Friday, August 30, 2013

Food Friday: Dole Whipped.

Do you guys remember that time when I hinted that I'd be trying my hand at an old Magic Kingdom favorite?

 That breadcrumb was dropped waaaay back in June, at the tail-end of the very first Food Friday to ever grace the (web)pages of Princesses and Pixie Dust. At the time, it was an earnest promise that I had every intention of fulfilling; I had grand visions of delivering a weekly dose of culinary wonders to you, my lovely readers. You see, at Food Friday's inception, it was meant to be more geared toward making and sharing Disney-inspired recipes. Soon enough, though, the concept morphed into the type of posts you've been seeing the past few Fridays: spotlighted dishes, Parks favorites... you know, information that's a heck of a lot more useful than watching me fail to create a Disney masterpiece!

Oh, the immaculate beauty... (she said with marked sarcasm)

... but, really, watching me fail to create a Disney masterpiece is still pretty fun. And that, my friends, is precisely what transpired mere weeks ago, when I good-heartedly and with the best intentions insinuated that I would be making... Dole Whip!

Armed with an ice cream maker and a recipe for pineapple sorbet, I set to work, carving up the fruit....


... plopping the ingredients into the blender...

...  and whirled 'em up!

By this point, I had a pretty promising base for a scrumptious frozen treat, and I was darn proud of myself! I popped the mix into the freezer for a few hours (per the recipe's instruction), and when it came out, I was ready to rock and roll! Then Yzma came into the picture...


This is Yzma, my ice cream maker- or rather, the ice cream maker I found hidden in the back of a cabinet this summer (a discovery that was met with much pomp and excitement in the household of Pixie Dust). However, as you can probably tell, Yzma is a bit of a dinosaur. Seriously- the old girl may have me beat in the age department. And yet, despite her hiding spot amongst the other 80's-tastic home appliances collecting dust in the back of the cupboard, I trusted her with my Dole Whip.

She tried, she really did. Valiantly, she fought to create that refreshing concoction of pineapple-y goodness, but the years caught up with her. After a few attempts at saving the sorbet, it returned to its Tupperware in the freezer, and Yzma was laid to rest (sniff).

Thus ended my attempt to bring the gift of homemade Dole Whip to you, my lovely readers. The sorbet turned out surprisingly well, given the circumstances, but I think it'll be a while before I try my hand at it again!

Have you ever successfully created your favorite Disney treat? If yes... please teach me!

Have a magical day!
- Becca :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When Things Go Wrong...

What happens when an afternoon in the most magical place on earth goes south?

That was the dilemma I faced a few weeks ago, when a little thunder and lightning threatened to ruin my last hurrah at Walt Disney World for the summer... but let me start at the beginning!

It was the perfect plan: I would spend the morning at Epcot, discovering the joys of unexplored pavilions and untasted treats (specifically, a special treat in Norway... you know the one), then hop on the monorail to bid farewell to my precious Magic Kingdom. Bittersweet as it was, I knew I needed one last chance to socialize with the Haunted Mansions happy haunts, dive into Brer Rabbit's briar patch,  and take a voyage on the happiest cruise that ever sailed; before I traveled far away from my beloved land of princesses and pixie dust, I'd give it a proper goodbye.

Hence, when I stepped off the Magic Kingdom Express monorail at 2:40 that fateful afternoon, I had no reason to suspect that my plan wouldn't go off without a hitch. In retrospect, the menacing clouds that rolled in as I entered the Enchanted Tiki Room should have tipped me off to the imminent monsoon, but, hey, how was I to know that this typical Florida thunderstorm wasn't going to be quite so... typical?

I exited the calm of the Tiki Room to a nearly empty Adventureland Bazaar... a phenomenon quickly explained by thunder that boomed overhead. Knowing that I had an ever-narrowing window of time before the skies opened and I'd need a small boat to navigate the pathways, I made a beeline for one of my favorite spots in the park...


... unfortunately, a hundred of my closest friends had the same idea! Big Top Souvenirs (located in the Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland) is two of the best things a place can be during a downpour: big and (most importantly) indoors.

Now, let me say this: I'm not proud of what happened next. After about an hour of perusing plush displays and navigating through the sea of soaked tourists, I got a little... grumpy. Okay, I got a lot grumpy. Seriously, I would have put the dwarf himself to shame! Even after the rain subsided and I was freed from my densely-packed, circus-themed cage, I was finished. If an attraction wasn't shut down for the storm, it had been slapped with an obscene wait time; rumbles in the distance hinted that another squall was on its way, and... wait, was that a camera flash or lightning?!

And that's about when I realized that I was acting like an insufferable brat. There I was, in the happiest, most magical place in the world, and all I could think about was how my day had been ruined. At that moment, I decided that rather than moping over my fouled farewell, I'd just have to... readjust it a little bit! As I wandered around the Kingdom, snapping photos and saying goodbye to my most cherished spots, I realized that rides and shows weren't what made this place special to me.

Fun fact: This is my absolute favorite spot in the whole Magic Kingdom.

 It was the little details tucked away in the details of Liberty Square, the feeling I got staring up at Cinderella Castle, the tantalizing aroma of the Confectionery on Main Street. All this time, I had become so wrapped up in the glitz and grandeur of E-Ticket attractions (which- don't get me wrong- have their place) that I neglected the simple touches that make Disney... Disney.

There's just nothing like it.

Even though I left the park a tad earlier than I anticipated (and soaking wet), I didn't feel like my farewell had failed. As a matter of fact, it was ten times more special and more memorable than I could have ever dreamed.


How do you deal with intense storms at the parks? Hopefully, you skip the pouting phase... like I said, I'm not proud of it! Let me know in the comments below!

- Becca :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Magic, Memories, and Main Street: Electrical Parade Edition

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...


... Disney proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds...


... Disney's Electrical Parade!"

... You're humming it now, aren't you? 

In the week or so that I've been up at school (and woefully separated from my magical playground), I've been immersing myself in Disney even more than usual. This has most often resulted in impromptu Ghost Host impersonations and Jungle Cruise-inspired zingers (both of which my roommate endures like the champ she is), but I've also found comfort in the various attraction, parade, and fireworks soundtracks that transport me from my little dorm room to the Brer Rabbit's Laughing Place, the World Showcase, or (in this instance) Main Street USA.

Disney's Electrical Parade is a staple in the Magic Kingdom; if you've been there in the past ten years, you've probably experienced this cheerful parade of bright lights and bouncing tunes. Featuring both beloved characters (Tink, Peter Pan, Cinderella... the usual crew) and some that otherwise fly under the radar (I'm looking at you, Pete and Elliot), it holds a precious place in the hearts of Disney fans everywhere. I grew up with the Electrical Parade, and every time I take my seat at Town Square as the sun is dipping below the pristine 20th-century facades, I feel the warm embrace of nostalgia settle down right there with me. I'm taken back to the times I sat with my father, my sisters, and my cousins, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the glimmering, glittering spectacle. Even as I get older, I don't think the magic and memories of the Main Street Electrical Parade will ever be lost. No matter where I am or how much stress I'm under, its tinkling melodies and twinkling lights will always bring a smile to my face and feel like home.

So if you're missing Disney this evening (and I bet my buttons that you are), hop onto YouTube, find your favorite attraction, and take a trip down memory lane. It's not as good as being there, but it'll sure make your night a little more magical!

Do you have fond memories of the Electrical Parade? For me, a trip to the Magic Kingdom just doesn't feel the same without it!

Love and pixie dust!
-Becca :)

P.S. Check out this awesome spotlight post about Princesses and Pixie Dust from Rebecca at disneywithme.wordpress.com! Rebecca is one of the sweetest Disney bloggers ever (and she's a travel agent who loves to plan Disney vacations, to boot)! Drop in and say hello to her on Twitter at @rkellyWDW!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Food Friday: A Smorgasbord of Snacks!

Hey there, princes and princesses! I hope your week has been filled to the brim with all kinds of magic and adventure! I just wanted to let you guys know (and apologize in advance) that the next few weeks may be a teeny bit slower for posting! As I'm sure you're quite sick of hearing, I started my sophomore year at university this past week, and I'm still getting back into the swing of things. Thanks for understanding, and we now return to our regularly scheduled pixie-dusting!

Ah, the Disney snack.


The term itself is an umbrella, beneath which goodies of every variety gather in a spread of scrumptiousness. Cupcakes, cookies, and everything in between are present and accounted for- whether  you're craving a massive cinnamon roll at Gaston's (R.I.P. old Main Street Bakery) or an impossibly adorable candy apple, you won't be disappointed at a Disney park!

If I had my way, I would forgo meals entirely and fill my belly entirely from the bevy of snack carts and counters at Walt Disney World (goodness knows most of them are big enough to stand in for a meal!). With such variety, the task of picking only a handful of these tantalizing treats can be understandably daunting. That's why I'm here to count down my top 5 most favorite (WDW) Disney snacks of all time (... too much?)!
  
# 5:  Ice Cream. All the kinds. 
... didn't stand a chance!
Whether it's soft-serve, hand-scooped, or Mickey-shaped, ice cream is everywhere in Walt Disney World. You can have it in a cone or as a float, in a box or with a fox (sorry- wrong dish!)- the funnel cake kiosk at Epcot's American Adventure even offers the option to plop a slab of it on top of your treat. My go-to variety on a sweltering Florida afternoon is good ol' vanilla soft serve (seen above in all its swirly goodness from the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck at Disney's Animal Kingdom). Nothing kills that mid-afternoon ice cream craving like a classic cone... well, unless that thing is...

#4: THE Homemade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich


Alright, I know what you guys are thinking: "Becca, wouldn't this be one of the "all the kinds" you just mentioned?" In any other case, yes. However, this is not any old cookie sandwich. This cookie sandwich starts with two soft, gooey chocolate chip cookies (each of which, I might add, is roughly the size of my nineteen-year-old hand). Then, a cast member will lop on healthy dose of that cold, creamy good stuff (typically vanilla) and actual magic happens. The ice cream melts ever-so-slightly into the warm cookies and creates an amazing, melty bite with the perfect balance of textures.
A word of caution: the precise thing that makes this cookie great (see aforementioned melty deliciousness) brings the potential for a little bit of a mess. I suggest coming into it with a game plan (and a few napkins)!
#3: A Mickey Rice Krispie Treat from Goofy's Candy Co. (...on a stick, of course!)


Yes.

  A rice krispie treat is a pretty average snack; I mean, you can pick up a whole box of the things at the nearest grocery store. Yet when that humble confection is dipped in chocolate, rolled in the topping of your choice, and (most importantly) shaped like the Mouse that started it all, the old lunchbox standby reaches an entirely new level of sugary perfection. Goofy's Candy Co. at the Downtown Disney Marketplace is the place to go for any customized Disney sweet, from candy apples to pretzel rods to marshmallows and beyond! My perfect Mickey Rice Krispie Treat is dark chocolate dipped, covered in Reese's Pieces, and finished off with a white chocolate drizzle... (what? I'm not drooling! I'm just... yeah, I'm drooling.
#2: The Pride of the World Showcase (a.k.a. School Bread)


I will keep using this picture until someone tells me to stop.  

 I have already professed my love for this pastry from Epcot's Norway Pavilion in great detail, but I would be remiss to leave it off this list. Sweet (but not too sweet), exotic, and oh-so-satisfysing, this treat is pretty much perfection wrapped up in a cute roll-shaped package. However, one classic Disney snack triumphs over even School Bread...
#1: One (Dole) Whip to Rule Them All

I somehow have no photos of my favorite snack... but this is where you can get it!
Was there really any doubt about this one? I love Dole Whip. I dream about Dole Whip. Dole Whip dominates entire conversations in my day-to-day life. 
See? 
The legendary pineapple soft-serve hardly needs an introduction; it's the perfect complement to a sunny day in the Magic Kingdom, and it's hard to beat a stroll through Adventureland with a Dole Whip in hand. Bright and refreshing, it's like a smile in a cup, and a trip to Disney just isn't complete without one.
 Did your favorite snack make the list? I had such a hard time picking only five!

- Becca :)




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Safari of One, Please!

Sometimes, you just need a little alone time...



... and sometimes that alone time is at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: a family vacation at Disney is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. There really is nothing like sharing the magic of Walt Disney World with the ones nearest and dearest to your heart. However, when those loved ones' enthusiasm about Mickey Mouse doesn't quite match up with your own, a solo trip to the parks starts to look pretty darn desirable!

Which is what brings me back to the "alone time at Animal Kingdom" thing. My first few weeks as a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder also happened to overlap with my final days in Florida before returning to college several states away. With so much to do and only a very little amount of time, I knew a few unaccompanied jaunts would be necessary... which I didn't really mind! Some of my best experiences at Disney Parks have occurred when flying solo!

While going to the parks all by your lonesome may sound a tad unorthodox, there are quite a few perks to taking a personal day at the Parks- and, by jove, I just have to share them with you!

1) Freedom to MOVE!

Ah, the beauty of an empty path...

 Disney parks are crowded; it can be stressful to keep your group together when little Sally makes a beeline toward Dinosaur! when the rest of the family is queuing up for Primeval Whirl. Without anyone else in tow, you're free to maneuver around the throngs with ease! A solitary trip also allows a lot more flexibility; my personal game-plan for the parks isn't exactly what most people would call "efficient" (I go where the wait isn't- regardless of the distance!), but it's a little more acceptable to decide to catch Festival of the Lion King two minutes before the next showing when I don't drag my whole family along for the ride!
I ran...  it was worth it.
 2) A Chance to Relax

Bonus: if you time your meals just right, you get a view like this all to yourself.
Relaxing? In a theme park? I understand the skepticism, believe me, but it is possible- especially in Animal Kingdom! Whether it's a leisurely stroll through the Maharajah Jungle Trek or enjoying an cone from the Anandapur ice cream truck, it's easy to take a breather when there's no set schedule or place to be!
3) Discovering the Little Things

I've shared this one before, but I love this spot!
My favorite thing, hands down, about going solo at the parks is noticing all the minute details that are so often overlooked. No one does theming like Disney, and the special touches at Animal Kingdom are incredibly unique. Having time to yourself means being able to explore those spots and find new things to love about an old favorite!
Oh, Dinoland.

Taking a personal day at Disney is truly one of my favorite pastimes- I can't wait to go mosy around the Magic Kingdom at Christmastime! Have you ever done Disney all by your lonesome? What are your favorite things to do? Let me know in the comments!

Have a magical day!
- Becca  :) 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two Legends, One Concert: "The Disney Songbook" at the D23 Expo 2013


What week for the Disney fandom, huh?

As I'm sure most of you know, the D23 Expo was hosted in Anaheim last weekend… and what a weekend it was! From imagineers to beloved characters, it seems that Disney folk of every kind came out of the cracks to celebrate the Mouse House. While I was unfortunately not able to attend the Expo (California isn't exactly a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from South Florida), the twitterverse and blogosphere didn't miss a beat when it came to covering every detail of the highly-anticipated event. 

The interesting thing about experiencing the Expo through the reports of others is that amidst the barrage of information flooding out of the Anaheim Convention Center, those following along at home also got a good idea of how Expo-goers felt about the releases. Some were disappointed in the lack of big Parks-related announcements, many were pleasantly surprised by the Animation display, and the Disney Legends ceremony left nary a dry eye in the house. However, the true star of D23 was the iconic Disney music we all know and love. I'm referring, of course, to the "The Disney Songbook" concert given by the incomparable Richard Sherman and Alan Menken. 

The two legendary songwriters truly need no introduction, but I love them too much not to gush just a little bit. The work of Richard Sherman and his late brother Robert can be heard just about anywhere in the Disney universe. The two are responsible for the scores of some of the most beloved Disney films of all time, including Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and the Winnie the Pooh series. Their compositions, however, are not limited to just Disney's movie magic; in fact, some of their most well-known pieces are heard by thousands every day in Disney Parks. The music for a number of classic Disneyland and Walt Disney World attractions is attributed to Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman… so next time "It's a Small World" or "One Little Spark" is stubbornly stuck in your head, you know who to thank! 

Alan Menken's music is nearly synonymous with the Disney Renaissance of the 1990's, having composed the scores for the Disney films of my own generation: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, and so on. Menken's involvement with Disney began in 1989 (with Mermaid) and has most recently continued with his work on the 2010 hit, Tangled. As one who grew up on Alan Menken's brilliant scores, his work is extremely dear to me- his music spurred my love for both Disney and musical theatre from a young age, and continues to evoke inspiration and awe with every listen. 

With two such iconic and talented men exhibiting their own masterpieces, how could it have been anything other than utterly and completely magical? There is something so awesome about watching a composer perform his precious work. Suddenly, the song is no longer just a song; it is a labor of love. The spectacle falls away and the listener is able to hear the piece in its truest form, as if it were still little more than a twinkle in its creator's eye. That purity of performance was markedly present throughout the concert, and that, I believe, is what made it so incredibly special. Choosing a favorite moment from that memorable evening wouldn't do justice to the work that Menken and Sherman so generously shared with the Disney fan community, but I would be remiss not to highlight some of the moments that touched my heart and brought a smile to my face.

1) "The Ugly Bug Ball" from Summer Magic, Richard Sherman

via youtube
Summer Magic is one of those movies that doesn't get a whole lot of attention in the Disney community. However, my mother is a massive Hayley Mills fan and I was thus treated to a childhood full of her bright, bubbly performances in the live-action Disney films of the 1960s. Because I don't normally hear much about this childhood favorite, getting to hear both the song itself and the anecdote about Walt was an unexpected treat!
2.  Medley from The Little Mermaid, Alan Menken 


via youtube
 When I was in the seventh grade, I bought the Platinum Edition of The Little Mermaid on DVD, which included an extensive featurette on the film's journey from studio to screen. That behind-the-scenes tour is what took a nostalgic love for Disney and took it to new heights. The Little Mermaid was the catalyst for an entire era of Disney films after Walt Disney's death, and it truly would not have been the movie that it was without the work of Menken and lyricist (/produce/genius) Howard Ashman. The music ushered in a new age of great stories, majestic scores, and a spirit of imagination that would make Walt proud.  
(Also, any day that I get to hear Alan Menken sing "Les Poissons" is a good day.) 
3. "In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" from Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, Richard Sherman

via youtube
Richard Sherman is a living piece of Disney history. His close working relationship with Walt brought with it a host of sweet and touching stories (like the one in this clip) that fans will be able to cherish after both men are long gone. The Sherman Brothers' signature is found woven into countless attractions in Disney parks, with the Enchanted Tiki Room being among the oldest and most beloved, and every time I am transported into that Polynesian palace to sing like the birdies sing, I thank the Lord for their incredible work.
4.  Medley from Hercules, Alan Menken


via youtube
Alan Menken as the muses? Yes, please. I love that this concert gave songs like "The Gospel Truth" and "Zero to Hero" a chance to be performed alongside the old standbys... because everyone needs a little sassy Menken every now and then. 
5.  "It's a Small World", Richard Sherman and Alan Menken

via youtube
Two legends sharing one iconic song. What more could a person ask for?
I can't convey just how difficult it was to pick out only five songs from these two amazing sets. If you'd like to watch the concert in full (and believe me, you do) it can be found on YouTube here (Sherman) and here (Menken), thanks to Inside the Magic!

What were your highlights from the concert? I seriously would have just posted the entire show if I could... so amazing! Let me know in the comments below and, as always, have a magical day!



-Becca :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Food Friday: A Norwegian Classic

Every so often, perfection reveals itself to man. Sometimes, this appearance occurs with great fanfare and hullaballoo. However, the sublime more often sneaks in under the radar, meek and unassuming, then...

BAM.

School Bread. 

This confection may appear to merely be another pastry among the vast culinary smorgasbord that is Epcot's World Showcase, but rest assured, it is anything but ordinary. Found at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway Pavilion, School Bread is a light, chewy, and slightly sweet roll filled (as pictured above) with a vanilla custard and topped with icing and toasted coconut. Simple enough, right? But somehow, these basic elements marry together to create a dessert as legendary as the vikings next door. 

Isn't it just the cutest little roll you ever saw?

As I said, the roll itself is surprisingly soft and packs just a hint of sweetness- you're not going to feel like there's a rock in your tummy as you tour the rest of the showcase! Still, even for its lightness, one School Bread is big enough to keep you satiated and happy until your next meal. (I ate it as lunch and I wasn't rumbly in my tumbly until nearly 4:30!) That slightly sweet flavor I mentioned comes from a pinch of cardamom, which lends to the pastry a pleasant warmth and perfect complement to the vanilla custard that hides inside.
If you look closely, you can see the flecks of cardamom... yum!

Speaking of custard, the one inside (and dolloped atop) this treat boasts a mild vanilla flavor- not too strong, but definitely present. Additionally, the bread-to-filling ratio here is spot-on... perfect balance seems to be the name of the game when it comes to School Bread. As if you needed any more convincing, the icing and coconut bring a little extra boost of sugar while adding another level of flavor to an already stellar dessert.

Say it with me: "Mmmmmm!"


In summation, I implore you- no, I urge you to get yourself to Epcot and get some School Bread in your belly ASAP! (And yes, licking the plate clean is most definitely acceptable behavior.) 

What's your favorite World Showcase snack? I used to be quite partial to the napoleons at the Boulangerie Patisserie (now Les Halles) in the France Pavilion, but School Bread has knocked them clear off their throne! 

Have a magical day!

- Becca  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On the Open Road!

It's that time of year, princes and princesses!

It's time to go back to school, and for this girl, that means packing up and hitting the open highway! While my entire childhood was spent in the Sunshine State, I actually attend university a few states over in the lovely hills of North Carolina. While it is unfortunate that my educational pursuits carry me 600 miles away from my beloved Magic Kingdom (boo), I love finding new ways bring a little bit of pixie dust to my day! In fact, you can expect more posts about making your own Disney magic throughout the fall (and beyond)!

My journey to school is a long one: twelve hours by car (well, more like ten depending on who's driving... but you didn't hear that from me)! With such a lengthy voyage, I've had to get creative with ways to occupy myself (one can only play the license plate game for so long, y'know?). Historically, this has prompted coloring contests, rousing rounds of Battleship, and movie marathons, but my favorite way to pass the miles is with a kickin' road trip playlist. Fortunately, Disney has the road-song genre covered; from packing to sweet, sweet arrival, there is a tune for every stage of your excursion! Now,  sharing all of my favorite highway-hitting tunes would take roughly as long as the journey itself, so I'll spare you the full playlist. Here are some highlights to carry you every step of the way, whether you're headed back to school or squeezing in a late-summer vacation!

Packing: "Higitus Figitus", The Sword in the Stone

via youtube
Oh, what I wouldn't give to possess magical Merlin-esque packing powers. The first (and worst) part of any trip is deciding what to bring and where the heck you're going to put it all. The solution? Enchanted objects that leap into your suitcase with simple melodic prompting! Sign me up! Even though I may not actually be able to bewitch my belongings like Merlin, this song certainly speeds up the packing process. Remember: "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun." (... sorry- wrong movie!). 
Starting Out: "On the Open Road", A Goofy Movie

via youtube
 Confession: I insist upon beginning any and all road trips with this one! Seriously, there is no wiggle room. End of story.
The Long Stretch: "On My Way", Brother Bear


via youtube
 Imagine: You've been driving for eight hours. You're tired, you're cranky, and you've seen enough fast food chains to last you about five years. That is the time to put this puppy on and blast it as loudly as you can. It's easy to get discouraged when there seems to be nothing ahead but miles and miles of highway, but remembering what lies at the end of the journey makes it all worth it.
Also, can I put in a formal request for Phil Collins to write the soundtrack to my life?
FINALLY THERE:  "Celebration Finale", Festival of the Lion King (Disney's Animal Kingdom)

via youtube
Okay, so this choice may have been ever-so-slightly influenced by my recent visit to Animal Kingdom, but can't you just picture the epic-ness of finally rolling into your destination, scored by a Lion King dance party?! Jamming out to this medley totally banishes the woes of the road ("Hakuna Matata", am I right?) and perfectly commemorates the end of another successful trip!
Even though my road trip commences this Friday, don't you worry; I'm hoping to schedule some posts to keep Princesses and Pixie Dust hoppin' even while I'm in transit and settling in!

Do you have a playlist of go-to tunes when you're hitting the highway? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
- Becca  :)




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Snapshots from Disney's Animal Kingdom

Hey, princes and princesses!

I have just returned from a fun day of adventuring at Disney's Animal Kingdom and I wanted to share just a few choice photos before I tuck in for the night! On today's trip, I was a "safari of one"- a status which lent very well to some solo exploration of a park that is chock full of treasures to uncover! I spent a good chunk of my afternoon meandering all over the Kingdom- from DinoLand to Camp Minnie-Mickey-, snapping my camera at every opportunity! I'll definitely write a more elaborate post (or two) about DAK and my experiences there, but for now, here are three of my favorite pictures from today's visit!

Disclaimer: I am not a photographer, nor do I claim to be; any and all pointers are much appreciated!

Anandapur Bridge, Asia

DinoLand Bridge, Asia


Primeval Whirl, DinoLand U.S.A.

As you can probably tell, I quickly developed a serious love for all things DinoLand... it's just so fun! 

In addition to a whole heap of photos, I took quite a bit of vlog footage for the Princesses and Pixie Dust  YouTube channel- maybe a little too much! I'll be sitting down to edit all of that good stuff tomorrow, so you can expect to see that both here and on the YouTube page within the next few days. Keep an eye out on Twitter to catch the link as soon as it's up! 

Love and pixie dust,
Becca <3

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beyond "Buzz Lightyear": The Value in Classic MK Attractions

"Moooom! Do we have to?"

Ah, that all-too-familiar refrain; the bane of bleary parents and the final plea of young 'uns who "just want to ride Buzz Lightyear", it runs rampant everywhere in Disney parks, lurking wherever boredom and exhaustion cross paths. It can be heard escaping the lips of restless rugrats as Mom drags into a 40-minute sit-down show, or groaned by teenagers who deem themselves "too cool" for It's a Small World.  

My most recent encounter with that ubiquitous phrase occurred when I was peacefully floating down the Rivers of America on Magic Kingdom's Liberty Belle steamboat. As I listened to a hyperactive little boy lament the boat's achingly pedantic pace (specifically in relation to the nearby Big Thunder Mountain) to his exasperated mother, I began to reflect upon the not-too-distant past when I spouted the same sentiment. I have distinct memories of my dad insisting that my sisters and I join him in hiking up all 116 steps of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse (which my fourteen-year-old self was none too pleased about) and of humoring my parents' love for shows like Country Bear Jamboree and The Enchanted Tiki Room. Luckily, the last five years have treated me to advancements in maturity, attention span, and degree of Disney love, and my tweenage disdain for the classics has been crushed with adoration for Small World and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority- a love that, I believe, is firmly planted in the traditions begun on that fateful vacation.

While the Hall of Presidents or the Carousel of Progress sound like the antithesis of fun to a sugar-rushed twelve-year-old, they both hold prominent places in the history of Disney parks. I was once chastised by a cast member at the Hall of Presidents who overheard my gripes at having to "waste my time watching fake presidents", and I finally understand why. The woman (who I perceived to be incredibly rude at the time) was clearly passionate not only about the Hall's importance in relation to America's past, but its place in the story of Magic Kingdom as well. The Carousel of Progress, while admittedly outdated, captures the essence of American innovation- a principle near and dear to the heart of Walt Disney himself. It recalls the simplicity of an era without smartphones and wifi, a time when even the slightest advance in basic technology was met with awe and wonder. That is why these attractions are important.

The audio-animatronics may be jerky and the jokes tend to be a little too corny for their own good, but Walt Disney World's classic attractions are a window into the passion of of an innovator and, perhaps even more significantly, the foundation of the American spirit. These quintessential rides and shows represented the cutting edge on their opening days. People were amazed, and they continue to be to this day. Through wind, rain, and surly teenagers, these attractions consistently weather the test of time.

So, the next time your ears perk to that persistent protestation, take a deep breath, smile, and know that there's a great big beautiful tomorrow (and chances are, that kid will feel a lot differently when it comes)!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Spoonful of Sugar: How to Disney-fy your Sick Day

Hey there, princes and princesses!

You may have noticed that I may have gone a bit M.I.A. for the past week or so. While I wish I could  tell you that I had been swept away on a magical Disney vacation, mingling with Mickey and his pals...   we all know where this is going. If you follow Princess and Pixie Dust on Twitter, you already know that my much-anticipated jaunt to Epcot and Magic Kingdom this past Wednesday was sadly cancelled due to an unexpected date with the stomach flu.

At first, I was pretty bummed to miss the magical Disney Day for which I had planned so meticulously, but after about an hour of moping and "woe is me"-ing that could rival Eeyore, I came to my senses and realized that I was being absolutely ridiculous! Not only will I get to experience all of those things (and quite soon!), but in the midst of my pity-party, I forgot one of the most important bits of advice in all of Disney-dom, courtesy of practically perfect Miss Mary Poppins!

via youtube

Let's face it: when you're sick, it can be hard to focus on anything other than how rotten you feel. Still,  that Mary Poppins knows a thing or two about helping the medicine go down! And what better way could that spoonful of sugar be delivered than as a double-decker dose of... Disney?! (Really, guys, did you expect anything less?)

 So, whether you're caught in the throes of the latest epidemic or  just feeling a little "blah", Princesses & Pixie Dust is here to give you the official guide to "Disney-fying" YOUR sick day!

#1: Cuddle up to your favorite fuzzy friends! (Note: Blankets also welcome.)

Best not to ask about Marie... ladies do not start fights, but they could still lose a nose!
 The only thing worse than being sick is being sick and lonely. Solution: drown yourself in  a pile of plush toys. There's something so inherently comforting in surrounding yourself with stuffed animals, whether it's your ancient Mickey Mouse plush or a cuddly new Lost Boy (seriously, could Slightly get any cuter?).  Also, it's an undeniable fact that a Disney blanket increases these feelings and expedites recovery significantly; the one shown above (so beautifully modeled by Stitch) is a Cinderella blanket-poncho hybrid. Watch for it kids... it's gonna be big.

#2: Serve yourself up a magical mug of yumminess.

Wonderland or Neverland?: The Daily Struggle
Now that you've got the stuffed animal sitch under control, it's time to warm up your belly! A steaming mug of chicken noodle soup does wonders for a sickie, and a nice cup of tea with honey and lemon can make a sore throat all but disappear... put either of those in a Mickey mug and your sniffles aren't going to know what hit them! Bonus: Most Disney mugs are massive, so once you're nestled back in your den of plushies and blankets, you'll have enough to last through...

#3: Two words: Movie. Marathon.

The tip of the iceberg...
This is it- the main event! Once you're bundled up and cozy as can be, it's time to gather up your favorites, kick back, and let the medicine go down in the most delightful way! 
How do you like to sprinkle a little pixie dust on your sick days? Let me know in the comments below!

Love and pixie dust,
Becca :)