Keys to the World

Imagination has no age–Walt Disney

 

Magic Bands are your new ‘Key to the World.’ If you are staying on property or an annual passholder, there is NO extra charge for your bands. They hold your room key, your park tickets, your FastPass+, your Memory Maker account and your charging privileges.

Magic Bands

If you are a ‘day guest,’ you can purchase a MagicBand in advance from Disney store online or on property, however you cannot add charging privileges.  The active transmitters embedded in MagicBand are expected to last for 2-3 years.

You can customize your magic bands at least 10 days prior to your arrival, which includes choosing a color and adding a name or phrase.  It was very exciting to get our first set of Magic Bands, but we definitely wanted to spruce them up before we traveled to Disney.  There are lots of great ideas for painting and decorating, however some require way too much artistic skill for me, so instead I added simple painted polka dots.  Sharpie paint markers work well on the bands and come in a variety of colors.  I have used this Magic Band for two different 5-day trips during the past year and the design has held up, with only a touch up on the black Mickey head needed before the 2nd trip.

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My younger daughter wanted to add a Stitch tattoo to her Magic Band, however it was tricky to transfer and didn’t turn out exactly the way she wanted it to.

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It also began to peel pretty quickly, so we ended up adding extra color using the Sharpie paint markers.  I think for our next set we’ll try making pretty designs using my new vinyl cutter.  I’ll post an update whenever we get a chance to do this 🙂

Have fun being creative!

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Wish fund “jar”

A dream is a wish your heart makes — Cinderella

 

My husband gave me a vinyl cutting machine (after LOTS of hints) and I have been having so much fun being creative!  I purchased these glass blocks and could never figure out exactly what to do with them.  Scanning through Pinterest, I found my inspiration…a change jar for Disney.  Since there is always another trip on the horizon, I couldn’t wait to get started 🙂

First, I located this cute castle design from the Silhouette store,

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then added “Wish Fund” in the Waltograph font.  If you need this font, it is located on dafont.com for free.

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I adjusted the placement and size of letters to fit within the 5-inch square, then added a small heart (just because I like it).

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I cut all pieces out of corresponding colored vinyl, then layered using transfer tape (contact paper from the dollar store works too!) before placing on vinyl block.

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I would have adjusted the sizing of letters to make it fit better and centered the castle more, but overall I love how it came out 🙂

Have fun being creative!

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Where do I find characters at WDW?

It all started with a mouse–Walt Disney

Baymax from Big Hero 6
Baymax from Big Hero 6

One of my favorite things to do at WDW is meet characters.  I don’t always meet Mickey, but I love getting pics in his different costumes.  There are certain meet & greet (M&G) areas for special characters like Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom for Anna & Elsa OR Cinderella & Rapunzel.  However, other characters can be difficult to locate, especially if you (or your child) wants to meet someone in particular, like Alice.

alice

So, how do you find these harder to locate characters?  There are daily schedules for characters with special M&G areas that you can pick up, along with your guide map when you enter the parks, as well as information on the free My Disney Experience app, but my favorite way to find characters is Character Locator.

character locator

This site was created by Kenny the Pirate.  For me, he has been the ultimate authority on where to locate characters, as well as information on the ‘secret’ Characterpalooza event.  This is a not-published opportunity to meet several characters (even some rare ones), however the time frame is typically only 15-20 minutes.  Also, when there is possibility of bad weather, it may NOT happen.  This event used to be sporadic around the park (especially Streets of America area), then it was held outside Tower of Terror (along pathway for Fantasmic!), however this year it has been consistently outside the gates at Hollywood Studios.

During the summer, we met Aladdin with Genie, Donald Duck, & Princess Tiana.  On my last trip, I had a solo touring day at Hollywood Studios.  I made sure to include Characterpalooza in my plans and had the opportunity to meet Princess Tiana, Evil Queen, Stitch, Pocahontas with Meeko and Mary Poppins with Bert.

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evil queen

There is a small annual fee for accessing ALL of the information on Character Locator, however I feel the cost is definitely worth it to locate any character available, within all of the parks at WDW.  Kenny has lots of great information for helping plan your trip to the World, so check out his site and blog.

Have fun exploring the World!

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Disney-inspired Vinyl Project

All you need is faith, trust and a little pixie dust–Peter Pan

disney vinyl name
My first vinyl cutter creation

 

I finally got a vinyl cutting machine for my birthday.  I’ve always wanted to be able to cut out my Disney-inspired designs and create projects quickly, however it took me 2 months to finally try cutting something out.  It was a bit daunting for me to get started because the software was very different, but I decided to have faith and jump in.

Before I actually took the machine out of the box, I started looking for inspiration on Pinterest, then a Google search for tutorials.  There are some excellent blogs, websites and YouTube videos that can help you understand where to begin.  The one that really helped me get started was  Melissa at Silhouette School Blog.  She has extensive information for anyone using a Silhouette machine.

Silhouette School

For my first project, I wanted to create a simple black vinyl sticker for my laptop cover.  Of course, Mickey would be my first choice and I thought the Mickey head would be simple enough shape, but it still needed something.  I decided to add a heart design, then as an after thought I added my name in silver sparkle vinyl (using the Disney font “Waltograph”).  Download this font from dafont.com right here.

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One of the great things about finally getting started is realizing that I can create just about anything…generally Disney related, of course!

Have fun being creative!

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Celebration cakes

To all that come to his happy place:  welcome — Walt Disney

My husband has a summer birthday, and it just so happens we’ve been at Disney TWICE during his birthday.  Disney does a great job of helping people celebrate all kinds of celebrations…weddings, anniversaries, adoption, family reunions, and especially birthdays.  In fact, we had the most wonderful cake at our on-site wedding.  It was a beautiful, two-tier chocolate cake, with white chocolate raspberry filling, and buttercream icing.  The staff decorated the cake with little Mickey heads and of course, a Mickey & Minnie cake topper.  This was part of the wedding package, so costs are different, but any cake from Disney is pretty yummy.

Our wedding cake with Mickey & Minnie topper
Our wedding cake with Mickey & Minnie topper

A few years ago, we rented a specialty cruise (pontoon boat) from the Contemporary Resort and ordered a special Mickey birthday cake.  It was a beautiful chocolate ganache, which is absolutely delicious.  The pontoon driver took us around Bay Lake, then found a great fireworks spot to enjoy Wishes, with the music piped into the boat.  It was a very memorable (and higher priced) experience, which requires at least 90 days advance reservation (407-wdw-play).

pontoon boat

On our most recent trip, my husband and I decided to have a special dinner for two at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian resort.  Most restaurants will have a basic 6-inch cake available, however it seemed like a lot of dessert for just the two of us.  Instead, our waiter was able to bring him a special birthday cupcake plate, which was just right.  There is no guarantee that a cake will be available when you walk up, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

 

Happy Birthday cupcake plate at Kona Cafe, Polynesian Resort
Happy Birthday cupcake plate at Kona Cafe, Polynesian Resort

If you want to make sure a cake is available or to something more than a basic chocolate or vanilla cake, call the Cake Ordering Hotline at (407) 827-2253.  Since the bakery at the Grand Floridian makes the cakes for the on-site weddings, they have the most options as far as flavors.  I highly recommend calling the main line for ordering a cake 2-3 weeks in advance to get the most options.

If you are looking for more information on ordering cakes, AJ from Disney Food Blog has a great article.

Have fun exploring the World!

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Christmas cards

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique — Walt Disney

Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey at Hollywood Studios, June 2015
Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey at Hollywood Studios, June 2015

During our last visit to WDW, we took a GREAT family pic with Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey.  As soon as I saw the pic, I knew it would be our Christmas card, but it was missing something…Santa hats.  Since we went in June, I didn’t think about Santa hats and I doubt my husband would have carried them in his backpack all over the parks anyway.  So, how do you take a GREAT pic and make it even better?  Check out PicMonkey.com

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

PicMonkey is a free online photo editing site.  You open the pic, add some details,save to your computer, then send out for printing (especially if you need more than 1 or 2).  Super easy, right?!

Item needed:

  • Pics
  • Computer with online access

Instructions:

Open PicMonkey

PicMonkey

Choose ‘edit’ to open the photo editor

Open the pic you want to edit from your computer

picmonkey first pic

Choose the snowflake at the bottom of the list (themes).  Then choose ‘Santa Land’ theme at bottom of list.

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Open ‘Kringle caps.  Choose cap, size and color.

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Make sure to save on your computer when done.

Final Christmas Card 2015
Final Christmas Card 2015

 

Have fun being creative!

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*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a (very) small commission if you click a link and purchase something.  It does NOT result in additional charges to you or cost you anything extra.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Why do we have to grow up? — Walt Disney

 

Liberty Square symbol
Liberty Square symbol

When people ask me what they should plan to do on their trip to the Magic Kingdom, I try to help them choose one or two absolute must-do items and usually it’s one of the ‘e-ticket’ events…Anna & Elsa meet & greet, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train,  the mountains (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad), but rarely do I include Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (SOTMK).  In fact, I had never slowed down enough to actually participate in this fun, FREE event until our last trip this past summer.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love to collect Disney things, especially FREE Disney things, so it is surprising that I’ve never taken advantage of this before.

First, a little background information…Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive game that began in 2012, and is played only at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.  Merlin (The Sword in the Stone) recruits park guests as apprentice sorcerers and sends them out to battle various Disney villains led by Hades (Hercules).  The game takes place throughout the various themed lands throughout the park, except for Tomorrowland, using special spell cards.

There are two areas in the Magic Kingdom where you can get your FREE pack of SOTMK spell cards each day.  The first area, and typically the busiest area, is at the front of the park, in the Firehouse next to City Hall.  The second area is a little more hidden, behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square, across from the meet & greet for Princess Tiana.

On your very first visit, the Cast Member will get you registered using your magic band or park ticket, then give you a tutorial on how to play, as well as get you started on the adventure with Merlin.  You also receive a map with the locations of the SOTMK ‘magic portals,’ however feel free to ask a Cast Member for help if you can’t seem to locate a specific portal.

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Each ‘magic portal’ is marked by a symbol like the one pictured above.  When you find the correct portal, wave your card and the portal opens up to continue your adventure.  You can only get one pack of cards per ticket per day, however special events have special cards available, too.

 

If you complete the game by defeating Hades, you can get an extra set of cards for that day (and also bump up to the next level game).  If you attend the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party or the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, a special ‘bonus’ card is available, so don’t forget to stop by for your FREE bonus spell card.

Which spell to use?
Which spell to use?

 

 

We haven’t reached the end of the game yet, so I’ll have to post an update once we do.

Have fun exploring the World!

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