Category: Travel

Moms Panel Monday: Need Dinner Recommendations?

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

When it comes to planning a Disney vacation, very few people can offer better advice than the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Their knowledge and experience makes them the best source for planning tips. For Moms Panel Monday, we asked our panelists to share their favorite questions from the year.

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A guest from Alabama wanted to know what dining options were available before her family headed to the Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Moms Panelist Anne gave great recommendations on all the delicious and entertaining options available including feasting on a picnic to-go or enjoying a classic singing and dancing family dinner show.

Another guest from West Virginia asked for suggestions on how to surprise her daughter with the news they were going to a character breakfast. Moms Panelist Rachel offered a very special and creative idea that she used with her own children. This answer will melt your heart for sure!

And Moms Panelist Sue gives splendid advice about all the fun and unique things to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The question came from a mom traveling with her six kids and the grandparents and wanted more information about this exquisite resort. Sue said this was just a fun question to answer.

Do you have a question about planning a Disney vacation? Be sure to ask the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Moms Panel Monday: Need Dinner Recommendations? by Leanne O'Regan: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

VIDEO: Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Celebrates 90th Birthday at Disneyland Park

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

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“In this whole wide world there was no happier bloke” than entertainment icon and Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke as he celebrated his 90th birthday with family, friends and fans at Disneyland park on Sunday.

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From a special dedication inside the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café to a cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A., during a day filled with love and laughter “…nowhere was there a more happier crew than them what sings ‘Happy Birthday to you!’”

VIDEO: Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Celebrates 90th Birthday at Disneyland Park by George Savvas: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Reservations Now Open for ‘Paint the Night’ Parade Dining Packages at Disneyland Park

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

A few weeks ago, fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Erin Glover, shared the exciting news that “Paint the Night” parade dining packages are coming to Disneyland park beginning January 11, 2016. And now, reservations for these packages are open!

At Blue Bayou Restaurant, the “Paint the Night” parade package is offered with regular dinner service and menu from 4 p.m. – close. Enjoy an appetizer, entrée and choice of dessert. Kid’s meals are available for guests ages 3 to 9.

Lasagna BologneseHerb-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Seasonal VegetablesVegetarian Lasagna

Aladdin’s Oasis will have special On-the-Go meals that include “Paint the Night” parade viewing. Meals can be picked up beginning at noon. Adult entrees include salad with choice of dressing, dinner roll, marbled cheesecake and a beverage in addition to your choice of:

  • Herb-marinated grilled chicken with seasonal vegetables
  • Lasagna Bolognese
  • Vegetarian lasagna
Kids' Herb-Marinated ChickenKids'Macaroni and Cheese

Kids’ meals include seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit, a dinner roll, Mickey-shaped cookie and a beverage in addition to your choice of:

  • Herb-marinated chicken
  • Pasta
  • Macaroni and cheese

Each dining package includes a voucher for preferred viewing of “Paint the Night” parade for that day. Each voucher will list the location, arrival time and show performance time for the parade viewing. Availability of “Paint the Night” parade dining packages are limited. For reservations, visit Disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE.

Reservations Now Open for ‘Paint the Night’ Parade Dining Packages at Disneyland Park by Rachel Bshero: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Recipe: Peanut Butter Blondies from Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

Today I’m sharing the recipe of another delectable dessert at Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats on the Disney Dream – peanut butter blondies filled with caramel chocolate cream. We make these blondies with a fun “Wreck-It-Ralph” wafer on top, but you can get creative to decorate yours for the holidays or other special occasions.

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Peanut Butter Blondies filled with Caramel Chocolate Cream
Makes 15 blondies

Ingredients: Peanut Butter Blondies

  • 13 Oz White Couverture Chocolate / Chopped
  • 5 Oz Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Oz Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 14 Oz Brown Sugar
  • 5 each Eggs
  • 11 Oz All Purpose Flour
  • 5 Oz
  • Pecans / Chopped
  • Dark Coating Chocolate for Dipping

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk the eggs and brown sugar together until thick.
  3. Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and then fold in the flour and pecans.
  4. Pour the mixture in a prepared brownie pan and bake at 360 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. The brownie should be soft in the middle.
  5. Remove the brownie from the oven to cool. Once cooled, cut into rectangle shapes.

Ingredients: Caramel Chocolate Cream

  • 4 Oz Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 11 Oz White Couverture Chocolate / Chopped
  • 4 Oz White Coating Chocolate / Chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the heavy cream in a saucepan, and on low heat, warm the cream.
  2. Make a caramel with the sugar by adding a small portion of the sugar in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir the sugar constantly as it starts to melt and turn golden brown. Continue to add the remainder of the sugar into the hot caramel.
  3. When the caramelized sugar turns to a golden color, carefully pour the warm cream into the caramel. Stir in the cream until all the sugar and cream is combined and there are no lumps.
  4. Pour the hot caramel mixture over the two white chocolates and stir together until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  5. Melt the dark coating chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler saucepan on low heat. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  6. To assemble the peanut butter blondies, dip the brownies into the melted chocolate. As you remove the brownie, scrape off the excess chocolate and place on trays with wax paper on the bottom. Let the chocolate set.
  7. Place the caramel chocolate cream in a pastry bag with a plain nozzle on the end of the bag tip. Pipe the caramel chocolate over the blondie and decorate accordingly.

Find out more about Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats from my previous posts:

Recipe: Peanut Butter Blondies from Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats by Kelly Vanarsdall: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Carnival’s ‘Merry Grinchmas’ Celebrations Bring Holiday Cheer To Kids At Medical University Of South Carolina Children’s Hospital In Charleston And Baltimore’s Ronald McDonald House

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

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Carnival Cruise Line, in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, brought some holiday cheer to kids at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital in Charleston and The Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore, hosting fun-filled “Merry Grinchmas” celebrations with appearances from The Grinch and more.

Carnival also presented each facility with a $10,000 donation during the festivities.

In addition to a reading of the classic Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, entertainment and youth staff from the Charleston-based Carnival Fantasy and Baltimore-based Carnival Pride cruise ships recreated the line’s popular holiday show with the ships’ singers and dancers performing for kids in each facility’s respective play areas.

The shows were highlighted by a visit from The Grinch as the cantankerous curmudgeon did his best to “stop Christmas from coming” by stealing the cruise directors’ favorite holiday ornament. After being transformed by the real meaning of Christmas, the legendary green character returned the item in a heartwarming end-of-show celebration. The Grinch is entertaining guests throughout the Carnival fleet in December as part of the line’s exclusive Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Dr. Seuss characters and the shipboard team members also distributed Dr. Seuss-themed gift bags to each child. Kids were also given their own Grinch Good Deed Tracker with a list of good deed suggestions to allow them to, just like The Grinch, grow their heart “three times its size.”

“As a proud member of the Charleston and Baltimore communities, we’re delighted to support these two outstanding organizations and create memorable moments for these wonderful kids at this special time of year,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival president.

“Carnival’s Grinchmas, specially coordinated for the children and families in the MUSC Children’s Hospital, brought much color, music and excitement to their hospital stay! The opportunity to meet the Dr. Seuss characters and watch the cruise line performers created fun-filled positive memories for our patients in what can be a stressful environment,” said Betsy McMillian, child life manager at MUSC Children’s Hospital. “Additionally, their generous donation will help make our new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion a reality!”

Added Sandy Pagnotti, president of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore,

“The Carnival entertainment team not only spread smiles and holiday cheer to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore, but delivered a very generous and much appreciated gift that will go toward providing care to those who use our services in the coming year.”

Carnival Cruise Line operates year-round departures from both Charleston and Baltimore carrying more than 100,000 guests annually from those ports.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s holiday sailings and other cruises throughout the year, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

This week, we continued sharing some great holiday stories from Disney Parks, including another behind the scenes look at one of your favorite attractions. The Disneyland Resort Entertainment team has turned the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland park into the Jingle Cruise and we took a special tour to see how they did it.

It takes about two weeks of work to change the Jungle Cruise into the Jingle Cruise for the holidays. For more information, check out Shannon’s original story.

And we also featured 16 new products that will make 2016 an Unforgettable year at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in our exclusive Disney Parks Blog “unboxed” series. The items shown in the video will be released throughout 2016 (we don’t have exact dates at this time).

Once released at Disney Parks, you may find select items using the Shop Disney Parks mobile app. This free app gives you access to thousands of products we carry at Disney Parks which you can have shipped directly to your home. To download, please visit DisneyWorld.com/Shop.

Let us know which item is your favorite in the comments.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Discover Holidays at the Disneyland Resort with Santa Claus – Recently I had the chance to sit down with the big man in red himself, Santa Claus. We chatted about all there is to see and do during the holidays during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

#DisneyFamilia: Get Festive at Walt Disney World Resort With Gifts, Events and More! – The holiday season is in full swing at Walt Disney World Resort! Here are a few ideas on things to do and gifts for your familia!

Take a Look at These Chocolates From New Ganachery at Disney Springs – The Ganachery chocolate boutique at Disney Springs opens December 15, where delectable chocolate is the star of the show. An extraordinary custom-blended dark chocolate is blended with cream, then covered in a “chocolate waterfall” to create 16 fabulous flavors, from coffee to cinnamon and curry. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

Enjoy the Holidays at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort – This year, the holiday season sparkles even brighter during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. It’s one of the best times to not only visit our parks, but also stay at one of our three hotels.

The Walt Disney Archives Brings Walt’s Office Back to the Disney Studios Lot – Today Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger presided over a special ceremony to dedicate the newly restored office of Walt Disney in the Animation Building at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank.

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap by Thomas Smith: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

This Week in Disney Park Photos: ‘Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

When I first saw the collection of pictures Jennifer Fickley-Baker shared of this fireworks display, I thought they were paintings. The burst of colors and festive images projected onto Cinderella Castle are so vivid. Here’s another look in case you missed it:

‘Holiday Wishes’ Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

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11 Photos Of ‘Holiday Wishes’ Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

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One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is seeing light displays of all kinds. And this one – combining lights, projections and fireworks – is a pretty spectacular gift for our guests visiting during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park.

What’s your favorite holiday display at Disney Parks?

This Week in Disney Park Photos: ‘Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’ by Victoria Lim: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Disneyland Diamond Days Winner of Cinderella Crystal Slipper Honored at Disneyland Park

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

Earlier this week, we awarded the first Disney icon prize from the Disneyland Diamond Days sweepstakes to Eric Freeman from Glendora, Calif. Eric won the beautiful diamond and topaz-adorned, “Cinderella”-inspired crystal slipper that was revealed when Disneyland Diamond Days began in May. He and his family also enjoyed a three day, two night Disneyland Resort vacation package. Take a look at the special ceremony held in his honor in the video below!

The next Disney icon – the bejeweled crown inspired by the Disney film, “Sleeping Beauty” – will be awarded soon. Don’t miss out on your chance to win an exclusive Disney icon, theme park experiences and even diamonds! For details, Official Rules and to learn more about Disneyland Diamond Days, visit Disneyland.com/DiamondDays.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C., Mexico and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are age of majority as of date of entry. Sweepstakes ends 6:59 AM PT on 2/5/16. Each weekly drawing starts Friday at 7:00AM PT and ends at 6:59 AM PT the following Friday. Each eligible weekly entry automatically entered into final drawing but not into any daily drawings. Limit one (1) entry per person per day, regardless of method of entry. Disney Memories, 500 S. Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521, U.S.A.

Disneyland Diamond Days Winner of Cinderella Crystal Slipper Honored at Disneyland Park by Erin Glover: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Reservations Now Open for Countdown to Midnight: NYE 2016 at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

Ring in 2016 in style! The convention center at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort will play host to a progressive 3-in-1 New Year’s extravaganza. With something for everyone, Countdown to Midnight: NYE 2016 is the perfect finale to the holiday season.

Enjoy an interactive comedy reunion at Adventurer’s Club, then head over to Club Live to rock out with a 9-piece dance band. At Club Vinyl, a 7-piece band is remixing today’s hits with steamy jazz. Don’t forget to grab your New Year’s hats and tiaras for the countdown to midnight—complete with a balloon drop and confetti cannons—to toast to the New Year in a keepsake champagne glass.

Reservations Now Open for Countdown to Midnight: NYE 2016 at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club

Of course, no party is complete without delicious bites, and Countdown to Midnight: NYE 2016 has something to suit every taste. Sample a variety of appetizers including antipasto and charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and more. Enjoy big flavor in small bites at the gourmet slider bar or indulge with coriander-crusted pan-seared scallops with horseradish cream corn and caviar. Be sure to visit the Mac-n-Noodles action station, where you’ll find mac-n-cheese pasta shells with assorted toppings including smoked bacon, fried onions, toasted breadcrumbs, poached lobster meat and more. For a sweet ending, look for chocolate and coconut cake with salted caramel ganache, assorted French macaroons, and warm chocolate chip cookies. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are also included for guests over 21.

For more information, click here. Reservations are now open to Walt Disney World Resort guests, and can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Reservations Now Open for Countdown to Midnight: NYE 2016 at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club by Rachel Bshero: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

PHOTO GALLERY: Special Images of Tiana from ‘The Princess & The Frog’

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

We first met Princess Tiana in the 2009 release, “The Princess & The Frog”. First an ambitious and hardworking waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant, Tiana’s dream is detoured when her kind heart leads her to help a Frog Prince (Prince Naveen) turn back into a human by kissing him – only to have her kiss turn her into a frog also. Tiana and Prince Naveen then go on a journey to find someone who can help them become human again, and along the way, she finds the strength to resist Dr. Facilier’s “deal” and also learns what’s most important in life – love.

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Special Images of Tiana from ‘The Princess & The Frog’

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Thanks to Kent Phillips for the images. To check out more in our series, see the list below.

PHOTO GALLERY: Special Images of Tiana from ‘The Princess & The Frog’ by Jennifer Fickley-Baker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog