Monday, December 29, 2014

Into the Woods Film Review

Into the Woods is definitely not what I expected. When it was first announced at the 2013 D23 Expo, it was described as a fantastic musical that followed the intertwining stories of some of our favorite fairy tale characters. Not much more was mentioned except for the casting of Meryl Streep as the Witch, Johnny Depp as the Wolf, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, and Chris Pine as Cinderella's Prince. Not much more had been discussed about the film since then. 

The original musical was developed with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and the book by James Lapine. From the beginning, music filled the air as each individual character began to harmoniously sing about their innermost wishes. Favorite characters from the original Grimm Brothers fairytales come to life on screen. Themes and storylines from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella all intertwine as we meet the cursed Baker and his Wife. 

Having never seen the live musical, I thought the film was alright. The cast chosen for each role fit perfectly and the music is intoxicating. There were moments that felt as though they could have been explored a little more and others that just were too short. This film is a bit dark, but so are the original tales. If anything, that was my favorite part about the entire film.

Check out the Trailer below and go see the film for yourself!

Have you seen either the live or film version of Into the Woods? If so what did you think?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Trees at Disney

Disney is beautifully decorated during the holiday season.  Disney is always at the top of their game when creating wonder and awe and the holidays are the perfect canvas for Disney Magic!

What impresses me the most over any holiday season stay are the gorgeous trees throughout the different parks and properties.  The attention to detail and care put into each and every tree is amazing.  Each park has trees dressed to capture its particular essence.

Here is a sampling of some of our favorite Disney stunners:

Hollywood Studios:

Animal Kingdom:

Kidani Village:


Magic Kingdom:

The Art of Animation:  
This Sketch Tree at the Art of Animation Hotel is my absolute favorite Disney tree 

Which is your favorite tree from your holiday adventures at the Disney Parks?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom

Yak and Yeti is a restaurant not to be missed.
It is located in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom on the left as you head into Kali River Rapids. It has a quick service option as well as table service. Both are great.
Take a few minutes before or after you eat to wander around the restaurant to take in the many intricate details. Nobody does a theme better than Disney and this restaurant is a prime example. The furniture alone is worth going inside to see. Posters, old photographs and statues adorn the walls and alcoves.

 When my family goes out to eat somewhere new, we order different entrees so that we can taste a variety of dishes. Our daughter loves lo mein. She devoured hers so there was notch sharing going on there. My husband's mahi mahi was fabulous. I got the seared miso salmon which was was delicious. Of course, our favorite part was the dessert. We tried the sorbet trio, the mango pie and the fried wontons. The fried wontons were filled with cream cheese and skewered along with fresh pineapple. Vanilla ice cream and a honey vanilla drizzle topped it off. My mouth is watering just typing this. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented.

We had visited the quick service section on a prior visit.  We recommend the beef lo mein, honey chicken, chicken fried rice and egg rolls. The service was quick and the portions very generous.

   Since we are in the holiday season, I thought a holiday tip would be fun. I have started a collection of Disney Christmas ornaments. I bought my first artificial tree and it is only Disney. Every time we go I will be buying at least one new Disney ornament. I made a tree topper out of our daughter's first set of Mickey ears. It is perfect! Thank goodness there is a Christmas store because my husband and I are headed back to the World in February!! We can't wait! It will be our first adults only trip.  Perhaps another trip back to Yak and Yeti is in order!

Forever Disney,

Do You Want To Build a Snowman? - A Bedtime Story Review

Story time with the little princess in my life was "really cool" last night. So cool, she decided to cease all crafting projects and read this interactive storybook instead! It was imagination fueled all the way as we had fun tapping, shaking, and following along for 48 pages. 

The best part? 

The goal of the story was to build your very own lovable, warm, hug-gable, baritoned  snowman.

Do you want to build a Snowman? will be available in March of 2015 for $12.99 from Disney Publishing Worldwide. The book is recommended for ages 3-5 (but my personal story teller at age 7 enjoyed it all the same)! Definitely check out Disney Publishing Worldwide for more great books for your little princess or superhero this holiday season!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Restaurant Review: Sanaa at Animal Kingdom's Kidani Village

Very Happy Resident of the Kidani Village

One of the most unique dining experiences in Disney is Sanaa.  Sanaa is located a bit off the beaten path at Animal Kindgom's Kidani Village.  I can assure you the trek is worth it, especially if you have an animal lover in the group.

Unfortunately we could not get a dinner reservation (they were booked more than 6 months in advance)!   We were a little hesitant to take the time to leave the park to go to Sanaa for lunch because we didn't want to miss a moment in Animal Kingdom.  If you knew my son you would know that we had absolutely no chance of missing our reservation.  He had been dreaming of eating while watching the animals up close and Sanaa did not disappoint.  In hindsight it was the culinary highlight of our last trip and I am so thankful we rallied.

From the moment we arrived for our reservation our waiter was amazing.  He sat us right by a big window and described the exotic menu to us.  He brought out the children's menu right away and made sure that there was something appealing to Logan.  Sanaa's menu is not for the picky eater.  It is African cuisine with rich and exotic Indian spices mixed in.  Logan chose a simple chicken and basmati rice meal with carrots.  He loved it.  Sanaa does have burgers and pizza for the kids as a back up.

We asked the waiter to recommend the chef's top dishes and had him order for us.
We started with three different types of Naan bread that came with three unique sauces for dipping.  The bread was so filling I could have left satisfied right then.  Our meals were extremely spicy and the flavors were incredible.  I had the Durban shrimp which was amazing but four alarm spicy.  My eyes teared the entire time.  Of course that did not stop me from eating every bite!  My husband had the short rib which was a bit milder but not much.  For dessert we had the Tanzanian chocolate mousse and Logan inhaled the peanut butter turtle.  

In between courses our waiter gave us the name and history of every single animal on site.  Giraffes, zebras, ostriches, gazelles and very slow tortoises all paraded by our window while grazing in their own personal savannah.  It was amazing!  We could not believe how well versed and interested in the animals our waiter was.  

When planning our trip, we originally tried to get a seating for a meal with an animal specialist.  Of course that reservation proved impossible to get.  If you are interested book a year out.  We were disappointed but after our experience we found that it was not necessary.  The staff at Sanaa is terrific and very knowledgable.  Of course, that won't stop us from trying next time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Birthday to the Big Cheese!

Mickey Mouse made his official debut on November 18th,1928 in the short 
Steam Boat Willie. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wonder Forge Disney Games: Perfect Holiday Gifts for the Whole Family!

I recently had the please of checking out three of the great Disney holiday board games available from Wonder Forge this holiday season! The wonder-ful people over at Wonder Forge sent me the following three games for review (and my family loved them all!):

Pictopia: Disney Edition Trivia Game – The Ultimate Picture Trivia Family Game!
Age 6+

Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game - Spend a day at the spa with your pawfect companions!Ga
Age 3+

Disney Jr Super Stretchy Game - The twisty, turny, see what you can do, game!
Age 3+

"Games are a great way to spend time together as a family over the holidays—and they make great gifts! Wonder Forge’s award-winning Disney games are sure to please everyone on your list—with enduring play value that keep kids coming back for more fun throughout the whole year."

My niece especially loved the Palace Pets game.  Like all the games it was made of durable, high-quality parts, with pieces that will withstand multiple uses.  One of my favorite parts of cleanup was that the box was actually organized which (as any parent or babysitter knows) can be the most tedious part of playing a game- clean up! These games are fun for more than just kids and come with really great, easy to ready and follow instructions. For the cost these are really good quality products. 

Wonder Forge's great line up of Disney games gets the Picturing Disney seal of approval this holiday season! :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Story

Before our huge family trip to Disney for Thanksgiving, I tried to convince my son Logan to dress up as Peter Pan or Captain Hook for Halloween.  I figured it would get him psyched up for vacation and he could take the costume with him to wear at the Magic Kingdom.  Disney and Halloween are the perfect match after all.  They are made for each other.  Endless characters to choose from and exotic costumes to conjure up from your wildest imagination! 

Logan chose Iron Man instead.  It was a great costume and he had a blast pretending to be Tony Stark.  
Iron Man

Then.... we got to Disney.  

Then.... he rode the Peter Pan ride.  

Then.... he became obsessed!

It happens to the best of us.  The Disney bug!   

A year later and the obsession is in full swing.  

Peter looking for his shadow!
Happy Halloween from our little piece of Neverland to yours. 
May you never grow up and stop wanting to dress up!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party: Boo To You Halloween Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is definitely an event that can't be missed. Being able to dress up in your favorite costume inside the Magic Kingdom and Trick or Treating around the park aren't the only perks to joining in on the Halloween Fun.

The park begins clearing out daytime guests of the Magic Kingdom at 4:00pm. Guests who have purchased tickets for the night time event are also allowed to start waltzing in at this time. At the gate, you are given a paper wrist band that allows for Cast Members to tell who is part of the party and who is a daytime guest.

One of the highlights of this hard ticket event is the evening parade called Boo To You Halloween Parade. They offer it twice during the event (unless there is rain or unseen circumstances) and guests may even catch a glimpse of the Headless Horseman himself ride down Main Street, ceremoniously leading the charge for the parade to begin. In my opinion, this is one of the best parades you will see in Walt Disney World. EVERYONE you could think of from Pirates, Ghouls, Cowboys, and Villains come out to join in on the celebration.

Check out some of the great pictures below of Boo To You Halloween Parade.
(Circa 2012)

Christopher Robin!!!!!!!!!

Enter the PIRATES!!!!!!!

I had heard prior to attending that some of the residents of the Haunted Mansion
come out to join in on the Halloween Fun....but I truly had no idea how awesome
they would truly be.

And what would Halloween be without CANDY?!
They pass out candy during the parade to the children that are closest
 to the parade route.