I know. It’s been a hot minute since I wrote anything here.
Do the kids still say that? Hot minute?
Well whatever. I know it’s been totally NOT tubular of me to have neglected the blog for so long but I mean, you know. There’s been a lot going on. I don’t know if you’ve noticed.
And being that we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, I have had a hard time getting motivated to even think of a topic to ruminate on, let alone commit to paper. It’s hard to think about my little blog when the world is going through something like this.
And even bringing it down to a personal level, it’s been tough to find the time and motivation. I mean, like many people, Nickie and I have been having to balance working from home with being full-time parents and teachers. Plus, it’s easy to get in a funk these days. Obviously our problems are so small and insignificant compared to what others are going through. People are sick. People are dying. People are without food. Without homes. So know that I am not trying to minimize any of this or say any of my problems even come close to those who are REALLY dealing with this pandemic. But being stranded at home for over a month with planned vacations, concert tickets, and home repairs either falling by the wayside or being delayed, it’s hard to not feel a little…
…and therefore hard to get moving on writing a blog of any sort.
But then I started thinking this weekend that if my blog brings even one person a little bit of joy in this time of merp-ness, then it’s worth writing it. Even if that one person is me.
Plus I DO now have a topic to write about.
I know. That topic doesn’t immediately scream “DISNEY!!!” to you. But this Mother’s-Day-In-Place was hella-Disney. Plus, how DARE you not care about Mother’s Day. Mothers are holding it DOWN in this whole crisis.
Wait, so how was this Mother’s Day “hella-Disney”?
So yeah, given the circumstances, we knew this Mother’s Day would be super different from Mother’s Days of the past. But the boys and I really wanted to put something special together for Nickie. I mean, especially this year. Double duty as mother and teacher is no joke, my friends.
So a month or so ago, I brought up the idea of giving Nickie a “Disney day at home.” And the boys were totally into it. We started planning and ordering and getting everything in place. We wanted to do what we could to bring some of what she loves about Disney to our home. Especially given as we are staring down what is most likely going to be a cancelled 2-week Disney World vacation this summer. Yep, as of right now, July is still not cancelled. But I mean, it’s not looking good.
Whatever though, right? It’s just a vacation.
But yep. We came up with a bunch of ideas on how to bring the four parks (and Disney springs) to Nickie for her day of Disney. And we were so excited to surprise her. Then, about a week later, Nickie said, “You know what I would love for Mother’s Day? A Disney day at home.’
Ah well. No big deal. It will still be nice.
Anyways, on with the day…First stop, Magic Kingdom and breakfast at the Crystal Palace
Like I said, the planning was pretty extensive for today – from putting together the plans to ordering decorations and presents to making ALL THE SNACKS, it took us a while. But we did it. And rather than focus on the planning, I figured it would be much more interesting to show the end result. But I will say the boys and I were up until like 11PM the night before putting up decorations and getting what we could get ready before the morning. They were awesome through this whole thing, by the way….this was a total team effort.
We woke up a little before 7AM to start the first bit of cooking with the plan being to get Nickie up at 8AM to start the day. And this plan? It was etched in PowerPoint. As with all of our Disney vacations, the day was “spreadsheeted.”
And as you can see from the spreadsheet, the first stop was the Magic Kingdom for breakfast at Crystal Palace! This took place in the dining room.
The kids and I decorated the breakfast table with a nice white tablecloth and the tulips I picked up for Nickie the day before. I had also ordered Winnie-the-Pooh paper plates, cups, and napkins from Oriental Trading Company and Owen brought down just a small sample of his ginormous plush Winnie-the-Pooh collection. And Myles brough down his lone Eeyore.
We also had special gifts planned for Nickie throughout the day. Waiting on her plate was not only her schedule for the day and her Crystal Palace menu, but also a Mother’s Day “I’m Celebrating” pin we ordered from the Button Blizzard Etsy shop.
And a new Cinderella mug ordered from shopdisney.com for her morning tea.
And being that Crystal Palace IS a character meal, Eeyore made an appearance.
Tigger was also there.
And, um, Myles. Myles was there.
We also had some Magic Kingdom loop music playing in the background to provide the necessary ambiance. You know me. Mr. Ambiance. That’s what they used to call me. And by “they,” I mean “me.” That’s what I used to call me.
But of course. We were there to eat. Here was the menu:
Most of the menu was typical breakfast stuff – eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, tea. Potato barrels are just tater tots. Disney calls them potato barrels because they are Disney and they play by their own rules. And again, this breakfast was a team effort.
We made Mickey waffles using our Mickey waffle maker and Golden Malted waffle mix (same as Disney uses).
POG juice is Passionfruit-Orange-Guava juice, a Disney staple. And something we all love about our Disney meals. Unfortunately, POG juice is not easy to find round these parts so I had to send away for a mix from a place called Leilani’s Attic.
But those who have been to Crystal Palace…I assume you are all like “Pooh’s Puffed French Toast??” And to you, I say, “yes, we made Pooh’s Puffed French Toast. I found this recipe online and it really matched up. Myles did the dipping, I did the frying, and Owen rolled the French Toast in the cinnamon sugar.
It all came out great, if I do say so myself. And you can get a good look at the French Toast on top of Nickie’s plate here.
Our plates were all piled high. Just like a real Disney plate. Breakfast = success!
After we ate and I cleaned the INSANE AMOUNT OF DISHES, it was nearly 10AM. Which meant it was time for our next stop – the living room! Erm, I mean…
So being that it was Hollywood Studios, we had the living room decorated (thanks in large part to Oriental Trading Company once again) with movie-related paraphernalia. And we grabbed some Star Wars and Toy Story additions from the kids’ toy collections.
Now, Nickie’s gift was once again themed. As the plan was to watch her favorite Disney movie, we ordered her a new pair of Cinderella Castle Minnie ears.
You know, to watch her favorite Disney movie. Cinderell…
Yup. I obviously know my wife very well. Oh well. They’re still nice ears.
But yeah, we watched Mary Poppins. To be fair, she also says Cinderella is one of her favorite Disney movies. But she was just in a Mary Poppins mood. Also, I think she said all that to make me feel better.
Being that we were in Hollywood Studios, the themed snack was a now-very-popular snack at Hollywood Studios – Jack Jack Num Num Cookies! The recipe I used can be found here. I followed it almost to a tee though I could only find dark brown sugar (not light) and had to make due with not-quite-as-big-as-I-had-hoped baking cups. #thankscoronavirus.
I actually put these together before we started making breakfast and threw them in the oven while we ate so they would still be warm for movie time.
I had also planned on popping some fresh popcorn in our Mickey popcorn popper, but weirdly kernels were also a casualty of the pandemic. So I settled for some microwave popcorn. On the plus side, it was Pop Secret, which is the brand Disney uses at its popcorn stands. Also on the plus side, I had a Disney popcorn bucket handy.
The movie was a nice time to rest and hang out as a family since making all that breakfast was a bit hectic.
After the movie was over, everyone took showers and got ready for the next phase of the day. The outside phase…
Our time at Disney Springs started right outside the house. In order to work up an appetite, we started our Disney Springs visit off at the NBA Experience. Which, in stay-at-home speak, means 3 rounds of 21 at the hoop outside.
And while Owen won 2 of the games and I won 1, Myles won coolest hair. And Nickie won at being a mom. And we all won. At having fun. Go team!
The next stop at Disney Springs was a dinner-time stop. Which is like the best kind of stop.
And this was a pretty exciting stop since it was both mimicking one of our favorite eateries in all of Walt Disney World and it was getting us to one of our favorite eateries near our house. Win-to-the-win!
The Disney Springs destination? The Boathouse. The Massachusetts destination? Woodman’s of Essex.
For those that don’t know, Woodman’s is a pretty famous seafood-in-the-rough type of place. You know. Lobster. Fried clams. Et cetera. And Woodman’s had a pretty stellar COVID plan. You have to call ahead and they text you when your food is ready. You were then free to enjoy your deliciousness in their parking lot.
Soooo….I packed up the Wrangler…erm, I mean our Disney bus…with some camping chairs and filled a cooler with some sodas for the kids and beers for Nickie and I. We also brought along our Disney refillable mugs to keep the magic alive and you know…not get busted for public drunkenness.
Oh, and to further keep that Disney feeling going, we all donned our favorite Magic Bands.
We of course played Disney music all the way there and called in our orders as we drove up. We set up the camping chairs in the parking lot despite the chilly weather and waited for the text, which came about an hour after ordering. They were super busy.
But it was super worth it. Hello, clam roll.
Like I said, it was a bit cold but it was nice to get out of the house at least for a little while. We even got to throw the football around a little.
After we finished up our food and decided we needed to warm up a bit, we hopped back on the bus and came on back to the house. And thankfully, it warmed up a little bit since the next part of the day was also outside. Next stop…
We had a special up-close animal encounter planned at Animal Kingdom. Which loosely translated to taking our dog, Lilo, for a walk.
And that’s about it. Sorry, it can’t all be puffed French toast and Mary Poppins.
But this did end up being Lilo’s favorite part of the day and it was the first time we could “take” her to Walt Disney World. So that’s something. No?
And according to our schedule, it was time once again for another Mother’s Day gift! Champagne!!!
Now, I REALLY wanted to get Nickie a bottle of the Iron Horse Fairytale Celebration Cuvee that we enjoy when we are down in Disney World. But, the only place you can get this stuff is on Disney property. I looked everywhere online. Nothing. However, after doing some research I did see that a few people said the Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee bears a striking resemblance to the Fairytale Cuvee and that they just slap on a different label for Disney. So I mean, if the label is the only issue…
Oh scotch tape. Is there anything you can’t do?
We popped the cork and poured a couple glasses. Did it taste the same? I mean. I think? My palate is not all that refined. Nickie seemed to enjoy it so it all worked out in the end.
And being that it was nearing 5PM, it was time to visit…
Specifically, it was time to visit Epcot’s World Showcase.
And specificallier, it was time to visit China in Epcot’s World Showcase.
And specificalliest, it was time to visit the Joy of Tea booth in China in Epcot’s World Showcase.
This is where most of our Oriental Trading Company decorating budget went.
The kids? They were pretty excited it seems like. I mean, of course. They were at Epcot.
But of course we had snacks. And even more of course. We had drinks. On account of Epcot.
One of our favorite snacks to grab while walking around the World Showcase are egg rolls at the Joy of Tea booth in the China Pavilion. And I initially toyed with the idea of making homemade egg rolls. But with everything I had planned, it was tough to work in homemade egg rolls. So eh, we had to settle for frozen. Frozen Stop & Shop egg rolls.
But eh, they taste just like homemade. If you use your IMAGINATION.
And being that we never know how Owen’s tastebuds are gonna go, I coupled them with some chicken nuggets. You know, just in case.
And for our drink? I made one of our favorites – Tipsy Ducks in Love! As you can see in this now-outdated-and-in-need-of-an-update post on my favorite drinks in Disney World, Tipsy Ducks have been a favorite for a while. Nickie and I lurve these things.
In order to make them, I turned to this recipe. I had to do a little prep the night before. Namely, I brewed both a pot of coffee and a bowl of black tea the night before so I could chill both and have them ready for the next day.
But look at this piece of beautiful. Seriously, these came out awesome. HIGHLY recommend this recipe.
Greetings. From Epcot.
And, as I noted in that Top 5 Cocktails post from 2015…
Wow, seriously? 2015? Remember 2015? Like when we could high-five each other?
Anyways, as I recommend in that post, “pair your Tipsy Duck with an egg roll…and you, my friend, are in bizness.” So yes, we were in bizness. Especially since we had some duck sauce leftover from my birthday Chinese food.
As we were enjoying our egg rolls and Tipsy Ducks, Nickie asked if we could alter the plan a little bit. She wanted to see the fireworks now. So I guess this was one benefit of a stay-at-home Disney day. Fireworks on demand.
We also decided to not only limit ourselves to the Magic Kingdom’s “Happily Ever After Show.” Instead, we would watch some nighttime spectaculars from all 4 parks. Via YouTube of course. We started with the now-extinct, yet already missed, Epcot’s “Illuminations.” Man, I already miss this show.
And then we moved onto the polarizing “Rivers of Light” nighttime show from Animal Kingdom.
After that, we watched Hollywood Studios’ “Fantasmic.” I swear we did. But I have no photographic proof. I do, however, have a photo of Lilo sitting in Myles’s lap while we watched the fireworks. And while that’s not “Fantasmic,” it is “fantastic.”
In my defense, when “Fantasmic” was on, I was busy getting our last Disney snack set up in the kitchen. So cut me a break. Jeesh.
Next up was “Happily Ever After” from the Magic Kingdom, which spurred the last gift of the day. As we would be watching the show from Main Street, Nickie’s last present was the Minnie Mouse Disney Parks Crossbody bag from Dooney & Bourke.
See? Because Minnie is hanging out on Main Street, USA. Themed.
And even though we were only watching it on our TV, “Happily Ever After” still delivered.
After our fireworks, we had one last bit of Disney to get in. Coming on the heels of a successful Volume I a few weeks prior, ABC was airing “The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II” Mother’s Day night. It was pretty awesome actually as this was announced well after we had planned a full Disney day. It was like kismet. No wait. It was like Kermit.
Yeah, that’s Kermit on the left. On the right? It’s either Seth Rogen or Leatherface. Either way, I’m fine with it.
And like I said earlier, I also had one more Disney snack left.
Wait for it.
It’s a big one.
I ordered up a package of Dole Whip mix off Amazon a few weeks back. And things worked out like whoa because my mom actually got me a new ice cream maker a few days before for my birthday. Thanks, Mom!!!
Now, as you can see from the photo below, this mix arrives legit industrial size.
In fact, the instructions are designed for industrial use as well. There are no residential-use instructions. However, if you do end up ordering a bag, that Amazon link I posted above has these necessary instructions in the comment section. For ease of reference though – here you go:
Overall, they came out pretty good.
The taste was spot-on but the texture was a tad gritty. However, this can totally be user error. I definitely could have mixed longer, both before pouring into the ice cream maker and while it was freezing. The good news is that we have like 40 more servings to try and perfect the process.
We still enjoyed them while we watched the Sing-a-long, which we enjoyed while we ate our Dole Whips. I think maybe we all enjoyed the first Sing-a-long a little better. But I mean, of course we did. There was a High School Musical reunion.
That’s not to say this one didn’t have its high points. Halsey singing “Part of Your World” was pretty amazing.
But it also had its low points.
Either way though, it ended up being a really nice end to the day. And Nickie said many times this was one of her favorite Mother’s Days. She even put it up there with the Mother’s Day we spent actually in Walt Disney World. Which is high praise. And that works out. On account of she deserves it. She does so much for us, it’s nice to give her something like this back. Thank you, love, for being such an amazing mom to our boys. I wouldn’t want to be doing this whole parenting thing with anyone else. I love you and Happy Mother’s Day!
And that about wraps it up. Sorry again about being kind of absent from the blog. Maybe this will spur some additional posts in the more-near future. Or maybe I will just continue watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns. Either way, I hope you are all staying safe and staying healthy. Talk soon.