slide show

January 26, 2012

Casting Call: HGTV's My Yard Goes Disney is accepting applications

Just received this exciting email from a producer at HGTV's hit TV series My Yard Goes Disney!  They are once again searching for families with a passion for all things Disney who have boring backyards!  My Yard Goes Disney helps lucky families transform their dull yards into Disney-inspired wonderlands!

They have already helped six families create magic in their backyards with everything from a Mickey-shaped pool to an African safari play area to a pirate splash pool.  Could you be the next family???

Applications are available online, so hurry to see if your yard will be "Going Disney" in the near future!

January 18, 2012

Aulani's Hibiscus Royale Cocktail ... and A Recipe

So, I am back from my heavenly Aulani vacation and there is just soooo much to write about!  I don't even know where to start! The Imagineers definitely outdid themselves on this project making Aulani one of the best places I have ever visited.  I am amazed at the at which lengths they went to preserve Hawaiian culture and history and to be honest, I am already looking forward to a return trip!

There is just so much to do and take in at Aulani, and those of you who know me won't be surprised that I'm beginning my review of Aulani with a recipe!  One of my favorite places to wrap up a long day at the beach was at Off the Hook a grass-roofed bar located right next to the pool with incredible sunset views and a yummy drink menu.

Photo Credit to Disney-Godess.com (Check out her Aulani Reviews too)


Those of you who know I'm a bubbly girl also won't be surprised to know that I was super excited to see a Sparking wine cocktail on the menu, and this quickly became my sunset beverage of choice!  The Hibscus Royale is a mixture of Sparking Wine and Hibiscus Syrup finished off with a wild hibiscus flower.  This fun, bubbly beverage was beautiful, not too, sweet, and perfectly portrayed the essence of Hawaii.


The Recipe:  Aulani's Hibiscus Royale

Syrup Available at WildHibiscus.com

  1. Muddle mint in the champagne flute & discard (squash some leaves around inside the glass)
  2. Place Wild Hibiscus Flower in bottom of glass & stand upright
  3. Add rose water & some bruised torn mint pieces
  4. Top with Champagne
  5. Lastly, pour in the Hibiscus syrup which will graduate from crimson at the bottom to light pink at the top
Tip:pour syrup in first for a layered effect
The flower will sit in the bottom of the champagne flute and slowly open up over 3-4 minutes.

Wordless Wednesday: Chair With a View ~ Aulani


Disney's Aulani Resort January 2012

January 15, 2012

Disney California Adventure Says "Goodbye" to Electronica and "Hello" to Mad T Party

The world of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is coming to life this Summer at Disney California Adventure Park.  Disney media announced earlier this week that the current nightly events of Electronica will soon be replaced by the eccentric and whimsical Mad T Party.

Guests will magically slip through the rabbit hole into an "alter-reality" revolving around the setting and characters of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.


rendering courtesy of Disneyland Media

During this nighttime family entertainment experience, after falling through a rabbit hole entryway, guests will enjoy music from a live band, djs, games, dancing, and exclusive snacks, beverages and merchandise.  Expect to see familiar faces during this fun filled event as well.

Rendering Courtesy of Disneyland media


An exact opening date has not been set, but expect to see the Mad T Party making its way onto the scene sometime this summer.  For the latest updates, stay tuned here and keep an eye on The Disney Parks Blog.

Wookiees, Jedi and Droids, Oh My! Star Wars Weekends Returns to the Walt Disney World Galaxy in May 2012


The force is back...I can't believe an entire year has almost passed since last year's Star Wars Weekends and also the opening of  the redesigned Star Tours!  Be sure to check out the following Disney News Release outlining plans for this years Special Events which are unbelievably right around the corner!  Stay tuned for more information on Star Wars Weekends as it unfolds!

Disney Media
Press Release: Star Wars Weekends returns to the Walt Disney World Resort during May and June 2012, as Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates the Star Wars film saga and the hit animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The annual special event, included in regular theme park admission, will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012.
The power of the Force and magic of Disney combine as plenty of out-of-this-world characters – including Wookiees, droids, Ewoks, bounty hunters and Jedi – roam the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for meet-and-greet opportunities with guests.
The centerpiece of the celebration is the spectacular 3-D attraction, “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.” The attraction, which opened last spring at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, uses eye-popping 3-D, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology to immerse guests in the Star Wars galaxy like never before.

Disney Media
“Jedi Training Academy,” one of the interactive entertainment experiences at the theme park, allows young guests to learn from a Jedi Master before testing their newly acquired skills in a battle with Darth Vader.
Also featured at Star Wars Weekends: the chance for fans to purchase one-of-a-kind Star Wars memorabilia, Star Wars games, plus there’s special Star Wars parades and motorcades, star conversations and autograph sessions with Star Wars actors and creative talent (celebrity lineup will be announced at a later date). The ever-popular “Hyperspace Hoopla” ends each Star Wars Weekends day with a show filled with comedy, dancing, high-energy music and many of the famed Star Wars characters.




For more information and future updates, guests may go online to disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends or starwars.com.

My 'Ohana Bread Pudding Addiction ... And a recipe

You all already know how much I LOVE to eat at Disney...  in fact, I probably eat a little too much while I'm there.  Recently, I stalked the posts of buddy and fellow Disney Moms Panelist, Kirsten (@CanuckDisneyMom) as she brought one of my favorite desserts, 'Ohana Bread Pudding, into her home kitchen with a fun and simple recipe.

For those of you unfamiliar with 'Ohana, it it is a Pacific Island-themed table service restaurant located amidst the beauty of Disney World's Polynesian Resort.  At 'Ohana, your meal is served all you can eat "Family-Style" and consists of Coriander Chicken Wings, Asian Noodles, Potstickers, Fire Roasted Meats served from the skewer and more.  And how could I forget, the Bread Pudding al a mode topped with Bananas Foster sauce for dessert. I highly recommend this dining experience and if you time your reservation right, you can watch the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks show, Wishes right from your table!  'Ohana is a popular dining destination so be sure to make advanced reservations up to 180 days in advance online or by calling (407)WDW-DINE.


Hearing about this incredibly sumptuous dessert just made my mouth water, but also made me miss Walt Disney World.  From that moment on, I developed this insatiable craving for that sweet, gooey, moist, delicious, banana-ey, divine, heavenly 'Ohana Bread Pudding, and there was only one way to satisfy that hunger:


Yes... I made it at home and had a blast with Kirsten from thousands of miles away as we simultaneously devoured our tasty bread pudding together while chatting on Facebook!  I'm not sure what I enjoyed more...actually eating the bread pudding...or joking with Kirsten as we taunted online friends with our comments and photos.





So, as promised, here's the recipe... 
Thanks to Kirsten for tracking it down and posting it!  

Please leave me a comment below letting me know if you have made or plan to make 'Ohana Bread Pudding at home!  I would also love to see pictures of how yours turns out, so please post them to the Disney Go To Girl Facebook Page!

Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 3 cups of whole milk 
  • 1 loaf challah bread or egg-style bread (large enough to fill 10 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of crushed, canned pineapple
  • 1/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 gallon of vanilla bean ice cream


  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup each: of corn syrup and unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of dark or spiced rum
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 small or 2 large bananas cut into coins
Directions
1.     Pre-heat the oven to 350.
2.     In large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3.     Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes.
4.     Add the bread, pineapple, coconut, and raisins to the egg-and-milk mixture.
5.     Grease a large baking dish with butter.
6.     Add the bread custard mix to the greased baking dish and bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes.
7.     In a sauce pan, combine the dark brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and half of the heavy cream. Using high heat; bring it to a rolling boil.
8.     Allow the mixture to boil 10 minutes and add remaining heavy cream. Let it boil an additional minute.
9.     Now add the rum and vanilla extract. Carefully flambe pan using a long stemmed lighter. Let boil until the flame goes out. Reduce to a simmer and stir with a high heat spatula. Peel and slice the bananas; add them to the caramel sauce. Remove the caramel from the heat and set aside.
10.   Place a scoop of ice cream on top of each portion of bread pudding. Top with bananas Foster sauce.

Recipe note: Make the sauce as the bread pudding is baking to have both hot and ready to serve at the same time.  The recipe also works great without the rum!

January 14, 2012

My Disney Moms Panel Dreams Came True







Hi guys!  It's been a while since I've posted regularly but now I'm back.  I had a very hectic end to 2011 and a crazy beginning to 2012 but now things have started to settle down, so you can expect to hear from me more often!

Photo by Disney Media
Some of you may already know this because word travels quickly thanks to Social Media... but in case you don't...  I am excited to officially announce that I was selected to serve on the 2012 Walt Disney World Moms Panel.  Many of you will remember my journey last year, where my dream of wearing the coveted pink jacked fell short after round 3 of the selection process.  

Well, I am excited to say, Dreams DO Come True and I am so honored to be the FIRST mom representing Disneyland on the panel!  You can now visit me along with the other 14 new panelists and some alums at DisneyWorldMoms.com and be sure to bring your questions.  I promise to share more about my journey here with you, but I wanna start by sharing the official press release which announces us new panelists, and speaks of some exciting Moms Panel news!




Photo by Disney Media
Disclaimer:  I am a member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel.  I am a contractor, not a Disney employee.  The opinions and views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Walt Disney Company. 


Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Jan. 12, 2012- Disney Parks announced today the Walt Disney World Moms Panel has unveiled a new feature – the panelists can receive and answer guests’ questions in Spanish. In addition to the first-ever bilingual offerings, two new specialty areas will be added to the site − Disneyland Resort and runDisney. These features are available to guests atwww.DisneyWorldMoms.com.
The Walt Disney World Moms Panel is an online forum that serves as a resource for planning Disney Parks vacations. From the most thrilling attractions at Disneyland Resort and how to make the most of Disney Vacation Club points at Walt Disney World Resort to the decks of Disney Cruise Line and immersive international itineraries of Adventures by Disney, the Walt Disney World Moms Panel advises and adds their own experiences to help turn dream vacations into reality. As the Moms Panel expands, Disney Parks will look to rebrand in 2012 with exciting details to come later this year.
“When we first launched the Moms Panel in 2008, we dreamed of offering guests the ability to ask questions in various languages. Launching the Spanish option in our fifth year turned our dreams into reality and we’re excited to see the questions and new visitors to the site that come as a result of these new features,” said Leanne Jakubowski, Director, Social Media; Walt Disney World Resort.” As Walt once said, ‘You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.’ The Walt Disney World Moms Panel is living proof of that statement and we believe Walt would be proud of the magic our panelists are making for families around the world.”
Disney Parks received thousands of applications from the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom to be considered for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Each panelist went through three rounds of interviews before they were selected to follow in the footsteps of more than 60 moms, dads, grandparents and guardians who have signed on to share their knowledge and passion for the Disney  brand with others.
Meet the 2012 Walt Disney World Moms Panel:
- Amanda Ficili; Mendocino, Calif. (Disneyland Resort) – Known as the “Disney Go To Girl,” this stay-at-home mom is a coast-to-coast Disney Parks storehouse of knowledge. The proud holder of a Disney Premiere Passport, Amanda grew up a short while from Walt Disney World and now spends every moment she gets enjoying Disneyland Resort.
- Andrea Houston-Lingman; Jamison, Pa. (Disney Vacation Club) – A high school English teacher by day and a “Disney Sherpa” by night, this Disney Vacation Club Member enjoys Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes. When she’s not teaching, Andrea chaperones Walt Disney World trips for students and enjoys the parks with her husband and two children.
- Ari Krell; Reseda, Calif. (Disneyland Resort) – Growing up in the shadows of Sleeping Beauty Castle, Ari is now the father of two little princesses of his own,  guiding his girls around Disneyland, from the twists and turns of Space Mountain to breakfast with Cinderella. Never far from the magic, this Disney dad thinks of Disneyland Resort as his own backyard.
Ashley Forster; Suffolk, Va. - As a proud military wife, Ashley has visited Walt Disney World on her honeymoon, with her husband and two children, and on her annual solo “mommy time” trip. When this Disney vacation planning addict is not preparing for or enjoying a visit to the Mouse’s house,  she and her crew like to explore the magic of their local area, taking road trips or soaking up the sun at the nearest beach.
- Elisabeth Lackey; Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Adventures by Disney) – From the Great Wall of China to the open planes of South Africa, Elisabeth and her family have traveled the world with Adventures by Disney. When she is not embarking on unforgettable global adventures, Elisabeth can be found teaching preschool, tucked away with her favorite book and of course, planning her family of six’s next Disney vacation.
- Jodie Hilson; Thomasville, Ga. – This registered nurse has grown up with Walt Disney World – from losing her first tooth on her first visit to the Magic Kingdom to riding Toy Story Mania with her four children. Jodie’s family of six loves all things Disney so much they named their gray colored cat “Pixie!”
- Kim Dillen; Charlotte, N.C. – A self-proclaimed ‘Type A’ planner, Kim has experience visiting Walt Disney World as the parent of a special needs child, and believes that it’s the little things that can add the most magic to a vacation. Along with her husband and two children, Kim has seen and done it all, from Hidden Mickey hunts to Magic Kingdom birthday celebrations.
- Kirsten Etmanski; Burlington, ON – Since she was seven years old, Kirsten has been making the journey from her home in Canada to Walt Disney World. A stay-at-home mom to a son and daughter, Kirsten spends her day dreaming of an “Around the World – a la Disney” vacation, planning her extended family’s next family reunion and helping friends and neighbors plan their own magical getaways.
- Laura Munkel; Elkhart, Ind. (Disney Vacation Club) - As a family practice physician, Laura is known as an expert around the office when it comes to anything and everything Mickey Mouse. Laura and her family have traveled around the globe with their Disney Vacation Club membership, from Orlando to Germany, Anaheim to Castaway Cay, this mother of three believes that fairytales truly do exist.
- Lori Lovell; Morganfield, Ky. (runDisney) - When she’s not participating in a runDisney event, this sports broadcasting major turned homeschooling mom is busy planning her family’s next Disney vacation. As a mom of two boys, Lori has celebrated many major milestones at Walt Disney World, including runDisney weekends with her husband, friends and family.
- Malanie Rivera; Jamaica, N.Y. (Spanish-Language) - This bilingual New Yorker is a single mom of two children and an occupational therapist for special needs children. Malanie enjoys helping others plan magical Disney moments, including her brother’s engagement at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
- Nancy Walshe; Lilburn, Ga. (Disney Cruise Line) – From the moment she first saw the Disney Wonder docked in Port Canaveral, this teacher of special needs students has been hooked on planning Disney Cruise Line vacations. Whether she is sailing the high seas with her extended family or running the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World, Nancy is dedicated to spreading pixie dust everywhere she goes!
- Scott Houston; Calhoun, Ga. – Much like the middle school children he works with daily as an assistant principal, Scott loves unleashing his inner child on his Disney vacations. Scott enjoys collecting priceless memories with his wife and son from Test Track to the decks of Disney Cruise Line.
- Stacy Cacciatore; Fort Mill, S.C. – As an author, tri-athlete and fitness guru, Stacy is passionate about making exercise and health fun for all ages. As a mom of a prince and princess, Stacy also loves making memories at Walt Disney World with her family, celebrating her children’s birthdays in the parks each year.
- Sue Farrell; Little Sutton, Cheshire (UK) – From across the pond, Sue is always preparing for her family’s next extended stay at Walt Disney World. Having experienced everything from Easter to a hurricane in the parks, this UK mum enjoys helping others plan their international magical escapes.
Alumni panelists will also join in and continue sharing their time-tested tips and advice on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Guests can find all panelists answers, an extensive library of how-to videos, some to soon be available in Spanish and more at www.disneyworldmoms.com.


January 5, 2012

Leap Year 2012 Calls for ‘One More Disney Day’ As Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resorts Turn Feb. 29 Into 24 Hours of Nonstop Theme Park Magic




Historic Bi-Coastal Day for Disney Parks


Disney Parks guests can get the most out of February 29 when Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California celebrate Leap Year by keeping a theme park on each coast open for 24 hours of nonstop memory-making fun.
For the first time ever, both the Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland Park will stay open for 24 hours straight as part of a bi-coastal salute called “One More Disney Day.” From 6 a.m., February 29 to 6 a.m., March 1, 2012, local time, guests can fill the extra day of leap year with a marathon of Disney magic and fun.*
And for 60 days straight – from Jan. 1, 2012 to Feb. 29, 2012 – a daily winner will be chosen in the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” to receive a Disney Parks vacation.  One entrant each day will win a vacation for four to make memories at either Disneyland Resort in California or Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.**
For the past year, Disney Parks has invited guests to “let the memories begin,” noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
“We’re honored that so many guests have shared their Disney memories with us as part of ‘Let the Memories Begin’, and I’m pleased to announce that the campaign will continue throughout 2012,” Staggs said. “To celebrate, for the first time ever, the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Parks will remain open for 24 hours on Leap Day, so that our guests can take advantage of every minute of their extra day to make memories with friends and family.”
In addition to the extra time, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California will feature a special offer:
  • Guests get one more day and night of memory making, free when they buy a 3-night/3-day non-discounted Walt Disney Travel Co. room and ticket package at select Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort hotels.  The package offer is good for arrivals most nights Feb. 26 – March 10, 2012 and must be booked by Jan. 31, 2012. ***
In 2011, Disney Parks has encouraged families to “Let the Memories Begin,” with guests celebrating their only-at-Disney memories by sharing their vacation stories, photos and videos online at DisneyParks.com/memories.
Guests can find out more information about other Disneyland Resort offers and tickets at www.disneyland.com and other Walt Disney World Resort hotel and ticket offers at www.disneyworld.com. Guests can find out more information about “One More Disney Day” and get official rules for the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” atwww.OneMoreDisneyDay.com

Special Ticket at Disneyland Resort Offers Two Days of Fun for $99 for Southern California Residents


I am very excited to share this news from Disneyland Resort with you!  This is a chance for Southern California residents to enjoy both Disneyland Resort theme parks at an unbelievable value!  Please check out the following press release for more information on this incredible offer and please take note of other current Disneyland Resort specials included at the bottom of the article!  There's never been a better time to plan a vacation to Disneyland Resort!!!


An exciting ticket offer at Disneyland Resort invites Southern California residents to enjoy two days of fun and adventure at two parks for just $99. To explore all there is to do at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park, guests may purchase a 2-day ticket for just $99, with their choice of one park per day.  With the 2-day ticket, guests get the flexibility to make memories with family and friends any two days from Jan. 4 to June 9, 2012.*
From the nighttime brilliance of “World of Color” to parades and high-energy street shows, guests will be immersed in the excitement of high-quality entertainment and some of their favorite attractions for two full days.  They will be able to choose two days at Disney California Adventure, or two days at Disneyland, or one day to go wild at each park.  Plus, for the first time, SoCal residents may choose to  add a third day to this ticket for just $30** and visit one park per day.  For blockout dates and restrictions, visitwww.Disneyland.com/2days.
Along with the great value of the 2-day ticket, guests will enjoy a fun challenge when they visit the parks: What to do next? Visit a pirate, a princess, a Jedi or a genie? Sing along with a mermaid or soar over California? Embark on a jungle cruise or journey to galaxies far, far away? Dine at a seaside boardwalk or dance the night away at ElecTRONica?
With so much to do at both parks, guests may choose from a variety of sensational shows, attractions and dining locations.  At Disneyland, favorite experiences include the new destinations of Star Tours with more than 50 different story combinations, the exciting drumbeat of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade and the thrills of racing through Space Mountain.   At Disney California Adventure, the fun ranges from a musical voyage on The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure to a 4D ride on Toy Story Mania, and more at night with the “World of Color” spectacular on enormous mist screens.
Classic attractions and entertaining shows offer even more options for guests, including a  cruise  through Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, and a magical carpet ride  with “Aladdin, a Musical Spectacular” at Disney California Adventure. Guests also may enjoy meeting characters and princesses at the parks, plus themed dining locations such as the new pavilion at Paradise Pier, with Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill restaurants.
The 2-day ticket is the perfect way to catch all the fun, and it won’t last long.  SoCal residents  must purchase the 2-day ticket by June 1, 2012. First use must occur on or before June 8, 2012, and the tickets expire on June 9, 2012.  The 2-day ticket can be purchased at Disneyland.com/2days, The Disney Stores, Albertsons and other retail locations, as well as any Disneyland Resort ticket booth.  Guests who purchase online can print their tickets at home.
Additional offers are available for guests who want to turn their Disneyland Resort visit into a getaway, including a hotel stay at any of the three Disneyland Resort deluxe hotels and FASTPASS tickets. The four-diamond Disneyland Hotel has been fully renovated with beautiful d├ęcor, a new pool and water play area, and a new restaurant and bar. For details, see www.disneyland.com/offers.
  • Hotel savings: Guests can save up to 35 percent* on hotel stays for most Sunday through Thursday nights at a Disneyland Resort hotel for travel from January 2 through February 29,  2012, when the reservation is booked before February 29.  Hotel guests may also enjoy Magic Morning admission to a Disneyland Resort theme park on applicable days.

  • FASTPASS Tickets: Guests who stay at any Disneyland Resort hotel from January 4 to February 29 will receive 2Disney’s FASTPASS tickets for each registered guest in their party (ages 3 and older). Valid theme park tickets are required, of course.

  • Vacation package: Guests get one more Disney day and night free! As part of the One More Disney Day campaign, when guests purchase a non-discounted Walt Disney Travel Co. 3-night, 3-day Room and Ticket Package before January 31, 2012 for arrivals most nights between February 26 and March 10, 2012, they will receive a ticket for an additional theme park admission and a hotel night for free.