Monday, December 27, 2010

View Before you Visit: Disney Movies that set the Mood for a Magical Stay on Property

Back in May my family and I spent a wonderfully magical week at Disney.  We stayed at Disney's
Port Orleans the French Quarter Resort.  Just before we went I happened to watch one of my Disney favorites (a new classic for me)  Disney's The Princess and the Frog.  I didn't think anything about it at the time, I am always watching Disney movies and this was no different of a scenario.  So, picture this.  I'm sitting in the back seat we cross the threshold to Disney World, the place where dreams come true and my heart begins to race.  I am pumped.  I slide my finger over the albums on my iPod and my finger stops on the song "When We're Human" on The Princess and the Frog soundtrack...worlds collide, sparks fly, a magical ambiance comes over me as we come to the entrance of (chimes cue here) Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter and it smacks me right in the face...I am living out the movie soundtrack and all...hey why didn't I think of that?  I've always geared up for a Disney trip by listening to tunage and watching Disney movies but, I have never listened to music/watched movies that would enhance my trip.  Let me tell you, this moment of serendipity might have seemed like a small detail in the larger scheme of things.  But, ye' of little faith (I am lumping the former me in as well) my (Disney) World was rocked.  I looked at details and appreciated them in a new light.  I imagined that Tiana and Naveen would have stayed at the French Quarter.  I hummed the songs unknowingly as I walked the streets of the resort.  I noticed things that (just maybe) inspired the animators.   I smiled back at the huge Mardi Gras jester.  It. Was. Special. 

So, I your humble blogger have compiled a list of movies that you should watch to amp up your resort stay.  I chose from a wide array of Disney/Pixar movies from cartoons to live action, this list has got it all.  My hope is that you would watch the movies before you go to Disney World (or if you have the luxury of in flight/in car/van video) on the way to Disney World.  I can't promise that the magic will work on you but, it did work on me.  I don't think I would have had the same resort stay if I hadn't recollected on the movie and soundtrack during my stay.  I would like to add that I have not stayed at all of the resorts listed.  In fact I have only stayed at Fort Wilderness Campground (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) and Port Orleans French Quarter so, some of my thoughts from reading reviews and looking at the Disney site may not be dead on to you.  Also, I just picked a few movies (in some cases only one movie) as a view and visit favorite.  So, that leaves some creative work for you.  Do you stay at on of the resorts and another Disney movie connects better?  Post it in the comment section.  I would love to hear the feedback! 
Oh, and by the way...
If you have read any posts on this blog you have probably gathered that I am a visual person.  I like pictures and movies that allow you to see what I see.  So, in advance, please note that all resort logos/pics are directly linked to the site from which they came most are from Wikipedia  also, all movie "covers" are from  Enjoy!

Deluxe Resorts

Going to...


Going to...

Going to...

Moderate Resorts

Going to...

  or  or 

Going to...

(French Quarter)
The Princess and the Frog Poster

Going to...
The Princess and the Frog Poster    or   Tom and Huck Poster

Going to...

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier Poster

Value Resorts
Going to...
The Mighty Ducks Poster  or Angels in the Outfield Poster  or Air Bud Poster  or  Remember the Titans Poster

Going to...
AllStar Music Resort Color.png
Beauty and the Beast Poster  or High School Musical Poster  or The Little Mermaid Poster or Camp Rock Poster
or pretty much any Disney Musical Classic (four just fit the best.  I could go on and on!!)

Going to...
AllStar Movies Resort Color.png
One Hundred and One Dalmatians Poster  or Toy Story Poster  or Herbie Fully Loaded Poster  or Fantasia Poster
Once again many classics would work here these are just a few!

learn more (and see more :)!) at one of my all time favorite sites disney sites!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Around the World: Stop #11 Canada

Joyeux Noël and Merry Christmas
Welcome to Canada
Tradition of Canada I am highlighting Christmas and I'll touch on Boxing Day

Christmas in Canada:  Depending on where you are from in Canada you might call Santa Pere Noel, Santa Clause, or even Papa Noel.  Children on the naughty list would do well to be on the look out for belsnicklers, or masked mummers.  These belsnickers might leave the children with lumps of coal if they are on that naughty list.  Taking their roots from France, many people of Canada celebrate Le Revellion and take many other Christmas traditions.  British roots are also tied into many Canadian traditions (i.e., Boxing Day) on which small presents are given to tradesmen or servants to give them thanks for their help throughout the year.
Date of Christmas and Boxing Day:  Christmas December 25th and Boxing Day December 26th

Another great one from JPL1311's Youtube page
Join Papa Noel as he tells the story of the diverse Christmas season in Canada!

Christmas Around the World: Stop #10 The United Kingdom

Happy Christmas
Welcome to The United Kingdom
Tradition I will be highlighting Christmas

Traditions of The United Kingdom:  Father Christmas comes to visit the children of the United Kingdom.  Christmas in the United Kingdom is quite like Christmas in America.  Christmas cards originated in England in 1843 and are a part the holidays and in the UK still today.  Families celebrate by putting on the Nativity play.  Also families get together for singing, eating, and togetherness.
Dates of tradition:  December 25th

Here is another great video from JPL1311's Youtube page
Carol along with Father Christmas as he gives us the jolliest of historical reports!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Around the World: Stop #9 France

Joyeux Noël
Welcome to France
Tradition I am highlighting Christmas and Father Christmas

Traditions in France at Christmas:  On Christmas Eve Pere Noel (Father Christmas) comes to visit the children of France.  Pere Noel leaves gifts in the shoes of the children and then hangs fruits and nuts on the tree.  On Christmas Eve, the families in France listen to the story of Baby Jesus.  Families put up the Creche (the Nativity).  Figures placed in the crèche include people from the village (called little saints)  these are carved from clay and new additions are added by the families each year!   Families go to Mass together and then gather at their homes to eat and have a lot of fun!  This special feast is called Le Reveillon (which is finished off with a yummy dessert called Buche de Nol).
Celebration Day:  Christmas  December 25th

Another great Youtube video from GTNProductions21.
Join Pere Noel as he tells about Christmas traditions from France. 

Christmas Around the World: Stop #8 Morocco

Eid Mubarak
Welcome to Morocco
Tradition I am highlighting Moroccan New Year

Traditions of Moroccan New Year:  This celebration lasts 10 days. The festival of Ashura commemorates the sacrifice made by Muhammad.  Ashura is now a day of celebration on which feasting is had and children are given gifts (like drums and toys).  On the day of Ashura the people visit with friends and family where a lot of fun is had by all. 
Festival of Ashura Date:  the tenth day of the holy Muslim month of Muharram.

A great Youtube video from aviddisneyphiles
Join the taarji (drummer and storyteller) as he tells the story of the fast and ending celebration of Ramadan fast as well as new year in Morocco.

Christmas Around the World: Stop #7 Japan

(Happy New Year)
Welcome to Japan
Traditions I am highlighting Japanese New Year: The Daruma

Traditions of Japanese New Year the Daruma:   The people of Japan celebrate New Year in many festive ways.  Households buy Darumas (these are little rounded wooden dolls modeled after Bodhidharma).  These good luck symbols come pupil less.  You make a wish and paint in the left eye.  If your wish comes true by year end, the right pupil is painted in...if not better luck next year.  Legend has it that the Daruma went to a mountain top to meditate where he rested for 9 years (whoa)  he ended up losing the use of his limbs remaining motionless.  He reminds the Japanese to be patient also, the Daruma always stands back up when hit.    On New Years eve bells ring in the celebration as the people of Japan eat long soba noodles.  After the gong rings 180 the fresh New Year begins. 
Dates of New Year: 

Another great video from JPL1311's Youtube page.
Join Aki the Daruma vendor as he tells the legends behind the New Year Traditions.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Around the World: Stop #6 America (American Pavilion)

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Hanukkah
Welcome to America
Holidays I highlight:  Hanukkah and Kwanzaa

Celebration of Hanukkah:  For 8 nights the Menorah is light to remember the times when the oil did not run out.  A miracle happened and it is remembered each year.  Food prepared in oil like latkas (um yum by the way) and donuts are made to celebrate.  Games like the dreidel are played by all.
Dates of Hanukkah 2010:  For 2010, Hanukkah began December 1st and ended December 9th.
Video from Youtube by dizneymike
Listen as Danielle tell the Hanukkah story.

Celebration of Kwanzaa:  Started in 1966 this 7 day celebration is in honor of African values (both in America and Africa).  The celebration of Kwanzaa also has 7 principles (represented with the 7 candles).  The seven principles (in Swahili and then English)
 #1 Umoja (Unity)
#2 Kujichagulia(Self Determination)
#3 Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
#4 Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
#5 Nia (Purpose)
#6 Kuumba (Creativity)
#7 Imani (Faith).  
Celebrations are made complete with eating, dancing, music, and singing!
Dates of Celebration: Celebration begins day after Christmas

Another great one from Youtube from dizneymike
Jon Ayanna as she tells the story of Kwanzaa through a fable.

Christmas Around the World: Stop #5 Italy

Buon Natale
Welcome to Italy
Tradition I am highlighting "La Befana"

Celebration in Italy:  La Befana, the witch, comes to visit the children via broom on January 6th (the eve of Epiphany).  La Befana comes to visit this special eve because in ancient times the Wise men come by her home searching for the star indicating Bethlehem and the birth of baby Jesus.  She refuses them.  A few days later Shepard's come asking if La Befana has seen the baby king.  Suddenly the sky brightens and angels begin singing so La Befana heads to Bethlehem.  Before leaving she searches high and low for a gift for Jesus.  She finally finds a rattered tattered doll.  She goes out to find the star and finds the sky is empty.  La Befana has waited too long.  For 2000 she has been on the search for the Christ child so, each year, she brings gifts to the children (just in case they are the baby Jesus...she would hate to miss out again like she did 2000 years ago).

Dates of celebration:  Eve of and January 6th

Another great one from JPL1311 on their Youtube channel
La Befana brings the story of Christmas in Italy to life in this great story telling session!

Christmas Around the World: Stop #4 Germany

Fröhliche Weihnachten
Welcome to Germany
Decorations from Christmas time in Germany

German traditional Christmas decorations:  The Tannenbaum (Did you know that no decorations are placed indoors until December 24th.  On Christmas eve the mother and fathers place the Christmas tree and decorations in the home as a surprise for the children).  Otherr festive decoration include the gingerbread house, the Nutcracker doll, and the advent calendar to name a few. 

This video from Designomatt's Youtube channel features your German holiday guide Helga who shares with us Christmas traditions from Germany (you will be surprised at how many Germany traditions we actual also recognize in America!)

Christmas Around the World: Stop #3 China

Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun( Merry Christmas in Cantonese)
Welcome to China
Custom/Tradition I am highlighting "The Monkey King"

Custom/Tradition from China:  Legend has it that the Monkey King was born out of a rock and raised by great humans.  He was a very good warrior and his greed for a magical stick (kept in the ocean) landed him trapped in a mountain by Buddha.  Because of his warrior abilities, he was requested to go on a journey to India and released by Buddha.  At completion of this journey the Monkey King realized that his greed and struggle to be the most powerful got him nothing but, helping people in their journey toward enlightenment was his greatest power of all. 

This is another great video from Epcot's Holidays Around the World storytellers.
I found it from JPL1311 on Youtube
Go on a journey for enlightenment with the Monkey King!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Around the World: Stop #2 Norway

God Jule!

Welcome to Norway
Celebration I am highlighting "Julenissen and God Jule"

Celebration from Norway:  God Jule!  That is how you say Merry Christmas in Norway.  Nisse or nomes are particularliy tricky and around Christmas Julenissen (think Norway's Santa) is the trickiest of them all!  Julenissen is said to be the guardian of the farm animals so children (and what the heck, even adults) hoping to stay on his good side will leave him a hot bowl of porridge out in the barn on Christmas Eve.  Christmas in Norway is celebrated for three days (a big party on Christmas Eve, a bit laid back on Christmas, and back to the party the day after Christmas).  In addition to the porridge, children use the best sheeves of wheat to create a julenek.  It is said to be good luck if the birds eat from your julenek. 

Dates of celebration: December 24-26th

I found this awesome video from GTNProductions21 on Youtube.
This video is from the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. Sigrid and the delightful Julenissen tell the story of Christmas in Norway.  Watch out for Julenissen...he is a tricky one...boop!

Christmas Around the World: Stop #1 Mexico

Feliz Navidad! 
Welcome to Mexico
Celebration I am highlighting "Las Posadas"

Celebration from Mexico: Las Posadas (a celebration of the 9 day journey that Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem).  Families go from home to home in a procession reenacting the journey of Mary and Joseph.  They are turned down from door to door before finally being invited into a home.  Once in the home the Nativity is set up and food and fun are had by all.  On Christmas eve, the baby Jesus is placed in the Nativity and then families go to Mass. 
Dates of celebration: December 16-24th

I found this great video from MickeyEarsCom on Youtube
This video is from the Mexican Pavilion at Epcot.  The 3 wise men tell the story of many different Mexican Christmas traditions.  Enjoy!

*storytellers share holiday traditions throughout Epcot November 26-December 30th (with various show times daily in front of each county respectively).  Information on show times can be found at guest services.  Read more at

I Wish Wednesday...I Wish I Could See Christmas All Over the World

I wish I could see what Christmas was like all over the world.  That would require a lot of money, some time travel ability, and of course a tour guide to translate and fill me in on various holiday customs and traditions right? 

Wrong!  Today, this I Wish Wednesday is going to be a wish granted care of Youtube (and some great videos from Epcot's Holidays Around the World Storytellers!) and your flight attendant...ME!  For the rest of the week I'll post a mini-series called Christmas Around the World.   So, God Yule, Feliz Navidad, and Merry Christmas!  No matter how you say it, buckle up and prepare for some holiday fun!  First stop...Mexico!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree (to the 4th Power!) DW Park Christmas Trees 2010

Disney World is all decked out this time of the year.  Each park has their own huge, themed tree.  Take a look at some pictures I took during my time at the parks last month.  I didn't get pictures of the tree at the Magic Kingdom because it wasn't put up until December 8th. A friend of mine went to Disney just last week and allowed me to post some of her photographs of the Magic Kingdom tree (thanks Jessica!).   You can check out the link listed below to see some pictures of the tree from the Magic Kingdom. 
Finally,  maybe you'll get inspired by these great trees.  I am definitely going to be re-creating some of the Disney Christmas magic on my tree (next year).  Perhaps you will too! 
Disney's Animal Kingdom
The Christmas tree at Disney's Animal Kingdom is themed around the animals of the park. Handcrafted touches add to the authenticity of the tree.  I especially love the base of this tree because it features some of my favorite Disney creatures (Tigger, Timon and Pumba to mention a few!)

Decorated with global themed decorations, Epcot's Christmas tree serves as a beacon of peace and joy.  Situated at the front of the World Showcase Lagoon this tree sets the tone for Christmas in the World Showcase Pavilion. I also like all of the character topiaries.  My favorite, Goofy (see him below in action with some Christmas lights) is located just next to the tree.  I especially liked the angel perched high atop the tree holding a globe triumphantly in the air.  I love Epcot!

Disney's Hollywood Studios
This was my favorite Christmas tree.  It is so glitz, so tinsel, so...well...Hollywood!  With a 50s feel this tree got me in the old Hollywood mood like only Disney's Hollywood Studios can create!  I loved the huge ornaments, retro Santas, and the movie reel wrapping the base of the tree.  Hooray for Christmas trees (and Hollywood)!  By the way check out that night time picture.  That tree is beautiful!

Magic Kingdom
Since I didn't really see this one myself, I don't want to do a review/talk about the decor instead, go to's great page of photos and details!

(photograph courtesy of Jessica G.:)  Thanks lady!)