Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Disney Recipe: Le Cellier Cheddar Soup!

Happy Hump Day!! Here's a warm recipe sure to please your family! :)
Since I am, well, "the Disney girl" to many friends and family (and students and coworkers.... and who am I fooling the guy at Stop and Shop and the lady at the bank... lol) when a Facebook friend came across the recipe for the infamous Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier they immediately posted it to me and I filed it under "I must try this" and forgot about it for a while.  Other Disney sites have posted it and I think its even in my Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs recipe book.  But I used this one and it came out super tasty.  I made a loaf of Beer Bread to go with it since they had bread at the ready at Le Cellier when I dined here (although, unlike most LC lovers I have not eaten here since the upgrade to 2 table service credits because it was not really signature caliber in my book).  In any case, I followed the recipe except where noted...

  • 1/4 lb. smoked bacon finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion cut into pieces 
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 12 oz. grated white cheddar cheese 
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Moosehead Ale (or any darker ale, room temp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
*original recipe also called for 3 dashes of hot sauce, which I didn't have and didn't know what a dash was so I omitted- if you want to add it back in do so at the very end ;)
1. Saute the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until wilted but not browned.
2. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent and bacon has crisped. (I omitted the carrots since I don't really like cooked carrots but didn't omit them from this recipe for your sake.)

3. Sprinkle in flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes. 

4.  Stir in milk and stock, a little at a time, blending well to ensure there are no lumps. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, Worcestershire and beer (and hot sauce if you please). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Land: Soarin' Above It And Living With It!

Do you dream of adventure but reality keeps you from being a daredevil? How many of us have wanted to skydive, bungee jump or – (you know where I’m going with this, right?) hang-glide? Of course lots of people do these activities – life presents the opportunity and they go for it. But how many kids are too young? And many parents say “I can’t now. I am responsible for someone else.” OK, and maybe some of us (I'm not saying me) are just plain scared. I can tell you - there is no reason to fear Soarin'. In fact, I'm a little obsessed with it. It's not just the sense of adventure that amazes me. It's the fact that we have come so far with technology that this kind of simulation can be produced! I mean, I am of the generation where a video game was once two lines and a dot which volleyed back and forth to imply tennis! Seriously, head over to The Land in EPCOT and get yourself on Soarin'! For just a few brilliant minutes, adventure is all yours! It's an incredible hang-gliding simulation ride over the sights (and sites), sounds, (and yes, even subtle smells), of California. The 40 foot screen puts you right into the sky. There is no foot rest, so you really feel like you are hanging in the air. Soarin' isn't just a ride. It's a work of art in mid-air. Don't miss it! 

*There are interactive games which you can play while waiting on line for Soarin’. If you can, it is worthwhile to get a Fastpass. Lines for this attraction can be long, but it’s well worth the wait!

Other Highlights at The Land Pavilion:

Living with the Land – A boat ride which gives an eco-look inside a futuristic greenhouse. You will see new directions for harvesting organic foods and horticulture, and get a glimpse into the future of efficient, healthy farming.

Behind the Seeds Tour –a one-hour walking tour through the fish farm and greenhouses in The Land. Participants can expect to learn more about natural science and the future of horticulture.  (Additional Fees apply).

The Garden Grill, is a dinner-only, slowly rotating restaurant, which serves foods harvested  on-site. Food is served family style and characters, (Chip and Dale amongst others), come to your table.  You will also view the Living with the Land ride from above. This is a really cool combination of the Disney character magic and a real taste of the food being produced in The Land Pavilion. (Definitely get reservations. This restaurant fills up quickly).

The Land also has TheSunshine Food Court, which offers the following options for quick breakfast, lunch and dinner service (Reservations are not accepted):
  • ·      Asian Wok Shop
  • ·      Sandwich Shop and Bakery
  • ·      Soup & Salad Shop
  • ·      Wood-Fired Grill Shop 

The Circle of Life is a theater attraction, which stars the characters from The Lion King. It is a 20-minute film, which introduces children (and adults) to the concept of being kind to the earth.

Don’t miss The Land in EPCOT – it’s an amusement park in and of itself!

Contributed by Judy Dulberg

Thursday, October 24, 2013

LeSportSac It's a Small World Giveaway!!! 2 Chances to Win!!

Intrigued by the preview and review posts? 
Use the widget below to enter for your chance to win one of these fantastic bags!! 

First Prize: Polynesian Paradise Deluxe Everyday Bag with Ipo Charm and matching zip closure pouch
Picture of Actual Prize Bags!
Runner Up: Polynesian Paradise Rectangular Cosmetic Bag (does not come with charm)
Picture of Actual Prize Bag!

Good luck! 


(Note: Both these last images are stock images from LeSportSac website! The images with the "actual prize bag" captions are the exact ones being given away!)

The Imagineer in All of Us

As young children we start out building pillow castles and blanket forts. We use twigs to build fairy houses and blow on dandelions, knowing that each little puff of heart fulfillment is carrying our wish where it needs to go to come true. Old shopping-cart wheels and cast off wood planks were used to make go-carts. We climbed trees to see things from a different perspective. That ability to change perspective kept us youthful and happy.

Is there a word for that belief in building-hoping-magic-creative-dream-fulfillment? The only one that comes to mind for me is “Imagineer.”

An Imagineer is a Disney ambassador of creative wish fulfillment. They use their skill and training to make magic come to life. What they also do is dream the impossible and make it possible.

In the past several years I have realized that making what seems impossible, possible, bridges a gap between youth and adulthood. The more I do this, the more I love spending time on that bridge!

A few months ago, my friend’s daughter wanted to build a fairy house. I found a cardboard structure that worked as a base. We poked holes in it and studded it with silk flowers, added, rhinestones, stickers, twigs and pebbles and had a fairy house.  Every so often her mom or I would put a new fairy figurine in the house and the kid would freak out about how fairies “choose” their house and “this is the BEST house EVER!”

Once I tapped into this creative Imagineer lurking in my childhood brain, I bought a damaged birdhouse for 99-cents. As I looked at it, it sort of reminded me of the house from “UP” (who doesn’t love that house?). The problem was that the layout was wrong. I knew if I could switch the structure around and use some paint and ingenuity, I could have something resembling the house. I took the unfinished birdhouse to the local hardware store. They said that it could not be done unless they used a very light touch and it would still likely fall apart. However, they would try for $75 per hour and it would take 2 hours. $150 to repurpose my 99-cent house. No thanks. I took it home, gently pulled it apart and put it back together… Added balloons ($3) and here is my $3.99 “Up” house.

Find that creative inner-child and start doing the “impossible.” I promise, the view from the youth-to-adulthood bridge is incredible!

"If you can dream it, you can do it." Walt Disney

Contributed by Judy Dulberg

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

LeSportSac It's a Small World Polynesian Paradise Multi-Bag Review!

I am a HUGE LeSportSac fan and have been for years.  Of the course of the last 18 months or so Disney has teamed up with this amazing brand featuring seasonal patterns inspired by the fabulous Mary Blair's It's a Small World art.  Each different pattern featured a different country featured in this fun ride! The last pattern in the collection is by FAR my favorite yet: Polynesian Paradise! When LeSportSac sent me and my writers some bags to review (and keep your eyes peeled since they also sent some great bags for an amazing giveaway coming up soon) I nearly cried I was so psyched! Instead of just giving you a quote or two about each bag I have reviewed two of them and each writer another! Since after you see the pattern I know you will want to purchase your own, now we can help you decide which style is right for you! 

I have always wanted a full size EveryGirl Tote from LeSportSac.  I am a school teacher and the Social Studies office is a long walk from the wing my classroom is in so it is imperative I have a great bag, that is durable and easy to clean, with lots of compartments to stay organized.  This bag was all that and more! It is beautiful (I get compliments everyday) and I love the attention to detail and zip closure on top (full picture above).

When I filled my bag with all the things I usually carry around (file folders of worksheets, folder of paperwork for the SADD chapter I advise, books I am currently reading or that my Honors students are reading, pens, notepads, my cosmetic bag filled with toiletries and other necessities, cough drops, extra pencils and flashdrive and other trinkets) I found myself grabbing more stuff off of my desk to fill it up!

When I finally was satisfied it still zipped up no problem and was easy to carry on my shoulder without feeling like I weighed down the bag.  There are two inside slide pockets and a pouch with hidden pocket on the opposite side of the lining.  The outside has two awesome side pockets.  I was able to fit my umbrella and huge keychain on one side and plastic refill cup on the other! I love that I can be handsfree in the halls thanks to this fabulous bag! The pattern is a little different than the others but its fabulous (see picture below) and the lining inside is a great pink color! 

Additionally I was able to review another gorgeous bag: The Small Veronica Hobo! This bag has been something I've had my eye on since I first saw it but have never been able to pick one up! Its just the absolute perfect everyday bag! If you look at the first picture in this article you can see the way it falls perfect on your hip when you use as a crossbody bag! Whats fabulous is that when you shorten the strap it also works perfectly for a shoulder bag.

The design is beautiful with just enough room for everything you need even if you carry a huge wallet like I do-- I filled the interior pouches with makeup and still had room for sunglasses, gum, wallet, keys, cell phone, work keys, lotion, and a few other trinkets.  I love everything about this bag and I don't think I have recommended another bag I've owned as much as this one! Its got a great shape, adorable pattern, and is easy to wear with anything- plus its super easy to clean and lets me carry some magic with me every day! 

When I first opened the box containing my Classic Hobo I immediately loved it as it is exactly the same size as the bag I was currently using! It really is the perfect everyday bag. The size and space inside is just the right amount for anyone, really. And the print is colorful and vibrant while still being neutral.

There is the large "main" zippered compartment with a smaller zippered pocket inside. There are also two full length zippered pockets on both sides of the outside. The one thing I personally had to adjust to was finding a convenient place for my iPhone. My current bag had an outside open pocket that fit it perfectly. I need my iPhone at my fingertips constantly, so we'll see how the outside zippered compartment works for me (although knowing my phone is safely zippered away makes this a good choice in the Parks or when I am out and about).

 You could very easily make this a touring bag as well!! The main area would fit snacks, juice boxes, wallets, etc. The outer pockets would be good to corral papers (think fast passes), receipts, or anything else you'd want handy. And again, wearing it cross body is extremely comfortable.

It is no wonder that Lesportsac teamed up with Disney. Now that I have my Lesportsac bag – I am pretty sure that Lesportsac knows how Mary Poppin’s carpet bag was designed. I am not kidding. This bag is small (8x8.5x4"), but I can fit so much in it, that I am sure it’s lined with some kind of magic. (Not to mention how cute it is!, a Disney must!). Note photo #1 (cute right?). Notice photo #2 the bag is zipped closed. Not so unusual… until you view photo #3 That is what was in it! I usually carry a backpack! I am seriously never going on vacation without it! I get to carry a colorful, beautiful, Disney inspired bag and as small as it is, it is as functional as a bag twice it's size!

When I found out about getting to try out the Small EveryGirl Tote from the LeSportSac bag line inspired by Disney's It's A Small World attraction, I was ecstatic. I've heard great things about these bags and was excited to try them out.   It looks and feels durable. Not to forget how cute the patterns are (and it doesn't hurt that its inspired by the great Mary Blair).  This bag is great for the every day and a nice touch to any outfit. What is the best part you ask? My husband can no longer call my bag ìthe bag of deathî (whatever went in, would never come out aliveî). Everything can be put away and found again. No more missing keys in this girl's future.
As for size, this bag is 9 x 9.5 x 5.5 in. Taking this into consideration, I was really surprised to see how much actually fit into the bag. I was able to fit a change of clothes, wallet, cards, lip gloss, etc. It has two pockets, one on the inside and one on the outside. The inside pocket is the length of half the bag. The outside pocket is the length of bag and great for storing my keys.  The quality of this bag is wonderful!

Hope everyone loved the reviews! Keep your eyes here on Picturing Disney later this week for your chance to win a Deluxe Everyday Bag with Charm and Zip Closure Pouch OR a Rectangular Cosmetic Bag (no charm)!

LeSportSac sent us these bags to review (as well as the bags for our upcoming giveaway)!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

DelivEARing Memories: Pictures & Trinkets for Disney Fans!

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Rachelle from DelivEARing Memories Etsy shop! She and I have been following each other on Instagram for a while and I've always loved her unique creative take on Disney classics (as well as her great Disney IG pics).  In her shop she uses adorable images and likeness to create fun Disney trinkets and jewelry (as well as selling prints).

There are a lot of shops that offer picture trinkets like hers but her style is really awesome- I love the way she frames the images, the charms available to add-on, and the Disney ticket jewelry.  And I am not alone as she has gained her shop a 5 star rating on Etsy!

Just in time for Halloween she sent me an awesome Haunted Mansion keychain and Lillian Gracey necklace.  The image she used is my very favorite of all the stretching room pictures! I even rocked a full image cell phone case for a while! I love these Haunted Mansion items so much and feel like these would be great gifts any time of year.  With the holidays right around the corner look for your chance to win this keychain along with other recommended shop items in my Disney Lover's Etsy Gift Guide.

Visit DelivEARing Memories:

And don't forget...
The Haunted Mansion may have 999 Happy Haunts but there is always room for 1 more! ;)

DelivEARing Memories sent us these items for review and giveaway.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Disney Photo-a-Day Fun! :)

Looking for a Photo-a-Day filled with Disney fun? 
Check out this one put together by two Disney-loving Mels: me and Melissa from Disney on Wheels!
Just save this picture and post it to your Facebook or Instagram to begin! 
Be sure to tag us: @PicturingDisney and @DisneyOnWheels!

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Walt Disney World Offers for 2014!!

Two great ways to save in 2014 at Walt Disney World:
Stay, Play and Dine
Discounts room, tickets and dining plan..must have tickets for length of stay to get that portion discounted (for example - staying 4 days/3 nights must have 4 day ticket..etc)
For Most Stays January 5-March 5 2014
3 Night Minimum Stay Required
Excluded: ALL OF ART OF ANIMATION, Grand Floridian Villas and Campsites

Jan 5-April 12 2014
Values 15% off, Moderates 20% off, Deluxe 30% off, Deluxe Villas 35% off
Excluded Little Mermaid Rooms. Grand Floridian Villas and Campsites

For your no obligation quote, email me today!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Planning 101: Tickets

The first thing I researched for our great adventure was tickets. As I had mentioned before, we were going to be on our trip to California for nine days. Within these nine days, we would visit the Disneyland Resort, Universal Hollywood, and the D23 Expo.

For those of you who do not know, D23 is an official fan club created through Disney. The club was established in 2009 and is most known for sharing and involving the community in The Disney Company’s rich history. Every two years, D23 has an expo where many pieces of the company come together to showcase various aspects of what was and will come from The Disney Company and its affiliates. I have been part of this club since 2011.

In December, D23 began sending out the member ticket prices and early bird rates for this marvelous affair. I took advantage of their early bird offer and saved $102.00 (nearly 30% of the cost for general admission) for both or our tickets.

Gus, my husband, was the one who was responsible for the savings on our Disneyland Resort Tickets. He found out that our financial institution had a fantastic rewards program that offered Disneyland Park Passes. The best part was that these were Two-Day Park Hopper Passes. All we had to do was build up our points on our bank credit card. By using the credit card to pay bills and expenses, it would allow us to get 2 points per dollar spent (using their debit card would get us 1 point per dollar spent). So in terms of saving, we essentially got these tickets for free.

Finally, I want to talk about Universal Hollywood. I would like apologize just in case I offend any Universal enthusiasts. Unfortunately for me, they were terrible to deal with. Typically in Universal Orlando, there are tons of promotions available. This is especially true around the time of their Mardi Gras and Halloween Horror Nights events. Whether it has been through Coke-a-Cola promotions, Florida Resident Discounts and other promotions, Gus has ALWAYS been able to save on tickets when he has gone to this park.

Over the span of seven months, I was given various methods that would guarantee us a discount on our set of one day park tickets. I was also told that in order to receive any of these discounts, I would have to wait until the day of our arrival in the park to purchase the tickets. In a last attempt to get things settled before our trip, I called two weeks  before our adventure was set to begin to see if there was any way to purchase the tickets ahead of time. The representative delivered the news I expected and more. None of the discount methods I had been advised of would work.

When doors are closed, God opens another.

After feeling that I had been lied to for the past several months, I was not happy. I asked to speak to a supervisor and told him our story. I also told him how mislead I felt about all the information I was given. This supervisor was kind enough to give me a special discount at the gate. It would guarantee 25% off of our total for general admission. It saved us about $43 (my total included the lowest parking fee) on both our tickets.

The one thing I learned on this journey is that no matter what is blocking your way, you have to at least try to get around it. Asking about a discount or promotion will get you a lot farther than just assuming it isn’t possible.

What have been some of the best/worst experiences you’ve had with getting tickets for your vacation?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

LeSportSac It's a Small World Polynesian Paradise Designs Released (Final in Series)!

As most of you know I absolutely adore the line of It's a Small World patterns that have been featured through LeSportSac (I've given away not one but two of these bags this year!).  Not only is this one of my go-to favorite bag companies but they paired up with my fave company ever! The unique take on the bags is a great way to carry some magic with you everyday without always rocking gear that features the main mouse himself (although the collaboration through the Disney Store was also incredible)!

The final pattern in this series recently came out and it is fabulous! Polynesian Paradise is the main design and Tropical Zoo the secondary design.  The Polynesia section is my fave part of the ride (and the Poly is my fave resort) so this line is everything I've been hoping and dreaming for! The charm is of an adorable hula-skirt-wearing-starfish-holding Polynesian girl named Ipo and the pattern is still available in nearly all styles

Do not miss your chance to nab one of these adorable bags- LeSportSac crossbody bags are perfect for Disney Park going and I don't think these will stay in stock too long! Also, keep your eye out for a comprehensive review from all the Picturing Disney writers as well as maybe another giveaway! ;)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tapping Into the Magic

My friend’s little girl is five years old. She just started kindergarten. Just like most kids and parents their day is a marathon -  breakfast, getting ready for the school bus, preparing breakfast and lunch and packing lunch, getting little girl on the bus, going to work and school, afterschool program, homework, dinner, bath, story and bedtime. It is a very full day. Parents and kids are always busy!

Sometimes, if I am at their house and there is a brief moment of stall in the works (like not wanting hair brushed after bath time) I help out with an, always successful, story of adventure in Disney World.

“OK now, should we do a Disney story?” I ask. The answer is always a resounding “Yes!” It’s followed by “Once upon a time a little girl and her mommy and her aunt Judy were sitting in the living room and the couch began to lift into the air. As they were floating they looked down and what do you think they saw?”

“They were over the Magic Kingdom!” “Yes!” I answer. From there she takes over and talks about all of the different places we go once we land. We cover 4 parks in one day! We see characters, go on rides, eat treats, (and even go swimming while we’re at it!).

We tell the Adventurous Disney Story, until all the knots are out and the hair is done. No tears, no whining, just happy. The upshot of the adventure is a recount of our trip to Disney World.

It’s not exclusively about the hair tangles, or the homework, or the fact that there are just not enough hours in the day to get it done.  Life is hard work and we need those magical happy breaks, because the reason for the hard work should be the end result of happiness. We need that reminder.

The complete focus on Disney is happiness and fun. Even just a few days a year linked together of straight up fun is never forgotten. No place accomplishes that better than Disney. It’s a place that inspires us to tap into the happy. 

I look at the schedules of all the people around me, including me, and I know, we all need a little Disney.

Hopefully we all have moments of happy every day, but having that one place where it starts when you get there, and lasts forever – there’s nothing else like it.

Creating happy memories creates happy children (and adults). Tap into those memories and recharge, advance, and “bloom.” So, “Whistle while you work,” and start thinking about that next trip!

Contributed by Judy Dulberg