Friday, February 12, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie Friday: Night Vision Animal Viewing | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

Ten years ago I stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time. We had a fabulous time there.  There were so many unique things to do there, we could have made a vacation out of this resort alone! One of my favorite FREE things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge is use night vision equipment to view the animals in the savanna. Sadly, I don't have any photos of this experience because this trip was "pre blogging" and I wasn't taking a photo of every. little. thing. we. did. at that time! :)

Typically from 9-11pm, you can find a cast member at the Uzima Savanna Overlook who will teach you how to use the night vision equipment and help you identify the animals you find. Check with the front desk or a cast member to confirm the time night vision viewing is being offered.  One unique thing about the savanna is at night, they are all illuminated by artificial moonlight to make it seem like there is a full moon each night. This will definitely help you spot those animals with the night vision equipment! 

You can read more and see a video on the Disney Parks Blog!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kingdom Classics {Review} | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

I was provided with a complimentary copy of Kingdom Classics from Disney Ways and Peter Alden Entertainment in exchange for writing this review. This did not influence my opinion and all thoughts are my own.

Several months ago, my son celebrated the 50th day of school with a 1950's themed day including a sock hop, hula hoop contest, bubble gum blowing contest, milkshakes, and a visit from an Elvis impersonator. Ever since then, he's been intrigued by Elvis!  When I received this CD, I didn't tell my boys about it. On the way to school one day it just started playing.

My 7 year old said, "What is this? Is this a new CD?"  I told him it was. Then he said, "This is Disney, but I've never heard it before. This is weird." I told him to just be quiet and listen. The next comment from the backseat was, "Who is singing? Because it sounds like that guy who sings songs on the 50th day of school." I asked
if he meant Elvis and he said, "Yeah, that's him! Did Elvis sing Disney songs, because it sure sounds like it!" Well, Peter is actually an Elvis impersonator and while he didn't travel to North Alabama to sing for my son's 50th day of school, he does do Elvis shows in Florida.

Ever since that day, late last week, we have been listening to and singing along with Peter Alden's Disney tribute songs on the Kingdom Classics CD. This is a fun, upbeat, toe tapping, finger snapping collection of songs. Of the 10 songs on the CD my kids and I were familiar with 8. Pinocchio's Boogie and Rock Around the Mouse are the two we are still learning. Our favorite tracks are Let's Get Together and Hakuna Matata. All of these songs have a unique 1950's-1960's feel and they give these classic songs a retro rock and roll sound. I can't wait to share this CD with my father who equally loves 50's doo wop and Disney!

To order your own copy of this CD, you can send $20 to the Peter Alden PayPal account and include a message that you’d like to purchase the CD and include your mailing address. The cost of the CD is $15, with $5 is to cover shipping.  CDs should be shipped in mid February.  Or, if you can't wait until mid February, you can download the album right now! You can order online for just $10!
If you are still on the fence about ordering, check out this highlights video of Peter Alden's Kingdom Classics on YouTube.  I promise once you hear his stuff, you'll be rushing to get your own copy! 

While you're at it, follow Peter on social media:


I was provided with a complimentary copy of Kingdom Classics from Disney Ways and Peter Alden Entertainment in exchange for writing this review. This did not influence my opinion and all thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bambi Family Movie Night | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

Movie #5 in our Resolution was Bambi.  I forgot how sad this movie was. I think the last time I saw this movie I was a child. While watching, I remembered Bambi, or the young prince, was a boy. During the movie, I had to explain to my boys why I was crying when the hunters came.  Then had to explain what "Twitterpated" was. Watching these older Disney movies makes me have to explain more things than I wanted to!

Bambi was released on August 13, 1942.  This was a good Sunday afternoon movie for us.  We were able to curl up on the couch and enjoy the movie. While I was explaining several things during this movie, overall it was a great time for us to also learn from wise Friend Owl about love, loss and life.  

In addition to watching the movie together, we made forest acorns to snack on. These were easy, but C-man hated them! I always forget he doesn't like peanut butter... really, who doesn't like that?!!?
To make these snacks, you really only need a few minutes in addition to these ingredients:
  • mini 'nilla waffers
  • Hershy Kisses
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • peanut butter
Using peanut butter as the "glue", attach the bottom of the kiss to the underside of the mini 'nilla waffer.  Using more peanut butter, but not much, attach the bottom of the mini chocolate chip to the top of the 'nilla waffer.  There ya go.  Easy Peasy!

Enjoy your acorn snacks as you watch Bambi next time! What snack suggestions do you have to help make your movie night a success?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dumbo Movie Night | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

Movie number 4 in our 2016 Resolution to watch all the Disney Animated Movies was "Dumbo."  This was one we have all seen several times.  Last year, we even had a "Dumbo" birthday party so we had all the things we needed to pull off this movie night with ease!
Before we watched the movie, we had to get our snacks together. This time, we chose "Jumbo Jr. Pretzels."  Soft pretzels are always a favorite of ours at Walt Disney World, the circus, sporting events, and anywhere else they are sold! It was easy for us to tie this treat into the movie. We also had Circus animal crackers. We used these as party favors at our Dumbo birthday too!  There are so many fun, creative snacks to go along with this movie.  You can find some of them in my birthday party post or on my Pinterest page!
Dumbo wore out our youngest!
Dumbo was released on Halloween in 1941.  Watching this movie gave us several opportunities to talk. We talked about how the other elephants treated or mistreated Dumbo and how Ms. Jumbo responded. The Stork brought up questions about "where baby animals come from." My standard answer of "God wanted them to have a baby" didn't work this time because Ms. Jumbo didn't have a husband, according to C-man.  I was able to dodge it a little while longer!  Then, the song, "Pink Elephants on Parade" led to an interesting conversation too!  This was the first time I was asked by the boys why Timothy and Dumbo were acting silly, what made them do this, and what are Pink Elephants.  "Don't drink, kids!"

What's your favorite part of Dumbo? 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Magic Kingdom Attractions: Hall Of Presidents | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square at Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971. This phenomenal attractions features all 43 of the Presidents of the United States of America sharing the history of our country. This building is modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Prior to entering the show, you will have an opportunity to view several unique artifacts from past presidents. In the main theatre, you will find three massive screens that show a film of the history of our country including wars, presidential speeches, and historical events that helped shape our country.  After the film, the screen will rise and all 43 presidents in audio-animatronic form will be introduced. This is an incredible sight for me! Presidents George Washington and Barack Obama give speeches about the American Dream. Abraham Lincoln delivers his Gettysburg Address.
This attraction was a spin off of Walt Disney's "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" that debuted in the 1964 World's Fair.  It is a 20-25 minute show that runs every half hour.  Adults and teenagers will appreciate this attraction more than children.  Most children find this boring!  However, it is a great time to get the kids inside the air conditioning for a power nap!
Tips:

  • Yes, Obama is the 44th president.  There are only 43 in the Hall of Presidents because Grover Cleveland served 2 terms as the 22nd and 24th president.
  • This attraction is wheelchair/ ECV accessible.  Assistive Listening Devices and Reflective Captioning are available.  See a cast member for assistance.
  • There is not a FastPass+ option for this attraction.  You shouldn't have to wait more than 15 minutes though.
  • "James" is a cast member who works at Hall of Presidents.  He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Presidents of the US.  Try to find him prior to the show and see if you can learn something!
  • When a new president is elected, every 4 or 8 years, this show will be updated to reflect the newest president. If your trip is planned after a new president is elected, check to see if this attraction will be open.
  • Inside the rotunda, you will find an authentic Great Seal of the United States on the rug.  The only other one is found in the White House.  It took a vote from Congress to get this to Walt Disney World. It is otherwise only seen in the White House.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie Friday: The Monorail | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

"Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas." This is one of my favorite phrases from Walt Disney World.  If you have ever ridden the FREE monorail transportation, you've heard this phrase. The monorail is a public transit system at Walt Disney World that opened on October 1, 1971. At Walt Disney World, there are three lines: Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Resort Lines. The resort line will take you to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary, and Magic Kingdom.  The Magic Kingdom line will take you from the Ticket and Transportation center to the Park. The Epcot line also goes from the Ticket and Transportation center to the park.

The Epcot Monorail runs from 8am until 2 hours after regular hours park closing. The Express Monorail, from Ticket and Transportation to Magic Kingdom, begins 30 minutes prior to Magic Kingdom opening until 1 hour after regular hours park closing. This line runs on the outer loop of this route and travels counterclockwise. The Resort Monorail runs from 7am until 1 hour after regular hours park closing at the Magic Kingdom. On special event nights at Magic Kingdom, the resort monorail runs 30 minutes after the event ends. This line is on the inner loop, running clockwise making stops in order at the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, Ticket and Transportation Center, Polynesian, and grand Floridian.
There are 12 trains that all have different color str
ipes: red, green, blue, yellow, orange, black, silver, gold, teal, coral, lime, and peach.  Each train has 6 cars and is 203 feet long. The trains run on a 26 inch wide concrete beam. The beams stretch over 14 miles throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.  The trains carry around 7,000 guests per direction, per hour.  More than 150,000 guests use the monorail transportation on a typical day. 
One of my favorite things to do, until 2009 when it was suspended due to a wreck, was to ride in the front cab of the train with the pilot. There is seating for up to 4 guests in the front cab. Riding up front was offered on a first come, first served basis. When you exited the cab, the pilot gave "co-pilot licenses." At Disneyland, guests are still allowed to ride in the front cab of the monorail.