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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Following Message Will Self Destruct...

     Check out the new secret mission USBs Disney is sending to their Magicband guests. In preparation for a visit to Walt Disney World, guests are receiving a tutorial for the Disney Magicbands. The Tutorial is delivered in the same Incredibles packaging as the Magicbands. Inside the box is a neat Mickey head USB stick to play on your computer.
photo by Steven C.
     Once you get the video running you get a description of how the Magicband works as told by Edna Mode of The Incredibles. The video is similar to this one. The best thing is that after the USB drive is plugged in, it lights up green just like the Magicband stations throughout the parks at Walt Disney World.
photo by Steven C.
    I hadn't seen these until yesterday and now I want one. How many of you have received this top secret Mickey USB drive?

If you'd like to know more about Magicbands check out our previous post Our Magicbands Have Arrived.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Walt Disney Family Museum

     My most recent post was announcing Diane Disney Miller's passing a couple weeks ago. Today, I will cover one of her most well known achievements, the Walt Disney Family Museum
Yes, I was very excited to be there.
     On a weekend trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley in September, we made a stop to see the Walt Disney Family Museum. The museum is in the Presidio just off of San Francisco Bay with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is a former US Army base that has been converted to a multi-purpose historic preservation zone. The museum building was formerly an army barracks that was built in the 1890's that has been beautifully restored. 
A cartoon Walt drew for his high school paper.
Courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum
     The museum houses 10 galleries dedicated to Walt's life. The first one covers Walt Disney's childhood, family, early jobs, his first cartoon doodles, and some home videos Walt filmed himself. (Walt Disney fact: Did you know Walt had 3 other siblings besides his more famous brother, Roy?) In the next gallery Walt goes to Hollywood with a brief case and a few dollars to his name. Here you discover his earliest cartoons including the Alice Comedies, Oswald the Lucy Rabbit, and of course Mickey Mouse!
The earliest known drawing of Mickey.
Courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum
    The next several galleries look at the history of the Walt Disney Studios, starting with cartoon shorts of Mickey and the gang. Here you discover the making of the fab five and techniques in animation. In the adjacent gallery you see the formation of Walt's first feature length cartoon, Snow White followed by Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi and more. Also, there are very interesting sections which focus on the 1941 animator's strike and the effect of World War 2 on the studio.
A bracelet worn by Lillian Disney at the Snow White premier.
Courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum
   Next up is a small area that shows Walt's life as a loving husband and father. You learn about Lillian and Walt's courtship, their two daughters Diane and Sharon and their home life, including a menu for their chef written by Walt that specifically states "No vegetables!" (Walt Disney Fact: Did you know Walt's youngest daughter Sharon was adopted?) In this room you will also find gifts Walt gave his girls and their wedding videos.

    On the way to the next gallery, you pass a huge picture window overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Be sure to take in the views as seen below in my photo. Plus, there is an original Griffith Park bench where Walt sat on the weekends while his daughters rode the carousel and he planned Disneyland.

    The last two galleries were my favorites. Gallery 9 details Walt's creation of Disneyland and the beginnings of Walt Disney World. The room is huge and has an amazing entrance the winds down to a lower level with a large model of Disneyland. There are historic ride posters, attraction models, early sketches of the Jungle Cruise and much more. The Disneyland model is the main showpiece of the room. It contains attractions both past and present and includes the tiniest details of the park.
My picture doesn't do it justice, see the official museum photo below.
The Disneyland model at the Walt Disney Family Museum.
    The final gallery is an area depicting the impact of Walt's untimely death. Here you can read newspaper clippings, telegrams from Hollywood's elite, and watch news reels covering the period surrounding his passing. This room is very quiet and respectful of the man who influenced so many people around the world.
A telegram from Dr Wernher Von Braun. I'm a huge space nut and knew the he consulted
 with Walt Disney on his many TV series about space.
    If you are ever in the San Francisco area I highly recommend visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum. The museum is full of one of a kind original works by Walt and his artists at the Studio. There are numerous interactive displays with games, audio of Walt, videos of his family and much more. The museum layout was well planned and the most beautiful exhibit I have ever visited. We spent about 3 hours on our tour and I could have stayed longer if we didn't have other commitments. If your a casual fan 3 hours should do it. However, if you are a super fan then give yourself 5 to 7 hours. I could visit several times and still discover items I didn't see the previous time. So make a special trip if need be and see the Walt Disney Family Museum!

If you are looking for other things to do on your trip, check out my post on the Lasseter Family Winery.

If you are reading this post on December 5, then click the Amazon link on the right to access great deals on Disney games, books, movies, toys, clothes and more.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Walt's Eldest Daughter has Died - RIP Diane Disney Miller

I just came across this very said news on Diane Disney Miller age 79 passed away due to injuries related to a fall. She died in Napa California.

Tom Hanks discussing his upcoming role playing her father with Diane Disney Miller
courtesy of Hollywood Reporter 
This is very sudden and sad news and I'm sure the Disney community is mourning her loss. When I visited the Walt Disney Family Museum a couple months ago, I learned many new things about Diane and her sister Sharon. There was a room dedicated to Walt the family man which had many gifts he had given to his children. Also, they show footage of both  his daughter's weddings. Mrs. Miller was a huge proponent of the Walt Disney Family Museum and was the current board president at the time of her passing. The museum is accepting donations in lieu of flowers at the family's request. Below is a statement I pulled from the museum website:

     "In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations may be made to the memorial fund that The Walt Disney Family           Museum has created in honor of Diane Disney Miller. Donations will support the museum's ongoing               education efforts, exhibitions, and programs. Donations and cards can also be sent to the family through         The Walt Disney Family Museum, attn: Director's Office; 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA         94129."

See more at:

Diane Disney Miller on a 2005 visit to Disneyland with Art Linkletter.
If you are in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend visiting the museum. I am currently working on a future post about my visit.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

7 Reasons Why Walter White is Like Walt Disney

I am a big fan of the show Breaking Bad. I especially love the lead character Walter White. But would you ever have expected Walter White to have similarities to Walt Disney? Check out the seven reasons below why Walter White is like Walt Disney.
  • Both Walts had mustaches:
    • Walter White had a mustache most of his life, and grew it into a goatee after he was diagnosed with cancer.
    • Walt Disney grew his mustache in at age 19, and was rarely seen clean shaven.
  • Liked to wear a fedora:
    • Walter White took on his Heisenberg persona when he donned his Fedora
    • Walt Disney wore his fedora to many movie premiers.
  • They each created an empire:
    • Walter White built a meth empire in the Southwest.
    • Walt Disney started a new theme park empire, still unrivaled today.
  • Both men provided a premium product unlike anything else available:
    • Walter White was able to cook 99.1% pure blue crystal meth. 
    • Walt Disney produced the most renowned animated movies in the world.
  • Did their best work in secret:
    • Walter White lead a secret double life as a Meth chemist.
    • Walt Disney secretly bought up 1,000's of acres near Orlando for his Florida Project.
  • Had passion for the railroad:
    • Walter White pulled off a Methylamine heist from a train.
    • Walt Disney had a train in his backyard with over a half mile of track.
  • Each had lung cancer:
    • Walter White was diagnosed with lung cancer which drove him become a meth cook.
    • Walt Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away a two months later.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interactive Mickey Debuts at Magic Kingdom

Yesterday, the Disney Parks Blog posted this video of Magician Mickey interacting with guests. I knew they were testing this concept but did not know he was ready to go. Check it out...

You can meet Magician Mickey at the Magic Kingdom at the Town Square Theater daily. What do you think? Or what will your kids think?

Another way to interact with Disney characters is to write them a letter. To learn more visit our earlier post Dear Mickey-or-Mater-or-Donald-or-Buzz.

Friday, September 20, 2013

DIY Pirate Mickey Shirt

As we finish prep for our latest trip to Disney (just 4 more sleeps!), be prepared for cuteness and tutorial overload. While Jason's favorite parts about Disney are strategy and spreadsheets for the parks, mine is forced family matching and cute shirts. I often get comments when we wear them from people expressing that they wish they could make some for their kids but they don't sew/have time/ know where to start.  Here is the answer my friends: Pellon, also known as Under Wonder.

This amazing stuff is found in local craft stores. I buy mine from Amazon, it's cheaper and fast to ship. I'm a terrible seamstress at best and this has changed my crafting life. It's totally non-judgey and makes everything you do look good. It's the prefect best friend. It bonds fabrics to each other so that if you don't want to sew them, fine! If you want to go around the edges and add a bit of stitching, have at it, Pellon will hold everything still so you don't have to pin anything! Dreamy. You're welcome.

Today I finished up this cute Mickey Pirate Shirt

Materials: 1 yard of black material
                 1.5 yards of Pellon
                 0.5 yards of pirate fabric ( I used stripes)
                 0.5 yards of fabric for the letter ( I used white)
                 An iron
                Mickey Head Outline

Since this one is for my Little, I grabbed a plain onsie, the kind that come in a pack. I didn't even wash it first. Print out this  Mickey Head Outline and cut it down to the size you need. If you are fancy I hear your computer can size it before you print, but "ain't nobody got time for that" I only have naptime to get this done!

Take a square of your black fabric large enough to fit your Mickey Head and lay it on a coordinating piece of your Pellon. You want the rough side of the pellon touching your fabric.

Flip the whole thing over so that the smooth Pellon is on top ( it feels like wax paper) and iron that sucker down. It takes holding the iron in place for a few seconds. After it's good and attached, trace your Mickey Head onto the back of your Pellon. Cut it out.

One side will be black fabric, the other will be smooth, white, wax paper-esq Pellon. Peel the Pellon backing off.

It may snag and not be perfect, that's ok.

Lay your Mickey onto your onsie with the Pellon touching your shirt and iron again. Make sure you focus on the edges.

Now repeat the Pellon process with your pirate fabric for the bandanna. Lay a small square over the Pellon and iron. Pay attention to how the stripes or pattern will end up so that it looks correct on Mickey. Lay your Mickey Head onto the smooth side and just trace between his ears and draw a tail.


Fill in the rest of the pattern freehand.

Cut out your bandanna, peel the backing off and lay it over your black Mickey Head. Iron it directly on top.

I didn't take pictures of this part but for the letter I just printed out an enlarged letter from Microsoft Word. I probably made it bold too. Then I followed the same process as above with Pellon, tracing, cutting and ironing. Here it is before I sewed it.

You could stop here if you don't like to sew, but I like the finished look and extra security that stiching gives the shirt. So I just whipped the whole thing through my machine, the Pellon held everything still while I zipped around the outside (no need to pin anything down), and it's done! Now my Little will match my Middle and Big! 

If you liked this post, check out other Shirt posts! Chevron Disney Shirts

Disney Dollars

My kids are currently begging me for chores to do. Why? These little beauties....

Disney Dollars
Each boy has an envelope "bank" on the fridge and can earn a Disney Dollar for doing chores, homework, getting along, almost anything I can think of.  It's lovely. On the flip side, you can lose Disney Dollars as well. Great incentive to head off all kinds of problems. See? Disney fixes everything! We made our own Disney Dollars, but here is a link to some that you can print (hers are super cute!). Printable Disney Dollars

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The (John) Lasseter Family Winery

This past weekend on a quick trip to Northern California, we found a great little winery with a big Disney connection. In the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, you'll find the Lasseter Family Winery owned by John and Nancy Lasseter.  THE John Lasseter of Disney-Pixar!

The Lasseter Family Winery is currently open to the public by appointment only. We were able to make our reservation the morning of our visit. The winery offers intimate tours and tastings for $25 a person. They typically limit each group to 8 people or less so you get a private, intimate feel for the tour and tasting.

We all know Mr.Lasseter can make great animated movies, but what about wine?

We pulled up to the gate and were buzzed in quickly. The winery sits in the middle of a beautiful valley surrounded by grape vines on all sides. The building is well designed but unassuming to blend in with the landscape. The winery is completely off the grid, totally powered by solar panels housed right on the property.

Once inside the gate, we were greeted by our host Cecil. The tour began by tasting some of the many variety of grapes grown on the vineyard. They were amazing and still warm from the California sun. Next up, we headed to the grape processing area below for a brief tour. There we saw the how the grapes are processed and prepared to go into the fermentation tanks. Next door, the barrel room was full of giant oak and steel tanks.

Just beyond that were the fruits of all that labor either aging or boxed and ready to ship. From the barrel room we headed back inside and into a beautifully appointed tasting room, set with several glasses and an amazing cheese plate. Yummy!

Our wines were already poured and waiting for us next to the plate of cheeses, dried fruits, nuts, honey, and chocolate. The Lasseter Family Winery is a small producer of around 3000 cases a year. They specialize in red wine blends that tend to mimic French varieties. Since the Lasseters policy is to only make wines that they like, what you buy is a reflection of their tastes. We tasted all five of their current wines and were offered refills of our favorites. L'ame du Sage was our pick and we eagerly purchased some to take home.The bottle labels are stunning and highlight things that are special to both John and Nancy, as do the names of the wines. For example, their Amoureux wine, a Bordeaux-style blend, is named  to mean "The Lovers" because John and Nancy were introduced to it on their honeymoon in Sonoma County. It adds a playful touch to these really amazing wines.

In the wine room is various Lasseter Family Winery merchandise such as glasses, corks, shirts (even a custom designed John Lasseter style Hawaiian shirt), posters and more. But the best souvenir was the limited edition Pixar wine glasses!! I was instantly drawn to the shelf that housed them. I thought it was only a display until I saw the price tag off to the right. Cecil said they were glasses that John and Nancy had collected from various Pixar premier parties and he only had a handful left. Couldn't pass them up, so now they are on our shelf at home - no one is drinking from these glasses!

Visit the Lasseter Family Winery to own a set of these beauties!

If you would like to visit the Lasseter Family Winery please go to their website or like them on FaceBook and make an appointment. Be sure to tell Cecil that Jason and Molly sent you.

If you're new to our blog please check out our most popular post Strollin, Strollin, Strollin.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall/Winter Free Dining at WDW!!

Here's a friendly reminder! Only one more week to book Disney's Fall/Winter FREE DINING offer. This is one of the best discounts available. There are limited arrival windows in September through December. You will receive a free Quick Service (if you stay at a Value Resort) or Standard Dining (if you stay at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort) plan with a non-discounted stay at a Disney Resort. You must book by September 15th and availability is limited. Click the link for more information.

Disney World Free Dining

We highly recommend the Disney Dining plan. We have traveled with the dining plan every visit since 2006. To find out more information about the Disney Dining plan please review our previous post - I'm a Disney Dining Plan Expert. And for information on where to use your free dining credits check out our Dining Favorites Series.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Can't Wait to Share!

Disney Family Musem in San Francisco and Lasseter Family Winery in Sonoma posts coming soon....... Amazing both of them!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dear Mickey (or Mater or Donald or Buzz)

Did you know that if you write a letter to your child's favorite character, they will send back a signed postcard? Same is true for baby or wedding announcements. How fun is that?


The address for Disneyworld is:

Attention (Character Name)
Walt Disney Communications
PO Box 1004
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Or for Disneyland:

Attention (Character Name)
Walt Disney Company
Attn: Fan Mail Department
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

ShareThis Copy and Paste

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


If you like Polyvore or Pinterest, you're going to love the site DisneyBound! She puts together different Disney inspired looks that work for everyday life. Disneybounding is now a verb in the Disnerd community! Why let the fact that you're not at Disney keep you from living Disney?

Buy it here!


Even characters take selfies.....

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Magicbands have arrived!

Our Magicbands have arrived for our upcoming trip!  The MyMagic+ system is set to replace the traditional room key/park ticket as your access to all things Disney. Right now they are "testing" them based on what resort you are visiting. Included in the roll out are Pop Century, The Polynesian, The Beach and Yacht Club, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Port Orleans Riverside, and Art of Animation. The agent we spoke with said that while it is still considered a test, there are no plans to stop issuing bands after the official test is completed on October 31st.

Exclusively for Disney Resort Guests (non property park guests will get a traditional ticket embedded with an RFID computer chip), these bands do some really cool things: They are your room key, park ticket, they have swipe-to-pay ability on property, give you the ability to pre-book Fastpasses before you go to the park, hold dining reservations, find lost children, allow rides and characters to recognize you and speak to you by name, and who knows what else will come! Also of note, you can book more than just the traditional FastPass options. The bands allow you to reserve select quick service lunches ( I'm talking the Be Our Guest restaurant people!) and select seating for fireworks, shows and parades. Pretty awesome.

Incredible packaging. See what I did there?

I was alerted to the fact that we were selected to trail the bands via email from Disney. I logged onto My Disney Experience and there was a button to customize my bands( choose colors and assign names to bands). If you don't do this step, your family will be given grey bands upon arrival. It took about 2 days from when I completed customizing them on the website for my bands to appear on our doorstep. Disney sent them priority overnight via UPS. I really liked the packaging. It was sleek and minimal, very Apple-esq. They fit fairly well. You can leave them as they come or peel the surrounding grey section off to accommodate smaller wrists.

Peeling the outer layer to fit smaller visitors

We have a wide variety of ages (and thus wrist sizes) in our family, all the way down to 11 months, and everyone was able to comfortably wear their bands.

Our 11 month old with his MagicBand

Me with my MagicBand, outer grey layer intact

 They are stiffer than I imagined they would be, but with a bit of force you can shape them to fit your wrist. I don't foresee them being uncomfortable to wear all day during the heat while at Disney. They are personalized both by color and with an individual name on the interior of the band.

The next day after our bands arrived, a happy UPS envelope covered in Mickey stickers showed up on our doorstep. Inside was a letter that explained the MyMagic+ bands in greater detail and offered website and phone support. So far I'm impressed with Disney's through effort to acclimate their guests to the new system. Can't wait to try them out!

For more information about the MyMagic+ system, see our other post