Thursday, August 23, 2012

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Book Review: A Hoot or Moot?

 Reading about fossils while in Dinosaur! Queue

I was excited to see this book arrive. Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse keeps things entertaining while remaining concise and informative. Each segment is short, but filled with an amazing amount of information and best of all, activities! We love activities! I see slime in our future.

 This book is not just for families who homeschool. I can easily see it being utilized for families who want to keep the thought processes alive during vacation without it "feeling" like education. And hey, even if you're a grown up, the book is fun!  The activities provided with each segment are also a great way to stretch the magic to cover the Disney Blues once you're home.

We all know what the Disney Blues lead to -- depression, anxiety, sadness, and finally booking another vacation. Skip over all the crappy feelings by reading this book, doing the activities and then forking over a wad of cash to the mouse and do it all over again, but learn this time. You know, it's not really splurging if it's educational, right?
Reading in Kilimanjaro Safari's Queue

Even if you're not as Disney-fluent as a DisNerdy person like me, Jodi has thought of that. She's included a Glossary to guide you through some popular terms relating to the Mouse. She doesn't stop there, just check out the last chapter where she goes above and beyond.

Our Magical Mouse Schoolhouse book is already showing signs of love. It went to Animal Kingdom with us recently and survived a Rain-Shower Drenching-August-Day-In-Florida. We took it back in time with us (twice!) and across an African Savannah. The best part was bringing it home and doing a "Today's Takeaway". I definitely recommend this book for anyone who visits a Disney Park; there's something for just about everyone inside the pages.It's a hoot for us, and I know it will be for you, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mixtapes Disney Style

Recently we took our car to a dealership to have it appraised for a possible trade. Being the Disnerds that we are, of course we have a Disney CD in our car. Just to feed your addiction, as well as my own, here are a few you will find on our mixtape.

This is an absolute staple! I can just imagine walking down Main Street USA and smelling the bakery, seeing the castle in the distance, all by the first few seconds of the song.

This isn't technically just a music video. I adore this family's way of preserving their vacation memories. Every time my son insists on listening to this song 285,343,532,091 times (in a row) I can't help but imagine the "hands" and "slow part" images from the video.

Lastly, you will find out why I mentioned the car dealership. Apparently there is a hidden DisNerd at this dealership because whomever it was listened to quite a bit of my mixtape. When we returned to our car, the cd was two songs later on this:

Other songs on our CD are "Tiki Room",  "Hawaiin Roller Coaster", "Mickey Mouse Club", "Just Around the River Bend" and most of the songs from "The Lion King". Do you have a favorite Disney CD or "mixtape" to listen to?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Disney World Mini-Golf Winter Summerland Review

Recently we crossed the "Halfway to Christmas" threshold. What better way to celebrate than to join Santa at Winter Summerland? 
 This is not the course we chose. We opted for the Winter course today which offered more traditional Christmas tunes to rock out with. Not that anyone rocked out. We mostly just sang badly. Very badly.

With three children, it's often a challenge to find something that we all enjoy. Mini Golfing at Walt Disney World is great because even though the course wasn't too challenging for even the youngest players, it was still challenging enough to ignite a little healthy competition in Mom and Dad. (Dad would have won if we had kept score, but don't tell him that). Eighteen holes chocked full of traditional mini golf fare with a little Disney flair thrown in makes for a perfect non-park day activity.

Everyone was treated to a nice peppermint candy cane upon finishing the course. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and we will most definitely return. 

Have you mini-golfed at Disney? Which course did you choose? Who is the better mini-golfer in your family?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to Add Some Pixie Dust of Your Own: Candy Bar Wrappers

Cast Members spread the pixie dust everyday. What happens when you would like to spread some of your own for your kids while on vacation?

You break out the scissors, tape and candy bars of course! Just download these Disney Candy Bar Wrappers, print them and wrap mini-sized candy bars.

Leave a few on the bedside table for each kid to find when you return to your room that day. They'll think it's amazing.

Click on each of the pictures below to be taken to a .pdf you can save and print. Pass code for the file is adventuresinmousedom

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hidden Mickey Hair: Quick Hairdo for Girls

If you have little princesses of your own, you may be enticed to book a Bippidi Boppidi Boutique experience for them. If you do, you may be wondering what a great 2nd (or 3rd) day 'do for them would be. 

Even if you don't book a BBB experience, this Hidden Mickey Hairdo is a great quick fix in the mornings for girls with medium to long hair. 

  1. Divide the hair in half, from ear to ear. If you're working with thinner hair, be sure to make the bottom half end higher on the head, closer to the crown. Clip or tie each half loosely. 
  2. Spritz the bottom half with water or spray gel to contain fly-away. Comb out to smooth everything down. Using a small elastic create a ponytail. Keep in mind that this will be Mickey's "face" so you will want this to be pretty high on the back of the head. Once you have the pony tail, you're going to twist into a bun, tucking the end underneath. Put an ouchless pony band around the bun to secure it.
  3. Divide the top section into two halves. Tie or clip each away from each other. 
  4. Begin with one side and spritz it with water or spray gel. Comb it back toward the bottom ponytail and use a small clear elastic to tie back into a pony. Get it as close to the bottom bun as you can without causing loose strands. 
  5. Twist the entire strand until it's tight. Then twist the twisted strand into a bun, only ONCE around itself. On the last twist around, take the strand down the middle and around the bottom bun. Use a bobby pin to secure the end.
  6. Repeat with the other side but do not twist around the bottom bun. Before twisting, take the bun if it's becoming tall and double it over itself and then twist the strand around it. It will give the bottom bun a fuller look and create the style above. 
  7. OPTIONAL: Add a bow to one side to make this a Minnie 'do! 
I like to finish with some Aussie Sprunch Spray and then top it all off with some glitter hair spray.

How do you fix your princess's hair for the parks? Do you do something special? What is your go-to style for Disney World?  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Staying Offsite: Shortcut to the Parks


With a family of five, staying on property isn't always easy for us. Although with the new Art of Animation Resort opening, it has become easier, yet pricey.

Staying offsite is a must for many larger families. You can rent a 3+ bedroom with a private pool for less nightly than what you would pay at a value resort. Along US 27S, there are many communities that offer short term rentals that are great for saving money without sacrificing the comfort of your family. 

Many families ask, though, is it worth the time spent to stay offsite. Driving from many of the communities above can range from 15-48 minutes from Disney property. Which end of the spectrum you end up on depends on whether you listen to your GPS and take I-4 or US192 or if you listen to me and take a lesser known route. 

First, you can trust your GPS to get you to Florence Villa Grove Road. 

View Larger Map

This will bypass US192 aka Land of the Neon. Not only will you miss all the neon, you will miss only half of the inhabitants of all those vacation homes/condos/hotels heading toward Disney. Ha ha ha suckers.

You will turn RIGHT onto Florance Villa Grove Road. You will follow it for approximately 1.5 miles.
Turn LEFT onto Westside Road. Contine through the stop light. Westside Road turns into Avalon Road/Co Rd 545. 

View Larger Map

Watch very carefully on the right for a small road. Hartzog road looks like it may lead to only residences, but that's not the case. Find Hartzog after about a mile and turn right.

It's bumpy. It's unmarked. There are orange groves. Nothing too exciting. Don't speed though. Even as tempting as it might be, please refrain from speeding. You might hit an animal, or a cast member. Please don't hurt Mickey's friend on the way to work. That wouldn't be cool.

Hartzog eventually turns into a civilized looking roadway. Follow it to the stoplight and turn RIGHT onto Western Way.

Once on Western Way, turn your air conditioning (or heat if you're so inclined) on recirculate. You will thank me. In about a mile you will pass under the Walt Disney World "gates". Once you pass under those signs, it's even more important that you have your vents on recirculate. Trust me.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the waste from the Animal Kingdom? Disney reuses it, of course. If you want to find out how elephant/rhino/giraffe poop smells as it's turned into fertilizer, then don't turn your vents on recirculate.

Follow Western Way to a stop light where you must make a decision. Animal Kingdom or one of the other three? 

Two roads diverged by a red stop light,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, after a long flight
And looked down one as far as I might
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, to make rope drop,
And having perhaps the better chance
Because it was early we might park hop;
Though for the babe, we'll use kid swap
Had to take a nap, all the same,

And all that morning equally lay
In heaps of blankets in the sack.
Oh, I kept the other for another day!
Yet knowing now it was time to play,
I doubted if I should ever come pack.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere days and days since
Two roads diverged in Disney, and I—
I took one and don't know why,
And in the end, it made perfect sense.

Turn RIGHT for Disney's Animal Kingdom. Turn LEFT for Magic Kingdom, Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

Follow the signs, GPS doesn't always work well on property. You can thank me later for saving you the time and headache of travelling US192 or I4 during busy drive times. 

If you get lost, though, that's your fault. I'm much too smart to get lost. My husband, however... well, we won't discuss that. Everyone knows men never need directions. Yeah, right. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hidden Mickey Hunt: The Lone Bus Ranger

Once upon a time, many Hidden Mickeys existed in the bus fleet. However, now there is one Lone Ranger.
I tried to Google the answer, but I could not find an accurate one.

So, I found the bus.
That says 4815

Donald Fauntleroy Duck turns 78

Donald Duck first appeared in The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934. Since his beginning, he has appeared in more films than any other Disney character.

 By 1942, Walt Disney Studios had created a series of short films following Donald's life in the Army. In Donald Gets Drafted, we learn his middle name. During the production time, these shorts may have inspired even the most pessimistic Joe to enlist.

Donald temperament and commitment proves for a strong-willed duck. He often likes to prank his friends but when the tables are turned, he loses his temper and will spiel one of his classic phrases such as "what's the big idea?". 

Today, we want to wish D. F. Duck a happy 78th birthday. One day, just one day, he may be everyone's number one and not that squeaky mouse, micwhat'shisname. 

Nah, never gonna happen. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Raindrops keep falling on my head...

It's been oh so rainy here in Central Florida this week. Loud cracks from the sky followed by approximately 1/4th of the ocean dumping on your head in a matter of seconds followed by a just as abrupt halt to the crashing waves drenching you, yep, that pretty much describes my week.

When lovely weather like that visits us, you would think it would put a damper on our park visits. It's just the opposite! We love going in the rain! Rain, minus lightning that is.

We love to splash in puddles and run from one building to the next. The atmosphere in the parks is considerably more low key during the rain. That is, unless you're one of the couple thousand who decide to hid out in "The Land" or "The Emporium". In that case, cast members do a great job entertaining you with impromptu games and maybe even a few bad jokes. 

If you plan to visit during the rainy season, don't be afraid to get a little wet. Most attractions with outdoor queues will have considerably lower wait times, in most cases, as long as there is no lightning within a 10 mile radius. 

If you absolutely must wait out the rain, "The Land" or "The Living Seas with Nemo" at Epcot are great places to hang out. 

At the Magic Kingdom, you can always hop on the People Mover or Carousel of Progress in Tomorrow Land, visit the Emporium on Main Street for some shopping or head on over to Adventure Land where you can catch the Tiki Room or the Country Bears which are only a few steps away in Frontier Land. If you're at 

Animal Kingdom, however, finding refuge can be slightly harder. Festival of the Lion King and Nemo the Musical can both be a refuge from the drenching skies, but the queues are outdoors. Unless it's close to showtime, you're stuck waiting outside. 

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, it's slightly easier to find cover with the Streets of America, Great Movie Ride, Backlot Tour and the multitude of shows (if it's close to showtime). 

All in all, if it rains on your vacation, don't run for the hills. Embrace the rain, after all, it's Florida. You'll probably be drenched with sweat anyway. 

Where are your favorite places to hide from the rain? Which park do you believe is the best to visit in the rain? Which is the worst?   

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Things to NOT Do at Walt Disney World

Below you will find my Top Ten Things to NOT Do at Walt Disney World. I had eleven, but it didn't seem like a very popular number for a list. I took a vote, in my own head, and these are the top ten I came up with.

  1. Park your stroller and expect it to be in the same spot you left it. In the "Sea of Strollers", Cast members like to keep things tidy. They will move your stroller to keep things looking nice and linear. I like to tie something to the handle of mine to make it easily identifiable among all the other strollers.
  2. Forget what time the 3 o'clock parade is. When most people ask this, what they really mean is "What time does the parade pass by (Frontier Land/ The Hub/ Main Street etc.). 
  3. Experience Captain EO. This may have been mind bendingly cool 20 years ago. Now, the MJ fan craze is over and it's time to move on. Seriously. 
  4. Leave your tour group flag at home.  If you've never been to WDW, then you may have never experienced the impending doom of seeing a tour group flag approaching. If I see one, I run the other way, find another attraction or take a break. I imagine I'm not the only one. If you want to clear out a queue, don't leave your tour group flag at home. Bring it. Even if you're alone. Because, you never know when finding a person in your party could be made easier with a really tall flag on a stick that is retina burning bright. 
  5. Get lost. Separating from your group in a place, such as Down Town Disney's Marketplace, with no plan as to where to meet or communication capabilities is NEVER a good idea. It is, however, a great teaching tool for your kids when their grandmother decides to go to the restroom and doesn't plan where to meet her family. She never shows up to where her family said they were going to be and has no cell phone. Which leaves her family to wonder where in the world she is and what they should do. Eventually all is well when she is found, however your children learn a valuable lesson at the expense of someone much older than them. True story. 
  6. Resist making dining reservations and "wing it".  Make those reservations. A walk-up to Cinderella's Royal Table is virtually unheard of and Chef Mickey's can be just as rare in the busy times. If you wish to dine with characters, give in to temptation and make that reservation. 
  7. Passive aggressive flash photos on dark rides. Flash photography on dark rides is not only annoying but also quite dangerous. It can alter the homing signal and that's not good. However, when flash after flash over your head and in your eyes has made your temper flare. After repeated requests to please stop, it's never a good idea to use your snazzy smartphone with LED flash to take a picture of the photo-offenders. The photo won't turn out very good. 
  8. Miss the Stroller Derby. You won't find this on any of the park's Times Guide. It's something that only the most seasoned park goer will avoid. Every night, after the night time fireworks show (or afternoon parade in Disney's Animal Kingdom), throngs of strollers descend on the parks' exit. I like to wait to exit. Missing the view of the Derby and participating in it isn't something I relish. I would much rather watch than compete. I like my ankles too much. 
  9. Have a bigger meltdown than your three year old. Kids get tired. In three days, my family and I walked over thirty miles on our vacation. The kids were troopers, they were full of energy and kept on going. The parents, well, we were ready for our nap and had some tantrums that only subsided after a trip to the candy store and some ice cream. We learned that mid-day breaks were a great way for parents to recharge and kids to burn off some energy. So many meltdowns could have been avoided with resting mid-day. 
  10. Leave your sense of humor at home. Things happen. It's a family vacation and that doesn't mean that the pixie dust will make everyone happy all the time. The perspective with which you view your circumstances can either put a damper on your vacation or turn a less-than-stellar experience into something you can laugh about...someday. Maybe not today, but someday. Unless you don't find the Mother-in-Law. That might not be too funny. Then again.... maybe it could. 
At one time or another, I've done all ten of these. Most are memories that I can laugh about now. During some, however, I thought they would ruin my vacation. Then I read something on the internet. "A bad day at Disney is better than a good day in the real world". At that moment in time I disagreed. I wanted to pout, stomp my feet and whine. (Refer to #9). Then I changed my perspective (see #10) and made some of the best memories with my family. That's what a family vacation is about. Whether you're at Disney or not, making memories and spending quality time with each other can make any vacation the best of a lifetime. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mousekeeping Review and Free Downloadables!

Recently we stayed at Disney's Polynesian Resort. It's absolutely gorgeous. All the raves are true. The landscaping is divine, the proximity to the Magic Kingdom is exhilarating, the atmosphere is unmatched. 

We loved finding hidden Mickeys!

Tucked in a drawer beside the refrigerator

Bathroom light fixture

Super cool toilet flusher. At least, I was amazed. 

Unless, of course, you're referring to Mousekeeping.

I'll preface this by saying our room was clean and orderly. No cobwebs or hair in the tub. Soaps and towels replaced daily. However, when Mousekeeping came to tidy our room on our second and all consecutive days, I was less than impressed. There were days when our room wasn't finished until 5 pm. If you have small children, you know how vital it is for a midday break. This really put a damper on our week at such an amazing resort.

The tips we left for Mousekeeping were generous, especially considering. One day, however, we found the tip and the note strewn on the floor. It looked as though the Mousekeeper and yanked the bed clothes from the bed and flung it across the room. I was really disappointed with that. Why? Because I spent and exorbitant amount of time on cute little thank you notes.

Speaking of, the notes I made, that's the "downloadables" part of this post. That's right, folks. I'm giving them away. Maybe your Mousekeeper will appreciate them more than ours did! NOTE: I printed these with a regular desktop printer on card stock. They turned out great!

Right click and select "Save"

Below explains above.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vacationing At Disney World: 2012 Edition -- Day One. What's that big Golf Ball Doing in the Flower Bed?

Vacationing At Disney World: 2012 Edition -- Day One. What's that big Golf Ball Doing in the Flower Bed?

 Arrive at 7am -- the room is ready! Kids are energetic! Mom and Dad are running on adrenaline!

 Super cool toilet flusher. I had to include it. I'm amazed by it.

 Project Commence Vacation Begins! 
Walking to the TTC and hopping on a Monorail is oh, so easy and convenient! We love that Golf Ball!

 So does Stitch. He's embarking on some (mis)adventures. He's on the highway in the sky, wreaking havoc, as always. 

 Poly ->TTC ->Golf Ball in less than half an hour. We're near the front of the line!

 Wait a second...what's that big golf ball doing in the flower bed? A festival? Hmmm... Sounds interesting! International Flower and Garden Festival 2012. We'll have to check out the topiaries. 

In case you haven't figured it out. We're at Epcot. You know... Experimental Prototype Community OTomorrow. Remember that. Someone may ask you. 

The "golf ball" is Spaceship Earth and a wonderful resource for Homeschooling Families like ours. 

 With just a spark... of inspiration...they'll run around, and release their frustration. Fun and laughter spreads around, Makes the downside seem up and turns frowns upside down. 
 I guess Stitch used his Imagination too much. 
 It's time to eat color! The absolute best thing about eating at the Electric Umbrella is crayons and coloring pages. They produce this expression.
And this one.

 It's time to mosey over to World Showcase. 
 Stitch really liked this topiary. Of course he did. Looks like this guy is causing as much trouble as 626. 
 Little man likes Princesses. He likes to inspect, pat, hug inappropriately and most of all, meet Princesses. Here he's checking for Aurora's legs. I'm not sure why. I'm positive he has a good reason though. 
 Gotta check out the assets. You know, the necklace she is wearing. 
And lastly, Bean, our middle daughter, loves purple. On our walk from the TTC back to the Poly after a long day, we saw these flowers. They're purple, so of course she asked me to take a picture. Because they're purple. And, as a tired and obliging mom, I did just that. You know, because they're purple. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Great Goofini: The Perfect Coaster for Weenies

Meet Bean. She's a weenie. I mean this in the best sense. She doesn't like thrill rides. Her idea of a "thrill" ride is top speed on the TTA (The People Mover or WEDWay for anyone who can remember). 

She will ride Dinosaur. 
She will ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
She loves Mission Space (Green of course)
She adores Test Track. 

She will NOT ride Splash Mountain (willingly).
She will NOT ride Expedition Everest.
Rockin' Roller Coaster is out of the question.
Space Mountain has suddenly become terrifying.

It's fantastic that The Barnstormer is back in action. With Test Track and Big Thunder currently closed for refurbishment, a spin with the Great Goofini fills in the gap for the weenies. 

After all, it's a great 34 second ride. Unless it's a Monday

What are some rides that your weenies ride? What are some that they will not?  

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's Figment-tastic Monday

And that's what we think of Mondays...

Unless, of course, you're in MY favorite place.

If you are, in that case, 
have a Magical Monday!