Monday, December 21, 2015

Goodbye, Osborne Lights!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas means even more Disney magic at home!

If Disney is the most magical place on Earth and Christmastime is the most magical time of year its no wonder they go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly (or Banana if that's your fancy).  My home sparkles with the magical shimmer of Disney all year but at Christmas there are no decorations as fun or whimsical.

I think having a Disney tree sort of just happened to us.  It started when my mom used to let me and my sister and brother each pick out an ornament growing up.  By the time I was 10 or 11 I started picking Disney ones every year (and my mom is so cute she still buys us a new ornament every year)!

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I collect ornaments on most of my trips, or at Disney on Broadway shows. I like to collect ornaments that remind me of the particular trip I am on.

Somewhere along the way my decorations around the house have slowly started to become Disney themed as well! 

I am also a big fan of the snowglobe pairs and ornaments that the Disney Store offers each year.  I guess the idea of Disney magic isn't that different from Christmas magic... it stays the whole year through.

Looking for some holiday ideas?  I am always fully stocked in Disney cocoa, and OF COURSE I always manage to incorporate Disney into my Christmas baking. (Click the pictures below for the links to the recipes pictured!)

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Memorable MAGICal Cruise Part 3

That night we went to the Polynesian Resort so Grandma-ma and the kids could see the "Spirit Of Aloha" luau. It was fantastic! Justin couldn't take his eyes off the stage, especially during the fire dance!

We visited Epcot the next day. Soarin', the World Showcase, The Seas. Dinner was at Raglan Road, the Irish pub in the former Downtown Disney. We had a fine meal and got to visit with friends, Amy and Angela before we went back to the resort and spent our last night at Disney World. 

Finally the day arrived and we went to Cape Canaveral and boarded the Dream! The next three nights we were all in a Dream world. We visited Nassau and then Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. After the cruise, we drove back home and got back into the mundane "life between Disney trips" and I began to plan the next one.

Now all of my grandchildren had been to Disney. But, now two of them had been on a Disney cruise. I setup and booked an Eastern Caribbean Disney cruise for myself in October of this year. But, I didn't really want to go alone, so I got with Amanda and we found this cruise in December 2015. My granddaughter, Janelle, will be starting her Christmas break then.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Java for the Holidays from Joffreys!

Check out this awesome gift set of Disney Parks & Resorts coffee available from the Joffrey's website! You can also nab an adorable duo gift set with coffee and a travel mug! And for $24.99-$49.99 they are perfectly priced as well!  

Have you tried any of the park offerings from Joffrey's at Walt Disney World this winter? I was excited to hear I won't have to miss out since they will be around through January 10th!

Santa's Delight: Rich espresso blended with creamy milk, cinnamon flavoring and white chocolate.
Topped with whipped cream.  Served hot or over ice.

Peppermint Mocha Latte:  Rich espresso blended with creamy milk , mint flavoring and dark chocolate.
Topped with whipped cream.   Served hot or over ice.

Rudolph’s Favorite:  Rich espresso combined with creamy milk, gingerbread flavoring syrup and white chocolate.  Topped with whipped cream.  Served hot or over ice.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Disney Publishing Winter Fun Guide!

We have kids from ages 7-11 in our home and they are on very different reading levels with very different interests.  As always, Disney reaches all of them (and even their father and I who are both 32).  We can always seem to find books that grab us and pull us into the story (with a little tugging of heart strings as well).

Our 7 year old loves...
Cloud Country: This is one of the Pixar animator showcase books and as you could guess the imagery and imagination make it an instant hit with our outgoing, never-stops-singing girl. 

Our 9 year old loves...
The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy: A classic retelling of the first saga the world ever laid eyes on from the greatest space opera of all time.  Star Wars, A New Hope, is just one of the books in this series.  Perfect for fans (especially those who are anxiously awaiting the release of the newest movie!

Our 11 year old loves...
Star Darlings: This is the first in a series where each book introduces new characters.  We first spotted this book on a shopping trip to Justice and I saw it catch her eye.  The cover art is beautiful and the whimsical tale made for something we could probably have read aloud to both girls. 

I've got my sights on...
Black Widow Forever Red:  I love Marvel and love the new expansions now that Disney is the happy owner of the franchises, however, I tend to gravitate towards movies that are a little more legend-based and books that are more realistic.  This is a nice mix about a character I knew very little about! I have only just cracked it open but it seems to be in the tradition of the Mary Jane book released back when I was in college. 

Their Fractured Light:  Thanks to a preview copy Disney sent me of These Broken Stars I am hooked on this series! I am actually setting off re-reading the first book before I dive in.  I can't wait and will post all my thoughts to both books on my Goodreads account!

We ALL love...
Olaf's Night Before Christmas: Everyone Loves Olaf!
Once a weekend we are usually taking a long car trip thanks to our lovely location in the middle of the woods in northwest CT.  We generally have reading time or read aloud before bed but books on CD are awesome ways to break up the monotony of a car trip.  This one is fabulous because its an adorable Olaf-spin on a classic and everyone's favorite snowperson narrates!

I always love seeing how a franchise like Frozen isn't cheapened but continues to add magic to our home.  Happy Holidays from Picturing Disney and Disney Publishing! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wonder Forge Games to Delight the Whole Family this Holiday!

 I love good ole fashioned family fun and board games are right near the top of my family fun lists (I mean, you can't go to Disney World every day, right?)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Memorable MAGIC-al Cruise: Part 2!

Due to a freak accident in March of 2014, Brenda passed away. We had taken our other 2 Granddaughters Megan and Jordan to WDW in the Fall of 2013, so all but one of our Grandchildren, Justin, had been to Disney. It was my dream of taking my grandchildren to Disney that prompted Brenda to make Disney a part of our lives in the first place, so I felt like I had to take Justin to experience Disney first hand.

But... I had been wanting to go on another cruise. Now there was nothing to stop me from taking another cruise. My reasoning was, it might not be Disney World, but it was still Disney... I could take a four night cruise and take Justin with me! That should satisfy the "taking the Grandkids to Disney" dream of mine. While I was justifying the cruise in my mind, I realized my Granddaughter, Jhaela, had just turned 16 and we had not settled on a gift for her... Grandpa had an idea! I made a phone call to Jhaela and asked her if a cruise would be good enough for her Sweet Sixteen. She said, "Oh, you would be the best Grandpa!" Lol I was still thinking four night cruise. Up to now, my Mom said that she didn't want to go on a cruise, but it was just about this time that she told me she wanted to go. I got with Amanda, my Exclusive Disney Travel Pro with "It's All About The Mouse Travel" and had her check prices for a 3 night and a 4 night Bahamian cruise.

Thinking a bit more, I wondered about a 2 night stay at a Value Resort at Walt Disney World tacked onto the front of a 3 night cruise. It all looked doable so I had Amanda work out the details. She came up with 2 nights at The All Star Sports resort and then 3 nights on The Disney Dream, stopping in Nassau, and Disney's island, Castaway Cay. We decided on the beginning of December Now we just had to wait... about 6 months!

Finally the day arrived. Mom and I met the gang at the Big Boy in Hillsboro, we had breakfast, said our good-byes, and the four of us headed off on our adventure of a lifetime! About 6pm we had dinner with my son Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, then went on to Columbia, South Carolina where we stopped for the night. The next day we went on to Florida and stopped for the night to visit with my Brother in law and family.

The next day it was time to meet Mickey and the rest! We went on down to Disney World and checked in to the All Star Sports resort!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015 Disney Lover's Etsy Gift Guide!

Your guide to the best Disney inspired handmade gifts Etsy has to offer!

Are you looking for unique items for the Disney lover in your life this holiday season?? Well look no further since I have scoured the handmade pages of Etsy to bring you the best in my roundup of the greatest holiday gifts for Disney fans in 2015! Check out the shops below, then enter to win a prize package featuring items from each shop! 

Our Favorites

Shop Name: Big White Yeti

What you will find: 
Hand poured all natural soy candles made in small batches with love, care, and creative names! These all-natural soy candles are hand poured in the Bayview neighborhood of Milwaukee, WI using pure soy wax, a cotton wick, and from the earth fragrances. 

Disney Inspired Items: 
Everything a yeti would want in his candles! These candles are perfect for any Expedition Everest or Animal Kingdom fan! 

Shop Name: Bubble and Geek

What you will find: 
Handmade candles, lip balm, fragrances and other geeky necessities!

Disney Inspired Items: 
If you are like me and are just a fan of fandom’s look no further than Bubble and Geek for a one stop Geekery shop! They take beauty to epic proportions with their line of fragrance, soap, lip balm, lip scrub, body spray, and candles inspired by fan favorites like Kingdom Hearts, Nightmare Before Christmas, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Tolkien, and more! 


Shop Name: Pineapple Empire

What you will find:  Unique printed women's and baby clothing as well as accessories using felt and high quality iron-ons.  

Disney Inspired Items: This amazing Mary Poppins cosmetic bag is incredibly soft and beautiful.  Also featuring adorable whimsical designs.  


Shop Name: Second Star Studios

What you will find:  Unique apparel for your entire family as well as decals and prints.

Disney Inspired Items: Adorable Disney nods like "Never Grow Up" and "Oo-de-lally" designs make this shop a must visit on your etsy holiday shopping!


Shop Name: Only One Mark

What you will find: It only takes one mark to make an imprint on the world with paper goods and artwork.

Disney Inspired Items: Customizable invitations and other paper goods in all sorts of adorable fairy tale inspired prints as well as original wall art and other items like journals. 


Shop Name: Just Be Brave

What you will find: Founder of Picturing Disney's very own Melissa runs this shop which has been an amalgam of different homemade and handmade items since it began.  Fairy tales and happily ever after shine through in all her work.

Disney Inspired Items: Disney inspired candle scents, customizable and one of a kind wall art, and hand lettered mini journals comprise the shop today.


Also Worth Checking Out:

What you will find: Finished Bottlecaps, Bottlecap sheets, Supplies, Pony Os

Disney Inspired Items: Awesome quality unique Up bottlecap replicas that have been recreated from other shops.  I have had my Grape Soda pin for a couple years now and it is in excellent shape even after I have dropped it and moved it from jacket to jacket. 


Shop Name: Natura Picta

What you will find: Upcycled Vintage Dictionary Prints/Paper Goods/ Fine Arts

Disney Inspired Items: Prints, Notecards, Postcards: Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, Pinnochio


Like what you see? Want to win all of this:

 Enter below using the rafflecopter widget for your chance to win the prize pack featuring items from each featured shop!  Contest for United States residents only this time! Thanks! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Memorable MAGIC-al Cruise

The Memorable MAGIC-al Cruise is a 5 night Western Caribbean Cruise on the Disney MAGIC,  departing the Port of Miami on December 13, 2015, visiting Cozumel and Castaway Cay before returning to Miami. The participating crew members will be me, Grandpa (Kenny), my mom, Grandma-ma (Edith), and my granddaughter, Janelle. All adults. My 3rd cruise, Mom's 2nd cruise, and Janelle's first... all Disney! Here is how it came about:

It all started as a dream in 2005. My wife, Brenda, told me we could take the Grandkids to Walt Disney World. Well, I didn't believe it,  but she showed me how we could do it! So, later that year, we did just that! We took two of our Granddaughters to WDW for a week. It was my first time, too... and I was 52 years old! 

With that first trip to the World, I came away with a huge schoolboy crush for all things Disney, but my wife had different ideas for the next year, and then in late 2006 I had to have open heart surgery and I missed too much work for us to do much of a vacation in 2007. However, my wife, being the practical, New England girl that she was, came up with a Disney vacation of a lifetime! A Disney Cruise! We talked about which cruise and how long and even discussed land/sea vacations, but we finally settled on a 7-night, Western Caribbean Cruise on the Disney MAGIC in October of 2008. We had a long way to go, but we had a destination in mind! The cruise was the most amazing vacation we had ever had. We even swam with dolphins in Cozumel! We loved it so much, we booked another cruise for the next year, this time an Eastern Caribbean.  Alas, it was never to be. In the Spring Brenda was diagnosed with kidney disease and had to go on dialysis. She wouldn't check into "dialysis cruises" because she was afraid they would cost too much. Besides,  they weren't Disney cruises! 😊

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Want to win a trip to Disney? Say Freeze!

Photo Courtesy of
Want to win a trip to Walt Disney World?  Say Freeze!

Disney is giving away a five night Walt Disney World vacation just in time for the holiday season.

Show the world what the word "Family" means to you by entering Disney's Frozen Family Photo Contest!

Get your smiles on and send in your funniest, sweetest, craziest family moments along with a caption describing your one-of-a-kind family in 500 words or less.

You family can be anyone you share a close bond with.  Teammates, co-workers, pets or hey....even your own family!

Our favorite family:  Disney, Courtesy of Disney's Photo Pass

Don't forget to enter by 11/30/15:  Official rules:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

HP Social Media Snapshots!

Back in June I was thrilled to be invited to attend a My Printly event in New York City.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Like Bambi?

Do you love Bambi?
You are in luck as Lauren Conrad is back at Kohl's with a Bambi collection!

The sketch inspired collection launched on October 27th and is available in stores and online.
You can find the merchandise here:

Bambi- Kohl's Light Sweatshirt top

There are 16 pieces which include tops celebrating Bambi, Thumper (My absolute favorite Disney character) and Flower!



I just placed my order for this cute Thumper light weight sweatshirt.  
I saved $10 by using the Veteran's Day sale code:  VETERANS10 which is valid until November 11th.  Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Force Friday: X-Wing

Thanks to the Disney Store we have some fabulous Force Fridays finds as we take a look at ride vehicles straight from the Star Wars saga as we countdown to the release of The Force Awakens!

What is an X-Wing?
A fan favorite thanks to their prominence in the first trilogy.  I loved seeing this when I opened the box from Disney because it brought back memories of the first time seeing Luke weave around obstacles on the Death Star.  The official description from Star Wars reminisces on the same point! "The X-wing is a versatile Rebel Alliance starfighter that balances speed with firepower. Armed with four laser cannons and two proton torpedo launchers, the X-wing can take on anything the Empire throws at it. Nimble engines give the X-wing an edge during dogfights, and it can make long-range jumps with its hyperdrive and its astromech droid co-pilot. Luke Skywalker is famous for destroying the Death Star behind the controls of an X-wing.."

Disney sent me one of these awesome die-cast models and they are beautiful, finely detailed, and perfect for the Star Wars lover in your life (both young and old) this holiday season! Currently out of stock on the Disney Store website, check your local stores or maybe scoop up a Y-wing in the meantime! ;)