DIY Floral Mouse Ears

Lately, I have seen so many pictures on Instagram of floral mouse ears. Being a crafty kind of person, I thought I would try my hand at it. My first stop was to YouTube for some tutorials and they were all pretty similar. I decided to keep it simple and got some great results. This is a very easy craft to do and it takes minimal equipment to make. In fact if you are a crafter you may have a lot of these things around your house. I had to purchase flowers and it happened that fall colors were in season at Joann’s which is perfect for my November vacation.


Items needed:
Small piece of cardboard
1 piece of 9×12 felt
6 cotton balls (or polyfill)
Glue gun

Step 1:
Using a glass to make circles on the cardboard. Cut out the circles and use the headband to cut the bottom part of the circle so that it will lay flat on the headband.



Step 2:
Cover the cardboard with felt and glue down. Cut around the felt making an opening at the bottom.



Step 3:
Stuff the front of the felt with some cotton balls to give it some volume. Take an additional piece of felt and glue it down around the edge of the ear.



Step 4:
Glue the ear onto the headband and then start adding flowers. I started on the inside edges and worked my way around. Once the front is dried start on the back and finally cover the edges.


Viola! You have your own floral mouse ears! You will find these are easy to customize with a bow, small LED lights, or even changing the placement of different colored flowers.



I’d love to see a picture of your ears in the comments or on our Facebook page!


Podcast Episode 66: Disney For Couples

Despite the families that flock to Walt Disney World, it can be a very romantic place for couples.  Join us this week as we give you some tips and tricks to make your next Disney vacation magical as well as romantic.

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

5 Disney Vacation Tips For Those With Larger Families

As I’ve mentioned, I have a family of five so sometimes we have to do things different than other families who have fewer people.  But that’s the beauty of Disney vacation, they’re so easy to customize!  Here are my top 5 tips for touring Disney parks with a larger family.

1. Choose the right resort.

There are several resorts on property that accommodate more than 4 people.  There are even villas that sleep up to 9, in case you have a really big family!  Check out my past post here to help you decide which resort is right for you.

2.  Pro/con the dining plan.

The dining plan is not always the best fit for every family.  Do you have a family with toddlers who eat like birds?  Maybe pass on the dining plan.  Do you have teenagers with hollow legs?  The dining plan might just save you a ton of money.  Check with your travel agent who can help you decide.

3. Use Fast Pass+/Rider Swap/Single Rider when possible.

We all know that the Fast Pass+ system is very important but it’s especially important when you have a larger family.  If you’ve got a wide range of ages in your family than the Rider Swap system will really help to ensure that everyone gets to ride what they want.  Rider Swap allows one adult to use a Fast Pass+ reservation (or from standby) to ride while another adult waits behind with the little ones.  When the first adult is finished, the second adult (plus 2 others) can then enter the attraction through the Fast Pass queue.  Be sure to ask the Cast Member at the front of the attraction for the Rider Swap pass.  Also, some attractions have a Single Rider queue so you can definitely make use of that as well if you have just one person in your party who wants to do an attraction.

4.  Be prepared to split up when possible.

Sometimes splitting up your group is the best way to make people happy.  We do that a lot when one adult and one of our kids wants to do an attraction but the others don’t.  We will split up into two groups and some will ride and some will go get a snack or look through a gift shop.  We either set a rendezvous point or text each other our location to meet later.  It works well for us.  If you have older (responsible) teenagers, you might want to let them tour a park on their own.

5.  Get the Memory Maker package.

They can set up the shot so that you get everyone in the picture as well as the fun landmarks!  It can be hard to get a good shot of everyone in the parks when it’s crowded and people are elbowing you and trying to get around you.  The Disney photographers have staked out the best spots and they can make sure the whole family gets in the shot.  You’re making these memories together so you definitely want to remember them!

We’d love to hear your best tips on touring with a large family.  Leave them in the comments below!

Disney Club Level: What is it and why do I want it?

Disney has a category of rooms that are called “Club Level” or “Concierge Level” and though not a secret they are sometimes considered a “hidden gem”. I thought I would help share what it is and you can decide for yourself if it is something that would benefit or enhance your next Disney trip enough to make it worth the extra pennies (okay maybe not pennies!) that it will cost you!

This week will be an overview of Club Level and then the series will continue with an in-depth look at the different resorts club level benefits and extras so if you DO decide that you want to try out club level you will know which resort’s club level offerings are right for you. Club level does have many similarities throughout the different resorts but they as well have been customized for each resort.

Thanks for the photo of Club Level Lounge

Thanks for the photo of Club Level Lounge

First, not all resorts offer club levels and only Deluxe resorts have true club level rooms. One moderate has an option that resembles club level and that is Coronado Springs Business Class rooms. It is not called club level but has some of the same benefits such as a lounge only accessed by Business Class guests but it does not have the full offering that the deluxe true Club Level rooms offer. As we go through the series we will have a specific article on Business Class at Coronado Springs where we compare it to the full Club Level and tell you more about it.  All of the deluxe resorts now offer Club Level category so that list is Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney Vacation Club villa resorts that are deluxe villas category do not offer club level rooms. So, for example Bay Lake Tower or the Boardwalk Villas do not have this option.

Some people get confused and think Club Level has something to do with the concierge desk at the resort’s front desk. It does not and is separate so anyone staying at that resort can utilize the concierge desk in the resort’s lobby. Only Club Level can work with the concierge that is Club Level only and has a separate desk.

One of the best services that Club Level offers is the Itinerary Planning Office. Prior to your visit your TA and the IPO will work together to get your schedule set. While on your vacation they are a valuable resource when needing to move reservations around or if something comes up and you need to cancel reservations or fastpasses, etc.

AKLOne of the favorite services that Club Level offers is the lounge. Usually club level rooms are on the same floor or at least in the same area. Each of the resorts have a Club Lounge that offers complimentary food and drinks throughout the day and night.The lounges offer comfortable seating and TV’s (one is just for the kids with Disney cartoons playing). You can definitely eat a great breakfast here and heavy snacks throughout the day. I know many Club Level guests that even will eat dinner here in the evening. Though it is not a traditional restaurant or somewhere that has a menu that you order from their snacks are filling enough that you can definitely get full. There are a variety of hot and cold appetizers from the resort restaurants and wine and beer; along with soda and juice to fill you up. In the later eveningPoly CL2 they will have desserts and cordials out to indulge in. They do print menus of that week’s food and you will get that from your Club Level concierge or pick up at the lounge. The lounge is open from 7am to 10pm.

Club level rooms typically offer additional amenities as well. You will find luxurious robes in your room, spa-quality toiletries and DVD players, along with sometimes slightly larger rooms. For example, a Club Level room at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the deluxe category rooms (unless you have a suite). You also can request nightly turn-down service if you wish while you are staying Club Level.

Poly CLAnother benefit of Club Level is you will have your own check-in area that will make waiting in line to check-in a thing of the past. Club level access is secure and is restricted to club level guests only. In the past, a special Gold colored Keys to the Kingdom card would allow you access but now it is stored on your magic bands.

Each resort has unique reasons why Club Level is special and as we go through this series you will find that it might be the special, Club Level only Sunrise Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge that appeals to you or that the Sushi during the dinner hours at the Poly Club Level steals your heart. There are so many appealing reasons to think about staying Club Level at Disney and I guarantee you there is one that is practically perfect for you!

Have you stayed Club Level at Disney before? What was your favorite part?

Disney's Club Level- (1)

Walt Disney World Fall 2015 Refurbishments

Here is the latest list of refurbishments and closures at Walt Disney World for Fall 2015. This is subject to change at any time so check back.

Magic Kingdom

Monorail: the Resort Monorail System is undergoing refurbishment and alternative transportation will be available – until December 2015

Pirates of the Caribbean: June 8- September 25

Peter Pan’s Flight: November 2-7

Walt Disney World Railroad: October 12-November 20

Disney’s the Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour: October 12-November 20

Liberty Tree Tavern: July 6-November 19

The Diamond Horseshoe: August 2-November 19

Animal Kingdom

Primeval Whirl: August 17-November 12

Flights of Wonder: October 5-November 5

Pizzafari: August 23- November 14


Living with the Land: September 8-17

Re-Imagination of Maelstrom (Frozen Ever After): April 20, 2016

Blizzard Beach Water Park

Annual Refurbishment: October 4-January 2, 2016

Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Annual Refubishment: January 3-March 12

All Star Sports Resort

Grand Slam Pool: October 26-December 18

Boardwalk Inn

Exterior Repair and Painting: August 17-May 5, 2016

Caribbean Beach Resort

Bridge Closure from Aruba and Jamaica to Old Port Royale: August 3-November 26

Coronado Springs Resort

Fitness Center, Salon, and Casitas Leisure Pool: July 5-October 30

Port Orleans French Quarter

French Quarter Kiddie Pool: September 8-December 23

Polynesian Village Resort

General Construction: Through early 2016

Wilderness Lodge Resort

General Room Refurbishments, certain pathways: October 2-2017

Hidden Springs Pool: October 26-2017

Dolphin Resort

Guest Room Renovations: October-Mid December and June 2016-September 2016

Swan Resort

Guest Room Renovations: Until September 2015

Downtown Disney

Fulton’s Crab House: January 1-April 1, 2016

Planet Hollywood: January 1- June 1, 2016

Adventures by Disney (ABD) – Ready to Dream?

Thanks for the great photos!

Thanks for the great photos!

So, how many of you know much about Adventures by Disney? I have found out that not many do and that more should. Traveling around the World to some of the most exotic and interesting places needs to be done with a guide. What company can you think of that would be better at this than Disney? Talk about getting it right!

First, let’s address a few elephants (Dumbo is here?) in the room. One major thing I want to get out-of-the-way is cost. Yes, Adventures by Disney is not cheap. It is not designed to be but similar to Disney Cruise Line you get what you pay for and with ABD that rings true throughout the trip. Compared to other similar trips/guided tours more costs are included in the quote (meals/tickets/etc.) and so less money out-of-pocket going on. The accommodations are first class and there are two guides per trip (which comes in handy when the adults go off wine tasting and the kids go to “nonna’s house” to learn to make pasta. There is a real Italian grandmother ready to teach your kids the fun side of pasta making and you get a few hours to relax and do what you really want to do in Italy – drink some great wine.

Also, there is no Mickey Mouse. This is not the way to avoid character meet and greet

Thanks for the great photos!

Thanks for the great photos!

lines. There are no characters and no rides or attractions. Disney’s professional side comes out and other than getting first class service and attention, there is not a lot of Disney theme park comparisons.

The adventures and experiences are top-notch and the best adventures I have seen out there. So, ever been to the Vatican? I have but not with ABD and so I waited and waited. If you go with Disney you get to go first and no lines. That is what the Disney name (and fee) goes to pay.

Think you want to go to Peru but you do not want to take the kids or do not have kids and really want an adults only trip – no problem Adventures by Disney has ADULTS ONLY trips.

Want to go to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and practice “meditation in motion” with a Tai-

Thanks to for the great photos!

Thanks to for the great photos!

Chi master in a local park? Got it. Want to take a tour through the Central Market in Hoi An’s to get your ingredients before learning to cook a traditional Vietnamese meal? Done. Not so adventurous and prefer a double-decker bus and private tour through London? Check. I could go on and on and continue to blow your mind. Instead I will tell you that you should contact us at and let us talk to you more about it. I can dream right along with you!


Upcoming Disney and Pixar Movies

Last month D23 held a presentation on some upcoming Disney and Pixar movies. Want to know what’s up and coming in the Disney movie future? We’re here to tell you!

The Good Dinosaur: Up first, due to be released in November 2015, is The Good Dinosaur. This movie tells the story of Arlo, a young Apatasaurus trying to find his way home. Along the way he finds and makes friends with a human caveboy he names Spot. The animation in The Good Dinosaur looks absolutely amazing, check it out for yourself here!

Finding Dory: In June 2016 the long-awaited sequel to Finding Nemo will finally be released. Originally reported in 2012 the highly anticipated movie will take place 6 months after the events in Finding Nemo and will focus on Dory’s journey to find her family (with the help of Nemo and his dad Marlin, of course!) Set in Monterey, California we’ll also meet plenty of new sea based characters including a beluga whale named Bailey, an octopus called Hank and Destiny the whale shark. I can’t wait!


Photo courtesy of EllenTV

Moana: Meet Disney’s first Polynesian princess, Moana! This film (which is based on mythology) is set in Oceania and will follow Moana on an epic journey. Continuing on Disney’ non-traditional princess trend (Merida, Queen Elsa, Rapunzel) Moana is described as “spirited”. Moana travels with her two animal sidekicks, a pig and a rooster, and if we know anything about animal sidekicks, these two are going to be pretty funny! Moana is due in theaters in November 2016.

Zootopia: “The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery.” (via Walt Disney Animation) Zootopia is due in theaters March 2016. Trailer from Walt Disney Animation can be seen here!

D23 also saw the announcement of Toy Story 4, not due out until 2017, but it’s something to look forward to! Which of these movies are you most excited for?

Disney News September 2015

Here is your September 2015 Disney news round up!

The biggest news this week is that this will be the final year for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. While it will be very sad to see them go the best part is that Disney is giving notice. So if you had wanted to see them one last time or for the first time this will be your last chance. The Osborne Lights start in early November and will conclude on January 3, 2016. This change is due to the upcoming Toy Story Land and Star Wars themed land coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

nnnoojjj382012Photo via Disney Parks Blog.

If you are coming to see the lights there are two new seasonal offerings. The first is the Merry & Bright Dessert Party from November 6 to December 30. This will include holiday themed desserts. Next is the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception which is January 1-3, 2016. It will feature a selection of small bites like beef, shrimp, and turkey as well as beer, wine, and specialty beverages.  Reservations can be made starting September 16.

Let’s hop over to the west coast with news of a new Frozen inspired stage musical for Disney’s California Adventure Park. This show it due out in summer 2016 at the Hyperion Theater. Which means this show will be replacing the current Disney’s Aladdin- A Musical Spectacular” much to the sadness of many Disney fans. Aladdin will be finished on January 10, 2016.

dad930344Photo via Disney Parks Blog.

If you have ever been to Walt Disney World for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival and enjoy cooking, I have the thing for you!  A cookbook for the last 20 years of Food and Wine Festival.  Disney has even posted some of the recipes on their blog if you would like to try out a few of them before buying!

Lastly, there is a new special event at Walt Disney World, Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise.  This cruise will take in the Wishes fireworks from a ferry on the Seven Seas Lagoon and feature plenty of sweat treats taken from resorts and the parks with the music piped into the ferry.  It finishes with a toast of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in a souvenir glow glass.  Prices are $99 for adults and $69 for children 3-9 and reservations are available.

FTWDC79731Photo via Disney Parks Blog.


The 411 on the Swolphin (aka as the Swan and the Dolphin)

Thanks to for use of the photo!

Thanks to for use of the photo!

So, there are two resorts on Walt Disney World’s property that are a little different than the others (like when you were little and played which one of these is not like the others?) Yes, if you were playing that game with WDW resorts the answer(s) would be the Swan and Dolphin. Why? Well, first off they are not owned by Disney, but instead they are owned by Starwood Hotels (think Westin and Sheraton, etc.) At times, the Swan and Dolphin can save you some money. They do have discounts for teachers and if you are a road warrior you can rack up Starwood points through the year and use them for free nights or upgrades. It is considered to be an Epcot Resort hotel and is located on/near the Boardwalk. Now, to be transparent, though on property, and even participate in some of the perks of being a Disney hotel, they do have some things that are different and a few extra fees. It is always confusing what is included and what is not and what are those pesky hidden fees. I am breaking it down for you and though there may be others pros and cons, these are the main ones so hope this helps.

A cute name for the two properties is the Swolphin and from here on out when I am talking about both – I am going to use it so I hope you love it too!


The Disney resort perks that you get to take advantage of while staying at the Swan and Dolphin are some big perks.

You get to take advantage of Disney transportation. The boat that goes around the Boardwalk area resorts and drops you off at either Epcot or Hollywood Studios is a huge perk and yes, it stops at the Swolphin’s dock. Prove it? Okay see the picture above, well there is the dock and there is the Friendship boat right there. So hop on and save your feet some walking to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Oh but if you want to walk (because you are not walking enough already at Disney) then yes, you can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios as well. It actually may save you some time if you are in a hurry because the Friendship boats are a leisurely boat ride (leisurely = slow). Also, along with the water taxis is the Walt Disney bus system. It picks up at the Swolphin, just like any other Disney resort hotel and takes you to the parks and Downtown Disney and wherever else in the Walt Disney World area you need to go! I am going to mention here that the Magical Express does not service the Swolphin – so one type of Disney transportation that does not, but more on that later.

Extra Magic Hours – it is a go with the Swolphin! So, get up early or stay late and beat the mass crowds with all the other lucky Disney Resort guests only hours.

Complimentary Delivery of Packages – when you are a Disney Resort guest you can purchase items in the parks and have them delivered directly to your resort. No need to carry around heavy or breakable items, just fill out a quick form and they will deliver them the next day to your resort’s gift shop. This is a great perk and guests of the Swolphin get to partake as well!

Fastpass Selection Day – Yes! Just like the other Disney Resorts you get first dibs at 60 days out for fastpass selection when staying at the Swolphin! Off-site resorts have to book at 30 days and so this is a good one.

Parking-  Okay, I am reluctantly putting this in the positive. If you have your own car or a rental car and you are staying at the Swolphin you do get to park for free at any of the four theme parks. Off site guests have to pay $17.00 for parking. I am reluctant because I feel this is misleading because you do pay to park at the Swolphin, unlike the Disney Resorts and for self-parking it is $18.00 a day. So, it really is paying for parking and so let’s say that is a wash maybe.


Magical Express – Sorry this is a big one I know! No Magical Express from MCO – you are on your own and to hurt you more if you are renting a car parking fees are fairly high. This in itself is a big problem with these resorts so be careful!

Resort Fees – Not included in the quotes you find online (or when you call) is a resort fee. It is mentioned in the fine print but be aware that there is a $25.00 PER DAY resort fee that is automatically added on to your bill. Here is what it includes:

The Resort Service Package includes in-room High Speed Internet Access, 2 bottles of water daily, unlimited access to full-service health club, unlimited domestic long distance (US mainland) and local calls, tennis equipment and access to the lighted courts, seasonal pool access and recreational activities.
Parking Cost – Unlike the other Disney resorts, self parking is not free and is $18.00 per day plus tax (and $26.00 per day plus tax for valet). The per day is for registered guests, so if you are not staying there but wanted to check it out you will pay that each time you exit (so park for free at the Yacht Club and take the boat!)
Magic Bands – No magic bands are included with your Disney vacation at the Swolphin. You can purchase magic bands and they will have them linked and activated at the gift shop for you but you do have to purchase them.
Dining Plan –  You can not do the dining plan when staying at the Swolphin so if that is something you live and die for then know up front that this is not an option!

No Disney themeing – this is a Westin and a Sheraton and the resorts look like a normal

Recently renovated Swan Resort room.

Recently renovated Swan Resort room.

hotel. Now they are both nice resorts and though they were (in my opinion) needing some upkeep for the past few years, Starwood did jump on that and are about done with the Swan’s refurbishment and the Dolphins is scheduled for 2016-2017. The rooms are what you would expect from a moderate to upscale hotel room and are very clean and provide what you need.

Convention/Conference Resort –  So, though many Disney resorts are also home to conferences and conventions typically you do not feel that it takes away from the family friendly atmosphere. Both the Swan and Dolphin host a lot of conferences, meetings, trade shows, etc. and many of the people attending are out to wine and dine clients and enjoy themselves. I have both stayed at the Swolphin and recently did a walk through of both of them and it was a total different vibe. It was very loud in the lobby and it was not kids laughing it was men and women in suits and drinks having a great time. Do not get me wrong I have been there and done that and so I am not saying it is a bad thing to enjoy your networking opportunity. But, if you are wanting more family friendly it is something you might want to know ahead of time. Is it unruly? No, of course not. It just is a different vibe at night so something to think about.

Overall, there are a lot of awesome things about the Swolphin and this just touches on the

Beautiful bar and eatery at the pool at the Swan Resort. Thanks to for the photo.

Beautiful bar and eatery at the pool at the Swan Resort. Thanks to for the photo.

perks and cons of what you get and do not get compared to Disney owned resorts. So, yes, there are some awesome extras that we could talk about such as the restaurants and beach. In another article we will elaborate and maybe talk about their own Food and Wine that coincides with Epcot’s that is a fun alternate. In all honesty it has been many, many years since I was a guest at the Swolphin and so most of my opinions are from walking through the lobby and the common areas. I did a lot of research though and keep on top of it for my clients that ask – but you tell me what do you think?

Have you ever stayed at the Swolphin? What did you think of it compared to a full Disney resort? Would you go again and would you recommend it to other Disney lovers?