Have Heart, Will Travel

Disney World

Visit Watto's Grotto at Disneyworld for all THIS Star Wars gear!

Disney, Star WarsNancy Powell4 Comments

If there are two things in the field of entertainment that this family LOVES, they are Disney World and Star Wars.  You may have heard, but they've joined forces.

See what I did there?

During our visit in November, we got to check out the new store Watto's Grotto, where you can choose all kinds of rare goods.  Wait until you see the video below of the most impressive thing I found!

There were all kinds of clothes there that went way beyond a logo t-shirt and well into the costume territory.

I'm actually kind of digging that outfit on the left.

I'm actually kind of digging that outfit on the left.

Overall, I think women had the cooler options.

I liked this shirt because HOPE is one of my favorite words!

I liked this shirt because HOPE is one of my favorite words!

You could almost feel like you were on set. Or another planet.

Have a sweet little girl who insists on pink, but still wants Star Wars clothes? They've got you covered.

And of course this is where I learned about BB-8.


Definitely the Lightsaber boots!  The Lightsaber boots with light-up heels!


They were so fun to wear for 30 seconds.

Business in the front.

Business in the front.

Party in the back.

Party in the back.

If you can't make it to Watto's Grotto anytime soon, check here, here or here for something you might like. There's some pretty astounding boots...I can't promise light-up heels, though.

We had such a fabulous time with all we got to see and do during our most recent trip to Disney World!  I am almost finished narrowing down our Top 10 favorite experiences and will do a blog series on them soon. I am looking forward to reliving those moments and sharing them with you!

3 things you may not know about Disney's Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Disney, FloridaNancy Powell1 Comment

We just (reluctantly) finished another magical trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.  Our family loves Disney World! We all have our favorite things there--the rides, the characters, the unique shopping, and the ambience.  Even when you've been there a few times, there is always something new to see or do!

One thing we got to experience this time that we had never seen before was the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios.  

I thought our first post-Disney blog should be about the Osborne Lights, because it is time sensitive, as you will see.  

Here are 3 things you may not know about the Spectacle of Dancing Lights that you want to know if you have plans to see them.

1. First, and most important, this is the last year that Disney will be hosting the Osborne Family lights!

Hollywood Studios has plans for that area of the park. Right now the lights are hosted in the Streets of America section.  Coming soon, supposedly, is a lot more Star Wars-themed attractions.  So, if you want to see the lights, you must get there by January 3, 2016.



2. Even though you may choose to spend a lot of time enjoying the sensory feast of color and sound, you don't have to set aside a large chunk of time to enjoy the spectacle.

The day I got introduced to the lights, we were enjoying the Disney parks and area with a large group of family. We spent the daytime at another park, left and met our parents for dinner at their hotel, and then decided to go catch the lights. By the time we were arriving at the park, it was 30 minutes before closing time.

We headed straight back to the right area of the park and immediately were ensconced in twinkling, jumping, magical lights, Christmas carols, and happy people.  We had plenty of time to walk around, take it all in, take our pictures and video, and exchange smiles with each other as we pointed out "hidden mickeys" and other fun details in the lights.

And 30 minutes later? Well, no one was getting rushed out of the park.  With people in lines for their rides and finishing their dinners at the restaurants, no Disney park closes exactly at closing time. We were well past the official closing time before we even realized it. I think we walked out about 30 minutes "late", having enjoyed the lights spectacle for almost an hour.

The other benefit of doing it this way is that, as we were entering Hollywood Studios and walking back toward the lights, many people were headed the opposite way and streaming out of the park, so the crowds were a little lower by the time we got back there.

A pink house and a pink hidden Mickey!

A pink house and a pink hidden Mickey!

Did you notice the Dalmatians in the picture above? Aren't they cute?

Did you notice the Dalmatians in the picture above? Aren't they cute?

Speaking of people streaming out of the park leads me to the 3rd thing you may not know.

3. Even with large crowds, it is easy to enjoy the dancing lights!

Yes, we were happy that the crowd was lessening (who wouldn't be?) but the fact is that the vast majority of what you're enjoying is UP! The lights are above your head, you can hear the music everywhere, and (spoiler alert!) the SNOW COMES FROM ABOVE!  Yes, when you attend this extravaganza, you get snow in Florida!

As you can see in the pictures, there are details all over, so you'll want to look down and around, too. But if you have patience and don't mind either taking your time or staying a little late, you can enjoy all there is to offer, even with a few thousand of your nearest friends.

Clearly, at times when the crowds are highest, like the week after Christmas, I'm sure it's more difficult to maneuver. On those times, please take an extra dose of patience, or enjoy the pictures and video here and other places online instead, if you really don't like large crowds.

Do you see the hidden Mickey in the tree?

Do you see the hidden Mickey in the tree?

I am happy we got to experience the Osborne Lights on this trip. It's the only time we've seen them in their 20 years, and I know they will be missed by many people. Disney always has wonderful surprises for its guests, though, so here's to a magical future!

How to get special souvenirs at Disney World!

UncategorizedNancy3 Comments

What is our other favorite park at Disney World?

Surprise! It's Epcot!

Yes, we love Epcot so much that when we only had 1 and a half days to spend at Disney World, the Magic Kingdom got the first day and Epcot got the second!

Epcot really is fun for the whole family, although for some people it has the reputation as being the park that is the least fun for kids.  All of our family believes it offers something for each of us.

family at drums hhwt

There is all kinds of international fun to be had at Epcot. One half of the park is called World Showcase. Eleven countries are represented through architecture, food, rides and shops. As you can see here, Petunia has a grand time, even in the shops.  These shops are just one way to get a very special...even exotic...souvenir from Disney. And...we have a favorite one! Can you guess which country?  We'll get there in a bit.

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  In Epcot, there seem to be characters that either you cannot see in other places or that are harder to see elsewhere. Since many of Disney's stories take place in foreign countries, Epcot creates a natural place to see some of these special folks.  For instance, Beauty and the Beast takes place in France.  So, Petunia has gotten to meet and talk to Belle there. In fact, she was once first in line and Belle walked up to her, took her hand, and walked her over to the photo spot. How special!

Well, since this visit was in October, Duffy (Mickey Mouse's teddy bear) was dressed up in his jack-o-lantern costume when Petunia got to meet him.


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As if this trip wasn't already awesome, we got to meet up and spend lots of this day with good friends of ours who we now live far apart from.  In fact, these friends re-introduced Disney to us in our adulthood and I can thank them for my extreme love of Disney parks now!

Powells and Sturgills hhwt

Petunia and their oldest have been friends since birth!

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 All kinds of amazing sights at Epcot!

Disneyworld Jimmy wedding Oct 2011 372

Did you guess that our favorite shop was in the "country" of Japan? It is!  Read on for the details of how to get a souvenir that I often tell people about and many people have never heard of.

It is one of our very favorite things to do at Epcot. In fact, it was on my Top 3 list for the day.

In the department store in Japan, you can go in, pay a very reasonable fee, and pick out an oyster.

pickin out a pearl hhwt

There is quite a to-do made over your oyster selection and anyone in the store can witness the hullabaloo! Fun to have others join in your ceremony and to watch it happen for others, too!

pearl drumming hhwt

 After all the fanfare, your oyster is opened to reveal its treasure.  A pearl!

The pearl is yours to keep!  I have seen large pearls, small pearls, colored pearls and even twin pearls come out of the oysters.  You just take your chance, pick which oyster you want and that's what you get.

revealing the pearl hhwt

At that point, you can take your pearl and go, or leave it there and have it made into a piece of jewelry. On this trip, Petunia and I each picked a pearl and had them set into necklaces. Talk about a special souvenir!

necklaces hhwt

One thing I love about going to Disney World is that there is so much to do that every trip can be different.  Each time, I try to repeat our very favorites while also trying plenty of new things.  New for this trip was the princess dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Dining Hall.

Akershus hhwt

We were pretty excited to get in there!

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And were we ever right to be excited!  The food was different...all kinds of food in a large buffet, so no long wait for food once you get in. While you're waiting to get your seat, your family gets a photo with a selected princess and you are given a 5x7 copy of it while you're there.  Another special souvenir!

The best part, though, are the conversations and the HUGS with the various princesses that come around to greet you while you're eating.  As you might can tell--especially if you're a parent--the look on Petunia's face made the "expensive" dinner worth every penny!

 Childhood memories are made from moments like these!

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hug for Ariel hhwt

 We emerged to the most gorgeous evening! What a magical day, indeed!


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 We didn't leave before getting a second ride of the day on one of our established favorites--Soarin'!  That was also just about the first thing we had done that morning because it was--you guessed it--part of the Top 3 for the day!

soarin horiz hhwt

We saw, rode, greeted, and ate much more.  These are the special highlights, though. It was a short trip, but I hope this helps you see that even with only a couple days, and a little bit of planning, you can pack a lot of magic into your time at Disney World!