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.