Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Fun!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Disney's Not So Scary Halloween Party. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Halloween has been officially checked off in my book! I know, I know. You might be thinking it's not even October yet BUT every year, it's tradition for the Frog Princess, our friends and I to head over to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. It's the bestest Halloween situation in the world.

I love it for many reasons but mostly because I get to trick-or-treat! 

Sadly, I didn't dress up this year (I had ideas that possibly required a makeup and costume person from the entertainment industry). That being said, I SO enjoy seeing the big kids (aka adults) dressed up for the festivities.

Did you know that this is the only time of the year when adults are allowed to dress up at Walt Disney World?

The Frog Princess loves it for many reasons. Candy is one of them but she also gets to enjoy the park past her bedtime with her BFF. As usual, the magic of Disney for us is in the connections and the memories that we make together with those that we love.

Never one to forget the details, Disney offers bags for the kiddos with allergies. I dig it!

We got a little rain this year but that just meant we got a chance to throw on some ponchos while we made our way around the park! 

The rain allowed us to drop in to one of the shops where these girls may or may not have had a little fun. I heart them!

Of course, I can't forget the Happy Hallowishes Fireworks and the Boo-to-You parade. I mean, y'all! Can we say fun? Every year, we leave Disney's Not So Scary Halloween Party full of not just candy but memories. It's a time honored tradition that I hope continues on through the years. The only thing missing? YOU!

I hope you make it out. The party happens on specific dates through November 1st so, pick a date that works and let's go!

EDITED: I missed my girl Brittany from Clumps of Mascara when we were at Magic Kingdom but I got to catch up to her magic and I'm so glad she made it out!

Capturing Unforgettable Memories at Walt Disney World

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts, opinions and smiles are purely my own. My first trip to Walt Disney World was 1989. I had bright clothes and big hair. Don't believe me? Look!

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That's my cousin Emy. We had a blast on that first trip. It was overwhelming. So much to see, so much to do. We. Were. At. Disney.

I'm glad I have glimpses of this trip. This picture reminds me that I need to go to this same spot and take a similar photograph with the Frog Princess. 

Of course, we'll use the Disney PhotoPass® Service. That's the official name of the service of amazing photographers that get to capture all the smiles and cheers as we walk around the park. It seems that they get sprinkled with fairy dust because they always know the best spots for awesome photos.

Some of my favorite places to shoot?

I'm in awe with the Tree of Life®! It is above board. Maravilloso, I say!

You can probably spend an hour looking at its massive trunk while attempting to find the 300 animals that have been masterfully carved there.

The Princesses and the Pic

Y'all, how many times have we been to Disney? I think because we have that "we'll be back" mentality, sometimes we don't rush to do things. Like. Meet. Tiana.

I'm ashamed to say we had never caught up with our girl but I am also glad it happened this way. Why, you ask? Because this had an extra dose of magic. The Frog Princess didn't know she was coming. I got teary eyed and hoped no one saw me. Look at this face!

Living the Magic: Capturing Unforgettable Moments

As usual, the surprise, the smiles, the giddiness are all transferred over to me. Not that I didn't have my own, mind you. We loved it and the best part is we get to visit these memories over and over again for years to come.

Capturing the Magic at Walt Disney World

And yes, I like to join in the fun. I like meeting princesses too!

Living the Magic: Capturing Unforgettable Memories at Walt Disney Word

I've told you before, you have to show your Disney side, people! Know how else I show my side? Awesomesauce photos like this!

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Life is short! Show your Disney side and make sure you are capturing a little bit of magic with fantastic pictures that you can enjoy for years to come.

Capturing the Magic at Walt Disney World

Capturing the Moments

Being a single parent poses a special photo-taking first world problem. Because it's difficult to take my own pictures. I mean, there are only so many selfies I could have and I always want to incorporate the views around me. Enter Memory Maker!

Pay attention because this is like my bestest tip for photography.

I don't have to stress about whether or not I'll get an awesome image here or there, I don't have to worry about being able to find a nice picture to print for Papi so he stops harassing me about why he doesn't have a recent picture of the Frog Princess (why does no one want a picture of me, I ask you?).

If you're like me, you lug the camera around the entire time and never actually use it. Then you use your phone to take pictures and never download them.

With Memory Maker you get to have your picture taken by the Disney PhotoPass photographers, get home, ohhh and ahhh over how great they look and then, download and print. Attraction photos and videos are included as well as magic shots and dining photos.

And now you can save by purchasing in advance. You can't beat that. Do you see now why this is such an amazing tip? You're welcome!

And because I am the keeper of the memories in my family, I leave you with two adorable babies that have my heart.

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This is what happens when your sister is in charge of the memories AND a blogger. Aren't they cute! Uncle Pete and Titi Q love the magic too!

Did you miss any parts of this series? Lucky for you, I have a list!

The Opening Weekend of Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Disney was just what I needed this weekend. The hard part of working from home is that you're always on. I think it's a little worse for me because I also have this blog so I have like 3 jobs that all take place at home. This means that I always feel like I'm working even when I should be chillaxing (see the writing of this post. I should totally be sleeping!). This is where annual passes to Disney come in handy. 

Epcot

I made it to Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival on its last weekend last year. I promised I'd go earlier this time around. It was an overcast yet perfect day.

Opening weekend at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival 2015!

The good news is? We made it this weekend. The bad news? We didn't get to see all the awesome butterflies we saw last year. What with them still cooking and all. We caught glimpse of a couple and I am excited to be going back next weekend.

Butterfly!

The plan is to make sure that I get some yumminess because we didn't stay for dinner. Outdoor kitchens? Yes please! Full disclosure: there's a good chance I'll be going back at least once during this festival without the Frog Princess. Because Epcot is also Mami time!

I love that the butterfly garden is sponsored by GoGoSqueez. The Frog Princess was pleasantly surprised to have gotten one of her favorite snacks right before going to look at butterflies. But, let's get right to it. Check out the pics I took with the NX-300 while at Epcot this weekend.

The garden of emotions!

Frog Princess Having Fun!

Being silly at Epcot!

Having fun at Epcot!

 

What do you think of these awesome flowers?

How Do You Bring Out Your Inner Child?

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I found myself giddy with excitement when I grabbed my mail, threw it in the car and made titi Q open the box. What could it be? I wasn't expecting any samples for review? Well, let me tell you! It was a box that made me deliciously happy. Don't ask me why but, I got giddy when my new Magic Bands came in the mail. We finally renewed our annual passes to Disney World and this means new Magic Bands. The techy girl inside of me does the shoulder shimmy and possibly the moonwalk every time I check out the awesomeness that I can rock on my wrist. I decided to grab a new color (yellow) and the Frog Princess decided on blue because...#Elsa.

My freak out moment happened without the kid in the car which prompted this video and question: how do you bring out your inner child while raising a child of your own?

How do you bring out your inner child?

Watch and then tell me!

Mami's Magic: Capturing the Special Moments

I'm always at odds with myself as to what I should share with you all. You might not know this looking through my Facebook page or my Instagram feed. I've gotten the question about sharing/oversharing/etc. While I don't feel the need to explain my every action, I had some moments this past weekend that brought this thought of sharing to mind.

We finally got a chance to use our Magic Bands on the last day of the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. It was just the frog princess and I. On a day when we turn to each other and finish the sentences "What day is it? It's frog princess and Mami day. DuhDuhDuh!" (just like Clover said to Sofia. I couldn't make this cheesiness up, folks).

Epcot

The worship service at Northland was perfection and the day was beautiful. We made our way to Epcot full of excitement (and packed with snacks).

We got a chance to hang out with Nemo and spent lots of time looking at fish.

Frog_Princess_Nemo Then, as we were about to head back to the countries, we encountered a butterfly garden that proved to be worth the entire trip. We got our own caterpillars on Saturday (they've been doing nothing but eating since then!) so this was especially cool for us to see.

The frog princess wanted to catch a butterfly. We stood by and waited for one of the experts to show her how. After she had a chance to hold a butterfly, we went around and tried to catch some of our own.

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I love butterflies. Always feel like Mami sends me one just when I need it. Imagine my delight when I turned into the butterfly whisperer at Disney!

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And it was special and beautiful and perfection. Just the two of us there. I snapped a bunch of shots because the butterfly (we named her Amber) refused to leave the girl. How could I not capture the moment?

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It occurred to me then that I share in order to include those I love lest I burst with holding all of these awesome feelings on my own. My sister is in D.C. the (ex)man is not always with us, I have friends that love and delight in my motherly (and sometimes not-so-motherly) updates. I love sharing our love with them all. And with you.

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I don't need to explain it or justify it. But on Sunday, the perfect moment was almost too perfect not to share. But if I hadn't had the opportunity to capture it, it wouldn't have lessened the feeling of that moment. And that's the key to creating my own special brand of Mami's Magic.

Here's hoping you have plenty of moments of perfection in the coming week.

Mami's Favorite Things: Disney!

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I don't even know if I can be coherent while writing about this. How excited am I, you ask? Disney excited! Every year, we've taken the frog princess to Disney. The first year, she was actually in the hospital for her birthday (thanks, Roseola). Last year we did make it on her birthday and I was probably giddier than she was.

But this year? We did it a little different. I didn't want to do a party (have you done a cost analysis on parties?!). I wanted to do a day at the parks and a night at a resort. The frog princess has been really interested in animals so this was an easy one for me, Animal Kingdom! PS: I'd never been to Animal Kingdom so yeah, enter mami giddiness here.

Enter my own personal planning fairy! Yadira works for the mouse. She's in marketing strategy so of course, she knows all about the park. I knew I wanted to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and after hearing that this was one of her favorite resorts, I was sold.

Friday. Was. A. Dream. I am teary eyed with emotion just thinking about it. Why you ask? My frog princess is well, a princess. And Disney knows all about that. We got the lodge to check in. And she immediate received her button.

Birthday Button

I've heard of Disney's plus 1 but it is a thing of beauty to see it in action. We hung out and watched the animals on the observation deck. Seeing the happiness on her face? PRICELESS!

Frog Princess Pointing

Sasha (aka: Susan) and Lilly made us feel so special when we were checking in. I think they were as excited as we were that it was our little girl's birthday. And it showed. Um, Lilly, can you come on over and figure out how to get these Mickey stickers off of her stroller? The frog princess got a chance to take more stickers than I thought a normal adult would allow. These gals handled my request for a savannah upgrade seamlessly and were super sweet to boot.

Sharon & Lilly

And our room? Um, EEEEKKKKKK! We had a view of the savannah! Do you know what that means? Check this out:

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Towel Ears

To see the look on her face when she saw the first animal was...indescribable. The (ex)man and I had such a good time with her.

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On our way out of the lodge we passed a few cast members. Every cast member that noticed her button would greet her with "happy birthday princess". How cool is that?! One of them, Sharon, noticed her button as we were leaving the lodge. She stopped us and took off one of her pins to give to her. I was dumbfounded. How cool is that?! Her very first pin came from a cast member!!!!

Her BIG surprise though came at the Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom park. We were going to have a character lunch. So, a little note here before you see the cool pictures? The food was SOOOOO good. I actually would like some right now. But, I digress.

We got to take pics with Donald outside. And inside? Seeing her patiently waiting at our table while the other characters made their way around made my heart swell with happiness.

Donald  Daisy

Mickey  Goofy

At the safari we felt like we were in Africa. I'm still in shock at what Disney has been able to pull off in this park. It is definitely my new favorite and I look forward to exploring it in more detail.

Lions

Zebras

The frog princess is still talking about the zebras, the giraffes and of course, Nemo! We saw the Nemo show and wow. Ah-mazing. I really can't think of additional words. There wasn't enough time to get to everything in one day. We are definitely heading back.

Can I tell you how blessed I feel? That I am here in Orlando and can pick up an annual pass at the beginning of the year and just head on over to the parks whenever I feel like it? Throughout the day, I kept telling the (ex)man how great this was. On his part, I can say he felt the same way and even suggested that we stay over again next year.

On our way out of the park, we ran into a photographer that took a couple of awesome pics of us with the tree of life in the background. Unfortunately, I haven't decided which ones we are going to buy yet so, you can't see them. But, they were taken by Margaret. Who had a fantastic personality and she really just epitomized the entire feeling of the day. And I loved that. Loved that my baby girl was made to feel special. Loved that people connected with her and with us. And THAT'S why Disney is one of my favorite things this year.

Lodge

On the day of check out, we saw Mia again. She was the one that gave my child her button. We sat outside while we waited for our car and also had a chance to meet Lebo. That feeling of being special had not faded. Of course, Mia couldn't let us leave without more sticker (Mia, you too can come over to peel these off the furniture). That connection that the cast members make with you, is not fake. I remember Lebo bending down and asking my child (who by now referred to the hotel as "home") when she was coming by. Um, why did she say in 3 weeks?!

Honestly, I would love nothing more. Especially with the lodge being decorated for Christmas.

I have no giveaways for you today. I have nothing to give you other than a glimpse of magic. This most special place in the world is not just magical but it's right. Because they've taken the time not just to make the place magical but to put magical people in all the right places to make that experience unforgettable.

 I can't wait to go back! To Disney and the Cast Members that contributed to this 3rd birthday celebration: thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Daddy Mami

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

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It is the first day of fall and a crisp 74 degrees on a Saturday morning. The high is set to be 86 today. Needless to say, I have no turning leaves other than the background on zenMami. At times like this, I have to come up with ideas on how to make my own fall. Enter Mami’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

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I had the pleasure of visiting last Friday and, I kinda wanna go back every week. I think I know some people that wouldn’t mind going with me.

Frog Princess & Monkey King

I had such a good time. I don’t even know where to start so I will tell you about what advice I would give myself if I were to go back:

Get there earlier. The party starts at 7 p.m. and goes all the way to midnight! I was there around 7 and I think it would’ve been nice to arrive earlier in order to get a head start on the map viewing/candy collection business. Also, on the picture situation. There was so much to see and so many cool decorations to take pictures of.

I think my favorites were the pumpkins and the different colors of the castle. Here are a few shots. I couldn’t get enough but I figure you don’t want to see 32 pictures of it.

Castle Blue

Castle Red

We waited for the parade and got to see a headless horseman. That was pretty cool but he went by to fast and I didn’t get a picture to show you (so, I guess that means you’ll have to go and see for yourself!). While we waited for the parade, I also took this:

Spooky Lights

Once we were on the move it was all about finding the candy! I must say that I may or may not have gotten into the frog princesses' stash while making my way around the park. But this cannot be confirmed (though there might be Twevidence to the contrary).

We brought our own pumpkin for the treats but they provided cute little bags in case you forget yours.

Little Candy  Big Candy

My big regret of the night? Not planning ahead enough to realize that it would’ve been completely cool to dress up in costume. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the only time when adults can dress up in costume at the park and dress up they did! I saw princes and princesses, pumpkins and even a platypus! It was quite a sight. I had my Mickey ears but could’ve totally been rocking my organza fairy wings.

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I was just told today that I have to figure out how I’m going to make Pirate Princess costumes as not only does the kid want to be one but apparently, I’m supposed to be one as well. I wonder if I can recruit my cousin to be Bones and my brother to be Sharky. And maybe the (ex)man can be Hook! I have a feeling I’m going to need a sewing machine (or perhaps I can contract this costuming out). But, I digress.

Not only was I not donning my awesome fairy wings but, I also missed the “The Not-So-Scary Street Jam!” on Main Street, USA before “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade”. This leads me to my next tip: if you have kids, you must go TWICE. You heard me. I said it. I adored taking the frog princess and seeing her loving what she saw but, MNSSHP has fun for adults too.

I never tire of the magic of Disney. The giddiness I feel and the awe that I am in when I think about how all of that magic was built. I don’t know about you but when I get to Disney, I get happy and giggly and have the very strong urge to skip (and I do!).

My last advice is to bring water to wash down some of that candy you’re going be scarfing down. Oh and, enjoy the parade and don’t stand too close to the castle if your kid is scared by loud noises and fireworks (I’ll tell you about that story next week).

The frog princess and I missed Mickey partially because we had to run out due to said PTSD due to fireworks. This just gives me yet another excuse to get us back there. So, stay tuned as I may have more not-so-scary posts for you.

There are 19 more days of not-so-scary partying left. Now that you’ve gotten the deets of my visit I have 2 questions: when are we going and what are you going to wear?