Introducing… Minnie T!

Posted on by Tanya in 06 Minnie Me, 08 Minnie T, Blog, Disneyland, Instagram, Photography, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Note from Steph: Minnie Me is sooooo excited to introduce to you her newest friend she *just* met!! Minnie T!!!!

I am here today to introduce you to Minnie T!

Minnie T is super excited to join her besties, Minnie Me and Her Mini, here at Capturing Magic!

You will be able to follow her Disney adventures here on the Capturing Magic blog, the Capturing Magic Instagram feed and TanyaH666′s Instagram feed!

Minnie T and I went out to Disneyland a couple days ago to do a quick little photo shoot to show her off!

She was only in the park for 10 minutes and was already making a impression!  I had THREE people ask about her while I was taking this photo!  I would like to think that is was because she is so darn cute, but it was probably because people were just wondering what I was doing crouched on the ground. LOL!!

So be on the lookout for Minnie T and Tanya out and about at Disneyland!  Minnie T would LOVE to take photos with all of our Capturing Magic friends!!


Tanya is the digital scrapbook designer known as Crossbone Cuts Designs. You can check out her designs and products at Read her Disneyland trip reports on her Blog and you can also check her out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to follow along in her almost weekly adventures at the Disneyland Resort!

Post-Trip Update: A Memory Keeping Plan for a runDisney Weekend

Posted on by Beth in Capturing Magic Trip Report, Disneyland, Instagram 2 Comments


runDisney weekend memory keeping plan | Capturing Magic














I ran, I saw, I photographed. Or at least, that is what it felt like after almost five days at Disneyland for a runDisney weekend! I came home from the Happiest Place on Earth having reached a new fitness goal; with my sister visiting from across the country; loads of photographs and some fun souvenirs; and a cold (thumbs down on that one!). But really – best of all – I have a new collection of memories. In preparation of the trip, which took place over Labor Day Weekend 2014, I outlined a memory keeping strategy to help me stay organized and cognizant of images and feelings I hoped to capture on the trip. It included a photo wishlist that would help guide my eye and camera/iPhone during the stay. Below is an overview of what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned for next time.

PRE-TRIP + MISCELLANEOUS | I did get some pics of my stuff before packing them in my suitcase. And although I was still sewing on one of the running outfits the day before I left, I managed to get some pics of the process. I cannot say this enough (and this is true for any vacation) – AN EXTERNAL PHONE CHARGER IS A MUST! (The one in the link is the one I purchased, but there are other options as well.) I did take my Nikon, but I admit that I hardly used it. I felt it bogged me down and I just didn’t have the patience to get it out of my bag. I found I much preferred my iPhone 5 and the Camera+ app, it is just more convenient and I am very familiar with what it can do. The PhotoPass+ was well worth the expense. Some of my favorite photos are from that source. As for social media, after searching a few options for a specific hashtag for my trip, I decided on #DumboorBust (Dumbo or Bust) – something short and easy. Steph had the fun idea to use #CMrunDisney (Capturing Magic runDisney) for the team members who were there for the weekend, so check it out for the collection of photos shared between Heather, Tanya, Jon and Ginger, and myself.


WHILE AT DISNEYLAND | a photo wishlist

Paradise Pier Hotel – staying on property means I’m doing a happy dance – pics galore! I did take pictures of the hotel, including a couple of trademark details (there is a Surfer Goofy statue in the main lobby), pics of the pool area, the view out of my window, multiple shots of the room and bathroom interior, and a shot of the room number outside of the door. TIP: take your room photos as soon as you enter the room for the first time, if possible. I had great daylight and there was absolutely no mess or clutter yet, so I was able to get the clean shots I wanted.

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Paradise Pier Hotel | Capturing Magic













from where I stand perspective, from multiple locations - I was pretty obnoxious about taking these types of shots. I love the various details and moods that were captured from this angle, and I have quite a handful to show for my efforts. So much so that I plan to write an entire post about it, with plenty of examples and tips. So stay tuned! The shot I share here is one of my favorites. I just love the plants and that line of turquoise tile. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - from where I stand | Capturing Magic













food and drinks – specifically Starbucks, unique dining, and snacks! I enjoyed a few Starbucks drinks during my trip, and this shot was taken soon after I entered the park after completing the Dumbo Double Dare challenge. And I also enjoyed a lunch at Cafe Orleans on my first day of the trip. I was solo in the park and ate at a small table outdoors. TIP: if given a choice, outdoor dining in the shade can offer great conditions for lighting; or else, ask for a table by the window. Make your food and accompanying utensils cozy together to capture a full place setting. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Starbucks | Capturing Magic

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Cafe Orleans | Capturing Magic

























runDisney – expo, race events, medals - I did get plenty of pictures of my medals, the swag from the runner’s bag (tech tees), and some shots from outside. Inside, the expo lighting was that weird flourscent/dimness that often frustrate me for indoor shots. Therefore, my expo pics are lacking. I probably didn’t put much effort into it either, to be honest. As for the events themselves, the start of all these races gives you the darkness of pre-dawn, and by the time I was done at the finish lines, it was super sunny and bright, so there was lots of harsh sunlight and squinty eyes. I was happy with the image below because it inlcudes the runDisney logo. I actually rotated the photo and did a blur effect to bring focus to the snack box and drinks. TIP: rotate, crop, edit. These tools are your friends! Don’t be afraid to use them to achieve the look you want. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - refreshment 10k | Capturing Magic













commemorate the Dumbo Double Dare – Dumbo ride, Dumbo statue - I went a little Dumbo-crazy for photos, but I am glad I did because not all of them turned out. I took photos standing by the ride, of a Dumbo popcorn bucket, and even of a wall of Dumbo plush in the gift shops. I had seen race medals featured with the small character statues found in the DL hub, and had in mind to get my own. Not surprisingly, I ran into people getting their pictures taken with this Dumbo statue. Luckily, I had a PhotoPass Photographer nearby (they take shots in the hub with Walt and Mickey, and with the castle in the background) and she came up to me and offered to take my picture with the statue – score! The photos she took turned out better than the ones with my phone. I tilted, cropped and edited the PhotoPass picture seen below. TIP: It never hurts to ask the PhotoPass Photographers to take photos with other nearby props, backgrounds, etc. Think outside the box!

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Dumbo bling | Capturing Magic













with my sister, and any friendly encounters – I haven’t been in a Disney Park with my sister in almost 20 years, and that was at Epcot. I knew we would need to get some great photos, and this is where the PhotoPass really payed off. While we have some fun selfies taken with our phones, the PhotoPass pictures we have from various locations in the parks gave us some winners, including the one below which I love the most. (I edited the photo in Picasa to improve the color tone, which was weird due to the bright sun.) I was also happy to have a picture with fellow CM contributers Tanya and Heather from one of our quick meet-ups in Disneyland – this photo was taken while they waited for the afternoon parade. TIP: I highly recommend stalking – I mean, meeting – these gals if you ever get the chance, they are as cute and fun in person as they are in the virtual world. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - PhotoPass Pic | Capturing Magic runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - CM team | Capturing Magic
























modeling with special jewelry, accessories – a popular photo trend at the moment is to take a photo of jewelry and accessories, with a relevant backdrop featured as well. This is such a great idea for recording the story behind a special souvenir. I have started a collection of the Alex and Ani charm bracelets, and knew I wanted the Disneyland charm as a keepsake of this special weekend. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Alex and Ani | Capturing Magic













character selfies - I managed to get a few character selfies during the trip, which I shared on my Instagram account. This one with Stitch was the last one, fitting as it was a Stitch themed 10k race (of which I am wearing the tech shirt with Stitch on the front). If you have friends or family standing by with a camera or video recorder, tell them to be prepared. I had a very fun interaction with Goofy when I asked him if he would take a selfie with me – he proceeded to preen and fuss over himself for an exaggerated amount of time – I told him he was worse than my tween-aged daughter! You never know what those characters will do. TIP: I did not heed my own advice (see above re: food photos), but I wish I had asked if we could be seated near a window or out in more natural light when we ate at PCH Grill. As it was, we were seated at a small table by the wall and next to the kitchen, which offered yucky lighting and wonky shadows.

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - character selfie with Stitch | Capturing Magic













random details – Some of my favorite photos capture the small details that make all the difference in the Disney environments. They help tell the story, and they can serve as poignant reminders of magical experiences. For me, I love the fringe detail on the banner that I accidentally captured in this picture of the castle. Editing the photo enhanced the color. TIP: Tilting the camera up is an easy way to get rid of crowds and clutter in your park photos.  

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - details | Capturing Magic













magic shots and ride photos - These are really unique to Disney and provide a look into your trip like no other photo can. How else do you get a little sparkly Tinkerbell in your hand, or a happy animated Olaf, into your photos? And the ride photos are priceless. Sometimes the strangers in the photo with you steal the show and add so much to the story!  TIP: The ride photo shots tend to happen at the height of the thrill, or rather on the biggest drop, of the ride. The bright flash of light you see is the moment the photo is taken, so plan to be prepared on your second run so that you know when to flash your best scream-y smile. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - ride photo | Capturing Magic














NEXT TRIP…. A few photo opportunities did not make the cut this time. The concept of a photo of me and my sister with Elsa and Anna just wasn’t worth the wait and effort required – that character meet and greet has crazy long lines! I tried for some fireworks pics but had an obscured view, and we didn’t make it to World of Color (gasp!). I realized I had not taken any balloon photos, so when I did remember it was at night and on the last park day, so what I did take are not the best. I will keep the balloons in mind for my next trip. But as I look through my list of photo ops, I am happy that I captured most of them!

I really feel it can pay off for your photo haul if you do some planning regarding the photos you think you want to take on your next vacation. Seeing what others take photos of can inspire and get your mind thinking outside the box. It will impact your memory keeping projects after the trip, and how you visually remember the vacation. And the longer the photo wishlist, the better. You will have plenty of photo prompts, while allowing for some breathing room for the ones you never get around to. (Those photos you don’t get can simply go on the list for the next trip!) The runDisney aspect of my trip was very important, and therefore I had an experience different from when I go with my kids. I feel I was able to capture that in my photos.

What photos would you put on your wishlist for your next vacation? We would love to get your input, so share in the comments below.


A scrapbooker and collector since childhood and long time fan of Disney parks and media, Beth ventures into the blogging world at Any Happy Little Thoughts where she shares her approach for preserving personal Disney memories, one story at a time.




Creating a Mickey Photobook Cover

Posted on by Chelle in 03) Back Home After The Trip, Photobooks, Scrapbooking (digital or paper) 1 Comment

Want to create a photo book with your favorite Disney Character?  Here’s how:

I created my cover in Photoshop, but you could create it in PSE as well.  

I printed my book with Adoramapix, so I used their layered (PSD) cover templates, found here:  (The dark gray around the edges in these screenshots is the bleed guidelines.)
1.  I started with a generic gray paper, but any solid would do. I filled the background with the light gray paper.  I had to duplicate (side by side) to fill the entire space.  (If you look super close you can see the seam on mine, but only because the paper texture doesn’t quite match up.)
2.  I searched for a Clip Art Mickey head.  I used this Mickey Head:    I did not “complete the offer” for the vector version, but you could.  I just right-clicked and copied.  Then on my cover, I pasted.
3.  I changed the blending mode of the mickey head to darken or multiply and lowered the opacity of that layer until it looks just right.  Mine is about 50%.
4.  I enlarged the head until it looked like what I wanted.  (Enlarging loses some of the crispness of the edges, but I found it wasn’t noticeable even on my 10×12.5 cover.)
5.  I typed the title on the front & the title on the spine (using the template guidelines) with a favorite font.  I used KG The Last Time, found here:
6.  I duplicated the gray paper and placed it on top of BOTH of the type layers, clipping it to them (Ctrl-G in PSE, Alt-Ctrl-G in PS)
5.  I saved the file & uploaded it to Adoramapix.
I think for my next trip I’ll try a different character…or maybe a different color background.  They’ll look great together on a shelf!

The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World – Part 1

Posted on by Terri in Disney World, Extra Magic, Journal 1 Comment

Title Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World - Part 1 -

The best time to go to Walt Disney World is during the off-season, when crowds are at their lowest. Of course, this usually means taking the kids out of school. We’re fortunate that my son attends a school that views every travel opportunity as a learning experience, but he’s still had to produce some evidence of that learning. Most people think of Walt Disney World as a big amusement park, only valuable for it’s entertainment, or, at best, “edutainment” value, but there are some truly educational experiences.

When I was researching this post, I found a handful of homeschool-related articles about illustrating things learned at home in the parks. Leaving aside the questionable idea that any child will be thinking about physics while riding Space Mountain, I wanted to look for educational experiences that did not require a lot of advance research. Of course, any of these ideas can be supplemented by additional reading and research, but most of the ideas I’ve listed here can provide sufficient information to produce a short report.

Written Report or Journal

My son has done two kinds of school projects in the parks, a written journal and a digital report. For the journal he chose a Smash Book and Project LIfe journaling cards. I kept a stack of journaling cards with us everywhere we went so that he could journal whenever we had downtime. It was a good way to keep him occupied in line or while waiting for our food to come in a restaurant. We also kept a small notebook to jot down a simple chronology of our trip and updated it each evening.

SMASH Book - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Naturally, I took lots of photos of our trip, but my son also took photos, so that the project (and my scrapbooks) would reflect his own visual perspective.

SMASH Book Animal Kingdom - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

For this 4th grade project, my son’s teachers wanted him to capture some of the things he experienced, so he wrote about the attractions, the food and the magic. Of course, this approach could easily be used to capture a more specific subject and could be tailored up or down depending on age.

For more ideas on using a Smash Book to capture Disney memories, check out Episode 32: Involving Kids in Capturing Magic.

Digital Report or Video

My son’s school uses a lot of technology. In 2nd grade, he was introduced to an iOS app called StoryKit. This app allows the student to capture photos, sound and words in an interactive report. When we went to Walt Disney World for a long trip in January 2011, my son’s class was learning about the basic needs of people — food, clothing, shelter — and how geography, climate and culture shape those needs. While we were in Epcot’s World Showcase, we happened upon an exhibit in Morocco showcasing Moroccan clothing and adornment that highlighted these themes. My son was able to take pictures and even capture the sounds of the Moroccan pavilion to accompany his report.

StoryKit Morocco 1 - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Other apps that can be used to capture information and create school reports include:

  • Evernote - my go-to app for capturing everything,
  • Animoto - an easy app for creating video slide shows,
  • Story Creator - an app similar to StoryKit available for both iOS and Android.

Make sure that the app you select allows the final output to be shared as a file or via email. StoryKit, for example, allows you to share your project via email, however the sound feature is not enabled in this format.

Magic Kingdom

The most educational land in Magic Kingdom is historical Liberty Square, home of The Hall of Presidents, but also colonial architecture and details from the American 1700s. While many people think of the Hall of Presidents as a good place to take a nap in the air conditioning, if you’re looking for a genuine learning experience, this is it. This attraction starts with a historical film and then turns to Audio-Animatronic presidents delivering famous speeches.

Hall of Presidents - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Before you enter the theater take a look at the presidential portraits, First Lady dresses and other presidential memorabilia in the atrium.

The Hall of Presidents - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Another attraction in this area is the Liberty Square Riverboat, the Liberty Belle. The riverboat is an actual working steam-powered paddle boat, modeled after those used on the Mississippi River in Colonial times. Check out the details of the boat itself or relax and enjoy the sights, accompanied by the narration of Mark Twain. The riverboat runs every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour.

Liberty Belle Riverboat - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Before you leave Liberty Square take note of the historical details, including a replica stocks, the Liberty Tree and the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell Replica - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

After tackling Liberty Square, however, I quickly ran out of educational ideas in the Magic Kingdom.  When you think of Magic Kingdom you immediately think of the fantasy elements. Trying to find attractions with factual information was a challenge. Much as I love Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, I wouldn’t really consider it very educational, at least not without a lot of outside research. Then I realized I was overthinking it – Magic Kingdom is about fantasy and fiction, the perfect place to discuss literature and illustrate book reports. Of course, young children might read their favorite Disney fairy tales but there is plenty of quality literature for older students represented in the parks as well, including:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain) – Tom Sawyer Island is a walk-through attraction in Frontierland. The attraction starts with a raft trip to the island, and includes a trek through Harper’s Mill, Injun Joe’s Cave, and Fort Langhorn. Besides being heavy on details from the book, this is a great place for kids to burn off some energy, climbing and exploring the various paths.
  • The Swiss Family Robinson (Jonathan David Wyss) – Disney’s Swiss Family Treehouse is a replica of the Robinson’s home in the book.
  • The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne) – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh includes not only scenes from the book, but also pages with the actual book text. The ride is slow so if you have a fast camera you should be able to take pictures of some of the scenes. You can also take photos in the extended queue before the ride.
  • Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie) – Peter Pan’s Flight is a ride that highlights scenes from this classic tale.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) – The Mad Tea Party is a spinning teacup ride, but look around the attraction and surrounding area for more details from the book. You can also find Alice and the White Rabbit meeting in this area.


Magic Kingdom Fiction Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

For more book ideas check out Alison’s post, Booking’ It in the Parks.

One extra Magic Kingdom educational experience that’s worth noting is Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour. This 3-hour tour starts before the park opens and gives guests a peek into the history of these trains, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to keep the steam engines running. The tour is $54 per person. Valid park admission required.

Steam Train - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios used to be more educational, back when it was a working studio. In the years since, Disney stripped out pieces of the Studio Backlot Tour to make space for new attractions. Now they’ve shut this entire attraction down completely. Still, even without the film history, there remain several educational attractions related to the history of Disney and animation.

On our last big trip we visited Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Truthfully, we debated whether this attraction was worth visiting right up to the point where we were standing outside the building, but we were all really glad that we did. It turned out to be a really fascinating look into the history of Walt Disney, Disney films and the Disney parks. The attraction includes a 15-minute film about Walt Disney and a museum of over 400 artifacts. My son (then 10) was particularly fascinated by the early Audio-Animatronics and film technology. My favorite was the scale model of New Fantasyland (which had just opened the week we visited).

One Man's Dream - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Other educational opportunities can be found in Animation Courtyard. This area houses:

  • The Magic of Disney Animation – a short film about the animation process and character development, starring Mushu from Mulan,
  • Animation Station – interactive exhibits, including The Sound Stage, You’re a Character and Digital Ink and Paint,
  • Animation Gallery – an exhibit of animation cels, movie props and awards, and
  • Animation Academy.

We did Animation Academy last November for my son’s birthday. This is an actual drawing class with a Disney-trained artist. My son loves to draw, but the lesson is accessible to anyone regardless of your artistic skill level. It also produces a wonderful souvenir. Classes generally run every 30 minutes; check the Times Guide for the exact schedule. Note – even on a slow day this activity can fill up. When we got there the line was already pretty long and we didn’t want to wait for the next class, so only part of our party made it in. If this is a must-do, allow plenty of time.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of Mickey Mouse or the thrill of Space Mountain, but with a little thought and planning there are definitely educational experiences, even in the Most Magical Place on Earth. My son even had his first map-reading experiences in Magic Kingdom. Playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, exploring A Pirate’s Adventure or even just navigating with the park map can be a true learning experience. Stay tuned for my next post where I cover Epcot, Animal Kingdom and some educational opportunities outside of the parks.

Terri -

A Devilishly Disney Halloween at Home

Posted on by Steph in Creating Magic at Home, Holidays 1 Comment

If you are like me, and wishing you were going to be visiting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World OR Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, then you will be excited to hear about Disney’s NEW Halloween site and they will be adding new content all month!!! Disney invites fans to roam the halls of Disney.com¹s Haunted House at to discover spook-tacular games, videos, crafts, and galleries of the most dastardly villains. Every dark corner and hauntingly sweet floor of the page offers online and offline fun for the whole family, including:

  • Disney themed not-so-scary stories told by Disney Blogs
  • Trick and treat ideas inspired by Disney Family
  • A costume destination brought to you by Disney Store


Bring your family¹s Halloween to life by visiting Disney.com¹s terror-ific haunted house this October. Creepy new content will be added throughout he month, so check back regularly for new fun and frights!

Creating a Woody Themed Countdown

Posted on by Chelle in 01) Before You Go, Counting Down 1 Comment

My little guy is obsessed right now with Toy Story (all 3 of them) but most especially Woody.   He’s collected a few of the other characters, so he was excited be able to pick up a Woody doll on our next trip.  A Woody themed countdown was perfect to get us ready.

I put my photoshop skills to use and created 4 different “Woody-esque” patterns to make the countdown chain.  You can download to make your own countdown by clicking on the image.  It is sized to be printed on 8.5x11inch paper.  I chose Epson Matte Presentation Paper to print mine.

Print as many copies as you need for the number of days left until your trip.  Cut the strips out and apart.

Fold each strip in half lengthwise (the long way).  That assures you will have the pattern on the inside and outside of the loop.

Staple the loops together.  For the sign at the top of our countdown chain I added an enlarged image of Woody from a book and the text using a font called Mesquite STD, but the sign is optional.

Note: It helps us if we make a tiny note of the date each loop should be removed.  We don’t have a special routine so we tend to get confused as to whether we’ve removed a loop that day or not.  Additionally this time my little guy decided that if he removed the loops more quickly the trip would happen more quickly.  I came home one day to find that there was only 1 day left instead of a week.  LOL!

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort

Posted on by Tanya in 02) When You're There, Characters, Dining, Disneyland, Entertainment, Holidays, Holidays Disney Style, Magic Shots, PhotoPass, Rides, Shows, Souvenirs, Uncategorized 1 Comment

Halloween Time at the Disney Parks is absolutely my favorite time of year!  The decorations, the fun events, the parties, the rides and the food!  Oh how I love the foooood.

While I would love to go to the special event Mickey’s Halloween Party every year, I don’t.  I do think it is super fun, but it really isn’t necessary for me to spend the extra money to go every single year.  LUCKILY, there is no shortage of Halloween fun that a normal everyday guest can have during the month of October!

From the moment you walk into Disneyland, you are greeted with super festive decorations!

I really enjoy seeing all the Main Street decorations!

I could spend hours just taking photos of all the different pumpkins on the buildings!

Once I am done taking 1000 photos on Main Street I usually head straight to Frontierland for the Big Thunder Ranch Halloween setup.  Once again, they go all out with the fall decorations here.  Even the famous Disneyland goats get into the spirit!

The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree this year has become the Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Carnival!

There is so much to do and see in the carnival that you might want to make sure you have plenty of time to look around!  There are games and crafts for both kids and adults to do, there is a place to get snacks and you can even find the super fun Pirates League that Chelle talked about in THIS POST back here.

One of my favorite activities is the Conjure A Villain tent!  You are taken inside a carnival tent when you and your group will cast a couple spells and conjure a villain to appear!  It is super fun!

One of the new additions to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree this year is a does not disappoint magic show!  I have been super impressed with the different magicians I have seen perform.  I thought I would just stop and watch for a minute before moving on but I ended up watching the entire show each time!  Soo fun!  After the show they even do a fun little masquerade parade with the characters and whoever else wants to join in!

In the carnival is also where you can get a photo with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto in their Halloween costumes.  While these aren’t official “meet and greet” set ups and the characters are supposed to keep moving and mingle with everyone, it is not difficult to just ask them for a quick photo. I opted for selfies of course!

For me, the best part of the Halloween Carnival is getting to see the pumpkin artists in action!  In the middle of the characters, the magic show, the games and the crafts, there are some GORGEOUS carved and painted pumpkins.  Everyday there are artists working their pumpkin magic to bring super fun and creative pumpkin designs to life!  They are always working on new ones so if you have a chance to go more than once, be sure to check back for new designs!

While the Halloween Carnival is the most condensed Halloween stuff in the park, there is some other fun stuff spread around Disneyland as well!

Over by Big Thunder Mountain you can find the Dia de lost Muertos display and they have some FREE skeleton inspired face painting you can have done!

Another fan favorite is always when the Haunted Mansion in turned into Haunted Mansion Holiday!  This fun attraction stays all the way through Christmas so if you can make it out at Halloween time, you can catch it till the end of the year.

Along with Haunted Mansion Holiday, this is also where you can meet Jack Skellington and Sally!  They are seriously SO FUN and I have had a couple of my most favorite character interactions with them.  Have the video camera ready to record because these two just LOVE to chit chat and take a ton of photos!

Along with the changes to Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain gets its Halloween season makeover in the scary Ghost Galaxy!  Music, sounds and effects are changed from the normal Space Mountain to reflect the scary ghost that is trying to escape from inside!

I myself always look forward to special food and snack no matter what time of year it is!  Halloween never disappoints on the fun and delicious snacks you can find!  Any shop or dining location that has a cookie/bakery display is gonna have some super cute treats!

Over in Fantasy Faire at Maurice’s Treats this year they have a Pumpkin Twist that is SOO good!  It tasted like pumpkin pie!!

Over the last year or so, Disney (and myself) have become very big fans of the glow cube.  Who doesn’t love drinking a beverage that lights up?!  They had some special glow cubes out at Star Wars weekends in Walt Disney World this past year, and now they are bringing out some Halloween related ones!

Jack Skellington can be found at Cafe Orleans and the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square, I found the Mickey Pumpkin cube at Carnation Cafe on Main Street and thanks to LisaTheExplorer on Instagram we know that the Poison Apple glow cube can be found at the frozen lemonade cart by It’s A Small World in Fantasyland!

No trip to Disneyland during Halloween TIme is complete without a photo with the giant Mickey Pumpkin on Main Street either, so make sure you stop and take a photo at its location in Town Square.  You can’t miss it!

If you are into Magic Shots I also found that there are TWO Magic Shots that are located here as well (see the updated Magic Shot Post for more).


And the new this year, poison apple picture!

As far as California Adventure if concerned, there isn’t too much Halloween related goodness going on over there.  BUT, if you are in the park on a weekend night, be sure to check out the Mad T Party band!  During Halloween Time they are turned into Mad T Partying Zombies and play some super fun Halloween related songs like Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Michael Jackson’s Thriller!  It is seriously soo fun to watch!

So much fun right?  There is just so much to do and see this time of year at Disneyland Resort that I really hope this post will help you if you plan on making a trip!


Tanya is the digital scrapbook designer known as Crossbone Cuts Designs. You can check out her designs and products at Read her Disneyland trip reports on her Blog and you can also check her out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to follow along in her almost weekly adventures at the Disneyland Resort!

Today is Mad Hatter Day

Posted on by Steph in 03) Back Home After The Trip, Holidays Disney Style 1 Comment

Happy Mad Hatter Day to all of you!! Last year at this time, I was IN Disneyland and trying my best to celebrate Mad Hatter Day with THE Mad Hatter! I was not successful (yes, I think Disney needs to do a better job of having the Mad Hatter OUT on Mad Hatter Day!). I did get some video of him though and created some photos from a few video clips to create this layout.

If you would like some FUN ideas for celebrating Mad Hatter Day in the parks or at home, check out Katie’s post from last year!

If you want some super ADORABLE images to add to your celebration (or future memory keeping projects), check out these adorable goodies by Kate Hadfield that are in The Digi Files this month:

You can grab these goodies at The Daily Digi ONLY through October, 2014.

Introduction to Google Stories

Posted on by Alison in 02) When You're There, 04 Tools, apps 2 Comments


Hi Capturing Magic Friends,

I have been away for the summer, because we moved from one state to another.  Some folks here could do that in their sleep, but we had lived in the same house for 17 years.  It was a BIG change for our family, especially our kids as they had to get accustomed to new schools.  The adventure is calming down a bit as we are getting more and more settled in our new house.  During our first house hunting trip, I discovered a neat little gift from Google, Google Stories.  I can’t wait to see how it works after our next trip to Disney!

Introduction to Google Stories

I take a ton of pictures, many on my phone.  My thought is that I can sit down and sift through the pictures, get the best and use those images in my memory keeping.  Problem is that 3000 pics later, I am still really good at taking pictures but not so great at the sifting through part.

Google saw that this was an issue.  Many people taking pictures, only to stay on their phones.

Days after a recent trip, I was surprised to see a scrapbook story of our trip, pop up, when I went to go look at my pictures.  Google uses the GPS on your phone and the best of your pictures to make the “Story”.

These Stories show well on your smart phone and compture.

So how can you take advantage of this automatic service?

  1. Have a Google+ account, and the G+ app installed on your phone
  2. Backup pics from your phone to Drive
  3. Use your GPS
  4. Turn on Auto Awesome


The option to turn on Auto Awesome in Setting

Auto Awesome is a special Google tool that selects and gently edits your pictures.

If you have a G+ account, you may already have stories available to you.  Just go to your Google +account, select the photos option and then select Stories from the More Drop down box.

Google using an algorithm to determine which pictures are ‘best’. It also uses any other easily obtained information to help complete the story.  City information, time, and date contribute to the way that G+ builds a story.

A thin line runs in the background occasionally denoting the time.

Now once your story is built you can change it up to suit your tastes.  Select the blue Edit box  to choose the pictures you want in the Story.


Then select any photos you want in your story, while deselecting those you don’t wish to share.

Go back to the story and mouse over a picture.  Select the Edit button directly on the picture to add a caption to the picture.  Those captions will be added to the story.

Notice the caption.

Easy Peasy.

Once your story is built you can share it!

One thing to note, at this time, Google + doesn’t allow you to build your own. Maybe some of you awesome techy folks have figured it out already, if so.. please share!!

Do you have any Google + Stories?  I would love your comments.

“Not so Scary” Vs “Scream No More”

Posted on by Gab in Holidays, Holidays Disney Style, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Hi everyone. This is my first post here at Capturing Magic so I’ll tell you a little bit about me. I’m an Aussie living in Hong Kong with my husband and 11 year old son. My husband works for an airline, Cathay Pacific, which is based in Hong Kong. We lived in Hong Kong from 1998 to 2005 and I was lucky enough to be at the Grand Opening of Hong Kong Disneyland back in September 2005. We moved back to Hong Kong in January of this year. In our first week of being back, I bought Magic Access passes (the equivalent of an annual pass) for my son and myself.

Now, I’ve never been to “MIckey’s Not so scary Halloween Party” at either WDW or Disneyland, but have heard a bit about the parties. I thought it would be fun to give you a comparison between those parties and what happened at Hong Kong Disneyland for Halloween this year. Firstly, as you might be able to tell from the party name – “Scream No More” – it’s actually quite scary. The park has lots of little details added to make things more scary, like these lamp post covers … Overlay on street lamps for Halloween

Then there are the “scream points” throughout the park. There are the fun ones like the gigantic “babyhead” from Toy Story, to really scary ones, like the haunted house – “Graves Academy”. Graves Academy was so scary that I was holding onto my son the whole way through – much to his annoyance! The level of detail that Disney always goes to never ceases to amaze me, and this experience was definitely no exception. Everything, from the costumes of the Cast Members, to actual construction of new temporary attractions was just phenomenal.

In Adventureland there was a “Sideshow Carnival” and this wasn’t so much scary as really interesting – again, the level of detail that Disney had gone to blew me away. There was a “Batman” and an “iceQueen” and a “TreeMan” and a fire eater. Each night of the party (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm-11pm) there were performers in the Carnival who were also there for photos.

There are a couple of big differences between this party and the ones in the US. Firstly, there is no candy. I know, shocking! But true! Also, there are no Disney characters – just the special ones for the party.

My son and I actually ended up going to the party twice, we enjoyed it that much. The first time we went with some friends who were visiting from Australia. On this trip, I just took my iPhone with me. On our second trip, with some friends from Conor’s school, I took my Canon DSLR as I knew I wanted some better photos. I love my iPhone, but for night photos, my big camera is better.

At the first party, we were getting ready to leave the park when, all of a sudden, all the lights in Main Street went out … there was a werewolf howl … and across Main Street two groups of monsters came out and danced at each other. I managed to get a couple of photos with my iPhone but I’m not really happy with the quality of them (below left). So, for our second party, I took my DSLR along and positioned myself in Main Street at 10pm so I could get some better photos (below right).

Finally, there is no PhotoPass at Hong Kong Disneyland, so whether you bring a smart phone or a camera, just make sure you have something!

Photo taken with iPhone

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