Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wounded Warrior Suite at Shades of Green


Raytheon’s relationship with Shades of Green began in 2009 with the company’s donation of The Family Technology Center, a game room for the guests’ “home away from home.” The center includes plasma televisions, personal computers, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox systems, providing an on-site extension of the Disney experience – to relax, connect and enjoy a family experience. 

In addition to it's celebration of the 3rd Anniversary of 'Sum of All Thrills' at Epcot, on October 17th, 2012 Raytheon also hosted its annual character breakfasts for military families at Shades of Green Resort during which children of all ages had a chance to meet their favorite Disney characters.  Raytheon is dedicated to making sure that our veterans and their families can share a wonderful Disney Vacation.

kitchen TV area

Did you know that Raytheon sponsors a special suite at Shades of Green for wounded veterans and their families who are seeking a magical Disney vacation?  The Raytheon Wounded Warrior suite, offers wounded service members and their families the opportunity to stay together in a 1,200-square-foot ADA compliant suite that can accommodate up to 10 adults and four children. Now that's a big suite!


The Shades of Green Resort provides active service members, veterans and their families with a vacation filled with fun and relaxation at an affordable cost. Shades of Green is operated as an Armed Forces Recreation Center by the U.S. Army in support of all branches of the U.S. military, their family members and guests.  Room Rates at this hotel are based on military rank or civilian grade at the time of check-in.  Whether it's a standard room or the Wounded Warrior Suite, reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (888) 593-2242.

Happy Anniversary Sum of All Thrills!

Did you know that today is the 3rd Anniversary for the 'Sum of All Thrills' in Epcot's Innovations? If you're down in "The World" stop on by and join the special celebration!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

9 Days Until I'm Home Again

Just 9 Days left until I'm back home at Walt Disney World. It's been a long road, but I'm finally excited about this!  It's a working trip though and I need to get in as much research, and as many photographs as I possibly can while I'm there. It's going to be 8 months until I have the chance to go back.  It's a super quick trip so let's hope that I can get everything squeezed in.

I started packing and took care of my online check-in yesterday! Whoo hoo! I'm really trying to travel light and just take carry-ons. 'm not usually very good at accomplishing that.  I even went easy with the whole coordinating outfits I accept that this trip will be very casual and random.   Right now the weather forecast looks sunny so far too!

Here's what I've going on, I can't wait to get back and the fact that my best friend will be there at the same time makes it even better.  I don't have a hashtag for twitter yet, but I will make one soon and let you know where to watch for my trip reports.  Tick tock watch my countdown clock!

Pre-Trip Details:

Travelers: Kristen and Erik
Hotel: Art of Animation for 4 Nights
Extras: Disney Dining Plan and Length of Stay Parkhoppers

Thursday - (leave for airport 5am) Arrival at MCO, Magical Express to the Art of Animation with 1:30 arrival. Dinner at OHana, Fingers crossed that Erik will make it on time! Hotel hopping. Cocktails at the Top of The World for Hallowishes.  I love HalloWishes, it's my favorite Disney fireworks show.

Friday - Magic Kingdom Day, Pecos Bills for Lunch, Liberty Tree Tavern for Dinner.  Leave park at 7pm for cocktails and sushi at the Polynesian Kona Island.  My first time at Liberty Tree Tavern in about 25 Years!

Saturday - Epcot, Breakfast at Akershus, Food & Wine Festival Booth crawl, Dinner at Via Napoli with Becks.  SO much on my list to taste!

Sunday - Kouzinna for Breakfast, Epcot, Possible Lou Mongello Meet Up, Rose & Crown Pub for Dinner Becks534, EMH at Hollywood Studios, Fantasmic! 

Monday - Wedding trial hair and make-up run with Becks. Breakfast and Lunch on Counter Service credits, Magical Express back to MCO about 1pm

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Disney Architecture

Today's Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop is all about "Disney Architecture" so I thought I would share a couple of shots of one of my favorite hotels.  There's construction going on all over the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa right now, these shots come from early 2011.

Bird Cage Bird Cage Elevator
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Lobby Ceiling
Grand Floridian Lobby Jazz Band

Focused on the Magic

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Disney Food for Wordless Wednesday

My Food & Wine Festival Trip is coming up fast and I'm so excited to be returning for this event again!  Eating at Disney is one of the things that I look forward to most when it comes to vacation and I thought that today I would share with you a few of the things I'm looking forward to most! So Delish! 

Arancini Goodness Italian Margarita 2
Untitled Untitled

Focused on the Magic

Monday, September 17, 2012

Creating Family Time at Home with a Disney Movie Night

HaystackAs my kids get older I struggle more and more with trying to hold onto special moments that celebrate our family.   Kirk turned 18 on Sunday and I was a teary eyed-mess for most of the day.  Katie is now the only “official” kid in out house.   I suppose you could say that I’m beginning to have empty nest syndrome, even though my kids aren’t gone yet!   While they were growing up I don’t think I realized how very important it would be that I cherish ever moment that I had with them. All Moms know that the goal is to raise great kids that will grow up and someday become successful adults on their own, but the harsh realization of someone you’ve lived with for 20 years just up and moving out is still hard to come to.

I’m taking this last year Kirk has in High School to celebrate special moments with my family while I still have them close. I’m so happy that as with the earlier portions of their lives, Disney is there to help me bring the whole family together not only while we’re at the Parks, but at home as well. This weekend we’re having a family movie night! I know, it doesn’t sound that exciting, but with the busy scheduled of four adults in the house all working different hours, and a limited budget, it’s not that easy to get everyone together anymore. With a family movie night we can take a break and spend some relaxing time at home, while still spending time together as a family.

This weekend’s pick is the Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 on Blu-ray Combo Pack! I know, I know, it sounds like a crazy choice, but we saw the first Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie on a plane coming home from Disneyland and it had us rolling in the aisles! It was hilarious and in this Beverly Hills Chihuahua Movie, Papi (voiced by George Lopez) is learning for himself that it can be tough helping your kids grow up. I’ll probably start crying, I’m sure that my kids will laugh at me, but at least we’ll be celebrating together. Maybe Papi can help me find my inner strength too. So come Saturday night I’ll grab some of everyone’s favorite candy from the store, pop up some pop corn, dim the lights in the living room and settle in on the couch with my whole clan for some great family fun. Have you struggled with your teens getting older? How do you make sure to celebrate every moment? Have you held a family movie night? Leave a comment and let me know!

I was compensated for writing this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Disney blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No. 1 Cruise Line for Families

Hoorah!  Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have once again confirmed what I've always said, the Disney Cruise Line is the No. 1 Cruise Line for Families!  Receiving the No. 1 honor for the fourth consecutive year, it's the eighth consecutive year Disney Cruise Line has been ranked to the top five cruise lines overall.   There's no doubt here, Disney offers an elegant, fun, family cruise that can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. 

Just last week I booked my second Disney Cruise and hope to enjoy one of their Holiday Sailings in 2013.  We'll be taking the Disney Magic (fresh out of dry dock) from the Port of Miami, I'm headed to Castaway Cay and Key West!  Woohooo!  I'm so excited about this one!  I even made a ticker to help keep me motivated to get it paid off!

Congrats to the Disney Cruise Line!  It's totally deserved. 

Check out these posts for more news about the Disney Cruise Line from Disney Parks Blog:

Magical Moment Wordless Wednesday


Today's Disney Blog Hop theme is Magical Memories. 
 I have to pick the Princess Party Crew trip from this past February as full of the most magical moments. I couldn't really narrow it down to just one, so I picked this picture of my two very best friends and I having dinner at the California Grill on the first night of the trip. 
You just can't get much more magical than that.

Focused on the Magic

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DVC Member Lounge at the Top of the World

Monorail Mural behind the bar
Original Concept Art Backs the Bar
From the DVC Member Site:

"The popularity of a special perk originally slated to end on Aug. 25 has prompted its extension! From now through Dec. 29, 2012, Disney Vacation Club(r) Members staying at any Disney-owned-and-operated hotel at the Walt Disney World(r) Resort (whether they booked with vacation points or cash) may enjoy complimentary access to one of the vacation kingdom's most exclusive spaces: the Top of the World Lounge atop Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort."

Note that Members traveling from other resorts must use Walt Disney World Transportation, as parking will be unavailable to anyone not staying at Bay Lake Tower or Disney's Contemporary Resort. Upon arrival, Members must walk to the Bay Lake Tower main lobby entrance on the ground floor (the typically locked front door will be unlocked during this time, or a Cast Member will be at the door to assist) and check in at the Top of the World Lounge desk in the lobby.

Top of the World Lounge
Chic interior is modern and comfortable
The sleekly designed bar and lounge, typically available only to Members staying at Bay Lake Tower, operates from 5 p.m.-midnight daily and offers spectacular rooftop viewing of Wishes(tm) " the Magic Kingdom(r) fireworks spectacular " complete with the show's stirring musical soundtrack. The ability to access the lounge has been a frequent request from Members staying at other Walt Disney World Resorts since Bay Lake Tower opened in 2009, and Disney Vacation Club is thrilled to make that "wish" come true during this extended period.

This perk is available exclusively to Members and those in their traveling party who are staying on that Member's reservation. At least one Member in the traveling party must accompany the group and present his or her current Key to the World card displaying a Disney Vacation Club Membership notation in order to gain admission to the lounge. If the Member's Key to the World card doesn't display a Membership notation, a Disney Vacation Club Member ID is required in addition to the Key to the World card to verify Membership.

Magic Kingdom
You just can't beat the view
This special Top of the World Lounge access is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the lounge reaches capacity. As the lounge is particularly popular during the Magic Kingdom fireworks, arriving as early as possible will give Members the best chance of gaining admission."

Top of the World Lounge is without a doubt my favorite spot to grab a drink in all of Walt Disney World and I'm so excited that even more DVC Members will get to have the opportunity to stop bu and relax while enjoying this fantastic space.

Have you been to the Top of the World?  Will you be going now that DVC has extended this great member perk?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Planning Post - October ADRs

Tropical Goodies at Ohana
Now that my trip in October is all but paid for (I still have some incidentals to take care of) I'm really starting to get excited about the planning.  This past week I took a look at the park hours and our ADRs in an attempt to bring it all together for a fantastic vacation!

Our trip is for four nights, and we're got the regular Disney Dining Plan (FREE!) so we'll have enough credits to eat at 4 Table Service and 4 Counter Service Restaurants. There are a couple other places that we're tossing in for the experience.

Here's a quick look at where we'll be eating!
  • Ohana -I ate here with the girls back in February for the first time and loved it!  I can't wait to take Erik there, I think he'll love it too.
  • Top of the World - My favorite WDW Lounge, we'll be stopping by on our first night for a nosh, cocktails, and Hallowishes!  This will also be Erik's first trip to Top of the World, and thanks to the new expanded policy for DVC members we won't have to sneak in!
  • Pecos Bills Lunch - A hearty quick serve classic. I love the BBQ here and can't wait to go back.
  • Liberty Tree Tavern Dinner- I haven't eaten here since the early 80's so I'm excited to have a "new dining experience in the Magic Kingdom. 
  • Kona Island Sushi - I'm on a quest to try more and more sushi at WDW.  We'll see how many places that I actually hit. There are 4 on my list.
  • Akershus Princess Breakfast - I'm so excited about this Princess Breakfast!  I'm totally borrowing one of Tori's tiaras to wear.
  • Food & Wine Festival Booths - My strategy is to hit the booths with the shortest lines.  I figure that will truly make this an adventure.
  • Kouzinna Breakfast - There's not a lot on the menu here that sounds like I'll eat it, but Baklava French Toast has my interest peaked! 
  • Rose & Crown Pub - I switched out our Tutto Italia reservation to the pub in an attempt to eat something different than I normally do.  I was last here in 2009 and the menu has changed quite a bit since than so we'll see how it goes.  I'm most looking forward to cocktails.  
So there you have all of our dining choices.  I may toss in a few spur of the moment picks while we're down there.  I know I'm going to have to try out the cocktails at the Big Blue Pool.  Have you eaten breakfast at Kouzinna? What did you think about it?  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of my picks!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Stories From The Savanna with Samantha Brown

Travel Channel Host Samatha Brown has been spending some time at my home Walt Disney World DVC Resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Are you interested in learning more about this fantastic Resort?  Check out the video, and then sign up for this exclusive web adventure presented by the Disney Vacation Club just for you!

Click here to learn more and to register for a time to watch the entire show, September 12-15.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One More Milestone Passed!

Art of ANimation Little Mermaid Room
Whoo hooo!!! My October trip is finally paid off!

This trip has been rough in coming, it was on, it was off, there were payment SNAFUs, miscommunications with my travel agent, and generally no joy at all associated with pulling things together. We’ve got 56 days and hopefully that will be just enough for me to get my attitude in the mood for Disney.

So, this is the first trip that I’ve planned since I joined DVC that we won’t be staying at a DVC Resort and man it sure seemed harder to me that it needed to be. I had forgotten many of the basics of making a Disney package reservation and I can honestly say that I think things are so much easier using my DVC. I obviously need to buy some more points. However that won’t be possible for quite awhile.

Moving forward I’m keeping my eyes open for any and all information about the Little Mermaid Wing at Disney’s Art of Animation, because that’s where we’ll be staying. It’s my first time at a value resort and I’m a little nervous. Will the room be cramped? Will the walls be thin? Will the beds be comfy? Will I still feel like I’m on vacation? I know I’ll miss room service and a snazzy pool, plush towels and a lounge. Having the right attitude will be important for the success of this trip. It’s going to be a big adventure!

Erik is my traveling companion for this adventure and we’re both working through it. He’ll be in the midst of an online college class, and I’m not taking any time off of work.  Thank the Disney gods that all of the resorts now have free WiFi because we’ll be using it heavily.  I'm down for business too and have a HUGE list of things that need to be accomplished.  There’s LOTS of research and photography for the blog to be done.  I’m still working from the cheap point and shoot camera though.   Hopefully I’ll be able to capture some wonderful images for you even without good equipment.   I keep entering to win every camera contest I see. I just don’t have any luck these days. A camera sponsor is also not forthcoming, I have tried. SO I’m just going to do my best with what I’ve got and hope that you don’t mind too much if the quality isn’t what it used to be.

In the coming month look for some packing, planning and organization posts as I try and get this ball rolling!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bay Lake Tower Guest Reception Deck Opens for Check In

Though I haven't gotten a chance to stay there yet, I love DVC's Bay Lake Tower (BLT) at the Contemporary Resort.  It's home to my very favorite WDW Lounge.  Well, starting tomorrow (August 20th, 2012) Bay Lake Tower guests arriving by car or taxi can check in, at the reception desk right at Bay Lake Tower instead of the main resort desk.

The Bay Lake Tower lobby, which will be staffed from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. will also be able to handle check-out, dining reservations and ticket sales.

There is a hitch or two though.  As of right now, guests arriving on Disney's Magical Express will continue to arrive at the Contemporary's main building. There's also no sign of them adding valet service at BLT to park your car for you.  In addition to those, guests arriving outside of 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.will also still have to check in at the main Contemporary Resort desk.

I'm not sure what I think about this half way change, it may just cause more confusion than it is a convenience.  What do you think?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Night Time Magic

Lights of France

Focused on the Magic

The theme for this week's Focused on the Magic Blog Hop is Night Time Magic!  I must admit that my heart sunk when I saw it because I'm really awful at shooting in the dark. I have one picture that I consider a successful night shot and it's above, maybe on my trip in October I'll bring my tripod and give it a try again.

Do you have success shooting at night with a point and shoot? Leave a comment and let me know how you make it a success.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book Grand Launch and Discount

It's Here!  It's Here!  The Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book has finally hit the "shelves" and I'm so excited!  The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival can often be a busy, crowded and confusing place if you're not prepared for it; But DFB has you covered with this superlative guide to the event!   I'm 100% serisous when I day don't leave home for the Festival without it!
DFB F&W Mini-Guide
SO What's Inside?
  • Festival Center Events and Goodies
  • Marketplace booth menus, food photos, and kid tips
  • Customized Touring Strategies for one-day visits, half-day visits, going with kids, visiting on a budget, and more
  • Day-By-Day Schedule of Events for all 46 days
  • Frequently Asked Questions section featuring questions you may not even know you have until you get to the festival!
  • "New for 2012" chapter featuring brand new events, World Showcase booth items, concerts, and more.
  • 11 Themed World Showcase Booth Crawls
  • Food, Beer, Wine, and Winery Indexes tell you where and when to find your favorites
  • Detailed Chef Index tells you where and when your favorite chefs will be presenting
  • And Much Much More

I've done the Food and Wine Festival several times now, but I wouldn't dream of heading down for this fan favorite event without the The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book on my phone. Not even Disney puts all the information you need in one place, but AJ Wolfe does and it's available to your now.

But what about this Discount?

As always, the Disney Food Blog wants to thank you for your readership.  So they're  offering the Guide at a discount during this Grand Launch week! Get your copy of this instantly downloadable PDF for just $11.95 (regularly $14.95) -- just use code CHEFS at check-out. With a 100% money-back guarantee, you've got nothing to lose!
Are you headed down to Food & Wine Festival this year?  Have you downloaded your DFB Guide?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you're most looking forward to!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Disney Moms Panel Search Begins again

That marvelous announcement was made this week that will send Disney Moms scattering around the web with excited anticipation. The search for the next Disney Moms Panel will begin in September. It was a super easy choice for me this year, I will NOT be applying.

Though I have never received anything but support and encouragement from my friends and readers, participating in the panel no longer fits into my schedule and I don't believe that I would have the time needed to give my all to writing for Disney without being paid for it. Between working, blogging, and enjoying time with my kids and their youth group, my days and weeks are full. I must admit that years of rejection from previous applications also make it an easy choice. Things have been so rough around here lately that the process this year might very well crush me.

So, I will continue to love Disney, write about Disney and be the best DVC Mom I can be. I just don't feel that I need that magical stamp of approval anymore, when I get so much from all of you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Aulani: 5 Nights for the Price of 3

Ko Olina DVC-Aulani Update 2011-08-14
In the year since its Grand Opening, Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii, has become so popular with guests of all ages that plans are already underway for expansion beginning in September. As this work goes on – Sept. 2012 through mid-2013 – guests can stay at Aulani through an extra-special travel offer: five nights for the price of three. With this offer, guests can extend their stay for five consecutive nights and get two of those nights for free.
Ko Olina DVC-Aulani Update 2011-08-14
There’s something to delight every member of the family at Aulani – the greatest pools on the island, world-class entertainment, a state-of-the-art kids club, sumptuous dining options, a luxurious full-service spa and a beautiful secluded beach and lagoon.

And we’re working on even more for you to enjoy, as Aulani expands its offerings to include additional pools, dining options and new places to relax and unwind.

The limited time Aulani “5 for 3″ special offer is available for booking now through Nov. 10, 2012. Visit www.DisneyAulani.com or call toll-free (866) 309-2384 and mention offer code O8V. This offer will be available for stays most nights Sept. 10, 2012; through Dec. 18, 2012.

Set on a beautiful lagoon along the coast of Oahu, Aulani welcomed its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011. The resort offers something for everyone in an unforgettable vacation experience combining the beauty and spirit of the Hawaiian islands with the magic of Disney storytelling and guest service.
Ko Olina DVC-Aulani Update 2011-08-14
Each day of their stay, Aulani guests can customize their experience – relaxing on the beach or in the 18,000-square foot Laniwai spa, playing in the pools and snorkeling at Rainbow Reef, or discovering the island on special excursions. Aulani also features two signature restaurants – the full-service ‘AMA ‘AMA and the buffet-style Makahiki – offering foods unique to Hawaii.

Young guests even have their own kids’ club, Aunty’s Beach House. Here children can explore Hawaiian culture through supervised entertainment, including interactive touch tables, wildlife and nature programs, arts and crafts, Disney movies and traditional Hawaiian games.

Aulani is situated upon 21 acres of oceanfront property in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and less than an hour from Waikiki Beach.

I wish I could say that these were my photos, but alas they're not.  Thanks so much to Joel for sharing these fantastic pictures of Aulani, the Disney Vacation Club's newest deluxe resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii.  You can find more of Joel's fantastic Aulani pictures, as well as many more up on his Coconut Wireless Flickr PhotoStream.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Trivia

I'm starting to get excited about my upcoming trip to WDW.  The year has been so diffucult since my husband lost his job in March, and it's been all I can to to keep life rolling along.  I won't say it's been uninterrupted, but we're getting by.  Sometimes it's hard to keep a bright outlook, and the  time I've been spending on my job has left this blog lacking.  For that I apologize to you my readers, but  I'm a little overwhelmed.  Anyhow, how about some fun Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Trivia today while I think about how I'm going to manage this upcoming trip!

The 46-day festival at Disney’s Epcot theme park serves up authentic cuisine from six continents; wine, beer and inventive new cocktails; nightly Eat to the Beat! concerts with entertainment ranging from rock and soul to funk and blues; cultural exhibits of more than 25 international regions; and regularly scheduled performances by acrobats, musicians, dancers and comedy troupes.  Exotic marketplaces from Hawaii to Belgium offer exciting taste treats.  The festival is believed to be the largest food and wine event of its kind in the world, beginning at the Festival Welcome Center in Future World and fanning around the promenade encircling World Showcase Lagoon.

Here are some facts about the 17th annual event:
  • More than 300 national and international wines
  • A record 46 days long
  • More than 76 kinds of international foods, each appetizer-sized portion priced $3-$8
  • 160 of America’s most celebrated chefs and Walt Disney World chefs
  • More than 300 wine and beer seminars
  • More than 1,200 fireworks exploding each night over World Showcase Lagoon in    “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” grand finale to the festival
  • 138 Eat to the Beat! concerts performed
  • 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne
  • 1.5 million sumptuous samplings throughout the festival; 600 items tasted during VIP Chef Tours
  • 300,000 wine servings
  • 360,000 servings of beer
  • 100,000 desserts including Yogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranate; Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote; and Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel (Desserts & Champagne marketplace). More than 500 pounds of watermelon to be tasted at the 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery parties.
  • More than 5,000 pounds of lobster for Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Rolls and Linda Bean’s Lobster Claw Cuddlers at the Hops & Barley marketplace plus Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie at the Ireland marketplace.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Brought to You By the Letter B


This week's Focused on the Magic Wordless Wednesday theme is the Letter B. 
 So I though Boats! Disney has lots of boats, and this one it one of the original. 
The Storybook Land Canal Boats in Disneyland.

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“What Keeps You From Getting Your Best Night’s Sleep?”

Great bedWe’ve traveled a lot over the past year, and had a wonderful time on every single trip. I love hopping on a plane and flying off to parts unknown, or even places that I know very well like Walt Disney World.  As busy day of touring makes me a very happy camper and I love being on the go. However I have a secret that often leaves me cranky and exhausted while we’re out of town. What’s my secret? I often can’t sleep in hotel rooms.

Now, that may sound strange, especially because I love staying in hotels, especially ones of the caliber I’ve become accustom to.  I’m one of those people that make themselves at home, completely unpacking my bags and “moving in” for the week.   I love maid service, room service, soft, clean sheets with that slightly bleachy smell.  I love how the bed looks when we come back in the afternoon and it’s been turned down for the night, chocolates on the pillows and little notes wishing me a good nights sleep.  It doesn't matter if I'm on the concierge level of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, or in a Deluxe Family Room on board the Disney Dream, the problem is that the sleep part rarely comes the first night or even the second; leaving me exhausted and cranky during the day until I finally just pass out.

IMG_0066Maybe it’s just being in a strange place, but when I’m not in my own bed, I just have a horrible time. Every sound alerts me, every change in light I notice, there are never enough pillows to make me comfortable, and it’s simply not “my bed”. So what’s a travel loving girl to do? Vicks now has an answer… it’s called ZzQuil. It’s not for colds, not for pain, it’s just for sleep.

Zzquil is for occasional use when you’re having trouble getting that sound sleep your internal clock craves, like me in a hotel room. It contains a non-habit-forming sleep-aid (Diphenhydramine HCl 50 mg ) and helps you get some shut-eye, so you can wake up feeling refreshed. ZzzQuil comes in an OTC liquid with a warming berry flavor, but for on the road convenience that won’t get stopped going through TSA checkpoints, it also comes in a great liquicap. Want to give ZzzQuil a try yourself?
I've got a $2 Kroger Coupon to share with you!

Next time I’m on the road, you can be sure I’ll be packing ZzzQuil in my bag. DO you have trouble sleeping when you travel? What are your best tips for getting a good night’s rest so that you can tour even better in the morning!? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed and confessions contained within are my own.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Japan Pavilion


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meet Princess Sofia

Sofia-Princess-Disney_240Visit Entertainment Tonight Online for exclusive Video!

Exclusive Peek: 'Modern Family' Star Gets Animated
By David Weiner

Modern Family star Ariel Winter is getting animated for the new Disney Junior princess series Sofia the First, and we have an exclusive first look!

Sofia the First centers on a young girl whose life changes dramatically when her mom marries the king and she is suddenly whisked off to live in a castle. There, she must learn what it's like to be a true princess.

Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramirez lends her voice to Sofia's mom, Queen Miranda, while Wayne Brady (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) plays one of the cute woodland creatures who hangs around the castle and Project Runway guru Tim Gunn voices Baileywick, the castle's royal steward.

Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, and General Manager of Disney Junior Worldwide revealed the trailer during the Las Vegas Licensing Expo earlier this week. Sofia the First debuts this fall as a primetime television movie on Disney Channel, followed by the series premiere in early 2013.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Florida’s Three for Free Giveaway is Here and You Could Win!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

In case you haven’t noticed or I haven’t said it enough recently, I love Florida!  I love how lush and green the landscape can be, the tropical environment, the water, the theme parks, the great food around Orlando.  It’s the place that I dream of when I think about running away from home.   With the warm summer sun high overhead I delight in thoughts of lying on a comfortable chaise by a seaside pool sipping cocktails.  Adding another vacation isn't quite in my budget at the moment, so I guess I'd better win one!



“Florida’s Three for Free Giveaway” is going on now! 

Participants in  choose three summer vacation options from an inspiring offering of 12 fun filled getaways.  One grand-prize winner will win all three of their dream vacations!  Nine other winners will win one vacation each.  That’s an amazing number of vacations that they’re giving away! 


Vacations Pize Packages Include:

  1. Swimming with the Manatees
  2. Tennis Lovers Gourmet Getaway
  3. Natural Florida at the Tortuga Inn Beach Resort
  4. Central Florida Family Adventure
  5. Space Cowboy in Coco Beach
  6. Trainer for a Day at the Miami Seaquarium
  7. The Breakers Luxury Dream Vacation
  8. Ultimate Spa-cation at PGA National Resort
  9. Tee Time for Two at Renissance Resort World Golf Village
  10. Classic Family Beach Week in St. Pete
  11. Step Into the Past in St. Augustine
  12. Florida Keys Fishing


What are my three choices for a great Florida vacation?


I would love to visit St. Augustine, did you know that it’s America’s oldest European-settled city?  The history geek in me would delight in exploring the St. Augustine lighthouse, the Pirate & Treasure Museum, streets tred by Spanish conquistadors, and visit this vacations sponsor, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth! How wonderful to spend four nights at the St. George Inn.


Though, it is tempting to think about relaxing at the luxurious Breakers Resort, for a treat that’s legendary, idyllic and magnificent on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.   Every mom could use some pampered at a world class Spa sponsored by the Breakers Palm Beach.


Or maybe I’d really embrace all that’s Hot Hot Hot with a trip to Miami to train dolphins sponsored by the Miami Seaquarium, I could work side by side with their training staff, now that would be a fantastic adventure!  I think that I would fall in love with beautiful Biscayne Bay, and explore historic Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and relax at the luxurious Sonesta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove


Florida’s Three for Free Giveaway

There’s so many choices, it’s no wonder that there will be 10 winners that get to go VISIT FLORIDA!


I entered!
I entered, what are you waiting for!?!  Go enter now!


“Florida’s Three for Free Giveaway” runs through June 30, and participants may enter daily!


Visit Sponsor's Site

Disney Hollywood Stuidos Wordless Wednesday

Hollywood Tower of Terror
Focused on the Magic

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

The Folded Flag
This amazing photo is by Brett Kiger

Take this time to remember friends, family and colleagues who have passed away in service to their country; To thank those fine young men and women who are currently serving the land of the free; and to encourage those brave youth who will become the soldiers and sailors of tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Castle Edition

Sweetheart Bridge at Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DVC Member Services hours extended:

To better meet Members' needs, starting on July 1, 2012 Member Services will extend operating hours to 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on weekdays (previously 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.), while maintaining its 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekend hours.

The added hours are just the latest enhancement to Members' vacation-planning options, following the debut of the new Vacation Center at DVCMember.com. Accessible almost 24 hours a day (minus 30 minutes of scheduled maintenance from 2-2:30 a.m. Eastern daily), the Vacation Center includes the online-booking system, which lets Members book available Disney Vacation Club Resorts using Vacation Points, check available vacation points for any and all contracts, create and view wait lists, access records of past trips, add Disney Dining Plans and Magical Celebrations, and use the Disney Online Check-in Service. Members also may use the Vacation Center to purchase tickets and travel insurance, add Disney's Magical Express transportation and make dining reservations.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Random Wordless Wednesday

Random... but there you have it.

Pirate Treasure