye to our friend, who did not buy a party ticket.  Sarah had been to many MNSSHPs in the past, including just last year in 2012, so I let her decide what we should do in order.
                We attended the first Villain Mix and Mingle, and that was definitely a show worth seeing.  There was so much chaos when the villains came out to mingle, however, that we couldn’t get in line to see Maleficent (a priority character to meet for us).  Therefore, we settled for The Evil Queen and Dr. Facillier, and decided to come back for the second party to see her.  We made a note that she came down from the far left side of the castle, so we stood there during the second showing and were first in line to see her.
                The second showing of the Villains Mix and Mingle was going to be right after the Boo To You parade, so we got standing spots for that after the first showing. We were right near the end of the parade.  I recorded some of the start of the parade on my phone.
                Then we got a spot for part of the castle light show (can’t remember what it’s called) and then we watched HalloWishes. After the fireworks we ate hot dogs at Casey’s.  (Editor's note: Skye is referring to Celebrate the Magic, which received a special villainous makeover this Halloween season. Check it out here!)
                Seeing characters was our top priority for the night, so we scouted out the characters I have not seen before (she’s taken pictures with literally every character ever, except maybe Hades).  We got in line to see Jane, Tarzan, and Turk.  Unfortunately, Tarzan left as we were about fourth in line.  Apparently, some people like to take up to over 5 minutes talking to characters, even though they know the line is long and we all want to see them just as much! At least we still got pictures with Jane and Turk. 
We headed over to where Captain Jack Sparrow was and waited in line for him for about 20 minutes. We wanted to ride a Big Thunder at night, and the line was only 5 minutes, so we did that.  After that, we went to some candy trails in Adventureland and Fantasyland. 
We wanted to ride The Haunted Mansion again, so we headed over to do that.  Eventually, midnight was sneaking up on us and so we ducked into Mickey’s PhilharMagic at 11:50 or so.  We waited for about 15 minutes to enter the theater, and when we got out it was almost 12:30.  That was one of the best parts of the night, missing the crowds exit and being some of the only ones left in the park.  We took a few more pictures in front of the castle and on Main Street on our way out.  It was so cool seeing Main Street empty at night, with music still playing. 
                The bus we took back to All-Star Music was empty, as well.  I hate large crowds, so that was a relief for me. We both got back to the hotel room at around 1am. 
                The next morning we got up around 8:45 and went to the Piano pool to swim a bit.  After about 30 minutes, we left and got dressed and ready to check out of our room.  Then we meandered in the arcade and played a few games.  



Our next stop was going to be the Art of Animation Resort to look around and eat there.  For some reason, my contacts were really bothering me when we were walking around the resort, and my eyes were watering a lot.  I had Sarah guide me around the gift shop.  They felt a bit better when we were outside (surprisingly). 
Then we drove to Downtown Disney to shop, but Sarah’s knee and my eyes were bothering us so much we didn’t stay very long (sad face). We bought some stuff in the Disney Store (antenna toppers, pins, and mugs), and then headed home.  All in all, the weekend was magical and amazing I cannot wait for next year’s MNSSHP!

-Skye D.

 Have you gotten to experience Walt Disney World's frightfully fun celebration (you lucky duck, you!)? What are your tips for an unforgettable evening? 

-Becca :)