Disney Themed Trunk Or Treat

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Hi All!  Happy Halloween Season!

I had the privilege of signing hubby and I up for our very 1st Trunk or Treat!  I have never done anything like this before, never even visited one so back on Pinterest I went for inspiration!

I have to say, there are so many creative trunks out there, it was hard to not want to do all of the ideas in one trunk!  But of course it had to be a Disney themed trunk and since I signed up last minute I only had 2 weeks to put it all together.  My go-to? All the décor on my front porch!  Mostly Mickey and Minnie themed so away I went!

I bought an orange party table cover at the dollar store, taped it up to the lid of the trunk, found 2 polka dot flower pins at Hobby Lobby to pin my Magic Kingdom Halloween flag which I attached to the orange table cover.  I hung my Halloween Mickey Pumpkin mobile on the left side with a paper clip hooked into a hole in the lid of the trunk.  The flag and mobile were purchased at Disney Springs several years ago however I’ve been finding more home décor items from Disney Parks online, either at Disneystore.com or Shopdisney.com or the Disney Parks Shop App and they can ship these items straight to you.

The paper striped and polka dot garland at the bottom of the flag I put together from a kit in the Halloween section at Hobby Lobby.  What I’m super proud of is my 3 stack battery-operated inflatable pumpkins I found at my local grocery store, BI-LO for $9.99!!!!  That inflatable got tons of compliments!  Then I finished off the left side of the trunk with a plain crate, 3 tealight holders and 2 funky black candleholders that I glued glitter pumpkins to the tops of- all from Michaels Craft store. I placed a gray Styrofoam pumpkin inside the crate and a small white Styrofoam pumpkin to the outside and laced a garland of glitter bats all over the crate and display.

I lit the tealights when it got dark so you could see the flickering pictures on them and hubby placed 2 pumpkin-carving led lights on either side of the trunk to flash the light up onto the flag so everyone could see the images.

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Then of course hubby and I dressed the part with me in a festive apron and he with his Mickey tie from the College Program years at Magic Kingdom, and our Honeymoon Mickey and Minnie mouse ears.  It was a SWEET success and so many memorable pictures were taken in front of the display with the children in their adorable attire.  Next year is going to be more fun!

 

Just keep Dreamin’,

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When Disney World Shut Down

Oh my it’s been quite the whirlwind the last few weeks!  Hurricane Irma surprised and shocked so many of us!  I don’t have a sob story, thank goodness, but I did have plans to go to Disney World the week of Irma.  I was supposed to fly out that Sunday afternoon and my flight into Orlando Sanford was cancelled the Thursday before.  My husband then tried to play meteorologist, monitored the timing of the forecasts and found a possible window for me to fly early morning from South Carolina(before it hit the state) to Atlanta, then to Orlando International(MCO) in the afternoon AFTER Irma came and went from there.  A very NARROW window, but one that might not get cancelled and I would’ve only lost a day and a half in my planned schedule(we’re talking PLAN, for Fastpass +, ADRs, The MNSSHP, Dessert Fireworks party reservation, etc..)I planned my whole week down to the minute.  That flight got cancelled on Friday afternoon.  Then hubby looked at Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday flights to both airports- SOLD OUT.  He started to get creative with driving to Charlotte, Atlanta, etc.. and I finally said, “Look, I think it’s a sign.  I think this is the time where I admit defeat to Irma and cancel everything and re-plan for another time”.  I’m so very glad I did- everything happens for a reason-I wouldn’t have been able to help a family!

I own an Airbnb and I had blocked the dates for that week of my vacation on the website calendar, making the apartment unavailable.  When I cancelled everything to Disney,  I decided to unblock those dates on the calendar and give someone a chance to flee here from Florida to safety.  We would be affected by Irma with heavy rains and wind but nothing as damaging as other states.  Low and behold a beautiful family of 4 fled their town and drove here.  They ended up needing to stay an additional 3 nights(their home lost power, water, internet, there was flooding) until they were told it was safe to go back. They turned out to become friends I will keep in touch with, they were so grateful, appreciative, thankful people and it warmed my heart that I was able to help and provide shelter.

As far as having to cancel plans, reservations, etc.. I have to say- the cast members on the WDW 800 line were the most positive, patient, caring, helpful individuals one could ever want to talk to!  I’m sure a lot of them live in Florida and they were probably worried about their lives down there, but they showed up at work and helped all of us tourists with cancellations!  Who does that?!  Disney Cast Members, that’s who!

For more specifics, and for future help to those who might ever be in this situation- you want to really get to know My Disney Experience. I downloaded the MDE app to my phone and used it to make all of my dining reservations, manage my tickets, magicbands, and Fastpass+ reservations.  On MDE in the Disneyworld.com website, I purchased tickets to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the MNSSHP Fireworks Dessert party and the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party, all of which you cannot purchase on a mobile app. I found out that, given you do it in a decent time frame(check fine print online), you can cancel your hotel reservation, Advanced Dining Reservations, Fastpass+ reservations and Dessert Party Reservations with no cancellation fees involved.  The Halloween Party is a non-refundable ticket, however they refunded mine ONLY due to the hurricane cancelling my ticketed event scheduled for Sunday night.

To save time on the phone with Disney World customer service, I only canceled my hotel reservation and Halloween party ticket with them.  I was able to login to MDE on my phone and cancel everything else myself. Easy? Yes.  Fun? No. Who wants to cancel a vacation?!

For what seemed like it would be a daunting task, Disney has made it relatively easy and freeing by creating My Disney Experience and app.  I have already went on there and planned/reserved for my new trip down there and hopefully my plans will go more smoothly and I will make it there without a glitch! Yay!

 

Just keep dreaming,

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Pineapple Cheesecake Lumpia w/Mango Caramel Sauce

Happy end of summer everyone!

I can’t believe Fall is on it’s way.  However, until Labor Day I can squeeze in more summer and that means…….summer fruit sweets! Yay! And what better way is there to get excited about my upcoming trip to Disney World than to share a dessert recipe that’s inspired from Pongu Pongu at Pandora World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom!! Growing up my mom’s best friend was from Guam.  Instead of making egg rolls they make what they call Lumpia.  It’s a thinner, crispier wrapper that you can find at all Asian grocery stores.  You can roll just about anything and fry it.  We would get together before a big church party and make 500 different varieties and there would never be a single one left on a platter!  Banana, cherry pie, mango, peach….etc. You would dip these lumpia in Thai Sweet Chili Sauce to accompany the creamy, sweet flavors melding together.

At Pongu Pongu people are starting to rave over the Pineapple Lumpia which consists of pineapple, cream cheese and sugar.  I decided to finally share my childhood recipe of Pineapple Cheesecake Lumpia dipped in a mango caramel sauce.  When you bite into these you are tasting summer at it’s finest!  Or you are like me and hubby- dreaming of your next trip to the Caribbean!

Forgive all of the detailing, but for first-timers I want to make sure you feel comfortable making these, as anyone should be able to and you will be the hit of the dinner party if you make these for anyone!  Okay, now let’s wrap & roll!!!

Pineapple Cheesecake Lumpia w/ Mango Caramel Sauce Dip

Makes 25

Ingredients:

1 Package Spring Roll Wrappers(comes square in plastic packaging in the freezer section of your local Asian market)

1 Egg, beaten in a small bowl(you will use this as glue to seal the edge of the lumpia when wrapping and rolling)

Vegetable oil for frying

16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

2 tsp. Vanilla

20 oz. can Crushed Pineapple(drain all the water out AND strain; see in instructions)

1 Mango peeled, cubed and put into blender or food processor

1 C. Sugar

1 1/2 C. Water

1/4 C. Coconut Milk or Heavy Cream

 

Instructions:

Cheesecake mix:  Once you have all of the water out of the can of pineapple, push in mesh strainer to get more water out.  The more liquid you get out the better. Liquid in lumpia when frying creates a big disaster in hot oil. You will have about a little over 1 cup of pineapple fruit after straining.

Preferably in a standup mixer(but you can wooden spoon and bowl it-it’ll just take longer) mix together the cream cheese, vanilla and crushed pineapple until smooth enough that cream cheese isn’t in lumps.

Mango Caramel Sauce Dip:  In a saucepan boil 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup of sugar until dark amber in color. Should look like this: See the dark amber in the middle? It should take anywhere from 6-12 minutes depending on the cookware and stove top.

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While the sugar mix is getting to that point blend the mango in a blender, Vitamix, or food processor until it is like ‘baby food” smooth pulp.  The more smooth the better!

When the sugar mix reaches the dark amber color add 1/4 cup coconut milk. For those that don’t like coconut substitute heavy cream and you’ll get a more buttery flavor. Also add the mango pulp and stir, letting the caramel get frothy and reducing more, like this:

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Take caramel sauce off heat and let cool. It should look like this consistency when cooled:

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To wrap: Place the cheesecake mix in front of you, as well as the bowl of beaten egg.  Peel off 1 spring roll wrapper from the stack and lay it in front of you like a diamond. Dip a finger in the beaten egg and smear egg on the top corner of the diamond to act as a glue when you roll it up. Place a heaping spoonful of cheesecake mix into the lower middle of the diamond, lift the bottom corner of the diamond up and over the mix, fold over both side corners(folding left over right or vice versa)and roll the rest of the way up. Here’s some helpful visuals:

Heat oil in pot, enough to cover 5 or 6 rolls at a time, fry on med-high heat until golden brown and crispy looking.  Drizzle mango caramel sauce on lumpia or just dip and enjoy! Here’s hubby “helping me out” by devouring one and letting me squeeze in a picture moment!

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You can freeze these, however try to use foil or parchment and place in between each roll so that they don’t stick together while freezing. The last thing you want is rolls stuck together and breaking when you try to pry them apart to fry. If making several hours ahead and putting in fridge, place a damp paper towel over the plate of rolls to keep the wrappers from drying out. If the wrappers are too dry they won’t crisp up as deliciously when they fry.

So enjoy the last days of summer, enjoy looking forward to tropical vacations or wherever else makes you feel the most magical and there will be more “inspired” recipes to come, especially after I attend the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot! So excited!!!!

Just keep dreaming,

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Frozen Birthday Cupcake Dress

Happy Back-To-School season everyone!

I don’t have children myself(yet, or maybe never…) however I am loving being an Auntie to 1 girl and 2 boys! These kids are my heartbeat, and get me so excited to spoil them and spend holidays and vacations with them. My niece is 5 and her mother dropped her off at school this morning for her First day of Kindergarten(sigh, tear). I’ve already talked to my mother-in-law, her grandma, and we both gushed about not wanting to see this little girl grow up!  I myself have thoroughly enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with this beautiful creature ever since the day she was born.  It warms my heart, though, that this vivacious, smart little thing is excited to wake up every day to life and people so I am comforted to know she will have a blast in Kindergarten.

So on the lines of spoiling her…….. her birthdays mean a lot to me, for the memories and for the experience of her reactions!  She is hilarious whenever I do anything for her, and it makes me just want to do more!  So for one of her previous birthdays, Hello! Of course she was like every other girl in this world in love with Frozen, Anna and Elsa.  She requested from me strawberry cupcakes and gave me permission to go to town on whatever else.  So of course being the diligent Auntie that I am, I started scoping ideas for Frozen themes and cupcakes on the internet.  I found SOOOOOOO much!  My favorite turned out to be cupcakes shaped into the form of a dress and displayed on the cake table!  So I found my favorite recipe online for strawberry cupcakes, made and tinted my favorite Wilton Buttercream Frosting in Frozen themed colors for Elsa(Blues,White) and started putting this together.

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How cute is this?!  Naturally I made wayyyyyy more cupcakes and just frosted them and kept them on a platter(or you could use a cupcake tier stand) for more hungry bellies to enjoy. With the extra cupcakes, I frosted them plain white and had birthday girl throw some pixie dust over them(blue candy glitter sprinkles)! The crystal embellished belt and collar to the dress are just from a ribbon spool from the craft store that I cut and layered on top of the cupcakes, dotting icing on the ends to sort of glue in place. I then angled a couple squares of shimmery tulle and just placed it near the collar and let it naturally fold and flow down and over the sides.

But me being the over-the-top Auntie that I am, I had to add toys and gifts to the cupcake dress to enhance the theming, as well as give my niece fun things to play with after the cupcakes are gone.  So off to the toy store I went, and found Frozen character figurines, a tiara, light up princess wand, and my most favorite- light up high heel “glass slippers” for her dress up days!

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She absolutely loved it, loved the taste of the cupcakes and nothing was left at the end of the party. Sweet success!  So much fun! I’m so blessed to be an Aunt!

Just keep dreaming,

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Shadow Art Display Wall

Hi Disney Dreamers!

So my extremely talented mom took a shadow art class in Seattle and fell in love!  She has made MANY designs, but of course my favorite has been the Disney princesses she created and gifted to me. I used to display them on a wall in my previous dance studio and now I have brought them to my home studio office to stare at everyday! I decided to build a whole themed wall with clipboards that I’ve been seeing on Pinterest soooo……

Here it is! I pulled Disney Princess quotes from my favorite movies, like Sleeping Beauty-“If you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to come true”. Totally positive affirmations to motivate me each day and keep the magic alive.

For Halloween I might do a Nightmare Before Christmas character display or for Christmas I might do the Jingle Bam elves and display on a hutch or countertop with ornaments. I hope this inspires you to make some magic in your home!

Just keep dreaming,

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Happy Disney Dreaming!

“Have courage and be kind.” Cinderella(live action movie)

My name is Donna and I feel I am being very courageous by starting this blog about how I live the Disney life!  I love all things Disney and am fortunate to be able to travel to Disney World often and will be embarking on my 1st Disney cruise in 2018! I married my Prince Charming(who attended the Disney College Program and worked for Disney) and have a fur baby Mini Eskimo Spitz we named Koda, the name of the young bear in Disney’s animated movie Brother Bear.

I found myself coming back home from trips with “Disney depression”. Many of you, I’m sure can relate to this. So I started coming up with ways to keep the magic alive at home, whether it’s creating an inspired version of a dish from one of the restaurants on property or mixing my version of favorite drinks and cocktails I discover in “the world”.  I thought it might be kind to share those recipes and experiences as well as share other ways I “Disney dream” through home decor, DIY projects, celebrations and styling.

I hope what I share helps keep the pixie dust running through your veins and lends a magical touch to your inspirational joy!

Just keep dreamin’,

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