Nov 042015

By: Jennifer Retzlaff

We are headed to Walt Disney World this summer for our daughter’s 9th birthday, my dad’s birthday and my sister’s graduation.   Our kids already know we are going, so we aren’t doing a big Disney reveal; however, I am going to use Christmas to make the trip seem more real.  These are some ideas I thought many of you could use for your upcoming trips or just as ways to bring Disney into your home while you wait for the next trip.

Magical Speaking November PJS

  1.  Pjs

The first item my kids get every year no matter if there is a trip planned or not is new Disney pajamas.  We absolutely love the coziness of these pjs as well as the magic they bring to the house.  There are so many to choose from that each year is a surprise as you can do character pjs as well as the family matching pjs (which I personally like as mom gets some new Disney magic as well).  I have ordered these from the Disney store and been extremely pleased; however, many retail stores such as Target, Kohl’s and Walmart carry them as well.  These make those Disney movie afternoons all curled up on the couch that much better!

  1.  Disney Movie

The Disney company is a smart one and there always seems to be a new movie released on DVD or an old classic being released right at Christmas time.  We love getting our kids this particular movie as it provides us even more together time as we get our new pjs on, cuddle up on the couch and pop in the movie.  It is a great end to the holiday season.

Magical Speaking November Puzzles

  1.  Puzzles

Another item we love to give our kids is Disney puzzles.  There are always great puzzles out there that will provide great family fun after all the presents are open and we are back home.  We can choose from easy ones that the kids can quickly do on their own or go harder such as the Thomas Kinkade if we want more of a challenge and a puzzle that we can do overtime.

Magical Speaking November Game

  1.  Games

Playing games over the holidays is a must, so having a new Disney game to try out is always an adventure.  When the kids were little, we would choose a new traditional game with a Disney twist such as Yahtzee, Candyland or Memory.  Now that they are older, we have Beat the Parents, Eye Spy as well as Apples to Apples.  These are all fun, entertaining games that provide some Disney magic as well.

  1.  Clothing

Every kid seems to need new clothes as they are constantly growing.  We use Christmas as a time to get new socks, underwear, shirts and sweatshirts.  As our kids usually need new items right around the holidays, we use this time to update their wardrobe with some Disney magic.  From princess socks to Star Wars underwear the kids love to get new items that have a Disney twist to them.

The first five are items we do most Christmases even if we aren’t going to Disney.   This year, as we are heading back in June, we will do a few more Disney items to help make the trip seem more real.

  1. Travel book

I personally love the Birnbaum’s book for kids.  I remember my first trip to Disney and how I received this book.  With the great pictures and easy explanations I find it a must to buy for kids.  We will get our kids this book to help start our planning.

  1.  Calendar

A calendar is a great way for kids to keep track and add important family dates as well as see when the trip is coming.  I love watching them cross off the days as we get closer and excitement builds.

  1.  MagicBands

This is a new one for us.  We haven’t been down with our kids since they have switch to MagicBands so we haven’t exactly decided what we want to do to spice up their MagicBands.  We could buy the specialized bands or buy the MagicBands “MagicBandits” to add some magic.

  1.  Countdown Craft

Our daughter loves crafts so one of her presents will be a countdown craft that she can make on her own and then use to countdown our trip.  There are so many ideas on Pinterest it is just narrowing down what I like and what she can do on her own. (Or consider this great countdown craft from The Mouse For Less.)

  1.  Other Ideas

Our trip will still be over 100 days when Christmas comes around, but for those of you that are heading down earlier, here are some other ideas that we plan to do closer to our trip that you might find fun.

Magical Speaking November Bags

New backpack: kids love having their own carry-on backpack

Goodies for the backpack:  hit up the dollar store and dollar bins and grab those crafts, toys and snacks to fill those backpacks and keep them entertained.

Magical Speaking November Blankets

Stuffed animals/blankets:  our kids loved having a new blanket and stuffed animal to take on our trip with us.  Disney always has plush on sale throughout the year which is a great time to grab them.

These are just some ways to bring some Disney magic to your house over the holidays whether you are headed to Disney or not.  Happy holidays and happy planning.

Nov 152012

By Rikki Niblett



For many, the Holiday season is their favorite time of year at Walt Disney World and I can most definitely see why.  Nothing gets me in the spirit quicker than seeing all the fun festivities the Mouse House has up their sleeves for park guests to enjoy.

Our first stop is over at the Magic Kingdom.  Here, we have Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a special hard ticketed event that happens on select nights.  The two major draws for this Party are the Christmas parade that is shown each night and the firework extravaganza that takes place.

First off, the parade, called Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.  The parade takes place at 8:15 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.  Keep in mind, the second parade is often less crowded than the first. The other really big thing that happens each night is the fireworks show Holiday Wishes–Celebrate the Spirit of the Season.  This show is narrated by Jimminy Cricket and it’s really quite beautiful but it’s also got just the right amount of whimsy mixed in too.  The fireworks spectacular starts at 9:30 p.m.  Also at the parties, a few more festivities occur, such as the distribution of Holiday Treats (cookies and hot chocolate) and a few dance parties.  Oh and of course, most of the rides are open too!

Of course, the thing that I love the most that Disney does around the Holidays at the Magic Kingdom is the Castle Dream Lights and the only word I can use to describe them is breathtaking.  Photos honestly cannot do this justice.  It really has to be seen in person to understand.  There is also a special Castle Lighting ceremony which takes place nightly where Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother works her magic to get those lights to sparkle! The show takes place nightly at 6:45 pm.

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Dec 172007

By Kate Abbott

It seems like I was just reminiscing about HalloweenTime at Disneyland, but now it’s almost Christmas! All the spooky jack-o’-lanterns are gone (well, except for in the Nightmare Before Christmas–themed Haunted Mansion) to make room for sparkly, shiny, cheerful winter holiday decorations adorning Disneyland and California Adventure. If you can’t make it to the West Coast parks this holiday season, here’s a photo tour (and maybe it’ll inspire you to make a visit). Just think how great that new icicle-covered Sleeping Beauty Castle will look behind your grinning family on next year’s Christmas card!

Holiday cheer starts at the parking lot tram boarding area. OK, the palm trees aren’t covered in snow, but a wreath-wearing Dumbo is certainly in the spirit. (I wish the flying elephants on the ride were actually wearing wreaths!)

Halloween’s decorative gourds are gone, and poinsettias fill in the signature floral arrangement at Disneyland’s entrance.

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Jul 182005

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” And it is if you are at a Disney park. For years I had wanted to go to Disney World to see the park all decked out for the holidays. This past year I finally said, “We are going to do it and we are going to stay in at least a moderate resort!” And we did. We booked a long weekend at Port Orleans Riverside for the first week in December and tried to take in as much Yuletide cheer as we possibly could. And boy does Disney roll out the Yuletide!

Magic Kingdom is always decorated ever-so-finely with huge poinsettia balls on each lamp post and swags hung from the balconies all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. A gigantic tree filled with toys stands proudly at the top of Main Street and as you peek down the street you will be amazed at how lovely everything looks. If it hadn’t been for the 80° weather I would have expected it to snow! Disney pulls out all the stops, even in its merchandising. With Mickey-eared Santa hats as well as hats that had sprigs of mistletoe hanging over them inviting everyone for a holiday buss, pins and sweatshirts, there will always be something to buy to commemorate your winter holiday trip. Disney even brings out a special popcorn bucket just for the holidays!

With the castle in its finery, the streets decked to the hilt and the characters acting jolly, it is able to retain a merry attitude and enjoy the park despite the fact that the crowds can be unusually large. Magic Kingdom does tend to fill up the day of the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but generally the first three weeks of December see lower levels of crowds than most other times of the year.

Speaking of parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a holiday extravaganza. This is a separate ticketed event, held on select evenings in December. Those who opt to attend will experience a bevy of Yuletide treats. That snow you were looking for will even appear on Main Street. There are several holiday themed shows, only presented during this event. A parade, shown twice during each party, will get guests into the spirit with characters donning their holiday best. A select number of rides and attractions are also open. Don’t forget the complimentary hot chocolate, cookies and family photo.

A must see when going to Disney during the holidays is the Osborne Family Lights at Disney-MGM Studios. The Streets of America are decorated with so many lights that Tim the Toolman Taylor would be doing his caveman grunt at the very sight of all the lights.

What exactly are the Osborne Family Lights? It all started in Arkansas with a little girl’s wish to have her entire house covered in Christmas lights and with a daddy who wanted to make all his princess’ dreams come true. Each year the light display grew until the neighbors complained and a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court forced Jennings Osborne to take down the lights. Fortunately, an ear at Disney caught wind of this and decided that “little Breezy Osborne”, who was by then a teenager, need to have her Christmas lights and contacted the Osborne family about moving their light display to Disney. Almost non-stop since 1995, the Streets of the Americas are covered with over four million (and counting) lights each holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this beautiful display of lights is a treat for the eyes. And you have to stop and talk to all the Streetmosphere performers that are sitting outside their “homes” as you walk by!

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Jul 182005

No trip to Walt Disney World during the holiday season would be complete without visiting the resorts. Each resort, from value to deluxe, is uniquely decorated to match its décor. Although a trip to each resort would offer up some holiday cheer, most of us don’t have the time during our trips to do so. A tour of the deluxe resorts will provide some wonderful delights. True, you may miss the elegant turn-of-the-century white and gold decorations adorning the stately Victorian tree at Port Orleans Riverside, but you will see many splendors. We are going to explore just a few resorts with especially elaborate decorations.

To start the tour, a trip on the monorail is in order. The first stop will be the Contemporary. The Contemporary’s tree is so seamlessly decorated to match its neo-classic style that it just seems like it has always been there. The chefs at the Contemporary create a gingerbread display that makes guests want to try their hand at it as well. If you are lucky, there may even be musical entertainment on select evenings. And don’t forget the Christmas items that can be purchased at the gift shop.

Next on the stop is the Polynesian. There is nothing like a combination of palm trees and Poinsettias to get one in the holiday spirit. If you’ve ever heard the Bing Crosby song “Mele Kalikimaka” you will be reminded of the laid back island holiday this song describes. Although there is not a grand tree at the entrance, the tropics do provide and happy holiday atmosphere.



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