Disney on Ice 2019: Magical Ice Festival

As someone who loves the magic of Disney, I’ve been to Disney on Ice a couple of times before, but this year was only the second time the Twincesses have been to the show.

Magical Ice Festival is the latest offering from Disney on Ice and it takes us through four Disney stories:

• The Little Mermaid

• Rapunzel

• Beauty and the Beast

• Frozen

The first three are easily my top favorite Disney Classic movies, so I was in for a real treat… however the show lacked the variety I had seen in previous years. Rather than provide the favorite snippets from a wide selection of Disney movies, this year’s show focused on the complete stories of Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle and the Arendelle sisters, giving us several songs from each movie as it followed their story is it’s (almost) entirety.

Again, I loved the show as is was a selection of my favorite movies, so I got to enjoy songs that aren’t usually part of the Disney on Ice setlist such as “Mother Knows Best” from Tangled and “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast.

Moms of little boys may have left feeling a little dissatisfied, as the show was hugely “Princess” orientated and there was no songs/ storylines from any other Disney movies except those four listed above.

The hosts were Mickey and Minnie, who brought along beloved friends Donald Duck and Goofy. We did get to see Cinderella’s stepsisters singing a tune, but not Cinderella herself.

The crowd went crazy for the Frozen portion of the show, cementing the fact that Disney’s modern princesses appeal to the younger generation. Personally, I would have loved to see some Moana in this year’s line up… not only is she my favorite modern Disney story, but it would have also injected some diversity into the show. And really, how amazing are the songs from Moana? Disney here’s a tip: Get Moana in your lineup! You’re welcome.

The usual snack selection was on sale, but I have to admit the prices are steep. Parents should budget around R200-R350 per child for Disney branded snacks alone. The Disney slushies in mugs are approximately R170 and candy floss (which comes with either a plastic crown or Olaf hat) is R120.

Popcorn in a small Disney box was the most economical snack at R30, while the popcorn in Disney branded bags are R120.

So yeah, not cheap, but many parents had budgeted for snacks from past experience, or simply because it was a once-off treat.

There’s also a wide variety of Disney merchandise available to purchase, but having just spoiled the girls with toys at Disneyland Paris, I quickly ushered them past the toy vendors before they could mutter “I want”…

To be honest the merchandise is grossly overpriced, seeing as they are imported items usually not available for sale in SA outside of the event. Light up wands cost R320 and plush dolls were around the same price.

My one main gripe though was the inconsideration shown by people who arrived late, or walked about during the show. Come on people… that’s really not on!

We were seated next to a mom who thought it was ok to let her two-year old run around in front of the stage (appearing in several of my photographs) and then frequently ran after him while he howled in protest… talk about a distraction from the main event.

If you bring really young children to the show, it’s only fair that you take them outside if they start to fuss/scream so as not to disturb other people who’ve paid a lot of money to enjoy the show. It’s for this reason I waited until the girls were well over three years old before I took them to Disney on Ice.

All in all, it was a beautiful show, beautiful costumes and amazing choreography. I enjoyed my all-time Disney favorites with my two favorite girls and couldn’t really have asked for more. Thank you for always bringing the magic, Disney!

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Disney On Ice at Durban ICC

I got back from my epic European trip (including Disneyland) and found myself attending Disney On Ice the very next day. What a way to ease into real life!

I attended Disney On Ice only once before, in Paris. It ways magical…. BUT, all the epic Disney songs I know and love were translated to French for the French audience. I was able to follow along, but it just wasn’t the same.

So I was greatly looking forward to the show when they arrived in Durban!

I took my Twincesses along for the treat. Avalon decided to dress us as Merida, who is by far her most favorite princess. Harper went as Aurora only because we didn’t have a Moana ensemble for her to wear.

The show was held at the Durban ICC and was well organized in terms of parking and logistics. We had front row seats so we were pretty close to the action.

The theme of this particular show, “Dream Big” was all about dreams and wishes, and started with Tinkerbell taking us through an epic journey through Disney’s classic tales of hopes and dreams.

We got to sing along with Snow White, Cinderella, Tiana, and Belle. We fought witches and slayed dragons before tumbling head first into the much-loved story of two sisters from Arendelle.

The show was enthralling from start to finish. I don’t hide the fact that I have and always will be a major Disney geek… so it’s highly possible I enjoyed the performances even more than my girls.

The show makes its way across SA and I’d highly recommend getting a ticket to a performance near you.

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Decorate playhouse

Decorating our Playhouse

We recently installed an outdoor wooden playhouse, designed and manufactured by the amazing Charlie’s Playhouses.

We have been having a ball decorating the playhouse, adding little touches and generally making the interior a pretty space for the Twincesses.

I must say I probably enjoy the decorating part a bit more than the girls, and as I add a new decor piece, I always think back to how awesome my own childhood would have been with a dreamlike playhouse like theirs. Living vicariously, I guess 🙂

So I wanted to share some of the cute and functional details we added, but bear in mind, this is still a work in progress. I doubt it will ever be complete, really, as I’m sure the furniture and decor will ‘grow’ with the kids, and we will add and remove as we go along.

For now, this is what the interior looks like:

  1. DECOR PIECES:

We went with cute little sleepy eyes in pink and gold and a beautiful dream catcher in pink satin sourced from Shongweni market. A grey bunny door hook and a ‘love’ plaque from MRP Home.

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Adorable self-adehsive Ballerina sticker collection, ‘LOVE’ wooden letters and Princess canvas from MRP Home.

Pink and grey bunting custom made locally by Heather’s Buntings.img_6098-2

Pretty heart stickers in silver (made these myself) and happy cloud cushions, also from MRP Home.

The kiddies ottomans were bought second hand.

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2. STORAGE:

We always knew storage was going to be a major concern, as the Twincesses have TOO MANY TOYS. I didn’t want the playhouse to look cluttered and chaotic, so we have not one but TWO toy storage organizers.

The first one from MRP Home is a pretty pink design with convenient plastic storage boxes that can be used to not only store, but also sort toys. The girls are then able to just take their favorite box to their desk to easily access their chosen toys.

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Their other toy organizer was gifted by their aunt, and they love it because its FROZEN!

The boxes are fabric, but durable and the side panels are in rich, glossy color and is scratch-resistant.

3. FURNITURE

One of the first items we purchased for the playhouse was a large wooden kitchen from Kings Toys. We had looked at the options in stores and Takealot, but they were just so small! I wanted the girls to have something they could enjoy for years to come, and Kings Toys provided just that! Their kitchen is made in pink and white with an oven, stove top, microwave, fridge/freezer, clock, chalkboard, hang rail and plenty of storage.

We kitted it out with an array of toys: toasters, coffee machine, pots and pans, fruit basket and lots and lots of dishes, all found within the aisles of Toys R Us.

We invested in some beautiful wooden items like the Melissa and Doug 3 layer birthday cake. The cake comes with decorative items, , candle, cake board and server. The girls love singing Happy Birthday to everyone and offering them a slice of cake. This particular cake can be ‘cut’ and velcro-ed back together.

Theo from Mr Tickles also went out of her way to source the Viga wooden eggs for me, and I am so grateful. I highly recommend the store for beautiful and quality toys. img_6124-2

The playhouse wouldn’t be complete without a spot for the Twincesses to draw, colour, do puzzles and ‘eat’ whatever they ‘cook’.

I found this table and chair set on Takealot and was so pleased when I saw that it matches their FROZEN toy organizer exactly, right down to the same high-gloss, scratch-resistant finish. We do have some squabbles over who gets to sit on the ‘Elsa’ chair, but they generally don’t last long as there is so much to keep the girls busy.

There are still two items I am yet to source, which I think will make perfect additions to our playhouse: One is a few floating book ledge shelves. Because the Twincesses love their books!

The second are these gorgeous house shelves for storing pretty keepsakes and adding another decorative element. I’d welcome recommendations for a local company that makes these items.

If you are looking for a way to keep your kids entertained for hours on end, I’d definitely recommend giving Charlie’s Playhouses a call on 076 106 0612.

And if you do, please do share your decor ideas with me! 😉

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Let Humanity Win (My thoughts on Disney Gator Attack)

I have been at a complete loss for words since hearing about the 2 year old who was dragged away from his parents by an alligator at Disney, Florida.

This, hot on the heels of the worst mass shooting the US has ever seen, and the senseless gunning down of Christina Grimme, a beautiful, talented 22 year old…all in Florida, all in the space of a few days.

And while thoughts and anger, emotion and sadness has been filling my head and mind since these horrific events have unfolded, I’ve been at a complete loss on how to put those words down on paper.

But today I woke up to the news that a little body was found, mere feet from where his helpless dad had watched him be snatched as he tried to pry open an alligator’s mouth with his bare hands. A child… loved, cherished, cared for… very much like my own two children, and my heart breaks into a million tiny pieces.

Then I see the fury that is brewing on social media…fury, blame and anger aimed at the parents of the 2 year old, and it makes me want to bury my head in my hands and weep for what we have become.

People are citing parental negligence as the cause of this heart-breaking incident. But tell me…how many visitors walk that exact park each day? Each month? Each year?

How many children get close to the water’s edge, squeal with laughter and run excitedly back to their parents? How many wander around, happily creating memories, carefree and full of life?

Now tell me, how many have been attacked by an alligator while doing do? Disney has never had an incident like this occur before. And while Florida may be rife with alligators, they rarely attack humans.

NO ONE could have seen this coming.

The child was NOT unattended. He was NOT swimming. His parents were NOT negligent, and they DO NOT deserve this. No parent does.

The internet has killed our humanity. It has emboldened us to become horrible, horrible monsters … people we would never portray in real life.

Would anyone taking a dig at these parents have the guts to walk up to them, in this moment of utter grief, point a finger to their faces and say: “It’s your fault your child is dead. You should have been a better parent”

No one would dare say it to their faces, yet we sit happily behind our screens, the keyboard our assault weapon of choice, as we pick off strangers one by one.

Gorilla mom faced the internet’s fury when her child fell into Harambe’s enclosure. I admit, I was one of the first to point my finger. But in the end, my humanity won over my need to join the internet mob.

And a ‘mob’ is precisely what we’ve become. A bunch of angry, vile people, spewing words of hate and contempt to people we have never met, and will never know. We have become a society who has taken it as our duty to blame, to judge, and to tear apart anyone who has ever made a mistake.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a grieving mom, a panicked, helpless father…

It doesn’t matter if we made that same mistake last week. No one was there to see, and there was no tragic outcome, so it’s ok.

For all those thinking they know better and would have done better. Stop. Please stop.

A child is gone, his parents will NEVER recover from this pain and anguish. They will pay a price – far worse than you could ever wish on them – for the rest of their lives. So please, I implore you: Stop.

Stop letting anonymity make you less human. Stop letting your screen and keyboard make you the judge and the jury.

Please let compassion take over. Please, let humanity win.

 

 

 

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