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 :)