Friday, 25 May 2012

Happy Anniversary Goofy!

It's May 25, 2012. 80 years ago today, a yet-to-be-named Goofy made his debut in the animated short, Mickey's Revue. In honour of Goofy's anniversary, and the fact that he's my daughter, Claire's favourite pal, I decided to blog about my favourite Goofy encounters.

One of my daughter's favourite Goofys is Pirate Goofy, located outside of the Pirates of The Caribbean attraction in Walt Disney World. I think she really enjoys his elaborate pirate costume, and his overall "goofy-ness". On our most recent trip, he made a big fuss about her Goofy doll and gave her a huge bear hug!

We had another great Goofy experience at Chef Mickey's this trip. Claire always gets a kick out of the spilled ketchup and mustard on his chef's smock. What really stood out to me that night, though, was that Goofy kicked my husband out of his chair so that he could have a seat beside both my daughter AND son for a picture. Most characters at character dinners usually make a bigger fuss over Claire because she is more excited and Max is usually more shy, and Max sits in a high chair so he is immobile. Goofy, however, took the initiative to include Max in the encounter, and that meant a lot to me.

Another fun Goofy, that we, unfortunately, missed on this trip was Epcot Goofy at the Character Spot. He loves to do "goofy" poses with Claire!

Finally, we had a really special Goofy experience in Castaway Cay this trip, while on our first Disney cruise. While it was a brief encounter, posing for a photo, it was a novel experience posing with Goofy in his swim suit in The Bahamas!!

Happy Anniversary, Goofy! Thanks for the laughs!

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Sunday, 20 May 2012

New in-room WDW toiletries

We returned from our day at Animal Kingdom to find new shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, bath soap and facial soap! This must be a very recent change since we were given the usual bottles when checking in. I'm not sure if this change affects all Disney resorts, or just the deluxe level resorts. We are at Animal Kingdom Villas.

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The end of a Disney vacation

It is the last day of our 10-day vacation. My daughter notices my sadness and when I tell her why, she reminds me, "mommy, we'll come back". Isn't it funny? My three year-old has more perspective than me.
She's right. As long as God wills it, we will be back, and in less than four short months. I have to admit, the planning of my Disney vacations is almost as fun as the trip itself! This prospect, along with the fact that our wait will take place during the summer months makes it all the more bearable! Swimming at our trailer every weekend is surely the best way to pass the time!
What will also make my wait more enjoyable is the fact that, again, this upcoming trip will not only be a Walt Disney World vacation, but also one which includes a Disney Cruise! We were bit by the Disney cruise bug and booked our September cruise while on board.
So, although we head home tomorrow, I return having lots to be thankful for and lots to look forward to!

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Saturday, 19 May 2012

Another reason why we never tire of WDW

We often get asked, "don't you get sick of WDW?" when we mention that we are vacationing there again. Besides the other answers I share, I also note that every trip is a brand new experience, since our children are able to enjoy and appreciate new attractions, parades, restaurants each trip. That's the beauty of starting WDW vacations with your kids when they're young: there's always something new to look forward to as they grow. This trip, we had the pleasure of taking Claire on Splash Mountain and The Barnstormer for the very first time! A whole new world of thrill rides is beginning to open up for her... I can't wait to experience it with her.

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Back from our Disney cruise!

We're back at Animal Kingdom Villas today after our four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream. What an amazing first experience on the Disney Cruise Line! I didn't have Internet on the ship, so I can't provide as much detail now as I would have liked. Here are my highlights:
-The ship (Dream) is absolutely gorgeous! Every space is perfectly appointed, every detail well planned out.

-Joining a Fish Extender group was a great idea! A fish extender resembles an organizer you would find in a locker or closet (see photo). It gets its name because it literally extends from a fish hanger outside the stateroom. As a member of a group, you leave small tokens (gifts) for other members in their Fish Extenders and they do the same for you. Claire loved coming back to the stateroom each day and checking to see if there were any new surprises.

-We loved our balcony! It was our first cruise with a balcony and we all enjoyed it. It was nice having a little retreat once the kids went to bed.

-The Atlantis Aquaventure Port Adventure in Nassau was a lot of fun but over-priced. I don't think we would do it again.

-Castaway Cay is a piece of Heaven right here on Earth! Disney thought of everything! It is absolutely gorgeous naturally, but everything Disney added was thoughtful. Having food on the island so we didn't have to return to the ship was great. Cookie's BBQ was delicious and efficient. The bike riding option was a great touch for people who wanted something that didn't involve swimming. If people are really ambitious, they can even partake in a 5km run! The kids loved the Spring A Leak splash zone - and it was completely shaded! A perfect place for little ones to get out of the sun. We loved the character appearances ashore, too. Fun and great photo opportunities. Everything was paved (aside from the sand on the beach), so it was easy to use our strollers.

-Pirate night onboard was a big hit! Claire was looking forward to it all cruise long. Disney did a good job of getting everyone involved. There was a pirate party for the little ones, pirate fireworks later at night for the older kids and then late-night activities for the older set. Dinner, and the servers were pirate themed. They even played pirate songs throughout the ship all evening. Everyone was also given "Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean" bandanas to wear. There were not as many people dressed in pirate garb as I would have thought, though.

-I loved the rotating restaurant schedule. It was nice eating at a different restaurant each night because they were each unique and beautiful in their own way. My favourite would have to be Enchanted Garden where the night's sky in the restaurant starts at dusk but turns to a starry night by the end of your meal. Max's favourite was definitely Animator's Palate. He was completely obsessed with locating all the fish swimming across the restaurant's walls. He also loved when Crush would speak, too.
-Babies in diapers are not allowed in the pools (public health rules across all cruise line). This is usually a major drag - but not with Disney. They have created a whole splash zone dedicated to little ones called Nemo's Reef. It's also completely shaded. Both kids had a blast there!

-We chose not to put the kids in the It's A Small World Nursery or the Oceaneer's Club, although we have only heard good things about the kids programming.
We went into this cruise not knowing what to expect with the kids. We were totally blown away by how easy Disney made the cruise experience for families. I mean, come on, they even give you Diaper Genies in the staterooms! They think of everything. We even had servers helping us cut up our son's food for him. What else could a parent want, but a place to have fun, feel comfortable, and welcome, with your babies? Thank you Disney!

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Location:Spences Trace Dr,Kissimmee,United States

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Epcot: Via Napoli

After Max's nap, we headed to Epcot. It is really beautiful there right now during the Flower and Garden Festival.

Of course, no visit to Epcot is complete without a stop into Mousegear. I love that store! My only purchase was a new iPhone case, though.

After looking at some of the wonderful topiaries and riding The Three Caballeros, we headed to dinner at Via Napoli. It was divine, as usual. One thing I don't understand: whenever we eat there, our server is always run off his/her feet, and is usually pretty non-existent throughout the dinner. Why not hire more staff? Despite the wait for the food, Max kept himself entertained with crayons and the drawings of Duffy on the colouring sheet he was given.

After dinner, the kids were still going strong so we decided to do a couple more rides. After Living With The Land and Spaceship Earth, we headed home. Another great night in the books.

Tomorrow: Cruise day!!

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Day 2: Magic Kingdom

We had a fabulous day at Magic Kingdom! I just have to ask, though, who are these wonderful children and what happened to my crazy ones?! That's all I'm going to say about that because I don't want to jinx it for the rest of the trip. Here are some things that stand out from our day:

Applying sunscreen while we waited for the opening show. We usually do this because it helps take their minds off the wait and seems to make the time go by faster. Here's Claire all lathered up and ready to head into the MK:

Pin trading. I've held out on doing this until the kids were older. Well, I'm glad we tried it this trip. She's thoroughly enjoying it (at age 3.5).

The Barnstormer is a lot of fun! Claire so enjoyed her first roller coaster that we rode it four times in a row! Thank you to the friendly Cast Members who let us stay on over and over. Max enjoyed walking around outside of the ride with Daddy.

Free fun can be found in Adventureland. We spent 15 minutes with the Tiki Men and could have easily stayed longer!

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin are just as much fun as Dumbo. If the lines at Dumbo are too long, head to Adventureland for the same fun and half the wait!

Walt Disney World got new kids Crocs since we were last here in January! I instantly fell in love and bought a pair for both kids. They even light up!

Tonight is dinner at a family favourite: Via Napoli. Tomorrow: Embarkation Day on our first Disney Cruise! Stay with us :)

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Friday, 11 May 2012

Rainforest Cafe at DAK

On our arrival days, we have usually been on an early morning flight and everyone is feeling the effects by dinner time. Because of this, we usually like to stay close to "home" for dinner. Since we always stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, an obvious "fun" choice for us to eat is Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's always been a hit with the kids, but tonight was our best visit yet. Max is at a great age (19 months) to really appreciate the animals in the restaurant now and he was completely consumed by them the whole time. The wait for our food was a little long and I was worried about how Max would take it, but he just couldn't stop pointing out all of the nearby animals! I'd highly recommend this restaurant for families with toddlers... Not necessarily for the food (usual fare), but because the atmosphere is terrific.

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Day 1 - Travel Day

May 11, 2012
Eddie and I were up at 4:00am today. We got ourselves ready, loaded the suitcases in the car, then woke up the kids. Claire was bursting with excitement and eager to wake up her brother. By 4:45am we were on the road.

Check-in and security were routine. When we got to our gate, the kids did well with the wait to board. We only had about 20 minutes until boarding so we timed it perfectly! Just enough time for Max to burn off some energy, but not enough time for him to become bored.

We flew Southwest and purchased the Early Bird Check-In option. This allows us to avoid the check-in rush at the 24hr mark and pre-selects us a seating zone. Since it is open seating, Claire and I boarded when it was our zone's turn, while Max and Eddie waited until the end to board (another tactic to ensure the least amount of sitting on the plane as possible for Max).

Before we knew it, we were in the air. The flight went by quickly because both kids were SO well-behaved. Thank goodness for the iPad! Eddie and I were so proud of them.

The Magical Express can sometimes be another venue for misbehaving and chaos, but again, both kids made us proud. We actually had an enjoyable ride to Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House! I can't remember the last time this has happened.

When we arrived, our room wasn't ready, but Eddie and I were hungry so we just grabbed lunch at The Mara. My vegetable flatbread and Eddie's half-chicken dinner were calling to us, as usual. The kids were pretty full from snacking onboard so they played in the kiddie pool while we ate beside them.

By the time we finished lunch, our room was ready. Perfect timing! Now the kids could grab a nap since they had both been up since 4:30am! A beautiful 1-bedroom Value room, as always.

We were even lucky enough to get Savannah view... Again!

So now, both kids are napping, and we're just enjoying being back "home". Next up is dinner at Rainforest Cafe (a 1st night of the trip tradition).

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We're here!!

Just stepped off the plane into MCO airport. We're here! Let the memories begin!!

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4:45am - On our way!

It's 4:45 am and we're on the way to the airport. We always take these oh-so-early flights, and when the alarm goes off, hubby and I always look at each other and say "do we really want to do this?". But, it's just the early morning fogginess talking, because who are we kidding, OF COURSE WE DO! Please send any and all positive thoughts for a safe and manageable flight with the little ones!!
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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thank goodness for nap time

Well, I'm in the final stages of trip prep... Getting my hair flat-ironed. I have lots of little things to do today. I don't know what I would do without my son's nap time. This is when I get the most accomplished. When both my kids are awake, it's impossible to concentrate on anything but them... They make sure of that! Hurry up 2pm!

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

This year, Mother's Day has all the makings of being the best one yet. Not only will we be all together as a family on vacation, but it will also be embarkation day for our first ever Disney cruise. I have a feeling it will be a very memorable day. I'm one blessed Momma!

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Location:Mother's Day on the Dream

Back from the nail salon, and here is what we came up with. My original idea was too difficult to execute, so we ended up with this. Don't the rhinestones give it a nice touch?? T-1 day. :)

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Disney nails?

As part of my WDW/Disney cruise prep, a mani/pedi is in order! I usually just go for the ordinary French manicure, but I thought I'd do something more "magical" for this trip - it is my first Disney Cruise, after all!! One of my husband's patients had the nails in the above picture for her WDW trip. I'm debating this look... Cute or too "Minnie"? I have a few ideas in mind... Stay tuned...

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Countdown to Disney

Don't you just love receiving the Disney's Magical Express luggage tags in the mail? It's a sure sign that your trip is near! What's even better, is what I'm looking at right now: the DME luggage tags ON my luggage! Now I know I'm leaving soon! Roughly 2 days to be exact. Aaaah!

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Please allow me to introduce myself:
Hi! I’m Danielle, from Ontario, Canada and a self-professed Disney addict! Although I visited a handful of times as a child with my family, my husband and I started visiting Walt Disney World in 2007 as a couple (after I converted him) and have been returning with our two children multiple times per year ever since. We became Disney Vacation Club members in 2010 and it has been the best decision we have ever made! We have fallen in love with our home resort, Animal Kingdom Villas. When I’m not helping my husband with his dental practice, or engaging in mommy duties, I am glued to my favourite Disney blogs and websites for all the latest WDW news. Apart from this blog, I can be found on Twitter at @DreaminofAKV, through my column, The Fairytale Family about travelling to WDW with young children at, and as a "Minnie Mom" on

Hi! Welcome to my BRAND SPANKIN' NEW Blog! I'm so excited to share my journey with you as a Disney Mommy! Here you will discover the highs and lows of being a Disney-addicted mom in a Disney-addicted family - alright, I have to admit, there aren't too many lows! ;) Come along for the ride!