Don't Miss Disney - Holiday Edition!

We all know that there are several things that are "don't miss" items on any Walt Disney World Resort vacation and the holiday season brings it's own list of must-see attractions, events, and entertainment.  In fact, I talked about what makes the holidays a bit more magical during my Disney Parks Moms Panel Application video when I applied for the 2019 panel.  Even though I didn't make the panel, I think my video sums up a bit of what makes the holiday season extra special when vacationing in Walt Disney World.  Take a look at my video here:



Excited to learn more?  Check out my top 5 things you won't want to miss to put a little extra jingle in your bells this holiday season!

2014 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - This is a special ticketed event on select nights at Magic Kingdom Park.  Similar to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you'll find all the magic of the season at this party!  From top notch decorations to put the jingle in any bells to free hot chocolate and cookies throughout the park, you'll feel holly jolly as soon as you enter the park.  Don't miss the parade during this event which features a very special guest at the end!  The holiday fireworks are also an amazing end to the evening.  You will need to purchase a separate ticket for this, but that ticket gets you entrance at 4PM even though the party doesn't begin until 7PM.

Epcot's Candlelight Processional - Included with your ticket to Epcot is the chance to take part in this spiritually mesmerizing event.  Join celebrity narrators, an orchestra, and a enormous choir to hear the Biblical tale of Christmas as never before.  There are several performances each evening of this show and it is incredibly popular.  If you want to guarantee your seat, you can book a dining package at one of Epcot's restaurants with a special reservation on My Disney Experience.  For those of you choosing to attend without that dining reservation, plan to arrive early and wait in line in order to secure your spot!

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail - We all know Disney Springs is a premiere shopping, dining, and entertainment destination, but it gets even more spirited during the holidays.  With themed Christmas trees from Star Wars to Pixar to Disney classics, you'll quickly find yourself lost in a maze of color and merriment.  One extra perk of this particular holiday attraction?  It's located outside of theme park so if you're in the Orlando area for work, fun, or as a resident - you don't have to pay park admission to enjoy with your family!

Hotel Decor and Experiences - The holiday festivities and decor aren't just limited to the parks around the Walt Disney World Resort, but can also be found in hotels on property as well.  A great way to spend a low-key afternoon or evening is by taking some time to visit different resort properties and enjoy all they have to offer.  For example, the giant gingerbread house display at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is not to be missed.  Feeling a bit more rustic?  Make a visit to Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground where you can find special horse-drawn holiday sleigh rides around the property.
2017 Dinner at Minnie's Holiday Dine

Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine - Looking for a festive dining experience with some of your favorite characters?  Look no further than Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios!  This dining option is available for lunch and dinner and provides guests with a wide buffet selection and memorable character interactions.  You can find something for everyone at this restaurant and can even grab a special dining package to get reserved seating for Fantasmic later on in the evening!

This is just a sampling of some of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort!  You'll find holiday magic around every corner and the decorations, costumes, and special events around the resort will help you create memories that will last much longer than those gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate on Main Street, U.S.A!

Downton Abbey - 3 Characters I Love in the Film

Downton Abbey hit theaters in late September and fans of the PBS series couldn't have been more excited!  As someone who recently binged the series in preparation for seeing the film, I easily fell in love with the characters and storylines over the six seasons and was also excited to see what happened next in the Crawley family.  If you didn't catch Downton Abbey as a TV series, here's a quick recap of what you need to know:



Now that you're all caught up, let's look forward.  The Downton Abbey film begins with the Crawley family getting exciting news that they will host the King and Queen for an exciting evening.  While the Crawley's are busy planning their gowns and parties, the staff downstairs can't wait to have the honor of preparing the house and serving the royals.  However, if we've learned one thing along the way in Downton Abbey, things rarely go as planned.  What follows next is a series of events - some funny, some sad, but all filled with the drama we've come to know and love - as the time arrives for the royal visit.



Throughout the film, fans will be thrilled to reconnect with some of their favorite characters.  For me, three characters really stood out to me during the movie and I fell even more in love with them on this next adventure.

Barrow - Oh, Barrow.  You started out as the member of the house staff that everyone loved to hate, but by the end of the series had turned some hearts and minds - even that of Carson.  In the film, we find Barrow glowing in his new role as butler for Downton Abbey.  However, the royal visit means big changes for him.  I loved Barrow's character in the movie because I felt like he finally had a confident backbone.  He wasn't the mean spirited man from early seasons, even when opportunities present themselves for him to be, but instead we see him standing up for himself and his beliefs.  Your heart will break for him in a few scenes - one in particular - but it seems at the end that we find Barrow happier and more self-assured than ever before.

Tom - I have to admit, I had a little crush on Tom throughout the series.  To go from the Irish, rebel driver to son-in-law to the powerful Lord Grantham, is an incredible change of life.  Throughout it all, Tom carries himself with grace and courage as life seems to throw him curveball after curveball.  By the end of the series, we find him embracing his role in the Crawley family.  But in the film, that loyalty is tested.  To no one's surprise, Tom continues to be the stand-up, brave man that we all expect and my soft spot for him continued to grow.  I was thrilled to see a potential love interest for him as well and not-so-secretly hope that they make another film if for no other reason then to give me more Tom Branson!

Mary - Mary has proved time and time again that you don't mess with a Crawley woman.  While she's sometimes described as cold and calculating, we see Mary soften up at the end of the series as she once again opens her heart to love after the tragic loss of her first husband, Matthew.  In the film, we continue to see Mary grow in her role as the woman behind Downton Abbey.  Her sheer strength and presence both intimidates her enemies and builds confidence in her allies.  It's lovely to see her relationship with her sister, Edith, continue to grow.  It seems that Mary has finally learned that you can have a heart and be a powerful woman in a time when not everyone thought that was possible, except the Dowager Countess, who we know is never wrong!

So let's end this with the one character I didn't love in the film.  I'm preparing for the stone throwing to commence on this one. . .it was the Dowager Countess.  Throughout the series I LOVED her.  She was witty, smart, calculating, and had perfectly timed "zingers" that stops everyone in their tracks.  So what changed in the film?  For me, I felt her quips were a bit forced.  There were some scenes where she pulls out multiple one-liners in quick succession.  She's good, but no one is that good.  When you have too much of a good thing, it doesn't seem natural and, in my opinion, it just felt a little off.


via GIPHY

Should you go see Downton Abbey?  If you were a fan of the show like me, I think you will enjoy the film.  There is nothing over-the-top amazing from my perspective, but it's a well-done 2-hour episode that moves the characters on to the next parts of their lives.  If you have never seen the show, you can still enjoy the movie but probably won't find yourself as invested in the lives and stories of the characters.

Ticket Giveaway - Escape to Margaritaville

I'm back with another fabulous ticket giveaway to an opening night show at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.  This time, I'm offering you a chance to win a pair of opening night tickets to see Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville.  Before I share with you how to win these fantastic tickets, let's learn a little more about the show!



Welcome to Margaritaville, where people come to get away from it all — and stay to find something they never expected. With a book by Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia (“My Name is Earl,” “Raising Hope”) and Emmy Award nominee Mike O’Malley (“Survivors Remorse,” “Shameless”) ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE is the musical comedy featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and many more. USA Today calls it “A little slice of paradise!” and Entertainment Weekly raves, “It will knock your flip-flops off!” So don’t let the party start without you.  Recommended for ages 13 and up. Run time: Approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes, includes intermission.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put my flip flops on, grab a cheeseburger in paradise, and find my lost shaker of salt to head to the National Theatre and catch this fun show!  To find out more about the show at the National Theatre, click here

So how can you win, it's easy!  Simply head over to my Instagram page (be sure you're following me @dsnyrunrgrl!), like the post with the giveaway, and comment "Take Me to Margaritaville."  You can earn extra entries for tagging friends!  The entry period for this giveaway ends Thursday, 10/3 at noon and a winner will be announced that night!  The winner will receive 2 opening night tickets for the show on Wednesday, October 9th at 7:30.

Good luck!!!  You can also find out more about the show by following @BuffettMusical on social media and @NatTheatreDC on Twitter and Instagram.  

Frozen 2 - New Trailer and FREE Family Activities

Photo from Walt Disney Studios
I watched the new Frozen 2 trailer and I just can't "let it go!" The royal sisters of Arendelle make a return to the big screen in November 2019 to tell the next chapter and add some backstory all at one time in this upcoming release from Walt Disney Studios.

Let's recap what we know from our original film.  Frozen introduced us to Princesses Anna and Elsa who tragically lost their parents in a boating accident at sea.  During Elsa's coronation as the new Queen of Arendelle, a secret that she has been fighting to keep hidden for many years is revealed - she has magical powers that freeze items she touches.  During her coronation ball, Elsa becomes upset and the whole kingdom witnesses her powers in action.  Scared of what this means for her, her sister, and the future of Arendelle, Elsa retreats into the woods and plans to live a life outside of town.  Anna's deep love of her sister sends her looking for her - venturing into the frozen woodlands, where she meets Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and a magical snowman, Olaf.  Together, they find Elsa, but she refuses to return to Arendelle worried that she'll just bring destruction and misery to the kingdom.  During their argument, Elsa accidentally strikes Anna with an ice blast to the heart and Anna leaves to return to Arendelle.  Unbeknownst to everyone, Anna's plan to rescue her sister has led Prince Hans' officers to capture Elsa and bring her back.  Prince Hans has aspirations of taking over the kingdom and doesn't care who he hurts to get what he wants!  When Anna returns to the castle hurt and fighting for her life, Hans turns his back on her and then goes after Elsa who has escaped from prison.  Anna, knowing her sister is in danger, uses her last bit of strength to save her sister's life.  In the end, we find that it is love that melts a frozen heart and Arendelle is restored to it's un-frozen state with Queen Elsa once again reigning over her people and Hans being exiled from the kingdom.

The latest trailer for Frozen 2 definitely sheds more light on the story that's about to come to life on the big screen - just like our favorite snowman comes to life with Elsa's magic!  Let's take a look. . .



So what does it all mean?  It looks like we'll find out more about the origin of Elsa's powers as Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf journey into the Enchanted Woods.  I'm sure the journey will be an emotional one as we also have more interaction with Anna and Elsa's parents then just a fleeting glimpse of them that we saw in the original.  The kingdom of Arendelle appears to be in jeopardy with crazy weather (blowing leaves??) leaving the people wondering how their queen will save them yet again.  The bond between these sisters also seems to grow even stronger.  In the trailer, Elsa tells Anna "you can't follow me into fire" to which Anna replies "then don't run into fire."  As Olaf points out, mortal danger seems to follow this group of heroes wherever they go and I plan to be here for every minute of their next adventure.  

Can't wait to share the magic with your family?  You can download these FREE printable family activities for the whole family to enjoy!  And don't forget to follow #Frozen2 on social media for all the latest buzz.

Ticket Giveaway - The New One

I'm excited to share yet another fabulous giveaway, this time for 2 opening night tickets on September 25th at 7:30 to see The New One at the National Theater in Washington, DC!  This show is direct from Broadway and is getting rave reviews as a wonderfully entertaining and comedic night out.  Find out more about the show here:



He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called THE NEW ONE “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Do not miss THE NEW ONE. Some people say it’s his best one. (It was John Mulaney. Also Vogue.) Run time: Approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes, no intermission. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Children under the age of four are not permitted to attend the show.

Sounds fun, right?  So how do you win tickets??  It's simple!  This giveaway is exclusively through my Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/runonpixiedust.  You get one entry each for:
  • Liking the post about this giveaway
  • Commenting on the post about this giveaway
  • Each friend you tag in a comment on this Facebook post
  • Sharing this post!
In order to be eligible to win, you must "Like" my Facebook page as well.  The entry period will be open Wednesday, 9/18 until 10PM on Thursday, 9/19.  I'll go LIVE Friday evening on Facebook to draw a winner.  Good luck and I look forward to seeing what lucky follower gets to have an amazing night out! 

Thanks to Allied Global Marketing for the opportunity to host this giveaway!

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