Wildlife Wednesday – Rüpell’s Griffon Vulture


Most cooperative and social of all the vultures, this Rüpell’s griffon vulture resides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. While considered to be the highest flying of all birds, this one isn’t going anywhere. You can see in the photo above that there are no flight feathers on this bird’s left wing. This prevents the vulture from flying away from its safe haven with Disney caregivers.


Conservation status – Endangered
Habitat – central Africa

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Disney @Home: Disney – Pixar “Inside Out” Cake

It’s birthday time again, which gives me a great excuse to make a new Disney-themed cake. I suggested “Inside Out” for inspiration and my daughter approved the idea. We discussed plans for our cake and went shopping together in hopes of finding the right items to bring our visions to light. A “core memory bank” cake seemed achievable. Layer cake with rows of colorful imbedded candies…

Disney - Pixar "Inside Out"

…but after shopping at a craft store, a party store and our local Target, we went with these items and a new vision for our Pixar-perfect cake.

What You Need

And it looked like this:

Yummy Cake!

Which is nice enough, but not “Inside Out” enough. I shopped around for mini-figures to place on top of the cake but had no luck finding any. So, I grabbed a stroller card at the Magic Kingdom (thanks for the suggestion, Heather!), and made some cute cake toppers with these items.

You Also Need

And there you have it! An easy-to-make, yet fairly fabulous Disney-Pixar “Inside Out” cake.

Sweet Emotions Happy Birthday!

Notes about the products: My party attendees and I were not impressed with the edible decorative disks. They were hard to bite and mostly flavorless. Maybe you’re not supposed to eat them. I suggest you don’t. The cake was very tasty, but didn’t rise as much as I expected. Maybe I did something wrong. ? The icing was perfectly scrumptious-loved it!

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Where Can I Find? – Mickey Monogrammed Ears at Walt Disney World

#DisneySide Ear Hats

Monogram Pricing

Mickey Mouse Ears are likely the most popular souvenir purchase at the Disney Parks. You can find them at all four theme parks and at Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) as well. They’ll be shelved in stores and hanging at outdoor kiosks.

Monogramming/personalization is available at Mouse Gear in Epcot, the Chapeau in Magic Kingdom, Adrian & Edith’s Head to Toe in Hollywood Studios and at Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories at Downtown Disney.

There are several styles to choose from. Prices start at $13.95. There’s an additional charge for monogramming.

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Wildlife Wednesday – Mandarin Duck

This week, I’m showing off the Mandarin drake. One of the most beautifully feathered of all ducks, this bird has a special place in my heart. My father kept them among his backyard bird collection, so I developed a fondness for them at an early age. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can find Mandarin ducks on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

They are somewhat similar in appearance to wood ducks of North America. Both birds belong to the same genus.

Mandarin Drake

Conservation status – Least concern
Habitat – Native to East Asia, introduced populations exist now in parts of the United Kingdom, Europe and United States

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Epcot Entertainment – Italy Pavilion – The Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro

Late in 2014, new live acts came to World Showcase at Epcot. My favorite newcomers are the Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro. These charismatic young men proudly exhibit their talents in a colorful, energetic performance…a fabulous cultural display.

Sbandieratori di Sansepolcro

Flag waving originated in Europe back in the Middle Ages. During times of war, standard bearers led troops into battle. These flags were used to signal commands to be executed during the maneuvers and were defended to the death.

Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro

These symbols were a source of tremendous pride for the people they represented. In peaceful times, drills were developed for parades and shows. The routines eventually evolved into the art of flag waving that is still used today.

Solo Waver, Two Flags

Modern flag waving has become a sport with several specialties. The Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro demonstrate a few of these. Accompanied by trumpeters and drummers they’re a fine addition to Epcot’s line-up of live entertainment. They appear seven times daily on the outdoor stage in the center of Italy Pavilion at World Showcase.

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Wildlife Wednesday – American Crocodile

Crocodylus acutus

This gigantic reptile with impressive gaping jaws is the American crocodile. Outside of his normal habitat, you can find him in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For a closer look, at a safe distance click on the photo above. Then click your browser’s back button to return to this post.

Conservation status: Vulnerable
Habitat: Coastal areas of the Caribbean, southern Mexico and south Florida.

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Wildlife Wednesday – Malayan Flying Fox

The large fruit bats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are among my most favorite of all critters there. You can find an all-male colony of Malayan flying foxes in the bat house on Maharajah Jungle Trek. There are about 10 of them hanging about. The kids and I enjoy watching when they’re active.

Some people don’t enjoy bats. At all. Ever. How do you feel about hairy giant bats?


Conservation status – near threatened
Primary habitat – Southeast Asia

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Wildlife Wednesday – Meerkat

Meerkat on Alert

I’d never even heard of meerkats before Disney’s “Lion King,” but practically everyone knows what they are these days. You can find this adorable carnivore cousin to the mongoose on a self-guided tour of Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Conservation status – least concern
Habitat – southern tip of Africa

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Disney @Home: #DisneySide @ Home Celebration – Big Hero 6 Party, Mission Complete!

I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Despite a small turnout, my #DisneySide party was a big success. I’m very happy that I was able to host a low-stress event with a lot of simple details. My DVD premier celebration included festive decor, themed treats, entertaining activities, generous goodie bags and of course, the Oscar-winning animated feature, “Big Hero 6.”

#DisneySide Big Hero 6 @Home Celebration

For my decor, I picked up a few inexpensive items from my local party store, used things from my #DisneySide party box and added stuff that I had on hand. I customized the food labels from my Disney Parks party box, with online images from the movie.

The back drop for my table consisted of black and white crepe streamers and white balloons with Baymax eyes drawn on them. I used a small bunch of red and white helium balloons as a centerpiece and I added “Big Hero 6” PVC action figures to accompany their corresponding dish.

Big Hero 6 Party Table

The menu items were a cinch but satisfying.

Fortunate One - Hiro Cookies

I opened a box of store-bought fortune cookies and dumped them onto a serving tray. Voila! Hiro Fortune Cookies

Are You Satisfied With Your Cake?

Easy-peasy…round white layer cake with homemade cream cheese frosting and Wilton black sparkle gel features…this was super simple.

Fredzilla Fireballs

I formed Rice Crispie treats into spheres and dusted them with Wilton red, yellow and orange nonpareils and colored sugars to make Fredzilla Fireballs. BIG hit. Zero leftovers.

Yummy Honey Lemon Bars

I used a store-bought lemon bar mix and added 1 tablespoon of some yummy local lavender honey to make it party perfect.

Wasabi Jello Jigglers

Not really wasabi, but neither is Wasabi! Green gelatin jigglers, another guest favorite.

Gogo Punch

For my GoGo punch, I mixed pineapple juice, orange juice and sprite. Very yummy!

Now Playing! Disney's Big Hero 6!!

I used Baymax kites and a fabulous Hiro/Baymax beach towel for decorations in my theater. I used crepe streamers and balloons for the theater backdrop.

I really had to restrain myself with this party because of time, but I’m hoping to follow through on some of the ideas I didn’t get around to completing. If you like these, keep checking back for future party posts. Or better yet, hit the subscribe button on the side and never miss a thing.

Thanks for stopping by!

I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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Wildlife Wednesday – Western Lowland Gorilla

Mighty Joe Young

It’s hard to look at gorillas without wondering what they’re thinking. You see their expressions and just know that they must have thoughts like we do. Fascinating and intimidating creatures. You can find them on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Conservation status – critically endangered
Habitat – central Africa

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