Nick's-Disney-Snow-Globe

Disney Independence Day Snow Globe

Happy 4th of July!  As expected, Nick has the PERFECT piece in his Disneyana collection to commemorate this holiday!

Disney Independence Day Snow Globe

A few weeks ago, my wife and I found this snow globe at the Columbus Flea Market.

It was love at first sight.

Then I saw the price, and couldn’t get the money out of my wallet fast enough. This beautiful patriotic piece, featuring 3 favorite Disney characters, and a quote from Walt Disney to top it all off was $8!
The quote from Walt Disney, “…tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life…” is from 1941.

It plays Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Watch future posts for another great patriotic piece featuring Mickey, Goofy and Donald paying homage to “Yankee Doodle 1776″.

Follow Nick and Barbie on all their adventures!  You can find Disney Musings on all your favorite social media sites:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.

 

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Overthinking Your Disney World Vacation

Checking-the-Disney-World-ScheduleMore and more lately I hear people despair (rather than rejoice) over their upcoming Walt Disney World vacation – especially if they’re planning their first trip.  “It’s overwhelming! There’s too much to plan!  We don’t how to choose a place to stay, where to eat, what to ride!”  I’m totally sympathetic – it IS overwhelming.  With dozens (hundreds?) of planning websites offering advice, not to mention Pinterest, Facebook, rumors, false information, a bajillion details to worry about – I can see why it might seem a lot easier (and cheaper!) to just head to the beach!

Part of the problem, caused by information overload, is spending too much time worrying about what you don’t know and what to do with the overwhelming, often contradictory, information you DO know.  This will cause a bad case of…

Overthinking Your Disney World Vacation

For todays Friday Five, I’d like to offer (yet again) more sage (I have reached a pretty ripe old age, I think I qualify for “sage”) advice.  Today’s words of wisdom, according to me (because I’m guilty of several) – five ways to avoid the frustration brought about by the aforementioned overthinking.  Here you go:DSCN2615

1.  Yes, you have to plan, but perhaps not as much as you think.  You should book at least a couple of ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations) in advance.  Six months ahead of your vacation for the most popular restaurants/character dining experiences.  If you have the opportunity to book FastPasses, you should do that (especially during Spring Break, summer, and the holiday season) – plan to ride what you think you’ll enjoy!  Try to avoid the mindset of “It’s SO expensive, I must plan to get my money’s worth!”  Be mindful of height requirements, but other than that, take the reviews and ratings of others with a grain of salt.  I loathe Stitch’s Great Escape, but plenty of people love it.  (Joseph’s not a fan of It’s a Small World, but he’ll always take one for the team.)IMG_1227_face0

2.  When you overthink, you often cause undue pressure – you imagine exactly how your day(s) in Magic Kingdom will be, how everything will happen just as it appears on TV, how you and your children will be blissfully happy, how you’ll see and do everything you watched on YouTube.  This creates unrealistic expectations and leads to disappointment.  When things don’t meet your expectations, your vacation enjoyment is diminished.  It’s best to be open-minded – everyone’s experience is different!  Because we are individuals, what we each find joy in will be unique.  Your 5-year-old may care much less about rides and attractions than they do about the pool at your resort – such was the case with our Megan back in 1996.IMG_2139

3. Under-promise and Over-deliver.  Where your kids are concerned, share vacation details in broad generalizations.  Do NOT promise that they will ride certain rides or meet certain characters.  Even if you have FastPasses booked for Anna and Elsa, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, talking Mickey Mouse, or Splash Mountain – unforeseen factors can spring up at any minute.  Rides break down, crazy summer storms (complete with hail!) spring up, the Florida heat takes a toll, meltdowns (of all types) occur.  You WILL see and do some incredible, magical things – that’s what you should focus on.  Last year, we were in Magic Kingdom when some computer glitch caused many rides to be down at once – we could hear people talking about how they’d promised their family they would ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on their ONE day at Magic Kingdom.  This computer problem was RUINING their vacation.  Do not be those people.1900 Park Fare / Drizella and Anastasia

4.  Over-planning often costs you magical moments.  Does that sound wrong?  Think about it – you’ve thought out every moment, every contingency, every possible situation – You’ve brought matching tee-shirts, snacks, rain ponchos, Band-Aids, antacid, sunscreen, toys, games, stickers, and so on.  You’ve scheduled meals, rides, attractions, and even photo opportunities – trust me, I know what this is like!  I’m a reformed compulsive over-planner.  WDW Park Touring NecessitiesMost of our happiest vacation memories happened during the UN-planned moments.  Build in time to waste, time to wander, time to experience some things on the spur of the moment – you won’t be disappointed!Volunteering for the Studios Backlot Tour

5.  Use a Travel Agent.  There are excellent Disney travel experts out there and there is absolutely NO cost to you for taking advantage of their expertise.  You can still plan as much (or as little) as you want to, but having someone “in the know” about what resorts and restaurants are really like, what their previous clients’ actual, recent experiences were, what room locations at each resort will best meet your family’s needs, where money savings opportunities exist, and so on, is a tremendous help to avoid overthinking.  I am not a travel agent, but I’ve used one before (and I’m friends with a great one, if you need a recommendation).  As much as I love to plan, it helped having someone to answer my questions, book things for me when I didn’t have time to waste waiting on hold, and help me stay within my budget.

Are you guilty of overthinking a Disney vacation?  Feel free to confess, you’re among friends here.

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Disney’s Magic – Sailing Away to Norway

Copenhagen-Shopping-DistrictFinally, the day had arrived!  Two years of anticipation, endless research, packing angst, jet lag, the exploration of Copenhagen – which (incredibly) went precisely as planned – WE WERE READY!  We’d agreed before turning in the night before that we had enough time in the morning (before our bus to the port left) to get ready, enjoy the Tivoli Hotel’s breakfast buffet (very impressive, by the way) and walk to Copenhagen’s pedestrian shopping district.  We really wanted to check out the local Disney Store!

Outside-Disney-Store-CopenhagenThe weather was great and we walked briskly, timing how long it took to arrive at our destination – we did NOT want to miss our ride back at the hotel.  We had enough time, once we reached the shopping district (after a brief pause to listen to…wait for it…the Salvation Army Band play) to not only browse the tiny Disney Store but also check out some Danish versions of familiar stores like H&M (Megan picked up a pair of Sunglasses).  Disney-Store-CopenhagenWhen time was up, we reversed our route and hurried back so we could…

WAIT!  UGH!  Luggage at our side, we waited (and waited) outside the hotel’s lobby for the busses to the port to arrive – poised for action, we did manage to be among the first guests to board the, again, impressively plush and well appointed motor coach.  Off we went!  Before long, we could see her from the window – the Disney Magic!!!  Disney-Magic-in-CopenhagenOff the bus and right into the line, it seemed to take no time at all and we were walking onto the ship.  We boarded on a lower deck, rather than into the main atrium, and without fanfare, but we didn’t mind a bit.  We were finally back aboard one of our most favorite vacation vessels.  That’s the beauty of Disney Cruise Line for us – we love the ships, which allow us to travel in the Disney bubble while we’re seeing the world.Disney-Captain-Mickey-Statue

Lunch first, in Carioca’s, while waiting for our stateroom to be ready…check!  Stateroom located, carryon luggage stored, door magnets in place…check!Disney-Magic-Stateroom-Detail Disney-Magic-Stateroom-Sitting-AreaDisney-Norway-Cruise-Stateroom-Door-MagnetsIt was time for the Facebook group meet-up (we could only stay briefly, but made new friends), then the mandatory lifeboat drill – which we have found we actually enjoy.  Disney-Magic-Lifeboat-Drill-CM

Lifeboat Drill Lineup

Lifeboat Drill Lineup

I mean it IS mandatory, so we might as well stir up some fun while we’re at it, right?  And, finally, the sail away party.  I don’t know what was more fun – watching the party on deck or the people on shore who came to wave us bon voyage.Disney-Magic-Sailaway-Party

Post sail-away bash, we had time to unpack (luggage arrived earlier than expected), meet our stateroom host, Kenneth, unwind, and get ready to meet our dining room servers (April and Andres) at Animator’s Palate (the first restaurant in our dining rotation).  April We would spend this cruise with six other table-mates each evening:  A retired couple from California enjoying (I think they said) their 36th Disney Cruise, and another family – mom, dad, and young adult son and daughter.  We enjoyed visiting with our co-diners every evening to find out what adventures everyone had been on each day.  Meg&Joe-Animator's-PalateOur precious angels were so well behaved at the dinner table!

Disney Cruise Line shows are the best & we caught two that night (don’t ask me how we stayed awake, I have no idea) – Let the Magic Begin followed by the Irish trio, Runa, in O’Gill’s Pub.Let-the-Magic-BeginFinally, we called it a night and it felt good knowing we could sleep in the next day if we wanted to since it would be a day at sea.  After that, things were going to get a lot busier!Towel-Snake

Coming up – A day at sea followed by one of the most challenging adventures we’ve ever had!

Thanks for following along…Lisa

Links to other posts from this trip:

 

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Random Stuff: Stitch Fix Review

imageThis post doesn’t have anything to do with Disney, but it does involve an important aspect of Living a Disney Life and that is time management.  I enjoy writing this blog!  I love planning Disney vacations (currently, I’m working on the next three) and I am thrilled to be a co-host on The Disney Exchange Podcast with Nick and Dave.  All this Disney happiness during my non-working hours is taking a toll on my ability to enjoy one of my other favorite pastimes, shopping.

I can’t think of a single time in my life that I haven’t absolutely loved shopping.  I’m good at it, it’s fun, and retail therapy is an important stress-reliever for me.  Lately, though, between Disney-related hobbies, Megan’s wedding-planning activities, business and leisure travel and training for another half marathon – I’ve found I need some help with filling in gaps in my wardrobe.  Thus, I have jumped on the clothing subscription box bandwagon and have been receiving Stitch Fix boxes for the past couple of months.  As with most things in life – the results have been mixed.  I’ve put together some pros and cons for clothing subscription boxes in general and I’ll sprinkle those in throughout this…

Random Stuff:  Stitch Fix Review (YouTube Video for Fix #3 HERE.)

In a nutshell:  You complete an online style profile (you can link to a Pinterest board showing your fashion preferences and other social media if you like), pay a $20 “styling” fee (which goes toward the price of any item(s) you keep, wait impatiently for the email that says the box of items selected especially for you has shipped, then wait (with more impatience) for the delivery.  You can get clothing and accessories – you decide how much you want of each.  If you keep all the selected items, you’ll receive a 25% discount on your Stitch Fix box.  Pro:  Convenient and also fun to open the box and see what surprises are in there!

Your Stitch Fix box will always contain:

  • Five items (clothing and accessories)
  • A postage-paid return shipping bag (for anything you don’t want to keep)
  • An invoice detailing each piece and the total with discount (less $20 fee) for keeping all items
  • Style suggestion cards showing photographs of each item with complete outfits/accessories
  • A note from your stylist
  • A 3-day time limit to decide what to keep. (Con:  Busy schedule may mean difficulty finding time to try on all the items and see what’s already on hand for mixing/matching.)

My first box arrived – I’d been styled by a person named Heather.  My box contained a silver statement necklace (Romolo Hawkins Metal Feather Collar Necklace, $34), a black dress (Datherine Barclay Mallie Silk Dress, $104), a cream knit 3/4 sleeved shirt (Fate Celaya Mixed Material Knit Top, $54), a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans (Kut From the Kloth Kate Boyfriend Jean, $78), and a sleeveless blouse (Collective Concepts Lydia Floral Print Key-Hole Blouse, $68).  Honestly, I didn’t love anything and only liked the necklace enough to keep it so I wouldn’t completely lose my $20 styling fee.  Some of the items I actually hated passionately.  I’m all for trying new things – and I did try each item on with an open mind. Con:  Many of the items are pretty pricey for what they are.  Pro:  Getting to try everything on in your own home with items you already own!  Here are the results:

imageMy thoughts: The necklace is fine for both work and casual wear. I like silver.

imageThe black dress made me look like a box and to make matters worse, it had this giant flap of fabric dangling over the waistband in the front which was both strange and unflattering.

imageThe cream knit top was thin, short, and, as you can see, even Junior thought it left a lot to be desired.

imageThe boyfriend jeans were heavy, thick denim with baggy knees – there was nothing good about them.  I’d seen them in other reviews and on Pinterest and wanted to try them…they were just not for me.

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The blouse was busy!  And it had that ONE medallion right over…well you can see in the picture.  I thought maybe I should edit my style profile and give the process another go and maybe I needed to pin more stuff on my Pinterest board, so I did that as well.

In a few weeks, Stitch Fix round two arrived.  This time, I had a different stylist, Lana,  who seemed to understand me better…I was prepared to dislike the two items I ended up loving from that box.  Yes, I kept TWO things this time.  Here are the results:

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There are no pictures of me in this cardigan ($58) – it was absolutely huge and while it would have been great for our Disney cruise in Norway, I looked like I was playing dress-up in it.image image

This blouse (Sweet Rain Pax Chiffon Trim Blouse, $38) was very pretty, but I want wider straps!  At this point in my life, strap-less bras are not my friend.  Plus, if I have to wear a tank under a shirt to make it work, it’s too hot to wear here in a Louisiana summer.

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In this dark, poor picture (I’ll do better, I promise) you cannot see that the pants are olive (Kut From the Kloth Siena Capri Pant, $58), super lightweight, and adorable (kept!).  The gray shirt is a thin, heathered sweater material – dressy enough for work, but also perfect for casual wear (RD Style Keira 3/4 Sleeve Split Back Knit Top, $48).  The split back is fun and interesting.  I wore this on the Disney cruise and it was very soft and comfortable.  Then I wore it to work and got a ton of compliments on it.

imageThis gold necklace looked cheap (Zad Winnie Pave and Spike Necklace, $28).  It also reminded me of either a wedge of cheese or a slice of pie and I couldn’t imagine ever wearing it…so, back it went with the print top and cardigan.  My hopes were high for round #3.

June Stitch Fix (#3) – Look!  The photos are fancier and I used them in this YouTube “Unboxing” video (if you want to check it out).  This time I was styled by Kristen M.  She had the right idea, but sadly, the fit was poor on all three of the shirts in this fix.

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I like tank tops for summer, but this one was ill-fitting and made me look HUGE!  (Hem & Thread Aldwick Swing Knit Tank, 38)image

This top had lots of color and would have been versatile if it had fit around my hips, but it was too tight.  (Market & Spruce Coval V-Neck Top, $44)

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This green tank had a beautiful back detail, but was not for me!  It wasn’t just a little bad, it was horrible.  It did look better under the navy blazer, but then the back would be hidden. (19 Cooper Marlow Crochet Back Detail Top, $48)

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The navy knit blazer is a perfect year-round staple – plus it’s super soft and comfortable. (Tart Kaylie Solid French Terry Blazer, $128)

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Yes, they are ridiculously expensive for pull-on pants, but the picture cannot do justice to the flattering fit of these britches!  I felt 10 lbs lighter!  Plus, they’re very comfortable and multi-seasonal. (Margaret M Emer Polka Dot Print Hight Waisted Cropped Pant, $98)

All in all, I’ll be giving Stitch Fix at least a couple more tries.  This time I fine-tuned my style profile a little bit more and tried asking for specific items like a white jacket or cardigan and dark-wash jeans.

If YOU are interested in trying Stitch Fix and you use my referral link, I will receive a $25 credit.If you have any quesionts, I’ll do my best to answer them.  Thanks for reading!