Arrrgh! Pirates IN the Caribbean on Disney Cruise Line

Avast ye Cruisers! Most Disney Cruise Line itineraries feature a Pirate Night during the voyage to allow you to immerse yourselves in the Pirate’s Life as much or as little as you choose. There is a special pirate theme at dinner, pirate games to partake in, a high-spirited deck party awash with buccaneers, and on many cruises, a fireworks spectacle at sea! Here’s a quick rundown of the events our family enjoys participating in. Savvy? (more…)

Count characters in bloom at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

I don’t garden or tend flowers, don’t cultivate a single square foot of my property, and certainly neither of my thumbs would be mistaken for green. Instead, I’d rather get that green fix at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival. It’s all the beauty of gardening without the hours toiling away in the yard and the inevitable disappointment when the local rabbit population decimates my veggie plot.

A recent springtime trip to Epcot found our sunny days filled with lush gardens, explosions of color, favorite Disney characters in bloom and — very important here — the delicious outdoor kitchens that sustain us throughout our touring. We made our way from Future World to World Showcase checking off the character topiaries on our Garden Passports — which made for a fun activity for the kids and a cool souvenir as well. Here are some of our favorites (clockwise from top left: The Three Caballeros hot pepper garden in Mexico, Phineas and Ferb at Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure kiosk in Future World, the Seven Dwarfs in Germany and the new FIgment sculpture near Spaceship Earth.). (more…)

Join in the “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party

What I appreciate most about the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party is the way it encourages guests to work off that Dole Whip. (Or, less aggressively, join in the festivities.)

The first time I saw the caravan coming down Main Street — originally called Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! —  I figured it was another rather passive parade and staked out a spot on the curb. (more…)

Chip ‘n Dale’s Campfire Sing-Along at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Chip ‘n Dale’s Campfire Sing-Along was the ideal finale to a resort day spent relaxing and exploring The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. We had earmarked the first full day of our trip as one to take advantage of some of the recreation at the expansive resort — and the campfire did not disappoint. It was a cowboy-crooning, s’mores-stuffed good time had by all.

We started things off with a round of beanbag toss alongside Chip and Dale. Arriving to the outdoor theater a half hour before the sing-along began gave us time to mingle with the ‘munks, purchase a s’mores kit from the Chuckwagon, and snag one of the wooden benches near the front (preferable to the bleachers behind). (more…)

Play in the ImageWorks: The What If? Labs

If you’ve got young children and can spare a few minutes in your touring schedule, consider letting them roam around ImageWorks: The What If? Labs at the exit of the Journey Into Imagination with Figment attraction. It’s one of the few spaces at Epcot that allows kids a little wiggle room – and busies them with activities such as: (more…)

Character Series: Meet Woody & Jessie from “Toy Story”

Got fans of the Toy Story series in your family? We’ve had four little fans ourselves over the years, but only once – out of many trips – have we been in the right place at the right time to meet Sheriff Woody and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl. Our photo with the duo was taken in 2008, when our oldest daughter was 2 ½. Woody and Jessie continue to greet guests at the same spot today, near the exit of Splash Mountain. (more…)

Experience the Festival of Fantasy Parade

The new Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom pays homage to most of the beloved Disney classic characters – presenting them on adventurous, eye-popping floats bursting with color and whimsy. Ariel, for instance, waves to the crowd atop a giant clamshell music box trimmed with fish dancing in a conga line. Cinderella and her Prince dance beneath the birds and mice creating a gown for her to wear to the ball. And Peter Pan and Wendy soar above guests in a pirate ship, likely nabbed from Captain Hook, who fumes on an anchor below. (more…)

Dub thee “Ruler of the Realm” at Sword in the Stone Ceremony

MH sword in stone magic kingdomThere’s a great shot of my son (then 2 ½), in our Disney photo archives that shows him mugging as a young Arthur from The Sword in the Stone. We didn’t realize at the time that the sword he was attempting to pull from an anvil and stone was more than just a prop for a cute photo op. It was part of a daily ceremony performed by the magician Merlin to select a (temporary) new “Ruler of the Realm”! As you might guess, Merlin would call upon several youngsters in the crowd to try their hand at dislodging the sword from the anvil – and inevitably one would be victorious. The new ruler received a commemorative medal, certificate and bragging rights. (more…)

Star Wars™ Weekends return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars™ Weekends are back at Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 16 – June 15, 2014! The event, which takes place Friday – Sunday, is jam-packed full of special entertainment, characters and dining experiences celebrating the popular Star Wars films and the television series Star Wars™: The Clone Wars. (more…)

Enjoy: Winnie-the-Pooh breakfast buffet at The Crystal Palace

Of the two options for sit-down breakfasts in the Magic Kingdom, one is pricey and the other is shockingly expensive. Especially if you’re feeding a larger-than-average family! This is primarily why we’ve balked at breakfasting with Cinderella and opted instead to dine with Winnie-the-Pooh and his pals at The Crystal Palace. Plus, the Palace does a decent breakfast buffet with lots of choices: cooked-to-order omelets for Mom and Dad, Mickey waffles for the kids and plenty of fruit and yogurt for the baby. (more…)