This past weekend we were able to go to my in-laws’ pool for the first time this summer. (Better late than never I say!)
I am big on trying to get Lily to learn how to swim, or at least teacher her how to save herself in an emergency.
In addition to a Florida Fence (a sturdy fence that can be installed and un-installed easily) we wanted to find something that Lily could wear that would keep her above the water while trying to swim.
My mother-in-law found and bought this really cute product called a “Puddle Jumper” for Lily to use at their pool.
The Jumper is comprised of three components, two armbands and a middle flotation device.
It works by having the toddler put their arms in the arm bands and place the center over the chest and snap in the back.
The great thing about the product is that it will automatically push the child on their back if they fall forward too much. This would prevent them from submerging their face in the water which could cause drowning.
By supporting Lily underneath while she was laying on her belly, helped her learn how to kick her feet. Later when she masters the kicking she will be able to move her arms and swim.
In addition to the Puddle Jumper, Lily enjoyed spending time in the pool so much and had a blast being in the water with her family.
If you are interested in learning more about The Puddle Jumper or purchasing one you can go to Amazon.com. (Disclosure: If you do use this link to purchase the Puddle Jumper or anything from Amazon I will receive a percentage of the sale.)
One of the most iconic attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort, especially for Mousekatots, is Dumbo the Flying Elephant located in Fantasyland in The Magic Kingdom.
Before the attraction was situated in the newer section of Fantasyland, at the back of the park where Mickey’s Toontown was previously located, it was in a different section of Fantasy and only featured one central hub where the Dumbo elephants flew around.
With the new expansion of Fantasyland, the attraction was also able to grow in size and expand into one of the best themed attractions in all of Walt Disney World featuring the best waiting areas anywhere.
One of the areas that Disney knew they had to expand was to create a second attraction to help cut down on the long wait times. The second hub has enabled the amount of riders to double and has cut down on a lot of the long wait lines.
Another aspect that is so unique and will be a big hit with a lot of parents is the waiting system.
When you get into line at the attraction a cast member will hand you a pager. Once it is your turn to get onto the ride you will be paged. Until then, your Mousekatot is able to run around inside and play on a circus themed playground complete with cargo nets, lots of places for parents to sit, other climbing structures and more.
But the biggest and best part of Dumbo the Flying Elephant is how much your Mousekatot will love the attraction. From soaring high in one of Walt Disney’s most beloved characters to having the ability to participate in the attraction with your child. This is the perfect fit for your family.
Mousekatip: Experience the attraction at night. Not only will the wait times be reduced, but the lights and the fountain around the structure are absolutely beautiful. Don’t forget your camera!
Do you and your family ride Dumbo when you visit? Leave your comments below.
Walt Disney World offers a lot of entertainment for the price of admission.
While there are plenty of attractions to keep you and your Mousekatot busy, Disney also offers some additional ways to add a little extra pixie dust to your vacation.
So here is our Tot Five ways to plus your family’s Disney experience for free.
1. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Hades and his henchmen are trying to take over the Magic Kingdom and only you can stop him with the help of favorite Disney characters.
To play this interactive game that takes place on screens throughout The Magic Kingdom, go to the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A. Here you will receive a pack of cards, like the image above, to help aid you on your quest.
When you reach the interactive screens you will hold up the card that you selected to cast a spell to try and defeat the villains.
You get one free pack of cards, per park ticket, per day. So if you are traveling with a big group and not everyone is interested in playing, still have everyone go to the Firehouse and get their free pack of cards.
For an additional fee, you can go to the Emporium and pick up a game board that will allow you to play the game at home.
2. KidCot Fun Stop at Epcot
A lot of kids, and some parents, think that World Showcase at Epcot can be boring for little Mousekatots. Many of the countries feature plenty of shops and restaurants but can sometimes be light on attractions that would be appealing to the younger set.
Disney has answered this by offering various KidCot Fun Stops at the different countries.
At these stops, kids can do a craft at the stations and receive a stamp from the host of the fun stop that represents that country.
Your Mousekatot will love to collect the stamps and learn a little more about the different countries represented.
For an added cost, you can purchase a passport to put the different countries’ stamps in instead of having them stamp the craft that is made.
3. Flag Retreat Ceremony
While this special ceremony isn’t targeted for Mousekatots it is still something the whole family will enjoy and helps to remind people of their patriotism.
Each day in Town Square on Main Street U.S.A. a special ceremony is marked to lower the flag for the day.
The event includes a tribute to veterans, the pledge, “Star Spangled Banner” played by the philharmonic and “God Bless America” as members of the color guard remove the flag and fold it properly.
To make the event extra special, a guest veteran is handed the flag.
There is also a short procession down Main Street U.S.A. complete with a medley of U.S. military songs.
If you have a veteran that would like to be included in the ceremony, visit Town Hall early in the day.
4. Wilderness Explorers
Anyone who is a fan of the Disney/Pixar film is acquainted with “Up,” which features the Wilderness Explorers, a sort of boy scout organization. The character Russel was a member of the group.
Now your Mousekatot can have the opportunity to earn Wilderness Explorer badges by completing different tasks through out Animal Kingdom.
When they sign up for the program, at a Wilderness Explorer kiosk in Animal Kingdom, they will receive a book that contains all the different tasks and a place to put the stickers they receive for completed tasks.
The nice thing is that this program can be completed on different trips to the park and you can do it at your own pace.
5. Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
Just like at the Magic Kingdom, you are charged with a mission to stop evil forces at work. This time you need to go on a scavenger hunt around World Showcase at Epcot to stop Dr. Dofenshmirtz.
To participate, guests need to find the kiosk pictured above located near the Odessy bridge. After signing up, participants will receive a communicator that will be used to send you clues to help you on your hunt.
By completing different tasks, and using the communicator to interact with different scenes in the park, you can stop the evil doctor.
This would be a great activity to get the whole family involved in the fun.
Which of these five activities are you most looking forwarding out with your Mousekatot? For us, it would be the Wilderness Explorers. We plan on taking advantage of this on our upcoming trip.
While our heart will always belong to Disney when it comes to our favorite amusement park, we are also lucky to live relatively close to what has been voted “The Best Children’s Park in the World,” Idlewild Park.
Located in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, the park is situated in a beautifully shaded area that is abound with picnic pavilions and lots of benches everywhere for grandparents to relax while the kiddos enjoy the numerous attractions tailored to the younger set.
Idlewild Park is broken into three major sections: Storybook Forest, the main area and Soak Zone.
Storybook Forest was created by Arthur Jennings who portrayed the clown “Happy Dayz.” in Idlewild during the 1950s. He also an engineer and approached the staff of Idlewild about creating a themed are that relied on “emotion instead of motion.”
Jennings worked to create the may larger than life characters and structures that are seen today including a pirate ship, the over sized shoe for the old woman who lived in a shoe, the crocked man’s house and more.
When Storybook Forest first opened it was a separate park that required additional admission to visit. Now for one price guests gain acesss to Idlewild, Storybook Forest and Soakzone.
I can remember going to Storybook Forest when I was little. It was such a magical place for me that was home to many of my favorite nursery rhyme characters. On this trip, we attended with my parents as a sort of belated birthday/Father’s Day outing. Over time a lot of things have changed and some of the attractions have either disappeared or gone into disrepair. However, I feel like this year the park is beginning to be better taken care of. In fact the park is going to be having a grand opening of a new castle inside the forest that is going to debut sometime this summer.
Another new addition to Idlewild this year is the introduction of a new princess, Princess Lily. (Our Lily was so excited and shocked that the two had the same name.)
Once the castle is finished in Storybook Forest, that is where guests will be able to find her. However, until the project is finished, Princess Lily has been meeting with guests on the main stage near the Balloon Ride.
The costume for the character is beautiful and the young lady portraying the princess was so sweet, friendly and great with kids.
I was surprised to find that she didn’t have more of a line waiting to see her. I think Idlewild is missing out on a major opportunity by not offering this princess top billing and promoting her location more. Doing occasional character meals or having an official Idlewild photographer stationed with the princess could be profitable.
The area known as Raccoon Lagoon is tailored specifically to the littlest ones. There are several different rides that include motorcycles that go around in a circle, dinosaurs that go up and down, little cars that go around on a track and more.
The biggest highlight of the entire day for Lily was a ride on a trolley into Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
If your Mousekatot is a fan of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” on PBS, then you can imagine how excited she was to see all of her favorite neighbors including Daniel, O the Owl, Henrietta Pussycat and more.
This attraction is adorable and will be a big hit with your little one. It includes interaction, singing and of course ugga muggas.
We had plans to go on a few more attractions, but our Mousekatot decided to take a nap in her stroller instead.
We didn’t have the opportunity to visit the Soakzone this trip, but we are planning on going back again in the near future.
If you ever find yourself in the southwestern Pennsylvania area, take time to visit Idlewild Park. It is a fun, family day that is in a beautiful setting that offers pavilions for picnics and grilling.
What is your favorite amusement park to visit in your neck of the woods? Leave your comments below.
More than a five hour wait time, attraction malfunctions and several ice cream bars later and the new Frozen Ever After attraction at Epcot’s Norway pavilion is now officially open.
On Oct. 5, 2014 the last viking boarded the final cruise of the popular Epcot attraction Malestrom. Many people were upset about this iconic attraction being discontinued and one of Disney’s most popular franchises, “Frozen,” taking its place.
Almost, two years later and those who were doubting the longevity of the updated attraction featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf and the gang might find themselves eating a slice of frozen humble pie.
Yesterday, when the attraction first opened to the crowds, it featured extensive lines, even for those with fast passes. The standby line even reached up to five hours.
Part of the issue also arose due to the fact that the attraction was experiencing several difficulties that was resulting in the delay of people boarding the attraction and having the line advance.
However, in true Disney fashion, they had prepared by having displays of free water located by the long line and handed out complementary Mickey Bars and ice cream sandwiches several times to those waiting in the long lines.
Despite the extremely long wait time and the issues with the attraction, fan photos from Frozen Ever After look amazing and the videos have been giving me chills.(Especially the scene with Elsa singing “Let it Go.”)
The animatronics look like they are next level and are so smooth and expressive. (As long as they don’t turn out like the Yeti from Expedition Everest.)
It also looks like Frozen Fever will be going strong because Disney has announced new original stories from the “Frozen” franchise including a novel, “Journey to the Lights” scheduled to hit bookshelves July 5. Even the Lego Group is going to release four animated shorts that turn the characters into the popular Lego, stylized look.
For a complete POV ride through video of the attraction, go to the Mousekatot’s Facebook page.
Would you wait over five hours to see this new attraction? Leave your comments below.
Recently the Walt Disney World company announced that there will be some changes coming to the 2017 dining plan.
One of the most notable changes is instead of a quick service meal receiving an entrée, a beverage and a dessert, guests will now be entitled to two snack credits to be used throughout the day instead of the dessert.
So, this means the new basic dining plan will include one quick service meal,. one table service meal and two snacks. The refillable mug will also be included.
Another change that is already taking place is that snacks can be anything that is a single serving item such as fresh fruit, a beverage, a bag of snacks and even a bowl of soup at some locations. Items that can be redeemed for snacks will have a purple and white logo next to them. Snacks are available at quick service locations, food carts and event gift shops where candy is sold.
As it has been in the past, signature restaurants will require two table service dining credits. This is the same for dinner shows and private in-room dining and pizza delivery.
Today is the first day that 2017 Walt Disney World packages can be booked.
Do you and your family participate in the dining plan? What do you think about this new change? Leave a comment below.
The Walt Disney Resort prides itself on offering its guests unique and top of the line experiences during every aspect of their vacation. Dining at the resort is no different.
From character meals to exotic cuisine, the Walt Disney Resort has it all.
One of the more forgotten unique meals that WDW has to offer is the Garden Grill inside of the Land Pavilion in Epcot.
The restaurant, which is situated on the upper floor of the pavilion very slowly rotates while you eat and offers a bird’s eye view of the Living With the Land attraction below. Guests will be able to experience the famous rainforest, farmhouse, thunderstorm, prairie and sandstorm scenes of the attraction.
The Garden Grill offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is served family style.
A sampling of the items offered include:
Chip’s Sticky Bun Cake
Seasonal Fresh Fruits
Thick Sliced Bacon and Ham Steaks
A variety of juices, coffee, tea and more
“Living with the Land” Harvest-inspired Farmer’s Salad
Sliced Turkey Breast
Macaroni and Cheese
Italian Sausage with Sauteed Peppers and Onions
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Garden Fresh Vegetables
Speciality drinks and beers
Many of the vegetables that are served at Garden Grill are grown right in the Living with the Land greenhouse!
The meals are also a character meal that feature some of your Mousekatot’s favorite pals including Chip, Dale, Pluto and the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse.
Make sure that if you are celebrating something to let your server know. We went here on our honeymoon and we received a “Marriage License” autographed by all the characters. It was truly a magical experience.
Even though The Garden Grill offers a wide variety of foods, all-you-can-eat, and is a character meal, it is often overlooked when it comes to places to eat on property,
If you are on the dining plan, the meal is one table service credit. If you are paying out of pocket, it is $15-$34.99 and $35 to $59.99 per adult.
Are there any other restaurants in Walt Disney World that you think are underappreciated? Leave your comments below.
The Disney World Resort is probably the biggest playground in the United States. All of the attractions make days fun and nights exciting.
However, when you have a Mousekatot in tow that is spending a lot of time either in a stroller, holding hands and in line contained for most of the day, it is a good idea to take them to a safe place to let them run a little wild.
The imagineers foresaw this need and built several fun and unique playgrounds to accommodate the overactive imagination and abundance of energy that toddlers are blessed with.
Here is our Mousekatot Tot Five best playgrounds in Walt Disney World:
1. The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom Theme Park
This is probably the most expansive and developed playground that WDW has to offer.
Themed like a dinosaur dig, this playground offers a multi-level maze, a place where tots can pretend to excavate fossils, play musical bones set into a hillside, a Jeep to climb and play in, several interactive exhibits and a paradise for parents featuring large fans, shade and music.
This area is open for children 10 and under.
2. Port Orleans-Riverside
Nestled among the shaded walkways that lazily wind around the Port Orleans Riverside Resort is this relaxing playground for kids.
The two areas, one for tots and ones for bigger kids, makes this a great playground for families that have children of varying ages.
The shade and the quiet atmosphere make this playground one of the best.
3. Animal Kingdom Lodge
The deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World are known for have amazing amenities. This often includes gourmet dining options, lavish pools with exotic themes and bigger playgrounds.
This is the case with the playground at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Featuring three different play structures complete with slides and corkscrew fire poles, this playground offers a wide variety of options for your little one to run wild.
4. Fort Wilderness
While Fort Wilderness’ playground is on the smaller side it still offers a lot.
Several slides, monkey bars and bridge will help your Mousekatot get some much needed physical activity with plenty of wide open space to run around.
If you combine the playground with all of the recreational activities like volleyball, basketball, and tennis it will provided an afternoon full of physical fun for the entire family.
5. Coronado Springs Resort
Second only to the Boneyard at Animal Kingdom when it comes to theming is the playground at Coronado Springs Resort.
Themed like ancient ruins, the playground gives kids the chance to swing, climb and slide just like Indiana Jones.
The close proximity to the pool is an added benefit that enables you to make a day of it with your Mousekatot.
What do you look for in a playground? Leave your comments below.
When deciding on which resort to stay at during your vacation at Walt Disney World you have to take a lot into consideration.
For some it depends on the pool, for others it might be the theming and for others it might be how close the resort’s rooms are to the dining area.
One of the biggest highlights of Port Orleans French Quarter is how close the entire resort is to the central hub that houses the front desk, gift shop and food quart. This is due to the fact that French Quarter is the smallest resort on property.
Starting July 11, guests will have to walk a little further to receive the same dining experience that is provided by Sassagoula Floatworks Factory at French Quarter.
A lengthy refurb is planned for the restaurant that will be closed until the fall.
In order to accommodate their guests, Disney has planned to setup a grab-and-go location at the Scat Cat Club located in the main lobby. Foods such as gumbo, po-boys, jumbalya and more will be available at this location.
When the All-Star resorts were undergoing similar rehabs the grab-and-go food worked very well for guests.
For those interested in a sit down dining experience is welcome to take a bus to the French Quarter’s sister resort, Riverside, to enjoy a meal at the Riverside Mill Food Court between the hours of 7 a.m. And midnight.
There is currently no date set for the opening of Sassagoula Floatworks Factory.
Would this inconvenience be a deal breaker for you when it comes to staying at French Quarter during the refurb? Leave your comments below.