Friday, April 29, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie: Planning DVD | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

One of my favorite FREE things to get for my Disney trip is the planning DVD. When you first start planning your trip, wether it's your first, 15th or 100th, get the free DVD. This will help get you and your family excited about your vacation. It will give you a tour of the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort including all the parks, shopping areas, hotels, and water parks. You will get information about special events and tips on making your vacation magical. All you have to do is go to this web site, complete the form, and check your mailbox in several weeks. 

Even if you aren't planning a trip to Disney anytime soon, order the FREE DVD and pretend you are going. It's a great way help with the Disney itch.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie: Parking | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

FREE parking at Walt Disney World is reserved for a select group. Do you know if you are part of that group? If you are staying on Disney property at any of the resorts, you can park for FREE at any of the theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, or other resorts. As long as you have your resort parking pass in the window, you park for FREE! Today, it costs a car $20 a day to park in the theme park parking lot. Click here for info on WDW parking.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie: Wilderness Explorers | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

The Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom is a great, FREE activity to help educate your children (and adults) about animals, conservation, and more. This is a scavenger hunt style game that is based the Wilderness Explorer troop that Russell is a part of in the movie "Up." You can sign up for the game near the bridge from The Oasis to Discovery Island. You'll be given a map showing locations where you can earn badges and an instruction booklet. When you locate the areas to earn badges, you'll need to find a cast member who will to help you complete the predetermined activity at that station. Once you do, you will be given a badge, or sticker, to add to your book. The cast members will tailor the questions or activities to different age groups.

This game is throughout Animal Kingdom. Some of the badges require you to ride or walk through an attraction. There are 32 badges in all to collect. You can expect several hours to complete all 32 badges.  However, these can be spread out over days and does not have to be completed all at one time.

This activity is appropriate for all ages!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie: African Goodwill Ambassadors | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

While this is not something I've ever done for FREE at Walt Disney World, I have found this information on several web sites and in The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World, 2015 book.  Throughout Asia and Africa at Animal Kingdom, you can find cast members who will discuss their native countries and the wildlife found there if you ask. You can find these ambassadors on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, the Maharajah Jungle Trek, and at The Oasis. I've also found that the African Goodwill Ambassadors can be found at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and may also have trading cards with information about their native country.
For parents who are taking children out of school for a trip to Walt Disney World, locating these individuals would be an excellent educational opportunity for the students! I'd much rather learn about an African country from a person who lives there rather than my teacher at school! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Family Movie Night | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

I finally saw The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad for the first time! This was the twelfth movie in our 2016 Disney Resolution. I was very familiar with the story of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, the Headless Horseman that starts the "Boo to You" parade at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party,  and the attraction, "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", but had never seen this movie. Both of my boys, along with the hubby and I enjoyed this movie. They each were pretty scared at the end of Ichabod's story and had several questions! They laughed throughout the story of Mr. Toad and enjoyed the scene with the weasels!

This movie was released on October 5, 1949 and was narrated by Bing Crosby. One bit of "trivia" I learned while researching this movie is that the Headless Horseman is the only Disney villain to triumph in the end! 
We had fun with the snacks for this movie thanks to Pinterest! I found a cute idea to make "frog" ice cream and Ichibod Trail Mix. The Ice Cream obviously represented Mr. Toad. The Trail Mix was a bit of a stretch for my boys, but they enjoyed it none the less! The contents represented different elements of the movie:

  • Apple Chips- representing the autumn harvet
  • Mini Chocolate Chips- representing the "sweet" girl, Katrina Van Tassel
  • Granola Clusters- representing the schoolmasters sustenance
  • Candy Pumpkins- representing the Headless Horseman (these are apparently only around in the fall!)
  • Popcorn- for fun
  • Pretzels- for fun

Monday, April 4, 2016

Melody Time Family Movie Night | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

Melody Time was the eleventh movie in our 2016 Disney Resolution! This movie was released on May 27, 1948. It was the fifth "package film" Disney released in the 40s following Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, and Fun and Fancy Free.  Of all the package films, this was our overall favorite.

The short segments in Melody Time included Once Upon a Wintertime, Bumble Boogie, The Legend of Johnny Applseed, Little Toot, Trees, and Pecos Bill.  On our DVD, we had three "extra" shorts including Casey Bats Again, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, and Donald Applecore. Of all these segments, many were new to us. I had seen parts of Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill, but didn't remember all the details. Casey Bats Again and Lambert were fresh in my mind from "somewhere!" 

There were lots of ways we could incorporate snacks into our movie night. Having The Legend of Johnny Appleseed as a part of Melody Time, we had to tie in apples! I baked a frozen apple pie because I wasn't in the mood to make on from scratch! The boys don't care for apple pie, so they had squeeze applesauce! We also had twizzlers which became Pecos Bill's lasso.

Another idea for a snack is 'Bee' cookies to go along with Bumble Boogie.  We originally did these for Winnie the Pooh, but they would work well for this movie too!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Walt Disney World Freebie: Auntie Kau'i at the Polynesian | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

image from
Disney's Polynesian Resort is the top resort on my Disney Bucket List. I've always wanted to stay here. One of the FREE things I've recently learned about is Auntie Kau'i (however, the image above is NOT Auntie Kau'i- it's a photo from the Spirit of Aloha show.) You can follow her Facebook Fan Page here. Auntie Kau'i came to work for Disney in 1971 from Oahu and has been a cultural representative at the Polynesian ever since! You can find Auntie Kau'i in the Polynesian lobby five days a week making leis and in the afternoon, after serving cookies, she gives a 15 minute hula lesson. On Saturday mornings, you can receive a free 2 hour hula lesson from Auntie!

Here is a great article from All Ears and another article from Orlando Sentinel.