Get Ready: Cruise Planning and Early Packing

Get Ready: Cruise Planning and Early Packing

amys-dream

Hey howdy hey guys, guess what today is! Go ahead… If you guessed the anniversary of the Disney Dream’s maiden voyage, then you’d be absolutely right! And that couldn’t be more relevant for me because I am in full-on planning and packing mode. I’ve got just a few days before we head out for our whirlwind few days at WDW and MK and our much-anticipated Disney cruise aboard the Disney Dream. I can’t wait to share all the fun once we leave on our socials (facebook, instagram, twitter, & periscope) since I won’t be able to share here on the blog until I return. You can find us on periscope by searching for “mouse and monorail” in your app.

Join Me on My First Cruise

First things first. Come follow us on all our socials before I leave! I plan to do some fun periscopes around the Wilderness Lodge on Saturday night and may even broadcast some of the “peaceful serenity” that is Whispering Canyon. Haha!! (If you don’t know what I’m laughing at, go check out what the Whispering Canyon is all about here). I’ll be broadcasting via periscope as much as service will allow on Sunday in the Magic Kingdom so be sure to follow us ahead of time to get the notifications on your device! Additionally, I’m going to periscope as much as I can on the ship Monday and possibly our Castaway Cay day (Wednesday). SO don’t miss out!! Speaking of watching live, did you know that you can watch Port Canaveral live via their webcam? Yep, come watch me sail away!! Haha!

FE Sneak Peek!

Cruise Planning

Finally to cruise packing. Now, don’t go throwing your favorite swimsuit and sandals in the suitcase just yet! There are things that can and should be done well in advance of a few weeks (or less than a week in my case) of your sail date. And for me, this has been the most fun Disney trip I’ve ever planned. From meeting people who we’ll be cruising with online months in advance via fb, to creating unique gifts to exchange through the fish extenders, to planning the ultimate “best friends” day at the Magic Kingdom for my kids and their best friends (who just so happen to be going with us! Whoo hoo!!) I can hardly contain my excitement!!

Cruise Packing Preview

Early Packing

But planning and packing isn’t always easy and some things that need to be done can get overlooked until it’s too late. And with a Disney cruise specifically, there are certain things you’ll want to do well in advance of your sail date. After booking, you can decide if you’d like to participate in Fish Extenders, and if so find your sail date group on fb and sign up. Check out Sarah’s amazing post on 5 things to know before you go for help on familiarizing yourself on what you’ll need to do to be prepared. Other items like passports, car maintenance services (in case you’re driving), scheduling your flights and auto rentals, and making boarding/other arrangements for your pets should all be done earlier rather than later.

Don’t Forget Documentation

Passports can take several weeks to come back and if there’s a particular hold-up on getting yours, it could be delayed even longer. A car servicing can also be beneficial to get done earlier in case something needs repairing so that you’re not forking out a huge chunk of change on your car RIGHT before you head out on your trip. And if you haven’t researched a bit about keeping your devices charged while on vacation, earlier is definitely better! Check out my post all about that very topic here.

Organize Your Packing

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The photo above shows my own (insane, I know. There’s five of us now) list of stuff to pack and whether you use a crazy looking app like me (which totally works beautifully for me 🙂 ) or a good ‘ole pen and paper, keeping a list is a great way to ensure that you’re on track. And while making your own personal list is key, you’d be missing out if you didn’t check out Amy’s Cruise packing list and Sarah’s WDW packing list! Both of them are great place to start and are printable so you can print whenever and even have copies for family members so big kids can help pack too!

 

Hooked on DCL design by Mouse and Monorail

 

Fish Extenders

I’m now a week out and have begun to pack starting with our fish extender and gifts. They’re all done and packed in a small separate suitcase. (Eeek! So excited to give them out and even more excited to share about them after I get back!!) This serves the purpose of ensuring that they all stay together, can be easily checked, and the suitcase space will be available to bring home our own fish extender gifts we receive. I’m updating my Hooked on DCL decal to include a silhouette cameo cutter file as well as a printable for instructions on how to apply the decal should you decide to make and give them as gifts for your own fish extenders! So exciting! Right click on the image to below to download the decal application instructions and be sure to check out the original Hooked on DCL post that has been updated with the additional file.

Decal Application Instructions

And packing early isn’t all about fish extenders! There’s extra space in our suitcase, so I’m adding in items that I can easily pack early like suction cup hooks for hanging swimsuits (we won’t have a verandah), door magnets, and our dry-erase magnetic board where we can write and encourage fun messages to people onboard. Pretty much anything else that we can deal without having until our luggage is brought to our room will go in here as well.

It’s Almost Time!

I’ve printed and gathered our signed cruise docs/signature pages from our online check-in, and placed them in my carry-on (yeah, that totally rad Disney Dream Inaugural bag my brother got me for Christmas!) since I’ll need those items to board.  That’s all the time I have for now since I’ve got to get back to packing!! And don’t forget to stay tuned for my live posts from WDW and the Bahamas this coming weekend and next week! ~Meredith ºoº

How To Keep Your Devices Charged at Disney World

How to Keep Your Devices Charged at Disney World

Keeping devices charged at Disney World is no small feat. We want to capture the moments and share them, but we sometimes batteries run low. Don’t miss out on capturing that special moment because of a low battery! Follow these easy tips to save yourself time and headache.Portable Charging Device

Buy a Premium and Compact Portable Charging Device

Buy a premium and compact portable charging device! There are so many chargers out there to choose from, it’s hard to know what to go with. I’ve had a “solar” one in the past. Although I can still use it by charging it from the wall outlet, it doesn’t charge my device fast and the solar recharge feature was a bust. Maybe I never positioned it just perfectly angled to sun. Or maybe that feature just never worked. In any case, it’s time for an upgrade. My husband has a Galaxy Edge and I’ve got an iPhone 6 plus. There’s no way we’d make it a full day in the Magic Kingdom without recharging them. Add the GoPro to the mix and I’m pretty certain I’m gonna need a premium and large battery capacity to handle all of those devices!

Why Buy a Portable Charger?

It’s simple; time. When we’re on vacation, regardless if it’s at a Disney destination or not, I want to take pictures and videos with my phone. I’ll definitely have my Canon 5d out for photos, but my phone is always around and the easiest to snap with. And inevitably, it’s gonna die. Having the ability to charge my phone without having to seek out a charging place only to have to sit and wait a half hour or hour or however long it takes.

When I’m paying premium $$$ just to be inside the park itself, the last thing I want to do is sit and waste time. I’m willing to bet you’d say the same. Whenever I notice it’s getting low, I just pull out the charger, plug it up, and drop them both in my pocket. I can easily fit my (giant) phone and the charger in one pocket! I’ve used other portable chargers in the past and I won’t mention them here. In fact, I don’t want to mention them ever again!

I’ve heard many great things about Anker portable charging devices. After the solar charger flop, I was ready for a premium, high-capacity charger. Researching on Anker’s website I found that what suits my needs best is the Anker powercore. It’s loaded with both battery capacity and super fast charging speed. It’s also got a rugged exterior shell and although it’s certainly not light (let’s be honest it feels like a brick compared to a case-less iPhone) but it’s pretty compact!

My particular model is able to charge my iPhone 7.2 times before it needs recharging itself. That’s certainly enough to recharge our devices without having to worry about sitting somewhere in the parks and missing out on all the fun! And what made this particular model even more appealing is that it touts two usb ports. That means I can charge two devices simultaneously, all while waiting in line for Big Thunder Mountain!

Research Which Charger is Best for You

Browse the offerings for each charger as they all have different capabilities and if you’ve only got one device, you might not need quite as much as we do. There are loads of other great charger brands that people will swear by. So give yourself a little time to look through what’s out there and really pick what’s right for you.

The one thing you want to be sure to avoid is chargers that don’t contain premium battery cells.

The Anker devices have 8650 Panasonic 3400mAh lithium-ion batteries. They also have additional features, like surge protection, that cheaper and smaller charging devices like lipstick case and pocket chargers just don’t have. No matter which charger you decide to go with one thing’s for certain. You’ll definitely be having more fun than sitting around waiting on your device to charge!

Find Charging Stations within the Parks

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In case you are stuck and don’t have a portable charger, there are a limited number of charging outlets at the Rapunzel bathroom area and under the big top at Pete’s Silly Sideshow. The sideshow station is shaded and the Tangled station is outdoors and mostly in the sun. It can get brutal just sitting there waiting with the sun beating down on you. It also doesn’t bode well for charging as the devices really shouldn’t be in direct sunlight.

That said, Rapunzel’s charging station is the largest station in the MK, so it’s your best bet. Pete’s is smaller with fewer outlets. You can access the WDW map here. You can also find regular wall outlets in indoor eateries such as Cosmic Ray’s. There are outlets by the walls most table service locations. Like I said though, these are if you need to charge and can’t get by without it.

Update Your OS and Turn Off Background Apps

Finally, my last little tip comes from a friend who unfortunately had to learn the hard way while at the MK. He hadn’t updated his phone to the newest os and didn’t turn off the system preference that allows iPhones to auto update. Not only did he have battery drain from the phone trying to download the update, but he was also losing battery supply faster because of the spottier cellular service and slow/spotty wi-fi in the parks.

Seeing as he was unaware his phone was on a kamikaze mission, I’m sure it was a pretty awful moment when he unlocked the phone and realized what was going on. Don’t let this happen to you! Be sure to update all software including the latest OS. Also be sure to update apps like My Disney Experience (ios and playstore) and others that you know you’ll be using frequently while there. Additionally, turning off unneeded “auto refresh” apps that run in the background as well as features such as bluetooth and location services will help conserve your battery’s life.

Disney Store Ornaments

 

Hey howdy hey, now that I’ve posted about fun DIY ornament ideas and even shared my own DIY tutorial, it’s now time to share some of the awesome ornaments you can purchase right from the Disney Store online or within the ShopDisneyParks app (playstore or app store)! And if you act now (as in the sale ends today), you can get 40% off their online exclusives!!

 

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They’ve got several categories for fun ornaments: Sketchbook, Ear Hat, Shoe, and other ornaments. The Ear Hat and Shoe collections are my favs.

The Sketchbook collection features character ornaments and are priced ranging from $6 (on sale) up to $29.95 (also on sale lol).

 

The Ear Hat collection features different stories and parks attractions in the classic Mickey ears shape. These are definitely my favs! All are priced at $24.95.

 

The Shoe collection features the design details of famous Disney characters and stories crafted into a beautiful shoe! As of now, they’re all right at $24.95.

 

In addition to these collections, they have other types of ornaments that cover all sorts of shapes, styles, sizes, and characters/themes. Prices range from $12.95 for a single ornament up to $44.95 for a set.

 

And if ornaments aren’t enough for you, well check out their selection of other festive holiday decor

 

Which ornaments are your favs? Already have a favorite Disney ornament? Share it with us! Comment on our fb page or use instagram (@mouseandmonorail) or twitter (@mouse_monorail) to tag us or use the hashtag #mouseandmonorailornament ~Meredith ºoº

Our Day at Castaway Cay

I’ve cruised many times, and been to several Caribbean destinations. Hands down, my favorite port of call will forever be Castaway Cay (pronounced “key”), Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. This island destination is only for Disney Cruise Line guests traveling on the Bahama or Caribbean cruise itineraries. The island is just 3 miles long, but has tons of fun things for guests to enjoy on the island. Whether you are seeking active adventures or would prefer to sunbathe and relax, there is something for everyone!

Here are just a few things you can find on Castaway Cay:

  • Castaway Family Beach (for families) and Serenity Bay Beach (for adults). Both beaches have plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas and amazing views. You can also grab wagons and beach accessible wheel chairs for free right when you get off the tram for use on the island. 
  • Private cabanas available for rental
  • 2 Water Play Areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak. Both areas are so much fun!
  • The Hide Out, a teens-only activity area on the beach
  • 3 restaurants to choose from: Cookies BBQ, Cookies Too BBQ, and an adults only option on Serenity Bay. You can choose from BBQ, hamburgers, chicken, veggie burgers, and all the trimmings and sides you could imagine. And unlimited ice cream! The food was delicious! There are also fountain drinks that you have access to all day next to the ice cream area. 
  • Castaway Cay 5k race, complete with medals for people who enter. And don’t worry, this is a fun event!
  • Tubes, floats and water sports, including swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and more! My husband and oldest son rented snorkles and had a blast!
  • 2 shops featuring exclusive Castaway Cay gifts and souvenirs
  • Open-air massages with an ocean view, a yoga class and a bar at the secluded, adults-only beach, Serenity Bay
  • Port Adventures for everyone in the family, including stingray interactions, glass-bottom boat tours, parasailing and fishing. We rented bicycles and enjoyed riding around the island at our leisure. There is so much to see, and a bicycle was such a fun way to explore. And if you are traveling with little kids, they have bicycles with seat for kids. There are also lots of water coolers stationed around the island for bikers, walkers or joggers. Gotta stay hydrated, cause it’s H-O-T!
  • Free childcare at Scuttle’s Cove, a children’s area supervised by Disney counselors
  • Disney Character Meet and GreetsCastaway Cay was a little piece of paradise. I had to drag myself back on the ship because honestly, it was exactly what I had been dreaming of when we planned our Disney cruise. We can’t wait to go back! Have you been to Castaway Cay? If so, what was your favorite thing? If you haven’t been, what would you love about a visit to this island paradise? Let’s chat in the comments! ~Amy ºoº

A Dream Come True Aboard the Disney Dream

It seems like ages ago, but it was only actually back in September, my family took our first Disney cruise aboard the Disney Dream cruise ship. We were on one of the Halloween on the High Seas sailings, and let me tell you, it was incredible! From the moment we set foot on the ship to the moment we sadly disembarked, the crew of the Disney Dream was incredible. Because there is so much I want to share with you, I’m going to break this into a few posts so it won’t be too much to handle. First up, I’m going to show you around our stateroom. We were in a Deluxe Verandah room. It was our first time staying in a cruise stateroom with a balcony, and it was amazing. We loved it. And if you are traveling with little kids, no worries about the balcony. The doors are super heavy, and they actually have a second lock at the very top of the door if you want to make sure your kids can’t get out of the room alone.

Many of the Disney staterooms have 2 bathrooms. One bathroom with a toilet and sink, and the other bathroom with a tub/shower and sink. It was super helpful for getting everyone ready!

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Couch during the day

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Couch makes down into a bed, and a bunk pulls down at night. Great use of space!

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Our balcony had 2 chairs and a table, and was perfect for enjoying the view!
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A huge thing to do on Disney Cruises is to decorate your door your magnets. So much fun! Also pictured is our Fish Extender that hung outside the room. 

Next up: A few shots around the ship
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Goofy Golf was so much fun! 
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The AquaDuck at night
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imageMosaic tiles scenes from Finding Nemo in Cabanas.

imageimageimageThe detail is incredible!

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We watched Inside Out in the Buena Vista theater. image

Who can watch a movie without hot popcorn?!?

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Amazing details on the Dream. Such a beautiful ship!

imageimageHalloween on the High Seas pumpkin decoration. Super cute!
imageMy boys, Tigger and Roo, with Captain Donald!
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Nemo’s Reef splashpad for kids. Super cute!

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Super fun slide for the kiddos!

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Outdoor shower by the pool area

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Funnel Vision for movies and shows

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The infamous AquaDuck. So much fun!imageimage

Goofy’s basketball court, complete with net around it, so the basketballs don’t bounce overboard!imageMickey’s pool

I took close to 500 pictures on our cruise. It was amazing, but honestly, a picture doesn’t come close to how beautiful it was. We can’t wait to go again! Join me tomorrow for more cruise fun when I show you around Castaway Cay! ~Amy ºoº

News for 10.27.15

Hey everyone!! It’s time for your weekly Disney news roundup!

 

•Hey Amy, this one’s for you! There’s a new game out called Disney’s Dream Sweets and just might make fans of candy crush drool. This game had me, (obviously a big Disney parks fan if I’ve been blogging about them for over 2 yrs lol) from the opening screen! You get to customize the game to your family and the levels are various restaurants around the world. And I don’t mean just around WDW, since some refer to it as such, I mean the entire world! There are levels from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris. And since I’ve only play around 22 levels, I can only assume that in the following 108 levels we’ll visit more Disney destinations. My girls loved the customization part too. And the animation of them eating the treat once they make the correct amount of matches is quite funny. “Hahahaha! Mommy, Daddy just ate 9 Dole Whips!!” Lots of fun for kiddos!  Check it out here. Or better yet, just go download it here (ios) or here (droid).

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•Starting November 27, you will be able to experience the holidays around the world in Epcot’s World Showcase. This event looks like something you won’t want to miss if you’re vacationing during its run. There will be lots to choose from including live music and opportunities to learn and experience how different cultures celebrate their holidays.

 

•Okay, so I don’t wanna sound crazy but this one is KIND OF a big deal. You can now visit the Retail MagicBand on Demand store to create your own custom magic bands! They’ve even got the most desirous yet elusive purple magic band! Check this post out for all the details.

 

 

• The Grand Floridian’s Victoria and Albert’s restaurant placed 6th in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice awards.

 

 

•Pretty sure I’m most excited about this one: The Disney Cruise Line has just released a little bit about the Disney Infinity experience that they’re premiered yesterday aboard the Disney Dream. I know for a fact my kids are going to LOVE standing on a huge infinity base and becoming a real infinity character! And the fact that you get to download all of the exclusive content (including custom toy boxes you make while onboard) is the best part!! SO very cool!

 

•Speaking of the cruise line, the DCL blog released special rates for military personnel today!

 

•Chef Rick Bayless to Open Frontera Fresco Restaurant at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

•Now that you’re done with the news, why not take a crack at the parks blog’s quiz:

 

I think that’s about it for this week. Stay tuned for more fun this week including some glow in the dark nails and a fun Disney countdown calendar! ~Meredith ºoº

The Force Is Strong On This Ship

Hi everyone! Did you know that Disney’s Cruise Line is featuring a day aboard the Disney Fantasy themed to Star Wars?! It’s true! This is not new news as they first announced these sailings back in February. For select sailings, this epic day will include things like a deck party celebration, character meet n greets, themed activities for younglings, specially-themed food and beverage offerings, and exclusive merchandise!

The sail dates for the rest of 2015 and early 2016 are as follows:

 

  • January 9
  • January 23
  • February 6
  • February 20
  • March 5
  • March 19
  • April 2
  • April 16

The new news is that the Disney Cruise Line Blog just released that the merchandise specific for these sailings will now be available for pre-purchase. Cruisers who have booked the Star Wars themed sail dates will be able to participate in this pre-purchase opportunity. The dates shown below show the sail date and the order by date:

 

 

Some of these items are so cool! Check out Disney’s Cruise Ling blog post to view them all and if you’re set to sail on one of these special dates, you can view the actual purchase page here. From Dooney and Burke to commemorative coins to collectible trading pins to apparel, there’s a little bit of everything!

 

You can even find a pdf catalog for all of the items here. So, what’ll you be purchasing for your next Star Wars-themed cruise? ~Meredith ºoº

 

 

News for 10.5.15

Hey howdy hey! Here’s your Disney news roundup for this week!

 

• The parks blog shared a bit of magic on how they’ve made Maximus come to life for the new Tangled show coming to the Disney Magic in November of this year.

 

•Speaking of the Disney Cruise Line, the sailings’ (both the Dream and Fantasy) iteneraries for this past weekend were altered to avoid hurricane Joaquin. Below is a video from one of the Fantasy’s passengers on board on October 1st. As of now, both ships and all passengers and crew were safe and sound though it is unclear if the Fantasy encountered some technical difficulties. The Fantasy’s debarkation time was pushed back.

 

•The Disney Conservation Fund awarded $3 million in grants.

 

•A whole new menu for the Magic Kingdom’s Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe premiered featuring Tex-Mex cuisine.

 

•The Lava Shack at Disney’s Aulani resort is now serving up some delicious Pineapple Soft serve!

 

•The parks blog featured a little video sharing how to use the new Shop Disney Parks app.

 

•Downtown Disney has transitioned and is now officially renamed Disney Springs.

 

•Oktoberfest is in full swing at Min and Bill’s Diner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios featuring seasonal items to celebrate the holiday.

 

•Reservations are now being offered for Thanksgiving day at Disneyland.

 

Morimoto, a pan-asian restaurant by famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, had its grand opening at Disney Springs a week ago today.

 

•Disney updated their annual pass selections and pricing for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. For more details contact Sarah, Amy, or myself.

 

Looks like that’s it for this week. Stay tuned to our fb and instagram social accounts to stay up to date with all the magic that Sarah and her family will be experiencing this week at Walt Disney World including the Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! ~Meredith ºoº

Ultimate Disney Cruise Packing List

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We just got off our first Disney cruise on the Disney Dream and let me just say, it won’t be our last! It was fantastic! I’m still swimming just thinking about it, and I have so much to show and tell you! Because the trip is still so fresh in my mind, I wanted to go ahead and share a packing guide for Disney cruises.

First of all, if you are anything like me you will WAY over pack. I didn’t touch half of the clothes we brought! Live and learn, right? I’ll know better next time, and y’all can learn from my mistakes! The biggest thing that I felt like I needed and didn’t have (but later bought), was a lanyard to hold our Key to the World cards. You use that for everything from a room key to shopping. It literally is your key to the world on the ship! It’s amazing how easy it is to misplace those important little cards!

Just like with Sarah’s list to packing for Walt Disney World, I didn’t cover basics like underwear and socks. We’re all adults here, right? You can download the full list here.pic1pic2With our cruise being in September, the temperatures were very hot at times. I was never cold or uncomfortable on the ship, but cold-natured people might need a sweater at dinner or in the theaters. If you travel during winter months, even to tropical locals, you might be cool at night, so keep that in mind when planning.

As far as dining, we had the main dining seating at 5:45, and I noticed that people were dressed much more casually at the early dinner seating than the late dinner seating. For dinner we wore shorts and a nice top, and felt perfectly comfortable, but I also noticed people that were very dressed up. The kids (and some adults!) wore everything from princess dresses to pirate costumes. The important thing to remember is that this is your vacation. Don’t stress out about what you are wearing!

This list is by all means not one-size-fits-all! With variables of family size and ages, to cruise locations, only you can decide exactly what you need to bring on board with you. This list is just a jumping off point for you. And most importantly to remember when you are packing for a Disney cruise: if you didn’t pack it, chances are you can buy it on board! ~Amy ºoº

News for 9.14.15

Here’s our weekly news roundup for you! Lots of great stuff this week! Y’all ready for this??

 

A Night of Joy was a night to remember for American Idol finalist Colton Dixon at this year’s annual special event at Disney’s Magic Kingdom held this past Friday and Saturday. This year’s event was sold out for both nights! You can see the full lineup of who performed when here.

 

•The winner of Walt Disney World’s Best Grandparent Contest Winner was announced. The contest was held to celebrate Grandparent’s Day and the announcement included an excerpt from the winner’s entry.

 

•The Disney Parks blog also released a sweet video of grandparents giving their own WDW advice and it’s the just the best.

 

Sarah covered this week’s announcement all about the Halloween Treats to be available beginning tomorrow at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. The event runs through November 1st of this year. Ticket prices start at $68 and can be purchased directly through the WDW website or by contacting your Disney travel agent. For me, this is one of my very favorites. It’s such a fun and different way to experience the Magic Kingdom and it’s worth it to see the MK transform for a night. And if I haven’t already said it enough on here, the fireworks are the BEST of any fireworks show there. ‘Nuff said! And I can’t wait to see and hear about Sarah’s MNSSHP experience next month!

 

•The parks blog also featured a “Complete Guide to Eats During Halloween time at Disneyland resort.”  This post includes a long list of seasonal items and not only do they list it all out and entice us, they include where you can find it all too! These yummy-looking pumpkin twists can be found at the Cozy Cone Motel.

 

 

 

•Hong Kong Disneyland celebrated 10 years on Friday. The celebrations included special fireworks and an announcement that Fairy Tale Forest will be coming to Fantasyland. The concept art looks a bit familiar, could it be this new area will be akin to the Tangled bathrooms at WDW’s Magic Kingdom?

 

•This Halloween time, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is also getting into the season’s fun with a special Minnie Mouse transformation. This looks adorable and will be perfect for parents looking to attend the Halloween party but don’t necessarily want to make or buy a costume and either return to the resort to change, or carry the costumes all day long and change in the park bathrooms (People do this. I know, I did it with my girls haha!)  It also looks as though you’ll be able to ask for just the hairstyle only during your child’s transformation in case she wants a Princess dress, but the fun Halloween ribbons. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended and the sooner you book, the better!

 

•The photos taken from this year’s Disneyland’s Half Marathon are awesome and can be found here. The Walt and Mickey couple was super cute, but I think I have to give it to the running churro for best running costume!

 

•It was announced that this year will be the finale year for the Osborne Family of Lights.The Merry & Bright Dessert Party (Nov. 6-Dec. 30) and the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception (Jan. 1- 3), both overlooking The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, are now available to book to celebrate the spectacle one last time.

 

•In case you missed it, last night this year’s Miss America was crowned and aired on ABC, But did you know that the contestants actually visited the WDW resort last month as part of their preparations? And can I just say, they picked the perfect CM’s for this video?! Tiana was spot-on and Belle’s voice was near perfect.

 

• Jonathan Frontado of Disney Cruise Line posted his six tips for dining with kids on Disney’s cruise line. Looks like he’ll be back next week too, to share a day-by-day dining guide!

 

•Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular is set to be replaced by a new stage musical starring none other than the Frozen sisters.

 

•Disney is releasing a new cookbook celebrating 20 years of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. As per the parks blog, “The recipes go all the way back to 1996 and include dishes that represent the festival through the years.”

 

The Pepper Bacon and Mac free recipe they included in the post is looks delicious!!

 

•The parks blog is also hosting a Not So Scary blog party tomorrow night, September 15.

 

•A special dining experience is coming to Disneyland’s Blue Bayou! A new premium Halloween dining experience hosted by Dr. Facilier is coming to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland park: Mystical Spirits of the Blue Bayou. The evening begins at 7 p.m., with an intimate, spooky dining experience with a themed three-course menu.

 

•A new dessert cruise is debuting at WDW too on October 5. Ferry Tale Wishes: A Dessert Cruise will feature sweet selections from several of the Deluxe resorts located on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

 

•And last, but certainly not least, beginning tonight PBS will be airing a two-night, 4 hour special about Walt Disney as part of their American Experience series. The special will air Sept. 14 and 15, starting at 9/8c.

 

Wow!! So many exciting things to report this week. What are you excited for? ~Meredith ºoº

Castaway Cay: Paradise for Disney Cruisers

We are quickly approaching our very first Disney cruise in just a few weeks. We will be sailing with my entire family on the Disney Dream, heading to Nassau and Castaway Cay. We have 11 total in our group – ranging from 2 years old all the way up to grandparents, so we wanted to make sure that we can have something fun for everyone. Enter Castaway Cay! Castaway Cay (pronounced “key”) is Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, and is only for Disney Cruise Line guests traveling on the Bahama or Caribbean cruise itineraries. The island is just 3 miles long, but has tons of fun things for guests to enjoy on the island. Whether you are seeking active adventures or would prefer to sunbathe and relax, there is something for everyone!

Here are just a few things you can find on Castaway Cay:

  • Castaway Family Beach (for families) and Serenity Bay Beach (for adults)
  • Private cabanas available for rental
  • 2 Water Play Areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak
  • The Hide Out, a teens-only activity area on the beach
  • 3 restaurants to choose from: Cookies BBQ, Cookies Too BBQ, and an adults only option on Serenity Bay.
  • Castaway Cay 5k race, complete with medals for people who enter. And don’t worry, this is a fun event!
  • Tubes, floats and water sports, including swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and more!
  • 2 shops featuring exclusive Castaway Cay gifts and souvenirs
  • Open-air massages with an ocean view, a yoga class and a bar at the secluded, adults-only beach, Serenity Bay
  • Port Adventures for everyone in the family, including stingray interactions, glass-bottom boat tours, parasailing and fishing.
  • Free childcare at Scuttle’s Cove, a children’s area supervised by Disney counselors
  • Disney Character Meet and Greets
  • This view. Enough said. Have you been to Castaway Cay? If so, what was your favorite thing? If you haven’t been, what would you love about a visit to this island paradise? Let’s chat in the comments! ~Amy ºoº

Cruising with a Baby

As many of you know, I’m planning for our upcoming Disney Cruise, and one thing on my mind is my baby and what all taking an infant entails. I asked my cousin Amanda all about it, since she took her baby a few years back, and here’s what she had to say:

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1. Should I take my baby on our DCL cruise?

Yes DCL is definitely geared toward taking baby.

2. Do I have to pay for my baby to go?

If baby is under 6 months, then they’re free. 6mo+ will have to pay a fare, though it is significantly less.

3. Is there nursery care for my baby aboard the ship?

Yes, there is nursery care for baby, but we personally did not leave our baby in there. From what we saw of it, it looked great & I also am pretty sure that was extra or you had to pay so much an hour for them to stay in there.

4. Does my baby need a passport?

I think all we had to take for our little one was a birth certificate.

5. What should I pack for baby?

We packed lots of snacks, juices, a sun hat, bottles, pacis, swim diapers, sunscreen, diapers, & of course clothes and a swimsuit. They provided a pack and play for baby to sleep in and a bottle steamer to clean the bottles.

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6. What baby things are provided?

Oops! I answered that on 5, but we had a pack and play and a bottle steamer provided for us to use.
7. Have you taken your baby aboard the DCL?

Yes, we have. We took Love Bug when she turned a year old & we had actually talked to a travel agent about what would be best for a 1 year old to do. We were debating on the cruise or Disney World, and the travel agent recommended the cruise &, honestly, they were right. We took Love Bug to Disney World the next year when she turned 2 & that was a nightmare for us because she couldn’t take her naps that well, and Disney World is very exhausting. It is very fun just, but was a bit much for our 2 year old at the time. On DCL, we were able to go back to the room anytime for her to get her nap,s and we didn’t have to go far, so we didn’t miss much of anything. Overall, I just think it’s easier for you and baby on the cruise & also no long waits to see the characters. ?

8. If so, what did you like most about taking your baby?

We liked how laid back it was, especially having our baby with us. Very convenient to go back to the room at anytime of the day for naps.

9. Did you find anything difficult about having a baby on your cruise?

We didn’t care to get off at the port in the Bahamas with our baby. We were just a little uneasy about it, but we did get off at Castaway Cay (the Disney Island) & that was so much fun .. There is so much for you to eat & plenty of characters to get pictures with & the water is beautiful!

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10. Would you recommend taking your baby on the DCL?

I personally think the DCL is perfect for a baby to go on. We had so much fun with our 1 year old who is now 3 1/2 & I will cherish those pictures forever & we may even go on another when our 8 month old twins get a little older. And yes, I said Twins! Lol

Thanks Amanda for telling us about your DCL and baby experience! I can’t wait to take my sweet Bubbles on the Dream!! ~M ºoº

Disney Cruise Line Fan Graphic

Disney Cruise Line Fan Graphic

Disney Cruise Line Fan Graphic

Hi everyone! In case you don’t already know, I’m planning a Disney Cruise Line vacation on the Disney Dream next year, and I am in full planning mode. I can’t wait to participate in Fish Extenders, and I have been hard at work planning for it. I came across a few cruise decals on my searches, and I liked them so much that I thought I’d design one of my own!

Disney Cruise Line Fan Graphic

Free Download

This free download is in the .svg format so that you can use your cricut cutting machine to cut the vinyl for your own decal. This decal was intended for a car window, but it could be applied on so many different items! Think canvas totebags, sand buckets, and drink tumblers… the sky’s the limit!! Please share your photos of how you use it too! I would love to see how you all apply the design! You can share over on our Facebook page, tweet us, or tag us on instagram (@mouseandmonorail)! *This is a FREE download and is made available to our fans for personal use only! DO NOT download and sell this file or your creations!  

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*Update: You can now choose a .svg (cricut) or .studio3 (silhouette) file! Download File (files will not include watermark as shown above)

**Updated 26 Jan 2016: You can now check out this cruise post to download the free printable decal application instructions page to include with your DCL decal fish extender gift!

We can wait to see how you will use this download! Will you create Disney Cruise Line gifts for your friends and family? Are you going to create fabulous Fish Extender gifts? Or will you just make something for yourself (it’s ok, we won’t tell!)? The possibilities are endless!