Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wizarding Week Goes to Disney

How's this for bringing Picturing Disney's Wizarding Week full circle...
Guess what I went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party as last year?
Hermione Jean Granger (complete with replica wand from Olivander's Wand Shoppe in Hogsmeade)!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Wizarding World hits NYC

With so many features from Wizarding World of Harry Potter in my salute to J.K. Rowling's fabulous and imaginative world, I thought I would take a day out to talk about other Harry Potter goodness.

First, although I have no pictures since photography is not allowed, if you are in the New York area you should plan on hitting the Harry Potter Exhibit in Times Square.  I saw it when it was first in New York a couple years ago and it is INCREDIBLE.  Amazing props and costumes, petrified Colin Crevey, and you can SIT IN HAGRID'S CHAIR!!! I can not say enough about how much I love Discovery Times Square (I have seen about a half dozen different exhibits here with friends, family, and even taken my students here on field trips.)

Also, I just wanted to pay homage to the amazing world and how the Harry Potter stories tell such a strong tale of heroism and good versus evil.  I quote HP all the time and love finding adorable new fan art.  Join me and keep the magic alive everyday.

Mischief managed. ;)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hogwart's Express

Wizarding Week continues with a stop for a photo op!
When you stop for a visit at the Wizarding World and you enter Hogsmeade Village there parked right out front is the Hogwart's Express.  And guess who you can find out front for meet and greets? The conductor himself!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hogsmeade Village

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these pictures of Hogsmeade can replace what would have been 4,000 rambling words of my love of this place!  How many times in life can you say that you just walked into the pages of your favorite book?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hogwarts Castle

We have all fallen in love with Cinderella's Castle... Sleeping Beauty's Castle... and most recently Beast's Castle... but what about a Hogwart's Castle?  The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry deserves equal credit it for the monumental attention to detail! Let your imagination soar as you approach the fun and excited flagship ride and you will be transported to a place where some of the most magical heroes in the history of literature grew up!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Chocolate Frogs for EVERYONE!

One of the most well-put together shops, or maybe just my favorite because I have such a sweet tooth, was Honeydukes! The legendary wizard candy shoppe is right at home in Universal Orlando's very own Hogsmeade!

I left with an arm filled with Wizard candy and hung around outside for a while when I was drinking my Butterbeer.

At Honeydukes you can get all the favorites featured in the Harry Potter books and movies such as:
-Cauldron Cakes
-Fizzing Whizzbees
-Exploding Bonbons
-Treacle Tarts
-Bert Bott's Every Flavor Beans
-& classic treats like fudge and other chocolates!

My favorite were the Sherbet Lemons which came in a cute Honeydukes jar as well as the "sugar quills" lollipops! The candy here was a super cute souvenir from my trip and such an original gift to bring back to people.

If you can't make a stop to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and Honeydukes) part of your next Orlando vacation, try and stop at the Universal Studiost store at the Orlando International Airport and check out the small selection of Wizarding World products they carry there! I picked up a Chocolate Frog last Fall and the Wizarding World souvenirs may be the best that Universal has to offer!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bubble & Geek Wizarding Week Giveaway!!

The really fun and awesome Etsy shop, Bubble & Geek, graciously donated a Harry Potter themed Pumpkin Pasties candle and Butterbeer lip balm to give away while we feature some of the most fun and awesome pictures from around the Wizarding World this week! As we lead up to Halloween we will be featuring posts daily about Universal's Islands of Adventure's most magical area!

In the mean time, use the rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wizarding Week: Why You SHOULD Cheat on Disney (just for a day)!

I decided that the week before Halloween would be a great time to feature some pictures from Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  While this is a Disney Photoblog with so much going on in Orlando and with the number of trips I have taken there I wanted to share some of what I have explored outside Disney too.

I was blown away by Universal, not because I thought Disney paled in comparison at all, but because I could see this experience changing from what I had previously read and seen (and expected).  Disney has pushed the Universal theme parks to up their game.  Guess who benefits from that? Us! I have cheated on Disney and you should to, here’s why:
  • Now that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is MGM no more, some of the signature old Hollywood feel has been stripped from the park.  I desperately miss Stars & Motor Cars and can never understand why there is never a wait for the Great Movie Ride or Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream.  There is something to be said for the walk through Lucy Museum and Walk of Fame at Universal that brought back the nostalgia of some of my old MGM favorites- you can even eat at a replica Mel’s Drive In for lunch!  The fact that the park is owned by Universal gives it a more diverse movie catalog then you would expect- everything from The Mummy, E.T., Back to the Future, The Simpsons, Jaws, and more are represented here.  And a lot of these classics in my mind have not been reinvented as Disney does so often.
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is, in my opinion, the most amazing non-Disney theme park feat ever.  It gives Disney a real run for its money.  I am almost happy that Universal got the rights to this over Disney because it is so incredible! From a Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks, to a Chocolate Frog at Honeyduke’s, or buying a replica wand at Olivander’s there is no greater representation of the classic young adult novels of our generation.
  • It’s nice to see a non-princess castle every once in a while.  Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey is like Soarin’ on steroids and the cue walking through Hogwart’s is artful, thoughtful, and true to the world J.K. Rowling created.
  • The two park pass does not require a bus, boat, or monorail to park hop.  While you can really commit a full day to each park in Universal, if you opt for their version of a park hopper you can easily walk through the shopping area called CityWalk and make your way between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme parks.
While the Disney bubble is hard to push yourself out of, I am convinced that Universal is a great choice for some non-Disney time.  I rave to every Harry Potter fan I know that they must visit the Wizarding World.  With so many families come back to Disney year after year, its no wonder that places like Discovery Cove and Legoland have made their way to Orlando.

What do you think about Universal? Do you stay in the Disney bubble your entire trip or trek out to other Orlando attractions?  If so, what’s your family’s favorite non-Disney park?  Look for pictures from now through the 31st of my favorite parts of the Wizarding World and decide for yourself. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boo to You!

Without giving any spoilers I highly recommend the parade and fireworks that are featured only at the hard-ticket event: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! I loved the music and the magic! I don't want to reveal anything and spoil it for people who have not been there yet but do not miss this party if you are in Disney World during the fall and do not miss the shows!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mondays Bite! Finding Nemo Squirt Cupcake Recipe!

Last year, a friend sent me a link to the Squirt cupcakes.   You can follow the link to check out the AWESOME recipe posted on the Disney Family website, but I made some changes so I am going to post my modified directions here since I think my turtles may be just a liiiiitle cuter than the originals! lol! ;]
Blue Crystal Sprinkles
Large Gum Drops
Mini Chocolate Morsels
Spearmint Leaves Gummies
Skewers or toothpicks (I actually used chopsticks)

Keep in mind, you may want to purchase two bags of the large gum drops.  One bag only gave me enough red/orange drops to make shells for 10 turtle cupcakes.  Either that, or get creative with shell colors!

1. Make your cupcakes and let them cool completely

2.  While you are waiting for your cupcakes to bake and cool I suggest a trial run of the little turtles! It may be easier to do this by looking at pictures than reading my descriptions but I like the way mine came out better than following the directions from the site and using their candy suggestions. 
Shell: Trim about 1/4 inch off the bottom of a red or orange gum drop and place in center of cupcake 
Head: Trim about 1/4 inch off the bottom of a green gum drop.  Squish the newly chopped sticky sides together so you can make your head a round ball.  It takes a little working and rolling around but once you do it once, you can do it easily. Then take your skewer (or toothpick or chopstick) and poke holes where you want to eyes to go on your head.  Put a little dot of frosting on the end of a mini morsel and insert into the eye hole you created.  Set entire head near the shell on your cupcake. 
Legs: For each turtle’s 4 legs you will need only one spearmint leaf.  Slice your leaf into two, horizontally so that you now have 2 leaves.  Cut a half oval out of each leaf.  The ovals will be your back legs, place them in the anatomically correct place on your cupcake sugary side up.  Then the remaining pieces of your spearmint leaf will be his front legs.  Simply place them sugary side up so his flippers can meet the middle of the shell and still sit entirely on the cupcake.
3.  Frost your cupcakes.  You can use plain vanilla frosting, or even make it blue.  I decided to go with the sugary theme of the gum drops and use blue crystal sprinkles to make my sea of frosting.
4.  Add your little turtles to the top of the frosting.

5.  Serve and enjoy! If you have leftovers, store in a sealed container but let sit for 5 minutes before serving a second time (sometimes the gumdrops get a little hard from the fridge)!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Etsy Shop Review & Giveaway!

When I first started the Parks Style section I featured a post on what to bring in your Disney Park Bag.  The lip balm I featured was Butterbeer & Paopu Fruit flavored from an awesome Etsy shop, Bubble & Geek.  I have since teamed up for an awesome giveaway!

I love the idea of geekery (or what is perceived as such) being paired up with pampering products and as their logo puts it Bubble & Geek is filled with "random geekery goodness for your life"! In the shop you can find lip balms, lotions, fragrances, soaps, and candles inspired by your favorite games, movies and shows.  Some of my favorites are the Harry Potter inspired, Nintendo inspired, and the new Game of Thrones inspired lines! There is literally something for everyone in this shop and they are affordable and make amazingly awesome and unique gifts!

Additionally, as with the best Etsy has to offer, Bubble & Geek features awesome costumer service from an owner who was super kind, and got back to me right away! My items were shipped out fast and arrived quickly as well! What makes Bubble & Geek super duper awesome?? Oh yeah they sent me the awesome (and amazingly scented) Pumpkin Pasties candle and a Butterbeer lip balm to GIVE AWAY here on Picturing Disney during Wizarding Week!

Just stay tuned to Picturing Disney in the next couple days for your chance to win!! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Have you been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? What's your favorite little attention to detail in Magic Kingdom after the transformation? I loved how even the statues had changed!! Let me know your favorite part of the party in the comments below!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Things that make my Disney heart happy (Part 2)

What makes your Disney heart happy?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hallowishes Do Come True!

Quite possibly, the most amazing fireworks spectacle I have ever seen has been at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party! I can not say much more about the amazing and artistic fireworks and the wonderous finale to Hallowishes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NYCC: Epic Mickey 2, DisneyXD, Marvel, and more!!

This weekend was New York Comic Con (October 11-14) at the Javits Center in New York City.  It is the 2nd largest convention in the country (2nd to the San Diego Comic Con).  I have read some comics in my day and know a lot of the lore but the real pull for me and my husband was how Comic Con has expanded into a place that showcases the best in geekery, video gaming, and entertainment.  There were even a handful of Disney panels and exhibits as well as lots from Disney affiliated companies.  Stormtroopers walked the halls proudly and Star Wars toys and memoribilia were everywhere.
The recent connection that Disney has made with Marvel revealed even more to come at a panel where it was said that Disney and Marvel were working on a project together for a Disney property.  All that was alluded to however was that a big announcement would be made in the next few months.  

I do love Marvel stories but I hope this is not a new ride/attraction/meet and greet.  I feel like that has been done long ago at Six Flags and Islands of Adventure.  Additionally, while I think Disney would do it right I really want to see Hollywood Studios revive their Old Hollywood charm (please Disney bring Buena Vista Street to Orlando!!!) which I have seen slowly leaving the park.

I will say it was fun to see all the fun and hilarious merchandise available thanks to the wildly successful Avengers franchise. I especially loved the colognes and the free "Smell like an Avenger" swag that was being given out! haha! I also loved seeing the Lego and Tokidoki franchises rocking Marvel favorites!

Besides the obvious Disney connections with the Marvel company and LucasArts there were also some Disney specific panels, screenings, and demos.

I got my hands on Epic Mickey 2- which thankfully has improved greatly since the original.  I felt like the first Epic Mickey was an Epic Letdown! So many possibly awesome ideas and it looked like a Gamecube game ported for HD systems.  I was so disappointed in the gameplay mechanics also... some parts just didn't make sense.  And it took 2 or 3 bosses to actually get to a point where I understood the good vs evil, pain vs thinner would change my story.  I got to the point with that game that I felt like I was playing it just to finish it and luckily from the demo I played EP2 looks, sounds, and plays better!

Additionally, we saw a screening of Randy Cunningham 9th Grade Ninja which looked great! I didn't catch the premiere date but its coming soon to Disney XD with a couple other new series!

I really had a great time at New York Comic Con! It was my first time heading down for it and I enjoyed all the geekery, got tons of free stuff, and my husband and I got to see and play some games we had been looking forward to (besides Epic mickey 2 we checked out Assassin's Creed III, Tomb Raider, Lego LOTR, and the new God of War).  We also got to check out some publishing booths and watch others playing Little Big Planet Karting, PS Battle Royale, and Just Dance 4.  It was a great experience and even though it was super duper packed we had a great day in New York!

Did I mention we stopped for some Christmas decoration shopping in Times Square Disney Store on the way home? ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mousekeeping & Tip Envelopes

One of my favorite Disney DIY creations ever is my mousekeeping tip envelopes! I love them so much and recently tweaked them- so bookmark or pin the new updated links and enjoy!!!

Just click below picture for the version of the envelope you would like (Mousekeeping or the more generic version) follow the directions to print, cut, and fold! Sorry if some of the preview images below are choppy, I put lots of work into these and then it took me an hour just to get little screen shots from the PDF files! :)

This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival. Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles!
Enjoy! :)