Monday, October 29, 2018

don't be fooled by the pink

 ... she is not playing dolls.  notice anything different about

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Friday, October 19, 2018

my bucket list walt disney world resort experiences

Every time I plan a new Disney vacation, I remind myself that there is still so much I haven't done that I really want to do.  During my Disney College Program, I did most of it-- I went to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, visited the Food & Wine Festival, and saw the parks all dressed up for Christmas.  But a true testament to just how much there is to do in Walt Disney World Resort is that even after five months living at the most magical place on earth, I still wasn't able to get everything done.

There are still a lot of things left on my Walt Disney World bucket list!  From dance clubs to brunch at the Top of the World, here's everything I (still!) need to do at Walt Disney World Resort.

Visit Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival

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Image courtesy of disney addicts

I had so much fun at the Food & Wine Festival during my college program, I'm desperate to see the Flower & Garden Festival!  I consider Flower & Garden to be the second largest Festival that Epcot sees every year.  Here, you'll find elaborate topiary and garden displays all around the park, much like the Beauty & The Beast themed one pictured above.  Much like Food & Wine, you'll be able to find special food offerings all throughout the world showcase during this festival.  Signature dishes include the long-standing frushi and 2018's show-stopping macaron lollipop.  You'll also be lucky enough to catch a free performance from several bands during Epcot's "Garden Rocks" series.  Among the impressive list of bands who you'll find performing here are The Plain White Ts, Village People, The Guess Who, Simple Plan, and Smash Mouth.  If anyone would like to drink a lot of wine at the France Pavilion and start a mosh pit to "All Star" with me next year, I'll be taking applications in the comment box below.

Experience the Food & Wine Festival Parisian Breakfast

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Image courtesy of Mealtrip

The Parisian Breakfast is one of the Food & Wine's oldest festival-exclusive experience.  Once a week during the festival, guests are invited to Chefs de France early in the morning for an upscale breakfast.  This is one of the things I really wanted to do during my DCP but ultimately couldn't-- reservations fill up fast for this extra-cost event!  Here, you'll be treated to all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosas and a buffet of French pastries, cheeses, and other small breakfast delights.  All of the breads and pastries are homemade just steps away at the Les Halles Boulangerie et Patisserie bakery-- my favorite quick service location in Walt Disney World!  This experience has always interested me because I love the food at the France pavilion.  The dining team has done amazing things with Chefs de France, Les Halles, Monsieur Paul and L'Artisan de Glaces in the past few years, they always bring something unique (and delicious!) to the table.  Also, how bougie does a Parisian Breakfast sound?

Go to Jellyrolls

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Image courtesy of Walt Disney World

Because I was only 19 years old during my Disney College Program, I never got the change to let the good times roll at this 21-and-up piano bar at the Boardwalk.  Here at Jellyrolls, two piano players duel it out every night playing requests from the audience.  It's a grown-up sing-a-long from sundown to sunrise every single night.  And now that I'm an adult, I'm ready to visit Jellyrolls with some friends and indulge in the two things I love the most in this world: frozen margaritas and sing-a-longs.

Do Brunch at the Top of the World

Image courtesy of Fairytale Foodie

One of the most exclusive meals in Walt Disney World can be found at The Contemporary Resort.  The Contemporary is home to California Grill, a signature dinner restaurant that opens its doors to brunch guests every Sunday morning.  At California Grill's signature brunch, guests are treated to all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosas, entrees, and an impressive buffet of sushi and pastries.  Unlike other restaurants around the World, guests are not only invited to, but encouraged to sit and relax for as long as they'd like.  Across the boards, dining reports for this meal are 99% positive.  Once again, I'll be taking applications for anyone who'd like to drink mimosas and watch the monorail go by for three hours in the comments below.

Moonlight Magic

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Image courtesy of MousePlanet

In 2017, my family became DVC owners during our August vacation.  However, because we live in NJ, we rarely get the opportunity to travel down to Orlando for the exclusive Disney Vacation Club members-only events that occur every so often.  Several times a year, DVC invites members to register for a free after-hours event in the parks called Moonlight Magic.  While registration closes rapidly, this is a free event where DVC direct members can congregate in a Disney theme park, after the park has closed to day guests, for exclusive character M&Gs, low wait times for their favorite attractions, free food (including all-you-care-to-enjoy Mickey Premium bars!), and exclusive fireworks.  I absolutely have to do Moonlight Magic at some point!  During this year's Epcot event, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable were pulled from retirement for a M&G and Twitter was verily shooketh.  These events are highly rated among DVC members, and it would be great to enjoy an evening of free ice cream and DVC fun.

These are just a few highlights of all the amazing experiences I still haven't done after 5 months on a DCP and 5 resort property vacations!  I'm sure I'm not the only one with a laundry list of special events, tours, and dining experiences that I dream of fulfilling-- so now I want to know what's on your Disney World bucket list!  Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, October 12, 2018

the spookiest small shop finds this halloween season

Happy Fri-YAY!

If I'm known for loving two things, I'm known for loving Halloween and Disney Small Shops.  Part of the reason I started this project was to shed a light on all of the amazing creators in the Disney community-- and I don't know anybody who works harder than the owners of Disney Small Shops.  So I figured that today, I'd shed a light on the intersection of these two passions of mine.  Today I'm going to talk about the best Halloween-themed finds in the Disney Small Shop community.

Pumpkin Stack Shower Frosting

Wonderland Magic Bath Co.

Image: Wonderland Magic Bath Co.

Wonderland Magic Bath Co. has been spreading positivity and homemade, cruelty-free bath products throughout the Disney fan community for just over two years now.  You may recall last year when Micky, the maker, went viral for her Hocus Pocus themed bath line.  It was covered widely by Buzzfeed, POPSUGAR, and even Cosmopolitan!

It's hard to not fall in love with Micky's cleverly themed products.  My personal favorite this season is the Pumpkin Stack shower frosting.  Inspired by the iconic pumpkin stacks that set up camp on Main St. USA Every year, this scent holds notes of blueberry, pumpkin, and spices.  Just try not to eat it.

You can support Micky and purchase the Pumpkin Stack Shower Frosting here.

Not So Scary Party Pocket Tee

Mickey and Mandy

Image: Mickey and Mandy

I gush about Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party every chance I get, so obviously, I am obsessed with this shirt.  The mother and daughter duo known as "Mickey and Mandy" have done the impossible: tracked down the iconic PAC/Treat Trail CM costume patterns and turned them into gorgeous pocket t-shirts!  If you're going to a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but you're not quite keen on the idea of wearing a costume, this shirt is perfect for you.  Or if you're like me, and just want to rep your favorite hard ticket event every day of your life, this shirt is also perfect for you.

Either way, it's perfect and you can buy it here.

Coco Alebrije Inspired Ears


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Image: Lebownitte
Melissa & Beatrice over at Lebownitte are probably two of the hardest working creators I've ever seen in my entire life.  You have to follow these two on IG to fully understand how hard these two work, working round-the-clock to debut new designs, set up IG sales, mail out orders, and set up shop at local sales in their area.  Not only do they work hard, but their craftsmanship is unmatched in the realm of small shop ears.  Every maker has their own style, but there's something to be said about the unique, over-the-top and all around gorgeous designs that Melissa & Beatrice put out.  Don't believe me?  Just ask Ariana Grande.

They have a lot of amazing Halloween designs, but I chose this stunning Coco design because that's where their passion lies.  They love Coco, and this is just one of the many fabulous Coco-inspired pairs that they've done throughout the season.  You can buy this pair (or fall in love with another pair!) here.

Madame Leota Pin

UP-Cycled Disney Shop

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Image: UP-Cycled Disney Shop

I can't make a post about my favorite small shop finds without mentioning my all-time favorite small shop... UP-Cycled Disney!  I have been so beyond blessed to work with Kalyssa since she launched UP-Cycled Disney Shop this past summer.  Not only is she the sweetest person alive, but I am 100% committed to her mission of creating eco-friendly and upcycled products with a Disney flair.  Pins are very in right now, and these homages to my favorite Pixar movie always find their way into my Manhattan street style, whether they're pinned onto my backpack or my favorite jean jacket!  If you're a Haunted Mansion fan, you 100% need this subtle and trendy pin.  Rep the 999 happy haunts wherever you go.

You can buy Madame Leota here and DON'T FORGET!  You can save 15% on your entire UP-Cycled Disney Order when you apply my code at check-out: KAIT15

Spooky PLMouse 

Pretty Little Monograms

Image: Pretty Little Monograms

I make absolutely no bones about how much I adore Lindsay over at Pretty Little Monograms.  Lindsay spreads her colorful, Lily-Pulitzer branded, monogrammed magic all over the internet on her stunning IG accounts.  Pretty Little Monograms is one of the hottest Disney Small Shops right now, which offers stunning hand-crafted monogrammed apparel.  Her designs are subtle and clever, with just the right amount of pixie dust-- perfect for the millennial Disney fan.

Currently, you can't purchase the Spooky PLMouse design.  Womp-womp.  The custom Halloween monograms have been discontinued for the season, as the typical production time is 4 weeks.  Lindsay takes great pride in her work, and works hard to make sure every single item she mails out is handcrafted with love and special attention.  I just couldn't make this post without giving a special shout-out to this design, it's one of my favorites from her!

You can purchase her work here, including her iconic monogrammed rain jackets!


Friday, October 5, 2018

why october is the best time to visit walt disney world resort

Happy October!

First of all: my apologies for going M.I.A. last week.  Last weekend, I went home with a bad cold and found myself unable to get any classwork done.  I didn't even get to go to Broadway Flea Market-- which is my absolute favorite event of the year!  I was going to write a lifestyle post about college stress to make up for the lack of last week's article... but writing it was seriously stressful.  💁

Thankfully, today's post carries absolutely no stress.  In fact, I'm going to talk about what is probably the least stressful time of the year!  October is without a doubt the best month to visit Walt Disney World, so if you're on the fence about planning a list-minute trip to the World before your Annual Passes expire next month, you might want to read on.

Ever since my 2016 Disney College Program, I've had a special place in my heart for October at Walt Disney World Resort.  It was the best month of my college program in general, and quite honestly-- one of the best months of my life.  I always look back fondly about how at-peace I felt strolling along an empty World Showcase, or how much fun I had jamming to the Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  It just seemed like the World was perfect.

Let's deconstruct what made it perfect.

We can start with the obvious: Special Events.  October is the month where Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival both fully coexist.  If you've never been to either of these special events, put them on your bucket list.  Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special, hard-ticket event at Magic Kingdom that runs from 7 PM-Midnight on select evenings in September and October.  At MNSSHP, you can trick-or-treat, meet special characters, purchase special merchandise, and enjoy exclusive entertainment (including an exclusive fireworks show!)

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which takes place from mid-September to early-November every year, is included in the price of your Epcot admission.  The large scale event encompasses nearly all of Epcot, and plays host to special culinary demonstrations, dining experiences, and of course-- booths all around the World Showcase where you can sample small dishes from all around the world.  Also included in the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is the Eat to the Beat concert series, where you can watch live performances from artists like the Plain White Ts and Sugar Ray.

Both of these events are a huge part of the culture of Walt Disney World.  If you haven't been to either of them, an October trip is in order so that you can fully enjoy the both of them in one short trip.

I'd argue that the ambiance in general is just better in October.  By October 1, the halloween/"fall" overlay is in full swing.  There are flickering pumpkin lanterns all along Main Street USA, and the statues of classic Disney friends that live in the Emporium are all decked out in their little Halloween costumes.  "Pumpkin" is the name of the game in October, where you can find pumpkin-flavored treats all around Magic Kingdom throughout the month.

Even if you don't celebrate Halloween, Magic Kingdom just takes on the most beautiful fall tone in October.  Magic Kingdom does a great job of capturing that warm, welcoming, "let's-spend-time-with-our-family-and-feel-grateful-for-each-other" feeling that so many people associate with fall.  The leaves and pumpkins really do make Main St. USA beautiful.

The weather alone is another reason October is an amazing time to visit the World.  The average high is 88 degrees whereas the average low is 66 degrees, and the daily mean temperature a comfortable 75 degrees.  It's not sweltering hot like it is in July and August (and even the larger part of September), but you don't need a sweatshirt like you might in December or January.  While rain is always a possibility in Orlando, the summer season of flooding every half hour has, for the most part, run its course.

Finally, here's what I consider to be the largest draw of an October visit: the crowds.  The second week of October was by and large the least crowded I've ever seen Walt Disney World.  It was 1:00 in the afternoon one Sunday in the middle of the month and Peter Pan's Flight was a walk-on to the delight of my coworkers and I.  If you visit in October for no other reason, visit to take advantage of the low crowds.  You'll be able to get so much more done than you would at any other time of the year.

October is my all-time favorite time to visit Walt Disney World, but now I want to hear from you guys.  What's your favorite time to visit the World?  Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!


big announcement: i just launched a brand new resource all about the disney college program!

and now, i humbly present to you: kait's comprehensive, unofficial (free) guide to the disney college program.