Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dressing for Disney: A Disney Cruise Honeymoon on the Disney Fantasy! (Overview)

Ahoy, mates! 

Let's see, it's been over a month since John and I took our wonderful Disney honeymoon cruise, and here I am just getting around to posting about it. 


I figured I'll start with a brief overview, then go into detail about each day in subsequent posts. I've got lots to share, and this will also help to prolong the magic as I relive the trip. 

Thanks to Amanda at Dixie Delights and others who have kindly 'nudged' me to finally get around to starting these cruise posts by saying how much they're looking forward to it. Hope I don't disappoint!

So without any further ado, here's a CliffsNotes look at our Disney honeymoon cruise (along with what to see, do and what to wear on a Disney cruise, too ;))

Friday, May 22nd- Coolest Summer Ever 24 Hour Day and Bay Lake Tower Stay

We technically started our honeymoon the day before our cruise when our lovely friend Keith got us a room at the Contemporary's Bay Lake Tower as a wedding gift. Part of his reasoning for this was because John and I were partaking in some of the Coolest Summer Ever 24 Hour shenanigans, and boy was it convenient to have a room right out of the Magic Kingdom's back door. 

Saturday, May 23rd- Embarkation Day

Our first day on the boat was blissful. We enjoyed adult beverages by the adult pool, settled into our stateroom, finalized all our plans for the cruise, and had a peaceful dinner at Palo.

Sunday, May 24th- Sea Day #1 & Formal Night

I LOVED the sea days- in fact, of the two cruises I've done in my time, I think I enjoy sea days more than port days. There's just something about being on a floating resort and being able to do as much or as little as you wish that screams 'vacation.' 

Coffee on the veranda, adult pool time, a mixology class, naps, a pre-dinner show and dinner at Animator's Palate made for a very relaxing day. We were officially in honeymoon mode. 

Monday, May 25th- Sea Day #2 & Memorial Day

Hooray! Another sea day! This one was spent much like the first, with plenty of adult pool lounging, more napping, exploring the ship, and eating, including a luxurious dinner at Remy.

Tuesday, May 26th- St. Maarten & Pirate Night

Our first port day was full of sun and fun. We rented an ATV and explored the island on our own for the first half of the day, then returned to the boat to grab lunch before heading to our scuba diving excursion. This was a first for both of us and we are hooked! We'd like to get certified. After scuba, we took a quick walk into town in a futile mission for callaloo soup, then returned to get cleaned up for Pirate Night. After dinner in the Royal Court, John was exhausted, so he napped back in the room while I met characters in their pirate getup. I woke John up to see the fireworks (at his request, honest!) and hit up the dessert buffet before calling it a night. 

Wednesday, May 27th- St. Thomas/St. John

Our second port day was wonderful. We docked in St. Thomas and took a catamaran sail over to St. John where we spent a few hours snorkeling and sipping on rum punch. We ended the day with naps, a dip in the pool, a movie in the theater, and room service while watching the OnDemand stateroom TV. We also watched an after-dinner show in the theater. A very laid back, lovely day.

Thursday, May 28th- Sea Day #3

Yay, another sea day! We slept in and enjoyed brunch at Palo, watched Jack Jack's Diaper Dash, sat by the pool, took our chances at the Bingo jackpot, and had room service dinner again, this time while watching a Sherman Brother's documentary. We also played a group game in the adult lounge and watched an adult comedian in the theater. This was actually the latest we stayed up the entire trip! 

Friday, May 29th- Castaway Cay

AKA Heaven on Earth. Seriously, I would do another cruise solely for Castaway Cay. It was wonderful. We disembarked with the Castaway Cay 5K group, snagged chairs at Serenity Bay, snorkeled in the snorkel lagoon, ate lunch at the adults-only restaurant, lounged, ordered tropical drinks from the wandering bartenders, and sat out in the water for hours. Oh my, take me back. That night, we watched another movie in the theater and ordered dinner up from our rotational restaurant. We ate and watched another OnDemand movie while packing. Boo hoo! (You may have noticed two things: one, we didn't eat in the main rotational dining rooms that often, and two, we really enjoyed the OnDemand TV in the staterooms. More to come on both, later!)

Saturday, May 30th- Disembarkation Day (aka Saddest Day Ever)

Sigh, the hardest part of any Disney vacation- the last day. We packed up bright and early and were off the boat and in our car by 8:30, making the drive home to Orlando. As bummed as we were to be leaving our floating honeymoon palace, we were excited to get back to our house and start our new lives together as Mr. and Mrs.

Whelp, that's it in a nutshell. It took all I had not to go into more detail (as you might have noticed, I'm a tad wordy), but I'm excited to share more with you as I delve into each day specifically. And I'll be honest, I didn't take as many pictures as I thought I would. I consciously made a decision to enjoy the moment, in the moment rather than from behind the lens of a camera. So, there will be plenty of photos here, but not as in depth as usual. On a similar note, John and I made it a point to turn off our cell phones and put them in the safe for the entire trip. What a blessing it was to be disconnected for an entire week! I think that was one of my favorite parts of the cruise. 


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dressing for Disney: Epcotiversary (Epcot + Anniversary)

John and I thought it would be fun to celebrate our monthly anniversary date, every month for the first year (then celebrate yearly thereafter). We I came up with the idea of celebrating in Epcot, seeing  as it's where we met for the first time AND celebrated the day after our wedding. PLUS, it conveniently has 11 countries in World Showcase, and with there being 11 monthly anniversaries to celebrate until we hit the one year mark, it works out perfectly. John is just easygoing and willingly (eh?) went along with the plan. 

So, on the 16th of every month, we will celebrate our Epcotiversary. 

We wrote down all the names of the countries and put them into the version 2.0 Epcot You Are Here mug (the original, and highly sought after version, is safely tucked away in my china cabinet. John still wants me to see it on eBay. Never!). John had the honors of drawing the first country and pulled... Morocco! 

We decided in advance not to make any ADR's (with the exception of Le Cellier, which is kind of a necessity as it's the only place to eat in Canada. Unless we pull Canada during the Food and Wine Festival when the booths are set up. But I digress.). 

So, with Morocco in mind, we set off on our first monthly Epcotiversary. 

We valet parked at the Beach Club, knowing we'd use our Tables in Wonderland card at some point to be able to validate the parking fee. This alone makes TIW worth every penny for us. Beach Club is the closest Resort to the back entrance to Epcot, which makes it very convenient. We walked through the lobby and came out onto this view-- always lovely. 

See that white cloud building over the Boardwalk? That will make an appearance later in the evening. 

Entering through the International Gateway, we hung a right and headed toward our destination.

Morocco has three options for dining; two table service (Spice Road Table and Restaurant Marrakesh) and one counter service (Tangierine Cafe). We LOVE and eat at Tangierine Cafe on the regular, so we decided to try something different. We had eaten at Spice Road Table right after it first opened a little over a year ago and weren't too thrilled. They've since added entrees to the menu (before it was entirely tapas style). After reading the menus for both table service places, John decided he liked the looks of Spice Road more.

It was 7:00 and the place was pretty dead. Our hostess initially took us to an outside table, but the sun was still up and it was sweltering hot, so we asked to sit inside. We scored a nice waterside window seat. From the looks of it, this would be a good place to get a walk up reservation for Illuminations dining, most of the time. 

We started with the hummus appetizer, which was yummy. We also split a pitcher of sangria. 

John had the lamb sliders, and I went with the mixed grill skewers. 

It was all okay I guess, but I'm in no rush to go back. Looking at these photos, it was very brown and potato heavy. The menu listed roasted potatoes as the side for the skewers, so I was surprised to see fried potato wedges on my plate. Yummy, but not expected. John's sliders were okay, but the hummus fries were heavy. John also felt sick to his stomach the next day after eating here, which is unusual for him. Check this place off the list!

I still want to try Restaurant Marrakesh sometime though. 

We took the rest of our sangria to go and slowly meandered out of the World Showcase. 

There's that white cloud from earlier! Just wait to see what it has in store. 

As I said, it was a scorcher. When it's this hot in the parks, my go-to outfit is a lightweight strappy sundress. 

The sun had set and illuminated the thunderhead cloud to a glowing pink. The left side had lightening coursing throughout. It was amazing. 

We ended our first Epcotiversary with a banana split at Beaches n' Cream. Pro tip: Beaches n' Cream has a sit down side and a walk up counter. The walk up counter only has a limited menu hanging above it. Luckily there was a menu nearby with a lot more offerings. We found the banana split on there and ordered it with no problems. If you don't see something you want on the standard 'to-go' menu, ask for the full menu for more options. 

Nothing says true love like splitting a banana split. ;)

Thanks for reading. You can follow our monthly Epcotiversary adventures here and on Instagram with the hashtag #SuitsEpcotiversary. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dressing For Disney Randomness - Five (Non-Disney) Blogs I Love + Their Disney Posts

Hi! Remember me?

I know I've been away from the blog for a while, with wedding and honeymoon and all. And all of that is coming to this space soon, I promise.

But I'll be honest, I haven't really been motivated to blog. Which sucks. I want to share our simple but special wedding and our AMAZING Disney Cruise honeymoon, really I do. I just feel a bit overwhelmed about where to start. So that will come in time.

BUT I did think of this post as I was laying in bed last night and *bam*, one little spark of inspiration.

We all know about those wonderful Disney centric blogs out there, like Disney Tourist Blog, Touring Plans, and the Disney Food Blog, just to name a few. 

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite lifestyle bloggers (and one vlogger) who I read on a daily basis, and who each did a Disney feature at some point or another. I'll link to their main blog page AND the specific Disney entries. It always thrills me when bloggers I follow come to my favorite place. Hope you enjoy these ladies as much as I do!

I've written about dear Amanda a few times here and here. She's one of those supermoms who comes up with adorable crafty ideas for her two boys, has a home worthy of a Southern Living layout, holds down a real job, and more. She's awesome.

I love her site in general but we really bonded when she started posting Disney goodness. She has an entire category devoted to it with lots of good info. Recently she visited with her hubby and kiddos and is reviewing their Star Wars Weekends shenanigans here and here.

Drea wouldn't strike you as the Disney type. She's vegan, eschews commercialism and is pretty mellow. I love her vegan recipes, pictures taken by her four-year-old daughter Marlow, use and love of color, home decorating sense and more. I've been following her for years and have loved seeing her ups and downs (which she is very honest and open about) and watch as her daughter was born and grown. I've also added some killer recipes to my repertoire thanks to her- vegan mac and 'cheese' and garlic soup, anyone? Seriously, so so good. 

You can imagine my excitement when she posted a few Disney visits here and here. Just goes to show you that Disney can appeal to almost everyone.

She also has a cookbook coming out in October that I can't WAIT to get my hands on; you can preorder here for the low low price of $18. You won't be disappointed.

Ashley loves Lilly, always has insight into the best sales, has a really approachable yet stylish fashion sense, and blogs about all of this while living in Charleston with her hubby and four kids (who are all precious, by the way).

They visited WDW last year and actually, those specific posts gave me the idea to start Dressing For Disney, namely this post on her outfits for Disney. I'll forever be grateful. She chronicled their Disney days here, their trip report here, their FastPass photos here and their packing list here

4. The Londoner

Rosie is supermodel gorgeous and lives across the pond in jolly old England. She's constantly traveling the world and wearing the cutest clothes while doing it.

She visited Disneyland Paris around Christmastime last year; it was so fun to follow along on her trip here, here, here, here and here.

Christine is the cutest; she has a vlog that mostly focuses on her day to day life, with lots of Disney sprinkled in. She's funny and sweet and quirky. And she did my hair and makeup for my wedding, so obviously I love her.

You can watch her birthday weekend at Disney here, and her weekend at Port Orleans Riverside here. She's always visiting the World so be sure to check back for more.

Hope you found a few new blogs to follow. I'll be back soon with Star Wars Weekends recaps, wedding and honeymoon posts and more. Thanks for reading!

*This post contains an amazon affiliate links. You know the gig-- same price to you, small commission to me, which tries to keep Dressing For Disney out of hobby status. :) 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

24 Things You Should Do at Walt Disney World's 'Coolest Summer Ever' 24-Hour Summer Kickoff + 1 Thing You Shouldn't Do

Full disclosure: this post wasn't my idea. I love it, but it wasn't mine. In fact, I stole it from Touring Plans who posted this version for Disneyland.

But if you look in the comments on their post, someone asks for a WDW version. The author of the article offers the idea up to anyone who is interested; so here we are. (My post isn't affiliated with Touring Plans in any way. Which is a bummer, but hey, any TP folks reading this, feel free to contact me!)

So with that, here are my picks for 24 things to do (and one thing not to do) during the 'Coolest Summer Ever' 24-hour day on Friday, May 22nd at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

1. Watch two sunrises in the Magic Kingdom - One of the highlights to the 24 hour event is the opportunity to see the sun rise over Cinderella Castle not once, but twice. This is a rarity in itself, so be sure to arrive at rope drop on May 22nd and be there again for the sunrise on May 23rd. Not only are these wonderful photo opportunities, but there's something even more magical about seeing the parks bathed in the soft dawn light. 

2. Take a picture of a 'weenie' in each land - No, not those you pervert! You may or may not be aware of the intentional 'weenies' placed throughout the parks to draw guest attention to a particular area. Make it a mission to photograph one from each land; some may be more obvious than others, and there's not right or wrong answer, so use your imagination and be creative.

3. Try to ride EVERY attraction in the park - My friend Tink and I did this during my first 24-hour day back in 2013, and it. was. AWESOME! It can be done, it just takes a bit of planning and strategy. And take into account that many attractions go down at some point in the 24 hours for maintenance and such. 

4. Have a waffle with Washington Irving -  Start your day with a Nutella and fruit waffle from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, which is modeled after the Hudson Valley home of Washington Irving. There are other options of waffles as well, including a few lunch sandwich options. Either way, you've got an entire day, so make it a point to try at least one. 

5. Explore Tom Sawyer Island - One of the few '+1's' WDW has over the enchanting Disneyland park is the original reincarnation of Tom Sawyer Island. While Disneyland's version has been taken over by the popular pirate franchise and renamed 'Pirates Lair,' WDW's has blissfully stayed pretty much the same as when it opened. Take some time and relish this retro goodness. 

6. Ride the train around the park -  Do this a lot! Not only is a great break for your feet, it's just a really nice time and tour of the park. Plus, you'll get to ride at night which is always a plus.

7. Take a ride on the Liberty Belle at night - It's fairly rare that the Liberty Belle runs after sunset. Take advantage of this opportunity. 

8. Take a rocking chair break -  If you're staying the full 24 hours (come on, you can do it!), you'll have to factor in some down time. One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch the World go by; see some of my favorite spaces here. The rocking chairs on Tom Sawyer Island are a great option, as are the two rockers outside the Hall of President's exit. There are also three rockers on the raised boardwalk area along the Frontierland walkway. All are shaded, as rockers should be ;). 

9. Catch all the shows you might otherwise skip - it's going to be a hot one, and what better excuse than to sit in a cool, air-conditioned room and watch an attraction you might otherwise leave off your to-do list. I'm thinking Hall of Presidents, County Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, and the Enchanted Tiki Room (although all of these should be on your regular 'must-do' list anyway because they're fairly original and retro and just so 'Walt.' )

10. Make an ADR for a sit down meal at least once in the day - this is especially important if you plan to stay the full 24 hours. Taking a lunch break in the heat of the day will be a lifesaver; likewise, a nice leisurely dinner will recharge you when you need it most. Last year, my party walked up to Be Our Guest just after park opening and scored a 4pm dinner reservation. Sure, it sounds like an early time to eat dinner, but when you've been up since 5am and in the parks for almost 12 hours already, it's great!

11. Climb every Mountain -  Loosely translate a tip from Julie Andrews and ride every Mountain in WDW. You've got Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain, but could also include the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train since technically, it's built into a mountain. 

12. Watch people get their first glimpse of Cinderella Castle - Stand at the corner where Main Street USA makes the turn from Town Square and watch as people see Cinderella Castle for the first time. Parents point, kids squeal, some tears are shed. It's really a cool moment to witness. 

13. Do some shopping - Sure, there'll be plenty of exclusive 24-Hour Day merch to scoop up, but take this opportunity to really check out all the little shops and stores in the park. One of my favorite sources for sundresses is Zanzibar Trading Company in Adventureland. The Space Mountain gift shop has some neat retro space stuff (astronaut ice cream, anyone?!). Not only is the Briar Patch gift shop next to Splash Mountain charmingly themed to a rabbit warren, but it's got some neat little treasures. And the Philharmagic gift shop is your one-stop shop for all things Ducky. I always find some Donald item just begging to come home with me. Don't forget to have your packages sent up to the front of the park so you don't have to schlep them around all day. 

14. Get pictures with the characters in their pajamas -  Because it's cute. Check the Times Guide for when and where they'll be out. Even better if you're wearing your pajamas in the picture.

15. Be kind to the Cast Members -  Chances are, they're working extra long hours to provide for this extra long day of fun for you. Be kind, respectful, and appreciative. 

16. Take the Dole Whip/Citrus Swirl challenge - Grab one of each and have a taste-off. Be crazy and put a scoop of each in your mouth at the same time. Whaaaaa?? 

17. Ride the Main Street Vehicles -  These are only out for a small amount of time before the park gets too crowded. More than likely they'll be running first thing in the morning. If we're lucky, they'll run during the late night hours (hey, a girl can dream). Make it a mission to ride each one available. 

18. Sit up on the train station platform and people watch -  Even better if you time this around the Flag Retreat at 5pm, or for a parade. 

19.  Take a tour of the park -  You can do an official WDW sanctioned tour, such as Marceline to Magic Kingdom, Magic Behind Our Steam Trains, Key to the Kingdom, etc. Or go it on your own and do an audio walking tour of the different lands. Lou Mongello has some good ones

20. Eat something crazy for breakfast - When you've been up for 24 hours straight, you get a little loopy. Embrace it and eat something for breakfast that might otherwise make you squirm. This girl may or may not have had corn dog nuggets from Casey's Corner at 6am on her first 24-Hour Day. Ice cream for breakfast? Why not? I think the phrase is YOLO, or something like that? I'm not really sure. 

21.  Charge your phone -  Most of us know about the charging stations in the Tangled bathroom area. But did you know about the covered seating area back in Storybook Circus that's chock full of outlets?? I didn't until just recently. It's located in a big tent just in front of the Fantasyland train station, next to Pete's Silly Sideshow and Casey Jr.'s Splash and Soak. 

22. Pack your patience pants - It's going to be hot. It's going to be crowded. Lines will be long. People will be stupid. You know what you're getting in to, so leave Grumpy at home and put on a happy face. 

23. Take a picture in front of the clock on Main Street when you enter and leave the park - Double points if the clock says 6:00 am both times!

24. Wait for and watch the 'Kiss Goodnight' - As if this little show isn't tear-inducing already, watching it after an exhausting 24-hour day as the sun begins to come up is something beyond belief. What a perfect way to cap off a memorably magical day. 

25. DONT make like a bum and sleep on the ground -  I get it, you're tired. It's late (or early?). There are plenty of places to catch a cat nap, but for the love of Walt, please don't sprawl out on the ground and sleep. This goes for the benches too. It never fails, every year around 1am or so, the park begins to look like a war zone as bodies are strewn about in stupor. It's kind of off-putting and just, well, strange. Nap on the train, in a show, on the TTA, at a table, in Philharmagic, on the Haunted Mansion. Jump on the monorail for a few loops. Or better yet, if you have to sleep, go back to your hotel room and catch a few winks. At least don't get mad at me when I accidentally step on you on my way to Space Mountain.