SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, December 21, 2015

Goodbye, Osborne Lights!


I am one of those annoying people who is immediately in the Christmas mood the minute I finish eating Thanksgiving dinner (actually, if I'm being honest I've had the Christmas radio station on since the first week of November)!

I wish I could see the Osborne Lights this year for their last run! Have you ever seen them? Instead of focusing on not being there I am going to bask in the happiness of getting to visit once upon a time!

Farewell, Dancing Lights! You will be missed!

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.  We have a ton of stuff but I guess the best place to start is the tree.

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 from most of my trips.  After I got divorced I realized that having the same ornament each year was less fun than picking out something special. I like to go with what I am into in that moment to remind myself of the trip. I collect ornaments when I see them during the year (from some Disney on Broadway shows or special trips).

Somewhere along the way my decorations around the house have slowly started to become Disney themed as well! The epitome of which is that thanks to a colleague all of my "extra" or "filler" ornaments are the beautiful ones that came from a monthly subscription!

I am also a big fan of the snowglobe pairs and ornaments Disney Store offers each year.  And I guess the idea of Disney magic isn't that different from Christmas magic... it stays the whole year throughI know there are lots of people today who still don’t get it but I do, and you do if you are reading this, you probably do too!  

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



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Sunday, December 13, 2015

DIY Mickey & Minnie Ornaments

© Monique Garcia

If your holiday season is anything like mine, you are rushing to buy those last minute Christmas presents. However, I may have two wonderful, inexpensive gifts that you yourself can create.

After creating our Autumn, Disney Inspired Wreath, I decided to make some for the Christmas holiday for different family members. You can check out the blog post here for more information on how you can make your own Disney Inspired Wreath and add a few magical touches of your own.

Another gift that is great to do is your very own Mickey Christmas Ornaments. I have a co-worker who loves to decorate for the holidays in themes. This year her house is all filled with Gingerbread décor. Next year, her décor theme will be none other than Disney. As our office gift exchange drew near, I had no idea what to get her. Yes, there are beautiful items available on DisneyStore.com, but at this point, times were desperate. As I looked through department stores, I just couldn’t find that perfect item for her theme next year. Then it hit me…I could make her some decor.

I stopped at Target and in their dollar section they had tubes of plastic, round ornaments. They had matching sets in different sizes and colors. I grabbed two sets of both small and medium ornaments and ran home.

For this project, you will need:
  •           Plastic, Round Ornaments: any size will do as long as you have two of the smallest for the ears and one larger ornament
  •           A Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  •           Scissors and an available trash can
  •           Ribbon or any decorative touches (optional)
  •           Hooks (decorative or those that come in the box)
  •           Shot glasses or tiny teacups. Either one will serve as a place to set your ornaments while building and allowing the glue to set without a huge mess.

Take the smallest of the plastic ornaments and carefully remove the silver clasp. Then grab your scissors and cut the at the base of the ornament. Try to cut gently over a trash can so that you have less mess and keep most of your ornament intact. This will allow for the smaller ornaments to sit flat (as best as possible) on the larger ornament. Grab your glue gun and be a little generous with the amount of glue you set on the smaller ornament. If you put a tiny dot or thin layer of glue, it will not hold. Place the small ornament on the larger ornament and let it set for 2-5 minutes. Once the ornament is set, do the same to the other side. Voilà! You have made an adorable Mickey Mouse Silhouette Ornament.

© Monique Garcia

For an added touch of magic, I took half of the ornaments and placed bows on the top to make the look like Minnie Mouse. 

Have a merry and safe Holiday Season!!

Looking for a printable version of this craft?! Head over HERE!


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!


As most of you know, 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?)

Wonder Forge has a great line up of fun and affordable games and we got to test them out this Thanksgiving break just for you! I will start with my favorite! (Well, really, our entire family's favorite.) 


The Good Dinosaur Roarin River is a cooperative board game with the fun of chutes and ladders and just enough intensity to keep everyone involved.  We had ages ranging from 7-11 kids playing plus adults and we all had fun but even younger kids could easily get the hang of this and have a blast.  I love these universal games where everyone works together!


Our next game was Star Wars Pictopia and this may have been a poor choice on my account since Wonder Forge has other awesome Star Wars games that may have suited my family better.  Pictopia games are super fun trivia games but we did not have the Star Wars expertise to play this one the way other families surely will be able to.  


It is high quality and the style of Pictopia lends itself to be games all ages in the family can enjoy. We just only made it through a short round (that only one child really ended up enjoying because he was the only one who could answer every question correctly). 


Last, and certainly not least, is the awesome Disney Imagicademy Storymation Stop Motion Video Kit.  This was a HUGE hit and I don't even have pictures to do it justice because we just were not done creating anything yet! 


Its easy to use since kids can record through a free app from Disney on phones and ipods/ipads but whats even better is that there are enough elements that everyone can get involved (we are a family of 5).  You design your "movie" with adding clay-animation elements, setting up the background, and if you want to you can use posable mickey and minnie that come in the set.  Its easy and fun and the set is also a great carrying case for all the pieces you will need in your video creations!


Since we only had before pictures to share, stay tuned for more on the Instagram once we finish our video! And do your family a favor and grab some of these great games to put under your tree this holiday season! :)
  



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! 


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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! 

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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.  

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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!


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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. 

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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.









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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. 





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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



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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 Disney.com
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:  http://frozen.disney.com/say-freeze-photo-contest