I used piping gel for the water and brown sugar for the sand. I used royal icing for the decorating frosting (the grass, the girls dress, and the palm tree tops) and I just used a mix of whipped cream, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and condensed milk for the regular frosting. For the palm trees I used a pretzel rod and royal icing which is why it holds its shape.
The animals were simple store bought small toys. I thought it would be a good idea since they require no work, and they can add an extra little present for my nieces birthday. As for the little princess, I used a cupcake and a small doll pick you can find at any craft store. In one of my other instructables I explain step by step how to make a tiny barbie doll cupcake like this one as a part of a hawaii cupcake cake. http://www.instructables.com/id/Cupcakes-from-Paradise/