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Here is the first of many pictures from our 2010 Christmastime Walt Disney World family vacation.  I haven’t unpacked yet or made it through the 8GB of pictures that I took while there but I must share my favorite view with you now!  This is Cinderella Castle dressed in its holiday finest, the Dream Lights.  This trip we were lucky enough to have a Magic Kingdom view for part of our stay.  (Which was AMAZING!!)  Many more pictures to come… 

Be sure to visit Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom before January 3, 2011 so you can check out these lights and lots of other special holiday magic sprinkled throughout the Walt Disney World Resort!

Dream Lights

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If you have been to Disneyland in the fall then you probably got to see the Haunted Mansion’s super duper Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.  When I went to Disneyland for the first time ever last December, I went through the Haunted Mansion there at least 9 times and can tell you it was spooktacular!

I have been hearing some rumors that Walt Disney World may install a special overly like this in their version of the Haunted Mansion.  Hearing this exciting news has made my want to go through my pictures of Disneyland’s overlay and share them with you so I am going to load into wordpress lots of my favorite pictures of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion with the special holiday overlay.

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I can’t believe it is almost April and that Easter is almost here.  Has this hippity hoppity holiday sneaked up on anyone else? 

Easter happiness

I’m not too worried about Easter being a little early this year since I have this little ace in my pocket from Build-A-Bear.   When I won this basket, I didn’t know that Build-A-Bear was selling Easter baskets.  But they sure are!  I was curious about what it would be like.  I knew it would be cute since it was from Build-A-Bear and everything from Build-A-Bear is cute, but I hadn’t expected its cuteness would include a Zhu Zhu Pet with accessories and codes to play with on the Build-A-Bear’s Web site.  This is going to be so much fun for my girls!

For some easy-peasy, one-stop Easter shopping be sure to visit your local Build-A-Bear for a beary special basket for your little one.  Happy Easter!

By the way, in case you are interested in knowing how I won this basket, I won it watching a show on Maria Bailey’s MomTV.  Have you heard of it?  Be sure to check it out! 

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I could just tell that there were tons of people leaving Disney’s Give a Day Get a Disney Day announcement and volunteer events with their hearts soaring after realizing the huge goals that we can accomplish when we join our efforts together!  The Give a Day Get a Disney Day event was inspirational!  And, after seeing the Can Do Cavalcade carry 14 trucks worth of food, 115,000 can’s, out of Epcot,  I had no idea there was still more fun to be had that day.  But there was!!  Much of the fun would come from sampling many delicious dishes, as it turns out that Chef Robert Irvine from the food network’s Dinner:Impossible show was in Epcot and on a very special mission:  he was to make a Dinner:Impossible meal for all of t he attendees of the Family Volunteer Celebration!  How cool is that?  There were so many details about all of the dishes that I didn’t document.  I loved the food but to describe all that we got, but I’m going to link up to AJ from The Disney Food Blog for the dish on the dishes, as she has perfectly recaptured all these details.  Please click on over to The Disney Food Blog and read about the fantastic food and happenings that surrounded this event.  She describes the tantalizing cuisine that was set up at many stations throughout this event.  I remember wishing, as I sampled some of these tasty treats, that I had paid more attention in the kitchen growing up!  Everything was so yummy!

Cast Members had given everyone a cool multi-functional soft-glo lightstick adorned with the Disneynature OCEANS film logo as they entered the event and we were about to put them to good use.  Disneynature has its feature OCEANS set to be released on Earth Day, April 22 and I can’t wait to see it!  Did you know that Disney will make a donation to help save coral reefs through The Nature Conservancy for every ticket sold to Disneynature’s OCEANS during its first week in the theaters?  According to StitchKingdom,  the donation will go towards a new Adopt-a-Coral-Reef program focusing on The Bahamas which aims to save 500,000 acres of threatened coral reef, accounting for 30% of the reef in the Atlantic Ocean.   As a Biologist with Specialty in Marine Science, I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing this film!  The ocean has always moved me and I expect Disneynature’s OCEANS to rock my world.  And while I am sure the film will be beautiful, I think I am equally looking forward to watching that many more people fall in love with our Earth’s oceans and the creatures that live in them.  The oceans have some of the world’s least known creatures and I’m sure this movie will not disappoint! 

"Just a pebble in the water can set the sea in motion, and a simple act of kindness can stir the deepest ocean"

"Just a pebble in the water can set the sea in motion, and a simple act of kindness can stir the deepest ocean"

As a teaser for the film, two Disney Channel stars from the Friends for Change: Project Green campaign took the stage.  Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas sang Disneynature’s OCEANS new anthem “Make a Wave” and I loved, loved, loved this song!  The words remind us, just as the World’s Largest Can structure did earlier in the day, that every little bit helps and we can all make a difference when we work together and combine our efforts.  

What more than 115,000 cans can look like. These cans will provide 70,000 meals for the needy.

What more than 115,000 cans can look like. These cans will provide 70,000 meals for the needy.

The only thing I can think of that could top this event would be IllumiNations.  And it was the perfect ending to another perfect Disney Day!

IllumiNations

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Part 5 of Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration Weekend Coverage

After Guy Kawasaki finished speaking to us from inside of the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot, we were given Hanes t-shirts with the Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration logo on them, a sample of Starbucks new yummy VIA ready-brew coffee AND a Disney Parks Blog pin as we left to walk to our next scheduled event.  When we reached the World Showplace, the room was filled with excitement!  There was something BIG on the stage behind a curtain of balloons!  We had been hearing buzz that we would be setting an official record for the Guinness Book of World Records but we didn’t know how and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next! 

Canned Goods set a Guinness World Record!

Our first hint: our Guinness Book of World Records might have to do with Canned Goods! Hint, Hint!

Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, told us that since this program’s launch, only six weeks ago, more than 600,000 people in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada have volunteered or signed up for volunteer projects in their communities!  He said, “With the launch of our ‘Give a Day, Get a Disney Day’ program, we hoped to spark something truly special but even we have been overwhelmed with the response.”   This year Disney Parks is celebrating those who volunteer through the program by giving them a free one-day admission to Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  Visit www.disneyparks.com for more details about the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program.  This program utilizes the largest volunteer network in the nation, The Points of Light Institute, which uses their HandsOn Network to connect volunteers like you and me with “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” volunteer programs.  Michelle Nunn, co-founder of HandsOn Network and CEO of Points of Light Institute, said that there are 10,000 community organizations that have already received volunteer help through Disney’s program.  She said, “The level of volunteerism we have seen in the first few weeks of 2010 is tracking to new highs,” and that she and the HandsOn Network “dream for everyone to recognize their power to make a difference.” 

Tom Staggs and Michelle Nunn

Michelle Nunn, pictured here with Kermit The Frog and Tom Staggs, tells us that: Disney is helping us to make that dream a reality, a million times over.

And then, we learned about some of the voluntEARS’ tasks:  some have been busy clearing away non-native vegetation from the wetlands of Long Beach, California and the mountain preserves in Phoenix, Arizona; voluntEARS are cleaning Atlantic Coast beaches in Brevard County and Dade County, Florida;  some voluntEARing families have gathered in Michigan with paint brushes to spruce up their community center; in Georgia voluntEARS have assisted hospitalized children by setting up arts and crafts projects for them to do; and blankets have been distributed to the homeless in Central Florida during the cold spell by more voluntEARS to name just a few.  There has been a lot of work done but there is so much more that can be done!

Some outstanding voluntEAR families were invited to Walt Disney World from the US, Puerto Rico and Canada. They were recognized by Staggs who told them: Today we are here to celebrate you! With each of your efforts, you make a difference!

Then, Ty Pennington appeared on stage and thanked the voluntEARS and he challenged everyone to get involved and go out and make a difference!   

Ty Pennington, thanking the voluntEARS and inspiring new ones!

 He called for the balloons to be raised and they floated up to the ceiling and revealed the world’s largest structure made from canned goods!  It was Guinness Book of World Records HUGE!  There were 115,527 packages of food in that structure.  It truly was inspiring to see what can happen if everyone does just a little.  When a can is donated, it might not seem like much, but this picture can remind us that if everyone does a little lots of magic can really happen!

Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Joined Ty Pennington for the big reveal!

What more than 115,000 cans can look like.  These cans will provide 70,000 meals for the needy.

What more than 115,000 cans and a little Disney Magic looks like. These cans will provide 70,000 meals for the needy!

To construct this sculpture, a team of Disney VoluntEARS devoted more than 500 “man hours” over a four-day period.  Some interesting facts about what was used here: 

  • Mickey was shaped from cans of black olives
  • Cans of sliced pineapple made up Pluto’s eyes
  • Goofy’s face was made of Atlantic salmon containers
  • Tuna cans made up Donald’s hat
  • All of the characters had their pupils made from pans of popcorn
  • Everything from albacore tuna and apricot halves to spaghetti were used
  • Even stewed tomato and mixed vegetable cans
  • You can see a time lapse video of the creation of this structure and more on the Disney Parks Blog

115,000 cans is a lot!  In fact, it is SO much that if you stacked all of these goods on top of each other, the pile would be taller than the height that is one mile higher than the summit of Mt. Everest!   WOW!

Mickey is going to help a lot of families!

Those cans equal 44 tons of food!  They packed it on pallets so it could be trucked to food banks in Orlando, Miami and Atlanta.  The food would be paraded out of Epcot that afternoon! 

The parade of food to needy families begins here!

Creative Canning

I love the details that Disney Imagineers added to the cans. They thought of everything!

The Can Do Cavalcade was led by none other than Kermit The Frog and Miss Piggy!!

1 of 14 box trucks on a mission with the Can Do Cavalcade to take food to the needy in Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta.

*Disclosure: I attended the Disney Social Media Moms conference, for which I paid I fee, but received a great trip to Walt Disney World.  Disney did not tell me what to say, nor require anything from me in exchange for the benefit I received.

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The Lilly Belle Caboose – The last car from Disneyland’s Retlaw 1 – A Narrated Video Tour

In honor of Lillian Disney’s February 15th birthday, I have been trying to figure out how to get my 22 minute video uploaded onto youtube, which requires videos to be 10 min or less.  I have finally succeeded!   Here, my magical 22 minute video, steeped in pure Disney history, is broken down into 3 parts.  

Come ride along with us on our grand circle tour of Disneyland with Disneyland Conductor, Vern, in THE Lilly Belle Caboose Car.  This is a rare look at the last of Disneyland’s Retlaw 1 cars, all of the little Disney Details found throughout The Lilly Belle Car, and its very special history.  Vern is an expert on the Lilly Belle and he even wrote and submitted its history to Dave Smith so it could be forever preserved in the Disney Archives.   So, sit back, relax, and relish in this rare and magical treat!

This beautiful picture of Walt and Lillian Disney, circles around the park in The Lilly Belle.  I just loved knowing that Walt and Lillian get to circle the park in this place of honor, their Lilly Belle car. 

Do you see the hidden Mickey’s in the carpet?  These could be the first-ever hidden Mickeys as this is same exact carpet found in Walt Disney’s Disneyland Apartment. 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Thank you, Vern!!! I won’t ever forget this very special tour!

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Wow!  Those were some fantastic announcements, huh?  Once the announcements were made the people started to flow out of the Milk House.  Mickey sent lots of Cast Members over to lead us all to the room where the Tailgate Family Dinner Party would take place.  Take a look at this room.  It’s Disney-style HUGE!  As soon as I entered I was greeted by Cast Members serving drinks.  Many food and drink stations were also set up throughout the facility.  There was a sea of red-covered tables.  At the front of the room was a stage where all of the children would later dance, sing and play with a super-fun entertainer.  Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale were all circulating the room.  They came ready to party all dressed up in their athletic gear.  They really were ADORABLE!  Seeing as I didn’t bring my hubby or kids with me on this trip, I decided to find other families who might not mind “adopting me”.  I really enjoyed when I got to see a child meet a character for their first time ever!  I was surprised at how many times this happened.  There were lots of happy kids here tonight!!  Here are some character pictures from that night.  Donald keeps telling the others he’s number 1.  Chip and Dale almost gave him a penalty!  😉

Chip and Dale

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids danced the night away on the stage.

 

Then the cast of High School Musical 3 came out to entertain the crowd.

 

This was my first ever mommy blogger conference experience.   I had wondered what it would be like and I am SO happy to say that I had THE BEST time!  Even though most of the moms brought their families with them, I found lots of smiling people who wanted to chat and was able to make plenty of connections.   

Boy, are you in for a treat, if a sporting competition will be bringing you to this complex in the future.  Be ready to have some real fun!  The ESPN Wide World of Sports is sure to give you the best possible experience!  Now go teams go!

But…all good parties must come to an end at some point.  And this one did eventually, too.  After this event was over, we boarded motor coaches and were returned to the Polynesian Resort.  I walked over the Polynesian’s tikki-torch-lit resort grounds onto its beautiful beach and watched the Electrical Water Pageant, even though it was chilly.  After that, I decided to go to Downtown Disney for a little shopping. 

  

Wait until you hear about the breakfast and conference I had first thing the next day.  Whoa!!  🙂 

*Disclosure: I attended the Disney Social Media Moms conference, for which I paid I fee, but received a great trip to Walt Disney World.  Disney did not tell me what to say, nor require anything from me in exchange for the benefit I received.

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