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March 31, 2011

DGTG News Alert: No April Fools’ Day Trick: Magician Mickey Mouse Appearing at Different Magic Kingdom Location Beginning April 1


... and Guests Can Skip Standby Queue with Disney’s FASTPASS


FASTPASS TO MICKEY
(Kent Phillips, photographer)
 
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mickey Mouse is moving to a new location in Magic Kingdom to meet and greet his friends at Walt Disney World Resort. As of April 1, 2011, guests can go backstage at Town Square Theater for photos and autographs with Mickey -- without waiting in a standby queue!


Disney Media  (Gene Duncan, photographer)
And that's no April Fools' Day trick! Nor is it "magic." Rather, it's the result of the first-ever use of Disney's FASTPASS Service for a character meet-and-greet experience. FASTPASS allows guests to reduce waiting by designating a window of time when they can return for a theme park experience.

But there IS magic in the air at the Town Square Theater presented by Kodak, located just inside the Magic Kingdom entrance. Previously known as Town Square Exposition Hall, the venue has been re-imagined as a turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century theater where posters proclaim Mickey Mouse as the star of a magic show.

A glistening marquee with gold-leaf trim and sparkling lights beckons guests to enter a lobby that serves as a hub for character meet-and-greet queues, the Box Office Gifts merchandise shop and Tony's Town Square Restaurant. Lush curtains with gold rope tie-backs, polished-brass chandeliers and a huge tile floor mosaic of the Town Square Theater logo adorn the space.

Disney Media  (Gene Duncan, photographer)
Just beyond the lobby, guests pass through an ornate arch and enter a queue to meet Magician Mickey Mouse -- or a queue to meet the Disney princesses, for whom Town Square Theater will be a meet-and-greet location during New Fantasyland Construction.

The meet-and-greet experience begins when magical posters featuring Mickey's various magic acts come to life, enhancing guests' journey through queues into the backstage corridors of the theater. Mickey greets guests in a rehearsal-room environment amid posters, steamer trunks and stage props. It's a classic backstage area with a wood floor and ceiling. One wall is brick, the others are papered in red and black -- Mickey colors.


Disney Media  (Gene Duncan, photographer)

During the Princesses' limited engagement at Town Square Theater, they will greet guests in an area fit for royalty -- replete with plush carpeting, lush velvety-blue drapes with gold tiebacks, and a large mural backdrop of a chateau amid green, tree-covered hills and fields.

Exiting the meet-and-greet areas, guests pass through Curtain Call Collectibles, a shop with design elements suggesting a backstage area used for theater shipping and receiving -- with large, barn-like doors through which props and set pieces could pass. Adorning the room are some of the apparatuses used in magic tricks, including the dunk tank, sword basket and saw of dread.

Guests wanting to meet Mickey or the Princesses can either obtain a Disney's FASTPASS ticket or get in standby queues. FASTPASS tickets, which are available near Town Square Theater, designate an hour window of time during which the guest can return to the theater and have their "magic moment" with Mickey or the Princesses without joining the standby queues.

Disney Parks Rendering

CLOSED - Ultimate Blog Party and Dooney and Bourke Giveaway



Welcome to Disney Go To Girl's Mad Blog Party, where things keep getting "Curiouser and Curiouser."

So much so that one lucky visitor will win a Walt Disney World 4oth Anniversary Wristlet by Dooney and Bourke


If you've stopped by as part of The Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom, WELCOME to my site!  If not, head on over and link up to join in on the fun!







Ultimate Blog Party 2011



To those of you who are new to The Disney Go To Girl Blog (DGTG,) Let me start by introducing myself! My name is Amanda Ficili.  I have nicknamed Disney World my "Lavish Laughing Place" and it is my goal to promote Disney as a luxury vacation destination to those who may not see past the Castle and the parks. This blog is designed to showcase all of the finer things Disney has to offer, recognizing it as a fabulous venue for families seeking the "magical little extras" that only Disney can offer.






I am mother to a beautiful princess, Bella, and wife to my best friend whom I met at WDW!  We own a restaurant and wine bar in the mountains of NC!  We love to travel, especially to Disney destinations and Northern California!

Please don't be a stranger!  I hope you'll keep coming back and that you'll tell your friends too!  And be sure to "Like" and "Follow" DGTG!  I'll return the favor!




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Now for the Giveaway!!!

One lucky DGTG reader will win a Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Wristlet by Dooney and Bourke available at DisneyStore.com and at Disney Parks!
Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Wristlet Bag by Dooney & Bourke



Mandatory Entry:
  • MUST both: You MUST follow this blog via Google Friend Connect and MUST leave a comment on this post!
Extra Entries: (Leave a comment for each entry including email adress)
  • Tweet about this giveaway (1 per day)
  • Grab my button
  • Update your FB status to include this giveaway (1 per day)
  • Use the link in my sidebar to "Follow by Email"
  • Like me on FB
  • Follow me on Twitter
Winner will be chosen April 9th via Random.org and must respond within 48 hours.  Only open to US residents age 18 and older!  I will pay shipping to the winner.

**Disclosure-  The item for giveaway in this post is provided by myself! 

*Disclosure:  Our Disney adventures are funded by Disney Go To Girl unless otherwises noted.  Sometimes we receive discounts unavailable to the public but have not been asked to share our thoughts. We are not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, but LOVE Disney and do have a longstanding relationship which may influence our opinions. We are happy to share these opinions but please know these thoughts are purely ours and do not neccesarily represent those of the Walt Disney Company or any of its entitities!

2011 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival ~ Photo Montage


If you're stopping by as part Babes in Disneyland's Disney Blog Hop, "Hello" and welcome to Disney Go To Girl!  I am so glad to have you!  For more information on Me (Amanda) and my blog, check out my About Me Page!

I have put together a photo montage of my recent visit to Epcot during the 2011 Flower and Garden Festival during the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  Enjoy and come back soon!


A few weeks back, my family and I had the opportunity to visit Epcot during the 2011 Flower and Garden Festival!  During this time, Epcot is transformed into a paradise of plants and flowers.  The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival runs each Spring. 2011 dates are March 2 - May 15th.  If you haven't had the chance, or I should say, privilege to visit during this special event, add it to your bucket list because the beauty is indescribable!

  The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a special spring event brimming with colorful flowers, lush gardens and some of your favorite Disney characters brought to life in topiary! Enjoy live music, educational programs, unique shopping and more.


March 30, 2011

Disney Social Media Moms Recap: Disney Junior Party at Hollywood Studios

Here is my photo recap of The Disney Social Media Moms Disney Junior Party located on the set of Hollywood Studios "Lights, Motors, Action" Attraction! 
 

Disney Junior: Where the Magic Begins


 
Disney Junior is a new programming block airing on Disney Channel which replaced Playhouse Disney! Disney Junior features the shows Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Babar and the Adventures of Badou. Carrying over from Playhouse Disney were Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Jungle Junction, Chuggington, Imagination Movers, Special Agent Oso and Timmy Time.
 
 
 
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Enjoy!!!

Disclosure:  I paid a fee to attend this conference, but with my registration, I received hotel accommodations, park tickets, select meals for myself and family, as well as AMAZING Disney swag!  I was NEVER asked or encouraged to write about any of my experiences at the conference, but LOVE Disney and couldn't wait to share with my audience!  I am not affiliated with Disney.  All thoughts and opinions are genuine and purely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Walt Disney Company!

Jenna Says: A NY Gals take on Via Napoli Pizza

This post was written by DGTG Columnist Jenna P.

Let's face it, Florida is not known for its great tasting pizza.  In my experience, the opposite is usually the case. Now New York...we know pizza!  Brooklyn style, New York style, Chicago style, Sicilian, I've had it all but I've never had an Italian brick oven pizza quite like the pizza served at Epcot's own Italian pizza shop, Via Napoli!  

Photo Courtesy of Disney



At this posh pizzeria located in the heart of Italy, (in Epcot that is) you will find beautiful architecture, real Italian servers and chefs, and most importantly, authentic and delicious food, including pizza!  The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting.  The interior is full of gorgeous Italian architecture and their wood fire brick ovens are a sight to see all by themselves!

Disney Go To Girl Amanda and I in front of just two of the wood fire brick ovens.  
(You can even watch the chefs prepare your pizza for you.)

With the Disney Deluxe Dining plan, we had the privilege to each have one appetizer, one pizza, and one dessert...just for lunch! It was nothing short of amazing.  The Arancini appetizer was so cheesy and delicious that it literally melts in your mouth and the calamari was decadent as well.  For lunch we ordered an assortment of pizzas and we were in awe at how big they were and how yummy they looked!  My "Prosciutto E Melone" pizza was to die for and I have been craving it ever since.  


The "Prosciutto E Melone" is a fantastic combination of prosciutto, melon, and several fresh Italian cheeses.  

Via Napoli is also a great place to take the kids in Epcot.  They would love to watch the pizza being made and they have a great selection of kid friendly Italian food that includes spaghetti and meatballs, calzones, and of course, pizza.  With the Disney Deluxe Dining plan the children also get an appetizer (fruit cocktail or insalata verde), an entree, and a dessert.   


Our three year old travel companion, Bella, loved her spaghetti and we were all very impressed by how delicious the tomato sauce was!

So in closing, being the NY girl that I am...I KNOW pizza and trust me, Via Napoli is your "Disney Go-To Girl Approved" Go-To spot for pizza at Walt Disney World!

Oh, and if you're in a hurry, Via Napoli also offers Pizza by the slice on their counter service menu! (available through May 28 until further notice)

Cheese Pizza – Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese, $4.50
Pepperoni Pizza – Pepperoni, Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese, $5.25
Mini Cannoli – Crisp Pastry Shell Filled with Sweet Ricotta Cheese, chocolate, $3.50
Soda – Coke, sprite and Diet Coke, $2.50
Dasani Water, $2.50
***Jenna's Via Napoli Tip: Order Outside of the box! This is a great place to try some "out there" toppings on your pie!***

This post was written by DGTG Columnist Jenna P.



March 29, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: The Magic NEVER stops!!!

On our last morning at WDW a few weeks ago, we decided to spend our last few hours at Disney's Polynesian Resort!  We have a ritual of eating breakfast at Kona on "the last morning" so after a filling breakfast of Tonga Toast, we stepped outside to take in the last few moments, when suddenly, Bella spotted a Mama Duck and her babies waddling across the walkway in front of Captain Cook's!  This just goes to show, the Magic in this place is REAL and it NEVER stops!


CLOSED: Magical Memory Planners 8x10 Autograph Mat Review and Giveaway

I am so excited to tell you all about a new product I had the opportunity to try out during our recent trip to Walt Disney World: The 8x10 Autograph Mat by Magical Memory Planners! I am pleased to say that 1 LUCKY DGTG reader will be winning one of these to take on their next WDW vacation!


This is an innovative spin on ordinary Disney autograph books
and is SO unique, even the characters were excited to sign ours.


The Photo Mat is 8x10 in total size and holds a 4x6 Picture with a small insert saying "Magical Memories, 2011" in the window near the bottom of the mat.  The mat arrived packaged in a resealable plastic sleeve with backing board to keep it from bending. The Mat was convenient to travel with, as I was able to simply lay it flat in the bottom of my suitcase with no problem.

Since we are Disney Rewards Visa Cardholders we are entitled to a private character meet-and-greet at Epcot's Innovations West!  We figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try our our new Autograph Mat.  When leaving for Epcot, I left the Autograph Mat in its original packaging and simply laid it flat in the bottom of the stroller.  I was sure to pack a fine tip Sharpie as reccommended by Magical Memory Planners in hopes of collecting a few SUPER special autographs! 


Bella was excited when she first saw the Autograph Mat and couldn't wait to show it to the characters!  All of the other guests waiting in line saw us taking pictures of the Autograph Mat for this post, and were amazed with the idea and interested in having one for themselves!


Soon it was our turn to enter the Disney Rewards Visa Character Meet-and-Greet!  You never know which characters will be waiting inside, so we were wishing for some of our favorites........




WHAT D'YA KNOW!?

Mickey prepares to leave his signature on our Autograph Mat

We ran into a few of our faves: The Big Cheese himself and our most beloved dog, Pluto!







We have not yet made it home, so have not framed our Autograph Mat as of now, but we did snag a gorgeous Photo Pass glossy of our family with Mickey and Pluto and can't wait to see the finished product!

An example of the Framed Autograph Mat via Magical Memory Planners.
The Magical Memory Planners Autograph Mat is available online here for $12.95 and they are currently offering FREE shipping! 




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Now For the Giveaway!!!

One Disney Go To Girl Reader will win an 8x10 Autograph Mat of their own, compliments of Magical Memory Planners.

Mandatory Entry: (Must leave one comment below telling me you've done both)

  • You MUST be a follower this Blog via Google Friend Connect and you MUST also head over to twitter and follow @DisneyDivaTips
Extra Entries: (Must leave a separate comment for each entry. Must include email address)

  • Leave a separate comment below telling me which characters you'd have sign your Autograph Mat

  • Tweet about this giveaway, (copy paste): < I just entered to win a @DisneyDivaTips Autograph Mat from @DisneyGoToGirl http://ow.ly/4p24P >
***Giveaway Ends 4/20 at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be chosen via random.org and must respond within 48 hours!***

Disclosure:  I received a free Autograph Mat for myself and also one to give away to a DGTG reader in appreciation for this review!  These thoughts are genuinely my own and Magical Memory Planners did not influence my opinions in this post!



March 28, 2011

CLOSED - Review & Giveaway: VinniBag Reusable, Inflatable Wine Travel Bag

OK, so many of you may know me as having an affinity for good wines...especially Champagne!  I have been faced with the fact that while traveling, my favorite wines are usually hard to come by and are too breakable to pack in suitcases! 

Me and Mom at Roederer Estate Tasting Room, Anderson Valley, California


Occasionally, I find a great bottle while traveling and am too scared to bring it back, with fears of it shattering in transit!

PROBLEM SOLVED


Yes!!! The problem is solved thanks to a little miracle known as Vinnibag!  "VinniBag is a reusable travel bag with inflatable air chambers that protect and insulate wine bottles, other liquids, and fragile items. It’s designed to provide superior protection against impact and leakage, is easy to use, and stores flat, rolled or folded when not in use."

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Vinnibag also doubles as a safe-hold for cosmetics, olive oils, glassware, and just about anything imagineable!  To make this product even better, Vinnibag ECO-FRIENDLY, REUSABLE, and MADE IN THE USA!  In fact, Vinnibag offers its own recycling program, and will turn your vinnibag into a garden hose when you're finished with it.  Please check out Vinnibag's Unique and Concious Recycling Program here!


And despite it's unique design, Vinnibag is very user-friendly:



I deciced I had to give it a try for myself using a bottle of Roederer Estate Extra Dry Sparkling Wine:


The Vinnibag with my bottle of Roederer sealed safely inside was packed snugly into my checked luggage and was stowed beneath the plane for a flight to sunny Orlando, Florida... Disney World to be exact!  And guess what....


My favorite Bubbley Arrived, SAFE AND SOUND at my favorite place...all thanks to Vinnibag!!!







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**Now for the Giveaway**

One lucky Disney Go To Girl reader will win a Vinnibag of their own compliments of Vinnibag by Ellesco!

Mandatory Entry:

You MUST follow this blog via Google Friend Connect and "Like" Vinnibag On Facebook then leave me one comment below telling me you have done both along with your email address!

Extra Entries: (Leave a Separate Comment Below for Each and include your email address)

Giveaway Ends 4/15/2011 at 11:59 pm. Winner will be chosen via Random.org. Winner Must respond within 48 hours.

Disclosure:  I received a Vinnibag for myself and one to giveaway, free of charge!  The opinions in this review are genuinely mine!

Disney Social Media Moms Day 1: Disney Weddings 20th Anniversary Platinum Soiree

I am honored to say, I was one of the lucky attendees of the second Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, hosted by Walt Disney World March 17-20, 2011.  As part of the conference, we were invited to attend a swanky soiree at Disney's Grand Floridian's Wedding Pavillion in celebration of Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons' 20th Anniversary!



For me, hearing this was a dream come true!  I met my husband at Disney World in 2000 and should have been a Disney bride, but wasn't :(.  I have passed by the "Pavillion" via Monorail numerous times dreaming of the what-ifs and could've-beens, but had never actually been inside... UNTIL NOW!

Since we were staying at the Grand Floridian Resort, the Wedding Pavillion was literally a hop, skip, and jump from our hotel rooms!  I met my Bloggy B.F.F, Mama Of All Trades in the lobby and we headed over to the Pavillion.



We were welcomed by Disney Fairy Tale Weddings staff and Cast Members as well as a table filled with Bride and Groom "Ears" and adorable buttons!  This made me even more excited because I've always wanted an excuse sport a pair of sparkley bride ears, but have never brought myself to do so!



After grabbing our goodies, we continued up the walkway and found ourselves in front of "Franck's", the Bridal Salon.  We were quickly met by our host, Franck himself (Wedding Planner from 'Father of the Bride' Films)...and let me tell you...he's a character! 




The area in front of Franck's was transformed into a grand reception area with  "Chic-y Candy Company" Buffets piled high with bright and colorful candies and over-the-top, vibrant fresh floral arrangements!  Waiters passed glasses of Champagne and sparkling cider to us guest bloggers as we mingled with and introduced ourselves to each other!




With Jennifer Marx, Passporter


We were invited into Franck's and once inside, I just wanted to stay and take it all in!  Each nook had a themed wedding set-up complete with a Cake, Invitations, Floral Arrangement, and menu suggestions.

 




Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons knows how to party:  The cakes...beyond words.  The flowers...indescribable.  The posh interior of Franck's...Unbelievabley classy.  This reception seals the deal: Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons is celebrating their Platinum Anniversary for a reason:  They are the "Go-To Guys" when it comes to weddings.  This is evident in all of the "little details." 




After touring Franck's we all headed over to the Pavillion Chapel where we would soon be introduced to several driving forces in today's wedding industry!


Me with Traci from The View From My Fishbowl
With Ashley, Mama of all Trades



 The first speaker was Alfred Angelo Designer Micheal Shettel!  Shettel spoke with us about the partnership between Disney and Alfred Angelo Designs out of which a gorgeous Disney Princess-inspired wedding gown collection was born. 


 


He excitedly spoke of the inspiration behind the designs as well as the future of the Disney - Alred Angelo "marriage".  And then announced the "unveiling" of the Cinderella Platinum Anniversary Gown in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons. 


Photo Courtesy of Disney Media

We all gasped and shrieked as the regal gown made its way down the aisle!  I can't even tell you what an honor it was to be among the first to see this stunning creation! Read my post on the Cinderella Platinum Wedding Gown here!



Next, Carley Roney, co-founder and editor in chief of The Knot, Inc. took the stage."The Knot has transformed the wedding landscape as the leading wedding resource and most-trafficked online wedding destination with over 3.4 million unique visitors a month and more than 125 million monthly page views."

 


 Followed by David Tutera, Party Planner to the stars and host of the reality TV series, My Fair Wedding on WEtv.  David talked to us about "reinventing" the traditional wedding and the importance of "trends" to the wedding industry!
   
To top off this absolutely "Fairy Tale" worthy day, we actually witnessed a Disney Fairy Tale Weddings vow renewal!  It was amazing, and I have been on my hubby's case ever since! Maybe I WILL get to be a Disney bride after all!



Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons made us all feel like Princesses at their 20th Anniversary Soiree and this was only the beginning of AMAZING things to come at Disney Social Media Moms 2011! Please stay tuned for more exciting posts from the most sought after conference of the year!

Disclosure: I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Conference at a deeply discounted rate, unavailable to the public!  I am not employed by Disney, and all opinions on this site are my own!!!