Marshmallow Treats Inspired By Disney’s Big Hero 6

February 25, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigHero6MovieNight #CollectiveBias

One of my favorite family activities is family movie night. I love finding a great movie that the entire family will enjoy, making snacks, and cuddling on the couch.
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The release of Disney’s Big Hero 6 made my task much easier this week. I picked up the movie from Target, and I grabbed a few supplies to make white chocolate-coated chocolate marshmallow treats inspired by one of the film’s lead characters, Baymax.

Big Hero 6

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Cinderella Inspired Glass Slipper Cookies

February 24, 2015

My absolute favorite Disney cartoon is Cinderella. I love the magical tale, and I watched it over and over growing up. I loved the idea that a girl who lived as a peasant could become a Princess, and that there was a Prince Charming out there waiting for me. I was beyond excited when I heard about the new Cinderella, and I’ve been planning this Fandango Family post for months. These Cinderella inspired Glass cookies are a blend of a traditional glass cookie and a shortbread Linzer; it took several tries before I finally mastered a recipe that I could confidently share with my readers.

Glass Slipper Cookie


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Becoming a Princess with RunDisney

Almost two years ago I ran the Disney Princess half marathon with RunDisney at Disney World Resort. It was a magical experience, but I had a few regrets. I think if I had researched more about the races, I could have had a better run and much better experience overall. I thought I would share a few tips that might make your transition from regular runner to Disney Princess a little more magical.

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Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Chicago: #DisneySide

June 29, 2014

In late spring I received my invite to Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration in Chicago. It would be an understatement to say I was excited. We love all things Disney. It is a great honour for all my hardwork on social media to be recognised like this. It can take a long time to build up a faithful following on instagram, unless you use an instagram bot of course!
I ran the Disney Princess half marathon last year at Walt Disney World and we made a vacation out of it. One of my earliest childhood memories was from a family trip to Walt Disney World. I have photos of my brother and I standing in front of Cinderella’s Castle, and I relived that memory with my son. Showing my #DisneySide is a way for me to recreate my fondest childhood memories and share them with Gabe.

So what is Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration?
This year Disney Social Media Moms held conferences in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Everyone applies to get in and spots fill up fast. Disney Social Media Moms doesn’t just include moms, there were a few dads in attendance too. We spent the day listening to Disney employees, and various other speakers talk about practical uses of social media. We were each responsible for our own travel expenses and lodging, but the conference was free. They hosted a few really neat giveaways, and everyone received a “swag bag” full of goodies. Many attendees are hopeful that they will be invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration held in the spring at Walt Disney World or Walt Disney Land.

jessica urgellesdisney parks gary

Here are a few of my Instagram photos, you can find more using the #DisneySMMoms hashtag

The Chicago event was held at the beautiful Hyatt Lodge on the McDonald’s campus. The hotel was stunning and the grounds were impeccable. They served a plated breakfast and we used that free time to say hello to one another. Everyone was so friendly, and I got to see a few old friends and make some new ones.
The speaker lineup varies between locations. Our agenda included:
  • Jamie Langdon, Walt Disney World Public Relations and Social Media Manager
  • Leanne Jakubowski O’Regan Director of Social Media Disney Parks
  • Gary Buchanan Walt Disney World Social Media Managing Editor
  • Jenn Fickley-Baker Walt Disney World Social Media Manager
  • Lori Lorenz Senior Director Direct Print Services Hewlett Packard
  • Michelle Stepney Content Director Disney Parks Global Content Development
  • Lily Winnail Padalily
  • Alicia Overby Baby Elephant Ears
  • Maria Bailey MomTV
  • Nick Weiland Huggies Mom Inspired
  • Ramon De Leon Senior Social Strategist Rise Interactive
  • Surprise Guest: Mickey Mouse!

jessica urgellesmickey mouse

It is hard to choose a favorite speaker in the crowd, but I really enjoyed Ramon De Leon (pictured with me in the bottom left photo). I am always drawn to someone with a good back story; the former pizza delivery guy turned businessman was nothing short of impressive. (It is hard to remain impartial when someone highlights your twitter conversation with them during their speech) You can read more about him in this Chicago Tribune article.

He and I “met” on Twitter before the conference. I had been following the #DisneySMMoms hashtag and so had he. We had a brief conversation via Twitter and that was the end of it… or so I thought.

Ramon is a talented social media strategist. He understands how to build a brand on social media and develops best practices. He used our conversation on Twitter to discuss social media engagement, similarly to companies such as Salesforce, who understand how important interaction and social media as a whole is for any business/brand. I typically post tweets and re-tweet on Twitter, but I struggle with follower engagement. Ramon actively engages his followers and because of this he has a strong social media presence. If I am going to get bigger on Instagram then I think I will need to get instagram followers from Buzzoid. Hopefully, this can generate more buzz around my posts!

I listened to Ramon and try to implement his social media practices as much as possible. Since Disney Social Media Moms I have had a steady growth of followers on Twitter and I believe it is because I listened and implemented things Ramon discussed. Some of my new Twitter followers are now readers on my blog and that helps to build my brand. A commenter also once told me that I should start vlogging some daily life every now and then to upload to YouTube considering the YouTube platform is so big, there’s one issue with that though, I’ve spent my time growing all of my other social media, can I really jump into another saturated platform and hope for the same growth? Sure the cross-platform aspect will help grow my other media with audiences from other places, but how long should I really put into growing a YouTube? Or should I be looking at giving myself a little boost, maybe if I were to comprar inscritos youtube I’d feel a little less stressed about trying to build another platform from the ground up.

It was a fantastic conference and I look forward to many more #DisneySide adventures with my family. If you are interested in apply for next year’s On The Road event check out Disney Social Media Moms.

A #DisneySide Birthday Celebration

March 17, 2014
My son Gabriel recently celebrated his 4th birthday with a #DisneySide themed birthday party. We love all things Disney, and we were so excited when we chosen to host a DisneySide at home celebration through MomSelect. 
Just like all great parties we started with #DisneySide invitations. I played around in Photoshop Elements with digital papers and cutouts until I found a layout that I liked. The red and white chevron, combined with the black and yellow added to our Mickey Mouse themed event.  
Included in our #DisneySide party kit was some HP  photo paper which was great for printing the invitations that I decided to hand deliver.  

I used the Mickey shaped cookie cutters to cut fondant and just applied them to the side of my chocolate layer cake.
His cake was definitely made with lots of love

He received a birthday “crown” at preschool that he loved, so I  decided to #DisneySide it with ears.

Basic black gift bags that I created using construction paper cut Mickey ears, red pants, and white buttons.  I added ears to all of the plain paper party hats.  They made for a festive touch. 

Mickey napkins are available in the party section of your local Walmart

I picked up the red and white paper straws at Hobby Lobby

My son loved the Ocean Spray Craisins included in our #DisneySide kit

I created a #DisneySide paper banner to hang on the food table. We had a mixture of homemade and premade food items. I didn’t want to spent so much time on food that I couldn’t enjoy the fun. 
I saw a few ideas on Pinterest for #DisneySide photo booth props.  I visited the craft section at Hobby Lobby and created this fun “polaroid” frame. I think it took maybe an hour total, but it was tons of fun for guests. 
I used Photoshop Elements to create this cool chalkboard printable to display at the party. 
I tried not to go over the top, I wanted it to be a fun party for family and friend.  You can get lost finding ideas over on Pinterest, so I chose a few of my favorites.  I have a board with lots of creative ideas to help show your #DisneySide if you want to check them out here. Birthday parties aren’t the only reason to show your #DisneySide, you can celebrate your #DisneySide every day.

For ideas on how to show off your #DisneySide you can visit:
DisneySide Celebrations

Disclaimer: I received a #DisneySide at home celebration kit for my participation in the program.  All opinions in this post are entirely my own. 

I hope our #DisneySide is apparent in this post, and maybe you found a little Pinspiration! 
Gabe and I with Mickey Mouse last year after I finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Disney World. 
Happy Sunday,

So you think you want to be a Disney Princess?

February 28, 2013

Due to popular demand I am blogging about my race experience with Run Disney at the Princess half marathon at Walt Disney World Resort.  It wasn’t as “magical” as I dreamed it might be but it wasn’t a completely poor experience either.

My personal race bib and my team bib.  

The Race Expo was moved from the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex to the Coronado Springs Resort due to events being held at the sports complex.  It was very congested (like most of the race) and very hard to get around.  I picked up my race packet, and made it through half of an aisle before I got frustrated and we left.  I don’t understand why they crowded the aisles into such a very small space, there was still a significant amount of space left in the ballroom.  There were things I really wanted to pick up but I just couldn’t bare to deal with the crowds.  My family and I spent the rest of the day on Friday at Magic Kingdom but I will blog about our vacation experience in a second post.

We spent Saturday at Animal Kingdom.  I waited to pack my race bag which was a huge mistake.  My ear phones disappeared.  I frantically ran out to the local Winn Dixie to pick up a pair.  I ended up not getting in bed til about 11pm which isn’t great when you are getting up at 3am.  If you can’t handle getting up really early, this isn’t the race for you.  I was out the door by 330am and still managed to forget my breakfast.   I drank a 16oz coconut water and some gatorade on the drive over.  

My first piece of advice is stay at a Disney Resort.  Run Disney provides transportation from all Disney hotels.  I stayed at a Disney Good neighbor hotel, Marriott Residence Inn Buena Vista.  It was just a few miles down the road and it still took over an hour for me to drive into the parking near Epcot.  If you are military affiliated, stay at the Shades of Green resort (I will discuss this at length in the vacation post).  The grounds are beautiful, the staff is so friendly, and they have Run Disney transportation. 

Like many large races you will be herded into your corrals much like cattle, and there is a pretty significant walk from the starting entrance to your actual physical corrals.  It is a good way to stretch your legs and stop for a potty break.  Bag drop ends at 430am.  The actual first gun and wave starts at 530am.  You are suppose to be physically in your corral by 5am.  I was in wave G which was 7th.  It started at 617am.  Someone told us that it was easier to get out of the starting gate in the later corrals if you were a decently swift runner.  This wasn’t the case at all.  I am pretty sure you were going to hit traffic no matter what start time you got.  I don’t advise starting later, it gets boring standing around waiting.  Even if a Fairy Godmother is entertaining you…. 

My adrenaline was starting to wear down before the gun fired and I was exhausted trying to get around 
people out of the gate.  There is something to grab your attention most of the course, so you won’t get bored.  There are forms of entertainment, water stations, character stops, the usual Disney sights, and all the volunteers cheering you on around the course.  I have a love/hate relationship with the character stops.  There are plenty of options but be prepared for significant wait times on all the popular characters.  Mickey/Minnie and Cinderella were both 20+ waits for personal photo opportunities.  I regretfully stopped for both and my photos have yet to appear (I am still crossing my fingers).   I also stopped for Cinderella’s evil step sisters and the castle which were about 10 min waits each.  

I realized later in the race it would be easier to just go back to the park with my medal and get photos later.  The only official race photo I have found so far is my finish line photo.  I really hope my other photos turn up.  This is one I had them take with my Iphone.  The next photo is of Minnie and I on Monday before we left the park.  

It would be much less stressful and the run would be more enjoyable if the wait times weren’t so long for most of the characters.  I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future, so I would strongly suggest unless there is someone you really want on the course or maybe the castle, don’t stop.  Otherwise, I would wait and take photos on a visit day in the park.  

The run was pleasant.  I wasn’t so winded when I finished that I needed to lay down.  I actually had a phone conversation with my dear friend Myrdin right after I crossed the finish line.  I could never build up any speed on the course it was so congested.  I probably paced about a 10 min mile.  There was an overcast so it wasn’t too hot.  The last 3 water stops I grabbed a powerade to drink and a water to pour down my back.  I strongly suggest hydrating on each stop even if you don’t feel the need.  

I saw alot of people ditching their costumes.  There were people who didn’t run in costume, so don’t feel obligated.  If you decide to run in costume, make sure you do at least a training run in it.  Running skirts are popular.  I did a tiara and tutu.  

It was an overall fun experience.  How many times will you get the chance to run through Cinderella’s Castle?  I am hoping to do it again next year with some friends, and maybe do Wine and Dine in the fall to see if my experience is any different.  I don’t expect the issues with congestion to change.  It is a popular race series and you probably aren’t going to set any personal records on the course.  

I have two other half marathons in the next two months.  I am doing our locally owned and operated half marathon Run the Bluegrass.  It is on the beautiful grounds of Keeneland and set to be a wonderful race experience.  I know Eric Marr and his team have worked very hard to set the bar high for this race.    If you are moving past a 5k but don’t think your quite ready for a half marathon, he is offering a 7 miler which is a good introduction to distance running.  The Rookie’s Run the Bluegrass info can be found by clicking the link.  They are also offering .9 mile kids races which benefit Girls on the Run and the YMCA of Central Kentucky.  I am looking forward to seeing many of my friends Run the Bluegrass. 

I was also fortunate enough to be drawn for the Nike Women’s Inaugural half marathon in Washington, D.C. in April.  Who wouldn’t want a cute fireman in a tuxedo and Tiffany’s finishers medal waiting on the finish line?  

If you have any running or race specific questions please feel free to post in comments or email me.  I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.  I am by no means an expert.  I am hoping to do my first full marathon soon and I would love if some of my friends would commit to join in.  I am going to be doing a separate blog post with general Disney vacation tips and another about using the Charity Miles app for organizations like the United Nations Foundation Shot at Life campaign.  

Happy Fairy Fast Friday!