Tot Five: News out of WDW This Week

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

There have been a lot of announcements out of Walt Disney World this week including a new holiday show, new princess meet and greet, the return of favorite food items and more.

For this week’s Tot Five we will take a look all of this news so you can plan your upcoming holiday vacation.

1. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!”

Even thought Halloween isn’t here yet, Walt Disney World is looking to the holiday season and just made an exciting announcement concerning Hollywood Studios.

A new nighttime projection show, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” (JBJB) will start Nov. 14 at the studios.

According to the Disney Park’s Blog, “The show comes to life on, above and around the Chinese Theater with state-of-the-art projections, special effects, fireworks and a rousing seasonal musical score.”

The show will feature musical numbers from Disney favorite movies including “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more.

There will also be a Holiday Dessert Party that can be purchased for an additional fee.

2. Meet and Greet with Princess Elena of Avalor at the Magic Kingdom

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Ever since the coronation of Princess Elena of Avalor it was only a matter of time before she started meeting guests in the kingdom.

Starting Nov. 24 Princess Elena will meet with guests at the Princess Fairytale Hall with her other princess friends

I am so bummed out that we are going to miss seeing her when we go down for our latest trip.

3. DINOSAUR down for a longer than planned Refurb

The Animal Kingdom attraction was closed this summer for a refurbishment and was scheduled to open next Thursday, is going to be closed for awhile longer.

There have been reports of people who made FastPass+ reservations for the high intensity attraction all the way out to the middle of November have had their passes switched out for Expedition Everest passes.

So far, there hasn’t been an official comment about what happened with the attraction. I just hope that it isn’t going extinct.

4. Culinary favorite makes a return

Fans of the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow can rejoice. The snack is back.

The sandwich, available at this eatery located at Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, retails for $10.29.

5. Magical Night Time Weddings

Wanna get married at the Magic Kingdom at Night? You can do that now.

Yep, you can have your own Cinderella dream wedding after 11 p.m. at the kingdom and can be custom made for whatever your heart desires.

The wedding can accommodate up to 300 guests in Fantasyland.

Watch the video below to see a snippet of what your dream wedding can be like.

What are you most excited about when it comes to these new announcements? Leave your comments below.

Tot Five: Be a Reading Rebel

This week is an important week when it comes to literacy and freedom. It’s banned book week!

This week celebrates and remembers all the different books that have been banned or challenged according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).

According to OIF the top three reasons why the books have been challenged was because they contained content that was either “sexually explicit,” “offensive language” or were “unsuited to any age group.”

In the Amber household we like to be mild rebels and read some of the books that are included in the very extensive list.

Here are the Tot Five books that we have read that are on the list with the reasons why they were banned.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling


Photo courtesy of Scholastic

Yes, even Hogwarts’ favorite wizard wunderkind couldn’t escape being included on the banned books list.

Between the years of 1990-1998 the series was ranked number 48 on the list and between 2000 and 2007 it climbed all the way to number one.

There were several reasons as to why Potter made the list.

Parents were worried that Harry and his friends were setting a bad example by the way they behaved. They were often depicted as rule breakers and challenged authority on a regular basis (just ask Snape).

Others added that the books progressed into rather scary territory. While the beginning few dealt with good versus evil they started to get even more dark and the stakes became a lot higher. This included main and beloved characters being violently killed and featured intense battles where good people often died.

And of course a big sticking point for a lot of people was the books surrounded themselves in a world of magic.

Many felt it glorified witchcraft which many feel is inherently evil and might be confusing for children to enter this world of fantasy that centers around something that people might consider “evil.”

But, despite the fact that the book has been constantly challenged, it doesn’t seem to be slowing Harry down at all. Hey, if Voldermort can’t stop him, nothing can!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle


Photo courtesy of Amazon

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is the perfect example of how ridiculous this whole banned book principle actually is.

This book was included on the banned book list because a board member on the State Board of Education in Texas in 2010 confused the author with Bill Martin who wrote a book for adults called “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.”

It pays to do your homework, school board member!

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


Photo courtesy of Amazon

This book, originally published in 1967, was added to the banned book list because parents were upset that the main character, a boy named Max, intentionally caused trouble.

This shocked parents because they were used to children being portrayed as the perfect pinnacles of fresh faced youth, Dick and Jane. Now, you had a character who was a child that was acting like, well, a child.

People from the south were additionally upset because they felt that Max *spoilers* being sent to bed without any supper was a form of child abuse. (Apparently, they didn’t finish the book or they would have saw this was not the case.)

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne


Photo courtesy of

Filed under the category of “you have to be kidding me,” “Winnie-the-Pooh” was banned throughout random areas of the United States because talking animals are an insult to God.

Some places in Turkey and the United Kingdom have banned it because they felt Piglet was offensive to Muslims, and other places felt the book revolves around Nazism. (I have no idea how Nazis play into “Winnie-the-Pooh”).

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum


Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

We haven’t read this book together yet, but it is on my list so I wanted to include it.

Originally published in 1928, it ended up being banned by all public libraries in Chicago based on its “ungodly” influence because it depicted women in strong leadership roles.

In 1957 the Detroit Public Library banned the book for having “no value for children of today.”

Yes, how dare we use this antiquated book to teach our daughters to be grow into strong women, leaders. (That was dripping with sarcasm, just to be clear.)

As you can see, banning books is ridiculous. I believe that parents should set their own limits for what media they want their children to consume, this includes what books they read.

There are some books that deal with adult material that I would not feel comfortable letting my young child read, but I believe that decision should be mine and should not be left up to institutions. Banning books is a slippery slope.

What are your thoughts about banning books. Leave them in the comments below.










Tot Five: It’s Fall Y’All


Fall is my favorite season out of the whole year. I love Halloween, sweatshirts, the changing of the leaves and pumpkin spice everything.

Fall is also the perfect time to go out on a lot of family outings to enjoy all this season has to offer.

Here are our Tot Five ways to enjoy Fall with your family.

1. Go Pumpkin Picking


This is a no-brainer. Taking your toddler to pick their own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch is so much and makes great photos. Plus, your toddler will enjoy getting a little dirty. No doubt they will want to try and find the biggest pumpkin in the whole patch.

2. Go Apple Picking

Going hand-in-hand with picking a pumpkin is apple picking. A lot of places have both of these options in the same location. You get to have fun when you get home eating them and cooking with them. Crockpot applesauce is a great way to make use of all the tons of apples that end up picking.

3. Go to a Day at the Farm


We are very lucky where we live because we are surrounded by many farms that offer wonderful kids days at the farm. A lot of these places have the aforementioned pumpkin picking with a lot more different fun activities including hay rides, no too scary haunted houses, scarecrows and more.

4. Fall Themed Crafts at Home

Pinterest is full of a bunch of ideas to create fall crafts with your Mousekatots. Some of our favorites include a paper plate candy apple, an apple mask and tissue paper trees.

Just by doing a quick search through Pinterest, you can find several ideas to help pass the chilly evenings.

5. Corn Maze

Corn mazes can be so much fun with all age groups.

The younger tots will need to be carried, but ones that are a little older will have a blast leading the pack through the various twists and turns of the maze.

A word of caution, make sure your little one’s shoes are tied tight. You don’t want to loose a shoe and have to retrace your steps through the maze to find a lost shoe. (Been there.)

Do you have any plans this fall? Leave your comments below.


Tot Five: Drink Around the World

food and wine

This week kicked off the 2016 Food &Wine Festival at Epcot.

While the Mousekatot’s have Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, we parents have the food and wine festival.

Instead of candy lines and costumes, we have food from around the world and exotic libations.

There are a lot of things to try at this year’s festival and one could spend all day eating or drinking around the world.

But to save you from a stomach ache or even worse a day at the amusement park with a pounding headache and dark sunglasses, here are my Tot Five drinks to experience around the world at this year’s festival.

1. Strawberry Plum Wine Cooler with Takara Plum Wine (China)

This is a personal favorite of mine. I can remember a few years ago, the hubby and I had this on one of our anniversary trips. I will admit that I got a little tipsy off of just one of these. We sat on the bench and just people watched while we giggled to ourselves as the plum wine kicked in.


2. Stella Artois Hard Cidre (Belgium)


Photo courtesy of Stella Artois.



There is nothing better than a frosty Stella in my opinion. Now if you throw in the flavor of apples to give it a more seasonable taste, you have a match made in heaven.


3. Twinings Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Carmel Vodka (Ireland)

It is fall. So that can mean only one thing: pumpkin spice everything! So it only makes sense that Twinings, a big name when it comes to teas and who already has a strong presence at the UK pavilion, would combine the tea with vodka.


4. Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, Florida (Craft Beers)


Photo courtesy of Daily Beer Review


One of my favorite beers is Seadog Blueberry Ale. It has a slight fruity taste without being overly sweet. I think that this would taste really good and have a nice flavor that is a little different that what you can usually find.


5. Pineapple Dole Whip Soft-Sever Ice Cream with Bacardi Coconut Rum (Refreshment Port)

Dole Whip with alcohol. Take a wonderful, iconic Disney treat and alcohol. Nuff said.


Anything on this list that you would be interested in trying this year? Leave a comment below.




Tot Five: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween


Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) offers guests the opportunity to experience the spirit of Halloween that is in a family friendly atmosphere.

Instead of scares of skeltons and ghosts jumping out, there are pumpkins and Disney characters dressed in the Halloween’s finest.

MNSSHP is a hard ticket event that charges an additional fee to attend the party that features parades, entertainment, fireworks show, trick-or-treating and special merchandise that is not available during the regular operating hours of the Magic Kingdom.

With so much going on, here are our Tot Five Tips for navigating MNSSHP.

1. Go in costume


While it is not a requirement, it is still fun to dress up to get in the spirit of the holiday. You can go all out or you can go as simple like we did a few years ago (pictured above).

For 2016, Disney has changed some of the costume guidelines for guests in order to keep everyone safe.

Keep in mind that Disney reserves the right to turn away any guest that is dressed inappropriately or could negatively affect another guest’s experience.

Guests are also not allowed to pose or sign autographs as a character.

Costumes must be family friendly, not obscene or violent, contain weapons or anything that could be considered a weapon or have any sharp objects.

For guests under the age of 13, masks can be worn, but they cannot cover the enrire face and eyes should be visable.

For those over the age of 14, layered costumes, or props that encircle the entire body, are discouraged because they could make the wearer subject to additional security screenings.

Costumes, like full length gowns, cannot drag on the ground and capes can be worn if the length does not go below the waist.

Accessories allowed include transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tututs. Headwear can be worn if it does not cover the face. No masks are permitted.

2. Take advantage of the treat stops


When entering the Magic Kingdom, you are given a treat bag and a bracelet that signifies that you are supposed to be there.

You also receive a map that has a schedule and also shows the locations of the different treat stops in the park.

If you look closely, there will be a treat trail labeled on the map. You will want to check this out because you can hit multiple stops in one location.

3. Catch the Boo to You Parade

While it can be very tempting to try and cram in as many rides as possible while everyone is watching the Boo to You Parade (I know this from experience) you will want to check out the parade at least once.

It has a catchy tune and is the only way you can see this amazing and really entertaining parade.

4. Don’t leave the parks right after the fireworks or parade


Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World


Whatever you do, do not leave right after a fireworks show or the parade. This is when the mass exodus happens and you will be with a huge crowd of people trying to leave, which will make it difficult to get a spot on the bus or monorail, and make it a lot longer getting back to your car in the parking lot.

If you want to leave around this time, then wait about 15 to 20 before you exit the park. This will make the experience a lot less stressful.

5. Plan your party for your arrival day


Park tickets can be pricey, especially if you can only spend the evening in the parks due to your arrival time at Walt Disney World.

So instead of paying full price for regular park admission, plan your arrival to coincide with a party. This way you save a little money, have the opportunity to attend one of the best hard ticket events Disney has to offer and get to visit with the mouse right away,

What tips do you have for people going to their first MNSSHP? Leave your comments below.



Tot Five: We All Scream

Ice cream is a multi-generational treat. Anyone from Mousekatot age to senior citizens love ice cream. Especially, when it is hot outside.

Walt Disney World offers so many different ways to enjoy this delicacy including extravagant sundaes, milkshakes and more.

Here are our Tot Five places to enjoy this chill treat.

1. Beaches and Cream: The Kitchen Sink

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
The Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream located at the Beach Club Resort is the ultimate when it comes to true ice cream decadence.

This dessert is intended to serve four people and features scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee and mint chocolate chip ice cream smothered in every topping they have, including a whole can of whip cream.

The cost is $28.99.

2. 50s Prime Time Café: Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Nothing is better or more nostalgic than a milkshake. Now, you add in the flavors of peanut butter and jelly and it is like going back in time to childhood.

The combination of ice cream, peanut butter and jelly is $5.29 and can be enjoyed at either the restaurant or the lounge next door.

3. Plaza Ice Cream Parlor: Ice Cream Sundaes

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor offers so many different ice cream options including an ice cream float, sundaes, ice cream cookie sandwich and more.

They also offer options for those either with dairy allergies or are vegan including Ice Dream and Tofutti ice creams.

The treats are around $5.

4. Whispering Canyon: 10 Gallon Hat


Photo courtesy of
WDW News Today had the opportunity to partake in this contender for the biggest ice cream sundae on property.

It comes in a clear, plastic hat that contains even more stuff than the kitchen sink. Inside of the hat is vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, strawberry ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream, bananas, pineapple, a piece of apple pie, graham cracker crumbles, a vanilla cupcake, strawberry sauce, caramel sauce, two Mickey Mouse cookies, a skewer of toasted marshmallows, two chocolate brownies and chocolate covered bacon. Whew! You will want to bring a lot of friends.

This hat will cost you about $27.

5. Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar (Multiple Locations)


Photo courtesy of
There is no more iconic ice cream treat at Walt Disney World, then the humble Mickey Ice Cream Bar.

These bars are available at multiple locations in all the parks, usually from a kiosk.

It contains sweet vanilla ice cream dipped in a hard chocolate shell. (Added bonus: The melting bar makes really cute photos of your Mousekatots trying to eat them before they melt.)

Prices vary.

What is your favorite ice cream treat at Walt Disney World? Leave your answer in the comments below.






Tot Five: The Most Important Thing for Parents


In yesterday’s post I talked about where to go for a delightful tea. Now, today I want to share with you one of the most important things a parent of a toddler should have in their arsenal, especially when they are at Walt Disney World: coffee.

Not all coffee is created equal at Walt Disney World. Some places have Nescafe coffees while others have full bodied coffee.

If you don’t love Nescafe as much as I do, I seriously love the stuff, here are the tot five best places to grab a cup of caffeine to help you keep up with your tot at Walt Disney World.


Photo courtesy of Kimberly Fydyan.


1. Main Street Bakery, Magic Kingdom (Starbucks Location)

When the bakery was converted into a Starbucks location, there was a lot of uproar. Lots of people were upset that the  unique bakery was being turned into another Starbucks location, others were excited because this meant that they could have their favorite Starbucks beverage while wandering the Magic Kingdom.


I have heard that the service is quick and wonderful at this location and you can get all your favorite drinks to help you keep up with your little Mousekatot.

2. Kona Café (The Polynesian Village Resort)

Many people report that the best coffee on property can be found inside of the Polynesian Village Resort at the Kona Café.

The 100 percent Kona Coffee is served in a French Press pot. The cost is $8 and serves two. Added bonus, you can get Tonga Toast at this location, so you can’t beat that!


Photo courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

3. Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s in Disney Springs

Not everyone gets their caffeine fix from coffee. Black tea can have up to 70mg of caffeine per cup. Joffrey’s is the place to be. They have every type of tea imaginable.

From black, oolong, green, herbal, ect., they have it all. You can also have tea lattes, lose leaf brewed beverages and, for later in the day, alcoholic beverages mixed with tea.

This is the place to get your tea on!

4. Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery (Animal Kingdom Park)

If you are up early connecting with your wild side at the Animal Kingdom theme park, you can get your java fix at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery located in the Africa section of the park.

This location offers coffee, both iced and regular, espresso, cappuccino and more.

There are also a variety of pastries to have along with your coffee.

5. Tangierine Café (Epcot

If you want to try something that is a little more exotic than a traditional cup of Joe should head to the Tangierine Café located in World Showcase at Epcot.

You can get a cup of Moorish coffee, coffee with cinnamon; a Casablanca, with vanilla liqueur; the Kasbah with hazelnut liqueur and more.

Which location would you like to get your cup of Joe from at Walt Disney World? Have you tried any of the above listed locations? Leave your comments below.






Tot Five: Family Flicks

Summertime is the season for blockbusters. Whether it is action flicks, comedies, horror and animated soon-to-be classics, movies are a big deal this time of the year.

If you are anything like us, the thought of taking your toddler to a movie theater has you on pins and needles. Will they sit still? How much popcorn are they going to dump on the floor? What are they going to yell at the screen?

We found that going to a drive-in was the best bet because she could do whatever she wanted to do in the confines of our car and not bother anyone.

Another way to enjoy a family movie is in the comfort of your own home. You can pause the film for potty breaks (not just for the toddler), load up on snacks and popcorn just a few feet away from your TV and you have the best seat in the house.

Here are our Tot Five picks for Family Flicks for your movie night that might not be on your radar.

5. Sammy the Way Out Seal

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

My mom was a teacher for many, many years. When she would have an end of the year party for her students she would always show them “Sammy the Way Out Seal.”

One time when she rented the video (this is how old school this is) I sat down and watched it and I loved it. I laughed really hard at parts and the retro feel to the film is so endearing.

I have always been a huge fan of the live-action Disney films from the previous generations so this was destined to be a hit for me.

4. The Sound of Music

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

This is a classic! Just seeing the title brings to mind the opening scene of Maria spinning in an open field in the mountains.

The songs are catchy and the tale is timeless.

Just be warned that your Mousekatots will probably end up sing the “Doe a Deer” song for days on end.

3. The Little Rascals (the movie)

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


So, I came across this movie that came out when I was young. It was as cute as I remembered it. There is also a sequel that came out a few years ago that is also really cute.

Both films are currently on Netflix. You could even make a double feature!

2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Photo courtesy of Disney

We watched this movie for the first time last weekend and I loved it!

It was funny and really entertaining, I laughed quite a bit, and something that parents will enjoy as much as the kids.

It is currently available for free onDemend for Direct TV customers.

1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Photo courtesy of

This movie earns the number one distinction because it is my all time favorite movie ever since I was little!

My poor grandmother who would babysit me would be subjected to watching this movie on repeat. (To this day I know the whole film word by word.)

Just beware of the tunnel scene in the middle of the film. It is so random and terrifying, and contains some graphic images that should be skipped. (It is often featured in compilations for scariest horror scenes ever.)

In my opinion this version is so much better than the remake that featured Johnny Depp.

What are your favorite films for family movie night? Leave your comments below.






Tot Five: How to Handle Food Allergies

Photo courtesy of Disney Food Blog
One of the best things about Walt Disney World, Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line is they cater to the needs of everyone.
For those dealing with food allergies dining out can be come complicated and even dangerous, depending on the severity of the allergy.
Disney has many precautions in place that help people avoid contamination.
Here are the tot five ways to help manage food allergies in your family while at a Disney property.
1. Send an email
If you or a family member have a serious, uncommon food allergy, the number one thing you should do is send an email to You need to send the email after you have made your dining reservations and at least 14 days prior to your vacation.
People who have an allergy with the following need to send the email:
•Any allergy or intolerance not listed as a common food allergy (i.e. Gluten or wheat, lactose or milk, peanuts or tree nuts, shellfish, soy, fish, eggs and corn)
•Phenylketonuria (PKU)
•Metabolic disorders
•A single guest with multiple allergies/intolerances or multiple guests with allergies/intolerances within the same party
2. Ask for the allergy menu
All restaurants, have a list of the ingredients that are in their menu items, include the counter service restaurants.
Some of the table service restaurants will have a special allergy menu, so don’t forget to talk to your server.
3. Indicate an allergy when making a reservation
It doesn’t matter if you make your reservations online, through the My Disney Experience app or over the phone you can indicate that you have a food allergy.
Because you have this indicated with your reservation you are more likely to have a chief come out and talk to you about your allergies.
4.  Make sure you are prepared
No one wants to think that something will happen on their vacation concerning their food allergies. However, you always have to be prepared with your medication should a need arise.
If there would be an emergency, and you forgot your EpiPen there are several stations throughout Walt Disney World that have EpiPens available.
The stations are located on the guide maps.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak up
If you think there might be an issue with your order or if you don’t trust an ingredient, please speak up. You are never inconveniencing the people that work at Disney. They want you to be safe and not see something happen to you.
Do you have any tips on dealing with food allergies? Leave them in the comments below.

Tot Five: Gettin’ Crafty

In our family we usually are on the go. Saturdays are for adventures, Sundays are for errands and during the week we go to the library twice and soccer one day.

However, there are a lot of times when we are home and our Mousekatot is looking for something to do.

This is when I pull out our craft box.

With some basic crafts and ideas from online or Pinterest, you can find a variety of ways to spend a quiet day at home.

Here are our Tot Five must have items for our craft box.

1. ColorWonder Finger Paints by Crayola

The answer to parent’s finger paint nightmare. (Please excuse the hair. I don’t know what was going on there.)

The ColorWonder products from Crayola are amazing. They don’t make a mess and only write or paint on the special ColorWonder paper.

When our Mousekatot asks to use these to finger paints I don’t hesitate to let her paint anywhere including her bedroom floor.

2. Tissue Paper


Tissue paper is so versatile when it comes to crafts. You can make flowers, tear it to make mosaics and it is the perfect fringe for grass.

I found a really good deal at Target that was a pack of rainbow colors.

3. Crayola Twistables


If your tot is anything like ours, then you know how easily and how often the tips of crayons can break. (And the crayon sharpener that is on the back of the box doesn’t work that well. You might as well use your teeth.)

The twistable crayons from Crayola are really nice because they are like crayons in a protective plastic case. Plus, you can twist them up and down and you don’t have to fight with the crayon paper.

We just have the neon colors now, but I saw that Target has a full pack in their back-to-school section now. I am going to have to pick some up soon.

4. Paint on the Page Books

I am not sure what these are actually called, but when I was little I would love these books that had the paints right on the page. All you need is a paintbrush and a little water.

The only downfall is these can be really messy, especially if your Mousekatot loves to keep putting the brush in the water and saturating the page.

Just a tip, let the painting dry before you hang it up on your fridge. It will rip or drip.

5. Pom Poms

Our house is full of these pom poms. (I swear they multiply when I am not looking.)

We like to use these on craft projects especially when it comes time for Halloween, because they make the best spider bodies.

They also make great techno-colored snowmen and the center of muffin paper flowers.

What are your favorite craft items with your little Mousekatots? Leave your comment below.

Also, don’t forget. Tomorrow night, 9:30 p.m. EST. on the official Mousekatot Facebook page, live Q&A session and giveaway.

(Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this entry at all. The products were paused by us and it is not a compensated review.)