Pumpkin Art at Big Thunder Ranch

by MTT Kary, Kary Bashford-Blumer

One of our family’s favorite Halloween traditions pumpkin carving. Our triangle eyed, goofy grinned master pieces have nothing on what Disneyland’s Master pumpkin artists do for the Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Carnival during Halloween time at the park.

We start things off with a basic carving of the mouse himself in a more traditional Halloween carve.


Next we saw some of Peter Pan’s friends:



We also found some Movie stars:



There was a tribute to the Pumpkin King himself


Until we walked around the corner to find the host of the Disney Halloween Activities and his lady overseeing it all


My son was happiest though to see that even Donald got into the act.


It’s Really Not So Scary

by MTT Jody, Jody Clair

I love Halloween. Costumes, fun, being silly, and things that go bump in the night…gently. Yes, gently. I do not enjoy being scared out of my gourd nor having everything covered in fake blood. That is why I recommend this party for all ages.


This after hour’s party is a special event ticket, which is separate from regular admission to the park. Is it worth the extra cost? Yep, sure is. There are so many activities beyond the regular rides, such as a very special Boo To You Halloween parade. MNSSHP-Jody-Clair-2

The Disney Villain’s come out for a special stage show, there are multiple dance parties, safe trick or treating (with free bags offered at the front gate), special Halloween treats like a candy corn swirled ice cream cone and ghost cupcakes only for purchase during the party. MNSSHP-Jody-Clair-3
My family has been to this event multiple times and loves it. Dressing up is one of our favorite parts. It is great for small children since Disney has a no violent costume rule. MNSSHP-Jody-Clair-4

The night usually comes to an end with a very special fireworks and music show. We watch it together listening and singing the villain songs that goes along with the amazing fireworks show over Cinderella’s Castle. (photo five)

- Jody

Contact MTT Jody at 719-377-2341 or jody.clair@mousetalestravel.com to book your next family vacation! For more information about family travel, join Jody’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/JodyClairMouseTalesTravel

Night of Joy 2013 – Day 2

by MTT Jenny S, Jenny Stow


Day 2: Francesca Battistelli, Gospel Music Association Winner Steve Musso, TobyMac, Newsboys, Matthew West, Group 1 Crew, Building 429, City Harbor, We As Human, Plumb   (see Day 1 here)

We spent all Saturday morning and afternoon at Epcot, until it started raining again around 4:00pm. We decided to head back to the hotel then, and took the monorail over to the TTC. We got off at the TTC and walked over to transfer to the resort monorail, and…yikes. A GIGANTIC line for the monorail. The Magic Kingdom Express monorail had a line almost to the front gates, and even the resort monorail line was longer than the ramp up to the monorail platform. Everyone’s standing out in the rain, and soaked to the bone. It never crossed my mind beforehand that all the Night of Joy crowds would be trying to get to Magic Kingdom right then, since they’re allowed to enter the park at 4:00pm with Night of Joy tickets.

The line for the ferry was shorter, so we decided to take the ferry to Magic Kingdom, and transfer to the resort monorail there. It took us about 45 minutes to get over to Magic Kingdom, and then hopped on a then-empty monorail over to the Contemporary. We were hoping for a quick nap before dinner, but no luck. We had a 6:00pm reservation at Chef Mickey’s, and made it right on time. Dinner was fantastic, and it stopped raining while we were eating, which gave us clear skies for the rest of the night!


We grabbed a monorail right after dinner and got to Magic Kingdom right at 7:30pm, just as Jodi Benson and her family came onstage to speak about World Vision again. Then, the first act of the night came onstage – Francesca Battistelli. She put on a great show (although she had a lot to say, and she practically talked more than she sang). After her show, my friend went back to the room, since she didn’t really have any interest in seeing any of the other performers that night. I stayed, still wanting to see Matthew West, TobyMac, and Newsboys.


After she left, I went over to Galaxy Stage to see Matthew West, and ran into another long line. The theater was packed, and there was a line all across Tomorrowland, almost as far as Space Mountain. They were keeping a close watch on capacity, and were letting just a few people in at time. This is the one stage where being early for the show is pretty important, if you want to be sure you get in. I didn’t think my chances of getting in were too good at that point, so I went over to Fantasyland and watched Mickey’s Philharmagic to kill some time before TobyMac.

There weren’t too many people waiting for Philharmagic, and most of those who were waiting were teenagers. They didn’t seem to be misbehaving in any way, but the Cast Member working still felt the need to announce to our whole group that “Disney World is a family place, not a place for making families. Keep your hands to yourselves.” That seemed a little harsh and unnecessary, but maybe they’d had some problems?

After Philharmagic, it was about time for TobyMac, so I went over to the Cinderella Castle Stage. I knew this would be one of the more popular shows, and it was PACKED, from the front of the castle all the way up Main Street. Before TobyMac came onstage, Gospel Music Association Winner Steve Musso came on and played a couple of songs.


When he finished up, TobyMac and gang came onstage – he definitely travels with a crowd, and had a whole bunch of people onstage with him, including backup dancers, a DJ, the band, backup vocalists, and special guests. This show was definitely more energetic than any of the others, complete with a surprise appearance by Mandisa. The crowd was moving around a lot, and there were so many people that I couldn’t see too much, so I decided to go ahead and go back to the hotel after a few songs. I hated to miss the Newsboys later, but their show wasn’t until after midnight, and I was ready to call it a night.


When I got back to our room, I discovered that we could hear the concert word-for-word from our balcony (we had an incredible Magic Kingdom view, and had a perfect view of the castle). Nice! So, I sat on my non-crowded balcony, listened to the rest of TobyMac’s show, and then Jodi Benson came onstage again. She sang “Part of Your World” live, which was amazing. Then, the Newsboys came onstage, and I listened to most of their show, until I started to fall asleep on the balcony. See you next year, Night of Joy.


Night of Joy is returning September 5-6, 2014. Part of next year’s lineup has already been confirmed, including Matthew West, MercyMe, and Hillsong United.

– Jenny S.

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Contact MTT Jenny at jenny.stow@mousetalestravel.com or 713-853-WALT to book your next Disney vacation! For more information, join Jenny’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/MTTJennyStow

Christmas at SeaWorld

Waves of holiday spirit splash over you during SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration! With everything from Santa to Shamu, this is the place to be for the holidays!

Shows & Attractions

  • Shamu Christmas Miracles
  • THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience
Now boarding! It’s a wondrous journey to the North Pole aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS. The beloved holiday classic comes to life as you and your family are immersed in the heart-warming story of a young boy’s thrilling ride into an enchanted world. The sights, sounds, and scents of the season surround you. From the moment the conductor calls “all aboard” to your arrival at the North Pole (where you’ll meet Santa Claus himself), THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience promises to create an unforgettable holiday memory.
  • O Wonderous Night


Hear the greatest story never told with over 30 carols, live-size puppets and live animals in the brand new show that will charm, entertain and delight people from all walks of life. Lots of singing, special effects and incredible lighting enhance this production and holiday spirit. It’s a live nativity that only SeaWorld can bring to life.
  • Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas
  • Sea of Trees


Take a walk through our wintery, watery wonderland and immerse yourself in a sea of holiday trees. Our glistening forest with over 100 trees sparkles to music and lights up the water… and, your eyes. As the lights literally dance to holiday classics, your heart will soar with wonder and delight at this truly awe-inspiring Christmas treat.
  • Winter Wonderland on Ice
  • Holiday Reflections: Fireworks & Fountain Finale


Santa’s Fireside Feast

Enjoy a warm-hearted holiday experience and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa's Fireside Feast, an exclusive dinner featuring an all-you-care-to-eat menu of holiday favorites and delicious desserts. A complimentary family photo is also included to remember the night. Reserve your space with Mouse Tales Travel now!

Enjoy a warm-hearted holiday experience and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Fireside Feast, an exclusive dinner featuring an all-you-care-to-eat menu of holiday favorites and delicious desserts.

Menu includes: Fresh field greens with dried cranberries and pecans tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, fresh cut fruit, roasted turkey, honey baked ham, homemade cornbread and cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green been almandine, macaroni and cheese and holiday desserts.

A complimentary family photo is also included to remember the night. Reserve your space with Mouse Tales Travel now!

Select dates from November 23 to December 31, 2013.

Get a quote for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration