Inspiring Young Memory Keepers – Disney Style

Posted on by Alison in 03) Back Home After The Trip, Creating Magic at Home Leave a comment

Inspiring Young Memory Keepers – Disney Style

The holidays are right around the corner.  And with all the preparations and festivities they will zoom by before you know it.  This year I am encouraging my children to jot down their memories, as they happen.

In the past, I have used technology to help me remember.  I have snapped pics with my cell phone, texted notes in a Diary app, and even done mock-ups for layouts all on my phone.  The problem is that often my pictures and notations get ‘stuck’ on my phone.  It gives me a false sense of Memory Keeping.  Sure, I got that… it is on my phone.

In the process, my children aren’t really seeing the long term value of Memory Keeping, because they really don’t see the end result… and neither do I.

So, I am shifting gears this year.  This year I am encouraging my kids to write down their memories, as they happen.

I am printing our sheets of Disney-inspired shapes.  Like this one.

















I have purposely selected simple shapes; because I want them to cut them out… with scissors (I know… my silhouette will be so jealous).
















It doesn’t matter to me if they write on one side or both, or use several shapes to tell a story.  I just want them to begin to start telling their own stories.

I haven’t decided how to display their stories yet.  I am thinking of clothes pins on twine, or placing on a door, or on the table at Thanksgiving.

I came up with a different shape for the Christmas season.  This shape will be used to create a Wreath of Memories.
















I hope you like these ideas.  I would love to hear your ideas for helping children become Memory keepers… Disney Style!

Gifts Inspired by Disney

Posted on by Alison in Creating Magic at Home, Holidays 4 Comments

Looking for Unique Character Gifts?

My daughter love Megara.  If you don’t remember her, that is because she is from Hercules, which was released in 1997.  If you do remember her, you are definitely a serious Disney fan!  The problem is that I have a hard time finding Megara-type gifts.  Or I did, at least until this year.  The internet has exploded with a ton of awesome merchandise, so if you are looking for something interesting and perhaps a bit different, don’t look any further.

Tee Shirts

Check out these wonderful new tee shirt designs.

Like I said earlier, Megara is a great character, it is just hard to find her.  This shirt is sooo her.

I love this outline art.  I think this is just precious.  And there is one that has six princesses on it!



This is a great Meleficient shirt, that doesn’t forget the dragon.

 And here is another not so scary shirt.  Sully, as seen through the eyes of Boo!

 This watercolor look is very popular right now, and looks great on Sully and Mike.

 How cute is this… Buzz flying through space!


Baymax is our new household hero!  I love that this shirt shows his true nature and his warrior side!


 Frozen is everywhere, but I love this shirt!


Society6 has quite a lot of Disney inspired art.  You can also order them as pillows, totebags, cards and just about anything you can imagine.

Check out these options

Isn’t this modern take on Toy Story just great.  I love the colors and can just hear, “You got a Friend in Me” every time I look at it.


This is just beautiful.  And it might be going under the tree for me!  I love the light in this Art Print.  I love how it looks like stained glass, and I loved this part of the movie… win, win, win.


And who doesn’t like warm hugs.

Awesome poster of Baymax.



Etsy has a ton of great inspired by Disney gifts.

This Watercolor look is so beautiful.  Great for those little girls that love Frozen.

Are you thinking spaghetti?  Me, too!!


 These bookmarks would make great stocking stuffers.  How cute!

I hope that you are inspired by some of these items.  I love so many of them.  Do you know of any inspired by Disney art?  I would love to see it! Comment below!

I love that the PhotoPass photogs are taking close ups of my kids expressions too (at the character meets). I was sooo pleased with our results yesterday! They were snapping like crazy!! Got over 100 PhotoPass photos, two videos, and we were only in the parks a few hours! ##FB

Posted on by Steph in Instagram 1 Comment

I love that the PhotoPass photogs are taking close ups of my kids expressions too (at the character meets). I was sooo pleased with our results yesterday! They were snapping like crazy!! Got over 100 PhotoPass photos, two videos, and we were only in the parks a few hours! ##FB #cmlive via Instagram

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride Video & Pictures

Posted on by Heather in 02) When You're There, Disney World, MemoryMaker, Photography, Rides, Video 1 Comment

On ride pictures is nothing new at Disney World. If you have Memory Maker and are wearing a magic band, you no longer have to go to a register after the ride to have your ride picture added. Your picture is automatically added to Memory Maker!

And now, two rides have added on ride video! There is stock video of portions of the ride, and then a short video of YOU on the ride is spliced in. Tower of Terror was the first ride to do this, but I still haven’t conquered this ride at Disney World. ;) The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has also added video, plus TWO on ride pictures!

The first picture is taken when you are coming out of the dark ride portion of the ride into a drop.

Here’s another version taken as it was starting to get dark. When you go on this ride at night, you will easily be able to tell where the pictures are, since the flashes are really obvious.

You can also see that the picture looks different depending on where you sit in the ride vehicle. You will usually be in the center of the the picture, so every person in the same ride vehicle actually has a slightly different picture! If you want a picture with the front of the ride vehicle, you would have to sit in the first few rows.

The second picture is taken later in this same drop, as you’re moving towards the end of the ride. Don’t be like me and hold onto your camera the whole time if you want a really good on ride picture. ;)

The on ride video is taken at the same places as these two pictures. Click on the image below to watch the full on ride video!

Click image to watch Seven Dwarfs Mine Train On Ride Video

The on ride video is a .mp4 file. Right now, you can only download them if you purchase Memory Maker. You can’t purchase them separately. You will be able to view the video on the photopass site if you did not purchase Memory Maker, but you won’t be able to buy or download it.

One more note, I rode Mine Train 3 times this trip, and only 2 of rides ended up on the Photopass site. In the past, if you didn’t add your ride pictures within a few days to a week, they would be lost. I emailed when I got home, almost 2 weeks later, and they were immediately added! So make sure you check and, as with any missing photopass pictures, contact them and they will hopefully find them for you.

I’m hoping that Disney will continue to add on ride video to more rides, since they are a fun addition!

Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter , instagram, and facebook. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 200 characters she’s met at Disney World and Disneyland.

Capture Your Buttons

Posted on by Chelle in 02) When You're There, 03) Back Home After The Trip, 04 Tools, Photobooks, Pocket Scrapping (Project Life), Scrapbooking (digital or paper) 2 Comments

With each trip we take, we seem to bring home more buttons.  Sometimes the buttons tell part of the magical story of our trip.  Here are a few tips for adding those buttons to your digital memories by taking a photograph & extracting the button.

Photographing Buttons Tips:

  • Place the button flat, face up on a well-lit surface.  I had to use something thick to help the button lay flat despite the pin back.
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Outside on an overcast day or in front of a bright window
  • Use a tripod aimed straight down toward the button
Extracting Buttons in Photoshop Elements:
Step 1:  View>Show Rulers.  With the move tool selected, click on the ruler and drag out a guideline to SLIGHTLY INSIDE the edge of the button.  Repeat for all 4 sides of the button.
Step 2:  View>Snap to> Guides.  (Note:  This is a toggle function.  If you see the check mark, snap-to is already turned on.)
Using the ellipse marquee tool (it is found “under” the rectangular marquee tool…
Click near the upper left spot where the guidelines intersect and drag down to the bottom right place where the guidelines intersect.
Step 3:  Ctrl(Cmd on a Mac) – J to duplicate just the button portion of the photo.  Now you can turn off the “whole photo” layer and either save the button as a .png file or drag it onto your layout.
Here’s my most recent “button” memory:

Capturing Magic at Epcot Holidays Around the World

Posted on by Terri in Disney World, Holidays, Holidays Disney Style, Shows 6 Comments

Title Collage - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

One of my favorite Disney holiday traditions is Holidays Around the World at Epcot. This year the event runs from November 28 – December 30 and includes “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season”, Candlelight Processional, a special version of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and holiday music, food and special performances in World Showcase.

Holiday Storytellers

It’s no secret that Epcot is my family’s favorite park and we spend a lot of time in World Showcase. So when we visited Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays we were determined  to see and do as many of these international holiday traditions as we could fit in. Some of the pavilions have musical peformances but our favorites were the holiday storytellers. These performers each tell an engaging, kid-friendly story about holiday traditions in their country.

In Germany, Helga, tells the tale of the first Christmas tree and the Nutcracker; this one is a kid-favorite.

Helga in Germany - Epcot Holidays Around the Word -

In the United Kingdom you’ll meet Father Christmas in the United Kingdom and in France you can listen to the tales of Pere Noel. In Italy meet the good witch La Befana who brings Epiphany gifts to children. In Japan hear the tale of the Daruma doll and Japanese New Year traditions. In Norway Sigrid tells the story about Julenissen, the Christmas Gnome; this is another popular one with kids. Morocco has a new storyteller this year with a focus on Moroccan festivals and celebrations.

Father Christmas in UK - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

Some of the storytellers from the past have been replaced with musical performances. This year the Three Kings in Mexico were replaced with mariachi music and dancing in Fiesta de Navidad. Papa Noel in Canada was replaced in 2013 with The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, a musical tour of Canadian holiday traditions. My personal favorite, the Monkey King in China, has been replaced this year with the Chinese Lion Dance. I really enjoyed the storytellers but these high-energy musical performances might provide a better balance to keep kids engaged.

Storytellers - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

If you have young children, you won’t want to miss Santa and Mrs. Claus in the American Adventure pavilion. This isn’t a performance but a one-on-one meet and greet, running daily from November 29 – December 24. This pavilion also includes storytellers for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers will perform holiday classics.

The World Showcase performances run daily starting at 11:20 and run throughout the afternoon and evening. Performance times are staggered but there are too many to see them all in one day. See the Times Guide for the schedule. Crowds for these performances aren’t usually too bad (except on peak days) but they tend to gather after the performance starts and people see something going on. If you want a good view, arrive 5 minutes early for the performance. Stay after the show to get pictures with the performers. We got some really wonderful pictures that way.

Monkey King Closeup - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

Many World Showcase pavilions will also have unique holiday merchandise and special holiday treats, including sweet tamales at La Catina de San Angel in Mexico, buche de noel au chocolate (chocolate cake log) at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France and gingerbread men in the American Adventure pavilion. For a hot adult treat try spiced applejack cider in United Kingdom or gluhwein (spiced wine) in Germany. The Disney Food Blog has a complete list of this year’s holiday treats.

Santa Village - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

Candlelight Processional and “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season”

The Candlelight Processional is an account of the biblical Christmas story, narrated by a celebrity and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The show is free and generally runs daily at 5:00pm, 6:45pm and 8:15pm but check the schedule for your particular date. The show is located in the America Gardens Theatre and seating is on a first-come, first-serve base. Guests will start lining up 45 minutes or more before each show.

Whether you are attending Candlelight Processional or not, you should be aware of the schedule. Guests will begin lining up long before each show, and when a show lets out, the World Showcase walkways and nearby restaurants can get really packed. Don’t plan on getting through the crush in a hurry.

“Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season” is the only performance that takes place in Future World. This musical showcase runs daily November 29 – December 29 at 1:15pm, 2:15pm, 3:15pm and 4:15pm on the Fountain Stage.

Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

IlluminNations! Reflections of Earth

We’re big fans of IllumiNations! Reflections of Earth so the special holiday finale, featuring “Let There Be Peace on Earth”, was a can’t-miss for our family.

IllumiNations! - Epcot Holidays Around the World -

For more Disney World holiday tips check out Episode 85 – Holidays at Disney World.

Terri -

Holiday Pixie Dust

Posted on by Terri in 01) Before You Go, Disney World, Electronic Die Cutting Machines, Extra Magic, Holidays, Holidays Disney Style 1 Comment

On the First Day of Christmas - Holiday Pixie Dust -

In December of 2012, my family took our first holiday trip to Walt Disney World Resort. After creating The Park Explorer’s Kit and a Magical Birthday Celebration on our previous trips, I was excited to tackle holiday pixie dust. The trip was 12 days, lending itself to a really obvious holiday theme – The 12 Days of Christmas. We went at the beginning of December to avoid the crowds, but we were planning a light Christmas when we got home, so I wanted to make the pixie dust really memorable. It goes without saying that I went completely overboard.

The Tree

The first thing I needed was a Christmas tree. To keep things simple and decrease the amount of luggage I needed to take, I ordered a 3′, green, pre-lit tree from Amazon Prime and had it delivered to the resort. The specific trees on Amazon vary, but they generally have 2 foot and 3 foot trees, lit and unlit, between $20 and $35. Target also generally has a nice array of accessories for mini trees – skirts, toppers, battery-operated lights, ornaments and garland. I bought a red skirt, topper and garland.

Christmas Tree - Holiday Pixie Dust -
For the ornaments I wanted something that was light, compact and unbreakable. I decided to make my own using my Silhouette die cutting machine.
Die Cut Ornaments - Holiday Pixie Dust -

I cut the ornament shape out of metallic gold cardstock and then printed character clip art for the center. A good place to find Disney clip art and papercraft images is Disney Family.

The Decorations

I wanted to decorate the room in addition to the tree, but, again, I didn’t want anything too bulky in my luggage. I considered getting strings of lights but eventually settled on garland. I bought some cute green and red garland and I sewed gold Mickey heads onto it in place of holly berries. I used a paper punch to create the Mickey heads. This project turned out to be a lot of work, but I was really happy with the results.
Mickey Garland - Holiday Pixie Dust -

Because I started planning this trip a year in advance, I was able to buy Santa Mickey and several of the presents on sale from the Disney Store after the holidays. I found a music box at CVS; they seem to have a large selection of Disney holiday decorations every year.

Mickey Music Box - Holiday Pixie Dust -

If you’re carrying decorations in your luggage, make sure to choose something that won’t get easily wrinkled or smashed. Small inflatables, for example, would be easy to transport. Also, keep in mind that you can’t use tape on the resort hotel walls. I used string to tie up the garland. Command hooks are another option. If you’re staying at a Value resort, the doors are metal, so magnets will work, and I’ve seen a lot of people use window clings if you have visible windows. I recommend keeping external decorations tasteful, as there have been incidents where guests have been asked to remove decorations. For this trip we stayed at the Disney’s BoardWalk Villas and then moved to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and saw doors and balconies decorated at both locations.

Decorated Balcony - Holiday Pixie Dust -

The Presents

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the presents. I wanted to have presents under the tree every day but, again, I could only carry so much in my luggage. We have a family of four, plus my parents joined us for a couple of days, so I decided to stagger the presents out so that at least two people got presents each day. It came out to about 7 presents for each person. After I selected the presents I organized them into themes. (I warned you that I went overboard!) I made a card for each day and theme. I created the cards myself using Adobe Photoshop and character clip-art. 

Days of Christmas Cards 1 to 4 - Holiday Pixie Dust -

Days of Christmas Cards 5 to 8 - Holiday Pixie Dust -

Days of Christmas Cards 9 to 12 - Holiday Pixie Dust -
Fortunately Disney wrapping paper and gift bags are available everywhere. However, wrapping the presents so that the wrapping didn’t get crushed or wrinkled turned out to be a challenge. I ended up using a lot more decorative boxes rather than wrapping paper.

I found some cute printable gift tags at Disney Family. I printed them on inexpensive glossy photo paper and then backed them with decorative cardstock.
Disney Gift Tags - Holiday Pixie Dust -

Most of the presents I bought were relatively inexpensive, but I splurged on a few. I was able to get a bunch of the Christmas-themed items in January on clearance. Of course, my sister made sure that I wasn’t left out of the magic.

Christmas Presents - Holiday Pixie Dust -

I also made sure that each person got a Christmas ornament of their favorite character so that we would all have a special reminder of this magical holiday.

Resort Shipping

Shipping packages to and from your Disney resort hotel is often cheaper than airline baggage fees and for bulky items it can be a lot less hassle. For this trip we shipped the tree and an air mattress directly from Amazon, and we’ve often shipped souvenirs home. For most resort hotels package pickup and delivery can be handled at the front desk. However, if your resort hotel has a business center, packages will be handled there. The following Disney resort hotels have Business Centers:

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (shared)
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

The advantage of a business center is that you can buy boxes and packing material. However, there is a handling fee for each package shipped or picked up, in addition to postage. The fee is based on weight:

  • Envelope or Small Box (up to 4 lbs.): $3.00
  • Medium Box (5 lbs. – 20 lbs): $5.00
  • Large Box (21 lb.s – 70 lbs.): $10.00
  • Pallets (per 100 lbs.): $70.00

Note: Shipping alcohol is prohibited. However, I discovered that most airlines permit boxes of alcohol to be transported with checked luggage. Imported sake can be hard to come by in our area, so we have, on occasion, used a wine shipping box with Styrofoam inserts to bring home a supply of Japanese sake from Epcot. Of course, we were fortunate enough to be traveling on an airline without baggage fees, but it’s definitely an option worth considering.

The Reveal

After a year of planning, we finally arrived at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas with suitcases full of decorations and presents. My husband distracted my son with a walk on Disney’s BoardWalk while my sister and I picked up the packages and got the room set up for the surprise reveal.

The Reveal - Holiday Pixie Dust -

New presents continued to arrive every night while my son slept and we opened them each morning. When we moved to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, we packed up the tree and decorations with our luggage and set them up again in our new room. Of course, the presents followed.

Holiday Collage - Holiday Pixie Dust -

I do wish that I had taken more pictures of the family opening the presents, but not surprisingly, we were often in a rush to get out the door in the mornings. Even without the pictures, this will definitely live on as one of the most magical pixie-dusted trips for our family. Have you done anything special for the holidays? Share your pixie dust ideas here.

Terri -

In Which We Document The Days of December On Our Phone – for the overwhelmed and underachieved – (Android too)

Posted on by Steph in 04 Tools, apps, Holidays 1 Comment

Over on The Daily Digi today, I’m sharing how I will be documenting each day in December on my phone. I have tips for iOS and Android users. I will be spending quite a bit of time in December in the parks, so I’m excited about the magical twist my December will be taking! If you are interested in learning more AND jumping in, check it out!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on by Steph in Instagram 1 Comment

Happy Thanksgiving! Do you wish you were having a Mickey turkey leg today??? ##FB #cmlive via Instagram

Autograph Pages

Posted on by Steph in Instagram 1 Comment

@tanyah666 has 3 sets of 3×4 character autograph journal cards for just $1 each in the Farmer’s Market at GREAT DEAL!! Print and take to the #disneyparks for autographs! ##FB #cmlive via Instagram

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