Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween and Trick or Treating, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite seasonal sweets and treats from Disney World.
 Spooky Apples
 
 Ghostly cupcakes
 
 Jack Skellington and Mickey cake pops
Turkey leg and Mickey rice crispie treats
chocolate covered pineapple spears
and Mickey macaron

Are you hungry yet?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Limited Time Magic for Halloween



I had a chance to experience an amazing Limited Time Magic this week. For one week only, from 10/26 until 11/1, the Diamond Horseshoe transforms into the Happy Haunted Horseshoe. Featured performers include the Cadaver Dans, Miss Betty Blue, Abner Cadaver: the Ghostly Magician, and the piano man Dearly Departed Stan. They sing Halloween music, perform magic, and are spooky fun. The performances seem to run continuously from 11am until 3pm each day.





As you enter the Horseshoe, you will be directed to a table where you can watch, and possibly interact with the performers. I would recommend a seat in the middle; that's the best place to view the show.  There are even special desserts and sandwiches available at the bar. Bean chose a giant eyeball cupcake.
 Miss Betty Blue is a singer from the old west. Her songs and jokes were quite funny.
Next up were a the piano stylings of Dearly Departed Stan. Stan scared the heck out of Bean when he came out of a door behind us and snuck up to our table silently. He leaned in between Bean and I and whispered, "Boo!" Bean was sure startled, but though it was quite funny. The third act was Abner Cadaver, who was actually quite a good magician that required a lot of audience participation.

The Cadaver Dans were definitely my favorite. They sang "The Headless Horseman", "Ghost Riders in the Sky", and "Boo to You" in four part harmony. It was amazing! So if you'll be in the Magic Kingdom this week, be sure to stop in at the Happy Haunted Horseshoe. You'll be sure to have a ghostly good time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monsters University on Blu-ray


Monsters University arrives on Blu-ray and DVD today. Will you be buying it? I will!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Quote of the Week

Boo To you
A Trick Or Treat
For you That's Boo
It's You Know Who
A Boo to you and you and you and you
Happy Halloween



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin Review

Buzz Lightyear briefs you on your mission
There is one ride in the Magic Kingdom that I could ride over and over again and never get bored... Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

Based on one of the most popular characters from the Toy Story series, this ride is a blast, literally. Located in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, the Space Ranger Spin is part ride, part game, and all fun.

The queue sets the stage for the ride to come. It is full of star maps and battle plans from Star Command. A 6-foot-tall Buzz Lightyear with a digital face is there to recruit you for a mission of the utmost urgency - save the galaxy and defeat the evil Emperor Zurg by stopping him from stealing crystollic fusion cells (batteries).

The XP-37 Space Cruiser on a giant Etch a Sketch
You board your vehicle on a moving walkway similar to the on in the Haunted Mansion. The futuristic XP-37 Space Cruiser will comfortably fit two adults. Although the vehicle has room for 3, there are only 2 ion cannons in each vehicle, so I would recommend that only two people ride in each vehicle so that everyone can play.

Once aboard, a cast member lowers the console across your lap. This activates your ion cannon and scoreboard. Buzz gives you instructions on what to target, and you're off.

Your goal is to accumulate as many points as possible by aiming your ion cannon at the lightning shaped Zs and pulling the trigger. The ion cannon will continually fire if the trigger is held down, which can help small children earn a higher score. The small score board near each blaster keeps track of each player's score. A joystick in the center of the console allows players to rotate the Space Cruiser so that you can find additional targets. Each target has a point value. The targets that don't move and are closest to your spaceship are worth the least points. The targets that are farthest away, and often move, are worth the most.

Help Star Command to save the galaxy
You travel through 10 rooms full of targets in your battle with Zurg. Each room has targets of low and high values, as well as secret targets that can help you to quickly max out your points if you find them.

My favorite is in the battery room on the right hand side toward the back. I believe it's worth 25,000 points each time you hit it. There are also targets worth 100,000 points, but I'll leave it to you to find them. My family loves to compete for the high score on this ride. When Bean was really little, my family would make her ride with me in an attempt to stop me from beating them. Unfortunately for them, no matter how often she used the joystick to swing the Space Cruiser around, I still beat them!

At the end of the ride, after the dark tunnel, you will find a giant Zurg in his ruined spaceship. At this point, your ion cannon is turned off and your score is tallied. The vehicle turns to face Zurg and your photo is taken. Near the vehicle exit is a chart which will tell you what level you've achieved, from Space Cadet to Galactic Hero. Here is a breakdown of the scoring:

0 - 1,000 points = Star Cadet
1,001 - 10,000 = Space Scout
10,001 - 100,000 = Ranger 1st Class
100,001 - 300,000 = Planetary Pilot
300,001 - 600,000 = Space Ace
600,001 - 999,998 = Cosmic Commando
999,999 = Galactic Hero

After exiting the ride, a wall of screens to your left display the ride photos, complete with scores. Pick out your photo and a cast member will write down the number for you so that you can purchase it. If you have purchased the Photopass Plus package, the photo can be added to your Photopass. To your right in the photo purchase area, you can see Zurg behind bars. This is a popular spot for photos, as most kids like to get in jail with Zurg.

Although there are times, especially during the rainy season when Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin will have a 5 minute or less wait time, lines can get very long for this popular ride. I would recommend getting a Fastpass if the posted wait is longer than 25 minutes. There is no height requirement to ride Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and although it is a dark ride, it is unlikely to scare anyone. The ride is wheelchair accessible, with a special car for easy transitions. And be on the lookout for hidden Mickeys; there are several in both the queue and the ride itself.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

Here it is: your first look at Captain America: The Winter Soldier, coming to theaters next spring.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quote of the Week

When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake
Spooks come out for a swinging wake
Happy haunts materialize
And begin to vocalize
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize...
- The Haunted Mansion

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Boo to You Parade at MNSSHP



In my opinion, the Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is the best parade at Disney World. It's a great opportunity to see many rare Disney characters as well as several classic characters in Halloween costumes. Bean's favorite part of the parade is the Headless Horseman who rides through before the parade starts. We've enjoyed watching the old Disney Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as narrated by Bing Crosby, for years. As a result, we always look forward to seeing the Headless Horseman, although Bean was terribly disappointed to discover that he doesn't give autographs!

After the Horseman, the music begins and the floats make their way through Frontierland toward Main Street. The music is ridiculously catchy! You'll find yourself humming it for days after watching the parade. The parade begins with many walking characters who carry fancy Halloween masks. The characters dance to the music, but also wave to the children in the audience and high-five them as well.
The first float has Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy in their Halloween finery, riding in a decorated gazebo.
Next is a large tree from the Hundred Acre Woods with Winnie the Pooh and friends in their Halloween costumes. Peter Pan and the Lost Boys dance and play their way through the parade with Wendy. They are followed by Captain Hook and Mr Smee on the Jolly Roger and an enormous Tick-Tock Croc.
The next group is pirates, including Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow high up on a treasure covered cliff.
Now we've come to my favorite part of the parade: the Haunted Mansion characters. Fog covers the ground as the Caretaker, Dick O'Dell, leads his frightened dog through the mist. Ghostly ballroom dancers glide down the parade route followed by the Hitchhiking Ghosts standing on the steps of the Haunted Mansion. The dancers are not to be missed. They are eerie and beautiful at the same time.
The gravediggers are also spectacular and do an amazing dance with shovels, including a move where they run the shovels along the ground and send up sparks. The next group includes characters from the early days of Disney and includes Horace Horsecollar, a group of cowboy dancer, and the Country Bears singing and playing on a float.
Brer Bear and Brer Fox join Chip and Dale in Western wear to escort several country girls down the parade, dancing as they go. Clara Cluck follows them in a giant barn.
Next up is a pumpkin-headed character on a large mirrored ball that spins and weaves through the parade.
The villains follow, complete with their own skeleton band, and include the Queen of Heart, Cruella DeVil, the Evil Queen, the Sheriff of Nottingham, the Big Bad Wolf, Dr. Facilier,  and Jafar and Maleficent on a castle wall with a full size Chernabog peering over the top and often Ursula on the back. Shenzi, Bonzai, and Ed round out the villains and are followed by a candy corn waving flag line. Pluto and Goofy, riding in candy filled trucks, are the last to pass, with helpers who hand out candy to the children, ending the parade.
You'll have two chances to watch the parade during the party. If you have young children who may not be able to stay until the end of the party, I would recommend watching the earlier parade. The first parade is at 8:15 pm and the second parade is at 10:30 pm. I have watched the parade from several different locations, but would recommend finding a spot in Frontierland. The area between the Country Bear Jamboree and the Frontierland turkey leg cart, facing the Rivers of America is my favorite spot. It's usually not as crowded as Main Street and the lighting is fantastic for taking photos.

The Boo to You Parade may change slightly from year to year and may include different characters, but it's always worth taking the time to watch. Be sure to pick a spot about 20-30 minutes before the start of the parade to get the best seats and remember to bring glow sticks from home. They sell them at Disney and kids always want them, but they are far too expensive. The parade lasts about 15 minutes and may have a few moments that are too scary for young children, such as the Haunted Mansion characters and villains. However, this parade is definitely one to watch.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hocus Pocus turns 20


In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Hocus Pocus, D23 is hosting a special screening of the film today. They've also created this limited edition giclee to celebrate one of my favorite films.

Photo Credit: Disney

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Good Witch's Destiny


I love the Good Witch series on Hallmark Channel. I've been watching it for years and have loved every movie. The latest movie, the Good Witch's Destiny, brings the entire family back together again to celebrate a birthday, with magical style. This new story debuts Saturday, October 26th. And for those of you who may have missed a part of this great series, they're replaying all 6 films in order. Starting at 11am with The Good Witch, The Good Witch's Garden at 1pm, The Good Witch's Gift at 3pm, The Good Witch's Family at 5pm, The Good Witch's Charm at 7pm, and finally the Good Witch's Destiny at 9pm. They are definitely worth making time to watch.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

13 Nights of Halloween


It's nearly time for ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween. The Halloween takeover starts this Saturday with a replay of Toy Story of Terror. If you missed it last night, be sure to watch it on Saturday. It's cute, and yet suspenseful enough to be entertaining for older children. My family enjoyed it immensely. And don't forget to watch my favorite Disney Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus, on Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th.

Photo Credit: ABC Family

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quote of the Week

You poor simple fools. 
Thinking you could defeat ME?! 
Me, the Mistress of all evil!
- Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Disney Villains Wallpapers


Have you seen the new computer wallpapers from Disney? They are currently doing a series of villains. So far, they're offering Ursula, Hook, and the Evil Queen from Snow White. They are perfectly creepy and great for Halloween. Check them out.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nighmare Before Christmas turns 20


Did you know that the Nightmare Before Christmas arrived in theaters 20 years ago today? It's amazing how time flies. The characters from Nightmare Before Christmas are very memorable, and the songs are fun to see along with. In honor of this 20th anniversary, you can meet Jack Skellington and his girlfriend Sally, appearing for the first time during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Photo Credit: Disney

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween Costumes at the Disney Store

Are you still looking for a Halloween costume for your kids? Most of our favorite costumes have been either inspired by Disney or Disney made. Bean especially loves her princess costumes. After Halloween, they become a part of her everyday dress-up collection, which is ever expanding. We don't generally mind the expense, but we alway look for a good sale. This weekend, the Disney Store is having a sale on Halloween costumes and accessories. Select styles are 25% off, so it's definitely a money saver. If you haven't found a costume yet, be sure to check it out.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sofia the First Halloween


©Disney
Do your little ones watch Sofia the First? It's a hit in my house and we always look forward to seeing new episodes. Today, Sofia and her stepsister Amber get ready for a Halloween Ball and costume contest. I just love Halloween episodes! Sofia the First will be on the Disney Channel at 9:30am Eastern time and 8:30 Central time. Be sure to watch, because you're in for a treat!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Templates from Disney


©Disney
Disney has created some great pumpkin carving templates over the years. Many of them are available for free on Spoonful. This year is no exception. The Sofia the First template is so cute! I also like the Rapunzel template. They are cute and fun without being the least bit scary. There are absolutely hilarious Phineas, Ferb, and Agent P templates from Phineas and Ferb that I know Bean would love, and a stylized Sulley from Monster's University  too. For something a little more Halloween oriented, try the Stitch witchDonald Duck Devil, or Vampire Mickey templates. My personal favorite is the Little Green Alien from Toy Story. I just love those guys and they are super cute in pumpkin form. I suspect my sister prefers the spooky Jack Skellington. I think that pumpkin is up to something. A few years ago, I carved the Maleficent pumpkin. It was a little tricky, but it turned out awesome. So if you need a few ideas for your Halloween pumpkins, be sure to check out Spoonful. Your pumpkins will be magical.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Itty Bittys at Hallmark

Mike and Sulley
Have you seen the new Itty Bittys at Hallmark? They are so adorable! I think Sulley is my favorite. These Itty Bittys are about 4 inches tall and super soft. I can see them quickly becoming a new addiction. Oh, d-d-d-dear!
Pooh and Eeyore
Other friends from the Hundred Acre Woods include Tigger and Piglet.
Princess Aurora and Tinker Bell
Other Princesses include an absolutely adorable Ariel in mermaid form (which I may have to find for mermaid loving Bean), Cinderella in her ballgown, Snow White, and Jasmine.
Mickey and Minnie
Other classic Disney characters include Bambi and Thumper.
Mickey Mouse Santa
There's also a Minnie Mouse Christmas Itty Bitty. Itty Bittys are $6.95 each. The photos are the ones that were available at my local Hallmark, but they are all available at Hallmark.com.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Monster Cereals

I have very fond memories of eating Monster Cereals as a kid. I buy them every October both because they are fun and to introduce Bean to a few of my favorite things from childhood. This year, they didn't just bring back the usual 3 cereals, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry, they also added two I've never seen before: Fruity Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. Yummy Mummy is orange cream flavored and Frute Brute is cherry flavored. They're actually pretty good for kids cereals. And this year, there is also a Monster Bash booklet. It's $2.50 or free with the purchase of 3 boxes of cereal. It has a lot of fun tips and tricks for hosting a Halloween party, along with several kid friendly recipes. Bean's favorite recipe is the Tarantula Tacos, with spiders made of olives. I liked the silly games for kids to play. If you want to add some Halloween to the everyday, just pick up a box of Monster Cereal. And remember, they'll soon be gone.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Trick or Treating at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

My favorite time of year to go to Disney World is in the fall. I absolutely adore going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. And one of the best parts of the Party is the Trick or Treating. Last year, Disney handed out a whopping 215 tons of candy at the parties.

When you check in for the party, at the Rose Garden or the gate, you are handed your party wristbands, a map, and a small, gift-bag sized trick or treat bag. In the past, the bag has advertised the latest Disney movies, such as TinkerBell or Wall-E. The bags are easy to carry and fairly sturdy, however, if your child has a favorite bag or bucket they'd prefer, that's perfectly okay.

There are several Trick or Treat Trails set up around the Magic Kingdom. The Trails, as well as additional candy stops, are marked on the party map. The first two years that I attended the party, the Trails were Alice in Wonderland themed, with Cast Members dressed as playing cards handing out the candy. Along the Trails, we got a surprise meeting with the Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit. This past year, there were new trails, including one at Splash Mountain. The candy distribution is generous and we've found the Cast Members to be very friendly and in the spirit of Halloween. Most Cast Members will give each person a large handful of candy at each stop along the trail. Some Cast Members will wait for the kids to say "Trick or Treat" before handing out candy, and you should remember to say "Thank you!" too.

A surprise meeting with the Queen of Hearts
Disney is very generous with the candy that they hand out during MNSSHP. The candy varies, but is usually a good mix of popular varieties including Butterfinger, Hersheys, Skittles, Twix, Laffy Taffy, Heath Bars, Smarties, Nestle Crunch, Reese's peanut butter cups, Tootsie Rolls, Twizzlers, and more. In the past, there were also small boxes of raisins for a healthy option and also little extras that were handed out at some stops in lieu of candy. One year, we got packs of Winnie the Pooh Halloween memory cards. Another year, we got Jack Skellington stencils that were made of a nice sturdy plastic. Last year, at the Jungle Cruise stop, you could even get bananas instead of candy. One of our favorite treats was the Jake and the Neverland Pirates fruit snacks. And Disney has also added several locations where you can trade in your candy for healthier alternatives, including sugar-free, allergen-free, and non-candy options.

You never know what you might find on the Trick or Treat Trails. In previous years, near the Haunted Mansion, was a trail that led down to the Riverboat landing. A ghostly ship's captain bearing a lamp haunted a fog-enshrouded area at the bottom of the stairs. Last year, Disney added a new Riverboat stop that was less spooky and lots of fun: a Mardi Gras party from the Princess and the Frog.

Our giant haul of candy!

The Trick or Treat Trails are a great way to pass the time while waiting for the Boo to You parades or dance parties to start, or walking from one area of the park to another. We usually use our small bags while walking the trails, but dump the candy into a single backpack when it becomes too much to easily carry or when going on rides. The Trails are rarely busy if you attend a party in September or even early October. We haven't ususally had to wait for more than one group to finish before getting our candy or having a chance to interact with the characters. We really enjoyed the unexpectedly calm pace at a park that is often quite frenetic.

At the end of the night, don't forget to get your bag topped off as you exit the gate. In 2009, the top of candy was giant Ghiradelli caramel filled chocolate bars. And each of us got six! Last year, it was individually wrapped Peeps in Halloween colors. So if you're planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party, be sure to make time for Trick or Treating. It's definitely worth it!