Thursday, January 15, 2015

Indulging My Disney Side With Planning

It's just 5 more weeks until some of my family and I will be headed off for another fantastic Disney Destination. Sadly, everyone is not coming along, and not everyone gets to be there for the entire length of time.  When you have a large, older family it can be really difficult to get everyone's schedule to match up for any sort of trip.  It's also really hard to leave people behind holding down the fort, but at the same time there's always a peace of mind that things won't go too haywire while I'm gone.

I've been working on getting all the details together and finishing up our overall spreadsheet.  ~ You can take a peek at it below. ~  The packing lists, budget, and work research lists are all about done too.  We've made FastPass+ reservations for attractions and I think I hate doing that already.  I've never been a big FastPass user, and don't often have a pre-set touring plan in the Parks.  Having to schedule them like this is awkward for me, I've never worried about how much time I need to do any specific thing before. 

I have, however, been checking the Be Our Guest Lunch website religiously hoping to be able to snag a lunch reservation there.  I really, really want to eat there and because we missed the 180 day reservation point I wasn't able to schedule dinner.  Right now we're scheduled for lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern, but if I can get Be Our Guest that will certainly change.  Everyone keeps telling me that the 27 day mark is when BOG should open up.  That's on 1/23 for us, fingers crossed and I'll let you all know if we get in.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid from Walt Disney Records

I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network. No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.

As I've mentioned before, Tori is a GIANT Disney music fan, and since we're heading off for a Disney Cruise Vacation soon, I couldn't think of a better way to get "in the mood" than to listen to some music from my favorite mermaid and her friends. 

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Disney classic movie The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney Records' launched a tribute to the memorable film.  The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid is two discs of festive music from Under the Sea paying tribute to the songs and score of Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. 

Disk 1 features the songs and score directly from the film and Disc 2 features work tapes and song demos performed by Menken and Ashman.  Included with the CDs is a 20-page hard bound booklet with stunning artwork and liner notes about each and every song.

My girls have listen to the soundtrack non-stop since the collection arrived at out house, but I'm fond of Disc 2 because it gives the listener that  peek behind the curtain to the origins of the music and the process of putting together some of the most beloved Disney songs of the modern generation. 

Disney Little Mermaid CD

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid 2-disc set is now available at http://smarturl.it/lclma1 and at Disney Music Emporium: disneymusicemporium.com.

For more information on Disney Music Emporium, please visit, DisneyMusicEmporium.com become a fan at Facebook.com/disneymusicemporium or follow them at Twitter.com/DisneyMusicEmp.

Oh hey!  You Can Win a Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD!

Simply leave a comment below and one lucky winner will be chosen at random to get a Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD all their own! 

Enter Before Midnight January 15th, 2015

Please note, if you have already won this prize on a giveaway sponsored by Entertainment New Media Network another blog, you will not be eligible to win twice. If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.

Disclosure: I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network. No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links. Giveaway prize provided by Disney Music via Entertainment New Media.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tick tock! tick tock! 

We're getting closer and closer to our next Disney vacation, and I am so excited!!

I've checked us in for the Cruise and at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, FastPass+ selections have been made, ADRs are all confirmed, everything is coming together.

I need this so badly, it's been far too long since I've visited the home of my heart. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Holiday Cards From Minted.com Help Share Your Family Adventures

Happy Holidays!  I know, I know… you think it’s too early to start thinking about Christmas cards but the winter holidays are really just right around the corner.  If you enjoy sending out a custom greeting to friends and loved ones, now is the best time to start planning.   I love the current trend of using holiday cards to share family vacation photos, and have ordered from many online printers over the years.  However, the one I go back to time and again for the most unique designs and highest quality paper products is beyond a doubt Minted.com.

I discovered Minted back in 2011 when I was looking for bridal shower invitations, and I’ve been a customer ever since. Minted’s revolutionary model crowd-sources design and art from independent designers around the world, then sells their best designs as fine stationery products, wall art, and home d├ęcor for the holidays, and many celebratory occasions. There’s always something fresh and new arriving in their store that can be even further personalized to create a special product just for you.
Minted offers hundreds of beautiful and unique card designs that can be easily searched through on their website.  Just check the boxes and their smart store will narrow down your choices by number of photos, format, or printing type.  If you turn on the “find it fast” button, it will even insert your personal photos into the previews.

Many families go for the traditional single shot of everybody on their holiday cards, and that’s nice, but as the family photographer I can tell you that it’s not always easy to get everyone together for one great picture.  Minted however offers a wide range of designs that can use multiple photos to help share adventures and whole family having fun.  Minted cards are a great way to share the highlights of your Disney vacation!  Yes, with multiple photos used to complete a design, even the family photographer can make it on these cards.

Once you’ve selected the design you like best, Minted’s website will walk you step by step through their customization process.  You can add in your photos and customize the text of your card, pick from several color schemes, chose a card shape, and even use all the space available by making the back of the cards personal too.  I love all the different options that Minted has to create a truly custom product.  Interior and backer upgrades often include a photo collage options so that you can share special moments from throughout your year.

Hand addressing all those envelopes can be a pain, literally!  So this year I’m taking advantage of Minted Envelopes too.  Users can easily upload an .xls file of their Holiday Card address list to the Minted website, and Minted will do the all heavy lifting.  This year there are 30 special holiday envelope designs being featured that you can chose from (note not all styles available with all cards).  Just match a beautiful envelope and address design and the outside of your card becomes just as special as the inside


Oh hey - The FTC says that I need to let you all know that this has been a “sponsored post,” and Minted compensated me with a store credit.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I’m a true fan of this company and it’s my honor to spread the word. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DVC Conciegre Collection: Hotel del Coronado

I love to travel, and believe it or not I've even been known to head off to a location other than a Disney Resort every now and again, but even on those trips being a Disney Vacation Club member has come in handy more than once.  As many a geek knows getting a great hotel room for the week of San Diego Comic-Con International is an experience more ten times more difficult than snagging a Magic Kingdom View on the Fourth of July.  I was thrilled that when I called up DVC member services to see about booking a room on DVC points at the famous Hotel del Coronado for Comic-Con week I had no trouble what so ever.

Before I get into my review of the Hotel del, let me say up front that using your DVC points for a Concierge Collection Hotel is NOT an economical way to use your vacation club points.  If you are a point miser who likes to squeeze every bit of value out of your DVC, rent out your points and book on cash.  Using points on this trip was the only way that I could afford to go, so for me using points was perfect. On to the review!

Disney Vacation Club's Concierge Collection is a group of carefully selected non-Disney resorts and hotels that DVC members can stay at using points.   These exquisite resorts offer options in some of the most popular vacation destinations both in the US and abroad.  I've had the opportunity to visit two of these  Concierge Collection properties so far and enjoyed them both very much.  Though the number of points that need to be used per night is high, so is the quality of the properties.


The Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California is a National Historic Landmark and for more than 125 years, has been the symbol of Victorian elegance and refined luxury.  "The del" has been a destination for Presidents, Royalty, and in the Golden age of Hollywood it was the "it" destination for glamorous starlettes and movie power.   An idyllic beachfront family retreat, it has earned a AAA four diamond rating as well as a slew of other awards in its substantial history.   It is widely considered one of the top hotels in the world.  The conical turrets and orange roof against it's white Victorian gingerbread featured inspired Disney Imagineers in building Walt Disney World's flagship hotel, The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.


This may be one of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts I have ever stayed in outside of Walt Disney World. The historic lady has not lost an ounce of her charm. Our room was not in the Victorian building but instead was in a newer section of the property. just off the main pool.  At first I was disappointed - but as we were lead down the hall by the charming bellman I had to chuckle.  The inside felt just like I was walking through the comfortable halls at the Grand Floridian, only in highlighted yellow instead of peach.  When we walked into our room all disappointment faded away, it was spacious and absolutely lovely, decorated in a beachy turquoise and lime color palette with a mid-century feel to it.  The pretty white shutters over the window let in ample amounts of light during the day.  Those shutters had their ups and downs though, because I had been looking forward to sleeping with black-out curtains and these let in more light that I cared for early in the morning.



The large bathroom allowed plenty of space for two people to get ready at the same time after everyone was done showering.  The one puzzling feature to me was that the closet was inside of the bathroom, and hid behind the bathroom door when it was open.  It proved a slightly awkward location if nothing else.  However the closet was large, with many hangers, had complimentary robes for us to use, extra pillows, and a small safe similar to those at Walt Disney World.

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Stepping out onto the balcony it became apparent that we had a great view of the main pool, turret building, and the ocean in the distance. How could you not be happy with that?  Plus PALM TREES! The grounds were an absolute plethora of palm trees. So many different types! I miss palm tress so much when I'm at home, and I never really realize it until I arrive some place that has them. I don't think Becks knew quite how obsessed with palm trees I actually am. I will note that the pool was really loud during the day full of families splashing and enjoying their time at the resort, but was locked up at 10pm each night so it didn't cause a problem at all when trying to sleep.



Staying at the Hotel del Coronado may have actually turned me into a beach girl. The soft sand sparkled and glittered in the sun. The cool pacific waters were fun to play in, even though we only dipped out toes. The U.S. Navy was frequently running exercises off-shore and we were able to watch helicopters, ships, and Navy Seals training to protect our country. I didn't stay at the bech for long but I am so glad that I did make the effort. However I much preferred sitting under an umbrella on the sun deck with a cocktail in my hand. I could easily lose hours or days just sitting back and enjoying the ocean view and breeze.



Turn-down service is provided to resort guests upon request, so I decided to indulge. All it took was one simple phone call to the front desk and when we returned at night after en evening out on the town our comfortable beds were turned down neatly with a small gift of seashells on our pillows. I love turn-down service, it always makes me feel especially pampered and it is one little treat I really appreciate. Though I often have trouble sleeping on vacation and can't always get comfortable on hotel beds, this was not one of those times. The Hotel del Coronado has very comfortable beds and ample numbers of pillows for cuddling and support.



Without a doubt my favorite part of this trip was the beautiful Hotel del CoronadoMy time spent here was lovely and relaxing, the ocean views nothing short of spectacular.  The weather was absolutely perfect with steady ocean breezes and the smell of salt air.  I wouldn't hesitate for a second to stay at the Hotel del again.  It was everything I dreamed it to be.

More Concierge Collection Hotel Reviews from the DVC Mom can be found at the links below.