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My family is the biggest fans of all things Disney and Walt Disney World. My husband and I have been traveling to Disney since our honeymoon. We know all the best tips and tricks for navigating your family’s Walt Disney World Vacation on any budget.

We’ve watched all the movies and shows. We own all the costumes and we can throw a Disney party based on any movie. We can be your resource for all things Disney and how to Disney like an insider.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview Mackenzie Foy but all opinions are my own.

Last week at this time, I was being whisked away to the infamous Roosevelt hotel where I had the pleasure of interviewing Mackenzie Foy, Clara in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. She was absolutely as sweet, kind and charming as you could imagine. She is such a smart and poised young lady.

READ ALSO: My Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience

Mackenzie Foy is a very talented young actress; turning 18 on November 10. Happy birthday, Mackenzie! I loved her in Twilight and The Conjuring but she really shines in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms!

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy

How does it feel to be a classical holiday character now?

It’s really fun. What’s beautiful about the Nutcracker that it’s such a beloved story throughout many, many years, so it’s really, really, really fun to be able to play a character that so many people all over the world can relate to and have this childhood connection from seeing the ballet when they were young, and I think that’s really important to be able to do.

What was it like to get the call that you were gonna be Clara in the movie?

It was really exciting. So I was actually in the shower and doing my hair when my mom ran in, and she was like, ‘the director’s on the phone’. I was like, oh my gosh, okay, and so I put a towel on and I answered and the director was like, ‘would you be our Clara?’ I was like, oh my goodness, yes. Thank you so much. And he’s like, all right, see you in a couple weeks.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Can you tell us about the interview process?

The audition process was actually quite long. It was about two months, which isn’t really, really long, but it is more than usual. And it was really fun. Once I did a screen test, they flew me to London to do it in full costume- hair and makeup; a partial set; real camera, it was like, oh my goodness. I didn’t really have too many details about the story of the character when I first got the audition. I just knew that it was a British character and that immediately piqued my interest.

Talking about stunts on Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I actually did a lot of stunts and stuff, which was really fun. I did horse training, which was awesome, and I went to this place- it’s called The Devil’s Horseman; they’re film horses, and so they’re proper stunt people. It was really, really cool being with these horses. It’s what you think of, the English countryside –  that’s what it looked like there. So it was actually amazing training outside on these beautiful horses. It was crazy.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

What was your favorite realm in the film?

Which realm? It’s everchanging. Right now I really love the Land of Snowflakes just because it’s very blue and shiny, and very sparkly because it’s still kinda hot here. I’m dying for winter weather and winter cool.

What was your favorite Clara costume to wear?

I wear quite a few costumes in the film which was really, really fun. They were all handmade- all very, very intricate, which is really amazing. But I really love the purple party dress because that one has a bustle- and it’s really fun. Actually, I have a couple bustles in the film. I have a proper cage and then I have a bum pad.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

More on costuming and makeup 

It was very beautiful, but there’s a lot of detail that went into the costume design, from the tights to the shoes, to the many skirt layers, and the bodices, and the corset. So I have a very high respect for all of the costumes, and also they have kind of a different character to them, They kind of go with Clara’s evolution, which I really like.

I don’t really wear a lot of makeup in the film, just a little bit of concealer if I have a pimple or something. Then hair wise, it would vary, and there’s a couple of looks that took – I’m bald from wrapping my hair around wires and stuff. But there’s all the twisting with the braids and all that kinda stuff.  The hair and makeup team was really, really amazing, and I loved talking to them every morning. I really enjoyed going in there because that’s kinda like a time you get to just sit and talk, and see how everybody’s doing. The actors coming in and out, and you talk to the hair and makeup people, and it was just really fun every morning.

What is your favorite scene in the film and why? 

Misty Copeland performs a dance scene in this, and it’s really, really quite beautiful. What’s really cool, because you guys are gonna see it tonight, the sets in that scene, well, in a lot of the scenes in the film, were real. So when she’s in the trailers, you see she’s walking through and this castle pops up, and the flowers open in the ground. Those were real. Those are real people really making it all work. And so that’s actually a really cool thing about that.

And if you look in the background behind, the chairs, all of the extras are color-coded, and so they had an ombre effect. Wrapped around the set was this canvas of night sky, and they actually poked giant holes in it and then shone lights behind it so it looked like stars. And so the sets in this film are very, very intricate, and that one was one of my favorites just because it was so beautiful.

What advice do you have for young girls that look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps? 

As for young girls, I hope they see this film, and I hope they see that Clara is unapologetically herself. That even though she’s this young inventor in her time period, it wasn’t really socially acceptable, but she still says – This is who I am. This is what I love to do, and I’m gonna do it. And I hope they see that and know you can do that. You can be interested in science. You can be in interested in mechanics. And you can still wear dresses and like those kinds of things.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

What was it like working with Morgan Freeman? He seems like a father figure, so what was that like? 

He’s a really nice guy. He’s very joyous and has a very fun sense of humor, so it was really fun just getting to know him and getting to talk to him, and seeing what he was like.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

Can you tell us what a typical day would look like for shooting? 

Yes. A typical day of filming – putting on the costumes and playing and working with them which was really fun. The set on this film- the cast and crew- everyone was really, really nice, so it was really fun, and very happy environment. I actually still keep in contact with a lot of the crew. It was really amazing.

There was a lot of young women in the crew, and so we all go along really, really well, and we’d talk about our shows that we watched on the weekend, and all of that stuff. If you’re a kid, you still have to do school – because of my age, I have three to five hours of a school a day. Whenever there was downtime, if they had to change the cameras and stuff like that, I would go and do schoolwork.

How does being the main character different from being a supporting character? 

Well, every character, no matter how big or small has its own challenges because they’re all unique, and you have to do the research in order to properly create them. But I would say with Clara, and her being a main role, there was definitely- this is the story- it follows my character, so I have to make sure that everything is in line.

I have to make sure the past is in my head, and I have to make sure I know where she’s going. So with the bigger part, you have to go more in detail to all those things, especially how they relate to every single character in the film.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Do you see this film as being one of those traditional holiday movies that families will continue to watch every year? 

Well, I definitely hope it is something that people want to see every year. I think the film really captures the spirit of the holiday season -when it starts to be cold, and you just have that joyous feeling. I think it really captures that, and I think it also has elements of the book and the ballet to where if you are older, you have seen it many times, you have that nostalgic feeling, but it also has kind of a new twists and turns, and so it kind of brings in the younger and all ages. It kind of brings everyone in together to watch it. So I hope that families like it, and that they go and see it every year.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Mackenzie Foy is an amazing young lady who plays a strong, independent Clara who will inspire little girls for years to come.

Be on the lookout for my next interview with Misty Copeland who plays the ballerina in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms – In Theatres Playing Everywhere Now!

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Attending Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet experience gave me memories that will last a lifetime! I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent but all opinions are my own.

This week, not only did I get to attend the red carpet world premiere of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I got to see one of my most anticipated movies of the year for me. I won’t post any spoilers in this post because I want you to go see it and experience it the way I did with no preconceived notions. Below is my Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review.

I will say that Christmas came early this year for my girls because Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms hits theaters today!

Let me start by saying that as a long time Nutcracker ballet aficionado, my expectations were high. I knew it would be different because one is a movie and one is a ballet. In a movie, you obviously have the luxury of using your words and in ballet, you only have your body as your means of expression.

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms A Must Say for Ballet Dancers

I didn’t know if Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms was going to be based on the ballet or the book. But I was excited to find out. I can now tell you that Disney’s Nutcracker is not based on the ballet, though there are elements of the ballet peppered within. It is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie is rated PG and aside from a few Nutcracker Battle scenes it is very light. Safe for most children, in my mom opinion.

 

Official Synopsis

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

Reasons Why You Should See Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

The Four Realms
Unlike the ballet that only has three realms, the move has four realms. The land of sweets, the land of snow,  the land of flowers and a mystery land but you’ll have to go see the movie to see what the mystery is. All the lands are different and beautiful in their own way.

The Ballet

The Nutcracker would not be the Nutcracker for most without some ballet so fear not because not only did Disney bring the ballet they brought the best, Misty Copeland. If you’ve never seen Misty Copeland dance the Nutcracker, this is a definite bonus of seeing Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Ms. Copeland’s dancing inspires and delights.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Scenery
If you are a fan of the ballet, the scenery will not disappoint. One of my favorite things about seeing the production in the theater is the transformation of a stage into the land of sweets. Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms does not disappoint. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and transformative, transporting you through time and space. Crisp white snow falling against the colorful backdrops in the Nutcracker movie is cinematically breathtaking.

Costumes
The costumes were beautiful and vibrant, each one a perfect reflection of the character wearing it. If you are familiar with the Nutcracker ballet you will see a lot of familiar costumes which will leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia that we all associate with the Nutcracker.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

The Sugar Plum Fairy
Keira Knightley with her cotton candy hair, baby voice and bubbly personality gave me a whole new perspective of who the Sugar Plum Fairy really is. She will make you laugh but don’t be fooled, she is definitely more than just a pretty face.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Plot Twist

After seeing the movie, I can tell you this, expect the unexpected. Expect for your eyes to be dazzled by the beautiful imagery, your heart to swell with a new twist on a classic tale and your ears to find familiarity even amongst the exciting twists and turns that only Disney magic can provide.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Mackenzie Foy

Mackenzie Foy, to me, is the perfect Clara. A Clara for a new generation of girls to look up to. Not only is she what we’ve all imagined Clara to look like our entire lives, but she is also simultaneously a plot twist; an enigma wrapped up in a mystery. She may at first glance appear delicate but she is strong, self-assured, confident, smart and not afraid to face her fears. Not afraid to be the change, not afraid to say no and find her own way. She embodies everything we hope our little girls see in themselves and I think by seeing Mackenzie in such a strong, inspirational role they will.

Without giving away the ending for you, especially if you are a fan of the ballet, I really want you to watch Disney’s the Nutcracker with fresh eyes and an open mind. Pretend it is the first time you’ve ever seen the Nutcracker and enjoy every single moment. While it definitely pays homage to the classic, it stands alone as a new classic. You will want to watch this over and over again. It’s the movie you will watch with your children and your children’s children.

READ ALSO: The Nutcracker’s Tiniest Soldier

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

It’s heartwarming in all the best ways and recognizable enough to pull at your heartstrings with nostalgia. Just remember, and this is all I am saying, there is a plot twist from what you’ve known of the ballet and it’s more than just Mother Ginger. So go see it for yourself and expect the unexpected and them let me know what you think of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

I just saw it but you can believe that tonight, I’ll be seeing it with my girls. They’ve been texting me and begging me to tell them all about it since I saw it but I want them to experience the magic of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms all for themselves and I can’t wait to be there to see their reactions. If you see it or take your children, I’d love to hear your reactions and what your children thought. Please leave them in the comments section. And if you see it, what was your favorite part? Why?

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS opens in theatres everywhere on November 2nd!

Follow #DisneysNutcracker on Social Media!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyStudios

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneysnutcracker/

If your kids love the movie, as much as I think mine will, these Disneys the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Coloring sheets are loads of fun to color.

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Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Attending Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet experience gave me memories that will last a lifetime! This post is sponsored by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent but all opinions are my own.

On Monday, October 29th, I had the privilege and honor of attending my first ever red carpet event and it was for a movie that I have been waiting over a year to see, Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.  It was more than I could ever have imagined.

The Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Premiere was held at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles. I honestly am still having a hard time believing this is my life. It felt surreal. Today, I will be sharing my very own exclusive Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience, complete with all the behind the scenes stuff I did to prepare for my first red carpet experience and photos of the things and people I saw.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms a MUST see for Ballet Dancers

The event began like any other day, just kidding, it began like no other day of my life. It began with getting dressed in my fanciest red carpet outfit. I needed something worthy of such an event. The occasion clearly called for sparkles and a wow factor. This was not a test folks, this was the real thing. I dressed up like the inner Nutcracker princess that I’ve always been.

I chose a Morgan and Company fit and flare silhouette, sequined lace cocktail dress from Macys. It had a halter neckline and just a small hem of tulle in merlot. It was perfect. Shades of red remind me of the holidays and the holidays have always meant the Nutcracker to my family. I paired that beautiful merlot gown with a pair of gorgeous Cassiaa Peep-Toe Wedge Pumps in Platino. I felt elegant, beautiful and even a little magical as I left a little glitter everywhere I went.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Photo Credit: Disney/ Alex J. Berliner

As if all this was not magical enough, we headed to the Ray Dolby ballroom which had been ethereally transformed into the Four Realms. Guests were greeted by sparkly twinkle lights hung from floor to ceiling against a hanging black backdrop, majestic towers of lollipops as far as the eye could see and beautiful people just as excited to see Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms as I was. It was stunning and invigorating. The energy of the crowd and the anticipation was palpable.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Being greeted by jugglers on stilts wielding flowers and neon colored juggling pins gave the room a whimsical feel. There were crafts for the kids to build their very own snow globes and candy stations provided by Ziploc. Funky Hair was on site giving anyone who was interested a Nutcracker-inspired hairstyle makeover. You know me, I went all in and got a Nutcracker and the Four Realms inspired hairstyle, complete with candies, snowflakes and glitter. How could I not?

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

OPI was also providing manicures using the new Nutcracker and the Four Realms color sets for anyone who wanted them, as well. The new colors are absolutely breathtaking. I have the collection and have been wearing a different color since I returned home.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Photo Credit: Disney/ Alex J. Berliner

The food provided by Wolfgang Puck was absolutely delicious. Comfort and delectability met to delight your taste buds and inspire your palette. A few of my favorites were the braised short rib grilled cheese, the miniature pot pies, individual macaroni and cheese and the squash tortellini. Can you say delicious? I probably would have eaten more had my jaw not kept dropping open when I found myself rubbing elbows with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. After all, it was my first red carpet event. I found it exciting to be in the same room with Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, MORGAN FREEMAN and so many others.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Photo Credit: Disney/ Alex J. Berliner

READ ALSO: What’s so Special about the Nutcracker Ballet

In case you are wondering, I completely behaved myself. I didn’t obnoxiously bother anyone while they were eating or with their children to take a photo. But they were there and they were beautiful, and they were just like you and me, and that was exciting enough for this work from home ballerina mom.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Photo Credit: Disney/ Alex J. Berliner

Though, it was a little mind-blowing for me. I’m not normally one to fangirl but when you are 5 foot from a legend like Morgan Freeman, it’s hard not to get excited about it. I’ve grown up seeing this man perform in some of my favorite movies and there he was to my right, like anybody else, in a gorgeous purple blazer that was subliminally reminding me just how Hollywood royalty he really is. Don’t worry, I completely kept my cool, even if I was squeeing on the inside. I might have admired him for 3 minutes or so but I did it from a safe distance and didn’t embarrass myself.

I did however get this photo of me and Adina Porter. I have been a fan of hers for years from True Blood to Newsroom and now, American Horror Story. She was so kind and beautiful. Loved meeting one of my long-time favorite actresses.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

The ambiance was electric and magical and I was definitely swept up. I felt like a princess. But it goes by fast so I had to keep reminding myself to stop, look around, breathe and take it all in. I wanted to soak every single second of that magic. It felt like trying to remember the details of an amazing dream that someone woke you too soon from. But that Disney magic, you can bask in that glow for some time. I’m still feeling pretty special from just attending.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

After the party, we headed to the iconic El Capitan theater where I watched Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms from the second row while eating sugar plum popcorn, surrounded by all the movie’s stars and some of Hollywood’s most up and coming stars. Morgan Freeman and Mackenzie Foy were just a few rows back from me. I didn’t figure that out until I was going through my pictures from the event tonight. I was actually trying to capture a selfie of my hairstyle that Funky Hair had done to send to my daughters. Talk about a happy accident.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

I know red carpet events might be something others do often but it was my first and Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms was simply magical in the most delightful ways. It was truly a Disney dream come true for this lifelong Disney fan. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Premiere is definitely a highlight of my career that I will never forget.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

I’m back home but I’m still scratching my head wondering, how is this my life? I walked the red carpet with the stars from what I am sure will become a new holiday classic that generations to come will watch with their children.

I highly recommend that you take your family to see the movie. Make it a new holiday family tradition. Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms in theaters everywhere, November 2nd.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms. #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, The Nutcracker, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience , Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, World Premiere

Photo Credit: Disney/ Alex J. Berliner

Are you going to see Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms? With who and why?

 

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Thank you to Walt Disney Studios for inviting me on an all-expenses-paid trip to cover #DisneysNutcrackerEvent. All opinions and genuine excitement over Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and interviewing Mackenzie Foy, Misty Copeland and Jim Cummings are my own. 

Someone, please pinch me! This ballerina mom is going to LA this weekend to attend Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms press event. What? Yes!

You all know I’m a long time Disney lover. I married a Big Guy who has a hidden Mickey tattooed on him. We honeymooned at Disney World and we’ve seen every Disney movie ever, especially since having our baby girls. So many Disney themed birthday parties have been had. So many Disney memories and now, my worlds collide.

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There is only one thing I love almost as much as Disney and that is ballet. My girls have been dancing since they were 2. I’ve sat through countless hours of classes, driven to hundreds of hours of rehearsals and attended so many Nutcracker performances, my heart swelling with pride as my tiny dancers arabesqued, pirouetted and leaped across the stage. I’ve stayed up late nights sewing pointe shoes until my fingers bled and the Big Guy and I have both perfected the ballet bun.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms a Must See

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Both of my girls have danced in the Nutcracker since they were 5-years-old. The Big Guy and I have been working backstage with tiny dancers and being a part of the Nutcracker magic every year. This is our family’s holiday tradition. My oldest has actually never gotten to see the Nutcracker live because she’s always performing on stage. This is why my family is so excited about Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. We will finally get to see the story unfold together; all four of us.

I won’t lie, I nearly fainted when I got the pixie-dusted email. I read it about 3 times before I could convince myself that it was, in fact, real and I was being invited to the world premiere of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and would be attending #DisneysNutcrackerEvent. My mind was swirling. I felt like Clara getting to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.

ABC, DIsney's the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Station 19, The Kids Are Alright, Christopher Robin, Keira Knightly, Misty Copeland, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, The Nutcracker, Walt Disney Studios, Helen Mirren

Sunday, I’m heading to Los Angeles at 8 am for Disney’s Nutcracker World Premiere event and I don’t think I could be more excited if I tried. Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms hits theatres everywhere November 2nd and you can bet, I’ll be at the theater watching it with my family.

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The imagery is stunning with a star-studded cast including Misty Copeland, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightly, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman (to name a few). I’m going to really have to keep my inner fangirl in check on the red carpet but expect lots of updates and photos from the event. Who knows what might happen? At this point, I believe anything can happen because obviously, dreams do come true!

READ ALSO: The Nutcracker’s Tiniest Soldier

Keep reading to find out all the activities, interviews and more that I will be sharing during #DisneysNutcrackerEvent. Follow the hashtag 10/28-10/30 for all the Disney the Nutcracker and the Four Realms splendor that I can share.

But there is more! Yes, more. As if it’s not exciting enough just to have the honor of attending the world premiere ( I feel like a celebrity every time I tell anyone about it;) ) there is so much more.  First off, I get to learn a few sweet The Nutcracker and the Four Realms inspired dance moves.

October 28

That’s right! Sunday night, I’m going to be getting a dance lesson with teachers and DANCING WITH THE STARS / DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS mentors Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten & Gleb Savchenko. What? Yes, you read that right! I’ll make sure to share the whole thing with you. Fingers crossed my two left feet are so excited to be at the Nutcracker and the Four Realms event, they forget they have no rhythm.

October 29

ABC, DIsney's the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Station 19, The Kids Are Alright, Christopher Robin, Keira Knightly, Misty Copeland, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, The Nutcracker, Walt Disney Studios, Helen Mirren

Have you seen the new Disney’s Christopher Robin movie? It comes out on Digital and Blu-ray™ Nov. 6. Embark on a spirited adventure with grown-up Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, and friends, and go behind the scenes to discover how Disney’s beloved characters are brought to life.

In honor of the Blu-ray & Digital release of CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, we will gather with friends in the park and enjoy a delicious “Friendsgiving” meal inspired by Pooh’s favorite thing, hunny!

To celebrate the occasion, we will be interviewing Jim Cummings (voice of “Winnie the Pooh” & “Tigger”), who is one of the most well-known voiceover actors in animation. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you will recognize his voice.

Aside from voicing the beloved characters of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger ( one of my daughter’s favorites) during his illustrious career, he has worked extensively for Walt Disney Studios, voicing classic characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, King Louis, Kaa the Snake, Pete and many others.

His credits read like a top list of animated and live-action films, including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Tarzan,” “Pocahontas,” “The Lion King,” “Babe: Pig in the City,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Brother Bear 2,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “Gnomeo & Juliet,” to name a few. He has been Emmy®-nominated five times over, as well as had five nominations for the prestigious Annie Awards. All I can say is wow! He’s like animation royalty and I get to interview him.

ABC, DIsney's the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Station 19, The Kids Are Alright, Christopher Robin, Keira Knightly, Misty Copeland, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, The Nutcracker, Walt Disney Studios, Helen Mirren

As if that is not all exciting enough, I get to interview Misty Copeland, “the Ballerina”. You know, no big deal, she was just the first African-American ballet dancer to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater’s 75-year history. No big deal, just my girls’ ballet idol and constant female inspiration.

Misty Copeland didn’t start dancing ballet until she was 13-years-old by the time she was 15, she won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards. Through her career, she has been a constant inspiration to little girls everywhere. She gives them hope and confidence to know that with a lot of hard work, determination and passion, you can accomplish your dreams even if you don’t fit the typical mold.

When we found out, my girls were squealing and so excited. They are begging me to sneak them in my carry on.

READ ALSO: Why the Nutcracker Ballet is so Special

I will have the pleasure of interviewing Mackenzie Foy who plays Clara in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Ms. Foy has quickly emerged as one of Hollywood’s most exciting young actresses. With a breakout role in one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, the Twilight Saga, Foy’s body of work continues to evolve with exciting and challenging projects.

She’s starred in Interstellar, The Conjuring, The Little Prince and Plastic Jesus to name a few of the amazing movies you might have seen her in. Ms. Foy is definitely a rising star.

ABC, DIsney's the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Station 19, The Kids Are Alright, Christopher Robin, Keira Knightly, Misty Copeland, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, The Nutcracker, Walt Disney Studios, Helen Mirren

“All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.”

Next up, I get to walk my first ever red carpet and see this incredible film that I’ve been waiting to be on the big screen since I saw the first teaser last year. It’s going to be amazing and I cannot wait to take it all in.

Best.Night.Ever.

October 30

ABC, DIsney's the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Station 19, The Kids Are Alright, Christopher Robin, Keira Knightly, Misty Copeland, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, The Nutcracker, Walt Disney Studios, Helen MirrenTHE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT behind-the-scenes experience

We get a sneak peek of “The Kids Are Alright,” which airs Tuesdays at 8:30|7:30c on ABC. You can also watch/rewatch via streaming (ABC app/ABC.com/Hulu) or On Demand. This show is so funny and clever.

Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves.

The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence Cleary, Caleb Foote as Eddie Cleary, Sawyer Barth as Frank Cleary, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey Cleary, Jack Gore as Timmy Cleary, Andy Walken as William Cleary, and Santino Barnard as Pat Cleary.

Facebook: @TheKidsAreAlrightABC
Twitter: @TheKidsABC
Instagram: @thekidsarealrightabc
Hashtag: #TheKidsAreAlright

ABC, DIsney's the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Station 19, The Kids Are Alright, Christopher Robin, Keira Knightly, Misty Copeland, Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, The Nutcracker, Walt Disney Studios, Helen MirrenSTATION 19 behind-the-scenes experience 

Behind-the-scenes experience with “Station 19,” starring Jaina Lee Ortiz and Jason George!

“Station 19” airs Thursdays at 9|8c on ABC (also available via streaming on ABC app/ABC.com/Hulu and on demand) follows a group of heroic Seattle firefighters as they put their lives and hearts on the line. The latest series from the executive producers of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” takes us inside the tough, tight-knit and sometimes heartbreaking world of the city’s bravest first responders.

“Station 19” stars Jaina Lee Ortiz as Andy Herrera, Jason George as Ben Warren, Grey Damon as Jack Gibson, Barrett Doss as Victoria Hughes, Alberto Frezza as Ryan Tanner, Jay Hayden as Travis Montgomery, Okieriete Onaodowan as Dean Miller, Danielle Savre as Maya Bishop and Miguel Sandoval as Captain Pruitt Herrera.

Stacy McKee (“Grey’s Anatomy”) serves as showrunner and executive producer, along with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. Paris Barclay (“Pitch” and “Sons of Anarchy”) serves as the producing director and executive producer of the series.

Facebook: @Station19ABC
Instagram: @station19
Twitter: @Station19
Hashtag: #station19

Sadly on Tuesday, I fly home and turn back into a pumpkin just in time to take my girls trick-or-treating. I’m so excited for the Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms event that I can barely contain myself.

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS OPENS IN THEATRES EVERYWHERE ON NOVEMBER 2ND!

Like THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Follow Disney Studios on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyStudios

Follow THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneysnutcracker/

If you have any questions for Jim Cummings, MacKenzie Foy or Misty Copeland, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try my best to ask them during the interview!

Please follow along on my adventure by following the hashtags  #DisneysNutcrackerEvent , #ABCTVEvent ,  #ChristopherRobinBluray  and #DWTS on 10/27- 10/30.

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky, Ballet, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Disney, Walt Disney, Disney Movie Studios, Christmas, Holidays, ballet, ballerinas

I can’t believe that Nutcracker season is already here. If you’re a ballet mom or a ballerina, you know that we mark time by Nutcracker and Swan Lake seasons. It is common knowledge that the weekend after Labor Day, Nutcracker season begins. You can’t even imagine the excitement in my neck of the woods ( the ballet studio) about the upcoming movie Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

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While the rest of the world is celebrating Pumpkin Spice season, we’re celebrating the Nutcracker Season. This is our life for the next 4 months and we love every single second of it (mostly). Little kids tend to complain in the middle of it but the moment they take the stage and bask in the glow of the house lights, the magic is worth every single rehearsal, sore foot, and achy hamstrings. Believe me when I tell you that ballet dancers are more than graceful, nymph-like fairy creatures… they are fierce, elite athletes. Don’t be fooled by the tutus and pointe shoes. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to look that graceful.

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READ ALSO: What’s so Special about the Nutcracker?

My girls have been dancing since they were 2-years-old. It started with creative dance classes, once a week for ½ an hour. Now, at ages 11 and 13-years-old, they dance 5–12 hours a week, respectively and this is with scaling their schedules back. They love to dance but the intensity and dedication can be a little overwhelming and challenging, though embraced, for children this young. The commitment and passion are real.

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My husband laughs at me because every time I watch them perform, my heart swells with pride and my eyes leak because I’m so proud of them. I’ve been driving them and watching practices and rehearsals since they’ve been toddlers and what the audience sees as a few minutes, I know the hours, years and dedication it has taken to get to that one minute. I have never been so devoted to anything, except for being their mother. So for these young ladies and gentleman to give so much of themselves makes me proud of them in ways that are hard to put into words.

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Nutcracker is one of our biggest productions. Our ballet produces one of Forbes Magazine’s top 10 Nutcracker productions in the country. That’s a big reputation to live up to every year and still, every year, our creative director rises to the challenge and levels up in new and unexpected ways. Each year the Nutcracker is more magical than the last.

We had auditions last weekend and soon, we’ll find out what parts the girls have been assigned. This is my Bella’s 9th Nutcracker and will be Gabi’s 6th Nutcracker season. It’s something we look forward to every year and celebrate as a family. Nutcracker and family night, celebrated with some sugary indulgence befitting of the Land of Sweets.

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My girls and all of their friends are excited to see Disney’s new big screen version of our favorite classic ballet, the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. I’m interested in seeing the adaptation and how Disney tells the story of Clara’s adventures. The synopsis is as follows.

READ ALSO: The Lump in my Heart Runneth Over

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky, Ballet, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Disney, Walt Disney, Disney Movie Studios, Christmas, Holidays, ballet, ballerinas

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets.

Misty Copeland, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky, Ballet, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Disney, Walt Disney, Disney Movie Studios, Christmas, Holidays, ballet, ballerinas

Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key. Hopefully, returning harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston. Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms is inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

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This part, the Fourth Realm and the idea of Mother Ginger as a villain have me very intrigued. I can’t wait to take my daughters to see how the story unfolds in mysterious and intriguing new ways. You know with a little Disney pixie dust, Clara’s adventure can only get more magical.

Have you seen the Nutcracker classic ballet on stage? If you have, it’s probably close to your heart and surrounded by a lifetime of fond memories.

Nutcracker, ballet, ballerina, Christmas traditionAre you looking forward to seeing Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms?

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Copper creek cabins, walt disney world, disney vacation club, copper creek cabins, DVC, how does disney vacation club work

Have you ever heard of the Disney vacation club (DVC)? I was introduced to the Disney Vacation Club on my honeymoon which was my first trip to Walt Disney World ever. Like me, you might be wondering how does Disney vacation club work?

Many of you know all about the deal I made with the devil Big Guy. The man didn’t ask for much at our wedding. He let me have my dream wedding. He only asked for 3 things. 1) I had the choice of getting my face licked at our first kiss or having wedding cake shoved into my face 2) He wanted us to walk in to the reception to the Star Wars theme song 3) He wanted to honeymoon at Walt Disney World.

READ ALSO: 25 Top Secret Tips to Rock Your Walt Disney World Vacation

While I was hesitant on all 3 but I did relent. We were fresh out of college and head over heels and what the heck. Why not? So, on my wedding day, I got my face licked in front of my priest, my parents and 300 of our closest friends and family. I enter the reception hall for the first time as a new MRS to the Star Wars theme and yes, we honeymooned at Walt Disney World (concierge level) and I fell deeper in love with the nose licking giant and Walt Disney World became a home away from home for us.

In the midst of me falling under the spell of Walt Disney World magic, we were introduced to the Disney Vacation Club. When we were there in 1999, the hotel de jour was the Boardwalk. We were staying at the Yacht Club and we had no idea what DVC was all about. I didn’t commit. Insert Sad Panda.

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Now, we’ve been to Disney so many times, I’m kicking myself for not being a DVC member. Walt Disney World feels like home to our family. I think it’s time we get our own piece of the magic.

What is the Disney Vacation Club?

The Disney Vacation Club debuted in 1991 with a flexible, vacation points-based system rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Today, Disney Vacation Club has more than 220,000 member families from all over the world.

Disney Vacation Club Members can choose from among a variety of exciting vacation destinations. These include a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or one of thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world. If purchased directly from Disney, members can also enjoy the Disney Collection. These include select Disney Resort hotels, Disney Cruise Line, guided vacations with Adventures by Disney and the Concierge Collection. Vacations at a Disney Vacation Club Resort can last anywhere from one night to several weeks.

How does Disney Vacation Club Work?

Disney Vacation Club membership provides families with the flexibility to personalize their vacation experiences as their interests change over time. Therefore, members and guests vacationing at a Disney Vacation Club resort can choose to stay in a variety of different accommodations. These include Deluxe Studios, one-bedroom Villas, two-bedroom Villas and even three-bedrooms, Grand Villas at most locations. Deluxe Studios, accommodate at least four guests and include a kitchenette, queen-size bed, Located just steps away from the Wilderness Lodge and a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom Park.

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READ ALSO: Secrets to Use Disney World Tickets to Experience Magic Kingdom like an Insider

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Rustic Elegance Meets Disney Magic

Transporting guests to the wonders of the wilderness, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins is inspired by the legendary mining and railroad history of the Pacific Northwest. Rustic elegance trims every part of this new resort, where cozy touches mix with contemporary designs to create a tranquil retreat.

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Deluxe Accommodations

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Offering the widest range of accommodations found at Walt Disney World Resort, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins features 184 vacation homes, including Deluxe Studios, one- and two-bedroom Villas, and three-bedroom Grand Villas, which sleep up to 12.  However, one-bedroom Villas or larger offer the added convenience and many of the comforts of home, such as well-appointed kitchen areas, expanded storage space for belongings and private patios or balconies with scenic views. Natural finishing touches throughout add a sense of nature to each room.

  • _Deluxe Studios – _Sleeps up to 4 guests
  • _One-Bedroom Villa – _Sleeps up to 4 guests
  • _Two-Bedroom Villa– _Sleeps up to 8 guests
  • _Cascade Cabin – _Sleeps up to 8 guests
  • _Grand Villa – _Sleeps up to 12 guests

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Which is yur favorite Walt Disney World Resort and if you could live there forever, would you?

How Does Disney Vacation Club Work and Is It for You?

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Disney Social Media Moms, Disney, #DIsneySMMC, Walt Disney World

Since I’ve attended Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, the number one question people have for me is, “How to get invited to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration?”

I’m going to be honest with you, I have no idea so I asked someone from Disney.

Being completely honest, my mama taught me to never look a gift horse in the mouth so when I got invited, I just thanked the universe that I was.

I didn’t even care why I was asked. I didn’t want to question anyone too much about it because I didn’t want to realize they’d made a mistake. So, I stood really still and held my breath and hoped I’d make it to the celebration without being noticed or outed for being an imposter.

READ ALSO: How Mom 2.0 Renewed my Faith in Blogging and in Myself

Turns out that I’m not an imposter. There was no accidental email sent. They like me, they really, really like me and good thing because I LOVE Disney. I am not exclusively a Disney blogger, but I do blog about our Disney trips because I write family travel pieces and yep, you guessed it, we genuinely love Disney.

Let me tell you a little bit about my history with Walt Disney World parks and resorts. My first ever trip to the most magical place on earth happened in May of 1999. I was just out of college and newly married and so, my first trip to Walt Disney World was for my honeymoon. I fell in love with more than just the Big Guy there on that trip.

For someone who was always the oldest in her family. The responsible one from sibling number 3 on and a perfectionist, control freak by birth. Disney was the first place where I left my responsibilities of the real world at the front gate. The moment I walked through those gates, I felt like a 4-year-old, overcome with wonder and joy and every trip since has been the same. Those gates represent freedom to me. It’s the one place that I get to shed the weight of my world and just be free.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration has been a dream of mine for years; one I thought I may never achieve because though I love Disney and I’ve been blogging professionally for almost a decade, I know there are thousands of amazing bloggers out there to choose from.  And then one day, I got the invite. In fact, I’ve gotten it a couple times. I was thrilled. My entire family was.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream Cruise

We’ve been about 20 times in as many years because that feeling is like nothing else you get anywhere. I’ve gotten wonderment, joy, breathtaking beauty but nowhere else do I get honest to goodness magic. If you are a Disney fan, I’m sure that you know what I’m talking about.

So, I asked someone from the WDW PR team if they could give me some pointers to pass along to all the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration hopefuls and this was what I was told:

Attend conferences where Disney will be at and connect/network with Disney.

Write good content about Disney.

Send the links to the WDW PR dept.

What qualities does Disney look for in the influencers that they work with?

 

“It really depends on the initiative that we have going on. But it is helpful if bloggers have an up-to-date blog, have great social reach and engagement across the different social platforms, Disney-friendly content on social and their blogs, and a good Travel section.”

 

There you have it. If you were ever left scratching your head wondering how to be proactive about working with Disney, there you have it. Do your best, be your best and connect with Disney. They can’t invite you if they don’t see you. So introduce yourself at conferences and any chance you get to network with them. Most importantly, to be considered, you must be Disney friendly.

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disney magic kingdom, disney tickets, Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Disney world tickets

You’ve decided to take your family on the ultimate family vacation to Walt Disney World and your first stop with those Walt Disney World Tickets is going to be the Magic Kingdom. Of course, it is! I have been to Walt Disney World many times and I have to say when I think of the happiest place on earth, my brain immediately goes to the Magic Kingdom. It is the epitome of the spirit of Disney World.

READ ALSO: 25 Top Secret Tips to Rock Your Walt Disney World Family Vacation

If you only had Disney World Tickets for one day at Disney World with kids ( or without) hands down, your first stop to get the full Disney experience is the Magic Kingdom. Honestly, there is so much to do and see that we usually get multi-day park-hopper Disney tickets and plan multiple days just to experience all the magic that the Magic Kingdom has to offer.

If you have never been to Walt Disney World let me give you a brief rundown of the setup.  There are 4 parks that make up the magic that is Disney World; The Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. Each park focuses on a different side of Disney.

READ ALSO: 10 Tips for Maximizing Your Walt Disney World Vacation for Free

The Animal Kingdom is about the animals big and small, real and imagined. It is a zoological park like you’ve never experienced before. This is where you will find the wonder that is Pandora- the land of AvatarEpcot brings the world to you. Experience the ultimate celebration of food, art and entertainment from around the world. Hollywood Studios allows you to take center stage int he worlds of Disney movies, television, music and theater. This will be home to Toy Story Land opening June 30, 2018! I can’t wait!

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Last but not least, the park that makes me feel like an excited 4-year-old experiencing it for the first time (every single time), the Magic Kingdom. It truly is magical and is the place where you can explore lands of endless enchantment and your fantasy becomes reality. I love all the parks but the Magic Kingdom has a special place in my heart.

READ ALSO: The Happiest Place on Earth is Disney’s Magic Kingdom 

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5 Tips to Use Disney World Tickets to Experience Magic Kingdom like an Insider

  1. disney magic kingdom, disney tickets, Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Disney world tickets

 

  1. Get to the staging area for the Happily Ever After fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom at least 1.5 hours before the show begins to get a good spot. You must see this firework show to believe it. If you can, fast pass it and then you don’t have to get there so early because your spot in the staging area will be waiting for you.
  2. Ride the Astro Orbitor at night. Honestly, I have been to Walt Disney World at least 20 times before I realized that      Astro Orbitor was even a ride. I thought it was décor. Then I rode it at night, with my daughter, and I can honestly say, it was magical and I will never forget the experience. We had a 360-degree view that can’t be seen from anywhere else in the park. Also, for a good time, ride Splash Mountian at night.
  3. Be sure to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I recommend getting fast-passes but if you can’t, get there early, so the times are shorter. In fact, I recommend taking advantage of early magic hours to beat the crowds or booking breakfast at the Magic Kingdom before the park opens so that you can get a ride without having to wait in line for a couple hours.
  4. If you are looking for good places to eat, and there are a lot, for a quick bite when we’re in a hurry, we love Casey’s Corner Hot Dog Joint. For a sit-down lunch that has great food at a great price and the gray stuff too, we love Be Our Guest Restaurant. And if you are there and you want to eat a large dinner that is sure to satisfy any craving, Liberty Tree Tavern is perfection. Your belly and your heart will be full when you leave.
  5.  Take a Walt Disney World Tour to really feel like a VIP insider. The Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom is affordable and gives you a glimpse of the tunnels and workspaces under the park that only Cast Members get to see. A VIP behind the scenes tour allows you to experience the parks in an exclusive way so you can see how the magic is made. You’ll feel like a celebrity.

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If you want to go beyond the magic of your Walt Disney World tickets and be 100% immersed in Disney World magic in the most luxurious way, I recommend checking out the Disney Dream cruise.

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What is your tip to use your Walt Disney World tickets to experience the Magic Kingdom like an insider?

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I’ve been to Walt Disney World many times and each time I go I learn something new so I am sharing my 10 tips for maximizing your Walt Disney World Vacation for free. These are simple tips that every person that takes a Walt Disney World vacation should know before going. I’ve been about 20 times and some of these I just learned this year when I attended Disney Social Media Moms Celebration so these tips can even teach a seasoned Disney World vacation taker a thing or two or ten. Hold on to your rose gold Mickey Ears because you’re about to be blown away.

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10 tips for maximizing your Walt Disney World Vacation for free

1.There are outlets and charging areas in each park. Some are well-known and easily found others are hidden in plain sight. One option available at all 4 Walt Disney World parks is to drop your phone off at Guest Relations in the park for charging. You provide your own charging cord and they will give you a claim ticket. There are outlets throughout the parks if you know where to look. My favorite charging stations are the ones in the Magic Kingdom, particularly, the false tree stumps across from the bathrooms in the Rapunzel/Tangled area and the outlets in The Yellow FastPass+ Tent in Storybook Circus.

2. You don’t have to pay $3.25 for water to survive the raging Florida heat. Disney World provides free ice water/ water bottle refills at all quick service restaurants. All you have to do is ask.

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3. Everyone knows that you get three fast passes per person per day on your Walt Disney World vacation. Did you know if they are used before 3 pm, you can then schedule 1 more at a time for your group so the earlier you schedule your fast passes, the better.

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4. If you are celebrating a special occasion (birthday, 1st visit, honeymoon and anniversary) every cast member will wish you a happy, pixie dusted celebration and some places you even get royal treatment like free desserts and fast passes. It’s a great way to make a celebration even more special but please, don’t say you’re celebrating if you’re not.

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5. If you love Walt Disney World but hate long lines, have I got a tip for you. Lines are always shorter for rides during parades, fireworks and mealtimes. I know, it is total common sense but if you are like me, you might get swept up in all the Walt Disney World magic and totally lose all that common sense when you hit the parks. I do.

6. Speaking of long lines. I tend to get hangry and a hangry mom is a bad situation. It’s even worse than hangry toddlers. So to avoid both, use Disney’s new mobile food ordering option on the My Disney experience app. It’s like the Starbucks app, you place your order, pick up your food and eat and avoid the lines and the hangries. It’s a win, win, win. Nothing ruins a nice Disney World vacation with your family like turning into monster mom because you need food.

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7.  As I just mentioned the My Disney Experience app, I’m going to mention it again because it is THAT good. I use it to schedule fast passes, meal reservations and know the extended magic hours (if you are staying on grounds) 180 days in advance. Believe me you will want to get those coveted reservations as far in advance as possible. But even if you miss that 180 day window of opportunity, by using the My Disney Experience app, you can check while you are on grounds and reservations open up all the time and if you want to go old school and you like to do your Disney World vacation with no tech whatsoever, most restaurants do take some walk-ups.

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8. Speaking of magic hours, like the way I did that? If you are staying at one of the Disney resorts on grounds or one of their participating partners, you can take advantage of magic hours which are either an extra hour in the morning before the general public is allowed into the park or a few hours at the end of the night. It is a great way to grab photos that are not saturated with strangers and get in line for the most popular rides and avoid some of the wait time. At night, it is so much fun to ride the rides in the dark and also to have access with so many fewer people. I highly recommend planning your days in the park according to the days they have extended hours.

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9. Memory Maker is your friend. As a mom, I’m usually never in the photos and that makes me sad especially when we are making all those amazing memories on our Disney World vacation. However, with Memory Maker I can just let Disney take all the photos and not worry about it. Then I have access to 100s of photos including those hilarious ride photos. It’s simple you find the photographers in the parks ( they are everywhere) and they will take your photo. They scan your magic band and voila, they appear in your my Disney Experience. Same protocol when you get off the rides, go to the kiosk and scan your band. They even do some Disney Magic and add fun little surprises to some of your photos.

 

10. Last but not least, my best tip for maximizing your Walt Disney World vacation for free is to simply be in the moment, enjoy yourself and most importantly enjoy your family. Those little ones will only be little for a little while and it goes by in a flash. Who stole my toddlers and gave me these teens? Luckily, magic is not just for the little ones. Walt Disney World has a way of transforming us all into happy, excited 4-year-olds every time we walk through the gates. That’s the real magic and I love every single minute of it, every single time.

What is your best tip for maximizing your Walt Disney World vacation for free?

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Last week at this time, I was debarking from a Disney cruise with my family. We were living the dream, the Disney Dream that is, thanks to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Life was magical. Today, not so much. My husband and I both have the flu. Now, I get why they kept handing me sanitized wipes for my hands.

Let me tell you about cruising because a Disney cruise was my first ever cruise. I think the Disney Dream may have ruined me for all other cruises. I’ve always wanted to try a Disney cruise. I love being on the sea, I love traveling with my family and I love, love, love Disney so what was there not to like? But, I had no idea what to expect. I think cruising is one of those things you really need to experience for yourself, like childbirth and marriage, no one can explain in words how it actually feels but I will try.

Cruising on the Disney Dream was like no other vacation we’ve ever had. I used to think to vacation in the great outdoors was the best a family vacation could get but I see now that a Disney cruise gives you the best of both worlds.  It was luxury beyond anything I could have imagined. I get why they call it the Disney dream.

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For someone like me, who is always connected, the Disney Dream allowed me to live one of my biggest dreams…being present and in the moment. Yes, I had WiFi and was still connected but not in the same way as I am in my day to day life. I was semi-connected but I was 100% plugged in and present for my life and my family. I was given the gift of time to breathe and exhale and to look around and see all the beauty and wonder that was right in front of me. I think that is a gift that all of us deserve and can use in today’s world of fast-paced living.

I woke up to sunrises on the horizon of the ocean and went to bed with the sounds of the ocean waves lulling me to sleep. It was definitely magical but of course, it was a Disney cruise so I would expect nothing less.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Disney Dream Cruise

  1. Excellent service from the cast members from everyone on board, everyone was so kind and generous with their time and efforts just as we’ve all come to expect from all Disney employees.
  2. Amazing food, high-quality meals and options galore. You will eat like a King/Queen while onboard a Disney cruise ship.

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3. Amazing Broadway shows like Beauty and the Beast. It was beyond amazing and as a theater freak, I’m telling you, that it is a must see.

4. More food. There was so much good food, I wished a had more days but I’m not sure my jeans would have survived the trip.

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5. Lots of onboard activities for adults too, so there is no chance of getting bored; beer tasting, mixology course, tequila tasting, BINGO, fitness center, several pools, Aqua Duck, Nightclubs and lounges, Senses Spa and Salon and movie theaters.

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6. Relaxation beyond anything you could have ever imagined. There are separate adult only areas and a Spa onboard but beyond that, they’ve even thought of ways to keep the kids occupied so that you can relax.

7. Kids clubs with different age-appropriate activities for kids of all ages. They are full of activities like putt-putt golf, basketball, foosball, dodgeball, crafts, movies and video games to name a few. My girls were at Edge (for kids ages 11-14) and it was amazing because they were in a safe and secure environment being supervised by trained cast members. They got some freedom and it gave us some time alone. It was a nice perk, I hadn’t expected.

 

8. Thoughtfulness, it is apparent in everything from the towel characters they leave on your bed with the chocolates at turndown service to the royal proclamation of your family upon your arrival. The cast members notice the little things and remember your preferences. It really makes for a special trip.

9. Free 24-hour room service, including Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and pizza.

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10. Cleanliness. Our staterooms were spotless and so was everything else on the ship. In fact, they even handed us sanitized wipes before entering all restaurants to help stop the spread of germs.

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11. Unlimited ice cream. This was my daughters’ favorite thing ever. All the soft serve your heart can desire.

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12. Time alone on a private island. Our Disney cruise culminated with us spending our final day on Disney’s Castaway Cay; Disney’s very own private island, perfectly manicured and peaceful right in the middle of the Bahamas. If you’ve never been on a private island, and who of us have been, you are really missing out. It’s having the best of all worlds with just a fraction of the population. We tubed, we rode in a paddle boat, we swam with the fishes, biked and hiked and that was just tip of the iceberg as to what is available. There is parasailing, chartered fishing and so much more but I will save that for another post.

13. You will never forget it and you will be changed for the better once you take a Disney Cruise. The Disney Dream allowed me to slow down enough in my life to set reset and shuffle my priorities. Being with my family on the cruise made me realize how lucky I am and how important and fleeting these next few years are with my family. I want to make the most of every single second. The Disney Dream gave me fresh perspective by letting all the noise of our day-to-day fall away and focus on what’s really important; the people.

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14. Last but not least, the first 24 hours you might experience a sensation of feeling a little unsteady on your legs while the boat is moving. No worries, you just haven’t found your “sea legs” yet. Make sure to take your dramamine before you start to move and you will be fine in no time.

But the Disney Dream is only one ship in a fleet and only one adventure you can take. New itineraries for May through September are available and you can book your very own Disney Cruise starting March 8 at 8 a.m. EST!

Check out the new destinations and set your sights on a high seas vacation brimming with excitement and allure—and be among the first to experience special sailings in Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean or The Bahamas.

This is everything you need to know about the Disney Dream Cruise but if you have any other questions, please leave below and I will answer.

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