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Five Great Mickey Ear Hats

December 26, 2012

Variations on the traditional Mickey Ear hats continue. I found these great ones at the new souvenir shop in New Fantasyland, across from Dumbo.

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Oswald’s stretchy ears give this one a really unique silhouette.

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These cute Minnie Mouse ears are topped off with her signature bow.

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Yes, I own a pair of these. Cinderella ears, topped with a glass slipper.

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These are not only sparkly, they have a long pink fabric hanging down, to make them proper headwear for royalty.

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I love the idea of wearing Mickey’s butt on your head. Yes, that’s his little black mouse tail sticking off the top.

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Two of my favorite things mixed together: Mickey ears and Pirates. Complete with a dashing scarf hanging off the side.

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5 Christmas Gifts at Downtown Disney

December 20, 2012

I do the bulk of my Christmas shopping online, but it’s a bit of a tradition to wander through the shops of Downtown Disney and pick out gifts for friends and relatives, Disney fans all, who live far away. (And I usually find a few things I can’t live without.) The Christmas music, the clean, crisp air, and the light crowds on a weekday morning inspire feelings of goodwill like no mall visit ever did. And who could resist a free sample of Ghirardelli’s peppermint bark?

ImageThis soft and comfortable t-shirt caught my attention right away. I always relate to Donald Duck when we watch Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas every year. He just wants to sit and enjoy his hot chocolate without wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and dealing with crowds. I get it! World of Disney, $32.95

ImageHad to get this set for my mother-in-law, fashion-forward Disney fan that she is. Purse and matching wallet with cute retro cartoon styling. World of Disney, purse $34.95; wallet $19.95

ImageThe cashier said these were flying off the shelves. I grabbed two mid-flight. The poison apple that got Snow White, with sexy fringe detail in the back that befits an evil queen just fine. Color me glad t-shirts have evolved beyond man-friendly Hanes Beefy Ts. Trendz, $40.00

ImageAlso in the girl-friendly t-shirt department, Disney has a selection of Mickey-meets-your-favorite-college-team shirts. They come in man-styles too. Team Mickey, $28.95

ImageThese adorable Mickey heart pendants were perfect for two little girls on my list. World of Disney, $29.96

And a bonus gift:

ImageImageFor my left-handed Dad, a mug that has dire consequences should you drink from it right-handed style. Lefty’s, $12.99

Merry Christmas!

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Disney Gives Me a BIG Honor!

December 20, 2008

OK, I still haven’t been chosen to spend the night in Cinderella’s Castle Suite, but this is even better! I can’t believe I’ve been chosen for such an tremendous honor. I mean, I do go to Disney a LOT, but I never expected this!

Disney Dedicates the parks to ME in 2009

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T-REX Opens at Downtown Disney

October 16, 2008

T-REX, the new restaurant concept by the Rainforest Café people, opened Tuesday at Downtown Disney Marketplace (across from McDonalds and Lego). We checked it out for dinner last night, and let me just say, if you like Rainforest Café, you’ll love T-REX! It’s dinosaurs instead of wild animals, a meteor shower instead of a thunderstorm, and a Chocolate Extinction dessert instead of the Volcano. Otherwise, it’s the same idea, down to the shop.

One nice thing they added — things to occupy the kids while you wait for a table. They’re not taking reservations until January. Just outside the shop is a fossil dig site, where kids use paintbrushes to uncover dinosaur fossils. Inside, the shop is filled with prehistoric-inspired toys and stuffed animals. Best of all, in the back is a “Build-a-Dino” store by the “Build-a-Bear” people.

An aquarium in the bar (look up to see the enormous, undulating octopus and the colorful jellyfish lights), huge prehistoric insects, and dinosaurs of all types that move and roar captivated our kids (6 and 1 years old). An open kitchen with open flames added drama next to our table, and adjacent was an ice age dining room, lit up blue by a ceiling and walls of ice crystals.

Pictures of T-Rex in Downtown Disney

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What’s the Best Time to Go to Disney World?

August 15, 2008

Deciding when to go to Disney World comes down to two major factors: heat and crowds. Many visitors have to balance those major factors with school and work schedules, special events and money issues.

If you don’t have any school age children, the answer to this question is easy: go whenever school is in session, avoiding summer and major holidays. When you’re bringing kids along, there are a few more tradeoffs involved.

Which Season?

Visitors flock to Orlando all year long, with temperatures ranging from wintertime lows in the 50s (F) to summertime highs in the 90s.

Summer can be brutal in Orlando. July is the hottest month of the year, with June and August right behind it. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. It’s also the most crowded season, with seemingly every kid in the U.S. out of school and visiting Mickey Mouse. Lines for popular attractions can stretch out for two hours. On the plus side, theme park hours are extended, and nearly all the attractions are open for business.

Winter brings cooler weather and lighter crowds (except around major holidays). Theme park hours are shorter, and many attractions are closed for refurbishment. Winter, particularly January, is personally my favorite time to visit the parks.

Fall and Spring can still bring warm weather, but moderate crowds. Special events (like the Flower & Garden Festival and the Food & Wine Festival) can add fun activities into the mix.

Pick Your Dates

Within each season, there are good times…and there are bad (read: crowded) times. Once you’ve narrowed down the season, picking the right week can mean the difference in how relaxed and fun your vacation will be. One of the most helpful tools is on the Disney World web site. The “Wonderful Weeks of Disney” are times when attendence is lower and rates at the resorts drop. The week before Thanksgiving, most of September, and the second week of December are all included.

Pick Your Days

A surprising factor in how crowded the parks will be? What day of the week it is. Weekends are always more crowded at the parks, bringing more locals. Saturdays are typically more crowded, although Sunday is historically the most crowded day at the Magic Kingdom.

There’s one important fact you need to know when planning your Disney itinerary: whatever theme park has morning Extra Magic Hours is the one you should avoid at all costs. Why? Because with Disney’s latest ticketing policy, a large percentage of guests can only choose one park per day in which to spend their day. If Epcot opens early on a Tuesday, then that’s where everyone’s zigging. You should zag, perhaps to the Magic Kingdom.

There is one exception to this rule: if you plan to get to the Extra Magic Hour park as soon as it opens. You should then plan to ride as many of the most popular rides as you can, as early as you can. The rest of the day should be taken slowly, or spent at your resort by the swimming pool.

In general, these are the best days for each park:

Magic Kingdom – Tuesday
Epcot – Wednesday
Animal Kingdom – Friday
Disney Studios – Saturday
Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon – Saturday

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Finding Pearls in Japan

July 17, 2008

Finding Pearls in Japan

Finding Pearls in Japan


For $14.99, you can choose an oyster and keep the pearl found within.

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Flower & Garden Festival, Italy

May 12, 2008

Flower & Garden Festival, Italy, Epcot

Flower & Garden Festival, Italy, Epcot


A beautiful container garden at the Italy pavilion in Epcot.

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