Disney Best Friends

A Disney fan blog about the good things in life.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Disney Inspired Fathers Day Gifts

Fathers Day is June 19th this year and in lieu of booking a weekend trip to Disney, we thought we would put together some Disney inspired Fathers Day ideas we think he will love.

1. For the Good Time Dad
Ride photos-- you know you have them. What seemed like such a good purchase at the time has been filed in your box of photos-- or in my case 'Junk Drawer' (which also includes extras of the kids team pictures, school pictures, and scrapbooking materials collecting dust from promises of a vacation book 3 years overdue). Well dust off that family ride photo and find a frame. What better way to say "father of the year" than proof that dad can rock the Space Mountain pose.

2.  For the Cook/Grill Master
The warm weather is here and it's time to fire up the grill. How about a Mickey themed apron and over mitt? I can't promise that the nosy neighbors won't give a second look, but really who cares, you didn't like them anyway.

3. Ahoy Matey! For the Captain in Your Life
If your family is anything like mine, you are currently planning or thinking about your next Disney Cruise. If putting a deposit on a cruise is a bit too much for a Fathers Day gift, give the gift of some cruise memories. A classic Mickey T and some Cruise H2O shampoo will get him dreaming of that cabana on Castaway Cay.

4. For the Dad Who is Out of This World
Send him off to work in style with some subtle Star Wars accessories. His co-workers might notice his affinity for The Force, but he can always use the "my kids gave this to me" excuse.

Do you have any suggestions for the Disney dad? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Happy Fathers Day everyone!

~Davina and Karen

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 - No Cruise for You!

Normally I like to start the New Year with a post about the cruising I've done the previous year. Well everyone has to give their wallet a break some time and this was our year to opt-out. It was hard. I complained. Nobody felt bad for me. 

In honor of the cruising that did not happen in '15, I thought I would share a round up of some of our favorite cruise posts of years past. 

Cabana Dreaming - a post about that time I scored a cabana and it was glorious
Castaway Cay Tips - planning a day trip to paradise should not be hard. Let us help you. 
Cruising on Christmas - Disney has spoiled my family forever. Why we recommend a Disney holiday cruise

We have our Star Wars cruise booked for 2016-- check back in April for a post on our experience. Until then....


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Best Disney Cruise Line Boat -- According to Me

When I started "cruisin'" back in 2007 I really had no idea that the boat was part of the journey. Today I have 5 Disney cruises under my belt and now I realize the ship you sail on can be more important than the destinations.

For those considering a Disney cruise and trying to work out what itinerary to select, here are my unscientific, completely personal feelings on the ships that make up the Disney fleet.

The work horse of the Disney fleet, the Magic travels the globe. From Europe to Hawaii, this ship has seen it all. I sailed on her both prior to the recent refurb as well as after. Like any classic, there are both charms and quirks.

    Look, lets be real, the Magic is still a massive ship. If this is the first cruise you have ever taken, chances are you will feel overwhelmed by this floating city. However, if you have sailed another cruise line, or the Disney Dream or Fantasy, it will feel quaint and maybe slightly disappointing in its moderate grandeur. So how is this a pro? Well talk to me when you have boarded in record time, found a deck chair without issue, got a space at Palo during a day at sea, and even snagged a Cabana on Castaway Cay. Debarkation is a breeze with half the people and half the luggage. Less people = more time not throwing elbows. You get the drift. 
The Magic. Massive yet somehow small

    I loved the way they designed the new pools on the Magic. I have two boys-- seven and four. The pools on any cruise ship can get nuts and my guys think they are much bigger dogs than they actually are. On the Magic, the kids area is nice and contained. I could sit at a table and watch/lurk as they both ran around the spray park, waited in line on the Twist and Spout slide, and splashed in the appropriate depth pool.

My deck chair vantage point. Nobody is drowning on my watch. 

    One thing The Magic has over other the other Disney ships is the Marvel theming at the kids clubs. My boys could not get enough of the "Becoming Iron Man" experience and the Avengers Academy. During Avengers Academy they not only became super heros but hung out with Captain American for a bit. Don't get me wrong, the Dream and Fantasy kids clubs are still amazing but they are themed slightly different and DO NOT have this same Marvel experience. 
Avengers Academy

Captain America salutes
while my kids apparently have sun in their eyes

I am grouping these together because they are virtually the same ship. If you love one, you will love both. Surprisingly these massive ships don't go nearly as many places as the Magic and the Wonder. I have a theory that the overhead for taking these big boys across oceans might be cost prohibitive and that they might not fit in all ports-- let me know if you ever see one of these guys at Key West. Don't fear though, you can always count on your standard Bahamian and Caribbean itinerary-- which, lets be real, is not too shabby.

    While the size of the Dream and the Fantasy can be overwhelming, being bigger means being able to offer more space for programming-- specifically, adult programming. 7AM yoga classes on deck,  a large work out space in Senses, and my personal favorite-- a whole other adult deck to lounge on.

    Satellite Falls, located on Deck 13 on the Fantasy, is an extra bit of welcome space in the adult pool section. Containing a small splash pool/water fountain you can actually sit in (I wasn't 100% sure at first) with an abundance of deck chairs, Satellite Falls was our go-to retreat when we needed some real quiet. I'm not sure if people just never discovered this section of the boat, or we went at the best times-- there was just never anyone there.      
It was seriously always this quiet
    Hands down the AquaDuck found on both the Fantasy and the Dream beats out the AquaDunk on the Magic. Full disclosure-- I did not attempt the AquaDunk. I watched lots of people go down and have their bathing suits compromised, but I didn't really want to try it. I like to keep my top on thankyouverymuch. The AquaDuck on the other hand is like a fast lazy river around the circumference of a boat. Did I have you at lazy river? It's pretty awesome and makes both the Dream and the Fantasy a bonus. My husband went on the AquaDunk and immediately after pulling his bathing suit down from around his neck said, "you will not like it." I trust him.
"Oh Heeeeyyyy"
    I've been to some classy joints in my time but Remy was hands down the most interesting. With JR Ewing to our left and British royals to our right, we could not help but be entertained. It is fine dining so there was a whole thing about the cheeses, the wines, the breads and the truffle experience but I also got the feeling that people were just itching to spend their money. JR Ewing and his (maybe) wife walked out with a $1300 bill. The British folks opted for the truffle experience, the wine pairing, and chefs tasting which ran them around $900. My husband and I high fived (I kid you not) when we walked out with a $250 bill. No truffle up charge for this gal. It's $75 a person and what you get for that price is just fine. 
Remy Menu: I don't know what it means either but it was good/

So is it a cop-out if I don't pick the best boat and say I like them all? I liked the charm of the Magic and the majesty of the Fantasy and Dream. I've never been on the Wonder but rumor has it that she will be getting a makeover like the Magic sometime in the not-to-distant future. Each ship has something special about it which makes picking a favorite almost impossible. 

A fellow cruiser and I were talking about her recent experience on the Magic. She has been on some of the Royal Caribbean ships and I asked if the Magic felt too small by comparison. Her response was no, it was not too small and really it was about the activities that keep you busy during the day. No matter the Disney ship you will be swept away. And with that, I leave you with this moment of zen.

Disney does sunsets right

Do you have a favorite boat or a fav cruising experience? We would love to hear from you.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kill, Refurb, Marry - Villains

Kill Refurb Marry Blog Hop

Who doesn't love a good parlor game? Thishappyplaceblog.com and Mouseonthemind.com have transformed the classic "Kill - Boff - Marry" to a more Disney friendly version where bloggers are tasked with matching a part of the parks with these three criteria-- slightly modifying the most risque option for obvious reasons.

This edition of Kill, Refurb, Marry takes on Disney Villains.

Villains should always be memorable. Which is why my nominee for this category is the very forgettable Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas. I know, he's based on historical what-not, but I still don't remember a thing about him-- except that he had a dog and he liked gold a whole bunch.

He had a song or two in Pocahontas... about gold. Yawn. NEXT!

We all know how Frozen's Anna and Hans worked out. With his hipster sideburns and doe-eyed gaze, who would have thought he would turn out to be such a douchebag? Nice twist Disney. But look at him. He has the face you would trust, right? If I could refurb I would add a touch more bad boy to Hans-- I mean he's already got the "oh hey Ted Bundy I didn't see that one coming" down solid.

I'm thinking we add more of that twinkle in his eye that reminds you why you're walk-of-shaming at 7:30AM on a Tuesday. 

This one was easy. Can we just say that we loved Gaston before loving Gaston was a thing? Before the Buzzfeed clips that showed off his push up skills and little girls telling him off. Before the line for Gaston rivaled Mickey Mouse. We fixed our lipstick and fluffed our hair before we met him (no seriously, we did). He's perfect... and he knows it.

"smile like you're married to me" -- Gaston

p.s. don't ever challenge Gaston to a push-up contest. You will totally lose.

~Davina and Karen


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Disney Cruise Recap: Castaway Cay Cabanas - Just Call Me Big Papi

Let me start this post by saying that we are not made of money. We don't have extra money tucked away under a mattress. We can't, as the kids say, "make it rain". It feels important to begin this post with those generalized bank account statements if only for you to understand how very decadent getting a cabana felt for us.

For those who don't know, Castaway Cay Cabanas are essentially private huts for daily rental during the port time at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. These have been intriguing to us since they were announced as a thing. Not because the rest of the island sucks-- but rather we couldn't understand how they could even think to improve on an already perfect paradise.

Admittedly its expensive. $549 for a daily rental for a family of 6. Additional guests are $50 per person. If you are traveling kid free, you can reserve the cabana on the adults only beach for $399. With this rather large chunk of change you get:


The inclusions are nice, but really you are paying for a little bit of privacy. After a week on the ship with 1,000+ of your closest friends, feeling like you are alone is a welcome sensation. Aside of the families tucked away to your right and left, you are afforded some guaranteed quiet.

So what did my family think of the cabana? Glad you asked.

First of all, we were lucky to get one. From the moment we booked the Christmas cruise on the Disney Magic we had a Cabana on the bucket list. We are Silver Castaway Club members which basically means we have been on more than one Disney cruise and we can book our shore excursions 90 days out. At 12:01AM on the day I could book excursions, I logged into the Disney Cruise site to try to beat the rush of Cabana bookings-- not surprisingly they were all gone.

This isn't a huge shocker given the odds with up to 2700 guests on the Magic and only 20 cabanas on the island, but still disappointing and not getting one only added to the feeling of how important getting a cabana actually was. I checked sporadically for the weeks leading up to the cruise thinking someone would cancel-- don't waste your time. Nobody does.

So how did we end up in Cabana 18? We simply put ourselves on the waiting list once we were on the boat. I did not have a ton of faith this was going to lead to anything. The already busy Port Adventures girl took our name and cabin number on a post-it and said she would hand it off to concierge. The low tech wait list made me think of all the post its scattered on my work desk-- based on the effectiveness of my own post-it system I was convinced this wasn't going to happen.

Three quarters of the way into the cruise, on our last day at sea came the phone call someone had cancelled their cabana. Note-- I recommend carrying your stateroom phone with you at all times if you are hoping for this to happen to you. They call the list (our post-it request actually made it somewhere!) and when they hit your name you have to decide right then or they move to the next guest on the list. My husband made the executive decision and we were officially Cabana guests!

Concierge delivers a package to your stateroom with the details. It includes wristbands, your cabana number, details on where to go, and a fun paper model of the cabana that you can build at home (nice touch, but our got crushed in our luggage on the way home, so we never actually did anything with it).

Our VIP Package

Not gonna lie-- we felt pretty big time. Aside of a panicked moment when we looked at the cabana number and thought we were in an adult only (we have 2 kids), the process went really smoothly. You check in on the island, pick up your included snorkel gear and they golf cart you VIP style to your retreat.

After a brief tour on how to work the fan, music, and "we need you" button, we were left to enjoy the cabana. We all kind of stood there in disbelief and feeling a little like we were going to get kicked out. One of us had the presence of mind to mention that we should take photos before we mess the whole place up. Some shots are below.

Cabana 18 is the place to be!
My 4-year old welcomes you. 

Have a seat and relax in the shade!
From the other direction. Beverage fridge on the right.
Loungers in the sun.
These bad boys get warm even with the sun shade
Looking back from the beach. 
Floats and rafts included
Personal hammock included-- and also hard work
The view of the boat from our private oasis

The Good:  It's really something special to spend the day on Castaway Cay. Spending the day on Castaway Cay in a cabana is even more special. I can't say enough about the quiet feel of the Cabana area. Getting all the extras, like the snorkel equipment, tubes, and bike ride really encouraged us to explore the island. We took advantage of everything offered and didn't leave the island until the final moments.

The Bad: You are somewhat removed from the shared island activities. We were at the end of family Cabana row and the walk to the Pelican Plunge waterslide, spray park, kids club, bathrooms (there are no bathrooms in the Cabana!), and food took a bit of time. There are cabanas more centrally located, but we didn't get a choice of Cabana number and I am sure those central ones go first.

The Ugly: Obviously the price. For the price I wanted to sit on my deck and bother my cabana hostess all. day. long. The kids however, wanted to explore and go and do and be. It is difficult to explain to a 7 year old why mama wants to spend as much time in a lounge chair as possible.

Overall, if you are thinking about a cabana, I say GO FOR IT! But if you find yourselves either shut out or priced out, don't worry-- Castaway Cay is VIP for everyone. Cabana guest or not.

Have you stayed in a cabana? Have a fav experience from Castaway or the Disney cruise? Leave a comment below! We would love to hear from you.

Happy cruisin'!



Monday, September 15, 2014

Disney Half Marathon Outfits .....The Tremaine Transformation Begins .

At last years half-marathon Davina and I marveled at the array of costumes being worn. Some were sparkly, some were sporty and some were just downright amazing - tuba guy we're talking to you. As new and slow runners we decided to just keep it simple and wear Ariel colors, but after seeing so many great ideas we decided to get a bit more adventurous this year. If you've read our posts before then you know our love for the stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella. It's almost as if it would be blasphemous to consider anything else.

Perfection. I die

Our dilemma now lies in how to achieve their amazing look. We're not the type to run in layers of tulle. It's hard enough for us to run in Athleta pants. We did however find these beauties on Rock City Skirts

Drizella = me

Anastasia = Davina

They seem perfect . Not too much fabric, lightweight and spot on with the colors. These are getting ordered for sure. The hard part now is finding the running capris and shirts to match....and no Tremaine outfit would be complete without the lil gold crown and bow.


I've  seen some really good RunDisney outfits posted by other gals and have asked for suggestions on where they bought their items, but we'd love some input from you all. Any great ideas? Keep in mind...we sweat lots and need sleeveless shirts or risk getting very fussy. One step closer to stepsisters already.

~ Karen

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kill, Refurb, Marry - Transportation Edition

Who doesn't love a good parlor game? Thishappyplaceblog.com and Mouseonthemind.com have transformed the classic "Kill - Boff - Marry" to a more Disney friendly version where bloggers are tasked with matching a part of the parks with these three criteria-- slightly modifying the most risque option for obvious reasons.

This edition of Kill, Refurb, Marry takes on transportation.

KILL - This is an easy one. Just the sound of a Disney bus lowering to let on three scooters with a line of tired kids 50 people deep makes me want to hurt someone. Lets not even discuss the fact that the double stroller won't close, the bags at the bottom of the stroller need to be carried, as does the 3-year old who just. can't. walk. anymore.

No amount of soothing Disney music can make me like the bus system. No matter which way you go-- park-to-resort or resort-to-park -- your stress level will rise. Case in point, this Disney bus fight captured on cell phone (note, bus drivers need a raise). KILL IT before we kill each other.

Visiting my 3-year old in Disney bus line prison. 

REFURB - How many times have you been on the monorail and said to yourself, "if it only went to [insert park or resort that is not already on the monorail line]? If you are me, which I am, you have said it every time you have gone to WDW. I get it, money. Everything costs coin and the monorail is anything but a reliable system. It's more iconic than practical but I would love to see the planners at WDW think about some method of rail that could augment the monorail system. 

Next Stop - The Future
MARRY - I have a love affair with Disney boats. There is nothing more pleasant than a leisurely boat ride from the Wilderness Lodge dock to the Magic Kingdom. It's civilized and if I could just ride around on the boat with a cocktail while chatting with the retiree captain, I would. I'm pretty sure when I retire I will be finding a way to make this my part time job. I found the boat ride below on YouTube. Thanks to the fellow interweber who captured this moment of zen. Can't you just feel the Bay Lake breeze?

Well there you have it. Out transportation picks for this Kill, Refurb, Marry. Agree? Disagree? Let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Until next time!

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