Guide to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

157.jpgThe Holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World and that means there is even more magic to be found. One of our favorite holiday traditions is the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. This amazing festival is returning to Epcot this year and will run from November 18 thru December 30.

The Festival of the Holidays is a delightful array of holiday traditions from around the world, food and music. One of the highlights for this event is the Candlelight Processional. We have done a full blog post on the Candlelight Processional in past years but will talk a little about it here as well as certain aspects do change each year.

Candlelight Processional is an incredible experience and we recommend it constantly. What is Candlelight Processional? A celebrity narrator tells the biblical story of Christmas and they are accompanied by an amazing choir and orchestra. It is truly beautiful and amazing. The narrators change each year but some return year after year and are incredibly popular. Here is a list of who is narrating for 2018:

  • Chita Rivera – November 22 to 23, 2018
  • NEW! Helen Hunt – November 24 to 25, 2018
  • NEW! Alfonso Ribeiro – November 26 to 27, 2018
  • Robby Benson – November 28 to 30, 2018
  • John Stamos – December 1 to 2, 2018
  • Neil Patrick Harris – December 3 to 6, 2018
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 7 to 9, 2018
  • NEW! Bart Millard – December 10 to 12, 2018
  • Blair Underwood – December 13 to 14, 2018
  • Gary Sinise – December 15 to 17, 2018
  • Pat Sajak – December 18 to 20, 2018
  • NEW! Auli’i Cravalho – December 21 to 23, 2018
  • Edward James Olmos – December 24 to 25, 2018
  • Jodi Benson – December 26 to 27, 2018
  • Cal Ripken Jr. – December 28 to 30, 2018

Some of the more popular narrators include Pat Sajak, Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris. New this year is Auli’i Cravalho who voiced Moana in the Disney animated classic which is amazing and I wish we could be there for that!

152Some of the more popular narrators as well as those closer to Christmas will have standby lines that you won’t believe until you see it. If you want to guarantee a spot for the show without waiting in a massive line for standby that doesn’t guarantee you a seat, we suggest the Candlelight Processional Dining Package.

The dining package offers options for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout Epcot including Biergarten, Chefs de France, Coral Reef, Rose and Crown, Garden Grill, Teppan Edo, Via Napoli and more. Prices vary depending on the restaurant and the meal. The dining package is the only way to guarantee a seat for one of the Candlelight Processional showings.

232You can also use the Disney Dining Plan for this package, it requires two table service dining credits for this. Even with booking the dining package, park tickets are required for admission into Epcot. For more information and to book your own dining package for the Candlelight Processional, click HERE!

One of the highlights of the International Festival of the Holidays are the food kitchens. This year’s festival has 12 kitchens featuring holiday favorites and traditions from different countries and cultures throughout the world.

A new kitchen this year is the L’Chaim which is featuring classic jewish dishes including pastrami on rye with house-made pickles and mustard, potato knish with herb sour cream (yum) and matzo ball soup.

151The American Holiday Table is a great kitchen! Located in the American pavilion, no matter the day, you can get yourself a traditional Holiday meal. At this kitchen you can partake in two holiday options. A slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce and/or hand-carved smoked ham with green beans and sweet potato casserole. For dessert, you can select a chocolate pecan tart with whipped cream and a whisky caramel sauce. Holiday libations include an Orange  Blossom Brewing cranberry kringle pilsner and a peppermint milk stout.

Over in the Germany pavilion, stop by the Bavarian Kitchen for a potato dumpling with mushroom sauce or cheese fondue in a bread bowl served with fresh veggies and potatoes. Top it off with black forest roulade served with cherry whip cream.

155Next head over to France and the Le Marche de Noel kitchen where you can experience traditional French dishes such as the bouchee a la Reine traditionelle which is turkey and mushrooms in a cream sauce served in puff pastry and dark chocolate and caramel buche de noel. Don’t forget the the spiced rum punch slush which is sure to be a hit at this festival.

Las Posadas holiday kitchen over in the Mexico pavilion is serving up a tamal de camaron; a traditional tamale stuffed with marinated shrimp. The Feast of the Three Kings kitchen offers two arepa options that sound absolutely amazing that you could pair with  tropical eggnog. Over at the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen, you can indulge in a mongolian beef bao bun and spicy mala chicken. The Yukon pavilion boasts one of our favorite returning items; the maple buche de noel.

20With so many delicious holiday treats to try don’t forget to take part in some of the traditional holiday festivities throughout World Showcase including hearing a story from Pere Noel and meeting Belle in her gorgeous Christmas dress.

This is a must do event for the holidays at Walt Disney World in our opinion and we hope you are able to check it out this holiday season. What is your favorite part of Festival of the Holidays if you have been before or what are you looking forward to most at Epcot this holiday season?

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

 

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The Disnerd Guide to Etsy

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

22Etsy is the place for great, unique Disney stuff but it is really easy to get carried away and really easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole of shirts, decor and accessories.

In today’s blog, we are going to talk about weeding through Etsy product, finding good merch, questions to ask and not caving to pressure from the seller.

I am not sure if Etsy has a secret tier system for their customers but I will tell you that if they do, I am considered tier 1 and I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Between Disney, our wedding and home decor, I love all things Etsy but I’ve made good purchases and I’ve regretted purchases. The hard part, as with all online shopping is that you don’t know what you are going to get. You don’t know about the quality, the durability, the fabric etc.

41Even though you can see pictures, it is easy to make a picture look better than the reality of a product. I have sat with items in my cart, probably to the annoyance of the shop owner, for weeks. What am I doing during this time? Seeing if I can find a similar or the same product for cheaper, for better quality etc and reading the reviews.

First things first. What are you looking for? Have a clear idea of what you are looking for unless of course you are just browsing. Did you see a specific shirt you liked on Instagram? Do you know what shop it is from? Try to find that specific shirt and then go from there. I always like browse because I like to try to find unique items but I still try to have an idea of what I am looking for. Toy Story Mickey ears, Disney Christmas shirts, magic band decals, Buffalo Plaid Christmas decor, etc.

7Whenever I find something that I love on Etsy, I always go to the reviews. How have people reviewed this shop in the past? I also like to look to see how many orders do they have? If they don’t have a ton of orders, that should not turn you off, but if they have had a lot of orders and don’t have a lot of reviews or good reviews, that might be a time for you to pause.

Ask questions! Most Etsy sellers are amazing at answering questions. It is a must if you are a small shop because people will always remember good customer service. I ordered shirts for Bryson and I from a cute little shop and was so excited about them. Within minutes of Bryson putting the shirt on in Disney, the vinyl decal started peeling away from the shirt.

1In all honesty, I hate complaining to people about a product. But, just as this is a small shop and you want to support them and they put a lot of time and effort into making the products and that’s why you spend $25-$30 on a t shirt, you also have to remember that you worked hard to earn that money to buy the product and you deserve a good product. So, I reached out to her and sent her a picture of the shirt and explained the situation and she was just delightful. She was so apologetic and got a replacement shirt in the mail for us right away. With such great customer service, you better believe I will order from that shop again and recommend the products to others. So, if there is an issue with your shirt or what you ordered, say something.

6Inquire about customization. Did you find something you liked but it wasn’t exactly what you wanted? Ask a question! There is a button on Etsy that prompts you to ask a question about a product. If Bryson and I are getting custom shirts, I almost always want glitter on mine. I live for glitter; Bryson however, does not. So, I always ask if mine can have glitter and his can be glitter-less. Sometimes I ask for a different font, or to remove our names because we don’t usually want names on our shirts, that just isn’t our style. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to something because you are spending quite a bit on a custom shirt or item so you should get what you want.

Don’t be afraid to walk away from a purchase. I have had things in my cart and when I thought more about it or continued to look around, I would find something that I just liked better but by this time I had asked a number of questions and changed things and had a custom listing made for me or some combination of that and I feel bad for causing the seller to answer my questions and all this, so I purchase the shirt or the item and I regret it.

94Don’t do this. Yes, was it probably a little annoying that you asked a lot of questions but if you find something better, you find something better. Don’t guilt yourself into making a purchase you don’t really want. Most Etsy sellers do not accept returns, especially on custom items so once you buy it, it is yours. Don’t make the mistake of buying something you don’t really want, especially if you found something else along the way, that you like better.

There is nothing wrong with changing your mind even if you have asked several questions and been what you might consider to be a bother. The seller doesn’t want you to purchase something you don’t really want either because if you aren’t happy with your purchase, you won’t come back.

Have a plan!

21For each trip we go on to Disney, there are certain things I want to get before we go. We enjoy wearing Disney shirts and we buy shirts at Disney but I am a big fan of having unique items so I make a list of specific items I want to see about getting months before a trip so I can purchase a few at a time and have enough time to search around.

For example, on our upcoming trip, we will be going for our Christmas trip and this will be a land and sea adventure so we will also be setting sail on our first cruise. We set out in search of a items that we really wanted and items that we kind of wanted for that trip.

Always remember that planning in advance works to your advantage when it comes to Etsy because these are small shops and many don’t have access to large production facilities; it takes a little longer for items to be made and shipped to you. On the flip side of that, you are getting something custom, made to order and you are supporting a small shop which is great!

95A typical turnaround time on Etsy is around 3-4 weeks so we don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to purchase your items, especially if you are customizing something.

The things I knew I wanted for our December trip was a new Christmas shirt for us to wear at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a pirate Mickey shirt for Pirate night on the cruise, Mickey door magnets for our room door on the cruise and then we were also on the lookout for fish extender gifts and gift ideas.

I would favorite items that I wanted to come back to and yes, I am one of those people who puts things in my cart and continues to come back and contemplate them before purchasing. If you are an Etsy shop owner, that probably drives you nuts, I apologize. I do it on every online shopping site. At this moment, I probably have items in carts on at least 15 different websites.

55.jpgAfter I have thoroughly exhausted my search for unique or eye catching designs for what I am looking for, then I will ask questions. Can the seller customize? Can mine be glitter or can we omit the glitter from Bryson’s?

A major turnoff for me, that has resulted in me, noting to never purchase from that seller is if the seller appears agitated or is cold in their response to me. Does that sound harsh? Here is my reasoning. These are small businesses, as I mentioned, I can find these same shirts for far cheaper elsewhere, if I am going to spend the time and money to purchase from a small business, I expect excellent customer service and I can find another seller who will make me the exact shirt, this shop is selling and who will provide me with that service.

Some of my favorite shops!

The Patchmaker Plus

Shop Emily G

Happy Cuts Studio

Elyssa’s Ears

ClEARly Magic

PreciousArtCreation

P and P Custom Creations

Sew My Ears

Shine Designs Tees

Cutie Cakes Studio

KathlenesCreations

57I am not a rep for any of these brands and have found them through searching and social media. Each of these shops, I have purchased items from and will purchase from again. I absolutely love each and every one of them and would highly recommend checking them out to bring your magical ideas to life!

A few more tips!

Use the favorites button. In the top right hand corner of each listing is a little heart button. Click the heart button to add the item to your favorites. That way, as you continue your search you can always refer back to the listings that you favorited.

Read the listing thoroughly. Generally, Etsy sellers are amazing at providing a ton of information about the items that they sell. The dimensions, exact color choices, various options that are available, shipping times and so much more. Reach each listing thoroughly before purchasing and asking a bunch of questions so that you are sure to receive what you want and there are no surprises in your order.

8Be aware of shipping times. I know that I already briefly mentioned this but be aware of the seller’s typical shipping and turnaround times. Many of these creations are handmade and turnaround times can be longer than many other online sites for that reason. Be sure that you look into the turnaround time for the shop so that you get your item in time. Don’t wait for last minute with Etsy; you want to plan ahead and order with plenty of time to spare.

40Write a review. These sellers work really hard to make their products and take a lot of pride, as they should, in the items that they sell. Leave them a review and you have an issue, give the seller a chance to make the situation right before you leave a poor review. Most times, sellers will go out of their way to make right any mistakes in the order. Sometimes shirts get damaged in transit or a mistake goes unseen before it is shipped. Sometimes, packages get lost.  These sellers are human, be mindful of that, and they work hard to make these products and get them to you. Be respectful and don’t give poor reviews without giving the seller a chance to make it right.

12Screen printed versus Vinyl. One thing I hear a lot of people talk about is that they order a shirt that has a big vinyl decal on the front and they thought that it was going to be screen printed on or embroidered. Be sure to check the listing to see what the decal is made out of. Some shops are able to use screen printing but many, that aren’t outsourced to a screen printing business are made in house with a vinyl iron on. Another important reason to carefully read the listing to ensure you are getting what you expect.

Etsy is a wonderful online marketplace to support small business and to find unique, customized, fun items. I highly recommend supporting these gems, and searching to find exactly what it is that you want!

That’s it for this post! What are your tips for shopping on Etsy? What are your favorite Etsy shops?

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Deck The Disney Halls With Holiday Magic. Our Guide To Holidays in Disney

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

4.jpgAs soon as the last guest exits the parks on October 31, crews come in to remove the fall and Halloween decor and begin to deck the halls with miles and miles of garland; over a thousand Christmas trees and holiday decor. It is important to note that although much of the holiday decor goes up overnight in the parks, the resorts and the finishing touches for the holidays is not complete until mid-November.

We released a number of blog posts last year for the holiday season and will be doing so again this year. If you simply can’t wait for all of the holly jolly fun, head over to some of the posts from last year and get yourself into that holiday spirit early! You can view our guide to Must Do Holiday Events, and our tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney is already releasing information on holidays at Walt Disney World (WDW) and we are going to provide an overview of the magical holiday experiences coming to WDW this year.

6One of the best things about holidays at WDW is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) which is once again coming to Magic Kingdom. This popular extra ticketed event will happen on select nights at Magic Kingdom. A separate ticket is required for entry to this party and it is important to remember that a park hopper or regular park ticket will not get you access, the party does not happen each night and if you are wanting to attend the party, it is a good idea to purchase your tickets ahead of time as some of the parties will sell out.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will begin on November 8th and run on various nights through December 21. After December 21, the holiday parade and fireworks will continue nightly through December 29 but other party events do not extend to those dates.

9A couple of can’t miss items for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) include the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade where you will see toy soldiers, your favorite characters and princesses, and of course the big guy in the red suit! Holiday Wishes, the specialty fireworks display lights up the night sky with holiday favorites filling the air and amazing fireworks too! Don’t miss some of your favorite characters decked out in their adorable winter gear and even Goofy in his Santa outfit for some unforgettable character meet and greets.

21Holiday merchandise has already made its debut around Walt Disney World. You can find everything from holiday jewelry, ears, clothing for guys, girls and kids, ornaments, accessories, toys and other fun available at most merchandise shops now through New Years. If you are heading to MVMCP be sure to be on the lookout for exclusive party merchandise as well.

22.jpgAnother great part of the holidays is The International Festival of the Holidays which will be returning to Epcot in 2018. The Festival comes on the heels of the International Food and Wine Festival; big shoes to fill. This festival is so full of magic and fills World Showcase with the spirit of the holidays. Besides various holiday kitchen’s which highlight holiday vittles from around the world, you can also find presentations of holiday spirit and traditions from carious countries as well.

20Pere Noel is in France for example, telling the story of a little French girl and her families traditions. Another great highlight is Belle from Beauty and the Beast in her gorgeous red velvet gown does a meet in greet in the gazebo that is in the corner of the France pavilion.

This year in terms of food there will be a cookie stroll, you can find the various locations where you can buy cookies and get a passport stamp. Once you have completed five cookies along the stroll you can show your passport to a castmember at Holiday Sweets and Treats and receive an additional cookie!

Traditional holiday feast will be available in the American Pavilion, several yule log options will be on hand again this year at several kitchens including a maple version at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen in Canada. In addition to food selections you can imbibe in some holiday inspired beverages including an eggnog white porter that is available at several different kitchens, and an eggnog shake available at the Refreshment Port as well as a spice rum punch slush available in France.

12Additionally at Epcot is one of the highlights of our entire year. The Candlelight Processional. We have done a full blog post on just this event and you can find that HERE! We absolutely love this event and for us, it is an absolute must do. There are amazing narrators and a large choir and the entire program is the narrator telling the story of Christmas as told by the bible. It is gorgeous and moving and fantastic.

Dining packages are available for this event and that guarantees you a spot at your desired time and date for the Candlelight Processional. This is not always necessary but on certain days, with certain narrators, lines will be out of control to get into this event with standby. So, if you want to guarantee yourself a spot and not have to wait in line for it, go ahead and sign up for the dining package; that is what we always do because we don’t like lines.

3Over at Hollywood Studios you can experience Jingle Bell Jingle Bam a nighttime spectacular that will be coming back again this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This event runs nightly from November 6 thru January 6 and includes some amazing state of the art projections.

 

 

15Resort hopping is one of our favorite things to do at Walt Disney World, especially during the holiday season. Each Disney resort decorates according to the theme of the resort and at several resorts, you can find breathtaking gingerbread displays.

11Each year at the Grand Floridian, a giant tree goes into the lobby area and also a lifesize gingerbread house is erected. The entire main building smells of fresh baked gingerbread and the house is actually a store. The staff members work inside the house and you can purchase gingerbread treats from it. It is amazing. Other displays can be found at Beach Club and Contemporary to name just a couple. We did a full review of Holiday Resort Hopping in 2017 so be sure to check that out for a guide on how to plan your resort hopping for 2018.

17Other noteworthy events around Disney include the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs. This is a fun trail with different themed Christmas trees. Each tree is themed towards a different Disney movie or item and it is pretty fun. The Christmas Tree Trail runs from November 8 thru January 6 and it is not the easiest thing to find. It is kind of tucked into a corner of Disney Springs but once you find it, it is fun to walk through it.

84This year Andy’s backyard will get some Christmas details as well. We are not exactly sure quite yet what that will entail but because Toy Story Land is amazing and you should definitely experience it regardless, we suggest heading over to check out what holiday cheer Disney has in store.

That is it for this post! We adore holidays in Walt Disney World and our Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a trip home because, after all, there is no place like home for the holidays! What is your favorite part about holidays at Walt Disney World? We would love to hear from you. Be sure to stay tuned for more details on holiday events at WDW.

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Disney and Non Disney Faves for October

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

27.jpgWelcome to the second installment of my “Must Haves” series! I am so excited to be doing this series. I love trying new products and being recommended products other people enjoy. This is a mixture of Disney and non-Disney items and I’m excited to share them with you! Do you have a product you are loving? I would love to hear about it and give it a try so leave me a comment with what your current must have’s are.

 

 

Food and Drink:

Isopure Protein Drink, Apple Melon:

1First things first, if you read my Disney and Non-Disney Faves for September blog post, you know that with the lifestyle that we live, we consume a lot of protein so we are always looking for protein that doesn’t taste like chalk. We were at Costco and happened upon the Isopure Protein Drink in Apple Melon flavor. The bottle is 20 ounces and has 20 grams of protein and zero carb’s which is amazing. I refuse to drink any protein drinks with less than 20 grams of protein. You can also purchase on Amazon. I think the taste is delightful. I really enjoy it, if you like apple flavored Jolly Rancher’s you would most likely enjoy this. Bryson doesn’t love it, he thinks it has a weird aftertaste but I don’t think it has an after taste at all. Have you tried this product? What did you think?

Detoxwater:

48I am a big water drinker. I drink it all day every day. One thing I love is to make a “recipe” for detox water. I make it in a large pitcher and fill it for several days before replacing the ingredients. It sounds a little strange but it is incredibly refreshing and a great way to get your water intake in and keep that number up and switch it up a bit. Here’s what you will need:

A pitcher or large container HERE is the infusion pitcher that I use.

Strawberries (this particular pitcher only fits 3-4)

Cucumber slices (5-6 thin slices)

1 sliced lemon

small handful of cilantro

Stuff ingredients into infuser or place in pitcher and fill with water. Allow to infuse for several hours, I infuse for 24 hours and then enjoy!

Simple and yummy.

There are several recipes for detox water and really anything goes as long as you think that it tastes good. Do you have a good version that I should try? Let me know!

Coco Pina

2I love tropical fruits. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, I want to feel like I am sitting on a beach in Kauai or the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. On a recent trip to our local grocery store, I came across these delightful little cups of tropical amazingness. Coco Pina are by the brand Simple Truth, which is a Kroger brand. There are other similar options available that I have seen online and at Costco. This small cup of pineapple comes with sweetened coconut milk and water and I’m telling you what, it is absolutely delicious.

It is such a perfect mid-afternoon snack when I need something sweet but don’t want to splurge with chocolate or candy. I grab one of these and it’s absolutely perfect for me.

Clothing:

Knot Back Sweaters

4Two years ago, one of my favorite online boutiques, Pink Lily Boutique released a couple of these amazing sweaters. These knot back sweaters are adorable and the trend has absolutely exploded. I purchased two of these sweaters and they are absolutely amazing. Full coverage in the front and then a really cute open back knot design that just makes the whole outfit. I even wear these to work once in a while paired with a no yank tank from Duluth Trading Company. You can visit a variety of online retailers and find several styles of this sweater now. They have solids that are now coming in brighter colors like yellow, green and hot pink. Some great neutrals. Several retailers have embellished versions with pearls or multi-color versions as well. I absolutely love these and think that they are a definite must have as we head into sweater weather.

Flexpedition Pull on Boot-cut Pants

5There is a new Duluth Trading Company that just opened near us and I am obsessed. I absolutely love the comfort of their clothes and the sensibility. I work a lot on my feet, running up and down stairs, bending over, and then there are times when I just sit at my computer. At a recent trip to the store, I found these Flexpedition Pull On Boot-Cut Pants and they were on sale. I decided to give them a try and I love them. I wear them one day almost every single week. They are pull-on and stretchy. You can actually snap them to make them capri pants and there are plenty of pockets. Duluth has a variety of similar pants as well and their yoga pants are incredibly durable and comfortable. Be sure to check out their website or head over to one of their stores for some really comfy and still stylish gear!

Get in loser shirt

12.jpgOn our last trip to Walt Disney World, we were waiting to get onto Haunted Mansion and a shirt popped up on my Instagram. I burst out laughing and immediately purchased it. Talk about good marketing. The shirt is a t shirt or tank top from an amazing Etsy shop called The New Orleans Wear House and the shirt has the hitchhiking ghosts (that glow in the dark!) and says, “Get in loser, we’re going haunting”. You’re laughing right now, aren’t you. I know you are and that’s great because I own the shirt and I am still laughing. Now, I asked the seller if they could make the shirt a tank top and sure enough, they could. I got mine in purple and I LOVE it! What color are you getting?

Fall Disney Shirt

49I love a good Etsy shirt. Clearly! This is the second one I’m telling you about in this post alone. Glitter Dreams Inc is a super cute shop on Etsy. It is really easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole on Etsy. There are so many items, so many are similar so how do you know what to choose? I’m not going to lie, we have purchased things on Etsy that I regret. The quality is not there, and you are paying a pretty penny for items on Etsy. Glitter Dreams Inc has well made, high quality shirts. I love all things glitter and I love things that are a little bit different and this is a great place to find that.

13The fall home shirt is absolutely adorable. It’s Disney, but it isn’t over the top Disney. There is also a version that says “fall” instead of “home” and it is the same shirt with no Disney reference if that is more your style. Perfect for a Saturday when you are at not at Disney or any park day in the fall! This shop has 5 star reviews and I highly recommend checking it out on your search for fall, holiday or any day shirts!

I am working on several Etsy posts. How to find great stuff on Etsy, shops that I love and recommend and how to shop smart on Etsy and also a holiday gift guide and Holiday Disney guide for Etsy. Stay tuned for that coming soon! If you have an Etsy shop and would like me to check it out, please let me know and I would be happy to do so!

Accessories:

8I am not a huge Disney collector. I don’t collect pins or dolls or any of that but I do love Magic Bands. I love Magic Bands like I love Mickey ears. If you are looking for a fun, different Magic Band option, I highly recommend checking out Kathlene’s Creations. I have a Magic Band from her and I want them all. She covers them in amazing, durable glitter! I absolutely love mine, every time that I wear it in the parks, I get compliments on it. It’s unique and fun and extremely durable and high quality.

There are a couple options, when purchasing from this shop. You can supply your own Magic Band or she can supply the Magic Band. I chose the easier route and just had her supply the band and I love it. In addition to Magic Bands, she has other accessories, wristlets, shirts, pins, luggage tags and more. If you are looking for a standout, unique piece, be sure to head over to her website and check it out.

Home: 

9I suffer from anxiety and at times it can be severe. I also have a terrible time sleeping at night. I take melatonin every night to calm my nerves, to curb my nightmares and to relax. In addition, I take anxiety drops to help as well. I take them every morning when I wake up and before I go to bed and at times I also take them during the day.

Recently, Bryson ordered me an anxiety blanket. I had never heard of such a thing! It is a heavy, weighted blanket. The inner weighted layer is made of breathable cotton and comprised of compartments that are evenly distributed and evenly filled with hypo-allergenic, non toxic, odorless glass beads. The blanket is intended to help with anxiety. It’s great! It’s cool and actually also works as a cooling blanket, I’m assuming from the beads. The blanket weighs fifteen pounds and has provided me with deep sleep for which I am grateful. 

I still take my melatonin and I still take my anxiety drops but when I wake up, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I am able to quickly fall back to sleep and it is pure magic. If you have trouble sleeping, deal with anxiety or have trouble getting settled at night, I highly recommend a blanket of this nature, and this exact blanket. It comes in multiple sizes and it is not cheap but in my opinion, it is worth every penny.

Mrs. Meyers Basil cleaner

10I am not all about all-nautral products. If I find something that is natural, I will try it, I’m not opposed to it but when it comes to cleaning my house, I want bleach. I want something that picks up the germs, destroys the bacteria and makes my house smell good. I have never tried any Mrs. Meyers products but I was at the store the other day and my store was out of the coconut scented bleach that I am obsessed with and Mrs. Meyers was on sale so I thought, “sure, I’ll give it a try.” They had a basil scent so I snagged it and here is my review.

It smells amazing! It seems to clean quite well. I am not going to give up my bleach but I love the scent of this cleaner and it seems to remove particles and things from counters and also my lunch box quite well. What is your opinion of Mrs. Meyers? Do you think that it cleans as well as a bleach cleaner? Do you feel that it is removing the germs and bacteria? I would love to hear your thoughts because I do like it a lot and can see myself keeping it on hand. I like to keep a cleaner like this in our bathroom but am still on the fence about the kitchen. I would love to know your thoughts!

Other: 

“What is the best thing that happened to you today?”

11Recently, my work had our semi-annual staff retreat. I work at a non-profit that provides services to 363 days a year. The only two days that we close our doors are for these staff retreats. I generally don’t have high expectations for staff retreats and things of this nature. Just being honest, not much gets done. Problems are not going to be solved, a few people may feel as though needs are addressed but it’s still a day you are required to go to work and talk to people and it’s a day that your work isn’t getting done so inevitably you are behind when you show up at your desk the next day.

This was not that much different but I still show up, have hopes for learning something or finding a great nugget of info that I can take away. I found that nugget in one of the presenters speaking on the power of positive thinking; the power of hope and being accountable for your own decisions, your own thoughts and your own day.

40When we get home at night what do we say to people? How was your day? How was work? The next time you ask or are asked, think of what comes to your mind first. There is a high probability that the negative things that happened are the first thing you address. So, try this. Instead of asking those questions ask, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” Regardless of how bad your day was, how much the negative sticks out, something good happened to you so dwell on that instead and see how it changes your day and your outlook.

This is powerful to me. I tend to be a realist and also a pessimist. I see things in a bad light sometimes and it is really important to me that I work on changing that. So I’m trying to focus on the good and the positive and not to dwell on the bad or the irritating. There will always be people at work who you don’t get along with; things that happen that you don’t agree with; bad things will happen but good things happen to and that’s what we should be focusing on instead of drowning in the bad, be uplifted by the good.

That is where we are going to leave it today. I hope you found a nugget of good in this list and I hope that you enjoyed reading about my current loves. I would love to hear from you if you have tried these items and what your thoughts were.

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, What we Did, What we Missed, What we Loved.

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

32.jpgOn our most recent trip to Walt Disney World we had a wonderful evening at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). This is one of the extra ticketed events at Magic Kingdom. A fun night for kids of all ages to celebrate Halloween and fall, meet some amazing Disney characters that aren’t always out and about. There is a different fireworks show, special for Halloween called Hallowwishes, a special nighttime parade called the Boo to You Parade which is such a treat and so much more fun.

35The party for 2018 began in August. Typically in July, Disney announces the dates for that year’s MNSSHP and each year it seems, the party begins earlier. MNSSHP is not offered every night but it is an extra ticketed event so a ticket specific to the party must be purchased in order to remain in Magic Kingdom after the party begins. This year, the party begins at 7 pm. Guests can enter the park with their ticket to the party at 4 pm, those who are DVC members can enter at 2 pm. If you have an Annual Pass or a Park Hopper Ticket you can enter the party at any time throughout the day.

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At and after 4 pm, whether you are just entering the park or already in the park, you will be given a wristband once you have confirmed your ticket purchase for the party. This wristband is your lifeline to the park. Throughout the night, castmembers will be asking you to show your wristband, whether this is to get into a line for a character, for a ride, a trick of treat station, as you walk around the park, if you are found without a wristband, you will be kindly escorted from the park.

So, what is the fuss about for MNSSHP?

36It truly is a magical time. There are special shows including the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, which is a must see for many people, the Boo to You Parade which is by far one of the most exciting highlights of the party, characters in costume including Eeyore as a clown which gives me all of the feels.

40Going into MNSSHP this year there were a few things we really wanted to do. My number one was getting my photo with Eeyore, Pooh, Tigger and Piglet. I wanted this photo last year but we didn’t get it and this was something I told Bryson was my must do.

First thing I did when we got into the park was head straight for Winnie the Pooh. We got into the line before the party even started but it was really close to party time.

45If you are wanting to get some of the character opportunities out of the way, especially the more popular ones like the Seven Dwarfs and Jack and Sally, get in line by 5:30  pm or 6:00 pm. The line for Winnie the Pooh was already over an hour by the time that I got in line but I waited in line while others went to get other photos and ride some rides and get some candy.

After Bryson and my photo with Pooh and friends, we headed over to Storybook Circus where we got photos with Minnie Mouse which was really fun. Also in Storybook Circus, Goofy, Daisy and Donald and also the Seven Dwarfs.

41Other popular character meet and greets include Jack and Sally who are in the gazebo near the entrance to Liberty Square behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, Moana who is in the Tiki Room this year, Captain Jack Sparrow, Aladdin and Jasmine, Mickey Mouse in the Town Square Theatre where he always meets, Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Lotso and Elvis Stitch.

Since we were going on this trip with friends we wanted to make sure that they experienced the Boo to You Parade and HallowWishes the fireworks show.

This year, new elements were added to several rides. The teacups were given light effects and a new soundtrack, Space Mountain got blacked out for an extra spooky adventure and live actors were added to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Full disclosure, none of this really got me that excited but I can absolutely appreciate that appeal for some Disney goers!

30Each year for the season, Magic Kingdom (and all around Disney property) features seasonal treats. There are some treats available throughout the parks and resorts all throughout the day and night and some that are just available for the extra ticketed events.

28This year was no exception and I was really excited to give the Madame Leota tart a try during MNSSHP. This was one of the treats that was exclusive to the party. Every year, I pick one of the treats that I really want to try and every year, I am disappointed. Here is the deal with these treats. There is a lot of hype, they are usually very social media friendly and that’s where it ends. Not one treat, in my personal opinion, has ever been worth it in terms of taste. This year carried on that tradition for me. I gave the tart a try, it was size of my fist and was just okay; there was absolutely nothing special about it and there are treats all over the Kingdom that are more worth the price!

26This is the first year that we planned on and actually did Trick or Treating. Since the family that we went with had a little boy, we figured that he would want to do it and we were right! So, we hit up a lot of the trick or treating locations which was really fun and they dole out the candy at MNSSHP, by the handfuls. So, bring a big bag because the little one they give you might not cut it!

38There are so many amazing Photo Pass opportunities at MNSSHP and all of the time at Magic Kingdom and around WDW. The extra ticketed events offer amazing Magic Shots. What is a Magic Shot? Photos that include accents or characters or a fun video element added to the shot afterward.

43This is one of my favorite parts of an extra ticketed event or any day in Disney and I was so excited to take advantage of so many of them. Unfortunately, we only were able to take advantage of a couple but we did get the Headless Horseman picture which was my number 1 photo pass want for this party so that was exciting!

 

 

Here are my  must do’s for MNSSHP in my own humble opinion:

4) HalloWishes

3) Magic Shots

2) Character Meet and Greets in costume

1) Boo to you Parade

Explanation:

31I love HalloWishes but it is not my favorite nighttime spectacular. I think that it is a great show and should not be missed but it just isn’t my number one. The Magic Shots are fun for the whole family and it is always a really great time to see what shows up on your My Disney Experience app when the photos upload.

29Character meet and greets are a huge part of the party for me; I love the costumes and that it is a little different from the typical meet and greet the rest of the year; I also think it is a great opportunity to meet characters that aren’t out all of the time. The Boo to You Parade is my absolute favorite part of the party. If you can, wait for the second round of the parade because the crows will be thinner but we wary of that advice because if you are there on a busier party night, it really won’t make that much of a difference and you still want to show up early to get a prime spot.

My overrated list for MNSSHP in my own humble opinion:

3) Rides

2) Trick or Treating

1) The Specialty Treats

Explanation:

24I put rides on my overrated list for one simple reason; you can ride rides any time in the parks. There are so many amazing things offered during extra ticketed events that I think rides are a waste of time and money at these events. Again, this is my personal opinion and if rides are what you really enjoy doing, I think that’s wonderful and you should do that! This is your vacation just like my vacation is my vacation and we all have different things that make us happy!

44This thought process continues for Trick or Treating. If you are a local and this is how your kids trick or treat or if you have children or if you just really love candy and want to get candy, you go Glen Coco! We don’t eat a lot of candy and don’t have children so there are other things we want to do to fill our party time.

As for the treats, as I mentioned earlier, I get so excited for these treats and every year I am disappointed. My goal is to not even go for the treats next year but let’s all have a good laugh when next year rolls around and I am telling you how excited I am to try this or that specialty treat at MNSSHP.

That’s it for this post! What are you most excited about for MNSSHP or what was your favorite part? I would love to hear from you! Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

In My Disney Bag

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

6We are just getting back from our most recent trip home and I thought it would be a great idea to do a post on what is in my Disney bag! For a couple who travels to Disney multiple times a year, in various seasons, we have some staples in our park backpack that I always carry with us, day in and day out in the parks and I think that is very valuable information to share with you!

First, I want to answer a few questions we get frequently from people planning their trips or just wanting additional information.

Bags on Rides!

Yes! On almost every Disney ride, you can take a backpack. Also, on almost every Disney ride, you can either wear your sunglasses, ears and other accessories or there is a pouch for you to place them in.

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9.jpgThe only exceptions to this that we have really found are at Flight of Passage in Pandora, World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, where you stow all of your gear behind you in the ride chamber in large bins and on Soarin’. Soarin’ offers a pouch underneath the seat for purses, small bags, ears etc. but for my backpack, I always ask a castmember where they would like me to stow it. Most of the time, it is to the right of the row of chairs where we are sitting but once in a while, a castmember will tell me to put it at my feet or to the left, so I always like to check.

Taking a stroller, should you leave your backpack with the stroller when going on rides?

7No! Absolutely not, under any circumstances, should you leave important items in your stroller when leaving it unattended for any period of time. We love Disney, we believe Disney is the happiest place on earth. That being said, shady people still visit the happiest place on earth. Anytime you leave your stroller, scooter or wheelchair unattended, take every single thing you value with you. Nine times out of ten, your things will still be where you left them, when you return, but that one time, you leave your wallet or your purchases in that stroller or other vessel, it will get stolen and your happy vacation will not be so happy after that. Always, always, always, take your things with you when you.

Now, what’s in my bag?

Let’s start with the backpack. Carrying a backpack is not for everyone. My backpack gets heavy because I carry all of our camera equipment and vlogging materials but we are planners and carrying a backpack is like a security blanket for me and I couldn’t imagine a day in Disney without it.

89Bryson actually asked me on the last day of our most recent trip, if we lived in Disney, would I still have to carry the backpack. The honest answer to that is yes. I absolutely would still have to carry a backpack especially for the various vlogging equipment we take and our giant water bottles. Even if we were just going to Disney for the day, I would still need those things and that is the bulk of the weight in the backpack anyway.

10Other options would be a fanny pack (check out this adorable option from Etsy) or a mini-backpack. We carry a full-size backpack and the one that I carry is one that you can typically purchase in the parks at several of the larger merchandise shops. It is a generic Mickey Disney backpack. Here are some other cute options available at Walt Disney World, including the one I really want which is the Black and White Sequin Minnie Bag.

13.jpgI am also really loving this adorable Castle Backpack I recently came across on Etsy, these customized Polka Dot Backpacks as well and this cute Mini Backpack from Shop Disney!

 

Stay hydrated!

11If you follow our blogs and vlogs you  know that we are really big on staying hydrated. If I could give you only one piece of advice for Disney, I would tell you to drink water, drink water, drink water. Anytime you go to a quick service food stop, you can ask for a cup of water and they will give you one. I’m not saying they will give you a giant cup of water but they will give you a cup of water.

12That is not enough for us. I don’t mind carrying a lot of weight in my backpack so we carry two fifty ounce water bottles in our backpack and we refill them four to five times a day, everyday.  We purchased our water bottles from Target and they are the CamelBak Chute Mag and we purchased customized decals from Etsy or this Darth Vader Disney option to spruce them up a bit. Coming from Colorado, we get so dehydrated in Orlando, because of the humidity so we drink a ton of water.

72You may have noticed that the water in Orlando isn’t delicious. It tastes like sulfur. There are, however several places where you can find good or at least decent tasting water. If you are at Epcot and are a DVC member, the DVC member lounge has great water; although they do discourage you from filling up your large water bottles when it is busy. Over by Norway there is a restroom and the water fountain over there has good water as well. Additionally, over by Test Track and Mission Space there is a restroom on the walk over that way from World Showcase and that water is good as well.

14At Magic Kingdom, over by the Tangled restrooms the water tastes like sulfur but it is less of a strong smell and taste from those fountains. If you are staying on property, the best water is from the drink dispensers that are available in the quick service dining locations. That water is filtered. Bottom line is, drink water.

Ponchos!

95No matter what time of the year you are visiting Walt Disney World, there is a good chance, it will rain. Storms roll in and our of Orlando and central Florida almost everyday. They are quick (usually) and they can pour down a monumental amount of rain in a very short period of time. We keep disposable ponchos on us because we can whip them out, toss them and don’t have to fold them up and put them soaking wet, back into our backpack. You can find the ponchos that we purchase HERE! and it is important to note that Disney does sell ponchos and for a family of five you will be spending about $60 on plastic if you don’t bring your own and get caught in one of these frequent storms.

Hand Sanitizer!

14I always carry hand sanitizer with me at Disney. There are a ton of people, some of them are sick, some don’t wash their hands and I work at a nonprofit where I go through hand sanitizer like it is going out of style and that carries over to Disney. We buy a big box of them on Amazon because they are cheaper that way but you can find incredibly cute Disney themed ones in the parks that are great as well, just a little pricier. You can find the ones we purchase HERE! and more information about the Disney versions can be found HERE!

Lotion!

15All that hand sanitizer you are using, you might want some lotion. I always keep a travel sized lotion in the backpack that I can use throughout the day! Some of my favorites include The Body Shop offerings, I just love the smell of those!

 

 

Hair brush!

1.jpgMy hair stays down for about an hour everyday because with the humidity in Orlando, I just can’t deal but I still try almost everyday to keep my hair down for as long as possible because I like pictures of my hair down more than up and we take a lot of pictures and as vain as that is; it is what it is. My hair is not used to the humidity so I like to brush it out for the hour before it goes up in a pineapple on top of my head.

Lip Balm!

16I always have lip balm on me. In Florida, you need it less than in a dry climate like Colorado but I still like to keep it on me and always have one in my bag. Some of my favorites include Burt’s Bees and Sun Bum.

 

 

 

Sunglasses!

I do not buy expensive sunglasses. There are quite a few reasons for this; one is because I always lose them or sit on them within about a month of getting them. But, you have to have sunglasses in Disney. I wear eyeglasses as well and it is quite a juggling act for me to always be switching back from my prescription eyeglasses to my cheap sunglasses. I don’t buy prescription sunglasses because with my prescription, they are insanely expensive so I go back and forth between my eyeglasses and my sunglasses all day long. It’s actually quite entertaining to watch or so I have been told.

Mints!

17If you have ever been to Walt Disney World, or the Orlando International Airport (MCO), you may have noticed that there is no gum to be found! That’s right, nowhere on Disney property or at MCO is there any chewing gum to be purchased. People don’t throw gum away. I will never understand it and if you do this, yes, I am judging you, with my judging face, but people can’t seem to make it into a trash can. They drop it on the floor, leave it on walls, throw it in water, but it just can’t seem to make it into a trash can.

So, Disney does not sell it anywhere on property, and they encourage people not to chew it. In fact, Disney went so far as to make a deal with MCO that they would not sell gum either. Nowhere at either of these places will you be able to purchase chewing gum and how awesome is it that you can experience Walt Disney World, without stepping on someone’s chewed gum every five steps!

I have no problem being a part of this solution and not the problem and we take mints instead. 3 Hour Mints are my absolute favorite so I always keep a pack in my bag for a trip.

Fuel Rod!

19.jpgAll throughout Walt Disney World and MCO, you will find Fuel Rod stations. Fuel Rods are portable charger packs that come with a variety of adapters for your device and charge it up while you walk around the parks. We are constantly using a Fuel Rod and we also have a charging port as well that we carry in the bag. We probably use more battery than some because we also use our phones for filming when we aren’t using our large camera and tripod but we also take a ton of photos like everyone one.

The charging port that we use is a great deal on Amazon and typically charges for multiple days before we have to charge it. Both of these items are lifesavers for our vlogs and photos we take for Instagram, the blog and other social media.

Tide Pen!

20Bryson and I eat a lot in Disney and sometimes, like during festival season we are literally rushing from kitchen to kitchen ordering food, gobbling it down and then off to the next kitchen so that we can get as much tasty food in as possible to give a full review. Often this means, spills. I always carry a Tide Pen in the backpack so that when messes happen, we can clean them up and be on our way, ready to film and take pictures!

Ibuprofen!

58I always carry a small bottle of Ibuprofen or Tylenol in my bag. We go hard in Disney and there are bound to be headaches, body aches etc. So I always keep a small bottle on me.

There are other things that I keep in my bag sometimes or most of the time but what I put in this post are what I always, always, have in my bag. Anytime you see me in a park, it is a guarantee that I have all of these things in my bag. If you are a frequent Disney traveler, what do you always have in your bag? We’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Fall Y’all! And I’m Sharing my Fall Decor With You!

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

2.jpgFall is in full swing and we are dabbling into winter here in Colorado. The leaves are changing and have actually already passed their peak and are now making a mess on the ground. We got our first snow on the Colorado front range this past weekend.

I am a big decorator. I love being festive, I love to decorate our house to match the season and although my fall decor is quite subdued compared to the explosion that is Christmas in our house, I absolutely love the warm colors, the leaves, the coziness of fall decor and I thought that it would be fun to share that with you.

5I pull out the fall decor on Labor Day; not because I am over summer but because I want to get those fall smells going in our house. One of the first things that I do every year is find some great smelling fall candles. Fall and winter is the time for candle burning in our house and this year I took myself over to Bath and Body Works (not sponsored but… hey Bath and Body Works hit me up) and boy oh boy was I in heaven. Bath and Body Works has the most amazing and strong fall and winter scents.

3I am a big fan of strong scents. I don’t light a candle for a faint wisp of scent that maybe wafts your way once in a while. I light candles because I  want my house to be overcome with the scents of the season. We bought three candles to be put in our kitchen and living room. Two Harvest Gathering scents and one Pumpkin Pecan Waffle flavor. The Pumpkin Pecan Waffle scent is absolutely incredible and is way stronger than the Harvest Gathering scent.

So that began our fall takeover.

I ventured to the basement and began pulling out the boxes of fall. Our spring/summer decor is out for the longest time; I put out spring decor in February for several reasons. By February, I am over winter and am ready to launch headfirst into flip flops, tan lines and outdoor adventures. I see no reason to prolong the dark, cold, misery that I view as winter (after February 1) and when I come home, I want to be welcomed with summer scents and summer decor so we go straight from Christmas to spring, there is no in between in our house.

But, it is not time for spring/summer decor, it is time for fall and that is what we are talking about so let’s get back to it.

75One of the main focal points in our house is our mantle. Our mantle is the center of our living space. We spend more time in the TV or family room and kitchen than any other space in our house. Our mantle is decorated year round and fall is no exception.

78I pull our the leaf garland and wrap that around all of the decor. I found these adorable Mickey and Minnie scarecrow decorations at Hobby Lobby. I did look on the Hobby Lobby website but was unable to find if they were still available online. I highly recommend heading over to your local Hobby Lobby if you are interested in these cuties because when I was there last week at one of our local stores, they still had several of each.

76I first had these on the ground, on either side of our mantle, which houses our television and fireplace. But, I decided to place them up on the mantle because I think they are more noticeable up there. I placed them on the ends of the mantle, purchased a little wooden crate with handles and some plastic gourds to go inside. I enjoy going with the more earth toned gourds, cream, burgundy, brown, darker orange etc. Then I found some leaf and fall accents to go along with that. On the mantle, I tipped the crate onto its side and spilled the pumpkins and other fall accessories out of the crate onto the mantle.

Last year, I purchased two pumpkin tea candle holders in a bronze color and I placed those among the leaves and in between photos that we leave up most of the year.

77On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we picked up this adorable Mickey pumpkin tea candle holder. If you follow us on any social media, you know my obsession with Mickey pumpkins is real. If Disney or anyone else sold (realistic) replicas of the gorgeous Mickey pumpkin wreaths that flank Main Street USA, I would be all over that and our entire house and yard would be consumed with them.

91Until then, I will settle for the Mickey pumpkin merch that I can get my hands on. I also found this adorable tractor at Hobby Lobby (of course). Both Bryson and I have farmer’s in our family heritage, so it is always fun to pay homage to that in our decor. We love rustic, country decor.

That is it for the mantle, and yes, it’s quite a bit of stuff. I’m over the top, what can I say.

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Also in our TV or family room, we have several shelves against the back wall that we keep photos on. I picked up a couple of small fall items to put on there. Hobby Lobby had these great fall pumpkins in several different colors with a little bit of sparkle detail and then I picked up a couple of cute littler ceramic chipmunks as well. Nothing too crazy, just simple.

89We have several signs that I have picked up that I believe may be meant for outside but we are unable to hang any signs on the front of our house, trust me, we have tried. So, they go inside instead. We have several cute ones and I think they add a nice little touch to our first floor.

85I move them around every year but I do keep the “Welcome” sign close to the front door where people can see it when they come in for obvious reasons.

Speaking of the front door, I have, of course, the Mickey wreath that I made on our front door. If you are interested in learning how to make your own Mickey wreath, I made a vlog that is up on our YouTube channel all about how I made this one!

Once you walk in the door, we have our formal living room. Our formal living room is rarely used but the first thing people see when they come into our house so, I like to have it decorated.

84We have several large shelves against the largest wall in the room. I have some little fall themed ceramic pieces and some fall themed florals in a wrought iron boot vase that I got at Hobby Lobby for our wedding. We have several of these vases around our house and I use them year round.

80On our coffee table I have a cute fall themed table runner with leaves and owls on it. Sitting on the runner, I have a cute little pumpkin scarecrow from, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby. To accent that piece, I set down some little corn pieces in various colors.

83The last part of that room is the end table in the corner. I love this little table. Since we never use this room, the table is completely useless for anything other than decorating. For fall, I have used another of the boot vases, I also have a silver pitcher filled with fall florals. To accent it, I have a cute little blue apple truck which I just love and think it gives a great pop of color. There is a little porcupine made of straw (I believe) and also a raccoon made of the same material. I love them and they are neutral colors so they go with everything.

82Last but not least for the fall decor, I moved the wreath that I made last year for the front door inside to the staircase and wrapped leaf garland around the railing leading up to the second story. To top it off, I strung a banner across the top of the staircase that said “Blessings”.

88Here is my thing about decorating. I like to add things every year and I like to change it up. Last year, I didn’t do anything to the banisters and I added my Mickey wreath and the Mickey and Minnie scarecrows.

For each season, I add to my decorations. Now, I am running out of places to put Christmas things but don’t you worry, I will find spots.

 

Do you decorate for fall? I would love to know where you get your favorite decorations and what your favorite time of year to decorate is!

That’s it for this post. Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

 

 

Upping the Lunch Box Game With Woody’s Lunch Box

Hey Howdy Hey Disney family!

Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

58We are venturing back to Andy’s backyard today to get the full Woody’s Lunch Box experience. As you know, we love to eat and we love Disney food. We were really looking forward to trying this place. We rarely eat in Hollywood Studios and as we mention often, there is currently a lot to be desired when it comes to food options in this park. So, for Hollywood Studios to open a new land, we had high expectations; especially after Pandora and the opening of Satul’i Canteen; we had high hopes.

61Woody’s Lunch Box did not disappoint. There are two different menus; a breakfast menu and a lunch/dinner menu. This dining location is a counter service location which has the option for mobile ordering.

10This is an outdoor quick service location. The line is outside, the seating is outside although there are umbrellas over the tables to provide cover from the sun and weather elements. I will say, in the heat of Orlando, there could have been more cover provided but I understand why Disney decided against it. If you provide more shade in a land where shade is sparse, people will find the shade and camp out in the shade.

73Let’s get into the menu. For breakfast, one of the most talked about items is the S’mores French Toast Sandwich. We tried it and it is great. We heard some feedback from others who had tried it, that there was not enough marshmallow filling but that was not our experience at all. There was plenty of marshmallow, plenty of chocolate hazelnut spread, and the bread was soft with a crispy outside with plenty of cinnamon and sugar.

toy story bowl
Picture courtesy of disneyworld.disney.go.com

Additionally, there is a Breakfast Bowl that is packed with great breakfast flavor. This is a bowl of potato barrels (tater tots) with scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage gravy and green onions. Hubby got this and it was great! My recommendation would be to get these and split them. You get sweet and savory in one swoop!

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photo courtesy of disneyparks.disney.go.com

If you like parfait’s be sure to give the Banana Split Parfait a try. This option includes creamy vanilla yogurt layered with pineapple, banana and strawberry and is topped with granola for crunch, honey and dark chocolate chips. We have not tried this yet but if you have we would love to hear from you in the comments. This is on our must try list for the next time we are at Woody’s Lunch Box for breakfast.

70In my personal opinion, the absolute best things at Woody’s Lunch Box are the Lunch Box Tarts. They are amazing! You will never want a regular Pop Tart again. These blow the Pop Tarts we grew up with and still indulge in once in a while, out of the water. There are two flavors available (for now?); raspberry and chocolate-hazelnut. We really enjoyed both, but I will say, Disney, if you are reading this, put more filling inside these little beauties.

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You can also get Joffrey’s coffee, hot cocoa, orange juice and soft drinks for breakfast along with the Mystic Portal Punch which is the specialty non-alcoholic drink at Woody’s Lunch Box. Full disclosure, it is boring and not worth the price, it tastes like Powerade and nothing more.

For lunch, you can still get those lunch box tarts folks! Get em’, get ’em both! Maybe two! Oh my gosh they are so good.

69We have tried everything on the lunch/dinner menu from Woody’s Lunch Box. The BBQ Brisket melt and the Grilled Cheese were both absolutely amazing sandwiches. The BBQ sauce that comes with the BBQ Brisket Sandwich is tangy and has a vinegar kick which I really appreciated because I love the more tangy sauce as opposed to a sweet, thick, hearty sauce. I will say the sandwich could have used more pickles, but that is just a personal preference from one pickle lover.

65In terms of the Grilled Cheese, if you are a strong cheese lover, you will really enjoy this. It isn’t just some American cheese or processed cheese product slapped between a couple pieces of bread. This sandwich brings the cheese and several times of cheese for that matter. Definitely give this one a try if you are looking for a little comfort food and it does go really well with the Tomato Basil Soup side.

The Smoked Turkey Sandwich was the most underwhelming option in our opinion. But, it’s a turkey sandwich. If you had a plain eater or someone who doesn’t want anything too exciting, this would be a great choice for them.

62Last but not least, the Totchos! These are potato barrels (tater tots) made like nachos! So, they are covered in beef and bean chili, queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, corn chips, sour cream and green onions. This was a really good option and one of the most filling on the menu. I am of the belief that you can never have too many toppings so of course, I could have gone for more sour cream, queso and chili but it was a great dish. Simple but yummy.

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As for the sides, there Tomato Basil Soup which is a good option to accompany the Grilled Cheese, I will say, both times we have had it, the soup was not hot. I will also say, both times we had it, it was nine hundred degrees outside so hot soup wasn’t exactly on the top of my priority list so lukewarm soup satisfied me just fine. There is also Potato Barrels which is the default side if you don’t specify.

57The Vegetable Macaroni Salad was good, I love macaroni salad and this was good. It was oily but I don’t know how you avoid that because the main ingredient in an Italian dressing based pasta salad dressing is oil. The taste was good, it had olives, which makes it a winner in my book. Another side option is the Mini Babybel Snack Cheese. Babybel is the sponsor of Woody’s Lunch Box and this is a great snack. Although for $3.49 you could probably buy a whole pack of them from the grocery store.

You can also get a side of Cheese Sauce. I would assume this would be for the Totchos or Potato Barrels. Full disclosure, I would absolutely dip my Brisket Sandwich in the Cheese Sauce.

64The same drink options are offered for lunch/dinner as are offered for breakfast. You can get a Root Beer Float off of the lunch/dinner menu as well. There are also alcoholic beverages offered on these menu’s. A Grown-Up Lemonade featuring Three Olives Cherry Vodka, Blue Moon Belgian White Ale (Yay Colorado Beers!), Bud Light and Angry Orchard Apple Cider.

66Important to note, breakfast is served from park opening until 10:30 am. At 10:30 am, they switch to the lunch/dinner menu. Mobile ordering is offered at Woody’s Lunch Box and is highly recommended. If you are not familiar with Mobile Ordering, be sure to download the My Disney Experience App and sign up on that. From that, you can click on Order Food under My Plans. There are a number of restaurants throughout Disney property that offer Mobile Ordering and it allows you to skip the line and get your food quicker. We love Mobile Ordering and use it quite frequently.

86If you are at Hollywood Studios for a Moonlight Magic event, Woody’s Lunch Box has not been open for these events at the time of this blog post being published. We completely understand why. In our opinion, Woody’s Lunch Box is one of the top dining options at Hollywood Studios. It is, for us, hands down, the top quick service dining location at this park.

Have you tried Woody’s Lunch Box? What did you think? We would love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!

 

Last Minute WDW, a Disney Adventure Four Days in the Making.

65.jpgHey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

Hubby and I returned from an incredible trip to Disney recently but even before that, several trips ago now, we went on a very last minute Walt Disney World trip and I wanted to share all of my tips and tricks for last minute trips with you. As you know, if you follow our blogs and vlogs, we are huge planners and we are huge supporters of planning your Disney trip as much as possible without driving yourself insane so that you can make the most of your trip and be sure to get or at least have a better opportunity to get the rides, times and dining options that are at the top of your list.

69.jpgSo, what if on a whim, the decision to take a quick trip to Walt Disney World. What should be expected? Let’s dive into that and help plan that last minute Disney trip!

70Here is what happened that led us to that last minute trip. Our one year wedding anniversary was quickly approaching. I was supposed to be traveling for work but that fortunately fell through and it became an option for us to go. Hubby hopped online to check flights because flights tend to be the deciding factor for us financially and flights had actually gone down.

Disney was running a promo for summer at select resorts and we were able to take advantage of that. First tip, don’t be selective for a last minute trip to Disney and check for deals on the Disney resort reservation website ( https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/ ). There is a good chance you won’t get your number one choice but that is okay. Have backups and just excited that you are heading to Disney.

72We booked a midnight flight to Orlando and a ten pm flight back three days later. To see what a full day in Disney looks like after a full work week and a midnight looks like, see picture associated with this paragraph. We booked two nights but were in Disney World for three whole days. Be sure to factor in high level of tiredness when booking flights like this. We typically don’t take big breaks when we are in Disney World but a midnight flight landed us in Orlando around five in the morning and a nap break was a necessity.

96We booked this trip out exactly four days before the trip started. Obviously, we missed the 60 day mark for Fast Passes and the 180 mark for dining reservations but that doesn’t mean we weren’t able to hop on amazing rides and experience the magic of Disney. The biggest thing about a last minute trip is being flexible. Some of our favorite rides are tried and true Disney classics and unless the last minute trip falls during one of the busiest times of the year, Fast Passes for things like Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Beauty and the Beast live stage show and Kilimanjaro Safaris are almost always available at some point.

76First things first, hop onto the My Disney Experience app and see what is available when you are going to be there. Play around with it for a little bit, refresh different times and switch up the days. If you are dead set on doing Frozen, check all available times and days several times and see if something for that pops up before planning other things. You might be able to snag it and if not, make a plan to rope drop Epcot on one of the days and head straight for Frozen.

Don’t be afraid to wait in line. Especially if you get to a park early or stay late, hop in line for a ride you are really wanting to get on so that you can be sure to have that experience.

68You do not have to jam pack everything into a last minute trip. The beauty of Disney is that it isn’t going anywhere. Don’t get stressed out about squeezing in every last adventure and favorite thing into a last minute experience. See what is available in terms of dining and adventures and then leave some open ended time and see where you are drawn to. We had nothing planned for the majority of our trip and it allowed us the freedom to do some resort hopping, enjoy the resort we were staying at, do a half a day at Animal Kingdom and then fly by the seat of our pants for the remainder of the day and we have a wonderful time.

Let’s talk about how our trip went. What we planned, what we didn’t for each day so you can get a up close feel of how a last minute trip went at least for us.

66On our first day, we left our home airport at Midnight on Friday night, we arrived to Disney around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning. We took Magical Express to Wilderness Lodge and checked into our hotel and left our luggage with bell services as it was only about 6:30 in the morning at this point and our room, not surprisingly, was not ready.

For our luggage, since we were only going to 3 days and two nights, we each had a carry-on, roller bag and a backpack. My backpack is the backpack we carry in the parks so it had ponchos, our two water bottles, park day essentialls (a full list is coming in an upcoming blog, my book and a few other things. Before we handed our luggage to bell services, I changed into my park outfit for the morning because I always am freezing on airplanes and hate the way I feel when I get off a plane and moved a few things around in my bag so I wasn’t lugging even more stuff around in my backpack.

74We grabbed breakfast at Roaring Fork and then headed to the bus stop to wait for the bus to Epcot which came about twenty minutes after we got down there. We were able to rope drop Epcot which was pretty cool even though we were exhausted. Once at Epcot, we walked right into the character spot to meet Baymax then headed to Soarin’ and Living With The Land. After that we headed to Spaceship Earth and Frozen and spent some time in the DVC Lounge.

87By this time, we were dead on our feet, having barely slept in over 24 hours so we headed back to our resort, checked into our room, unpacked, did a vlog about the standard room at Wilderness Lodge and took a nap which we rarely if ever do when in Disney.

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When we woke up, we wandered around Wilderness Lodge a little bit and then hopped on the Friendship Boat over to Magic Kingdom. We had no Fast Passes planned so we snagged, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear, grabbed a couple Dole Whip Pineapple Upside Cakes and had a really relaxing afternoon in Magic Kingdom.

85We had made a reservation for Cape May at the last minute so we took a Minnie Van over to Beach Club for that. Cape May was amazing and tons of food. After dinner we were exhausted and had plans to rope drop Hollywood Studios for Toy Story Land the next morning so we skipped all nighttime shows, headed back to Wilderness Lodge and conked out.

Every morning of vacation, I get up and do a workout, it is usually a run but sometimes just a little accessory work. This is one thing I will say about the midnight flight situation. It is now several days after our return home from this trip and I am still recovering from that. I am not one, who handles lack of sleep well anymore and if you are like me, the midnight flight will wreck you.

83I woke up fine and ready to go but I had no desire to workout so I did a couple of quick tabata workouts on the floor of our room and then got ready for the day. We decided not to wait on Disney transportation and grabbed a Minnie Van instead to head to Hollywood Studios. We were a little late getting there and did not quite make rope drop but we were still there within about twenty minutes of the park opening.

Making a beeline for Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash said that it was a 70 minute wait for standby. We had not secured a Fast Pass and fully expected to wait in line so we got in line at that time. That line moved fast! With all of the riders, Slinky Dog Dash is able to accommodate, that line moves! We ended up only waiting for about 40 minutes before getting on the ride which was amazing.

81We were able to secure a Fast Pass for Alien Swirling Saucers but it wasn’t for a couple of hours so we walked around the amazing land and took in all of the details and then went over to stand in line for Toy Story Midway Mania. The ride actually broke down while we were on it and we had to be escorted out of the ride and were given Fast Passe (for anything except Slinky Dog or Swirling Saucers), which we later used on Midway Mania again. We went on Swirling Saucers and then had breakfast at Woody’s Lunch Box.

79Later that day, we decided to head to Animal Kingdom. We were able to snag a Na’Vi River Journey Fast Pass, went on a Safari, had a Night Blossom and got stuck in a rainstorm of course, because it’s July in Disney World. After that, we did something we rarely do; we went to the pool at our resort to relax and enjoy that amenity for a bit. It was so relaxing and refreshing, especially in that Orlando summer humidity. I highly recommend taking some time for that, if you don’t already; I know we will be doing that more on future trips.

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And then, guess what! We decided to head back over to Hollywood Studios and Toy Story Land. The rain was pretty intense on this day. It was not random, quick showers, but long downpours and it looked like it was going to sock in for the night in a few hours so we decided to see if we could get on Slinky again. We hopped in line for it but ended up having to wait about an hour and a half due to a heavy downpour and thunderstorm but we got on it!

102Dinner was supposed to be at Teppen Edo that night in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. We grabbed yet another Minnie Van to drop us off at Beach Club and then we would hightail it over to Japan in Epcot but once we arrived at Beach Club, the rain and lightning were so intense we decided to stay at Beach Club and eat at Cape May once again. Due to the weather, we chose to forego any additional nighttime shows that night and called it a day after dinner.

90Our last day was a fully day since our flight wasn’t until about 10 pm that night. We requested and got late checkout for 1 pm and headed to breakfast at ‘Ohana for first breakfast seating then took a Friendship Boat over to Magic Kingdom for the morning. After a fun-filled morning checking out the Incredibles Summer photos in Tomorrowland, grabbing Peter Pan’s float in Fantasy Land, riding Pirates, Haunted Mansion and a few others, we decided to once again head to Toy Story Land.

97Toy Story Land was one of the main reasons for this trip. Although we were thrilled to spend our actual anniversary in Walt Disney World, we were incredibly excited to experience and explore Toy Story Land so that is why we kept going back for more. We ended our trip at Toy Story Land and relaxing on the Wilderness Lodge rocking chairs on the patio of the main building and it was glorious.

73So, that was our amazing last minute anniversary trip to Walt Disney World. A whirlwind few days, where a lot was accomplished, not much was planned and the magic was still experienced to the fullest. Have you done or are you thinking of doing a last minute trip to Walt Disney World? Did learning about our trip, how we changed up our style and rolled with our whims help you? What are your tips for last minute trips? We would love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for more blogs from this amazing trip! For the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Big Changes Coming To Walt Disney World in 2019!

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

2019 is bringing a whole slew of new adventures and magic to Walt Disney World! Today, we are talking about everything we know so far that is coming to Walt Disney World in the coming year. Although there are several experiences all around Walt Disney World property that are either receiving revamps or are completely leaving, the new adventures are plentiful and we can’t wait!

Move it, Shake it, Mousekedance it!

48.jpgThe Move it, Shake it, Dance it parade will be no more in 2019. It will be replaced with, what we hope is a better interactive celebration. Move it, Shake it, Mousekedance it will be an interactive dance party down Main Street to Cinderella’s Castle where our favorite Disney characters will dance it out to Mickey Mouse Club songs and remixes.

We have never been a big fan of the Move it, Shake it parade and celebration that takes place at Magic Kingdom for the past several years and have high hopes that this new parade will bring us back to our own Mickey Mouse Club days and bring in a wider audience and fan group to the celebration.

49Move it, Shake it, as it is now, is geared entirely towards kids and really leaves out most other demographics. Hopefully this new celebration will be one for all ages to get excited about!

Do you love the current parade/dance party or are you ready for this new version coming to Main Street?

 

 

Dapper Dans!

44Although the Dapper Dans are nothing new to Magic Kingdom, they will be learning some new tunes! The new songs for this foursome will include some classics highlighting the magical mouse duo, Mickey and Minnie and some old Disney throwbacks! We love the Dapper Dans and can’t wait for these new songs to be added to their repertoire.

Pixar Place Incredible Transformation!

50May 1, 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). As we all wait with bated breath for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, these mouse bloggers are loving Toy Story Land and are excited to hear of even more changes coming to this park.

We just learned that Pixar Place (which has already closed for refurbishment) is being transformed into a city block of Municiberg from the Incredibles. Meet and greets with Frozone, Edna Mode, Mr. Incredible and Elastagirl will all happen within this new space.

What are you most excited about with this new Incredible transformation?

Mike and Sully Meet and Greet!

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Photo Courtesy of the Walt Disney Company

Disney recently announced that the meet and greet’s for Baby Groot and Star Lord will be ending within the Walt Disney Presents space. In their place, new meet and greet opportunities with Mike Wazowski and Sully!

For those who are sad about the departure of Baby Groot and Star Lord, don’t forget that Epcot is working on the massive Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster and we have a feeling there will be plenty of meet and greet’s coming to Epcot for Guardians of the Galaxy characters!

 

Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party!

52Disney is on a dance party kick right now and we have just received word that another dance party is coming to Animal Kingdom in 2019. Discovery Island will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Lion King and also the release of the new live action version of the film with the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party. Simba, Timon and Rafiki have all RSVP’d that they will be attending the party; will you be joining them?

In addition, to continue the Lion King celebration, 3D photo opportunities will be available, highlighting this classic tale.

Festival of the Arts!

46Although not new, Disney announced that Festival of the Arts will return in 2019 and will run from Jan 18 thru Feb 25. This will be the third year for this festival and Disney has also announced that the Disney on Broadway Concert Series that occurs during Festival of the Arts will be expanding to seven days a week.

If you have never been to Festival of the Arts, it is a festival for the senses that includes amazing visuals throughout the park, some interactive. We are hoping that the mural returns in 2019; in 2018, there was a period during the festival that included the opportunity to put your own creative stamp on a large mural. The end result was a huge Monorail piece colored in by Festival of the Arts patrons.

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

In addition, the food booths or studios as they are referred to for this particular festival are a true feast for the eyes and the taste buds. There are incredible food options as with the other Epcot festivals that are absolutely beautiful and we are hoping this stays true for 2019.

Don’t forget the Figment topiary holding the painting pallet; it’s too cute for words.

Flower and Garden Festival!

53Flower and Garden Festival is pure magic. We are beyond thrilled to hear that Disney is bringing it back once more; to be fair, we never thought they wouldn’t bring it back. Dates for the 2019 festival have been announced as well. You can experience this incredible Epcot offering from March 6 thru June 3.

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I cannot express my love of Flower and Garden Festival. I might even love this festival more than I love Food and Wine (gasp!) The topiaries are absolutely out of this world. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp, Pooh and Friends, Anna and Elsa, I could walk around and just admire the topiaries and their details all day long.

54Then you have the food. There was an amazing key lime sparkling wine and spicy blackened shrimp with cheddar grits, a berry cobbler, the food rivaled that of Food and Wine and my mouth is watering just dreaming about it.

If you have the chance to visit Walt Disney World during this unique and incredible festival, do it! And take me with you!

Which Epcot festival is your favorite? Are you planning on going to Flower and Garden in 2019?

Lightening McQueen’s Racing Academy!

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Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company

There is another show coming to Hollywood Studios! Lightening McQueen will be training up a new generation of racers with some of his best friends in tow. Join Mater, Cruz and the gang for a high octane show filled with curves, excitement and challenges.

I’m going to be completely honest with you about this. I am not revved up for this new show. I love Nemo and Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Frozen. Those shows are great and I hope this one falls into that category but I do think Cars could have been better suited for a ride similar to the one in Disneyland and I hope I’m wrong and that this new show will be a stand out.

In addition to the new Cars show coming to Hollywood Studios, there will also be a Cruz Ramierez meet and Greet outside of the Lightening McQueen Racing Academy

New Nighttime Spectacular at Epcot!

55The rumors are true. As we learn more about this new nighttime spectacular replacing the longest running nighttime show in Walt Disney World history, we will bring you more information. IllumiNations, the long running show at Epcot will be coming to an end in the summer of 2019. The new show is already in the works and is said to be immediately replacing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth upon its conclusion.

60Here is what we know so far. The new show will be another Fireworks spectacular, which we are really excited about. The new show, according to Disney Parks Blog will stay true to the original vision of Epcot. This also thrills us. Although, Walt’s vision for Disney was evolution and change to always keep people coming back, interested and excited; we love nostalgia and we hope that the powerful message of IllumiNations is continued and built on with this new nighttime show.

61We will absolutely miss IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth but we are excited for what is to come and also excited that we will have the chance to pay our respects to this incredible, almost twenty year old show that has wowed generations of Disney guests and will never be forgotten.

Are you excited for the new Epcot nighttime spectacular or are you devastated with the departure of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth?

We would love to hear your thoughts on all of these changes coming to Walt Disney World. What are you excited about? What are you apprehensive about? Let us know!

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget that it all started with a mouse!

 

 

Disney and Non-Disney Faves for September

39Hey Disney family! Welcome! Here at For Love of the Mouse, we talk all things Disney World and beyond and are excited that you could join the adventure! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

I am going to start a new series of blogs posts where I talk about some of my favorite Disney and non-Disney items. I am really excited to share this with you as I absolutely love following people’s posts where they share their current favorite items!

If you have some suggestions for things for me to try, whether they are Disney or non-Disney, be sure to let me know and I will give them a shot!

Since I am so excited for this first installment of this series, let’s jump right in! I am going to try to categorize them to keep some semblance of order, so let’s see how that goes.

Clothing and Accessories!

25The first thing that I am so excited to share with you is my amazing new Disney, fall, pumpkin spice tank top! I love pumpkin spice,  yep, I am a basic blond and I love fall in Disney and this tank top is amazing! It combines my love of glitter, with my love of fall and Disney. The shirt comes in a raglan but if you have ever been to Disney in the fall months, it is toasty so, I asked ShineDesignsTees on Etsy if she would do a tank top and she said yes! I want to also mention that it is amazing quality and just a wonderful find!

26If you have not heard of 4Ocean, I am excited to be the one to tell you about it! I discovered this organization through an ad that popped up on my Instagram and I love it. This organization was started by two surfers who wanted to find a way to make an impact on conservation and ocean cleanup. There are a variety of bracelets for different oceanic causes such as polar bears, sea turtles and more. The bracelets are $20 each each purchase removes one pound of trash from our oceans. I purchased the white bracelet for polar bears and have been wearing it for about a week now. They are simple with the 4Ocean logo on it, the color thread of your choice depending on the specific cause you chose and then matching beads. Super simple, super cute and for a great cause!

27Next up on my must-have list for this month is my new DVC Magic Band! This upcoming trip will be our first trip using our DVC points and we are just so excited. I love to collect Magic Bands and Bryson surprised me with this one a couple of weeks ago. It is one of the newest Dooney and Bourke Magic Band designs and it even comes in a little suitcase to keep to safe and protected. Although this particular Magic Band is sold out, Disney is constantly releasing new, amazing bands for all the collectors out there!

35.jpgNext is something that I love throughout the entire season. These are my absolute favorite Mickey ears that I own. I found them by chance scrolling through Etsy last year and I am obsessed with them. These are my Mickey Pumpkin Fall Wreath ears and they are amazing. I have never not gotten compliments on these and seeing as the Mickey fall wreaths in the Magic Kingdom are my hands down favorite Disney decor, these are right up my alley. Priced at $60, they are on the steep side, but they are handcrafted and absolutely gorgeous. The craftmanship on these ears is incredible. I cannot recommend this product to you enough.

 

 

33Football season is back and Bryson and I couldn’t be more excited. We are big football fans and attend a lot of college football games and I just love football gear. Being the over the top woman that I am, I really enjoy a unique and glittery or off the beaten path football piece and I absolutely love Live Love Gameday. This is a small business that was launched by former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader (DCC) Sydney McArthur.

24I have been following Sydney’s journey since her rookie season with the DCC and was thrilled when she launched this fun company. She often carries really fun, glittery or unique pieces and I recently purchased a great shirt that was a crushed velvet and said, Home is Where the Field is. The velvet version of the shirt is sold out but there are others currently available and if you are a football or sports girl, because she sells pieces for other sports too, be sure to check her out!

Everyday Essentials!

28My next must have for September is my 64 ounce Stainless steel YETI Rambler. As I mention in almost every blog and vlog we do, we are all about hydration. Bryson purchased a YETI Rambler well over a year ago and was taking it to work with him but I recently snagged it from him and have been loving taking it to work with me everyday. It is heavy and bulky and if you move a lot for work, I wouldn’t recommend carrying it around with you, but I work at a desk and it is perfect for making sure that I drink a ton of water everyday and it stays cold! I put a little ice in it in the morning and that ice is still there at the end of the day. This giant rambler is great when you want a lot of water with you.

 

Makeup and Skincare!

34I am absolutely loving my Pudaier Face Glow Liquid Highlighter! This highlighter is tiny but it packs a punch. A little dab will go a long way. I use it on top of my blush everyday to add a little shimmer and highlight to my cheeks. I purchased the highlighter in the #02 selection and I am looking forward to expanding my colors because I love the one I have so far. My only complaint is that mine doesn’t seem to close very securely so i will say that this particular one doesn’t travel well. But, it could be the one I purchased so if you use this, be sure to let me know your experience with this!

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I am a lip gloss and lipstick lover. And, I remember back in college when all of the girls would hit up Victoria Secret for their lip plumper lip gloss and our lips would get all tingly and we would get this incredibly full pout for a night out. Well, I found a product at Walgreens that works just as good as that product from college and this one smells like chocolate. The Soap and Glory, Sexy Mother Pucker in PlumsUp is amazing. I just purchased it and am loving it. If you do not like the tingles of a lip plumping product, you are not likely to enjoy but I sure do. The PlumsUp gloss has a tinge of color and a little sparkle but it also has a great chocolate scent. If you are a fan of the plumpers but don’t want to spend a pretty penny, pick this baby up! You can pick this up for around $10.00 at your local drugstore.

36Tree Hut Passion Fruit and Guava sugar scrub is a true money saving and skin soothing game changer. I love a good sugar scrub. I enjoy treating my skin to a scrub once or twice a week when I am taking a shower and living in Colorado, my skin bone dry. It is so hard for me to find something that soothes my skin enough. I have a giant bottle of lotion at my desk, I keep lotion in my purse, I lotion after every shower and before I get dressed in the morning and I cannot quench my skin enough.

Even though my skin has acclimated to the desert climate that we live in, heading into the winter when it, as hard as it is to imagine, gets even dryer but when I use this scrub, my skin feels amazing. I am a tropical girl and this has a wonderfully tropical scent that just makes me happy. They have other scents and products as well that I have not tried but am absolutely considering.

Food and Drink!

31Both Bryson and I have to consume a lot of protein for our lifestyles. We do not use the word diet because our fitness and food is a lifestyle and not something we do for a short time; it truly is a lifestyle that we live. I have been doing macros for almost two years now and although I have changed my macro program and nutrition coach, the type of lifestyle that I follow remains the same. Bryson is working with a program called RP Strength. We eat a specific amount of carbs, proteins and fats in a day.

37.jpgI get so tired of shoveling lean protein in my mouth and I stumbled across the Premier Protein Clear Protein Drinks. They are amazing. I truly love drinking these. There are several flavors and I really enjoy the fruit punch flavor but we are able to buy the peach flavor in bulk so we purchase frequently. Each bottle has only 90 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein. That is a lot of protein in non-meat form and it is fruity and delicious. If you are looking to add some protein to your lifestyle, we highly recommend checking out these drinks.

Other!

32If you like candles, be sure to check out the Pumpkin Pecan Waffles scent from Bath and Body Works this fall season. Recently, Bath and Body Works had a sale on their three-wick candles and Bryson and I went over to get some good fall scents. I don’t like subtle scents, if I am going to buy a candle, I want my entire house to be filled with the aroma. We purchased two of the Harvest Gathering scents and one of the Pumpkin Pecan Waffle scents. The pumpkin scent is in the kitchen and both of the others are in our living room. That one pumpkin candle is so much stronger than the two living room candles and while both smell delicious, if you are looking for a strong scent, choose the Pumpkin Pecan Waffle and have your house filled with fall glory.

38.jpgLast but certainly not least, my Mickey fall wreath! I recently made a DIY Mickey fall wreath and I think it turned out amazing! Head over to our YouTube channel to check out how to make your own Mickey wreath and customize it for the season or the reason! I think it turned out really cute and I’d love for you to add one to your wreath collection.

That wraps it up for my first blog post of current faves. I really enjoyed writing it and putting it together so I hope that you enjoyed reading it. I would love to hear what your current faves are, so comment below, what you are loving right now!

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

What’s Poppin’ at Pop Century

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Recently, we experienced out first time staying at a Walt Disney World value resort. We stayed at Pop Century and are eager to to share our experience with you! We had never even set foot on a value resort so we didn’t really know what to expect. Several bloggers/vloggers/friends swear by Pop Century but we didn’t want to get our expectations set too high.

4We flew out on yet another midnight flight, but this time we had a layover so we didn’t get onto the Magical Express until around ten am. Our Magical Express went to Art of Animation and Pop Century and Pop Century was the second stop. When we got in, one thing we noticed right off the bat were the incredibly vibrant colors, even in just the front of the resort at the bus pick up and drop off and the parking lot area.

8The floors are a shiny stone in black and white and cream with pops of color and the registration and guest services area is right to the left when you first walk in from the bus circle. If you have read our previous posts about our adventures in Disney you know, we stay at a lot of Deluxe Resorts so I did notice, and expected to notice, a large increase in families and what appeared to be school groups.

Registration was quick and we headed off toward our room. After you leave registration you walk farther into the main building, at the end you can either go left which leads out to the park and resort busses, go right where there are restrooms, the pool and the buildings that house the rooms, or you can go straight and it takes you into the large gift shop and dining area.

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The dining area for Pop Century consists of one large cafeteria style dining location. There are pool bars, one right off the Hippy Dippy Pool; that surrounds the 60’s buildings called Petals. There are no table service dining locations at Pop Century.

The dining location is called Everything Pop and had a wide variety of foods to choose from. Everything pop is located in the main building of the resort, and is easily accessible from the Hippy Dippy Pool. Important to note, if you are coming from the pool, you must put shoes and cover up on to enter the dining location.

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There was a lot of seating and even some outdoor seating. Dining is open seven days a week from 6 am until midnight and dining options include everything from mickey waffles, eggs, omelets, toast, bagels, pastries, breakfast meats, pancakes, biscuits and gravy and more for breakfast. Sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, turkey, salmon, pot roast, burgers and homemade desserts for lunch and dinner. There really are a lot of options.

3There is one other area and that is Petals, which is the pool bar attached to the Hippy Dippy Pool. Petals serves alcoholic drinks including an amazing Pina CoLAVA, which is a pina colada swirled with raspberry puree, the Hula Hoop which is a delicious mixture of coconut rum with melon and banana liqueurs with grenadine and pineapple juice and other fun libations.

23The 50’s building will be to the right of the main building, if you come out the back entrance and area, facing the Hippy Dippy pool. There are really cute and gigantic statues of Lady and the Tramp and the dog house from the movie in the courtyard of those. The 60’s buildings are right in the center of the resort directly off the main building and feature a hippy motif. The 70’s buildings are to the left if you come out the same entrance. Those feature cassette tapes, mood rings, a giant Big Wheel bike, a massive Mickey phone from that era and more.

12The 80’s and 90’s buildings are past the 70’s buildings. If you walk through the 70’s buildings you come to Hourglass Lake, which separates Art of Animation from Pop Century. There is a walkway in the middle of the lake that you can cross over to the other resort. That is also where you can view a lot of construction currently being done on the Gondola system coming soon to Walt Disney World called the Skyliner.

Now, let’s get to the rooms. All of the rooms at Disney’s Pop Century have now been renovated. They are done in clean, modern tones and lines. The floors are made to look like wood, the linens are white, the towels are white, the walls are white, the furniture is a medium brown tone that compliments the room nicely. Our room had a queen bed and then a desk that folded down into a murphy bed. When the bed was up, there were two chairs that fit around the desk. The nightstands were small but there were three of them that flanked each bed when both were laid out. There was a mini-fridge, plenty of outlets which is something that we always look for, there was a large flat screen tv that seems to be standard in all Disney resort rooms now. There was also a large dresser with plenty of space to store things; we used ours for hats, mickey ears and camera equipment.

5The bathroom had a separate vanity and toilet/shower area which you could close off with a pocket door. There was also a pocket door that could close off the vanity area from the rest of the room. In the vanity area was a single sink, two places for storage, one with hangers, so that was the official closet. There was also an iron. In the toilet/shower area were those two obvious items, the shower itself was a shower and bath combination. There was a removable hand held shower head as well as a rain shower head which was nice; although I will say, for my taste, I don’t love those shower heads because it always feels to me like the pressure is decreased, but that is honestly just my preference and I know most people love those types of shower heads so that is a plus.

16Also worth mentioning is that all of the rooms at Pop Century have been changed to the large dispensers of shampoo, body wash and conditioner, which again, I prefer but I know that I am in the minority on that. There was also no body lotion provided so be sure to plan for that.

22The room would be very tight for more than two or three people but if you, as many do, use the room for a bed and a shower, it really is everything you need and at quite a lower price tag than many of the other resorts.

As with all Disney resorts, there are busses running to all parks and Disney Springs. The Minnie Van service is also available. If you rent a car or drive to Disney and need to park your car, Disney implemented fees for parking at the resorts overnight so be aware of that.

19We found two pools at Pop Century. The Hippy Dippy pool in the 60’s buildings which appeared to be the main pool. There were games and interactive events taking place throughout the day at this pool and that is where Petals is located. This pool is open from 8 am until midnight, according to the Disney website. The pool in the 50’s buildings was much smaller and quieter. This pool is open from 10 am to 10 pm daily, according to the Disney website.

2A couple of things in regards to the areas and the differences between value resorts, specifically Pop Century and other resorts that are Deluxe or Moderate resorts. One is that if you are not a smoker and the smell of smoke bothers you, it is important to know that there seemed to be a large number of designated smoking areas at this resort and they were not tucked away from main walking areas but were right in the pathways and along areas that were difficult to avoid.

9There are elevators in these buildings and the buildings are four stories high. Our room was on the fourth floor and was at the very edge of the building, while the elevators were in the center of the buildings so it was easier for us to use the stairs instead.

On our last night of this trip, we returned from a ten hour day in the parks. It was hot and humid and had rained so were at a bit of a mess. We were heading to California Grill for dinner and were excited to shower and get refreshed before this meal. When we got into our room we discovered that mousekeeping had accidentally locked us out of our shower and toilet room. The room had been locked from the inside and we were unable to access that area. We called down to get someone to unlock the door. We had about an hour and a half before we had to get to our reservation. Guest services had assured us that someone would be along shortly to rectify the situation. We waited, and waited and waited and no one came. With about fifteen minutes before we had to leave we ended up just changing and doing what we could do prepare for dinner and we headed out. We went to the front desk and explained the situation and it was rectified by the time we returned.

20One thing about Disney is that if something goes wrong, they will work to fix it. We have rarely had the need to complain about anything in Disney. Service is always good, we have never had an issue with a room that wasn’t clean and have rarely experienced a lack of magic. It is important to remember that even at the happiest place on earth the castmembers are human. Mistakes happen. Calmly explain the situation, when magic go awry and Disney will do their best to make it right.

14Pop Century is full of color and has a ton of advantages for families. The rooms are wonderfully renovated as we mentioned earlier and the fact that the hideaway bed is able to do just that, and hide away will give families more room because it for sure will be a tight space with more than two people.

The bottom line for us is that, if you are going to go to Walt Disney World and use your room for a bed and a shower and not much more than that; we think Pop Century is perfect for you. We understand why people go back time and time again and you still are able to take advantage of the transportation options, including the Minnie Vans and if you are going to be spending a lot of time in the parks and are looking to save money on a hotel, Pop Century is a great option for your group.

Have you stayed at Pop Century before? Would you stay again? What were your pro’s and con’s? We’d love to hear from you. That’s it for this post. Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget that it all started with a mouse.