Get Funky: The Christmas Funk

Call it pregnancy hormones. Call it a phase. Call it a funk. Whatever it is, I’m in it.

I feel all stuffy and wriggly and discontent…I haven’t even been thinking much about WDW! {GASP!}

I know part of it is the physical readiness to hold Lorelai in my arms verses my belly, but it’s also something else. Maybe it’s because we attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party so early it threw me into holiday spirits much too soon, but today I am craving crunchy-cold weather, an eggnog latte, and Christmas shopping with my love and best friend; a certain Timothy Elrod. {And that is out of the ordinary for me. The only thing I actually love out of those three things is the eggnog. I loathe cold weather and spending money makes me sweat.}

I guess you can say that I’m in a Christmas funk.

IMG_3244{One of my favorite Christmas pictures of Jack.}

So, Happy Christmas in October! I know some of you are cringing, but for those of you that aren’t, why don’t you throw on a scarf with your short-sleeved shirt, crank up some Harry Connick Jr. Christmas tunes, and get funky with me.

Christmas funky.

With love, Malorie

Trip Report: Christmas Surprise Day 1

Ooo! Look at that! Another post that took me days to write to completion! You might want to refresh yourself on the backstory of this trip. All caught up? Okay great, let’s begin.

Well, Thursday rolled around very quickly. With Christmas being booked full of our usual family parties and traditions, we were left with only Wednesday to prepare for our trip. We went last minute shopping to make sure we had the house stocked with diapers and food for the boys, and bottled water, snacks, and the like to take with us on our trip.

We’ve got leaving for WDW down pat. It’s like a well-oiled machine.

Night before departure:

Fill up gas tank. Load the car of all luggage, minus the bathroom bag {we do still take the time to brush away our dragon breath in the morning}. Pre-set coffee maker. Set alarm for 4:30am, at the latest.

Morning of departure:

Tim’s alarm goes off. He jumps out of bed and readies himself. I roll around and moan, but not for as long as usual since we are going to WDW. After Tim finishes up his quick morning routine, I mosey to the bathroom and make myself presentable while he gathers last minute items {phone chargers, pillows, etc.} and pours our mugs of coffee. By the time he’s done, I’m done. And voila! {Wow. When I tell that story I sound like a real slug. And my husband sounds like a superhero. Eh. I guess that’s pretty accurate.}

Usually we have the boys to get up, as well, which we usually do last minute to encourage continued sleeping in the car {just change their diaper and carry them across the house in their jams to the carseat like you are carrying an egg on a spoon}, but this morning was nice because it was just the two of us. We were up and out of there in no time!

We arrived at our destination at about 11:30am. We unloaded the car, changed out of our comfy travel clothes and put on something a little more Date-Day worthy. Tim had Downtown Disney and resort hopping on the agenda for the day.

We started out with resort hopping. Since we are planning on buying in to DVC within the next few months, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Saratoga Springs were on the top of our list to visit because those are the only two DVC resorts we had yet to see. {Clarification: we have been to Animal Kingdom Lodge several times, but had never been over to Kidani Village to see the DVC area.}29601_10151358696410630_648119087_n 15427_10151358696300630_963819966_nWe started out there because we were hungry for lunch and decided a stop by The Mara at the Jambo House for a yummy bite to eat. We ordered the half chicken dinner with cous cous and vegetable stew to share. The veggie stew was sooo yummy. I could have just eaten a big bowl of that over cous cous and been perfectly happy. 530349_10151358918230630_239533904_nAfter eating, we headed over to Kidani Village to look around. We loved it. It was gorgeous; a little mini-Jambo House, with great views of the Savannah. We also browsed the gift shop {I picked up some trading pins for my little sister’s 13th birthday}, and stepped inside Sanaa for a sniff and peek. Consensus: smelled and looked good!525977_10151358696090630_589001126_n 407434_10151358695835630_609078105_n

We really enjoyed what little time we spent at Kidani Village, but we came to the conclusion that although the atmosphere is top notch and the boys would love it, we think the Animal Kingdom Lodge is going to remain a fun place to visit instead of a place to stay. Since staying at Bay Lake Tower and Wilderness Lodge, we have become the biggest of snobs when it comes to location. At this age and stage of our lives, Magic Kingdom is just the place we want to be, so staying close and at a resort that provides better transportation than lugging a double stroller and two kids two and under on to a lengthy bus ride is the way we want to go. So sorry, AKL. We love your restaurants and sweeping Savannah views, but as far the Elrods go, that’s probably the deepest we’ll venture into the South African wildlife.

Next we hit up the Art of Animation. Although, we know we will most likely never stay there either, we have been really excited to just take a look around. It was so great! Colorful, bright, excellently themed, and perfect for families with little ones that don’t fit the standard family-o-four room. Tim and I had fun just walking around, so I can’t imagine how excited Jack and Cole would be there. The food court was also pretty cool, and had many options that the other value resorts don’t offer. We were pretty tempted by a few items, but decided to save our snacketite for later. 1532_10151358695620630_183500229_n164675_10151358695720630_1159742274_n282923_10151358695250630_1464492533_n734638_10151358695115630_2125760763_n

Later turned out to be the next stop, which was Saratoga Springs. We walked through the main lobby, made the quick walk-through the gift shop/quick service stop {the set up there was a bit confusing to us…}, admired a mug we were tempted to buy, and grabbed an order of their house-made potato chips. Elrod WDW Tip: Those house-made chips {that you can get at several resorts and locations} taste super yummy dipped in ranch dressing or BBQ sauce. Just sayin’. 397589_10151358694990630_405584907_n400150_10151358919320630_224195795_n564768_10151358694845630_1487085791_n

Incase you haven’t noticed the poor quality of these pictures yet, the reason why they look so pixely is because we decided that on this trip we were going to have fun focusing on us. Each other. So we left the fancy-schmancy camera home and took what we felt compelled to capture via our crack-screened iPhone 4’s.

We had a nice time bumming around Saratoga Springs. We sat in the quick-service area for a while, dreaming and talking about DVC and missing our boys but not missing our boys all at the same time. We also at that time came to the conclusion that we felt similar feelings toward Saratoga Springs as we did toward AKL. Nice, but not our “home”. We definitely felt the lead to buy in at the Wilderness Lodge and make the “seven month switch” to Bay Lake Tower some years, if it’s available. DVC insiders, you know what we mean.

That being decided, we stood up, dusted the last few chip crumbs from our laps, and headed to Downtown Disney, feeling better bonded and more lovey-dovey than we had in a while. Dreaming with your spouse will do that to you. We are definitely advocates of spousal future dreaming.

Due to the fact that it was two days after Christmas, Downtown Disney was crowded! We had a little bit of trouble finding parking, but eventually found a place near Planet Hollywood. It was pretty tough getting around, but we were in heaven simply because we didn’t have a double stroller to, “Excuse me, excuse meeee..” through. We kept commenting to each other how we didn’t even care it was crowded because we didn’t have the boys to worry about. We were like two little mice, slipping in and out of flocks of strangers. We know where everything is and even short cuts here and there, so were unaffected by how many people were there.

We went in shops, got a mocha and biscotti from Ghirardelli, and snooped around the brand-spanking-new Splitsville. And let me just say, for those of you who rolled your eyes at the thought of a bowling alley in WDW, I say “Bah humbug!” That place was amazing! We are totally looking forward to knocking down some pins there in the near future.430804_10151358694435630_1846793425_n553533_10151358694775630_567034760_nAfter a while wandering around Downtown Disney, we were beat. Although adrenaline goes a long way, waking up at 4:30am can still take it’s toll on a body. We headed back to our place of stay, the same we stayed at on our Christmas trip in 2010, owned by an amazing and generous family we are blessed to know. Get this guys. We. took. a. nap!

Whaaa? I know. Two adults that have two toddlers got to take a nap. And it was glorious. One of those naps where you sleep so hard you don’t move so you wake up with lines imprinted on your face and arms. Yeah. So good.

We woke up, stretched, and surveyed the time. Late. Way past our dinnertime. Like 6:00! Woah!

Hey. We eat on toddler time. Dinner occurs in our house between 4:30 and 5:00 everyday. The fact that we wouldn’t eat dinner until 7:00ish made us feel even more footloose and fancy-free. We were walking on the wild side, I tell ya!

We chose Chevy’s. We had eaten there a couple years back with some of our best friends on a Braves Spring Training trip, and Tim had been salivating over the potential of eating there again ever since. Since we weren’t staying on property, it was an excellent opportunity. 557424_10151358918145630_1466200092_n

Once we’d finished our tacos and licked the cheese dip bowl clean, we did what all old farts do; headed back to the town home to turn in early. Ahhhh….Tim and I are going to make the best old people. And I can’t wait. But to our credit, we did want to get in bed on time because the next day was our one and only day in Magic Kingdom and we wanted to give it all we had.

Eeee! Just saying, “day in Magic Kingdom” gets me giddy. A sure sign of a Disney maniac, yes?

With love, Malorie


Christmas in July: Tips, Times, and Dates

Can you believe it?

It is the last Tuesday in July and August is literally just around this week’s corner. All this month we have been celebrating Christmas in July and jingle-jangling our way through the Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks. Today I just wanted to bring you a short to-the-point, just-the-facts kind of post with dates and pricing of the special holiday events, and a few Elrod WDW Tips.

The Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts will start decorating and celebrating the Christmas season just before Thanksgiving up until the first few days in January. Elrod WDW Tip: The best time to book your holiday trip is the week following Thanksgiving up to the week before Christmas. It is also best to visit during the middle of the week verses the weekends. Room prices will be cheaper and the crowds will be much lighter. If you are there the weeks of Christmas through New Years, be sure to go in with a positive, holly-jolly spirit; knowing you will see some crowds and that the parks often shut their gates at some point during the day because they have reached visitor capacity.

For Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2011 dates and prices, click the image below.

EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional will run November 25, 2011–December 30, 2011.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will run November 10, 2011 – January 3, 2012.

Elrod WDW Tip: If you have little ones, be sure to check brochures or ask a Disney Cast Member where you can meet Santa! Last year Jack got his picture with the big man at DownTown Disney for free with very little wait! Santa, and sometimes Mrs. Clause as well, have been known to be spotted at the America Showcase in EPCOT, or even in your resort hotel lobby! Don’t miss your chance to see him so you can whisper into his ear your Christmas wish list.

Well, I hope you have had a Very Merry Jolly July! Thank you for coming along with me all this month to talk about Christmastime at Walt Disney World. Tim and I would love to go back this year to take part in the festivities. However, with Gummy Bear being due on the 2oth, it is not advised by our doctor to travel that far. If you and your family go, be sure to let me know! I’d love to hear all about it.

Until next time, Merry Christmas! And a happy New August!

Christmas in July: A Jolly Holiday in the Parks

Last week we discovered some of the magic behind how Disney celebrates Christmas at their resorts, but today we are going to get a taste of what you can expect in the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Expect big things like larger than life trees and decorations, brand new seasonal merchandise, and special events, shows, and parades that will knock your cheesy Christmas-printed socks off! Not unlike the resorts, a lot of it just can’t be accurately described in an amateur blog such as mine. You just have to be there to experience the full extent of it. However, today I am going to tell you, based on our humble one-time Christmas visit, the Elrod’s top picks of what to see and/or do in each park during the holiday season.

Animal Kingdom

Although I hear that the Jingle Jungle Parade is tons of fun, the day that we visited Animal Kingdom during Christmastime was a day that we were park hopping, so we didn’t have it in the schedule to stay for the parade. Maybe next time. My favorite thing about Animal Kingdom during the holidays was the uniquely African influenced decorations. They were so unlike all of the other decorations throughout Disney property. They weren’t in-your-face red and green, peppermint stripped, or Santa-clad. Instead they were earthy and natural, yet still so beautiful. I would love to decorate our house like that one Christmas.

But don’t forget to pick up jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel while you are enjoying the decor. The Elrods never miss a chance at that delicious snack option!


We loved EPCOT at Christmas! It was decorated up beautifully as well, but our favorite thing was getting to see how all of the other countries around the world celebrate the holiday season! Like, who new the story behind the German pickle ornament? I didn’t! Or that in Canada, they call the man that we know as Santa, Papa Noel.

Also, each evening EPCOT hosts the Candlelight Processional. This amazing special event takes place in the America Showcase where each night a celebrity narrates the true story of Christmas accompanied by a 50 piece orchestra and choir. Admission is free but limited, so if you wish, you can purchase the dinner package that will include seating, a meal, and a special viewing area for the Illuminations Firework Display that night.

Hollywood Studios

In the eyes of the Elrods, Hollywood Studios seemed to be the least dolled-up park at Christmastime…until you got to the Streets of America, that is. On the Streets of America, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes place nightly during the yuletide season. I have home videos of this jaw-dropping show, but I don’t want to show them to you because they come nowhere near doing it justice. The building facades of the Streets of America are covered inch by inch in different colored lights. At dusk each night the lights flash and “dance” to merry Christmas music as snow flurries around your head. It is an amazing thing to experience, indeed, and I implore you to make an effort to see it if you haven’t already. It is definitely the number one thing to do at Hollywood Studios at Christmastime!

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party all the way. The park is dressed beautifully for the season, but you just can’t go to Walt Disney World at the holidays and not go to the Christmas Party. Enough said.

Well I hope you are having a great week so far. Christmas in July is flying by!

Come back next week for Elrod WDW tips on the best times to visit and 2011 dates of special events!

Christmas in July: Home for the Holidays

One of the things I love about staying at Disney Resorts is the way they greet you when you walk in for the first time. “Welcome home!” they all say, and to the regular Disney Goer, that is exactly what it feels like when you walk through those doors or drive under that big Walt Disney World sign.

A much more fun and exciting home away from home; that’s how the Elrods view Disney, and at Christmastime it is decorated up in such a way that would make even Martha Stewart a little lightheaded. Although, not all of the resorts are worth your time at Christmas, visiting any of the Deluxe and even a few of the Moderate resorts can be exciting, inspiring, and at times, breathtaking. Oh and guess what the best part is…it’s free!

The easiest way to get around to the resorts is to use your own mode of transportation; aka: your car. All of the resorts will have some sort of security to get through, but tell them your reason for visiting and they will let you in, no problem. Also, be prepared to show a picture I.D. However, if you are visiting Magic Kingdom or EPCOT, there are some amazing resorts with even more amazing Christmas decorations that you can visit very easily using Disney Transportation, or your own two feet! Here’s a list of the nearby resorts and how you can get to them without driving:

From Magic Kingdom:

Contemporary Resort – short walk, monorail

Polynesian Resort – monorail, boat ride

Grand Floridian Resort – monorail, boat ride

Wilderness Lodge and Campgrounds – boat ride from Magic Kingdom or the Contemporary Resort


Beach and Yacht Club Resorts: short walk from the back gate of EPCOT

Boardwalk Resort: short walk from the back gate of EPCOT, or a boat ride

So now you know where to go, but what is there to see? Well, Disney definitely doesn’t skimp when it comes to Yuletide Magic, but two themes that you will notice the most are the exquisite Christmas trees and jaw dropping gingerbread creations.

The Christmas trees at Walt Disney World are just one of the things that Disney Cast Members work all year round to plan and perfect. Some are simple but ornate, some carry themes, and some sweep up to great heights of six stories tall! These vertically blessed trees are breathtaking sights to behold and are so large that they can be tough to capture in just one picture.

The Grand Floridian

The Wilderness Lodge

The gingerbread creations will leave you gawking, as well. I say creations because in Disney, just throwing together a little house with a Santa Clause-clad gummy bear on the roof is not their style. Imagine whole gingerbread villages and life-sized gingerbread trees! Or even better, a real, working carousel made of gingerbread with chocolate horses, or a gingerbread house so large that it is actually a little shop that they sell refreshments from! Disney makes it all possible and you just have to see it to believe it for yourself.

The Beach Club Resort

The Recipe:

36 lbs. of honey
96 lbs. of bread flour
100 pints of eggs
10 lbs. of spices
10 quarts of simple syrup
100 lbs. of icing
50 lbs. of dark chocolate
10 quarts of egg whites
100 lbs. of confectioner sugar

The Grand Floridian Resort

The Recipe:

1,050 lbs. honey
600 lbs. powdered sugar
35 lbs. spices
800 lbs. flour
140 pints egg whites
180 lbs. apricot glaze

Don’t think that trees and gingerbread will be all that you see at Christmastime in Disney. As you wander the halls and lobbies of these Disney Resorts you will also notice ornate wreaths, miles of garland, fun holiday merchandise in the gift shops, and Holly Jolly atmosphere music to boot.

Elrod WDW Tip: If you are staying at any of these hotels, check with the front desk and see if there is any special holiday events going on. You never know when you may encounter carolers in the corridors or pictures with Santa in the lobby. You may even get a glimpse of main mouse, himself…

You never know what surprises Disney will dream up when you make Walt Disney World your home for the holidays.

Introducing: Christmas in July

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way….

Merry Christmas!!

Oh wait, it’s July. I’m about five months too early aren’t I? Well, I’ve been confused about a lot of things today. With my birthday last week and the 4th bringing a long weekend, I completely forgot it was Tuesday and not Monday, which just might be the reason that this post is coming so late today…


But since I have already wished you a Merry Christmas, lets pull on our Santa caps and snow boots and sing a round of Feliz Navidad because Elrods Go Disney is celebrating Christmas in July every Tuesday this month!

[Imagine a confetti cannon erupting here, with big white snowflake confetti swirling around you while Christmas carols blare through the air! It’s a party!]

Christmas is no little thing in the Elrod house, but Walt Disney World of course puts our meager “holiday spirit” to shame. Did you know that Disney has a full-time staff that works year round to make sure that Disney is the most magical place on Earth at Christmastime? It’s true, and here are some other Christmas Disney fun facts that may surprise you:

♦ It takes 150 tractor-trailer truckloads of decorations to decorate all of the Disney property resorts, theme parks, water parks, Downtown Disney and more!

♦ Over seven million lights are hung throughout Walt Disney World for the holiday season!

♦ 11.3 miles of garland grace the property of Walt Disney World every year!

♦ More than 300,000 yards of ribbon and bows are draped over 1,360 Christmas trees!

♦ Over 800 holiday musicians, characters, storytellers, singers and entertainers perform daily throughout all four theme parks!

And that is only some of the work and decorations that make Christmas magic in Walt Disney World! There is simply no way that anyone could vacation in Walt Disney World during the holiday season and not get into the Christmas Spirit. I would venture to say that the person who couldn’t was a great big Scrooge McDuck!

I’m so excited about Christmas in July! Every Tuesday this month pop some sugar cookies in the oven, don your red and green or sliver and gold, and meet me back here to hear about all-things-Disney-Christmas; including info on yearly decorations and events that take place in Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts, Elrod WDW Tips on how to get the most out of your Disney holiday vacation, and more!

Until next week, I’ll be dreamin’ of a white Christmas and of sharing a Disney holiday vacation with YOU!

Dates and Pricing for 2011 Disney Holiday Parties!

A couple of weeks ago, Disney released the current dates and prices for their 2011 holiday parties; Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I thought I would pass that information along to all of you, so that if you are planning a trip this fall or winter you can be sure to plan ahead and get tickets to these events.

I have talked heavily of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the past because my husband and I just attended the party for the first time this Christmas 2010. We had an absolute blast! But what you may not know is that I have also attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

My sister and I dressed up for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2006.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place in Magic Kingdom on certain nights in September and October. Just like the Christmas Party, you do have to buy a separate ticket to the event to be admitted. Tickets to the Halloween Party grant you access to the Magic Kingdom rides and attractions and include a special Halloween parade, with the Headless Horseman leading the way, a spectacularly spooky fireworks display, and all the candy you could ever Trick-or-Treat for. Many guests dress up in costume, and when my mother, sister and I attended several years ago, we did too! We had made the trek down to Disney, just the three of us, specifically for the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We had so much fun, and I would really love to do it again. I just know Jack will love it in a few years. The fireworks display was one of my favorites that I have ever seen in Magic Kingdom. It was comprised of villain music from favorite Disney classics, which I have always loved for some reason, and lots of Halloween colors laced throughout the special effects lighting and fireworks, like orange, green, and purple. You definitely need to go at least once, especially if you have kids.

The 2011 dates and pricing for both of these events are as follows:


September: 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30
October: 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31
November: 1

Hours: 7:00pm – 12:00am.
Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade: 8:15 and 10:30
Happy HalloWishes fireworks spectacular: 9:30


Sep 13 to Sep 30
Advance purchase adult $53.95
Advance purchase age 3-9 $47.95
Day of event adult $59.95
Day of event age 3-9 $53.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult $49.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member age 3-9 $43.95

Oct 2 to Nov 1
Advance purchase adult $56.95
Advance purchase age 3-9 $51.95
Day of event adult $62.95
Day of event age 3-9 $57.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult $52.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member age 3-9 $47.95

(prices exclude tax)

Blackout dates for discounts
Oct 7, Oct 13, Oct 21, Oct 28, Oct 30, Oct 31


November: 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29, and 30
December: 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, and 18

Hours: 7:00pm – 12:00am.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade: 8:15pm and 10:30pm
Holiday Wishes fireworks spectacular: 9:30pm


Nov 8 to Dec 18
Advance purchase adult $56.95
Advance purchase age 3-9 $51.95
Day of event adult $62.95
Day of event age 3-9 $57.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult $52.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member age 3-9 $47.95

(prices exclude tax)

Blackout dates for advance purchase discounts
Nov 18, Nov 27, Dec 2, Dec 9, Dec 16, Dec 18

Blackout dates for Passholder discounts
Nov 18, Nov 27, Dec 2,Dec 7, Dec 9, Dec 11, Dec 13, Dec 14, Dec 16, Dec 18

Call (407) WDISNEY or (407) 934-7639 for tickets.

A Very Merry Jolly Holiday : DAY 4

On the last day of our Disney Christmas adventure we went [drum roll please] park hopping!

As a disclaimer, my whole family and I are really not advocates for park hopping.  I know that some people love it, and view it as a way to do all or just the things that they want to in a day. From our experiences however, we don’t enjoy paying the higher ticket prices just to feel like we have spent half our day in transportation from one park to another.  We like to just go to a park and spend the whole day there, enjoying everything there is to do and see.

On this trip though, we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side. We had just one day left and three parks that we had never seen at Christmas. So, we put on our happy faces, our walking shoes, and packed the diaper bag to the brim. We also mapped and timed out our whole day beforehand, so that we would be sure to squeeze it all in.

Number one on the agenda: Disney’s Animal Kingdom. All we really wanted to do was see the décor, so that is what we did! We rushed the gates at the opening of the park…

The tree at the entrance to the park.

A closer view of the ornaments.

Oh, I just LOVED how different these decorations looked. I love the earth-toned Christmas!

Tree of Life

Of course we made time to see some animals! I loved this huge Tigger, I mean tiger.

AND we had to get our favorite Disney snack only found at Animal Kingdom! Jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel! Look, Jack wants a bite!

…and by 10:30ish a.m. we were headed to EPCOT.

EPCOT is Tim’s favorite park, and being that we were both interested in seeing and learning about Christmas in all of the different countries, we knew that we would want to spend most of our time there.

The first thing we did when we got to EPCOT was meet Mickey Mouse again! (This time I didn’t have a dopey hat on because the weather was a wonderful 70 degrees!) EPCOT is my favorite place to meet Mickey and the gang! They make it so easy! Just stand in line and get ushered through to your own personal time with each one of them; Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald! Plus, it’s air conditioned…just sayin’.

Lunch for Jack at the Baby Care Center. You KNOW I love my Baby Care Centers!

Lunch for Mom and Dad at the NEW restaurant in Mexico! Tim was so excited. We took lots of pictures.

View from our table. It would be a PERFECT place to watch Illuminations, the nighttime fireworks display.


In Norway.




Pickle tree! I loved the story of the pickle ornament. I want one.

Outside of the NEW restaurant in Italy. It's on our "must eat at" list for our trip this September!

United States of America


Meeting Tigger and Pooh in the UK.

Papa Noel in Canada.

We missed the show, but there was a gospel choir that performed on this stage.

By about 3:00 p.m. we were ready to move on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios tree outside of the entrance.

We ran into Andy's Army man outside of Toy Story Mania. We didn't ride it b/c the line was over 2 hrs long! Yikes-o-rama!

We wanted to finish our day out at Hollywood Studios because in big bold letters on our agenda was The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! It was just amazing!! The lights literally flash and “dance” along to music about every ten minutes starting at dusk, while snow flurries all around you. It’s Disney Magic at it’s finest.

We intended to just stay to see it snow on the Streets of America, see the lights “dance”, and then head back to the town home to get Jack in bed and rested for the long drive home the next morning. Well, that didn’t happen. We were so enthralled by the whole experience that we just stood there, mouths gaping, and watched the lights for several different songs.

Check out this video! It just doesn’t do it justice…

What a perfect way to end our Disney Christmas! Thank you to the wonderful Hudson family for letting us stay in their home, and to our Disney VISA for funding most of our trip with rewards points. 🙂

We kept saying all throughout our trip, “We HAVE to come back again next year!”. I guess time will tell…

A Very Merry Jolly Holiday: DAY 3

One of our FAVORITE (and free!!) things to do in Disney is to visit Disney resorts. Every year that we go, we always block out at least one day to go around and “resort hop”.  Our favorites, and the ones we visit most often, are the Deluxe Resorts surrounding the Seven Seas Lagoon, right next to Magic Kingdom. Our trip this Christmas was no different. Actually we were even more excited about seeing the resorts this visit because we knew that they would be all dressed up for Christmas!

On the third day of our trip we met up with our friend Grant. I met Grant while working as an actor for Student Life the summer of 2007. He now lives in Orlando and works for Disney in between other acting gigs. It was nice catching up with an old friend, while sampling all of the Disney Christmas décor. Our first stop was The Grand Floridian. I was so excited, because there they had the life-sized gingerbread house!!

Yes, all made out of REAL gingerbread!! It smelled sooo goooood! 🙂

So cool! The lady out front was giving a tutorial on how to make your own gingerbread house.

Check out this blog and the video of them building the house!!

I love these boys.

The lobby. What a tree!

Next, we hopped the Monorail and cruised over to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  There they had a huge gingerbread tree!! (I’m beginning to see a theme. I think Disney likes gingerbread…)

Complimentary Holiday Treat station for resort guests!

After looking around and grabbing an iced coffee from Contemporary Grounds, we decided to take a boat over to the Wilderness Lodge. Now I do not consider myself an “outdoors” kinda girl. I like staying clean, I love temperature control, and I do not, repeat, DO NOT like bugs! All that being said, it is really ironic that the Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorite resorts on property. My family and I have stayed there a couple of times and I just love the cozy feel of a log cabin tucked back in the woods. You don’t even feel like you are in Disney World when you are there. You feel like you are on a relaxing mountain retreat. So maybe the Wilderness Lodge is my kind of “wilderness”. I’ve never seen a bug there. It’s the outdoors, Disney princess style.

The lobby. These pictures do NOT do it justice.

View of the resort from the pool. And yes, there were children swimming. In December. Makes me say, "Where are their parents??"

After ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the Wilderness Lodge, we got back on a boat to the Contemporary where we caught another Monorail to the Polynesian. The Polynesian is my husband’s favorite resort…and where we dream about renewing our wedding vows one day.

Christmas wreath, Polynesian style!

A view of the lobby from upstairs.

Once we walked around the Polynesian a bit, we had to say our goodbyes to Grant because he had a stilt-walking workshop to get to (how cool is that!?!).  Tim and I stayed because we had made (drum roll please) reservations at the Kona Cafe!!

The Kona Cafe is one of our top choices in Disney Dining. We have eaten breakfast and dinner there in the past. We never leave hungry or disappointed…and their coffee is amazing! Just saying. We shared the Teriyaki-style New York Strip followed by the Kilauea Torte. Yum-o!

Well, only one day left on our Very Merry Jolly Holiday! Keep a lookout for DAY 4!

Just the Facts

I wanted to give you a post with just the facts about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I love being able to chronicle some of our Elrod family fun, but I know that some of you would prefer to just know the specifics, and to that I say, fair enough!


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place in the months of November and December in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  It runs from 7:00pm to midnight only on specific dates.


Advance Tickets (including tax)

Adults (10 and older) – $57.46

Children (3-9 ) – $51.07


Day of Event Tickets

Adults (10 and older) – 63.85

Children (3-9) – 57.46


*Only a limited number of people are allowed to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so it is advised that you buy your tickets in advance since they are accustomed to selling out.  Ticket prices are subject to change from year to year. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discounts are available.


Nightly events include:

Snow on Main Street USA

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

A Fireworks Spectacular

A Castle-front Show

Additional Shows and Character Dance Parties throughout the night

Complimentary Holidays Treats (usually including cookies and hot cocoa)

Character Meet ‘n Greets

Access to your favorite Magic Kingdom rides and attractions


2010 Guidemap