Monday, March 31, 2014

Music Monday: It's Melody Time!

Betcha didn't expect to see another Music Monday on this blog, did ya?

Well, I wasn't really planning one, but last night I was watching the classic 1948 package film Melody Time, and I just had to post something about it. I've loved this picture since I was a wee young'un. I don't remember how the beloved VHS copy came into my possession, but I have the fondest memories of sitting in front of the television, singing along with the tales of Little Toot, Pecos Bill, and Johnny Appleseed.

One segment that I've come to appreciate much more in (semi-) adulthood is the "Blame It on the Samba" sequence, starring José Carioca, Donald Duck, and the delightfully hyperactive Aracuan Bird. In fact, I think my younger self was a tiny bit frightened of the red-tufted rascal. Now, he's just mischievous enough to be endlessly entertaining... and you have to give him props for cheering up Donald and José! Lest we forget the incredible music (it is called Melody Time, after all), nothing beats the upbeat latin rhythms in this musical cocktail.



Are you a fan of Melody Time? Which segment is your favorite? As much as I love "Blame It on the Samba", the Johnny Appleseed sequence will always be one of my favorite Disney shorts of all time!

Love and Pixie Dust,
Becca :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Peek "Behind the Seeds"!

Last week, I shared a "Top 5" list of experiences from my most recent Disney Day.

We laughed. 
We reminisced.
We re-lived the magic.

We (and by "we", I mean "I") also glossed over the coolest part of the entire visit!

What I neglected to mention in the aforementioned report is that I got to trek through the greenhouses of one of my very favorite Epcot attractions on Living With the Land's "Behind the Seeds" tour! I know, how did I manage to commit such an egregious oversight? I promise that I'll share all the fun of the experience in a later post, but in the meantime I'm sharing some of my favorite snapshots from the little adventure!

Cucumbers and park guests... y'know, the usual.


This is my "Holy moly, I can't believe I'm walking around inside the ride" shot.

Seriously, could this ride be more stunning? I couldn't get over how blue the water is.

For more information on the Behind the Seeds tour, visit Walt Disney World's website. And stay tuned for a more extensive post on this incredible experience!

Have you ever gone "Behind the Seeds"? Sound off in the comments below!

Love and Pixie Dust,
Beca :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Whole Lotta Olaf Goin' On

Come on guys, you didn't think I could get through this week without posting about Frozen, did you?

If you've been to a Disney park recently, you'll see the profound effect Frozen has taken on Disney's key demographic- that is, adorable 5-year-old girls parading around in Anna and Elsa's gowns. When I encountered a couple of those munchkins on my last trip, the two young sisters and I chatted about their lovely dresses, the weather in Arendelle this time of year, but the crux of the conversation came when the elder sister turned to me with with wondering eyes and implored: "Soooo, do you like Anna or Elsa better?"

Of course, I offered up the diplomatic response of "Oh, I love them both so much, I don't think I could pick,". Now, while that statement is technically true, I've come to realize that, if given the option, my choice from Frozen MVP wouldn't be either of Arendelle's princesses. No, my decision would not derive from Anna's spunk or Elsa's regal...

Because let's be honest, the real superstar of Frozen is this guy right here:


What do I love most about this summer-loving snowman? Hands down, it's got to be the fact that he's floor-rollingly, inappropriately-loud-laughter-inducingly, tears-streaming-from-your-eyes hilarious. To me, Olaf strikes the perfect balance between comedy and heartwarming moments (no pun intended, I swear!). He is idiotic without being grating, and Josh Gad's comedic timing could not be more impeccable. From the minute Olaf introduces himself, the one-liners come one after another, each one funnier than the last. Now, I can't share every one of Olaf's infinite comedic gems, but I thought that today, I might highlight just a few of my Frozen favorites:

This just works on so many wonderful levels.





Followed, of course, by...




The most perfect line that no one expected.


And who could forget everyone's favorite:


Which of Olaf's many zingers is your favorite? Add yours in the comments below!

Love and pixie dust,
Becca :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Take-5 Trip Report: 3/10/2014

Ah, the trip report. You know, there's got to be some art to weaving a compelling narrative out of one's day in a Disney park; it is a gift, and one that I do not possess. However, I will not allow my deficient ability to tell thrilling tales of Disney days gone by (without sounding like Lady and the Tramp's good ol' Trusty) to impede the sharing of fun experiences. So I found a compromise- a middle ground of sorts-, that relays my adventures the best way I know how. And how is that, you may ask? Through a countdown-style list that highlights the best attractions, experiences, and cuisine of the most magical place on earth! This post centers around my most recent trip to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom (I couldn't pick just one!) over my Spring Break! So, without further ado, here are my picks!

1) Main Street USA... at dusk.


Featuring "Stranger and his Smartphone"

There really is nothing like the ambience of Main Street, U.S.A. Nowhere else in the world can a person be so quickly and seamless transported into the warm nostalgia of yesteryear, and not question for a moment that he or she has travelled to a literal" memory lane". Though the pristine promenade is lovely at all hours of the day, I find the spot most magical at twilight, just as the sun is slinking away. Suddenly, marquee lights twinkle and shop windows illuminate the sidewalks as they beckon you to come inside. Something about it strikes me as supremely magical in a way that cannot be accomplished in bright daylight or fully-fledged nighttime. On Main Street, twilight casts a spell that draws us ever more deeply into the idyllic that the area represents.


2) A Leisurely Afternoon


Solo trips also facilitate one of my favorite pastimes- getting video greetings for my young cousins!


If you've been around the blog for a little while, you've probably gathered that I am a firm supporter of the "flying solo" approach to the parks (if you haven't, you can read more about it here!). For me, spending a day by my lonesome at Walt Disney World is actually quite relaxing, if you can believe it. In fact, I feel the same way about heading to the Magic Kingdom as some folks do when they're off to the beach or the mall. I'm just hanging out! Yes, it may be a tad unorthodox, and I still adore sharing the joy of Disney parks with friends and family, but I will never say no to a chill-day at Disney World.

3) FastPass+

FastPass selections for a preschooler at heart. 

 I know, I know: "WHAT?!


Believe me, to say I was fully prepared to loathe this system would be the understatement of the year. However, the new FastPass system actually made my day a lot easier. While I don't think it's necessarily an improvement upon the old system, FP+ presented some opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise. Since I chose to use the service the Magic Kingdom portion of the day, I timed my  selection just as the parade was ending to avoid the notorious kiosk queues. Beating the crowd was a huge factor in allowing me to quickly and painlessly select my three FP+ attractions, then go along my merry way. 



I wasn't too concerned with hitting the big E-tickets this trip, so I picked up times for a few nostalgic gems. FP+ served this purpose particularly well, since it gave me the chance to experience attractions that I often have to pass by because of long wait*. With MyMagic+ extended to Annual Passholders and a MagicBand personalized and ready to ship, I anxiously await the day that I am able to plan my times in advance and make a magical day run even more smoothly!



* With the exception Small World. I will always- always- make time for those precious singing babies. 


4) Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival


Sing it with me! "IIIII knoooow youuu..."

Walt Disney World is pretty on-point in the landscaping department year-round, but every spring Epcot pulls out all the stops to bring their horticultural game to the next level. With millions of meticulously manicured blooms and nearly one hundred topiaries trimmed into the characters we all know and love, I dare you not to be rendered speechless by at least one of the Festival's breathtaking floral creations... I sure was!

The Festival's Outdoor Kitchens (returning after smashing success at the 2013 event) were a delectable addition. With so many options, I could only decide on one treat, but man, did I pick the right one. The Sweet Potato Waffle with Pineapple Soft Serve (come one guys, we all know it's Dole Whip) held the  perfect balance between the sweet-tartness of the pineapple and and the mellow notes of the waffle. Seriously, guys- it was to die for. 

Yes, please.

5) A Festival of Fantasy!

Just a handful of the parade's amazing floats!

Fun story: the day of my visit also happened to be the second day ever of the Magic Kingdom's brand-new Festival of Fantasy parade! I'll admit that I was initially rather sad to say goodbye to Celebrate a Dream Come True, but this whimsical tribute to all things Fantasyland is a more-than-worthy successor! The spectacle is jam-packed with units representing beloved characters old and new, from classics like Dumbo and Pinocchio to more recent royals Merida, Anna, and Elsa. The infectious music, vibrant costumes, and impeccable choreography make this parade a party from beginning to end!

Do you have a favorite experience from a Disney day! Share it in the comments below!

Love and Pixie Dust,
Becca :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Counter Service Around the World!

Yes, I know I'm a few days late to the party (if you hadn't noticed, it's kind of my thing), but gosh darn it, I've missed too many blog hops to let another one slide... especially when this month's Kill, Refurb, Marry covers such a scrumptious subject: the counter service restaurants of Epcot's World Showcase!


The World Showcase is a spectacular place to try authentic international foods from the eleven countries represented, and quick counter-service locations make it easy to sample international treats without forking over mucho moo-lah (too much?). However, all counter-service spots are not created equal. And that is what brings us to...

Kill: Lotus Blossom Café, China Pavilion



Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have never actually eaten here. But the thing is, I've never really wanted to. Look, I enjoy a helping of orange chicken as much as the next girl, but the menu for China's counter service location just reads like the entrée board for an ordinary neighborhood take-out joint. Again, I'm basing this decision on impression alone, so I could very well be missing out on the most mind-blowingly amazing Chinese cuisine to ever grace my tastebuds, but until that day, I stand by my decision to pass it by.

Refurb: Liberty Inn, The American Adventure



Liberty Inn catches quite a bit of flack for being a bit "blah" among the exciting and exotic choices that surround it on either side of the World Showcase promenade, and understandably so; "American" cuisine here translates to "typical theme park fare", which, while serving a practical purpose for picky eaters, removes the restaurant from the representative spirit of its setting. As far as refurbishing goes, I (like many others) would like to see a new menu that represents the best of what America's kitchens have to offer; Southern soul food*, hearty Midwestern fare, and traditional New England nosh could turn Liberty Inn into a fun, eclectic establishment that gives guests a true taste of America's culinary culture.

*This also presents the opportunity for my favorite Disney princess/master chef, Tiana, to open a Meet and Greet location in World Showcase (because seriously, why hasn't this happened yet?).

Marry: Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, Norway Pavilion



Please- I'm pretty sure we all saw this one coming. Mostly, when I say that I want to marry Kringla, I mean that I would like to spend an eternity with endless access to sweet, scrumptious School Bread. On a hot Florida afternoon, nothing can beat sitting a spell to enjoy a Norwegian treat before taking a trip over the falls on the Maelstrom. Rock on, Kringla. Rock on.

What would your picks be? Leave a comment, and check out what other Disney bloggers had to say!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How To Have a Kickin' Mardi Gras, as Told By Tiana and the Gang

Well, princes and princesses, it's Fat Tuesday! I don't know about you, but I'm ready to pore over pages of midterm study material paaaar-tay!

 

As I'm sure you're all aware, today is the day for eating, drinking, merriment, and Princess and the Frog viewing! There's never a bad time to jam out to some jazz with Tiana and company, but there's something special about curling up with a blanket and some beignets the first Tuesday in March on the night it all began.

Being from New Orleans and all, Tiana, Louis, and the rest of the gang are pretty much the authorities on today's festivities. So, who better to give some celebratory tips than the best characters this side of the bayou?

For starters, you'll probably want to supply your guests with a few delectable dishes (Tiana's man-catchin' beignets are always a hit)...

 


Okay, maybe more than just "a few"!

You'll want to look your jazziest for the party...


 ... but if you decide to go the ballgown route, do consider the possible consequences!

 
 You'll want some good ol' N'awlins jazz to make the party swing!



Just so long as you steer clear of any voodoo witch doctors...


  source

... you'll be all set for the best Mardi Gras ever!



How are you planning to celebrate Fat Tuesday this year? I've got a date with me, some tea, and one of my very favorite Disney movies (bet you can't guess which one)! Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a fun and safe Mardi Gras! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Love and pixie dust,
Becca :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Wonderful World of Wiggins

Pocahontas is a movie with a whole lot to offer; between its sweeping score, stunning scenery, and complex (albeit slightly inaccurate) story, you'd be hard-pressed not to find something that strikes your fancy. Still, among the sea of potential praises to be proffered, one shining beacon rises above the rest-- perfection, thy name is Wiggins. Though Governor Ratcliffe gets the villainous spotlight, his personal puppy aide brings a certain je ne sais quois to the film that I don't think we appreciate nearly  enough. So, without further ado,  I would like to celebrate this marvelous man-

A character whose optimism burns with the fire of a thousand land mines... 


... whose hospitality is unparalleled....



... and who is craftier than a sea of Pinterest-crazed twentysomethings.



He makes a marvelous cheerleader! 



And while you can count on him to be loyal to the end...


... he isn't afraid to be the voice of reason.


So let's give three cheers for the winningest Disney sidekick there ever was... and maybe send a gift basket or two!

Which Disney sidekick do you think deserves more love! Leave your suggestion in the comments!



Love and pixie dust,
Becca :)