Decorating with Disney: 1st Edition/Christmas Edition!

This is a new blog post we will be posting monthly, published mostly by Danny!  This idea comes from the massive amount of merchandise/memorabilia we have gathered from our various trips to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.  We don't have the ability to just throw our Mouse Ears in a box, nor the will to fully embrace our inner Disney freak and all out decorate our house with Mickey stickers.  With that said we have found, and are still finding, ways to embrace our love for all our Disney Pins and Vinylmation in a practical way and will be sharing them monthly - and hopefully getting your feedback!  With that said please see our first post! 

As the Christmas season is wrapping up we thought we'd share a way we embraced both a classic Walt Disney World character and a classic Disney Parks piece of merchandise into our Christmas decorating!  

Jaime (right) modeling her Orange Bird
Mouse Ears gifted from Danny (left)!
The Orange is a classic Christmas gift - along with all fruit - as it is seen as a simple and healthy stocking stuffer from Santa and Mrs. Claus (well at least depending on which story you've read/grown up with).  The Orange Bird is also a classic - and original mascot, to the Florida Project/Walt Disney World - as it was both an ode to the Sunshine State and partnership with the Florida Citrus Commission that signed off on Walt Disney World coming to Florida.  See the following link for more information on the Orange Bird: http://d23.disney.go.com/armchair-archivist/d23-presents-armchair-archivist-the-orange-bird/
The Orange Bird Mouse Ears atop our
Christmas Tree!

Mickey Ears are a classic Disney Parks souvenir - no explanation needed - why, you ask?  Well because they are, duh!  

Therefore, when the Orange Bird was brought back for the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort much of his classic and contemporary merchandise was brought about.  These included a merger of the classic Mickey Ears and Orange bird!  Now while these ears are adorable and a soon to be classic piece of merchandise to hardcore Walt Disney World fans - they really don't make much sense outside of the World.  However around Christmas time we thought they would make perfect sense outside of the WDW and on our tree top.  We placed these ears atop our tree merging both the Orange of holiday and WDW classicness; and finding a practical way to embrace our love for Disney Parks memorabilia.  

Thoughts?  Overall we love it, and we would love your feedback!  Please feel free to leave your comments below or tweet us @TMEbloggers.



Hungry Bear Leads to a Happy Bear!

The MountainEars getting ready
to enter the Hungry Bear!
The Hungry Bear quick service restaurant at Disneyland Park is a recently renovated counter service eatery located in Critter Country.  Critter Country houses such famous attractions as Splash Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and much more. 

This eatery is located right off the Fastpass return area for Splash Mountain.  It has a great view of the Rivers of America which houses attractions for both Critter Country and Frontierland - which always leads to a fun time trying to figure out which attractions belong in which area of the park - I'll give you a hint, Critter Country only has around 1-2, Frontierland has the rest ;)

As you would expect from any quick service eatery in Disneyland, there was nothing spectacular about the service, other than you order your food from a kiosk and pick up your food at the counter.  However, the service seemed quicker than usual, and we're thinking its because this eatery is a little hidden, which we didn't mind!  Also the Cast Members were more than generous to give out extra cups of water (which are free and consist of filtered water BTW) which was a nice perk!  

Also as you would expect from any quick service eatery in Disneyland, once you have grab your food you grab yourself a seat, however this is where things change...  

Sailing Ship Columbia getting ready to
float by the Hungry Bear dinning area!
Sailing Ship Columbia floating by
the Hungry Bear dinning area!
There is both an upstairs and a downstairs dinning area, with tons of seating and not tons people! We went downstairs and sat right next to the Rivers of America and saw Canoe Paddlers from Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes exploring the rivers manually, and sailors exploring the rivers not so manually on both the Sailing Ship Columbia and Mark Twain's Riverboat (PS we recommend trying Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes, they're cute and fun, just don't sit behind two kids who have no idea how to paddle unless you want to really "experience" the rivers)!   We also saw people exploring the Pirates Liar at Tom Sawyer's Island, people walking into New Orleans Square and people using the hidden bathrooms next to us which are great because less people use them!  Overall this is GREAT people viewing area with a nice quite atmosphere - and we highly recommend it!

Ducks near the Hungry Bear
dinning area!
We also saw a few ducks both in the rivers and in the dinning area with us, which was cute and nice!

And as you would expect from any quick service eatery, plating is nothing spectacular, other than being served your food in a basket.  However this is where things change again...  

The food looked exactly what it looked like it the picture - WHICH NEVER HAPPENS!  Of course we know Disney isn't like McDonalds or Burger King in that their food for the most part looks exactly like it is pictured or as you would expect.  However this was picture perfect.  

From left: Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries,
and Ham Sandwich with Strawberry Pie
And as you WOULDN'T expect for any quick service eatery, the taste is AMAZING!  I (Danny!) got a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries (to share) and Jaime got a Ham Sandwich and a Strawberry Pie (to share).  Both were elegant!  The Sweet Potato Fries were fresh and warm and the Fried Green Tomato sandwich made me enjoy fried green tomatoes from when I was a kid and my southern neighbors Kathleen and Adeline would cook friend green tomatoes for me.  They were fresh and sweet.  Crispy and warm.  Tasty and savory.  And overall great! The pie was sweet and also fresh, which again is GREAT to have mid summer! Jaime really enjoyed her sandwich. She remarked that the wheat bread was hearty and a great quality and the meat was very tasty. She normally does not get any sort of condiments like mayonnaise on her sandwiches (this one included) and liked that she could really taste the nuttiness of the bread and the sweet and saltiness of the meat. The pie was so delightful! We opted for the seasonal pie since it was summer and we really enjoy fresh berries. The whipped cream was light and sweet, the berries were tart and plump and the crust was tender and just the right thickness. Overall, even though it was a small pie it was a great size to share and not too heavy for the middle of a hot day.

Overall, if you can't tell - we highly recommend this quick service eatery for its uniqueness in quick services dinning location, atmosphere.

Taste: 8/10
Originality: 5/5
Plating: 4/5
Ambiance: 5/5
Service: 5/5

OVERALL: 27/30


Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

Michael with his Wine & Dine award
The following post comes to you from our friend Michael K., the 6th place finisher of the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon! Micheal is an avid runner but new to Disney and we knew he would have a great perspective for those looking to get more serious about their running (for the casual runDisneyer) and those who are already serious but skeptical about running with the Mouse.

Wow! Although it's well over a month since I raced the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, I still find myself constantly thinking about that race. The runDisney group did an awesome job with this race, although when I first registered I had my doubts.My previous experience with "for profit" race management groups had not been positive as I had found the course support, attention to detail and even Finish Line to be lacking at best, I shouldn't have doubted that runDisney would follow suit with the rest of the Disney brand and put on an amazing race and experience.

There's something completely different and magical about racing during the night, being under the stars and having the quiet of the world around you makes you forget pain and just let your body do the running. I've run a few other half marathons (both as their own training cycle and as part of a larger marathon training cycle), but this was my first night half marathon. Having a race that starts at 10pm definitely does a flip to your entire pre-race schedule when you're more accustomed to racing in the early morning hours, as such I lost a day out and about in the parks, but I felt that was a necessary sacrifice to make in order to be able to run my best that night. Luckily I have great friends and a great "dude" who understood that for me this race was important and allowed me that day indoors and more importantly, off of my legs. I feel that this was a major help to my being successful and calming my nerves over a night race as I was able to simulate as much as possible the 15 hours pre race.

Mickey & Minnie waiting for the runners!
Just a sign of how much fun runDisney can be!
Boarding the bus at the hotel to head to the start line I had my usual nerves; stomach cramping, shaking, upset stomach, incredibly thirsty (good everything is going all right, it's going to be a good race), and so I did what I always do, put in my iDevice with my pre-race playlist, but as I pressed play I noticed something different, the bus was LOUD, like I had to turn up the volume on the playlist LOUD, so naturally I pressed pause and listened. People were joking and laughing and in general having, not something I accustomed to on a bus to a half marathon, usually you can hear a pin drop as people are mentally preparing themselves for the challenge ahead, but on this bus, it felt more like a school field trip. I actually engaged in a conversation with the women that I had sat by (all of whom were dressed as fairies with tutus and enough glitter to make one of my current swimmers jealous) and forgot about the fact that in 2.5 hours I was about to race 13.1 miles. Arriving at ESPN Wide World of Sports I put my iDevice back on play and went to rest and hydrate in the final hour before bag check in at 9pm. This was another thing I was having issues controlling, I am accustomed to being able to have my bag with my racing flats, warm clothes etc until 15 min pre race, in this race I had to let go of all of it prior to even beginning my warm up.

From 8-9 we were in an athlete's village of sorts with water, vendors selling gatorade and food and music, so maybe a better description would be an athlete's PARTY. I'm not kidding, again, there was a shock moment as people were up dancing to the Cupid Shuffle and Gangham Style and any other hit that had a dance that you can think of. Additionally, instead of usual runner garb, I saw at least 10 different "Snow White's" running around (pun not intended). I found myself wishing I had dressed up and may work on something race appropriate for next year. In essence I was warming up and getting race ready in the middle of a HUGE party, it was a different experience and making the decision to take it in and enjoy it was one of the best that I think I could have made.


Michael just about to cross the finish line
... yes, he was running that fast!
Once the gun started all was back to normal, I clicked my watch and off I ran, the miles clicking off like you can only expect when the race is good and you're feeling good....oh and the magic of Disney and a night race. The course is truly spectacular, running through Animal Kingdom, then out on the main road where you passed all of the other runners who were still going to Animal Kingdom, up in to Hollywood Studios by the 'Mickey Hat' in the middle, through the back to Pixar, up New York Avenue all lit up with 'The Osbourne's Christmas Lights' and then by the Tower of Terror. Next we ran through the back lot and hit Mile 10 where they took video and continued to Epcot along a boardwalk, coming through the back entrance around Spaceship Earth (my favorite ride in Epcot) and finishing just outside after running through what felt like a recreation of Jennifer Lopez's 'Waiting for Tonight' music video. Along the way there were people cheering everyone! It was AWESOME!!

Look at that sweet swag! The MountainEars are so proud to have a friend like Michael who will not only endure our love (obsession?) for Disney but can do it and still place in the top ten! He is such an inspiration to us as we take on the Tinkerbell Half in 30 days!
We can't wait to join Michael in the Wine & Dine half next year! Who's with us?


5 For 5: Mountain Rides!

Normally, it is our intent to write what each of individual Top 5 things are in a given category. This time around, however, we only have one list. Independently of each other we decided our top 5 mountain rides were the exact same! Even though we had some different reasons. Without further ado, our Top 5: Mountain Rides!

1.       Matterhorn Mountain –
·         Danny: for its uniqueness to Disneyland and to us!
·         Jaime: One of my most magical Disney memories is looking at the pink and purple Castle with the most glorious sunset behind it through the openings of Matterhorn Mountain. That pretty much sums up how magical this ride is to me.

2.       Expedetion Everest –
·         Danny: for its updated tribute to the classic Matterhorn Mountain and Yeti B Mode ;)
·         Jaime: I love that I am scared to ride it each and every time I get on.

3.       Big Thunder Mountain –
·         Danny: for its tribute to the Old American west!
·         Jaime: I love the story, the animatronics, and it is just a fun ride!

4.       Space Mountain, Disneyland version –
·         Danny: specifically for its classic timelessness!
·         Jaime: I LOVE this ride with the Ghost Galaxy overlay for Halloween!

5.       Splash Mountain –
·         Danny: Because it makes me want to see "Song of the South" SOOO bad!
·         Jaime: Honestly, I ran out of “mountains” but I do like that it is a cool ride for a hot day.

What are your Top 5 Mountains?