Now that Epcot’s 14th Annual International Food & Wine Festival is coming to an end (November 8, 2009 is the last day), you may fear that your chance to sample international spirits is gone for another year. This is not the case because a new little spot opened up during the festival – La Cava del Tequila inside San Angel Inn at Epcot’s Mexico pavilion. Here you can experience an endless array of tequilas from rare to common as well as beers and specialty margaritas. In addition you can enjoy tapas-style food items as well, to form the perfect pairing to the spirits available. The full menu is available at The Disney Food Blog, who’s updates on twitter first informed me of the margarita I wanted to try – the Aguacate.
Disney Movie News & Reviews
Walt Disney Pictures and Robert Zemeckis proudly present Disney’s A Christmas Carol in Disney 3D opening this Friday, November 6, 2009. IMAX wants you to experience this amazing new film in IMAX 3D and is giving away prizes all this week on their facebook page.
Just by being a reader of ZannaLand, you can also enter to win a prize pack consisting of one Disney’s A Christmas Carol movie poster and one Disney’s A Christmas Carol: Movie Storybook. To enter simply become a fan of IMAX on Facebook and let me know by leaving a comment here on this blog entry. That’s it!
In addition, IMAX and Resourceful Mommy are hosting a Twitter party this Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00pm ET. Just log on to Twitter at that time and join in the fun conversations using the hashtag #xmasIMAX. Be sure to follow @IMAX and @ResourcefulMom to keep up with the giveaways! I’ll be there too, feel free to say hello – @zannaland
There will be more than a dozen winners during the Twitter party on Thursday night so be sure to RSVP for the Twitter party, EDIT: The Twitter party was a great success, but has now ended. The contest for the prize from participating blogs will end on 11/11, so you can still enter! Become a Facebook IMAX fan, and comment here!
See you Thursday night when we’ll turn those Bah Humbugs into Woo hoos!! 😉
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
—On Raglan Road, Patrick Kavanaugh
This popular Irish poem was in turn made into a song which many have covered, perhaps none so well as Luke Kelley‘s original. Such a beautiful song crafted from words that sweep you up and place you in another time…
One half of my mother’s side is from Ireland, County Leitrim and also the Isle of Man, so I’m told. Growing up where I did in Massachusetts, you were pretty much Irish or Italian for the most part (and I married an Italian). So Irish culture, customs and history have always been a part of my childhood and interests. I’d love to trace my ancestry and of course visit the beautiful countryside that Ireland is known for.
That said, the cooking going on at Raglan Road Pub in Downtown Disney, is nothing like my grandmother used to make. (Thank goodness!) Nan was known for boiling pretty much everything she prepared, and seasonings were never to be found. But we cleaned our plates every holiday in her house – we knew better than to complain! Raglan Road Pub, by comparison, takes some of the great dishes Ireland is known for and puts a gourmet twist to their preparation, leaving you satisfied and planning your next visit back.
This was our family’s second visit, the first time being a few years prior. We loved it then, but our children’s palates were going through a particularly picky phase, so we held off returning until now. Both of the older children had a wonderful time this visit and it’s now a favorite among all of us. I’d like to share some of our favorites from Raglan Road’s creations with you:
Originally written October 15th, 12:00pm:
Well, the emails have been sent and arrived for round 2 notifications for the 2010 Disney Moms Panel applications. I did not receive one. I had done my best the last two weeks to convince myself that I hadn’t made it and therefore prepare for the inevitable let down, but alas, the heart is stronger than the mind in these cases. I originally began to write this entry the day I got the news, but quickly realized that was not the best idea. I’ve now had a couple of days to process the news and feel the need to share my thoughts, now that I’ve collected them.
I have extended my heartfelt congratulations to all I know that have moved on, and I sincerely do wish them the best of luck. (In fact I re-congratulated all those I knew from Twitter that made the cut right before taking a deep breath and starting to write this entry!) I know many of those that were chosen and do not doubt their love, passion and commitment to sharing their knowledge on the Moms Panel. I can’t wait to hear who will make the final cut!
My initial reaction to not moving on was of course sadness. Really it was the greatest sadness I have felt in a long, long time. I think this is mostly because being aware of many of the activities and events the current Moms are involved in, through Twitter, the panel itself has been built up as truly the ultimate experience for someone with Disney knowledge to share. Most of the panel refer to themselves as Disney Mom BFFs and all those involved of course share their love of their position and all it involves. It is truly wonderful to see the ‘family’ that they are and the love they have for both each other, and the job they are doing and sharing with us. At the same time, being witness to that camaraderie and fun, doing something I have such love and interest in, makes it all the more difficult to step back and move on from, knowing it is not in your plan to be a part.
I think I must’ve experienced all 5 of the Kübler-Ross stages of grief in the hours following the news – twice. 😉 Now that I am finally at the ‘acceptance’ phase, I am able to better see perhaps why I wasn’t chosen. Of course, I…um. Wait. Stop.
Written today, October 19th, 2009: I was in the very process of writing this entry on Thursday, October 15, when I happened to click over to check my email. When I saw the subject line of the one new message bolded in my inbox – my heart stopped. It said “Walt Disney World Moms Panel Confirmation“. Even more heart-stopping – I recognized the person’s name as being involved with the Disney Moms Panel from following along as others got their acceptance to round 2. I clicked the email to read, while experiencing shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat.
I read the message quickly. Words leaped out at me like “inadvertently” “incorrect”…”congratulations” “round 2” and “approved“. Of course I thought it must be a joke…a very cruel, heartbreaking joke…but it couldn’t possibly be REAL. I reread it about 5 times, muttering “ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh” the whole time. Finally, I followed the email’s instructions and went to the application site where I should’ve been able to now see the Round 2 questions. I had tried that link before, when it had been leaked on a message board, and I was not ‘validated in the database’, so I knew this would be the ultimate proof of legitimacy. It asked me to log in, I did…and…the questions appeared before my eyes. It was REAL. It was actually happening! I could not believe it, but I HAD to believe it because it was right there on the screen!
I thought just to cover my bases, I would reply to the email’s sender, of course thanking her profusely for catching this error, and also to see if I’d get a reply back confirming what I was now able to see. I thanked her about ten times, and double checked that the deadline for submitting the application was the same. I had been in such a daze since Tuesday, and my kids were off school on Friday, that I had my days confused and thought Thursday was already Friday. She wrote right back and corrected that I had until Friday at midnight – the same deadline as the rest of the selected applicants – but I had already given myself one less day in my head! Hearing back from her was the proof I needed that this was not a practical joke gone wrong, a dream, or anything else but the real, live, truth! It was my very own Cinderella story come to life!
I glanced quickly at the questions but I was still in such a state of shock that I did not even THINK about answering them until I had peace and quiet later that night. I was SO excited at that point I had to share on the message boards I’d been following and Twitter. I actually debated keeping it to myself because I knew the heartache so many were feeling, and did not want to be responsible for causing more…but I thought it’d look strange if by some miracle I DO make it through to Round 3 (phone interviews) and announce that, causing everyone to say, “wait, you said you didn’t make it past Round 1!?”. As anticipated, there was some confusion and hurt feelings as people hoped their lack of congratulations emails had also been a mistake. In addition, there was a lot of speculation regarding exactly what Disney is looking for and assumptions that it was more about online presence and less about actual Disney knowledge.
I really do not want to add any more unconfirmed hypotheses to the topic, but I can say that after having been on BOTH sides of the equation (wondering ‘why not me?’ and then ‘yay me!’ ) I *still* don’t know any more about what Disney may or may not have been looking for in the selection process. Of course we ALL believe we’d be a great fit, or we wouldn’t spend the time meticulously condensing our love of Walt Disney World into 100 tiny words. And no, no one knows what Disney is looking for. If we did, it would be even more difficult for Disney to find good matches, because we’d all be tailoring ourselves to what we knew Disney wanted, leaving our true selves on the other side of the monitor.
As hard as it is to accept when you first receive that email telling you your journey has ended for this year, I really HAD come to terms with – despite my belief that I would be the perfect person to share my Disney knowledge and passion with others – the fact that Disney didn’t see it right then, didn’t mean it wasn’t still there. That is truly why this has been such a roller coaster of emotions! I had finally gotten to that 5th stage of grief – Acceptance – and in a split second, my dreams rose from the grave and I was given hope again. I know that sounds dramatic, but how many of us have experienced that Denial or Bargaining stage of any form of grief? It becomes so important in your mind and heart, that you’ll do almost anything to have that experience or chance back again. I never in a million years thought all I’d have to do is check my email to get that chance again. Disney Magic does exist.
In the hours and days following my amazing reprieve, I learned that it was not a singular event. The very mom in charge of the Disney Moms Panel, Laura Spencer, had received a ‘no’ email in error, and discovered she actually HAD made it to the phone interview stage a mere 30 minutes before the interview itself! She made it to that inaugural panel and then secured herself her current Cast Member position. What a dream come true! Another moms panel applicant also received a ‘no’ email in error before moving on to the actual panel. So while of course I never counted on this happening, the knowledge that others had experienced it let me know mistakes can happen, and Disney will catch those and correct them.
My attempts at relaxing before answering my questions didn’t last long – after all, I had 48 hours less than the rest of the applicants to craft my answers, attach a picture and submit them before midnight on Friday! I feel like I should say though, I still would’ve been excited and grateful if Disney only gave me 10 minutes to write my responses!! I tried my best to speak from my heart and all that’s left now is Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust that my heart speaks the same language as those making the decisions. If this is as far as my journey takes me this year, I am honored that Disney saw something in me to pick me out of tens of thousands of applications down to 200 or so. This IS my dream, as I’ve said from day one and if now isn’t the time, perhaps next year!
I want to take a moment before I end this to thank the countless friends and supporters both online and offline that helped me through the last week. The response when I did not make the cut to the 2nd round was overwhelming. So many people assured me it was a mistake, that great things were in store for me, etc. Silly me didn’t believe them! In addition, the support I received when I made my announcement was UNBELIEVABLE. Complete strangers were congratulating me, as well as those I’d become close to over the months on Twitter. Even Raglan Road Pub and the Hilton Anaheim wished me luck!! I was in shock (again!)!! So I’ll say once more, if this is as far as I make it, I feel as though I’m already a success with the people I have in my corner, cheering me on. I’m not sure what more I could ask for, I feel like my Fairy Godmother has already given me the greatest gift!
I know it’s not nearly enough, but…thank you. ♥
You may have heard that the film adaptation of beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are opened in theatres across the country last Friday. Did you know it is actually available as an IMAX Experience as well? Starting Monday, October 19th, IMAX is launching a special Where the Wild Things Are promotion for their Facebook fans!
Each day from October 19-23, two lucky fans who put the Where the Wild Things Are crown on their profile picture and comment on the IMAX Wall will be entered to win an exclusive IMAX Where the Wild Things Are poster, book, and a pair of IMAX movie tickets! The crown image and full instructions will be released on the IMAX Fan Page on Monday!
In addition – just for reading this blog, you can be eligible to win an exclusive Where the Wild Things Are PRIZE PACK! Two readers from across the participating Momfluence blogs will win the following Where the Wild Things Are Prize Pack:
- An adult Where the Wild Things Are t-shirt (L or XL)
- A kids Where the Wild Things Are t-shirt (size large)
- A Where the Wild Things Are Crown
- An exclusive Where the Wild Things Are IMAX poster
- Where the Wild Things Are book
- A pair of IMAX movie tickets
Here are the two simple steps to enter:
The contest ends Friday, October 23rd at 11:59 p.m. ET and is open to all legal U.S. residents age 18 years or older.
If that’s not WILD enough for you, join us for a Twitter Party to sitewarm the IMAX Facebook page! The party will take place on Monday, October 19, from 9 to 10pm ET on Twitter, using the #IMAXWildThings hashtag. Please visit ResourcefulMommy.com to RSVP and for more information details and chances to win!
See you Monday when the wild rumpus will start!
Brought to you by Momfluence.This contest and party are part of a campaign sponsored by IMAX.
Hello everyone! I just wanted to take a moment for some announcements about ZannaLand. First, you may have already noticed my new logo! A HUGE thanks to my talented husband for creating that cartoon version of me. The style is a nod to Mary Blair, with his own artistic spin on it of course. I love it and am so excited to have it up on the site! Thank you so much J!!
In other news, on the advice of a much-respected blogger whom I admire, I have re-combined the two blogs I had running. Rather than separate out Main Street for my personal stuff and keep only Disney content here, I’m just going to do both in one location. At first I did not want to alienate my Disney readers by posting my personal stuff and upcoming product reviews, etc. but I agreed with the thought that since ZannaLand is a personal site to begin with, I may as well keep it personal. I’ve also reorganized my blog categories, so if you are looking for particular content, it should be much easier to find now.
Thank you for your continued support and I hope you enjoy all the future adventures I’ll be sharing here.
Last week around this time, our little 11 month old Baby G, took his first steps. He took a good 4-5 steps from the coffee table to the couch, two different times. “Oh, I can’t wait to capture this on video!” I thought. Well, I’ve been waiting and waiting and the little guy has not done a repeat performance since then. He’s walked about 2 steps quite a few times, but it’s as if he forgot he could already to it, and keeps squatting back down to crawl. Oh well, as a friend on twitter noted, “Maybe that’s where they get the phrase ‘baby steps’ from!”
I honestly think he didn’t realize he was doing it to begin with, so he isn’t trying to do something he forgot he already did! I’m not worried of course. Our first son (now 10) walked 2 weeks before his 1st birthday, and our daughter (now 9) walked at 13 months. So while he was technically the early bird, it’s okay if he takes some time to do it full-time. With the amount of trouble he gets into NOT walking, I’m totally fine with him waiting a bit!
He’s been pulling up to stand and cruising around for months now and he can crawl at bionic speed. His first birthday is less than a month away and I cannot believe how the time has flown. As the lucky witness to a lifetime of ‘firsts’ for 3 different amazing little humans, I’m savoring each second and not rushing a bit. Whenever you’re ready, Baby G…just let me get the video camera ready this time.
Today I’m contemplating my youngest son. He is 11 months old today, so you know what that means – 1st Birthday Planning Time! Clearly, a better mom would have planned this 6 months ago but 3 kids, a husband, 2 blogs and a dog have been keeping me busy. I still have enough time to throw something together, right?
I know parents usually joke that with the first child you do everything by the book: sterilize, keep away from hazards, and record every breath as a milestone…then by child #2 you are a bit more relaxed, you don’t have to wash that binky off every time it falls on the floor…and child #3 ends up eating dog poop off the floor. Well, I’ve always considered myself a pretty laid back mom (and I’ve got the lack of baby memory books and scrapbooking skills to prove it) but what’s different here is that baby #3 is 8 and 9 years younger than his sister and brother respectively. What that translates into is yes, I’m WAY less anal about hovering over him 24/7 but I also know he is the last baby until I have grandchildren, so I want each milestone to be that much more celebrated and treasured.
It is with that thought that the dilemma of the First Birthday Party presented itself. Do I want to do a HUGE party that he of course will not remember and invite every family member and acquaintance? Or do I keep it low-key and just do immediate family and a cake for him to destroy and wear like gloves? The additional issue is that his birthday is 3 days before Halloween, so that time of the month is littered with costume parties and other functions I’m sure. Of course, who doesn’t want to come hang out and eat cake with one of the cutest kids in Florida? 😉
I’m currently leaning toward small-but-mighty party inviting close friends and family…but my husband thinks it should just be us and a cake, so the debate rages on. My eldest son’s was similar to this, close friends, family and co-workers, while my daughter’s was much bigger with a party at Davis Farmland in Massachusetts. Since most of both of our families were up there and we were living in a teeny tiny apartment, it made more sense to do something bigger up there. Of course we’ll end up bringing him to Disney for his birthday too, but that’s not something you can invite the entire neighborhood to given the cost of admission.
How have you celebrated first birthdays in the past? Have any thoughts for what we should do? Any theme ideas or suggestions? And most importantly, how on earth am I going to top a Spaghetti & Meatballs cake?! I know no matter what we decide, it will be memorable (for us) and tons of pictures, frosting and a bath involved! I’ll be sure to share it all here when all’s said and done!
Many of you know that my family has not always lived on Main Street, South. My husband and I both grew up in Massachusetts and though we relocated to Florida right before we got married, we moved back to MA after our first son was born. We then spent some time moving back and forth as we tried to figure out where we wanted to settle down. For about two years, we lived in a tiny apartment in Worcester, MA. During that time, I felt like I was going to go insane, trying to keep a 2 year-old and a 1 year-old happy and entertained. Let’s just say naptime was a very happy time back then. The problem was, getting two kids to nap at the same time, when they shared a room, was next to impossible. What they did do was fall asleep in the car easily. (Something baby #3 has not yet figured out much-but with gas prices, I guess that’s okay.)
keep my sanity pass the time, I would buckle them both into the mini-van and just DRIVE. One of the many things New England is known for is its scenic roads, so I had plenty of options. Worcester is almost in the center of the state, a little closer to the eastern side, so I could head anywhere and find something beautiful to look at. Of course my very favorite time to take these drives was in the Fall, when the leaves began to turn.
My good friend came from Boston to visit us one day and asked if we wanted to go to the The Quabbin reservoir. I had heard the name but didn’t really know anything about it. It was over an hour to drive there, but I love bodies of water and hills and mountains and sleeping babies, so I was game.
I listened in awe as she told me the tale of the Quabbin reservoir. When Boston and its surrounding cities realized they needed a larger water supply, it was decided that this reservoir would be built in Western Mass, thereby destroying and completely flooding the 4 towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, Prescott, and parts of seven other towns in the process. The town’s houses and buildings were either moved or bulldozed, bodies moved from their grave sites (except those of Native Americans) and the towns were simply no more. Something about that is just so unbelievably eerie yet intriguing. I love strange historical stories like that and there are so many others in Massachusetts, like the Great Boston Molasses Flood and the great Mill River flood (both unplanned) which killed so many.
There is a wonderful stone lookout tower with a huge field surrounding it where the kids liked to run around. When it’s open, you can climb the many stairs (which I’ve done carrying a 25lb baby before) and see parts of the reservoir and all the trees. It is such a beautiful site to see and one of the many things I miss about living within driving distance.
Near where we lived in Worcester there was also the Wachusett reservoir, the second largest body of water in the state (the Quabbin being the first). That one was a much closer drive, and unlike the Quabbin, is surrounded by a main road so you can see the beautiful water views from many angles. Some houses were lost in the flooding to build the Wachusett as well, and the Old Stone Church in West Boylston remains standing as a monument to those houses that were destroyed. I’ve driven by the church on many a nap-drive, and though it always seemed spooky to me, I guess people are always getting married there!
Another place my friend introduced me to (what can I say, I hung out in Harvard Square a lot and didn’t explore much in the state until then!) was the Yankee Candle Factory store. Never heard of it? It is so much more than candles. It is a mecca hidden within the hills and valleys of western Massachusetts. When my friend first described it to me, I thought surely she was joking…a Medieval castle room? A Bavarian Christmas room? A Black Forest room where it snows year round? Audioanimatronics? AND unending bins and displays of candles? As if I needed any more convincing, it also was located at the end of one of the most famous foliage roads in Massachusetts – Route 2.
I fell in LOVE with this place. It’s really busy on the weekends because they get bus loads of tour groups on leaf peeping tours but it’s worth the crowds to me. When we were living there, they had just opened a new Home store which has every imaginable item to decorate your home, after you pick up the candles to match of course!
They also have a restaurant and candle-making museum, a pastry shop and cafe inside the themed candle rooms and an all new children’s program – Wax Works. Now we have to go back to see what that’s like!
One of the best parts of driving along Route 2 out to western MA was the French King Bridge. For one, it was gorgeous with views for miles of the fiery reds, oranges and yellows lining the hills and mountains, and for two, it meant we were almost there! (The Yankee Candle Store was a 3-hour drive from Worcester.) The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and a great place to stop on the side of the road, stretch your legs, and get some amazing photos.
Somewhere in our early 1990’s visits to Walt Disney World, I learned of a Hidden Mickey visible in the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The giddy excitement experienced when I first spotted it had me hooked. I’ve been a Hidden Mickey fan ever since; forever on the quest for new discoveries. You may notice I put one into my website banner above, that’s how much I love them! So it was a great honor when the publishers of “Hidden Mickey Guy” Steven M. Barrett’s “Hidden Mickeys-A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets” offered to send me the new edition of his wonderful book.
I will admit, up until now, I was one of those “I don’t need a guide!” guests that just wanted to discover them on my own without a book to lead the way. I will also admit after reading Steve’s book, I am a complete convert! The first thing I had to do was pry the book away from my 10 year-old son long enough to read it. The fact that he got so enthralled by this book speaks volumes. He is at the age where he likes to pretend he’s ‘too cool’ for lots of Disney things (I have no doubt it’s a phase, he’s being brought up in a Disney household, it’s a way of life ;)) but with this book he couldn’t contain his excitement. Every other minute was a new comment of, “Wow there’s one here…we have to find that!” as well as, “This guy must’ve spent forever finding all of these!” (He was very impressed with your book & work, Mr. Barrett!) His reaction and excitement really warmed my heart – and we hadn’t even gotten to the parks yet!
For those who may not have heard of a Hidden Mickey, it is a sometimes-inconspicuous Mickey Mouse design found within the parks & resorts of Disney World and Disneyland. Most of the time the Hidden Mickey is a ‘classic’ 3-circle design for Mickey’s head and 2 ears (like the one in my banner). Sometimes, however, Mickey may appear in different forms, or it may be another character altogether, like Tink or Donald, etc. It is unknown for sure exactly how Hidden Mickeys started, but the thought is that they were snuck in by Imagineers during the construction of Epcot, when Disney wanted to limit the presence of characters in the new park. Imagineers thought otherwise and the reaction from guests proved it was a wise move. Hidden Mickeys then began to show up everywhere, with guests anticipating new ones at each visit.
Building on this new phenomenon, author Steven M. Barrett, an Orlando-area emergency room physician by day, decided to record many of the Hidden Mickeys into book form, for all guests to follow along as they toured the parks. Now enjoying its 4th edition, the Hidden Mickeys Field Guide is published in a thin paperback design, so it’s perfect to carry around with you or slip into a diaper bag or purse without being cumbersome as you walk around the parks.
Now don’t go thinking this book is just a collection of all the Hidden Mickeys for you to find and check-off like a grocery list. Oh no, it’s much more than that. The book is designed like a scavenger hunt. The Hidden Mickeys are organized by location, but listed as clues, with points for each depending on the level of difficulty in spotting them. You can decide if you prefer to find them as a group, or individually: awarding the points to whomever finds the Mickey first, or grouping your total points together.
If scavenger hunts aren’t your thing, you don’t have to use the points at all! Additionally, if the clues in the scavenger hunt section still have you puzzled, there is a “Hints” section for each chapter which gives more extensive info on the Hidden Mickeys in question. If you’d rather just check a specific place you are currently visiting, the index in the back of the book lists the pages where you can find the Mickey clues in each locale. Steve really has thought of everything!
As with all things Disney, they are sometimes subject to change. Steve encourages readers to check out his website HiddenMickeysGuide.com for up-to-date information on new and eliminated Hidden Mickeys. The site is a great place to get confirmation that what you found on your quest is the same Mickey described in the book, with 1000’s of pictures to check out. If you find a new Hidden Mickey on your travels, just post it on the site. If it’s the first siting, you may even get mentioned in Steve’s next edition of the Hidden Mickey Field Guide.
If you would like to join in the fun, Steven M. Barrett’s 4th edition of the Hidden Mickey Field Guide is available for purchase now, along with his other Disney guide books. Steve is constantly in the parks searching for more Hidden Mickeys. If you see him, say hello – I know I will. My family is so excited to go on the scavenger hunts on our next visit.
note: I would like to thank The Intrepid Traveler for sending me the Hidden Mickey guides for this review. Look for a review of the Disneyland book in the coming weeks! Also, I have never met Steven Barrett, but I refer to him as Steve throughout this review in the spirit of Walt Disney’s “first name” policy. I hope to meet up with him some day and thank him in person!