Universal Studios Tickets Explained

Universal Studios Tickets

Be sure to check out this post containing all the information you’ll need to better understand Universal Studios Tickets and features. From Base tickets to Unlimited Express passes, we’re covering it all!

104 days of Summer Reading List

Hey howdy hey everyone! I can’t believe it but it’s finally SUMMER! Well, almost. One of my girls gets out this week and the other finishes on Tuesday. There’s 104 days of summer vacation and Hey Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today! Read!! (If you don’t get that reference, go listen to the Phineas and Ferb theme song).

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Okay, if I’m honest I listen to audiobooks via my audible account and app because with three kids I wouldn’t be able to read on my own. At least not long enough to enjoy whatever it is I’m reading! (Let’s just say I’m a “One more chapter” kind of girl). I’ve enjoyed loads of great Disney books and thought you all might like to give them a read. And while I’ve read most all of these, I haven’t read them all. Amy and Sarah have included their favorites too!

 

Historical/Biographical:

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

This book is a fantastic and in-depth, albeit long, look into Walt’s life. From his very early days right up to his death, this book covers it all. This one actually earned me the Mount Everest badge in the audible app for listening to a title longer than 20 hours (It’s 33hrs 24min!) so don’t pick this book if you’re looking for a quick read. Very good though!

 

How To Be Like Walt by Pat Williams & Jim Denny

This book is a great “quick read” and is a must-read for anyone wishing to know why the “Disney way” is often the most happy and magical way. You’ll learn Walt’s character traits as well as how he managed people so efficiently. This is a great read to cheer you up and make you feel like you can take on the world!

 

DisneyWar by James Stewart

This book. Oh man, this book! Whew! I’ll start by saying that at the time all of this book’s events were happening is the time that I was barely double digits and loving every minute of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Blissfully oblivious. I had NO idea that this much drama (often melodrama on Eisner’s part) happened during the modern Disney renaissance period. If you’re wondering how things really went down and how Iger came to power er, I mean became CEO, well this is the book for you. I was on the fence about this one but I’m so glad I read it. I found myself googling the people’s photos just so I could have a mental image of what they looked like to go along with the insanity that was unfolding. Highly recommend.

 

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor

This book is a super interesting read for any Star Wars fan from the most ignorant to the most dedicated. And if you’re not a Star Wars fan but have ever wondered why Star Wars has such a strong presence in popular culture, then this is also the book for you!  More comprehensive and detailed than I could’ve imagined, this book will definitely fill you in on how the Star Wars franchise was conceived, created, and eventually how it became even bigger than its creator. With the added popularity of the new Star Wars movies, this book proves that Star Wars isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Universal Versus Disney by Sam Gennawey

This book was one that I was excited to read (and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did) but I was a little disappointed that it focused more on Unviersal and how they did and didn’t aim to be like Disney more than actually telling their respective stories alongside each other. Having said that however, this book was very interesting and informative. While I agree with most everything he cites as Universal’s flaws, what I most enjoyed from reading this book is the appreciation I got for the Disney parks after learning about how another company tried to compete. And while this rivalry is still very much alive today, it’s a fun read to learn about how the rivalry began. It starts much earlier than you might think!

 

The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey

This is one of my very favorites off of this list. I can’t say enough good things about it! Its highly detailed stories about how one of America’s most iconic landmarks came into existence will leave you astounded at how they actually made the park a reality. This is hands-down a must0read for anyone who loves Disney parks.

 

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

But wait, you say, Steve Jobs was the Apple guy, not Disney! Ah, but I found this book most interesting because I had no idea just how much Pixar background is in it! Nor did I realize just how much Steve influenced Pixar. Furthermore, I had no idea that if it weren’t for Steve, Pixar might not exist as we know it today. This is a very good read and I now appreciate the connection that he and John Lasseter had. While this one may not be exclusively about Disney or a Disney franchise, this one will definitely give you some good insight into how Disney now owns Pixar.

 

For the Parks:

 

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness

This is a super fun and easy read that can be enjoyed almost anywhere and is an easy to put down and pick right back up kind of book. We first read this one 4 or 5 years ago and enjoyed all the little tid-bits of magic we hadn’t never even considered. This is one you’ll want to read and enjoy with your family before you next trip!

 

Amy’s Pick: The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Selhinger

 

Sarah’s Pick: Hidden Mickeys by Stephen Barrett

 

For The Kids:

The Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson

This series is great for kids who have been to the parks because all of the fantastic things that happen to Finn and his friends happen inside the Disney parks after hours!

 

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

I’m only on chapter 7 but this book, set in the Biltmore estate, is a thrilling mystery that’ll intrigue and keep you coming back to figure out who the man in the black cloak is!

 

The Never Girls Collection by Kiki Thorpe

 

What if real girls could go to Neverland? Check out these books and enjoy Never Land in a whole new way!

 

 

And what’s on my own to-read list?? Well, here’s a few that I’ve had my eyes on:

John Lasseter: The Whiz Who Made Pixar King by Jeff Lenburg

One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and the Road to Imagineering by Marty Sklar

 

 

So that’s it!! What do you all think? What Disney books are your favorite that I missed? Please share with us and stay tuned for more summer fun in the days to come! ~Meredith ºoº

Episode 29 3/4: Beyond WDW

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Hey howdy hey everyone! In today’s episode we move Beyond WDW to talk about our visit to other parks in the Orlando area. Meredith, and her friend Noelle, took a little trip to Universal and Islands of Adventure to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well. They also enjoyed a stay at Disney’s Art of Animation resort and new dining options at Disney Springs as well as old favorites like tonga toast from the Polynesian Resort. So sit back and enjoy as we discuss the parks beyond WDW!

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This is shot I said I’d include in the episode post. ??? ~Meredith °o°

4 Ways to Find Cute Disney Shirts

Hey howdy hey everyone! I’m here to share all about those cute Disney shirts you always see people wearing while at Disney. I’m also here to share some exciting news: We’re having another giveaway!

 

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Hold up though, let’s backtrack for a moment. Last week I had the pleasure of heading back down to Walt Disney World and enjoying a couple nights with my best friend. And while we didn’t actually visit the parks (heaven forbid! haha) we had a great time exploring the resort areas and dining experiences. Our main park day was spent at the Universal parks (yeah, I said it) while our resort stay was at WDW. Simplify the combo of our resort stay and our parks experience into terms like “mouse” and “patronus” and combine it with our excitement of planning a super last-minute trip and what do you get? My DIY heat-transfer “My Patronus is a Mouse” design of course! And while there are lots of great places online to choose from, I knew that because we were so last-minute I’d have to make ours instead of ordering online.

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To start, be sure you’re following Sarah, Amy, and I over on our instagram account! I posted the below photo last week while we were there and it got some good love both from instagram as well as people actually at the parks and the entire Disney resort. But, that story will have to wait til the podcast, (yeah, I’m gonna plug it too) next week! So if you love Disney AND Harry Potter, that is the episode for you!

The moment we decided we’d be heading down, we hit pinterest to get some ideas for planning our shirts. Since it would be just us two adults, we wanted something fun that combined the two well. We found and pinned lots of things but they were mostly one or the other (the mouse or the wizard) and I only found one that really had both. And while it’s super cute and I’ll always sigh after seeing the word always when referenced with Harry Potter imagery, but for us the phrase needed to match both the mouse and the wizard.

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I liked the idea of the deathly hallows symbol with the mouse ears like above, but just couldn’t find anything that worked with it. Or made sense with it. So then I started searching Harry Potter quotes and phrases and it hit me after seeing someone else’s design with “My Patronus is a flamingo.” My Patronus is a Mouse!! It’s perfect and with a little help from Sarah and Amy on design details (mostly what to edit out, I may post my edit on Instagram.) it was done and ready to be cut with my silhouette cameo machine.

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The black glitter design looked great on both our grey and coral colored shirts and would look equally great on most any shirt color. If you’re like a few of my friends who just had to have one, well then you’re in luck because here it is: the big giveaway! Since I’ll be cutting the decals myself, I’m going to give the winners (yep, gonna give THREE away!) a choice of car decal, iron-on decal, or nail decals! Yes, you read that right! I also made nail decals and while they don’t feature the patronus phrase, they’re still super cute!

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If you’d like a chance to win, then be sure you’re following us on instagram and are a part of our private fb group. If you’d like to be added, just search mouse and monorail on fb and click join. I’ll be posting instructions on both instagram and in our fb group so as long as you’re following and have joined the group, you’re ready to play for your chance to win! The first game will be on instagram tomorrow, Friday 11 March to give you all time to join our fb group. The fb games will begin on Monday of this next week. And if participation goes well, I may even give more away leading up to the Harry Potter podcast episode!

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Okay, so what if you’re not into the whole Harry Potter thing and want to go full-on Disney for those super cute matching Disney shirts? Fear not because there are lots of great places to look!! Here’s 4 ways you can score those super cute Disney shirts:

1.The most obvious here is the Disney store online and the shop Disney parks app both have a good selection of apparel that will keep your Disney look sharp and fresh as they have a good bit of the latest trending looks. With this option you can snag fun shirts that are specific to the parks, however you won’t be able to get them all matching for your family since some styles are only available in certain sizes.

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2. There’s other websites to order from too! Don’t forget places like Redbubble and Zazzle!! Redbubble features plenty of fun Disney looks from dinglehoppers to snarfblats, there’s a little bit of everything! Amy got her little mermaid inspired shirts from Redbubble and Sarah found her super cute Starbucks and Disney tee at happily ever tees.

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And don’t miss out on our own exclusive merchandise over on Zazzle!! You can find our shop here.

3.Buy from a local Mom who makes custom stuff!! You can get exactly what you want when you order from someone local and it’s a great way to support local businesses. We have several friends that make custom shirts and while I’m definitely going to give them a shoutout, you can always ask around in your own community to see who might make custom Disney shirts as well.

Sarah’s instagram friend @HadleyKateDesigns made these adorable cruise shirts and I’m sure they looked fantastic aboard the Magic.

My friend Jennifer makes some super cute monogrammed stuff over at her shop The Peppermint Pig. (And isn’t her logo just the cutest?! Not like I designed it or anything.. 😉 )

 

And my friend Kim at Stitches etc by Kim can work with you to create just about any look you’d like!

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4. DIY. Seriously! You don’t have to be super crafty to come up with some fun shirts! To start, check out my post with easy instructions on how to create your own tie-dye Mickey ears. This project is great for kids (if you do the setup work) and my kids LOVE that they actually added the color to their own shirts!

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Because I have a silhouette cutting machine, I was able to make our mouse patronus shirts pretty easily, but if you don’t have one there’s a way to create a stencil using freezer paper! No really!! Go search Pinterest for freezer paper stencil. You can do lots with it! I had a blast making these best friends shirts for my kids and their bff’s. You can also join groups on fb like “Disney silhouette crafters” to find project ideas, exchange tips, and even download shared files! Have fun with it and search for easy DIY projects for ideas to jumpstart your project. Most of all, believe in yourself and just go for it!!

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With several options to choose from, whether you make them yourself or purchase them online, you’ll be decked out in no time for your next Disney vacation!

Be sure to share your Disney shirts with us either over on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter and Instagram! We’d love to see your Disney look! And be looking for my first giveaway game on instagram tomorrow!! ~Meredith °o°