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Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Disney-Pixar fans, rejoice! The second phase of Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort opened this Monday, adding 480 family suites inspired by Lightning McQueen, Radiator Springs, and other features of their much-loved Cars franchise.
After passing Sheriff and Doc Hudson at the hotel’s entrance, kids can take in scenes like Luigi’s Casa Della Tires and Tow Mater Towing before settling into supercharged themed rooms with Cars-inspired artwork, carpets and furniture. The resort’s centerpiece is the Cozy Cone Motel, complete with orange cone-shaped cabanas surrounding the Cozy Cone Pool.
This phase of the resort comes on the heels of the Finding Nemo section, which opened in May. For kids and parents nostalgic for some of Disney’s classic films, two new areas based on The Lion King and The Little Mermaid will open in August and September.
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cars, Disney, Finding Nemo, Florida, hotel, Orlando, Pixar, resort, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid | Categories:
Entertainment, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Time for Fun, Travel, Your Life
Monday, June 18th, 2012
My family and I just spent 2 nights on the Disney Magic which, for the first time, is offering weekend cruises out of New York City this summer. You depart Friday afternoon, you sail the Atlantic for a day or so, and you’re walking off the boat by 9am Sunday. If you don’t think it sounds like enough time, my 6- and 3-year-old daughters would agree with you–but it felt perfect to me and my husband. This is a Disney experience, after all, which means you can pack a ton of fun into your one full day at sea. These are the five things I loved the most.
1. The staff. For anyone who complains that customer service is dead (like I often do), take a Disney Cruise and have your faith restored. I know this is the cornerstone of the Disney philosophy, to treat every guest like a celebrity. But I didn’t expect it to start in the passenger terminal, as we waited to get through security and board the ship. Every single employee stationed throughout the terminal, and there were dozens, greeted us with a smile. Caught up in the Magic of it all, I found myself believing they were as excited about our weekend as we were. Our favorite staffers were Giuseppe and Keneisha, our servers at each of our three sit-down meals. Their magic tricks left my girls mesmerized, and me and my husband stumped.
2. The rooms. Our stateroom came with a verandah, which felt downright luxurious, especially when my husband and I kicked back there with drinks on Saturday afternoon as the sun shone brightly. Julia and Lila were blown away when we returned from dinner on Friday night to find that our couch had been converted into a bed for Lila, and the wall now featured a top bunk for Julia. (I know it was just a lucky guess, but I was still impressed that the person who made up the beds managed to match them to the correct stuffed animals.) The ship gets major points for completely soundproof rooms; we didn’t hear a peep from anyone on either side of us, or above or below us, or even walking past our room. Drifting off to sleep on Friday night, I would have thought I was at home, not on an 11-level ship with some 2,700 fellow passengers.
The view of our room from the verandah
The girls, chilling on the verandah before we left the NYC harbor
Voila! Bunk beds!
3. The spa. When my precious daughters awoke, giddy and giggling, at approximately 5:13 a.m., I told myself, “Girl, you just have to make it to 9:00 a.m.” That was my scheduled hot-stone massage at the Vista Spa. It was incredibly soothing and restorative, and I grabbed back at least a half hour of sleep. Word to the wise: When you shower after your treatment, pick the stall on the right. That one has a rainfall shower head with the best water pressure EVER. (I’m a water-pressure snob, so this is high praise.) It took everything I had to turn it off and end the bliss.
4. The Oceaneer Club. AKA “The kids’ club,” as in “Wait–you can just drop them off at the kids’ club?” or “Let’s bring them to the kids’ club” or “Come on, girls, you’re going to the kids’ club!” This is what a Disney Cruise has over the Disney Parks–free age-appropriate, imaginative childcare for kids ages 3-12 that starts at 9:00 a.m. and goes until midnight (I’m assuming it’s mostly the older kids who are still there at this point!). For little ones younger than 3, you can pay a small hourly fee and bring them to the nursery–but that fills up quickly, so you may want to reserve a spot before your cruise. There’s also an activity center for kids 11-14, and another for the 14- to 17-year-old set.
Security is taken very seriously, as you can imagine: Your child wears an electronic bracelet that gets scanned upon arrival and departure; your child can only leave when you show your I.D. and give a password; if your child needs you, you’ll get a text or call on the boat-issued cell phone. I’d show you a picture, but photos aren’t allowed, for safety and privacy reasons. While the children are there, they can play games, use the computer lab, do all kinds of arts & crafts, and meet Disney characters who stop by for surprise visits. I couldn’t have been happier when we dropped the girls off the first time and saw that the very first order of business was for them to each get a squirt of soap in their hands and to head straight to the bathroom, where a staffer would make sure they washed up before playing. (That reminds me: The Magic is germaphobe-friendly, with wipes stationed outside every single food and beverage facility. Yippee!) I should add that there are also equally awesome “open house” kids’ activities in which parents are required to participate, if you don’t want to leave your child (or more likely, your child doesn’t want to leave you).
5. The way you feel when it’s all over. Need I say more?
Disney Magic starts at $512 per person.
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Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
Fever in Pregnancy Tied to Autism Risk
Running a fever during pregnancy is associated with a risk of autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays in the offspring, a new study reports.
Disney to Quit Taking Ads for Junk Food Aimed at Kids
The Walt Disney Co. is announcing today that it plans to advertise only healthier foods to kids on its TV channels, radio station and website.
Mystery E. Coli Infection Claims 6-Year-Old Mass. Boy
The death of a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy after a mystery E. coli infection continues to stump health officials searching for the source.
Study: Childhood Cancer Survivors Face New Risks
Women treated with chest radiation for cancer when they were girls have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than previously thought, doctors warn.
Opting Out of Vaccinations Could Get Tougher in California
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The re-emergence of some vaccine-preventable diseases has prompted the California legislature to consider a bill that would make it more difficult for parents to opt out of vaccinating their kids.
Friday, May 11th, 2012
This sweet Pack ‘n Play is sitting here next to me and bringing back so many memories. Mostly I think of traveling, and how I took my first child, Grace, on probably a trip a month during her first two years of life. Our Pack ‘n Play saw a lot of use! It came as a shock when she turned 2 and cost a full plane ticket. That slowed our travel for sure. Then her brother was born and we were really grounded. But I still kept a Pack ‘n Play at Neenup’s house (you have to visit grandma!) and at Madama’s house (you have to visit both grandmas!). As a travel crib, the thing is a lifesaver.
The one shown here, the newest collaboration between Graco and Disney Baby, is especially tricked-out. It’s Minnie-Moused themed, but not with Minnie all over it or anything. It’s just inspired by Minnie’s girlishness, with flowers and such. I’ve gone on before about my family’s love for Disney, so I won’t go into it now, I’ll just take the opportunity to post a picture of my own Minnie!
My favorite Minnie!
Back to the Pack ‘n Play: It’s got a changing pad and bassinet built in. This makes it a portable nursery. Seriously. It can be a second nursery setup in your living room, or be pretty much all you need in your baby’s bedroom until she’s ready to graduate to a crib. (Side note: My coworker next to me kept her son in a Pack ‘n Play until he was 18 months old, so I’m just saying, you can make one of these your baby’s sleepspot for quite a while!)
Readers who vote in our American Baby Bests contest love the Pack ‘n Play; most use it as the changer and as a playpen in some area of the house aside from the nursery, so they’re not always running back in forth to their baby’s room. And hey, if you love this or any baby product and want to tell new moms, please vote at our polls right here! They’re fun, I promise you.
And good news: Graco and Disney will mail this same $220 Pack ‘n Play Premiere (or I’m sure they could substitute some boy-appropriate gear if necessary!) to one lucky person who leaves a comment at this post between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, May 16. That’s right, we’re running this contest over Mother’s Day! And as a salute to all mommies or mommies-to-be, I’m linking to Disney’s tear-inducing tribute to moms here. (Or am I the only person who cries when I see Dumbo’s mom?!)
Leave a comment, as many as one a day. Maybe tell me who your favorite Disney mom character is! (There aren’t a whole ton to choose from, right? But the mom in the Mary Poppins movie cracks me up, personally.) Read the Official Rules here. And as always, goody luck!
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baby, baby gear, Disney, Giveaway, GoodyBlog, Graco, Pack N Play, shopping | Categories:
Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Solutions, Your Child
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Excuse me while I brag about the perks of my job: Last summer I got to visit Sesame Street. Over the winter I was invited to bring my daughter for a tour of Radio City Music Hall and a private dance lesson with The Rockettes. And yesterday, to continue my winning streak of interacting with massive cultural icons, I attended a small roundtable discussion with Julie Andrews. She and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, were talking to us about the upcoming National Princess Week, sponsored by Disney and Target. (If you’re like me and your car practically drives itself to Target every weekend, you’ll see how it’s being celebrated there: with toys and items about all the Disney princesses and a new 2-DVD set of “The Princess Diaries” and “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” on Blu-Ray, among other things.) The week also coincides with the publication of the third book in Julie’s and Emma’s Very Fairy Princess series, The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl. Julie and Emma were accompanied by Emma’s sweet young daughter, Hope, who generated a big “awww” from the room when she said that one of the things she likes best about princesses is that “they’re so kind.”
As someone who went on “The Sound of Music Tour” in Salzburg and has attended not one but two Sound of Music singalongs, getting to meet Julie Andrews in person was kind of a huge deal. She is precisely the way you’d expect and hope she’d be: warm, well-spoken, poised, lovely. And learning more about her super-successful writing career was so interesting. She’s written more than 20 books, many of them children’s picture books that she’s co-authored with Emma, who teaches children’s literature courses and has a thriving business mentoring children’s book authors. The mother-daughter duo live on opposite coasts (Los Angeles and Long Island, respectively) so they do a lot of their collaborating via iChat and Skype. They told a great story of the morning Julie woke up to Skype with Emma and felt too underdressed–so she spritzed on some perfume. (“It made me feel better,” Julie laughed.) You might assume, as I did, that getting books published has been relatively easy for them, but they’ve dealt with their share of rejection: “Oh, we’ve proposed lots of ideas where we’re told, ‘We think it’s a great idea, but it feels like a… quiet book,’” Emma said.
Given all the princess talk, the conversation inevitably led to Kate Middleton, and then right on to her sister Pippa, who’s currently in the middle of a pistol “scandal” (I’m not getting the gravity, personally). Julie shook her head. “I feel sorry for her,” she said. “By not being a royal, she is free to be targeted by the press. The paparazzi can’t get at Kate, so they get at Pippa. It must drive her crazy.”
When I got home last night, I read the new Very Fairy Princess book to my two girls, ages 6 and 3, and they sat quietly through the whole thing. That’s high praise in and of itself, but the real seal of approval came later when I went into my older daughter’s room to turn off her light, and the book was tucked under the covers with her.
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Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
If your kid still has Tangled on repeat and made you take her to see Beauty and the Beast in 3D just to see the Tangled short, beware – she’s about to fall in love all over again. Out today is a limited edition Rapunzel doll from Tangled Ever After. Unlike the other Rapunzel dolls on sale, it features the Princess as a brunette in her wedding dress. The doll really is just stunning: It’s not your typical Barbie. For starters, she’s 17 inches tall, and the details on the dress are out of this world. I’m pretty sure it’s nicer than most wedding dresses I’ve seen in real life.
Disney Stores will only be releasing 8,000 copies of the doll so you’ve got to grab her quick!
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
We’ve got several huge Disney fans here in our offices. I’m definitely one of them. Mostly, I love Disney World itself. But when I can’t go down to the parks, I get a lot of joy out of visiting a Disney Store. There’s a big one here in New York City, right in Times Square, where I like to bring my college roommate Tami. She collects Tigger stuff. I was also there a lot (more than I want to admit) when my daughter, Grace, was in full princess mode, and when my son, Joe, thought he had to have every Cars character. I’m serious, the Disney Store has WAY better princess dresses and a lot more Cars figures than any regular big-box store you’ll visit. Does that sound geeky? So be it. You can’t accuse me of having not done my research.
The kids and I in our happy place, Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom in Orlando just turned 40 in October, and now The Disney Store is turning 25. To help them celebrate, you have until the end of the day on the store’s birthday, Wednesday March 28th, to leave a comment here and be registered to win $265.95 worth of Disney Store merch.
Get all this loot!
Be warned: There’s no baby stuff. (But check out the baby line here, I love the grows-with-baby bodysuits.) This giveaway does include plenty for Disneyphiles who appreciate anniversary-labeled gear. It includes T-shirts for Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother; two collectible statues (one worth $99.50 and one worth $44.50); Mickey plush and Sorcerer Mickey Vinylmation. (Never heard of Vinylmation? It’s…a Disney thing. See a bunch here.) And a lot more stuff.
Leave a comment! Tell me if your baby has a favorite Disney character yet, or if your nursery is Disneyfied. We hear that The Lion King has now taken over as a favorite nursery theme, even beating out longtime number-one Disney nursery theme Pooh. You can read the full giveaway rules here. Goody luck!
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Monday, November 21st, 2011
This contest has now ended. Congratulations to our three winners: Tracey B.of Alabaster, AL; Sara B. or Circle Pines, MN; Jacquelyn H. of Galloway, NJ!
Your kids can maintain good habits and still have fun with a new line of Disney-branded products. Disney’s recent D-Lightful Living: Animate Your Daily Routine campaign had one goal in mind: to motivate families to make healthier choices through meaningful ideas and product solutions. To help you continue with encouraging nutritional and oral health, we’ve collaborated with Disney Consumer Products for a prize pack giveaway.
Three grand prize winners will each receive the book, The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children by Kimberley Clayton Blaine, plus a package with an assortment of Disney-branded products for hygiene, nutrition, health, and more (total retail value of $100.37):
J&J Listerine Smart Rinse (Phineas & Ferb)
J&J Reach Youth Toothbrush (Phineas & Ferb)
All Terrain KidSport SPF30 Lotion (Phineas & Ferb)
All Terrain Kids’ Herbal Armor (Phineas & Ferb)
MZ Berger Body Wash (Princess)
MZ Berger Bubble Bath (Cars)
L’oreal Shampoo (Cars)
Kellogg’s Cheezits (Cars)
Perdue Chicken Nuggets (Cars)
Campbell’s Soup (Cars)
Insignia Sandwich Bags (Princess)
Insignia Snack Bags (Princess)
Insignia Lunch Bags (Princess)
Insignia Ice Packs (Princess)
Kobayashi Fever Relief – Soft Gel Sheets (Mickey)
MZB Boo Boo Buddies (Cars)
Fan Stamp Instant Press-On Face Paint (Cars)
I3 Flix’s Mater Teeth (Cars)
Townley Lip Gloss (Princess)
Townley Nail Set (Princess)
To enter, please share how you motivate kids to stay healthy or keep healthy habits in the Comments section below, from Mon. November 21 to Wed. November 30. Three winners will be randomly selected to receive one book and prize pack each. Come back to this post after Mon. December 5 to find out the winners. Read the full contest rules here.
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Disney, disney products, Food, Giveaway, health, healthy eating, hygiene, lunch, sweepstake, sweepstakes | Categories: