Sunday, December 23, 2012

Disney's Magical Fireplace - our tradition

With the clock running out, I am happy to report that all our gifts are wrapped!  Every year my daughter and I plop in our Disney's Magical Fireplace DVD, set it to music mode, and wrap to cherished Christmas songs and the crackling of the virtual fire with bonus popping Mickey heads, fairies and other loveable Disney character floating by in the fire's smoke, and the occasional firework display.  It makes our task more enjoyable and totally Disneyfied.  We look forward to lighting up the fireplace every year.  I think the music is great background for opening presents too, so if we're up early enough on Christmas we'll put the DVD in again while we tear open what Santa brought us.

It's been a hectic couple of weeks, but we have not forgotten our promise to live the year filled with Disney magic.  I made the recipe for Grilled Pork Tenderloin from The Contemporary Resort's California Grill, from the "Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs" cookbook. It was so good my daughter asked for seconds.  My husband went nuts for the polenta side dish.  If you like pork tenderloin, you'll love this recipe.  Check it out if you can.

We also squeezed in a couple of movies the past two Saturday nights; the Cinderella "sequels," II and III, and watched a few Disney Christmas movies on streaming Netflix.  As always we wrap ourselves in our Disney blankies and have popcorn.

This fall we got a puppy, Belle, who is very wiggly and silly, so we couldn't put up our usual Christmas tree out of fear we'd lose our delicate ornaments.  Luckily we have a small artificial tree we placed out of her reach and decorated it with favorites, especially those from our travels such as Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  Next year we'll have a few more ornaments to add and we all hope Belle will be more behaved.

From our Disneyfied house to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Living Disneyfied: Mom's Meat Loaf recipe from 50's Prime Time Cafe

Living Disneyfied: Mom's Meat Loaf recipe from 50's Prime Time Cafe: A simple way to look forward to and reflect on trips to Disney is to make a meal from one of the many Disney cookbooks.  I have every last D...

Mom's Meat Loaf recipe from 50's Prime Time Cafe

A simple way to look forward to and reflect on trips to Disney is to make a meal from one of the many Disney cookbooks.  I have every last Disney cookbook in and out of print.  No kidding.  And I frequent the blog posts that highlight a recipe.  I'm ever vigilant for the recipe from Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel for their cajun scrambled eggs.  OMG!  The best eggs EVER!  I even wrote to the restaurant in hopes they'd share the recipe with me.  Nope.  Grrrrrrr.

Last night I made Mom's Meat Loaf from the 50's Prime Time Cafe restaurant located in Hollywood Studios.  In all fairness, I've never eaten at the 50's Prime Time Cafe, but every new restaurant I go to I like to try their version of meatloaf.  Meatloaf seems like an Easy A, but most days I think to myself I can make this better at home.  It's hard to find good meatloaf in a restaurant.

Also in fairness, I did switch up the recipe a little because I have a picky eater to appease who will not eat chunks of peppers and onions, so I puree those to retain the flavor and she's none the wiser.  I also substitued ground chicken for the beef.  Okay, so I didn't really make Mom's Meat Loaf afterall.  Mea culpa.  But we did enjoy a side of Phineas and Ferb macaroni and cheese to keep it Disneyfied!

Mom's Meat Loaf, regardless of what kind of ground meat you use, was easy peasey.  I threw it together in less than 20 minutes and man, was it delicious.  Probably the best meatloaf I've ever made.  My husband said, "That's some damn good Disney food."  My picky eater detected the taste of green pepper, so naturally she said, "Eeeeeww."  She doesn't know what she's talking about.  All her taste is in her mouth.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Living Disneyfied: Disney Movie Night: The Nightmare Before Christmas...

Living Disneyfied: Disney Movie Night: The Nightmare Before Christmas...: Every Saturday night for the past six months we've watched a Disney movie to weekly countdown our next trip to WDW.  Last night's movie was ...

Disney Movie Night: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Every Saturday night for the past six months we've watched a Disney movie to weekly countdown our next trip to WDW.  Last night's movie was The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I'm not sure was originally supposed to be Disney movie, but certainly characters, Jack and crew, have been adopted.  Perhaps the company purchased the movie rights.  No doubt someone more informed will set me straight.

Nightmare is one of my favorite holiday films because it's so clever and different and the message is uplifting.  Last night I  read the liner notes on the DVD jacket and learned that Tim Burton went to Cal Arts, otherwise known as Mickey Mouse University, a college largely supported by Walt Disney and the company.  I also learned that some of Burton's earliest films were from Disney studios.  I mean, I already liked Burton a ton, but now I LOVE him.  He's another film innovator influenced by uncle Walt.  How cool is that?

All this got me thinking about the current relationship Burton has with Disney and his separate relationship with long-time friend, Johnny Depp.  I wonder if Depp would've ever become Captain Jack Sparrow if Burton didn't have a good, preexisting relationship with Disney.  But I digress.

I'm sure our movie night is no different than most families'.  We have popcorn, using our Mickey Mouse popcorn set of course, turn on the surround sound, shut the lights.  We enjoy "movie candy" purchased from the local dollar store, cuddle under Disney blankets, pour drinks into our resort mugs we've brought home from previous trips to the parks. 

Our Disney movies aren't always animated.  We've been enjoying live action as well.  We randomly set our countdown calendar like an MP3 player on shuffle.  So far it's been a fun way to get excited for our trip and allows us to have a chance to revisit movies we haven't seen in a while.  With the movies chosen randomly, there aren't any arguments regarding the movie to watch and we sometimes get to see a movie we didn't like a couple of years ago, but given a second chance have come to appreciate or even like it.

For a nine year old's perspective, I asked my daughter what she thinks of Nightmare and she reports, "It's good.  I like it."  "Do you think it's weird or scary?"  "No.  I like Sally."  I can't help but smile.  I'm raising this kid right.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Living Disneyfied: A Year of Living Disneyfied Day One

Living Disneyfied: A Year of Living Disneyfied Day One: One year from today we will be waking up in Walt Disney World for a long-planned week.  I say long-planned because as a family we have been ...

A Year of Living Disneyfied Day One

One year from today we will be waking up in Walt Disney World for a long-planned week.  I say long-planned because as a family we have been going to WDW/Disneyland once a year, but when we learned that Magic Kingdom was going to be renovated, we decided to hold off until the renovation is complete.  We made the mistake of going to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure while Cars Land was being built and we missed the opening of the Little Mermaid ride by two weeks.  We vowed NEVER to do visit a park during construction again.  We're giving WDW a full year to work out the kinks of the new Fanstasyland expansion.  It looks great now so we'll all be good and ready for December 2013.

Walt Disney has been a personal mentor of sorts for me.  I appreciate his perfectionism and high standards in himself and others, his optimism, his new ideas, his way of "plussing" things that are good enough so that they end up being better than imagined, and they way he kept his eye on tomorrow.  I thought it would be a neat challenge for me to live a year asking myself What Would Walt Do?  I also thought it would be fun to find a new way to countdown our trip, so I planned a calendar year of inserting Disney into our daily lives through movies, TV shows, resort recipes, merchandise and reading all those great blogs available online.  Wow are there some great blogs!

As part of our countdown, every Saturday night we've been watching a Disney movie.  We have 52 more to go until our trip, ending with Fantasia.  We're huge Disney movie fans so finding over 52 movies that we already own was not difficult.  Today I'll start our first Disney recipe.  My daughter, age 9, and I will review both as we progress.  I'll also share how I incorporate What Would Walt Do in my day.


Being in Western New York, getting to Disney is more difficult than other theme parks and we've done our fair share of testing the waters in various parks, but nothing compares to Disney, which is why we go back as often as we can.  Even my husband, who did not grow up thinking that Disney was anything special, got a tear in his eye the first moment he saw Cinderella's Castle.  This is a man who walked in Mozart's footsteps, visited the Parthenon and enjoyed the sweet smells at the Nestle factory, yet none of those memories compare to getting goosed by Peter Pan as he ran by in Disneyland or the breakfast at 1900 Park Fare.  We are all eager to head back to Disney.  I think that was Walt's intent and everyone will agree who has been to a park or on a Disney cruise that Walt's vision has Plussed our lives.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow...