Podcast Episode 136: Character Dining Overview

One of the most popular activities you can do at Disney is to have a character meal!  This is a great way to see your favorite characters without standing in line and while having a delicious meal.  Join us as we talk all about the character meals you can find at Walt Disney World!

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 133: Animal Kingdom Quick Service Locations

We know visiting Animal Kingdom can give you an elephant-sized appetite so we’re talking about all the quick service options you can find there.  From burgers to pizza to more ethnic style cuisine, you can find something delicious at Animal Kingdom!

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Podcast Episode 105: Perfect Pirate Day

If you’ve got a pirate fan in your family, you’ll want to listen this week!  We give you the low down on all the pirate activities and fun you can find at Walt Disney World.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can find where we discussed how to have a Perfect Princess Day back on Episode 88.

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 104: Disneyland In A Day

We all know that Walt Disney World is nearly impossible to see in one day, but how about Disneyland?  We have special guest, Jen, on with us this week to talk about her one day experience of Disneyland in California.

Happy listening!

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*We did have quite a bit of technical difficulty during our recording, however, we very much wanted to share the content.  We apologize for the poor sound quality.

Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know You Were Missing At Epcot

Epcot ThingsWe love Epcot and there are lots of things to do there, especially for kids.  Here are some things you probably didn’t know you were missing at Epcot!

1.  Glowing pathways – At night, part of the sidewalk in Future World glows.  You can look down and see it right there under your feet!

2.  Lots of water fun – There are splash zones for kids in three places throughout Future World: outside Test Track, on the main drag from Future World to the World Showcase, and one on the way to Mission Space.  Be sure to bring dry clothes!  Also, you can check out the jumping water fountains.

3.  Club Cool – We talk about this a lot but lots of people don’t think to stop there.  It’s a great way to quench your thirst for free and soak up a bit of a/c.  They have different flavors of Coca Cola sodas right there on tap from many countries around the world, and it’s all free!  You can have as much as you like!  

4.  Gran Fiesta Tour – There is a boat ride with Donald Duck inside the Mexico pavilion and there’s hardly ever a wait for it.  It’s one of our favorites. Try it out!

5.  Refreshment Port – Boring name, awesome food!  This is where you can find the Cronut, winner of our March Madness of Food challenge!  We love the Cronut!

Podcast Episode 97: Things You Didn’t Know You Were Missing At Walt Disney World

Chances are there are quite a few things you’ve missed while you’ve visited Walt Disney World.  This week we fill you in on a few things in each of the four parks we think it’s worth taking time out of your next Disney vacation to enjoy!

Happy listening!

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Epcot is for Kids

I have heard it before and I will hear it again but so many people opt out of visiting Epcot because they think there is nothing to do there.  I even wrote an article about Epcot for Preschoolers, and here is another aimed more at the elementary aged kids.  Why the need for a new article?  Well the parks are always changing and as my own daughter grows older we find other items of interest to her as well as some of the same.

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But I am still disappointed when parents say they aren’t taking their kids to Epcot, it is my second favorite of all the parks and it is still awesome.  Like Magic Kingdom is has a timeless quality to it.  So let’s look at what there is for kids to do at Epcot.

Spaceship Earth-this is perfect for a history lesson or those just curious as to what is in “that golf ball thing”.  My daughter at 7 says this is her favorite attraction in Epcot, she really enjoys the end part with the cartoon pictures of yourself.

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The Land Pavilion- Soarin’ is so much fun as long as they meet the height requirement, which most elementary aged children will.  Living with the Land is another fantastic attraction and they may learn a thing or two along the way or see some unusual plants!  Behind the Seeds tour is available for children to participate.  You can go backstage in the Land Pavilion and it is pretty inexpensive!

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The Living Seas Pavilion- The Seas with Nemo and Friends is going to appeal to this age group. Turtle Talk with Crush will be another pleaser for kids, plus they can even be a part of the action by asking questions to Crush.  And when you are finished you can explore the aquarium to get up close and personal with some fish!

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Imagination Pavilion- Journey into Imagination with Figment is adorable and fun, trust me when I say they will love the bright colors and catchy tune!  Plus once you are finished with the attraction you can design your own figment, orchestrate music and play interactive games.

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Test Track- If your child meets the height requirement and enjoys thrills this is the place to be!  Designing a car is fun for all ages and they will really get a kick out of it.  Plus there is a fun interactive driving game when you are finished seeing whose car performed the best!

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Mission Space- Once again if your child likes thrills and meets the height requirement and isn’t prone to motion sickness this is a great attraction.  I would stick to the Green side though to be safe.  BUT, even if you don’t get on this attraction there is a neat play area with games and a climbing play are for kids.  You can enter through the shop to check this out.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure- Recently, Disney announced that you can now play this on your own smartphone if you choose.  You can still get their phones to play, but you may find this easier.  There are a few countries to choose from, you can do one or all.

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Mexico Pavilion- Not only for the neat atmosphere you will want to check out the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction.

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Norway Pavilion- Frozen Ever After plus an Anna and Elsa meet and greet will make this a big hit with children.  Check out the Stave church while you are there for a bit of a lesson on Norwegian culture.

China Pavilion- See the terracotta warrior statues, get a kakigori and visit with Mulan.

Kidcot stations- sure they are probably getting to upper end of this, but I still think coloring is fun for all ages and you get a cute Duffy or Perry the Platypus to fan yourself off with.  So yeah adults, you’ll want to grab one too.

This list isn’t comprehensive since there is plenty to do in World Showcase that is not listed but just a few favorites.  Let us know what your favorite thing to do with kids in Epcot.

Roller Coasters at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is known to be a family friendly park, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of roller coasters. Having grown up not far from Cedar Point I am a roller coaster junkie! But Disney does have pretty great roller coasters that will please even the most-picky of riders.

 

Epcot is sadly lacking a roller coaster. This isn’t to say there aren’t a few thrilling attractions, but no roller coasters.

 

Magic Kingdom

The Barnstormer is a junior roller coaster located in Fantasyland. It is the perfect beginner roller coaster for smaller children. It is themed with Goofy as pilot and is sure to please the young and young at heart. It is short coaster so if they don’t care for it, it doesn’t last long. FastPass+ is offered for this attraction, but not recommended.

Height Requirement: 35 inches

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The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is also located in Fantasyland. It is the newest roller coaster at Walt Disney World and it is extremely innovative! It is a roller coaster combined with a Disney dark ride. Partially inside and outside with Audio Animatronic characters from Snow White. The cars on the coaster swing from side to side so the ride could not be smoother. It offers FastPass+ and it is highly recommended, this line is long. It also has an interactive queue so you will be entertained if you have to stand in line.

Height Requirement: 38 inches

Space Mountain is the original Disney roller coaster. Located in Tomorrowland, you will blast off in your rocket ship in this indoor dark roller coaster. The coaster doesn’t get above 27 MPH, but the darkness really adds to the thrill factor. This coaster is pretty bumpy and jerky, so ride with caution. There is FastPass+ and a single rider line and it is recommended to make use of either of these for the shortest wait.

Height Requirement: 44 inches

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, located in Frontierland is another great Disney roller coaster. Themed as a runaway mine train in an old mining town, you will love the thrills of this roller coaster, with its charming clicking and clacking up the hills. It has three large hills and so many neat things to look at as you take in the attraction. This is perfect for kids who are feeling a bit more brave but aren’t up to Space Mountain just yet. The ride is relatively smooth and is fun to do day or night! It has FastPass+ and it is a pretty good use if you are looking for mild thrills.

Height Requirement: 40 inches

 

Hollywood Studios:

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is the single coaster in Hollywood Studios, but it is an awesome one! If you are wanting thrills this indoor roller coaster will take you from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds. This roller coaster features the music of Aerosmith and you will even see some familiar faces in the preshow. This coaster does go upside down so be aware of that when you get in line. It has Fastpass+ and a single rider line. It is a fantastic use of your FastPass+ but if you also go at park opening you can get on the attraction a couple times without long waits.

Height Requirement: 48 inches

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

Animal Kingdom:

Primeval Whirl: This is an off-the-rack coaster. That means you will find similar rides in many amusement parks, it is also a spinning coaster. Located in Dinoland USA, it is themed with a time travel and dinosaurs. This attraction can be pretty jerky so if you have neck or back issues stay clear of this. It does have FastPass+ but don’t waste one on this.

Height Requirement: 48 inches

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Expedition Everest. This is hands down the best coaster at Walt Disney World! It doesn’t have any large drops but it makes up for that by taking you backwards pretty quickly and for a long time. It is amazing to get to the top and realize there is no more track and the only way down is backwards. The inside parts of the attraction with the Yeti are thrilling and well themed. While this may be a coaster for those brave little ones who meet the height requirement, you will not want to miss it if you are a thrill seeker. It does have FastPass and a single rider line which can make your wait a lot shorter, it is recommended to make use of this.

Height Requirement: 44 inches
Do you have a favorite roller coaster at Walt Disney World?  If so, let us know what it is!

Craft Time: How To Make A Mickey Tie Dye Shirt

I’m a Pinterest crafter…that means I pin crafts but never do them. I make a lot of fails so I like to dream I can do all these fun things. However, we have a Disney vacation scheduled for later this year so I wanted something easy-ish and fun to make for us to wear.  I found some tutorials for making Mickey head tie dyes so I gave it a shot.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 100% cotton t-shirts
  • Rubber bands
  • Tie dye kits
  • thin cardboard
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • waxed dental floss
  • needle
  • plastic wrap

Step 1:  Get yourself as many white 100% cotton shirts as you will need for your family.  I needed five shirts.  You don’t want to use any shirts with polyester in them as synthetic fibers don’t absorb the dye as well as cotton.  No point in doing this work for nothing!

Step 2: Get some dye.  I used a couple of different brands because my kids all wanted different colors.  If you get the one step dyes, you will not need to do a soda ash soak first.  Soda ash aka Washing Soda is a presoak that will help your dyes stay bright.  I skipped this step but you don’t have to.  You can purchase tie dye kits at craft stores and even at Walmart.  The kits come with the dyes, rubber bands, and plastic gloves.  I recommend picking up an additional pack of rubber bands just in case you run out or some break.  I could have used a few more.

Step 3: Make your Mickey shape.  I wanted the classic Mickey three circle silhouette so I just printed it out, cut it out, then traced it on a piece of thin cardboard.  Once you’ve done that, use a pencil (the marks will wash out) to trace around Mickey’s head onto your shirt.

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Step 4:  Thread your needle with the dental floss.  You’re going to want to do a baste stitch around Mickey’s head.  Yes, I’m asking you to sew with dental floss.  Stay with me here.  You’ll want to start at the bottom of Mickey’s head and do a basic up down stitch on the pencil line you drew.  Keep your stitches rather close together.  This will help make sure Mickey’s head is well-defined. When you go all the way around and get back to where you started you’ll want to pull the two ends of floss like a drawstring and then knot them together.  Cut off any excess.  Make sure you only stitch on the front side of the shirt.  If you sew all the way around to the back, you’ll get a weird mark on the back of the shirt and that’s not what we’re going for here.

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Step 5:  Once you’ve got your Mickey head all drawn up into a tuft, you’ll want to put some rubber bands below your floss line.  You want to make about an inch worth of rubber bands to separate the floss from the rest of the shirt.  This will give you a nice clean border around your Mickey shape.  Again, make sure you’ve only banded the front of the shirt and not the back as well.

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Step 6: Wet down your shirt and wring the water out (if you’re not doing the soda ash step, that is).  You want it damp, but not dripping.  Lay it out on a flat surface, then grasp the Mickey tuft part and slowly spin the shirt until you make a cinnamon roll or danish like shape.  Take a few rubber bands and place it on the roll so it kind of looks like a pie. Make sure the tuft is sticking out of the top.

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Step 7: Go ahead and cut some plastic wrap and lay it off to the side.  Your hands are about to get pretty messy so the more prepared you are, the better.  Prepare your dye.  I just had to add water to the squirt bottles that came in my dye kit because the powdered dye was already inside.  Pretty easy.  Do not premix your dye before you have all your shirts prepped because the dye is only good for about 45 minutes before it starts to lose its potency.

Step 8:  Get your gloves on unless you like rainbow hands. Hold your shirt tuft out over the sink and go ahead and dye just the tuft.  You want to make sure not to get any of this color on the rest of your shirt so Mickey’s head will stand out.  Get the tuft good and soaked, dripping even, then wrap just the tuft in plastic.

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Step 9: Dye the rest of the shirt.  I used different colors on the different sections of the shirt made by the rubber bands.  You really want to use plenty of dye here.  Saturate the shirt.  You might even stick the nozzle of the squirt bottle into the folds of the shirt and give a squeeze of dye into there.  The point is to get as much color on the shirt as possible.  After all, if you’d wanted a white shirt we could have skipped all these steps.  No need to have leftover dye either.  Use it all up!

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Step 10:  After you’ve got your shirt saturated in dye, wrap it up in plastic wrap and leave it to set for at least 6 – 8 hours.  You could even leave it overnight if you wanted.  I rinsed mine after 8.

Step 11:  Once your shirt has set, open it up and clip off all the rubber bands.  Remove the dental floss as well.  Then you’re going to want to rinse all the extra dye out of your shirt under running water until the water runs clear.  Check out your handiwork!  Hopefully it looks pretty good.

Step 12:  Chuck your shirt into the washing machine on a cold setting with no detergent and let it rinse some more of the dye out.  Hang dry.

Finished!

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Now, perhaps, like me, you’re not completely satisfied with how the Mickey head turned out.  This is fixable.  You can grab a Clorox bleach pen and use your Mickey template to trace a new Mickey head.  Make sure you put something like a bag or plastic between the front of the shirt and the back so you don’t get bleach on the back side.  Leave the bleach on for about 20 minutes and run through another wash cycle.

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Congratulations!  You made a thing!  If you decide to make a tie dye, post a pic in the comments!  We’d love to see them!

PRACTICE

Mardi Gras 2015: Disney Style

You may or may not remember that I’m from Louisiana and down here we love a good party.  Personally, I love a good party with a Disney theme!  We just had our Mardi Gras celebration and my local small town parade was Disney themed so you know I had to be there!  This particular parade was family friendly and a ton of fun.  My kids and I had a blast!

I set up a gallery of all the photos I managed to take while still catching beads.  I’m a Mardi Gras Multitasker!  Enjoy!