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February 16, 2012

Gospel Choirs to Perform at Disney California Adventure This Saturday

Being from the South, I have always had an affinity for Gospel Music.  It's sooo soothing and no matter where I may be, just listening to Gospel Music can transport me home.  Well, with that being said, you can imagine my excitement when I heard (via The Disney Parks Blog) that gospel musicians from across Southern California will be performing live at California Adventure, this Saturday, in honor of Black History Month!

Photo courtesy of The Disney Parks Blog
If you'll be in the area, be sure to swing by California Adventure's Stage 17 which is located in Hollywood Studios Backlot, as 17 gospel choirs fill the air with their heavenly voices!  Performances will take place at 11AM, 1:30PM, and 4:30PM.  See ya there!

New Series: Where in Disney Am I? Music Edition

While listening to some Disney Parks audio last night, I came up with a fun idea which I am excited to share with you!  Starting today, Thursdays at DGTG will be dubbed "Where in Disney Am I?" Day..but I'm switching things up a bit... Instead of trying to figure out "Where I am" by looking at a photo, you'll have to guess my location by listening to the music track from a particular attraction, queue, or other area in either Disneyland or Walt Disney World!

To guess, just leave a comment below, or send me an email!  I will keep the comments hidden until tomorrow when I will update the post with the answer!  Winner gets bragging rights until next week ;)

I have started this series off with an easy one!  Here goes...hope you enjoy!

February 15, 2012

Disney Unveils Brand New Disney Junior Toy Line...Take a Peek!

Last week at the American International Toy Fair, Disney Consumer Products unveiled some fabulous new products which will hit the markets in the near future!  These toys are all inspired by the characters of Disney Junior and the release comes at the perfect time, as Disney Junior will soon become a 24 hour channel due to increased popularity among households with children between the ages of 2 and 7!

Two girls play with toys inspired by Minnie's Bow-Toons, part of a new line of more than 130 toys inspired by Disney Junior series
Celebrities including Sharon Osbourne and David Arquette were on hand as Disney unveiled over 130 new toys, several of which were inspired by Disney Junior top series, Jake and the Neverland Pirates...which happens to be one of my daughter's favorites!  Osbourne and Arquette were each presented with custom-made toys inspired by their characters while guests enjoyed a sneak preview of Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns, a primetime special premiering tonight at 7 p.m. EST/PST on Disney Channel. In this highly anticipated episode, Peter Pan makes his first-ever appearance on the series, returning to Pirate Island to enlist Jake, Izzy, Cubby and Skully in finding his lost shadow.

Sharon Osbourne, voice of Mama Hook, and David Arquette, voice of lookout parrot Skully, on Jake and the Never Land Pirates, play with toys inspired by their series, at the American International Toy Fair in New York City, where Disney unveiled an assortment of more than 130 toys inspired by four series on Disney Junior, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012

My daughter had a blast looking through the new toys and helped me pick out a few to showcase here on DGTG!  We can't wait to get our hands on these!!!  Which is your favorite???

Jake's Pirate Ship (MSRP $44.99, national retailers, June 2012)— Designed after Bucky, Jake's ship featured in the series, this swashbuckling pirate ship rocks and rolls when pushed along a surface, with Skully smartly perched on the lookout. Kids can join Jake and his crew to live a pirate's life through multiple pirate-themed phrases and songs. To really bring the adventure home, kids can fire water out of the cannon or stage a surprise croc attack.

Minnie's Kitchen (MSRP $74.99, national retailers, Aug. 2012) – This colorful, multi-level play set has everything girls need to cook up their own kitchen adventures. Featuring multiple 'flipping' functions to maximize the play experience and creativity in the kitchen, the set includes a sink that flips to a hidden cutting board and dish rack that flips to a hidden blender. Girls can cook up their own treats with a frying pan to flip a Minnie-shaped pancake and flipping recipe book for inspiring new ideas. The kitchen includes Minnie's voice and realistic kitchen sounds.

Mickey's Farm Play Set (MSRP $44.99, national retailers, Aug. 2012)— Kids can create their own fun farm stories with Mickey Mouse and his friends with this new play set that features realistic animal sounds and fun farm music. Character figures and animals can go for a spin on the dance floor, and a silly hand moves between the silo and windmill.

Michelle Obama gets down "Disney Style" VIDEO

Disney’s TV show Phineas and Ferb has grown into a global phenomenon - the show has featured celebrity guest stars including David Beckham, Jamie Oliver, Michael Douglas and Selena Gomez and nearly one in two kids are tuning in! The show has proved so popular that even Michelle Obama was seen performing a Phineas and Ferb inspired dance at a healthy living event designed to inspire kids and families to lead healthier and active lifestyles.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined kids and families – along with favorite Disney Channel and Disney XD stars, and the hugely popular "Phineas and Ferb" character, Perry the Platypus – at an event to get kids moving, during Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living & "Let's Move!" celebration at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort. 

Disney Channel stars Debby Ryan ("Jessie"), Roshon Fegan ("Shake It Up"), and Disney XD stars Doc Shaw and Kelsey Chow ("Pair of Kings") and Olivia Holt ("Kickin' It") inspired kids to get active with the new dance "The Platypus Walk."

The event marks the second anniversary of "Let’s Move!," the First Lady's initiative to fight childhood obesity, and Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a Company-wide initiative designed to inspire kids and families to lead healthier and active lifestyles.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY opens in theaters this Friday, February 17th

The trailers and commercials for The Secret World of Arrietty have definitely won me over and I must say I am very excited to see this film!  What do you think?  Do you have plans to see this film?

Cast Members: Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler and Carol Burnett in Los Angeles to promote the film.

Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all.  From the legendary Studio Ghibli (“Spirited Away,” “Ponyo”) comes “The Secret World of Arrietty,” an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger. The English language version of “The Secret World of Arrietty” was executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and directed by Gary Rydstrom. The film hits theaters Feb. 17, 2012.

The Secret World of Arrietty - Film Clip "Captured"

Be sure to check out the official Facebook page for this film:!/SecretWorldofArrietty

And don't forget... The Secret World of Arrietty hits theaters this Friday!

DGTG Wordless Wednesday: Have a "Dapperiffic" Day

Disneyland's Dapper Dans Quartet serenades guests on Main Street USA with tunes from the Good Old Days

February 10, 2012

New Orleans Bayou Bash Marches into Disneyland Park

New Orleans Square has to be one of my favorite areas of Disneyland Park!  I have been to New Orleans several times and I must say that the Imagineers did a fabulous job of bringing the sights and sounds of the Big Easy to the West Coast!  I absolutely love walking through the shop-lined streets of New Orleans Square, sipping on a Mint Julep and tapping my toes to the beat of the Jambalaya Jazz Band! (Be sure to check out my review of Disneyland's signature Mint Julep, and a recipe!)

Ari, (Disneyland Dad on the Moms Panel) and I hanging out on the Dream Suite Balcony,
overlooking New Orleans Square
I am excited to share with you news of a very special New Orleans-style event taking place right now at Disneyland!  If you're looking to experience a family-friendly rendition of New Orleans' famed Mardi Gras, be sure to stop by Disneyland Park's New Orleans Square on weekends starting today and through March 11 (plus Feb. 20th and 21st) for a Disney-style Mardi Gras celebration unlike any other, the New Orleans Bayou Bash.

During the New Orleans Bayou Bash guests can expect have blast as the high-energy tunes of live Jazz bands fill the air in New Orleans Square.  Princess Tiana and her friends from Princess and the Frog wouldn't dare miss such an occasion, and you will find them dancing and parading through the streets while interacting with guests during this Bayou-inspired celebration!  And that's only the beginning!

Mickey and Minnie Will Celebrate "New Orleans Bayou Bash!" in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park
Here's some information direct from Disneyland... sounds like an event you won't wanna miss:

  • Dates for “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” will be Fridays through Sundays,Feb. 10-12, 24-26, March 2-4 and 9-11, and Friday through Tuesday, Feb. 17-21 (Presidents’ Day weekend). Entertainment is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • New Orleans Square and the adjoining banks of the Rivers of America will be adorned with masks, beads, feathers and colorful celebration banners in bright shades of purple, green and gold.
  • A stage along the Rivers of America will provide a performance area for a variety of “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” talent, including “Tiana’s Mardi Gras Procession” and the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band.
  • In “Tiana’s Mardi Gras Procession,” Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the alligator and a crew of colorfully costumed dancers burst into New Orleans Square in a musical celebration taking place six times a day. They sing lively tunes from “The Princess and the Frog” as they make their way through the streets and down to the Rivers of America stage.
  • The New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band will appear five times per day in a rousing Mardi Gras procession through New Orleans Square. In traditional “second line” style, an umbrella dancer leads the mash-up of musicians and colorful street performers. Guests are asked to join the procession, which travels through the streets and down to the river stage.
  • Additional “New Orleans Bayou Bash!” entertainment will include performances by Jambalaya Jazz Band and the bluesy Royal Street Bachelors on the stage at the French Market restaurant in New Orleans Square.
  • In the Court of Angels Photo Location in New Orleans Square, guests celebrating the New Orleans Bayou Bash can pose for pictures with an ever-changing lineup of beloved Disney characters in Mardi Gras attire:  Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen. Mickey Mouse, Minnie MouseGoofyChip and Dale.
“New Orleans Bayou Bash!” fills New Orleans Square with vibrant excitement, jazzy music, street performers and the sensational food of New Orleans. Guests can savor a celebration seasoned with Southern hospitality.

Valentine's Day Giveaway: Pillsbury Disney-Shaped Ready-To-Bake Cookie Prize Pack

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to show those who are near and dear just how much you care with a treat straight from the heart and fresh from the oven! New Valentine’s Day Pillsbury® Ready to Bake!™ Shape® Cookies will fill your home with love and now the magic of Disney®. Whether you bake these cookies for, or with your loved ones, Pillsbury Ready to Bake Shape Cookies are perfect for bringing those you love most together on Valentine’s Day!

  • Quick and convenient, Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Shape Cookies are ready to enjoy in 8-10 minutes and can be found at your local grocer
  • Celebrate the holiday with your family’s favorite Disney characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Disney Princesses Belle, Cinderella and Tiana
Bake your way into your family’s hearts this February with new Valentine’s Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Shape Cookies. You  can go to this link to download a printable coupon for $1.10 off of the purchase of (1) package of Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Shape Cookies today!

Also Pillsbury has provided a giveaway today through myblogspark for one lucky DGTG reader.  The prize includes:

  • A VIP coupon to purchase a package of Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Shape Cookies
  • Cookie Jar
  • Cookie Spatula
  • Oven Mitt

February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Important Aulani "Board Meeting"

Fun Lady and the Tramp Recipe to make with your Lil' Sweetie

Love is in the air – Disney’s LADY AND THE TRAMP is available now for the first time ever on Blu-ray™ Diamond Edition!

Embark on a thrilling adventure with the most unforgettable characters and memorable music: Lady, a lovingly pampered cocker spaniel; Tramp, a mutt from across the tracks with a heart of gold; Jock and Trusty, Lady’s best friends; and Si and Am, two of the most devious cats to prowl across the screen. Join in the fun and excitement as the happiest of endings takes place on a lovely Bella Notte as Lady learns what it means to be footloose and leash-free!

February 6, 2012

Sorcerer Mickey Topiary, Haiti Garden, HGTV Star Designers Headline 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7-May 20

Haiti Garden Lights Up Night; HGTV Designer John Gidding Appears March 9-11

The largest-ever Disney front-entrance topiary, an illuminated Haiti produce garden with marketplace and a stellar cast of HGTV design celebrities boost the flower power at the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 7-May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort.  Here’s a sneak peek of this year’s festival news:

Giants' Eli Manning - "I'm Going to Disney World!"

After his epic play in Super Bowl XLVI leading his team to a come-from-behind 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots, what is New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning going to do next? In the celebratory moments after his team captured the National Football League championship Sunday night in Indianapolis, Manning stood in front of a TV camera and shouted five words that have become ingrained in Super Bowl victory celebrations: “I’m going to Disney World!”

Sail the Seven Seas with Molly - Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage in Review

I am so excited to say that DGTG correspondent Molly B. is back and today we will be following her on a swashbuckling Seven Seas Adventure... Seven Seas Lagoon, that is!  Hope you enjoy the journey and be sure to visit Molly over at one of my favorite sites,

An encounter with Captain James Hook and Mr. Smee!
When we go to Walt Disney World every year, we like to throw in a little something special to really make the trip memorable for the kids and for our family. These things are always a “gift from Mickey Mouse” to my children. 2009 was the first year that my oldest son Jake got transformed into a pirate at The Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom. In 2010 we pulled out all the stops, and Mickey delivered a very special surprise indeed to our hotel room in the form of “Mickey’s Grand Welcome” that can be purchased from Disney Floral and Gifts. This past trip in August of 2011 my in-laws wanted to do something special for Jake, as we celebrate his birthday in WDW every year. They spent a few days with us on our trip this year, and since Jake loves pirates, we suggested the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. I had a feeling that this would be a great time, and I was certainly correct!

The Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage (formerly the Magical Fireworks Voyage that was only open to members of Grand Gatherings), is a cruise that sets sail from your port at the Contemporary, on to Bay Lake, where a pirate host will entertain you until you are in the perfect position for a view of the fireworks spectacular Wishes taking place at the Magic Kingdom. You must book ahead of time, and payment is due when you make the reservation. Little pirates under the age of 3 sail for free, but you must include them in the size of your party, because your pirate ship will only have a limited number of seats!

Mommy, Maggie, Ben, Jake, and Daddy ready to set sail!

The cast member took the name of our party, and then handed us a card that told us which ship we would be setting sail on, and what row we were to sit in. We were thrilled to see that we would be sailing on Captain Hook’s ship as opposed to Smee’s, and that we were to be seated in the front row! We were also each given a special bandana that we all had to wear so cast members would know that we were part of the pirate crew!

At 9:00pm the doors to the ballroom were opened and we lay our eyes on a fabulous spread of snacks. We were then told to head on over to the snack table and “raid, pillage, and plunder” as many snack as we could! So raid, pillage, and plunder we did! There was cotton candy, bags of popcorn, pretzels, and trail mix, treasure chests filled with gold wrapped chocolate coins, a variety of granola bars, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, apples, and oranges. There was also a table with coffee, tea, and cold bottled water and cans of soda. We were pretty full from the dinner and deserts we just had, but all of the snacks were individually packaged and we were told that we could take as many with us as we could fit in our bags! This was great because we were able to partake in these treats for the rest of our vacation, and even brought some home with us! Just as the contents of the table were beginning to dwindle cast members came out to deliver even more yummy snacks!

Ben, Jake, and Daddy before the cruise

As everyone was finishing their treats, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee came out to meet us! My boys Jake and Ben were absolutely thrilled at this as they had never met them in person before! We were able to wait in line, and The Captain and Smee were happy to sign autographs and pose for photos with each family. You were welcome to use your own camera, and a Disney Photo Pass photographer was also on hand for use.

After everyone had their chance to meet these famous pirate icons, we were introduced to our pirate hosts for our cruise, Patch, and his “identical” twin brother, Patch! Those of us that were sailing on Smee’s ship were told to go to the left side of the room, and if we were setting sail on Hook’s ship, to the right. An adult was picked from each side of the room to carry a pirate flag, and lead the group down stairs to the dock where we would be setting sail. Since we had a stroller, they had my husband go down ahead of the group, so that they could take the elevator, while the rest of us used to escalator.

We boarded our ships, and Captain Hook and Mr. Smee stayed on the docks to see us off. Apparently they were both suffering from a freak case of sea sickness! As we took to the seas, Patch led us in taunting Hook by opening and closing our arms to imitate a crocodile’s mouth, and chanting “tick tock, tick tock!” Hook took off running away from all of us “crocs”!

Patch, Jake, and Grandma
As the start of Wishes grew near, we had one last surprise as we were given a perfect view of The Electrical Water Pageant! We also had awesome views of all of the resorts on the shores of Bay Lake. Finally, Wishes started, and let me tell you, it was truly magical to be able to see it from this vantage point. There were no crowds to fight, and no one to get in our way. I’m not sure I would ever watch it again any other way!

Wishes ended, and we started on our way back to the dock at the Contemporary. As we passed by the Wilderness Lodge, I was tempted to ask if they could make a quick pit stop and drop us off at home! I held my tongue, and we arrived at the Contemporary’s dock. A very special guest was waiting for us to return, and while I should have been very happy to see him, I was very disappointed, because all three of my children had fallen asleep after the fireworks! I am not going to spoil the surprise, and tell you who the kids missed out on meeting. You will just have to experience this amazing cruise for yourself! Maybe we will see you there next year, because I know we will be back!

DGTG Guest Blogger: Molly is a proud mommy of three Neurotic Disney Children. Though young in age, she is a veteran Walt Disney World vacation planner. She would classify her life in two parts; on a Disney vacation, or planning one. She first visited her utopia at age 3 and could not imagine her life without it. One of her proudest moments was when her son told her that he wanted to be an Imagineer and she can’t wait until her daughter is old enough to have a favorite Disney princess. She hopes to instill a life long love for Disney in her familyithout it. One of her proudest moments was when her son told her that he wanted to be an Imagineer and she can’t wait until her daughter is old enough to have a favorite Disney princess. She hopes to instill a life long love for Disney in her family and any one else who is willing to have a little faith and trust!

February 5, 2012

My 5 Minutes of Tonga Toast Fame... and a Recipe!

Ok, so if you know me, you know that I absolutely LOVE Kona Cafe's Tonga Toast.  OK, so LOVE is an  understatement...  It's really hard to articulate just how BIG of a Tonga Toast fan I am.  It is even a tradition in my household to savor Tonga Toast on Christmas morning... it's the next best thing to being at the Polynesian on a sunny Florida morning!

Christmas Morning Breakfast at my house!
If I've lost ya somewhere along the way, let me fill you in on this yummy breakfast masterpiece which can be found at Kona Cafe and Captain Cook's snack Bar both located in Disney's Polynesian Resort... wait a minute... before I get into that, lemme fill you in on my 5 minutes of Tonga Toast Fame:

Well, it was more like 1.5 seconds, but still!  My husband, my daughter, and I were eating a late lunch in Kona last Summer when we were approached and asked if we would mind participating in a casual film shoot featuring the Polynesian and my beloved Tonga Toast... ummmm...DUH!? OF COURSE!!!

In Tonga Toast Action-- Shot by friend Ami from Disney Goddess as she was passing by.
We quickly gobbled our lunch just as Kona was closing and we were relocated to a table near the front of the restaurant where we were filmed receiving our oh so yummy Tonga Toast!  I wasn't sure what would ever become of such tasty footage and... low and behold, My smiling (and drooling) face can be spotted in this Tonga Toast video which was recently featured on the Disney Parks Blog!  See if you can spot me and my family... and for those of you who needed the Tonga Toast ya go ;)

So as promised, here's the recipe!  Please let me know about your Tonga Toast Experiences by leaving a comment below!

Kona Cafe, Disney's Polynesian Resort

Serves 4
Sugar-Cinnamon Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Batter Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Tonga Toast Ingredients:
1 quart canola oil, for frying
1 loaf sourdough bread (uncut, 12 inches long)
2 large bananas, peeled 

For cinnamon-sugar:
1. Mix sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl (large enough to roll toast) with a fork until thoroughly blended. Set aside.

For batter:
1. Whip eggs in medium bowl (large enough to dip toast) until well beaten. Add milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well and set aside. 

For Tonga toast:
1. Preheat oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or a deep fryer. (If using a large pot, use a candy thermometer to make certain the oil does not get any hotter or it will burn.)
2. Slice the bread into four three-inch-thick slices.
3. Cut each banana in half crosswise, then each piece lengthwise.
4. Place a bread slice flat on the counter and tear out just enough from the middle (do not tear all the way through) to stuff half a banana into; repeat with each bread slice.
5. Dip stuffed bread into batter, covering both sides, allowing excess batter to drip off bread and place carefully into hot oil.
6. Cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown. If needed, turn toast over after 2 minutes and cook for another 2 minutes on other side. Remove and drain excess oil.
7. Roll toast in cinnamon-sugar. Repeat for each piece of toast. 

Dowtown Disney's Catal offers Valentine's Prix-Fixe for Lovers

On my recent visit to Disneyland Resort last week, I couldn't help but notice the delicious looking menu board situated in front of Catal, one of my favorite Downtown Disney eateries.  Catal is an elegantly casual Spanish-influenced restaurant boasting incredible views of Downtown Disney from the circular outdoor seating area.  As they have done in previous years, Catal will once again offer a romantic 3-course dinner this Valentine's Day.

The 3-Course Menu offers several tasty choices and will be available for $55 per guest in addition to the regular menu.  Reservations may be made by calling Catal at (714) 774-4442.  If you're headed down to Disneyland this Valentine's Day and are looking for something special to do with your sweetheart, I highly recommend Catal!

First course selection
  • Lobster soup, celery root agnolotti, truffle oil powder, sea beans 
  • Bigeye tuna sashimi, green apple shaved ice, umami pearls, micro cilantro 
  • Head-on prawn, gazpacho blanco, grapes, marcona almonds, tangerine lace 
  • Crispy pork belly, steamed brioche buns, Asian pear, honey gastrique 
  • House made ricotta cheese, haricots verts, Castelvetrano olives, blood orange,hazelnut vinaigrette
  • Boston lettuce, buttermilk dressing, Mine Shaft blue cheese, shaved radish, torn croutons

Main course selection

  • Whole wheat angel hair pasta, little neck clams, red chilies, garlic, oregano free range chicken, asparagus, salsify, truffle roasted chicken jus
  • Market fish, beluga lentils, butternut squash, Savoy cabbage, harissa yogurt emulsion
  • Duo of beef, roasted filet mignon, braised short rib, pearl barley, market vegetables, veal dashi Slow-roasted lamb shoulder, flageolet beans, artichokes, goat cheese flan, pickled pearl onion 
  • Risotto, piquillo pepper confit, roasted yam fondue, Parmesan frico, tiny herbs

Dessert selection
  • Chocolate dacquoise, dark chocolate cream, chocolate sorbet, chocolate crunchy tuile, chocolate sauce, chocolate streusel
  • Rose petal lychee raspberry cake, raspberry sauce, fresh rose petals, lychee sorbet, pink caramel tuile

$55 for 3 courses
Tax and gratuity additional; menu subject to change

What are your plans for Valentines Day???  Please let me know by leaving a comment below!