Friday, July 26, 2013

My Disney Dreams: A Bucket List!

Princes and princesses, I have big news. No-  colossal news! Bigger than Gaston's muscles, bigger than Dumbo's magnificent ears, bigger than...

Alright, I'll knock it off- my news isn't that big (it doesn't eat 60 eggs every morning)... but I'm still pretty darn excited!

In just a matter of days, I will be a the holder of a brand-spanking-new Walt Disney World Annual Pass! That's right- after nineteen years of residence in the Sunshine State, I am finally investing in that magical ticket to unlimited enchantment... well, for a year anyway! At long last, I won't have to fret over allotting funds for my next ticket or choosing just one park for a whole day (hint: it's Magic Kingdom; it will always be Magic Kingdom)! No more will shows and hidden gems be passed up in lieu of "must-do"s! I can sample the exotic cuisine of Epcot's World Showcase, explore the jungle trails at Animal Kingdom, make my own adventures on Tom Sawyer's Island, and (for the first time EVER) walk down Hollywood Boulevard and stand under that glorious Sorcerer Mickey hat! I feel like I've been opened up to a whole new world (wink, wink).

Considering the vastness that is Walt Disney World, an awful lot of very special opportunities await me in the year to come. Some of my goals are incredibly simple (taking in the scenery or experiencing attractions that I've previously pushed to the wayside); others will help to realize life-long dreams (special dining experiences, memory-making, and the like). Inspired by this post on WDW for Grown Ups, I decided to compile the five experiences that I just can't wait to accomplish!

1. Savor my first taste of School Bread at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Norway Pavilion, Epcot)

(Updated to include my own photo... yay!)
My first (and only) visit to Epcot was made with my high school's traveling Cabaret troupe. In other words, I was subject to the schedules, whims, and whines of twenty-some other teenagers with varying degrees of Disney-love. As a result, the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase was tragically overlooked- no Maelstrom, no vikings, and (most unfortunately) no School Bread! To be honest, this sweet treat flew under my radar until a few months ago; now I've been able to think of little else! I cannot wait for the moment when that soft, custard-y roll passes through my lips and I finally know just what the big deal is! 
2. See the Trifecta of nighttime spectaculars: Wishes, IllumiNations, and Fantasmic!

 I am a self-proclaimed fireworks junkie; a day in the parks doesn't feel quite complete if I haven't watched brilliant flares light the night sky... so how is it that I've only seen Disney's pixie-dusted pyrotechnics above Cinderella Castle?! Don't get me wrong, now- I've YouTube'd the heck out of Fantasmic (one does what one must when she's at school 600 miles away), but nothing could possibly compare to experiencing these sparkling spectacles firsthand! I can't wait to scout out prime viewing spots and finally feel the magic of these famous fireworks shows!
3. Celebrate the Holiday Season

There are two things in life that I love with an unparalleled passion: Disney and Christmas. When those two are combined, the explosion of Becca-happiness cannot be stopped! I've been fortunate enough to attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party in the past (remind me to share those stories sometime!), and nothing beats browsing Christmas decor at the resorts, but I have yet to explore all of the yuletide cheer that abounds in the most magical place on Earth! Come December, I'll be running around like a kid in a candy(cane) shop, belting out carols, and basking in the spirit of the season!
4. Explore the Resorts

As I mentioned earlier, I've done my fair share of resort-hopping (usually around the holidays). I love to stroll around the grounds of the Deluxe Resorts and take in the exquisite theming (also: fantasize about staying in them). I feel that with a pass, the resorts are much more accessible, particularly because passholder parking is free, and while an overnight stay in the Contemporary might still be a bit out of my price range, it's no longer out of the question to take my mom to Captain Cook's at the Polynesian for her first taste of Dole Whip!
5. Take a Trip on the Walt Disney World Railroad 

Believe it or not, I've never taken a ride on Magic Kingdom's railway. Even though this less-than-thrilling attraction has fallen to the wayside on many a previous trip, I am determined to take the time out on my next excursion to sit back and enjoy the scenery from the bench of a Walt Disney World steam engine.
My first WDW jaunt as a passholder will be next week, and I'll be vlogging each of my park days until I return to school in mid-August! The videos will be posted here and on the Princesses and Pixie Dust YouTube channel (going live very soon!); keep an eye out on Twitter and Instagram for updates!

What are your Disney must-dos? Sound off in the comments below- I'd love to expand my list! :)

Love and pixie dust,
Becca <3

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Royal Review: MickeyWaffles Mini-Bows!

Hey there, princes and princesses!

You know how when you get a brand new outfit or newfangled gadget, you suddenly want to tell everyone in the world about your super awesome new thing?! Well, I recently ordered a smorgasbord of miniature bows from MickeyWafflesBows on Etsy, and as soon as I opened the package, I knew that I had to share with you guys.

I first discovered MickeyWaffles (side note: how cute [and hunger-pang-inducing] is that name?) about a year ago via Tumblr, where I fell immediately in love with her delightful Disney bows! Ordering a bow at that point seemed positively impossible- with options ranging from a practically perfect Mary Poppins-inspired creation to a Monorail-lookalike (complete with customizable stripe), there were simply too many adorable accessories to select only one! However, after receiving my first paycheck of the summer, my browser wandered onto Etsy to find a very special deal: MickeyWaffles was selling FIVE mini-bows for $12 (less than the cost of two regular-sized bows)!

It was the perfect solution to my quandary! I could choose a lot of little bows to try out before purchasing a bigger, more ornate one! (I should clarify that even the standard-size bows are not terribly expensive, with prices ranging from six to eleven dollars each.) These little guys will be perfect for more subtle day-to-day wear and will add a little "oomph" to my Disneybounds... though those warrant a post all their own!

Without further ado, I present my MickeyWaffles Mini-Bows!

This "Splash Mountain" themed bow is perfect for a leisurely trip down the river
with Brer Rabbit... just watch out for Brer Fox and that briar patch!
I love the little details on this bow that pay homage to my favorite Frontierland attraction,
especially the "Briar Patch" sign, complete with plastic green leaves and brown twine
to simulate the locale of the ride's thorny climax! 

Okay, so I was way behind on the "Wreck-It Ralph" wagon- as in: I didn't see it
until this May... I know, "for shame!". However, when I did see it, I fell head-over-heels in love
with spunky Sugar Rush racer, Vanellope von Schweetz. Laying aside for a moment the
character's strength and determination, her outfit is irresistibly colorful and candy-fied, the features
of which are captured perfectly on this bow. I love the puffy-paint polka-dots, and the pink-on-white
stripe reminds me of Vanellope and Ralph's first meeting in the candy cane forest... I'm certainly glad
it's a single stripe!

Of all the bows in MickeyWaffles' shop, I may have wanted this one the most. As a fervent admirer
of the boy who never grows up, this bow helps me keep an adventurous spirit, even
in the midst of mundane "grown-up" stuff. Come on, that red feather is just too cute for words! I also
love the three different shades of green on each layer- Peter's color scheme is precisely represented (another testament to the effort put in by the creator)!

It will be a "Jolly Holiday" indeed whenever I wear this bow! The bright colors (and
a serious crush on Poppins-era Dick Van Dyke) are what drew me to this festive 
bow! Honestly, there's only one word I could use to describe it... any guesses?

How much cuter could this little "DumBow" get? My favorite feature has to be
the magic feather... it adds the perfect touch! I can't wait to wear this 
with my Dumbo Disneybound to the Magic Kingdom in a few weeks... that feather sure
will come in handy!

Seriously, the quality and creativity behind these pieces are astounding. It took about three weeks for the bows to arrive, but boy, were they worth the wait! I will most definitely be purchasing from MickeyWaffles again, and I urge you to give her a shot, too! These bows (and many more) can be purchased via Tumblr or through the MickeyWaffles Etsy shop.

Which of the bows pictured is your favorite? What character would you like to see put into a bow? Sound off in the comments below!

Love and pixie dust, 
Becca <3

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Music Monday: Take Two! Tunes from Disney Sequels

Hey there, princes and princesses! Happy Monday!

Let's play a little word-association game! Okay, when I say "breathtaking melodies and masterful animation" you think of...

... Disney sequels, right?! No?

I totally get you. For the vast majority of, well... anyone, Disney's direct-to-video releases are the cocktails of poor animation, sub-par storylines, and inane melodies that no one really wanted. For some though (spoiler alert: I fall into this camp), these underwhelming sequels are as firmly planted in the nostalgia of childhood as Walt Disney's greatest masterpieces. That being said, all sequels are not created equal. have no idea how hard I tried not to make that rhyme.

I've definitely been, shall we say, enlightened to the truth about those "part-two"s from my younger years. Most of them are pretty terrible, some enough so that I've tried to permanently erase them from memory (I'm looking at you Pocahontas II). Still, there are a precious few that transcend the mire and muck of the swamp that is Disney's home entertainment sector to shine as memorable and heartwarming installments that capably stand beside their predecessors. This Music Monday, I thought it'd be fun to give those standouts the appreciation they deserve in the best way I know how... by jamming out!

1) "There's a Party Here in Agrabah", Aladdin and the King of Thieves

via youtube
 Alright, so this part-three isn't really a gem among Disney sequels, but nostalgia edged it in at number five. Also, I was avoiding repeats. "King of Thieves" was the go-to entertainment of my elementary-era sick days, and hey- there are certainly many . My spirits were always brightened by Genie's antics, which play a starring role in the movie's opening number. Also of note here is Liz Callaway (the singing voice for non-Disney princesses Odette and Anastasia) lending her soaring soprano as Princess Jasmine... a treat which I had long forgotten!
(Also: Excuse you, Aladdin. "The party's all for me"? You better watch it, mister.)
2) "Digga Tunnah Dance",  The Lion King 1 1/2

via youtube

Tell me this song did not make you want to be a meerkat. I double dog dare you. Okay, so maybe that was just me, but that doesn't change the fact that "Diggah Tunnah" (as well its companions in the third installment of the Lion King movies) is a smart, well-written song. Both sequels to the timeless 1994 classic manage to honor the spirit of the original film while still standing apart as their own entities- in fact, you'll see more of the LK trilogy later in this list! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Moments with "Mr. Banks"

Happy Friday, everybody!

Yesterday, the world received a great gift. That gift was the first trailer for the highly-anticipated film Saving Mr. Banks, which recounts the journey of Disney's classic Mary Poppins  from page to screen. The story more specifically follows the tumultuous relationship between Walt (Tom Hanks) and "Poppins" author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), and is slated to be released in December of this year. If you've not treated yourself to the trailer yet, you can watch it here!

Despite the fact that the trailer reveals mere minutes of final footage, I already have some favorite moments... which I'm going to share with you!

#1: "Never, ever just Mary"
via tumblr
In this moment, Travers makes  it completely clear that "Mary Poppins" is her baby, and it will be treated as such. What a boss.
#2: Tom's Magical World of Disney
via tumblr
Now, by no means am I old enough to have grown up watching Walt on television, but many a VHS tape of mine was capped off with a behind-the-scenes tour guided by the big man himself. I remember a black-and-white Tink sprinkling pixie dust all over those features, and seeing her do the same for Tom Hanks' Walt is a surreal and intensely nostalgic experience.

#3: Every Scene with The Sherman Brothers... Seriously.
via tumblr
I am already obsessed with Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak's portrayals of the dynamic songwriting duo responsible for the scores of countless Disney classics. The enthusiasm, guys!

#4: "It's their father..."
via tumblr
This is when it all fell into place. This was when I realized just how much heart and strength the story held. I just know that the trailer has only scratched the surface of a beautiful tale just bursting to be told.

#5: Disneyland
via tumblr
Need I say more?

What were your first impressions of the trailer? Did you have any favorite moments, or are you waiting until we get to see a little more? I don't know if I can wait five months for it to hit theaters!

Love, pixie dust, and a spoonful of sugar,
Becca <3

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ode to a Very Reluctant Dragon

Hello, friends!

About a month ago, my neck of the woods was having some rather blustery weather! The stormy summer season that we Floridians know and love was kicked off when Tropical Storm Andrea made its way across the state last month and brought with it plenty of rain (as well as several tornado warnings)! It was definitely bad news for beach-goers, but since we've already established that that's not quite my thing, I really enjoyed having a lazy day at home, curled up with a cup of tea and some classic entertainment, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation.

On the day before the monsoon (otherwise known as windsday), I prepared myself for the coming squalls by stocking up on DVDs of classic Disney shorts at my local library. Libraries are an amazing resource for movies that may be a little bit outside the mainstream, and I love venturing into the video section to scout out obscure Disney films. On this trip, I was in pursuit of Depression- and WWII-era shorts ( à la Melody Time or Silly Symphonies)- boy, did I hit the motherlode! I came home with my arms full and a smile on my face, ready to dig into my new treasures. Imagine my delight when I realized that one of the DVDs featured The Reluctant Dragon- a.k.a my favorite short of all time!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

American as Appleseed

Happy Independence Day, princes and princesses! I hope you're all out enjoying family, fun, and fireworks today while you celebrate the good ol' U.S. of A!

I racked my brains for a good while (we're talking at least a day) about how to commemorate America's Birthday here on Princesses and Pixie Dust. I feel incredibly blessed to have grown up in the land of the free and, while our nation is far from perfect, we Americans are endowed with privileges and rights that less fortunate citizens of the world are still fighting for. Pride in our nation is certainly not overlooked in domestic Disney parks; from Liberty Square to Limited Time Magic's "Disney's Celebrate America!" fireworks display, the parks' heritage is present and most definitely celebrated! With so much American pride, it was tough to decide which to highlight this Fourth of July- a fireworks display? An ode to the Hall of Presidents? I honestly could have just directed you to the pictures of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in their patriotic paraphernalia at Epcot today... too cute! After starting several posts (and scrapping them), I decided it was time for a little movie break. And (as so often is the way) that is when I realized that a salute to America isn't about fireworks or presidential Audio Animatronics or a mouse in revolutionary regalia. To celebrate the Fourth of July is to celebrate classic American values- a lesson revealed to me by Melody Time's "The Legend of Johnny Appleseed".

Melody Time (released in 1948) is a collection of animated shorts which are bound together by the common thread of music. With its release coming shortly after the end of World War II, the film's depictions of American folklore and culture are particularly resonant, especially that of John Chapman (though most of us known him better as Johnny Appleseed!). If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing this vastly underrated installment in the Disney canon, here is "The Legend of Johnny Appleseed" for your enjoyment and education:

via youtube

(Also, go get your hands on a copy of Melody Time. In the words of Johnny's angel: "What are ya waitin' for?!")

Johnny truly embodies the founding principles of the American spirit. Like so many others, his journey begins with a dream- a thirst for adventure and a calling to greater things. However, unlike those others, Johnny takes his fate into his own hands (with a little healthy encouragement) and boldly ventures into the unknown not only to achieve his own end, but to give his gift to those who would come after him. His determination in the face of peril speaks to the resilience that our nation is known for. Even more, the sense of community that springs from his labor of love still exists and thrives in our country today; fellowship with family and friends lies at the heart of this holiday, and of America itself.

What does the American spirit mean to you? What are your favorite patriotic Disney gems? I hope everyone has had a safe and happy Fourth of July! God bless America!

Love and pixie dust, 
Becca <3

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Not Monday, Definitely Musical: Let's Get Physical!

Howdy, boys and girls!

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time (yesterday), I had grand plans of resuming a certain weekly series- a weekly series which brought us all great joy, and great tunes. It got our lips pursed for whistling and our toes primed and prepared for tapping. It was going to return on the right day. Look! I can even prove it! I present to you the earnest beginnings of a Music Monday post, composed on that fateful day- July 1st 2013:

"Today is a very momentous day: it marks the return of Music Mondays! I just know you've all been on pins and needles waiting for this one... okay, maybe that's just me, but I'm excited to (hopefully) get back to regular posting rhythm!"
See? I totally tried! A for effort, right? RightAnywho, even though I didn't quite make the deadline, I was too excited about this week's topic to wait!

Summer is in full swing, and that means that most people* (*we've already established this) will be out on the beach, soaking up the sun. Aside from my distaste for sand's inherent ability to find its way into every crevice of my towel, bag, and car floor- seriously, my suits are still haunted by beach trips past-, I haven't been feeling particularly bikini-ready these days (probably as a result of my loving Goofy's Candy Company a little too much). Subsequently, the hours I might otherwise be spending sweating in the hot sun have instead been passed perspiring on the treadmill. Luckily, the Disney songbook is just brimming with tunes that motivate me to get moving! So, without further ado, I give you my top five Disney Workout Jams!

1) "Zero to Hero", Hercules

via youtube

Okay, picture it: you're staring down that elliptical, dreading the pain it will inflict. After a few moments and some serious reconsideration, you let out a sigh, mount the machine, and press "play". Suddenly, you're electrified by the soul and sass of the fantastic, fabulous Muses, and "bless my soul", you are on a ROLL! I know for a fact that none of you are zeroes, but this song is a perfect reminder that while that workout might hurt right now, you will most certainly come out of it looking (and feeling) like a hero! 

An honorable mention here has to go to Greece's #1 satyr-coach Philoctetes for reminding us that heavy lifting can only take you halfway to heroism... it's a work of heart, too!