Archives for May 2013

Disneyland’s Mickey and the Magical Map Premier


The new, live stage show “Mickey and the Magical Map” premiers this Saturday, May 25 at Disneyland in the newly refurbished Fantasyland Theatre. This new production includes characters from all different stories. The show stars Mickey as the sorcerer’s apprentice from his role in Fantasia. A giant map is being painted and when Mickey tries to be included, he is taken on a magical journey of music, color and excitement. Some of the other characters that join the show are King Louie from “Jungle Book”, Rapunzel and Flynn from “Tangled”, Sebastian from “Little Mermaid”, Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”, Pocahontas, Mulan and Stitch.




During the summer, the show will run five times a day, every day. Fall schedules are yet to be determined but will adjust during this time. The magical map includes over 1 million pixels and more than 35,000 square inches of LED screen surface. Sections of the map weigh more than 9,000 pounds!


If you will be visiting the Disneyland resort this summer, make sure to see the newest stage show in Fantasyland!

For more Disneyland entertainment, visit our Disneyland page.

Disney’s “Monstrous Summer” Begins

This morning at 6 am on each coast, three Disney parks opened for their Monstrous Summer celebration with 24 hours of magic in the parks! The three Disney parks are Disneyland, Magic Kingdom and California Adventure.


The events will include special entertainment, as well as monster themed food, beverages and merchandise. In Florida, Mike and Sully helped open the park this morning as well as took their turn as Grand Marshalls of the Celebrate parade down Main Street. In California, guests were welcomed with entertainment and fireworks at 6 am. Fun also includes a monsters dance floor and newly-built Monsters University dorms as well as a new Monsters float in the Pixar Play Parade.



Looks like the next 24 hours will be a monstrous blast! Enjoy this fun video about the opening of the Monstrous Summer this morning:


For more information on Monstrous Summer, check out

Don’t forget that Monsters University will be in theaters on June 21st!

Disney Travel Planning for Families Series: Part 5

preschoolearsL TravelPlanningSeries

Diaper Changing Prep 101

If your family includes a baby, toddler or preschooler, then you are probably still dealing with diapers. Diaper changing on a vacation can be a bit of a drag. Our family is still in the diaper stage, and we are mapping out a plan for our Disney trip for how to efficiently and effectively deal with diaper duty!

For travel time and park time, I carry what I call the “bathroom bag”. This zipper pouch is water proof and compact, and we take it into the bathroom for diaper changes and accidents.


Some of the things we carry in the bag are:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Desitin or diaper cream
  • Cottonelle wipes
  • Ziplock bags for messy clothes
  • Changing pad

Another item to think about bringing is baby powder, as diapers in the heat can cause some bad rashing. Frequent changes are the best, but if your little one has sensitive skin, you may want creams and powders to help with irritation.

For planes, I carry disposable changing pad covers. We purchased this box at Target and they are a decent quality. For the parks, I don’t want to have to use a lot of disposable pads as that can be expensive. I made this changing pad for this trip.


It is very patriotic! That is because it is made from tablecloth material, and this was the best choice at the fabric store. I simply cut the mat with pinking shears to make the edges cleaner. The final size is 18×31 inches. This changing pad is pretty large because we will be changing a toddler/preschooler. Regular changing mats are made for babies, and are usually too small. This material isn’t very thick, which is great for folding up and putting in your bag. But it also doesn’t provide a lot of “cush” for my little guy. I made a little pillow on one end by sewing felt in a rectangle and stuffing some light filler in before finishing the rectangle. It makes a light pillow for his head for changes.

At all Disney parks, there are changing stations in the bathrooms. Changing stations are in both men and women bathrooms. At Disneyland, they are usually equipped with two changing stations in each bathroom. At Disney World, there are usually only one changing station, so expect a bit of a wait. The best place to change your little one is at the Baby Care Center, located at each park. This center features:

  • Large, padded changing tables
  • Toddler/preschool size bathroom if your child is potty training
  • Feeding area with highchairs
  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs
  • Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
  • On-site shop to purchase formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing

Photo from

MousePlanet has some great pictures of the Babe Care Center if you would like to see what it looks like. They are really awesome! Lost children are also brought to the Baby Care Center at each park. Here are their locations in each park:

  • Magic Kingdom: End of Main Street near Crystal Palace
  • Epcot: Odyssey Center between Future World and World Showcase, Mexico Pavilion
  • Hollywood Studios: Left of Main Entrance
  • Animal Kingdom: Near Creature Comforts and First Aid Center
  • Disneyland: End of Main Street on the right before Plaza Inn Restaurant
  • California Adventure: In Pacific Wharf near Ghirardelli

If you have older kids in your group and you need to use a family restroom or companion restroom, here is a list of where those location are at each park. A companion restroom is a larger, single restroom that is wheelchair accessible and can be used by families with children of different gender so they don’t have to use the main restrooms. It is also handy if you have a potty training preschooler who needs extra assistance. Keep in mind that not all companion restrooms have changing table stations.

Magic Kingdom

  • Lower level of Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Mickey’s Toontown Fair
  • Next to Space Mountain
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • Transportation and Ticket Center East Gate


  • East side of Spaceship Earth
  • Future World East Block opposite Test Track
  • Future World West Block opposite The Land
  • Near the Canada Pavilion
  • Near the Germany Pavilion
  • Near the Morocco Pavilion
  • Near the Norway Pavilion opposite the Viking ship

Hollywood Studios

  • Fantasmic!
  • Next to Soundstage 3
  • Opposite Star Tours
  • Opposite “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”
  • Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • To the right of the entrance to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Animal Kingdom

  • Asia near Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures in Dinoland U.S.A.
  • Discovery Island opposite Flame Tree Barbecue
  • Harambe Village in the Mombasa Marketplace
  • Expedition Everest Area Restrooms
  • Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • To the rear of the Locker area on the north side of Main Change

Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

  • Near Guest Services


  • In Adventureland near the Tiki Room and the Tiki Juice Bar
  • First Aid Center on Main Street
  • Tom Sawyer Island near the fort

California Adventure

  • Left of Main Entrance as you enter
  • In A Bug’s Land near Flik’s Flyer
  • Carsland back around Flo’s V8 Cafe
  • Restrooms on street across from The Little Mermaid-Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Diaper changes can be difficult, but planning ahead will make it a little bit easier. And using the Baby Care Centers as much as possible will make it even easier. We have found that having the small “bathroom bag” makes diaper changes go quickly and easier rather than carrying a larger diaper bag.

Our family is looking forward to Disney trips sans diapers, but until then, we will try to make the best of it and use the services that Disney provides to make it easier.

Other posts in our Disney Travel Planning for Families Series:
Part 1: Countdown To Do
Part 2: These Feet Were Made For Walking
Part 3: Preparing for Medical Issues & Emergencies
Part 4: Travel Backpacks for Kids

Disney Travel Planning for Families Series: Part 4

preschoolearsL TravelPlanningSeries

Travel Backpacks for Kids

One big part of a family vacation is being prepared for the travel, which is sometimes the hardest part. Whether by car or plane, travel time can be hard on kids mostly because they can’t be as active as they want to be. It is hard on everyone to sit for long periods of time, so it is important to have lots of great things for them to do.

We have a travel backpack for each of our kids – this is a backpack filled with fun activities and goodies to use on their travels. Since most of our travels are Disney trips, our backpacks are Disney themed. Each child has their own backpack and they are responsible for carrying their own (except maybe our toddler). We also pack their backpacks as a surprise, so please excuse my dark pictures as I had to take them once they went to bed.


Backpack for our 9-year old daughter

Backpack for our 9-year old daughter

Backpack for our 7-year old son

Backpack for our 7-year old son

Backpack for our 5-year old daughter

Backpack for our 5-year old daughter

Backpack for our 2-year old son

Backpack for our 2-year old son

Here are the things we packed as well as other ideas for things to pack for your kiddos on a family vacation.


  • Clipboard. This year, I got each child an inexpensive clipboard and wrote their name on it. The clipboard is for coloring and writing on when there isn’t a flat surface. Even the trays on the plane aren’t great for coloring on because you have to lean far forward to color. Having a clipboard means they can write and color anywhere.
  • Zipper pouches – Each child has a zipper pouch with their name on it and colored pencils, pencils or mechanical pencils and erasers inside. We reuse these on all our trips.
  • Coloring sheets – I print tons of free coloring sheets online for each child, according to what they like. This year, we found some cute Disney World coloring sheets as well as Wreck It Ralph, Brave and Stitch. We staple them together into a packet for each child.


  • Crayons – Crayons always get dropped, lost and broken on trips. This year I purchased a Crayola tin for each child and put new crayons in each. I wrote their names on the bottom of each. We will see if the tins keep the crayons better than just the pouch.
  • Crayola Coloring rolls – I found these rolls of coloring in the $1 bins at Target. Could be more endless fun and creativity on our long plane ride.
  • Coloring books – I found these books throughout the year and saved them for the trip. When they are tired with other coloring, these might offer something new to do.



  • Mini Lego kits – I found small pouches of Lego Friends for the girls and a small Lego Creator kit for my son. This will be something simple to put together on the plane.
  • Small plastic plates – Wondering what these are for? I found these in the $1 bins at Target and they are for the Legos so the small pieces don’t fall on the floor. They can also be used for crayons so they won’t roll off the tray, and any snacks you might have for them. They could be used for many things!
  • Sticker Activity Books – I got these on clearance for under $1 at Target, and they are small and light which is perfect for a backpack.
  • Books – we have a few new books in each backpack for them to read



  • Travel Tangoes – My kids love this game and it is so great for their brains! The pieces can be small but the small plate can hold the pieces while they make the pictures. If you haven’t played Tangoes, there are 7 shape pieces (or more with the full game) and there is a picture you have to recreate using the shape pieces. Sounds simple but it is really fun.
  • Tic Tac Toe paper pads – Found them at Target and they will be a fun game to play with each other.
  • Uno – whether this dice game (remember the plastic plate? Great for dice games) or the original cards, this is a great travel game
  • Cards games – besides Uno, we also have Phase 10, I Spy, Phase 10 for kids (for younger kids)
  • Magnetic Games – The airport magnetic board I found is for our toddler to play with and the pieces stay on the board, Colorforms work great as well since they stick to the board.


Movies & Electronics

  • Movies – we bring a couple portable DVD players as well as some new movies that are a surprise. We don’t bring the movies in their cases, but put the disc in a CD case to save space. Here are some of the new movies we are bringing this year. Each child has their own headphones to listen to the movie.


  • iPad – we have an iPad and an iPad mini for the kids to play on
  • iPod Shuffles – we have iPod shuffles for the kids to listen to music along with the headphones
  • Nook (or Kindle) – my older kids like to read on Nooks which we load with a couple new books

Snacks & Treats

Something that isn’t pictured but that is very important is having snacks. We bring an empty sippy for our toddler and we fill it up once we pass security. Keep in mind you will need to purchase water once you pass through security at the airport, but food snacks are allowed in your bag as long as it isn’t liquid. Here are some ideas of snacks and treats:

  • Goldfish
  • Graham crackers
  • Raisins
  • Yogurt Raisins
  • Gum (for takeoff and landing)
  • Lollipops (for takeoff and landing for little ones)
  • Nilla wafers
  • Cookies
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit sticks or fruit snacks
  • Grapes
  • Sliced fruit (apples, oranges)
  • Mini muffins or quick breads
  • Pirate Booty
  • Chips (these may get crushed so it would depend on the bag)
  • Simple candy like Smarties, Gummy bears, lifesavers (if older kids)

Those are just some ideas of snacks to have on hand, but I’m sure there are lots more great things to take for kids to munch on during your travels. We keep most snacks and treats packed in our main travel bag as opposed to each child’s backpack, just so they don’t eat everything all at once.

I hope these lists and pictures give you some ideas of what to pack on your family’s next vacation traveling. Sometimes just getting there is the hard part, but good planning and packing can make it a little easier on everyone!

If you have other ideas of things to pack for kids, leave me a comment! I would love to hear more ideas and suggestions!

Other posts in our Disney Travel Planning for Families Series:
Part 1: Countdown To Do
Part 2: These Feet Were Made For Walking
Part 3: Preparing for Medical Issues & Emergencies
Part 5: Diaper Changing Prep 101

Pirate & Princess Summer on Disney Jr


Disney is having a Pirate and Princess Summer on Disney Junior with fun, new episodes of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and “Sofia the First”. There will be lots of new characters and celebrity voices to some new shows. Shows will alternate new episodes on Fridays throughout June, July and August. And Disney Princess Jasmine will be making a special guest appearance on a new Sofia on June 14th.


The Pirates and Princess Summer with incorporate Disney Junior On Demand, iTunes, and Disney Junior online with games and activities that will “unlock” new games with earned tokens.

Starting June 14th, you can upload a photo of your child dressed in their favorite princess or pirate outfit. Log on to (website not live as of now) to upload your photo, and have a chance to be featured as the Pirate/Princess of the day on Disney Junior.

Also, keep an eye out for new products launching this summer of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sofia the First.

For fun, I’ve included a link to a cute Sofia the First activity packet your kiddos can enjoy this summer.


Looks like it will be a fun summer at Disney Junior! For more Jake and Sofia fun, visit their Disney Junior website:

Sofia the First
Jake and the NeverLand Pirates

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