Friday, September 25, 2009

And we're off!

In just a mere 6 hours, I will be plane bound to Walt Disney World - the most magical place on earth!  I can't wait to get down there and relax but also for so many other reasons!  My nieces are coming on this trip and I love experiencing everything through them.  It seems like rides and characters are so much more exciting with their reactions!  I'm also excited to go to the Food & Wine Festival!!  I have checked the guide a million times and am ready to chow down!  I am hoping to post every day while I'm gone with updates of our exciting adventures :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009 Food & Wine Festival

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival is gearing up for its 14th run since 1996.  This will probably be the fourth or fifth time I've been able to attend.  Each trip is more and more enjoyable, not sure if that's just because of my appreciation of food has increased or because they outdo themselves every year!

While looking over the list of various flavors that will be available, I've already scoped out the places I need to hit.  It's a rather lengthy list, and I may be very stuffed afterwards, but I'm going to try my best to taste as much as I can!  I think one of the places I'm looking forward to most is the Desserts & Champagne!  I have such a sweet tooth but who can pass up this combination?!

Some of the notable countries and flavors represented at this year's festival are Athens, Bangkok, Barcelona, Bologna, Marrakesh, Mexico City, Montreal, Vienna, Tokyo, Rio de Janiero and so many more.  I always find the portions are just the right size for sampling new flavors; not too much but just enough to get the idea if you like it or not.

I am hoping to blog some while "on the road" about some of the new tastes I've gotten to experience and also hope to post some pictures.  Until then, happy eating!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Advanced Dining Reservations

I've been going to Disney World for a long time now.  Each time, we take extra time prior to leaving to plan carefully where we'd like to eat.  This has always been great for us because for the most part, we are always able to get reservations at the restaurants we want.  There have only been a few exceptions to that - most always when we want to go to Le Cellier and we need to be a little more flexible on dates or times.

Disney recently changed their Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) window from 180 days in advance down to mere 90 days in advance.  While I'm sure your thinking that's still plenty of time to get a dining reservation, you'd be VERY surprised.  To a self-proclaimed Disneyholic who prides herself on being super-planned for trips, this spells disaster!

My first not so magical experience with this came this summer when trying to plan my upcoming trip for September.  We had a list of the restaurants we wanted to go to and a good idea of dates, only to find when we called that pretty none of that was available.  We then had to resort to a lotto like system where we'd say we want restaurant A, when is it available or what is available on this date.  This didn't make for a very pleasant experience at the very least.  Thank goodness the representative was very patient!  I ended up being on the phone for almost 2 hours!  Crazy!  Needless to say, we still got reservations at great restaurants and overall are very happy with our choices.

I am now in the painful process of trying to plan dining for my Christmas trip.  I called the regular dining reservation line and already ran into problems because we switch resorts mid-way through our vacation.  She can only make reservations for the first part of our stay that's reserved which is Dec 21-23, if we want anything for the latter part of our vacation (Dec 24-Jan 2), I have to wait until the end of the week to call back.  This was a huge disappointment knowing how much trouble this has already been that I need to wait additional time so places can get booked even more!  I digress; I tried online reservations only to be tied up for an hour trying to put fractions of time in just so I could get options.  I then decided to call DVC to have them do it, only to be greeted by an impatient agent wondering why I couldn't do it online.  When I explained I don't have the time to keep putting in increments of time just to get an option or other choices, she told me what I see is what they see.  To which my response was, "Can you not check the days and restaurants for me then?"  At that point, things seemed to change and then we got to rolling with the magic list. 

Not even an hour later, I have confirmed dining reservations in hand for my trip and I am a happy camper!  I cannot wait until Disney goes back to 180 ADRs.  This works so much better for the super-organized Disney planners!  For now though, I will be ecstatic that we got a reservations at all of our choices!  Now I just have to wait 90 more days to get there!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disney Mom's Panel

The Disney Mom's Panel is accepting applications for 2010.  I decided to give it a shot this year even though I'm not a mom.  I figure I'm enough of a Disney aficionado even without kids to share my knowledge with people about planning trips to the Mouse House.  In fact, I thought it would be good to even share some of those thoughts here in the future.

Anyway, there were 3 questions which seems like it would really put the pressure on.  I didn't want to over-think it too much so I went with my first reaction responses.  I won't hear anything until the beginning of November, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed :)  If I get picked, I get at least a week vacation in December.  I'm not sure how that will work with the already planned 2 week vacation, so I'm thinking maybe I won't work in December!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Disney Holidays

So for the first time ever, we will be spending our Christmas at WDW.  Even better than that, we are going for 2 whole weeks!!  I'm so excited I can barely contain myself or talk about anything else.  As if that wasn't exciting enough, for the first part of the trip we are staying at Bay Lake Towers in a Magic Kingdom view (can't wait for the fireworks!!) and the second part we are Saratoga Springs in the Treehouse Villas.  This is all good news. 

The one thing I was truly disappointed about was that we wouldn't be arriving early enough to see Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  I really enjoyed this when we went in 2007.  So if this is my biggest disappointment, am I really doing so bad?  Not so much.

For a few weeks now, I've been wondering what special things might be going on in the parks on the actual holidays.  I haven't been able to find out.  So imagine my excitement when today I read that both Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes will be going on during regular park hours from Dec 19th-Dec31st!  This is like a bonus!!  It's like getting Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party without having to pay the extra price for admission to the event.  For all the Disney geeks out there, you will totally get this :)

My holidays have become more magical already!!  Now, I really can't wait for Christmas!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney to acquire Marvel for $4 billion

Big news on the entertainment front...Disney is acquiring Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion!  This will bring characters like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and X-Men into the Disney fold.  I'm curious to see how this will play out for both Disney and also Universal Studios theme parks (which has many Marvel inspired rides).  Disney is a marketing juggernaut in my opinion, so there must be a plan!  I do see big potential for some new things from Pixar with this deal! 

Of course, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my mind around seeing the likes of Spider-Man in a Disney park!  On the other hand, I think it could also breathe some new life into Disney's Hollywood Studios as far as rides.

1st Day in the Land of Blog

After being inspired by friends foray into the blog world, I decided that I need to join the club. But what to blog about? The thing I know almost as well as myself (I think!)....all things Disney! After I wrap my mind around this a little more, hopefully I can start with the updates, but today is just my first random thought!