December 14, 2015

Kid Resort Review- Pop Century

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing kid reviews of Disney Resorts.

From the mouth of babes.

I love hearing what my sons are thinking. Sometimes its on point, others its a little out of left field. I talked with Disney XD {what I call my oldest son} about our stay at Pop Century, and while his frame of reference might be a little off {thinking the ride to Magic Kingdom took an hour} he has some good things to say about staying at Pop Century. Mostly that its "cool".

Also I should note- Before we went he got an iPod Touch. He took a lot of pictures at Pop and wanted to share them here. Most of these were taken by him.

Me: So what was your impression of the lobby area when we first got there? 
DisneyXD: I really liked the cool stuff on the walls near check in. They had things that related to the different decades and that was cool to see. I liked the Power Rangers from the 90's the best. There were records on the wall too. That was cool. There was a lot to look at.

Me: What about the outside areas?
DXD: We walked around outside a lot. I liked Goofy, the foosball players, Mickey Phone, the Trike, Mogley and Baloo, all that stuff is so big! It was cool!

Me: How did you like the room.
DXD: It was cool! There were a lot of hidden Mickeys. I love Hidden Mickeys. We stayed in 70's, right? It was a good size. The size of a normal hotel room I think. The walkways cool because they were covered. I love how people decorate their windows!

Hidden Mickeys:

Me: We ate in the food court a couple of times. Did you like it?
DXD: I liked the food, there were a lot of options. Please don't write this, but the nachos weren't great.
Me: I have to write it, that's what people want to know about!
DXD: I feel bad. They were good though, just not great. The gift shop was cool. I like that it was connected to the food court. I liked walking around there after we ate. They had a lot of cool stuff. That's where I bought my lanyard for pin trading and met Ms. Tonya! {To read about that sweet story click here.}

Me: What else? The pool! What did you think of the pool?
DXD: We went to the Hippy Dippy pool, right? The flowers that sprayed water were cool. The pool was a little cold, but not too bad. Probably because were there at night in November.

Me:Anything else you liked about it?
DXD: The signs {when you're driving in and out} were neat. And the numbers for the decades were cool. I liked that the dots out front made Hidden Mickeys. Also, the bus easy to get to. Not a long wait and it seemed close to everything. Except Magic Kingdom. Wasn't that like an hour?
Me: More like 15-20 mintues.
DXD: Oh.

We visited for his 9th birthday.

DXD: I definitely want to stay there again. It was so fun!  

So there you have it, its a cool, fun, neat place to stay!

My opinion is that its a great stay for the money. We don't spend a ton of time in our room, so I really don't want to spend a ton of money on it! Keep in mind this coming from someone who's never stayed in a deluxe resort. Maybe once I tasted the good life I wouldn't be able to go back!

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For more kid reviews of Disney resorts, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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December 9, 2015

Whatever Wednesday- Disney Souvenirs Under $20- Pressed Pennies

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are talking about souvenirs you can find at the Disney Parks that are under $20.

You should know something about me. I'm obsessed with pressed pennies. Obsessed. And for only 51 cents you walk away with a really fun souvenir.

My husband isn't as impressed with them as I am. In fact every time I stop at a machine he groans and rolls his eyes and grumbles something about stopping again for a dang penny.  I don't let it bother me though. I keep on hunting those glorious machines and get excited when I find a new design.

I've written a post before on pennies and what to do with them once you get home, but today I'm going to talk about how to prep before your trip and some tricks on how to keep things organized while you're in the park.

First let's start with the prep work. I'm constantly preparing pennies even if another Disney trip is no where on the horizon. I think it's easier than having to get them all ready at once. I'm pretty much constantly packing for Disney. I have a tote that I keep things in for the next trip. I digress...

Pennies made before 1983 press the best {something to do with the amount of copper in them}.  I have a little piggy bank just for pennies and quarters. Every time I get change I check out my pennies right then and set aside the older ones. Each time you press one you'll need 2 quarters and 1 penny.

All of these had previously been cleaned with salt and vinegar. I decided to go back and clean them again with Bar Keepers Friend.

Once I have 10 or so pennies I clean them. I used to use the ol' salt and vinegar trick and it worked well enough. Recently I discovered Bar Keepers Friend and it works wonders! It says it cleans copper right on the bottle, I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

You can see the difference here. I just blobbed a little on and let it soak for a bit then rinsed. You can clearly see the area that didn't have any cleaner on it.  

This penny had previously been cleaned with salt and vinegar.


You can just slather them in the stuff and let them sit for a little while {10 minutes or so}. I like to really get them shiny by brushing them with an old tooth brush after they've soaked.

Once they're clean rinse them then lay them out to dry.

Once your pennies are nice and clean you can use an M&M's mini's tube to keep them organized. Stack 2 quarters and 1 penny then repeat. This will make it easy to get what you need in a hurry at the parks {and minimize the eye rolls from your spouse}. A large tube will hold 30 sets of 1 penny and 2 quarters. I also like to carry along a snack size Ziploc bag to put them in after they're pressed.

Hidden Mickey!

Machines can be found all around the park and resorts. They are commonly found in gift shops, at the end of a ride, or even restaurants. Keep your eyes open while your walking around and you'll surly see them. has some great information about current designs and where they're located.

So, for $20 you can get THIRTY NINE pressed pennies. I would say that's a great value for a souvenir, considering it's a total adventure to find the machines and it's a fun experience making them!

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For more Disney souvenirs under $20, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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November 9, 2015

Make Something Monday- Thor and Loki Helmets and Loki Scepter

Thor and Loki- Sons of Odin

So it's been like 2 weeks since I've posted. This post is pretty much the reason why. It took forever to put these projects together.

But... I love my kids and I do this crazy stuff for them.

October 13, 2015

Take With You Tuesday- Misting Fan

Keep cool!
This take with you Tuesday come straight from a client! Bring these from home and save a bunch! Inside the park they can cost close to $20, but you can get them ahead of time on Amazon for $8.25. Even less in stores on clearance after the summer season!
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October 12, 2015

Make Something Monday- Photo Quilt Series Part 2

I bet you thought I forgot about this, didn't you?

So remember OVER A YEAR AGO when I decided to sew a quilt for my boys? Well, if you don't remember you can read about it here. I have finally picked it back up again and made some progress!
We changed the fabric from the original post, but I'm pretty happy so far.

October 7, 2015

Whatever Wednesday- runDisney Training Update and 2016-2017 Schedule


“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run."-Forrest Gump

I'm so proud to say that I've been running for over a year now! Last August I started running to get ready for Princess 5k {which I ended up not doing} and have continued getting healthier and stronger ever since. Now I'm training for the 2016 Princess Half Marathon!

September 30, 2015

Whatever Wednesday- Tips for Photographing Fireworks

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing tips to get great photos on your Disney vacation.


Photographing fireworks can be a little bit tricky. I have a degree in photography and even I have taken some not so frame-able shots. I'm going to share some tips with you to help you make the most of shooting the beautiful nighttime spectaculars that Disney puts on.

The main idea is that you want to "drag the shutter" or keep the shutter open as long as you can in order to get the trails of the fireworks or even multiple bursts. The problems you can run into here are over exposure (the fireworks look way too bright or even white), and movement in the camera. Don't fret, there are ways around both of these problems.
If you're using a phone:
First let's talk equipment. A tripod is a must. This Joby Magnetic tripod is on my shopping list for sure and it's on Amazon for $24.99. I like this one because it's magnetic and you can attach it to fences, poles, or other large metal surfaces.

 I'm sure you've heard that Disney no longer allows selfie sticks. This should fall within the guidelines as acceptable to bring in the park, but I personally haven't tried it so I can't say for certain. Per the rules and regulations page prohibited items are "Selfie sticks (hand-held extension poles for cameras and mobile devices) and Large tripods."

Another piece of gear you should look into is a Bluetooth remote shutter release. Even the slightest movement of the camera can cause your pictures to be blurry. I like something like this on Amazon for $6.99. Or if you have an iPhone you can just use the earbuds that came with the phone. The volume button doubles as a shutter release!

Next, apps. I like Slow Shutter Cam {iTunes $.99}. It gives you a ton of control. Play with it before you leave home and familiarize yourself with the controls.

The last piece of the puzzle is fining a great spot. This is totally personal preference. Disney Tourist Blog shared their favorite spots {as well as some FAB pictures!} on this post.

If you're using a DSLR or Point and Shoot camera:

A tripod is a must. Again I like a Joby Magnetic Tripod like this one on Amazon for $36.19.  Again, it's magnetic but this one is strong enough to hold up 6.6 pounds!


A shutter release is another must. Search Amazon for something like this.

Last but not least for all you DSLR users, a neutral density filter. This will allow you to keep the shutter open longer without over exposing your shot. You can imagine it acts as sunglasses. I own this one on Amazon for $14.99 and love it.

Now, all camera brands are different and point-and-shoots have widely different controls from model to model, so I can't tell you exactly how to use your specific camera. What I can tell you is to look for "B" or "bulb" mode. This will keep the shutter open as long as you are holding down the button allowing you to capture several bursts in one shot.

Be aware of smoke. If it is an exceptionally humid day the smoke will hang in the air creating a cloud around the fireworks like this:


Also, you don't want to over do it. It's tempting to keep the shutter open for all of Wishes but you might end up with something looking like this:

While these aren't bad pictures, they could be better with these simple tips.

I hope the tips helped you understand how to better capture those beautiful bursts! Keep in mind this is a vacation and you need to enjoy the shows! Don't let this stress you out. I've found myself too worried about getting the perfect shot in the past. I had to make myself step back and enjoy the moment. There is nothing more precious to me than seeing my children's faces in those moments!

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