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#DisneySide @Home Celebration Recap

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Hi Mamas and Daddies! I am long overdue in sharing a full recap from our #DisneySide @ Home Celebration. It was an incredible event and we feel so honored to have been chosen to participate. I did receive free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own. If you would like information on how to host your own @Home Celebration, check out this great site at Disney Side Celebrations.

When the celebration kit arrived I could hardly contain my excitement! I had already read about others and seen people do a big reveal. Most kits were the same contents so I didn’t do a big reveal plus I wanted our party attendees to have some surprises. Inside the kit contained : Games, plates, napkins, cups, Cranraisins, the most adorable posters with Mickey and Minnie, Run Disney! signs, Run Disney Stickers, tattoos, a face painting kit, tons of HP Photo Paper, Muppet calendars, Mickey Head cookie cutters, and instructions and recipes. All of this was in our hostess gift-an American Tourister suitcase! Ours happened to be red and black, yes like Mickey Mouse! It is the perfect carry on bag for our trips to Disney.

The credit for most of today’s post photography goes to Teodora Pogonat Studios. I can’t say enough good things about working with her. The photos speak for themselves. You are able to view all of the ones she shared with us here.  And she graciously made it where you could download any of the photos you would like of your family complimentary.

We opted for the Love of Disney as our theme and chose February 15th for the party date. We used a picture of the poster for the evite and online posts. Once that was all set I went to work contacting some local people to help me with this adventure. The results were astonishing! Entertaining is something I enjoy greatly and I’ve been told we put on great parties. I think this one may have topped all others, even the birthday party that Santa made a special appearance! The companies that volunteered were mostly local but I did have a few preferred vendors I use for my Disney clients for gifts and things that also participated from afar. I will have a separate thank you post just for the sponsors in case you missed their shout outs on Facebook and Twitter. It was truly special to see so many local companies participate in our #DisneySide@HomeCelebration!

We had matching Love My Disney Side shirts made for us and the kids wore Trips To The Mouse shirts.

We always wear Disney themed clothing in the parks and wanted to show that Disney Side. You also saw some Run Disney! shoes wandering around our house but us and some guests.

I loved seeing the children who chose to come in costumes and the adults who even went a little Goofy showing their #DisneySide!

We hosted the party at our home. We stopped counting once we hit 100 people but if I had to guess I would say 120-130 people came. I invited my local clients as a thank you to them(we are travel agents that specialize in Disney after all!), my children’s classmates, my mom’s club, and our other family and friends. It was chaotic but also so much fun! Everyone who came had a blast! We had people upstairs, downstairs, and thank goodness for the gorgeous day because we filled up the backyard too! The party was scheduled to go 4:30-7:30. The last “non-family” guest actually left around 9:30. Our dear friends that are like family stayed and helped clean up the outside. We didn’t quite realize how much they had done until the morning but THANK YOU! I always take it as a compliment when a party goes well past the expected end time. It means people were having fun and felt comfortable.

 When you first walked in we had a room dedicated to learning more about Disney and all of their destinations. Most people are familiar with Disneyland and Walt Disney World and even the Disney Cruise Line. We also showcased Aulani, Disney’s resort in Hawaii, and Adventures by Disney, Disney’s world wide destinations that immerse you in the culture of your destination as well as give you a VIP experience.

Then people were directed to the raffle sign up table and they could check out the prizes! The prizes were a collection of my shopping spree at the Disney Store Outlet(don’t look at the receipts honey) and donated prizes and a few things from the hostess kit. We had over 30 prizes to give away! I felt like I was calling a name every few minutes to win a prize. The Grand Prizes were a $25 Disney Gift card that I purchased, a $50 gift certificate for Kimberly’s Kakery, a local bakery, and the ultimate grand prize was a Lego birthday party for up to 12 kids provided for by Snapology. We also gave away three prizes in an online rafflecopter giveaway for people who showed some love for our sponsors via our facebook page.

Next up was the food! So so much food! We mostly served the kind of snack food you would find in the parks. I did not replicate exact recipes though. We had Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets that we found at Costco, Grapes, Popcorn, some veggies and pretzels. We also had a huge variety of desserts! There were cupcakes, cookies, and Mickey Mouse rice krispie treats. In looking at the pictures I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the rice krispie treats because they were a labor of love! I made three double batches and used the Mickey Mouse cookie cutters that were in the hostess kit. I am sure if you weren’t making so many rice krispie treats your hand would not hurt using these cookie cutters but they hurt me! Several local bakeries contributed their baked goods for this party. And they all tasted divine! We did provide beer and wine along with all the juice boxes and izzies you could drink!

For decorations we used the hanging directions provided in our hostess kit and then also bought some more. We had decorations hanging from the ceiling all over the entire house and outside on the patio. If you haven’t used these before, go buy them now! The kids loved them! I made flower arrangements using pinks, yellows, whites, and reds for the flowers. We had pink and red table cloths. We did have to rent tables and chairs to accommodate everyone. We had a custom Show Your Disney Side banner that was donated by 3 Monkeys Designs! You will see that picture in just a bit. And we of course had a giant Mickey Mouse balloon and other balloons as well. We used red picture frames with some of our favorite Disney photos in them too.

You can’t host a party with over 100 people and not have plenty of entertainment. Upstairs we had a lego party happening courtesy of Snapology! I am not sure who had more fun-the kids or the parents. It was a huge hit with everyone. Snapology was a dream to work with and I can’t wait to hire them for a birthday party! I know some guests from the party already have one scheduled and several are signed up for the camps offered too! Win win for everyone!

You can also see the cool banner here!

Downstairs the next big hit of the evening was the Photo Booth provided by Say Cheese! They came highly recommended by a neighbor and they did not disappoint. I learned that a photo booth is loads of fun for children, even the littlest of guests. I originally had requested this for the adults and older kids coming. When I looked at the photos, I was shocked how many of the preschoolers were in there with their silly costumes and making faces. It was hysterical! Say Cheese is another company I will be using in the future. Professional, courteous, and so easy to work with. They did everything from set up to clean up their area. I posted the entire set of photobooth photos on my facebook page here. Check them out!

Downstairs we also had a Disney craft table set up that included tiaras, coloring sheets, make your own valentine and stickers and more stickers. Outside we had a face painter. The kids went crazy for them! They were both talented and the kids really tested them! And we had just good ole run around on the playscape fun too.  We also had a decorate your own Mickey Mouse cookie outside too with Mickey Head cookies and buttercream frosting and sprinkles galore. The kids adored their edible creations.

As people left the party there was a party favor table set up. The children received a Disney play pack that had colors, stickers, and a mini coloring book in it. The children also got to choose a hair clip, courtesy of OMG Adorable or some of the other goodies from the hostess kit like the blue rubber bracelets. The adults received a goodie bag that had a koozie and Disney toiletries from the parks along with their own thank you card that listed all of the sponsors of the evening so they could connect with them at home on social media. While making the goodie bags I might have realized I have a Disney toiletry obsession given every gift bag had multiple ones and I made 75 gift bags!  I used the HP Photo Paper provided in our hostess kit to print the thank you notes on. HP Photo Paper is the easiest template printing paper I have ever used. I am printer challenged to say the least. There was also a place for the sponsors’ business cards to go as well so that people could take the ones they connected with.

I know we did not have to go this big for our #DisneySide @ Home Celebration. We were only asked to invite ten people. There would have been no way we could have chosen just ten people to share our Disney love with.  I consider this to have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to participate in a nationally coordinated event and we did go all out for it. It was worth it! We are still getting compliments on the incredible party and I am still getting asked for different sponsors’ contact info which I also love! We helped get them some great local exposure and they helped make the night truly incredible. Thank you to the people who coordinated the #DisneySide @ Home Celebrations! You know who you are and I hope you enjoyed our recap! Once again, I was given some free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.

How do you show your #DisneySide? Check out Disney Side for some great ideas!

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Mama Monday : Disney’s Beach Club Villas

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Hi Mamas (and Papas), today we are going to visit the resort my family has stayed at the most-The Beach Club Villas! It is our favorite of the villa resorts. Why do I love this so much?

1) Location, location, location! This is a short few minute walk to Epcot. Our family loves spending most of our nights at Epcots for the dining options. We also like slowing down in the evenings and Epcot has a perfect mix of things for the adults and the kids to achieve that. Our belief is that you take the bus to the other parks in the morning and then at the end of the night when you are exhausted, you are just short walk home.  You also could walk to Hollywood Studios but we tend to opt for the boat. The Boardwalk area is walking distance as well from this location.

2) The theme! It is just the right amount of kitsche for me. It makes you feel like you are at a a beach on the east coast. It is comfortable and you feel like you can really relax in the rooms. I never worry about the kids breaking anything or feeling like it’s not homey enough.

3) The pool! My favorite pool of them all is Storm Along Bay. There’s a pirate ship slide and a lazy river. What more could you ask for??

4) The other options for activities-While our family spends most of our time at the parks, I like the other options available here. It is one of the resorts you can have a photo session at and we’ve done several here. There’s a family game room with a nice sized tv to gather and watch Disney shows and movies. There’s Beaches and Cream for your afternoon snack! There’s also a character meal here which is so nice to be able to do at your own resort and not have to travel anywhere first thing in the morning. They also do an Artist of the Day for the kids. The list goes on and on.

Our villa of choice is the One bedroom because it is just right for our family. There’s the kitchen, living room (where the kids sleep), and master bedroom plus split bathroom. There’s also a washer and dryer which we use every trip if we stay in a villa. The balconies are nice sized. We have not stayed on the first floor yet, but it is a gorgeous patio option. You can have views of Epcot and the pool as well as the Garden view. I like the pool view. It is the “quiet” pool and it’s pretty peaceful actually. I also like how this resort is lit up at night. There’s just something extra magical for me here.

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Mama Monday : The Polynesian

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Hi Mamas,  Today we continue our tour of Walt Disney World Resorts with my one of my favorite deluxe resorts-The Polynesian. It is one of the three resorts that is on the monorail. I love just about everything there is to offer at this resort.


      1) Convenience-It doesn’t get much more convenient than being on the monorail. There is one stop between the Polynesian and the Magic Kingdom. And what is an added bonus here, is the Ticket and Transportation Center is walking distance from the Polynesian. That means you can walk over and take the monorail to Epcot also.

2) Spacious! These rooms can accommodate a family of five. There are two queen beds and a day bed. There’s a lot of storage space. The bathroom is huge! And there’s a little bit of open space too which our kids loved being able to play with their toys when we were in the room.


3) Peaceful-I was concerned that the monorail would be really loud but when the patio door was shut, we couldn’t hear it at all and we were literally right next to the monorail line going through. When you come back from a busy day at the parks and you step onto the grounds, it is so peaceful. The lushness of the vegetation definitely take you back to the South Pacific. The way the longhouses are laid out, you don’t feel how big the resort really is. It doesn’t seem crowded in the least.


 4) DOLE WHIP! Yes, this is a huge plus. You can get a Dole Whip at Capt Cook’s! It is self serve and no matter how many I served I never did get the hang of making it look as pretty as the cast members do. I guess I just have to keep trying. (Dole Whip picture courtesy of my friends at Disney Food Blog)
      
     

If you want a deluxe resort that allows you a peaceful but convenient location to the parks, the Polynesian needs to be at the top of your list. The rooms needed a brightening update and they have received it. The updates make the rooms feel even bigger and it makes it a bit cheerier. For those of you that stayed here as kids, you might be a bit nostalgic for the rooms before their update but you will still love the resort.

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Mama Monday : Ft. Wilderness Cabins

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Hi Mamas,  today we visit the Fort Wilderness Cabins. I have never personally stayed here. My husband did as a kid and loved them. On paper, I have never been impressed to be honest. You are basically staying in a single wide trailer. I swore we would never stay in them! Then I went to Disney for an Agent Education Program and had the opportunity to tour them in person. They are still pretty rustic for my preferred taste and do have some concerns about how they would be for our family’s needs. However, there is a definite appeal to them, especially if you have boys. So now, I can definitely see our family trying them out when our boys are a little older.  Here are a few things about them I think you should know-the pros and the cons.
 There is a lot of space inside them. Overall I don’t think the space is utilized well at all. I greatly dislike full sized beds. They are great for kids but not for two adults to share. There is a murphy bed in the living room which I assume most parents end up on. 


In the bedroom there is another full sized bed and a set of bunk beds. They can sleep six because of that. I could see putting four kids in the bedroom if they were young.

 There is a full sized kitchen which is nice if you have young children.


There is only one bathroom. Let’s face it, if you have six people in this cabin, you need more than one bathroom! And the bathroom is not spacious.  

 It is heavily wooded which is what is appealing to boys I am sure. I don’t really want to come across insects though. If you will notice you rarely see an insect at Disney just wandering around. I like that. I am sure that is not the case here.


There is a boat to take you to Magic Kingdom! That is pretty cool.  The main bus stop can be quite a trek from your cabin. There is an internal bus that runs but that can add extra travel time to the other parks.

 There are more recreation opportunities than any other resort. You can even rent a golf cart for your stay which in our family would be a must do for our boys. There’s also horseback riding and other fun things.

  

These were nicer inside than I had ever imagined but still too rustic for these to be one of my favorites. If I want the extra space, I would opt to stay at Art of Animation in a family suite.  I am sure we will be at Ft. Wilderness when our boys hit the preteen years though and they will love every minute. I will probably book a couple of nights at the end of that trip at a deluxe so mama has her time too!

I do have clients who love these and I am happy to make their wishes come true! 
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Pizza Planet Review

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Today I am taking you to Pizza Planet for lunch! Try to go outside of the peak dining times if possible as it can get crowded. As expected, they serve pizza here. In all reality, the food is not the reason you go to Pizza Planet. The kids are going to love the pizza. For those of you that are pizza snobs-you are not going to think it’s anything special. It is on par with any pizza delivery place out there.

Here’s a snapshot of the menu:

You go for the theme. If your kids(or even you grownups) are die hard Toy Story fans, you have to dine here. It is like stepping into Pizza Planet from the movie. You will see your favorite Toy Story characters decorating the walls in bright colors. First things first, after you order, head upstairs to eat. That’s the only way your kids are actually going to eat anything. You can also grab a table outside but for most days, inside upstairs will be a nice cool spot. (photo courtesy of our friends over at Disney Food Blog)
Then turn them loose in the arcade. There are plenty of games to choose from for everyone in the family. When you go here, allow time in your schedule to play or you are going to have some disappointed kiddos and daddies. There are change machines and even an ATM so no chance you can claim you don’t have money to do the games. 
It is loud in here and your ears will probably be buzzing with all of the arcade noises for a bit after you leave. But there’s just something special about seeing your kiddo light up because they had lunch at PIZZA PLANET!! And that is the reason I recommend Pizza Planet to my clients.
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