Thursday, November 29, 2012

Best Photo Spots: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo0031FourBySix 265x400 Best Photo Spots and Tips: Hollywood Studios %tag
As with all Disney World parks there are great shots right at the main icons! Try to keep in mind that the Sorcerer Hat is simply a new icon and the Great Movie Ride's Chinese Theatre entrance was the original main eye-grabber!

Obviously there are some great spots and you will see Photopass photographers outside rides like Tower of Terror and Rock’n Rollercoaster.  One of my favorite areas to take some shots it outside MuppetVision! the huge Kermit, the fountain of Muppets, there are so many fun things to try out here!

DSCN0559 299x400 Best Photo Spots and Tips: Hollywood Studios %tag

While there are lots of opportunities to Meet & Greet characters in Disney Parks one of the best areas, in my opinion, is inside the Animation building.  Often you will see that there is an additional Photopass castmember standing with the photographer who will snap you some more candid shots with your own camera! This is the case often, all over the “World” but I have gotten this star treatment multiple times in this particular area!

SAM 2360 400x300 Best Photo Spots and Tips: Hollywood Studios %tag

DSC02643 400x300 Best Photo Spots and Tips: Hollywood Studios %tag
While you are at Hollywood Studios, don't forget to:

  • See the art in the shop displays!  I love how strips like Hollywood Boulevard and Main Street have all those attached shops where you can just walk through, check out the different gear, people watch, and enjoy the wall and window displays!

DSCN0679 400x299 Best Photo Spots and Tips: Hollywood Studios %tag

  • Practice forced perspective on Streets of America! (Not just to make your family look like you are really walking down the streets of San Francisco or New York, but also at events like the Osborne Spectacle of Lights!)

DSCN05611 400x299 Best Photo Spots and Tips: Hollywood Studios %tag
  • Never underestimate a random line picture! I doctored up a picture from waiting for Fantasmic one night and its one of my favorites just by omitting all the color but some Stitch blue!

What are some of your photo tips for Hollywood Studios? Let me know in the comment box below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Boardwalk Arcade

Looking for a great no park day? Head over to Boardwalk! Its great to take in all the sites, sounds, and shops here on the Boardwalk on an arrival or departure day... or a day you just feel like taking it slow and enjoying your family.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monkeying Around

The best thing about Animal Kingdom is how you stumble upon awesome animals everywhere you go!    It is so important to leave time to just be while at Animal Kingdom so you can enjoy the fun habitats!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mondays Bite! Pineapple Dole Whip Recipe!


This recipe originally came from the blog Prudence Pennywise.  It is my 3rd attempt at Dole Whips so I made sure I read up on making my own soft serve before I took the plunge.  I also made sure this recipe was different then my previous two flops! I altered it ever so slightly to make sure it would work taste-wise from what I had learned from my past experience- the results were Cap’n Cooks-worthy!

2- 20oz cans Dole crushed pineapple in juice
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Lime Juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

1) Drain 1 cup of pineapple juice from your 2 cans of pineapple (this will leave you approx 2 tbsp juice with your fruit and leave you enough pineapple juice to make 1-2 floats if you’d like!

2) Blend together pineapple, lime juice, lemon juice, and sugar until smooth.

3) Pour into freezer bag (I double bagged to be safe) and freeze approx. 2 hours (should be slushy but not frozen).

4) Remove from freezer, pour contents into bowl and blend with whipped cream (don’t use a hand mixer here, just blend together with a spoon or fork).

5) Return to freezer until completely frozen (another 1-2 hours).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best Photo Spots: Magic Kingdom

SAM 2325 400x300 Best Photo Spots & Tips: Magic Kingdom %tag
First and foremost when heading into Magic Kingdom Park, keep in mind the same thing you should keep in mind when visiting ALL Disney parks!

1. Photopass Photographers are set up where they are for a reason! They are standing waiting to take pictures of your family in the best frames and most classic shots!

SAM 3131 400x300 Best Photo Spots & Tips: Magic Kingdom %tag

2.  Kodak Picture Spots are marked off for a reason! They are overlooked so much but they really set you up for a great pic!

Now, that you have your classic Castle pictures and have taken advantage of the best places to nab a pic outside major attractions, there is only one hint left on that matter-- there is a big different between night and day!

159 300x225 Best Photo Spots & Tips: Magic Kingdom %tag

Also, don't forget all the attention to details imagineers have paid here at Magic Kingdom! From the signs in the Main Street Windows to the small little things lurking in the signage, look at things from a new angle to see Tinkerbell as you never had before or a small hidden gem.

While you are at it, join in the fun! I love pictures where my husband or I jumped into a queue area or positioned ourself in a play area (one of my faves is my husband with Brier Fox, Beer, and Rabbit).
DSCF0020 400x300 Best Photo Spots & Tips: Magic Kingdom %tag

Another reason to get to stage shows and parades early is the great photo spots!

You can get clear, professional quality photos with a steady hand and a clear spot!

And if I can get amazing parade and show photos at just over five feet tall, I think EVERYONE can! :)

SAM 2405 300x400 Best Photo Spots & Tips: Magic Kingdom %tag

I also think Disney is the best place to master the art of the self shot.  I take pictures of myself all the time (LOL) and if you have never noticed, I can take a picture that doesn't look like I am taking a bad bar or club picture pretty easily that includes nice angles and backgrounds and it really doesn't take that much effort.

Annnd if you need a little help, check out the article I wrote that gives you some tips on how to get a good self-shot everytime: The Art of the Self Shot.

Last put not least: NEVER DELETE YOUR PHOTOS! I swear, blurry tea party pictures might be my favorite ones ever and on a little touch screen they look so crappy! But on the computer they look like crazy spinning fuuuun!!! So, always always always bring a couple big memory cards and wait until you get home to hit 'delete'!

SAM 2890 400x300 Best Photo Spots & Tips: Magic Kingdom %tag

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wanna Win a $50 Disney Gift Card???!!

Remember that Facebook post last week telling you that you will have the chance to win up to $200 in Disney Gift Cards this holiday season?? Well, its time for the first giveaway! In between your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping head on over HERE to Mousekejournals for your chance to win! Or just click on the picture of the gift card below to be linked over! Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Big Balloon Blow Up!

SAM 1848 300x400 Disney Adventures in NYC   Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade Big Balloon Blow Up %tag
With so many people traveling to the greatest city in the world during the most magical season of the year- the thought of finding a spot for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drives some people crazy! Considering the weather and contemplating trying to get a hotel with a view can make or break people’s New York vacation planning!
Many people don’t know about the FREE event that anyone can come to the day before the big Thanksgiving Day parade! Macy’s hosts the Big Balloon Blow Up from roughly 3pm to 10pm the day before Thanksgiving in the Central Park West area. There is an entrance at 79th (at Columbus) and it wraps around to loop into a whole second block filled with balloons getting their big blow up for the big day! (And there is classic holiday music piped in as you take the short walk to the next block which is also laid out as a path for you.)

SAM 1798 400x300 Disney Adventures in NYC   Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade Big Balloon Blow Up %tag
My husband and I headed down for the balloon blow up in 2010.  We arrived around 4pm so that there was some air in the balloons already but we still beat the bigger evening crowds of everyone grabbing their kids after work and heading down.  

We were able to see some of our Disney (like DCL Mickey and Buzz) & non-Disney (like Kermit and Spiderman) favorites! We got to see Kermit almost completely blown up so we managed to nab a pic in front of him as we made our way down. 
SAM 1799 400x300 Disney Adventures in NYC   Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade Big Balloon Blow Up %tag 
You can get pretty close, get lots of pictures and be in awe of the size of the monstrous balloons! It is sure to be the highlight of your New York City trip!  

And if you live within driving distance (or a train ride) I would say this is a MUST for an upcoming holiday season! We even had a tiny flurry of snow as we made our way down the second row of balloons! And they pipe Christmas music in as you are walking the short block to the 2nd row of balloons!

Remember if you get down there by 4 you can head out by 6 or 7 when the biggest crowds hit and grab some dinner or maybe some shopping at the Disney Store in Times Square! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Rain or shine that little mickey makes me feel like I'm on top of the world. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy 1 Year Anniversary to Picturing Disney!

Aloha! Today is Picturing Disney's 1 year anniversary!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wish I Were Here! Fall 2011 Trip Report: Day 4

The last day is always bittersweet but we were a determined crew and we had had weeks worth of adventures in just a few days! We woke up, packed up, and headed right out to Epcot.  We started with breakfast at Sunshine Seasons.  This was my first time eating here and it was very yummy!

We hadn't gotten to ride everything we had wanted to in Epcot since we had been so distracted by the delicious food and drink in our previous visits.  We grabbed fast passes for Soarin immediately, hit up Living with the Land (a favorite for all 4 of us) and rode Spaceship Earth and then came back to redeem. Next stop was the Imagination and Seas pavillions.  Even though we had stoppped at both previously in the trip I can't get enough of Figment and Nemo! :)

We headed back through World Showcase come lunchtime and grabbed our Food & Wine faves-- more beer, Fisherman's Pie and Shrimp Tacos! We used our remaining counterservice for some fish and chips in the UK and split what was left.  We stopped for a big ole shop at Mouse Gears and then slowly made our way back to the Boardwalk.

We had left our bags with Bell Services and said a slow, sad goodbye to the Showplace at the Shore as we headed out to the rental car.  We reminisced about our adventures on the way home and were at Orlando International Airport around 6:30pm for our 7 o'clock flights.

Annnnd home again we went.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wish I Were Here! Fall 2011 Trip Report: Day 3

Our 3rd day brought us to Disney Hollywood Studios for my first visit ever to the Hollywood Tower Hotel!!!

As always on vacation, I was the first one up.  I sneaked out onto our balcony and enjoyed a bottle of water and filled out my Passporter (I am a crazy scrapbooker and love to save maps and reciepts and tickets and such.  Passporters are great for that.  Plus I like to jot down things I remember so I can refresh my memory later- quotes and stories and general awesomeness).  I enjoyed seeing the light stretch out across the Boardwalk resort.  I snuck back in and got dressed and then contemplated grabbing a coffee to watch the rest of the resort wake up.  After everyone started waking up since I stopped at the gift shop, I don't remember what I went looking for but I came back with a sweet Boardwalk refill cup for me to use at work and a double shooter for my husband that has Goofy on it lifting up a barbell and says "I'm no dumb bell" LOL!

We all geekily put on Mickey Mouse shirts and headed over to the park by way of the boat launch at the Boardwalk.  It was drizzling again or we would have walked, its a longer walk but a nice one.

Once we arrived at the park we grabbed Fast Passes for Rock N Rollercoaster and then went over to Tower of Terror.  Since I have never ridden and it was a 10 minute wait it worked out perfect!  The boys grabbed breakfast at Sunset Market and the girls headed off to Tower of Terror.  It was everything I hope and more!!!!

We headed around the park and took advantage of all the under 15 minute waits including Great Movie Ride and Star Tours.  Then we redeemed our FPs before lunch!

We grabbed lunch at ABC Commissary which is a personal favorite and then finished our rounds in the park.  We walked back around towards Backlot Tour and then worked our way up through Streets of America.  We planned to go to Magic Kingdom for EMH after dinner and decided to park hop right over and get some fast passes first.  We hopped on the train since Donal's leg was hurting him and decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain before heading over to Wilderness Lodge.  We made our way to the boat launch, stopping for some shopping along the way and headed over to WCC!

The hotel was great and I have always been turned off to it because for only a small amount more I can stay at a deluxe with monorail or walking paths to major parks.

It was perfect to visit and our meal, although not particularly special since we had to wait quite a while, was delish! We all loved our food and our dessert annnnd while we waited to be seated the front desk was nice enough to print our boarding passes for us for our flight the following evening since we hit the 24 hour mark.  The best park of my meal was the dessert- I had an Apple Caramel Pie and a caramel shake and a cup of tea... lol. I had the Canyon Skillet for dinner which was a bit of a sampler but my husband ate most of mine! lol

After we were done we headed right back over to Magic Kingdom.  We had gotten to spend a lot of time in Fantasyland and Adventureland during the Halloween Party so we went for Tomorrowland this evening, but first stopped at the new (at the time) Mickey meet and greet at Town Square! I was dying to meet Maestro Mickey since I had done the Princess meet and greet here in the Spring! I loved it and the whole party loved our picture!

Once we hit Tomorrowland we got a rare glimpse at Space Mountain with the lights on! We snapped a few pictures and it just cemented my fear of decapitation on that crazy ride! LOL! We caught some of the parade as we looped around the People Mover and we hit the low crowd rides that we could walk on. We looped into Fantasyland and then through Adventureland where me and Daisy enjoyed some Dole Whips.

As the evening started to wind down and the second parade was about to make its round we decided to head out and spend our final evening wandering the Boardwalk.  I snapped a few pictures as we made our way down Main Street USA and secretly told Walt I would be back soon!

Back at the Boardwalk the 4 of us piled into the photobooth and we had a few drinks before retreating to the room.  One last morning, one last afternoon, and we'd be heading home to New York.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How to Get Our Facebook Updates

Thanks to the new timeline you only see a few posts from different pages if you don't have interests set up. Luckily there is an easy way to make sure you still get all your Picturing Disney picture and article posts! On your computer, hover over where it says "Liked" on the right side of the cover photo. A drop down list will pop up that let's you choose to "Get Notificatons". Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Wish I Were Here! Fall 2011 Trip Report: Day 2

After our lovely first day chock full of food, fun, and fantasy we started off day 2 with a character breakfast at Cape May Cafe.  This was the 2nd time all of us had stayed at Boardwalk Inn, me and Mickey were there in 2008 and Daisy & Donald in 2009.  We had done this breakfast back during our first trip but Donald was not one of the featured characters and the rest of our crew hadn't tried it so we headed over to the Beach Club around 9am.

As always, this character meal did not disappoint and we headed straight over to Animal Kingdom for a wild afternoon when we were done. 

We headed out to ride Dinosaur first and then headed back through Asia to ride Everest. We stopped for a meet and greet with Meeko from Pocahontas! I have never met him and love that movie so I was glad we stumbled upon it! I also bought my most awesome Disney purchase to date at Chester and Hester's as we walked through the park actually (picture coming up).  

Then we headed off to see Festival of the Lion King.  This was the first time for all of us and we looooooooooooooooooooove love LOVED it!!!! I have always meant to see this show but for some reason had never gone and we were so pleasantly surprised.  It was a great way to end our Animal Kingdom morning/afternoon.

Hungry for some more food and wine festival we headed back to Epcot with a quick stop at our hotel first since it was getting overcast and starting to look like it may rain! 

We were ready for more fun in Epcot! We had lunch at Teppan Edo which was great fun since Mickey and I had not been there since it was refurbed and just as we stepped outside we ran into two of my friends grabbing some beer!! It was an amazing coincidence!

We looped around World Showcase 2 or 3 times, stopped to grab some awesome souvenirs. (I got a really great shirt in the American pavillion, a Gran Fiesta tour tee & a cute little owl for Daisy in the Mexico pavillion and some great UK merch for my sister!)  Then we hit up our fave rides once again and all the while we were tallying points on a points card Donald & Daisy had downloaded as part of a Drink (& Eat) Around the World game.  

Once dinner time rolled around we stopped at La Cantina de San Angel and somehow we ended up having consumed more Shrimp Tacos, sushi, Chicken Souvlaki, Fisherman's Pie,  Chocolate Lava Cake, and Green Tea Slushies... and thats just what I remember off the top of my head (we WERE all trying to win a game afterall)!  

By sunset Donald, Daisy, and Mickey were downing all the Club Cool sodas as bonus points to decide the winner! I can't remember who won but I do remember that Donald bought me and Daisy some super awesome chapstick!!! (If Ive never mentioned this before I LOVE lip smackers Dr. Pepper and they have Cherry Coke and Fanta and lots of awesome crazy flavors at Club Cool!)

We decided to head back to Boardwalk for some 1920s Atlantic fun! We ended up having a blast! We had dried off from the earlier drizzle and decided to rent a surrey bike.  It was a workout! Man even with 4 people some of those hills were steep... although we were a little "full".  We surreyed around passed Beach Club and Yacht Club and made it back just over the time limit so we meandered around the Boardwalk itself for some of the performers and some shopping.  Then we headed back to our room and made the poor decision to order Florida pizza since we were hungry and the restaurants were closed. Florida pizza is just not good. lol. I have no other words for this than that.  But it was fun and funny and we ended our 2nd day just as it started- with fun and laughter!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wish I Were Here! Fall 2011 Trip Report: Day 1

With Halloween season behind us and Food & Wine Festival winding down, I can't help but reflect on my own October trip last year.  This time of year is when the seed was first planted... "Wow look at the pics of Epcot Food & Wine Fest on the Disney Parks Blog", "Have you seen the Halloween fireworks videos on YouTube?"... but then the holidays rolled in (and Christmastime is my favorite time of the year) and we'd had a trip planned for February to Disney World and then August to Disneyland so it wasn't until summer that we really decided we wanted to go.  And with a round of beers at a friends house the 4 of us started discussing our plans.  We picked the perfect weekend, booked with our favorite agency, and off we went. We were up in the wee hours of the morning on our departure day (as always) with a flight leaving at 7:00am and arriving in Orland at 9:58am.

So for the purpose of this 4 day, 4 person trip I will call our crew by character names: henceforth I will refer to myself as Minnie, my husband as Mickey, and our companions for this adventure (another Disney loving couple) will be Donald and Daisy. lol. In any case, when we arrived at the airport Donald & Daisy were waiting for us (we all live up in New York but their flight came in about 20 minutes before ours I believe).  We grabbed a rental car, which was kind of a hilarious senior citizen-esque mobile and we laughed about how one day we would all be in our 70s driving to Disney together in the Crown Vic we owned. :) When we rolled up to our hotel, Boardwalk Inn, we could not contain our excitement! We were here!!! We checked in, checked out our room, and headed out towards International Gateway! Food & Wine Festival HERE WE COME!

We stumbled upon Alice as we entered the park so of course we stopped for pictures! The park was empty and the temperature was nice and cool. A warm mix of sun and clouds that was a nice chance from the particularly rainy Fall weather we have been having in New York the past few years.  After me and Daisy got our pictures taken with Alice our fab four headed around to the Canada booth immediately and grabbed a round of Moosehead.  It was 11:17am but we were toasting to the beginning of a magical trip (and a magical day)! Our travel agent over at It's All About the Mouse travel had sent us a booking bonus of a $25 Disney gift card and wouldn't you know that a round of 4 12ox Moosehead at the Canada booth came to exactly $25 even! I took a picture of us toasting to send to our awesome TA.

The first item we devoured? Mexico Shrimp tacos!! These quickly became my favorite F&WF choice! I think between the 4 of us we ordered about a dozen in the span of the long weekend! We all loved them! We continuted around World Showcase stopping for Pot Stickers at the China Booth, Beer & Brats at the Germany booth, Shepard's Pie in the UK, and some Mouse at Fife and Drum.  We headed off to the Festival center around 1pm and I grabbed a Remy stuftee, the commemorative 2011 F&WF vinylmation and of course the cookbook (I knew I was going to need more shrimp tacos in my life!)

Once we were full we hopped on a few rides, then headed into Future World for some more.  We grabbed some pics of the signage and with photopass since we had entered the park via International Gateway we wanted to check out the Spaceship Earth set up... and of course I had to ride SE since its my fave! We hit up some more favorites and then strolled back to Boardwalk to get ready for our evening of Halloween fun at Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party!!! We got dressed and ready to go and headed over to Magic Kingdom around 5pm.  We wanted to grab some pictures early and non of us had ever been to this party!

I dressed up as Hermione from the Harry Potter saga, Daisy dressed as Cinderella after her step family had torn her dress apart, and the boys were "New York Giants" which was there way of simply wearing jerseys instead of dressing up! (I know, total cop out!)

We headed into the park and snapped lots of pictures. We were all hungry and since we all love a good Burger and Fixins at Pecos Bill Tall Tale.... we headed straight there! As we ate we signed up for the text message party alerts and checked out the layout map.  We knew our party night was sold out so we decided candy was not a priority and instead we would make sure we rode the best rides and got in the photo ops we'd been dying for (Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean).  Then we would see Hallowishes and the Boo to You Parade!

I guess it would be best for me not to give too much away for those planning to be here so I will let my pictures speak and post a few party favorites below.  This was a long night for Mickey, Donald, and Daisy and by about 8pm the super duper early wakeup had been apparent.  They were tired and worn out sitting on benches and I had to take my wizard wand and zap them with some magic to get them re-energized about what was to come! My childish excitement somehow wore off on them because as we headed back to our room later that night (after all the rides, photos, watching the parade from the Main St train station, the amazing fireworks and shopping up Main Street) we all agreed it was the best day ever. :)