Archives for August 2013

Tips for Rainy Days at Disney Parks

RainyDayHeader

I hope you will never need this advice for your Disney vacation. I truly hope it doesn’t rain while you are at the parks. But it might, so we would like to give you some advice and tips for being ready for rain and weather while on your Disney vacation. Rain is more common at Walt Disney World than Disneyland, but our family has experienced both.

Items To Bring To The Parks (if there is a chance for rain)

  1. Ponchos. Ponchos are the most important thing you can have on hand. You can bring them from home or you can buy them at the park. The ones at the park are pricier than what you buy at a regular store, but they are pretty cute with the Mickey. I think Ponchos work a little better than a rain jacket as they are thinner for packing in a backpack or stroller, and they come off and on faster. They also give great coverage of pants/shorts where a jacket may stop a little short.
    Ponchos
  2. Umbrellas. This may seem obvious but many people forget to bring umbrellas for themselves and their kids. Sometimes it is light sprinkle and just an umbrella is needed. They pack very easily under a stroller, so don’t forget them! You can buy one at the park as well if you forget but they aren’t as easy to find as ponchos.
  3. Rain cover for stroller. This one is very important. First, your child can sit in the stroller with it on and they will be protected from rain. The other great use for them is when you park your stroller to go on a ride. Put on the rain cover if there is the possibility of rain (even if slight). Many, many times we would come out from a ride and find it had rained while we were gone, and luckily we covered out stroller. Many others were not that lucky. Most big brands of stroller make their own that fit their strollers, but you can buy general covers that are universal for all strollers.
    Stroller
  4. Waterproof shoes. There will be lots of puddles. And sneakers and socks will get very wet. I don’t mean flip flops because those aren’t good shoes to walk around all day in anyway. Some waterproof shoes, like Keens, would work great. You have no idea how long the rain will go so have your feet ready to get wet.
  5. Change of clothes. If you won’t be heading back to your hotel during the day, you will need dryer clothes for the kids. Even with all the gear we have mentioned, you will get wet. So have some backups so kids won’t be sad all day. Or plan to take a break and change.
    Umbrella

Advice for Enjoying the Rain

  1. Stay positive. This seems so simple but the rain can make things gloomy. Try to laugh about it and tell your kids it is a fun adventure, even if your not having a good time. And while kids think splashing through puddles is fun normally, rain at the parks can by a downer. So it is best to just grin and bear it.
  2. Head to the parks. The crowds do go down when it rains because quite a few people just stay away. So wait times can go down on some of your favorite rides, which is a big bonus.
    HSRain
  3. Rides may close. Any ride that is run outside without cover, may close temporarily until the rain stops. Disney runs the rides for as long as they can but just know which rides may be closing and try to do those before they might close. Disney will give you warning if you are in line for one of these rides.
  4. Parades may delay. Parades may be delayed but they probably will still perform unless it is a real downpour. The same for fireworks. Disney will start with delays to see if the rain will stop, but they may have to cancel fireworks and other nighttime shows with rain.
  5. Be flexible. You may have a schedule of what you want to see and do that day, but you will end up throwing it out the window. It is hard to maneuver in the rain and you may just go to the first inside attraction you find. Just be flexible and go with it. You’ll be happier that way.
  6. Pictures. Photopass photographers at the park won’t stand in the rain one bit to take pictures. But they do find covered areas in strange places to take pics, so look around for them. Also, take some fun rain pictures yourself. Even if the day is gloomy and wet, you want to at least be able to look back and laugh about it.
    Rain1

There are lots of great attractions and shows you can spend your day at away from rain, so don’t think that at the parks you won’t have anything to do. My best advice is be prepared for rain, and when it comes, make the best of it!

Top 10 Must-Miss Disney Animated Movies

MustMissLogo

We are big fans of Disney movies, and of course, their animated movies. Disney is known for truly making the best animated movies that families and children love for years and years. With that said, sometimes they have missed the mark. And as much as we love them, we have to say that not every animated movie was a home run. And it isn’t always sequels that aren’t so great, because some of their sequels have been pretty good if not great (Monsters University, Toy Story 2 & 3). So we compiled a Top 10 list of animated movies we think your family could skip and won’t have missed anything. In fact, you would probably be glad to not see them. These movies are not favorites for my kids either which speaks pretty strong. If one of your favorites ended up on this list, I apologize.

Hunchback

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Probably one of the biggest animated flops by Disney. I think it was a combination of cliche characters, poor story, bad choices in voice actors…nothing really went well. Unfortunately, they decided to make a “direct-to-DVD” sequel, which brings us to the next on our list.

2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 – Since the first was so bad, you really can’t expect the sequel to get any better, and it doesn’t. It actually gets worse.

Atlantis

3. Atlantis: The Lost Empire AND Milo’s Return – Two for one for number 3! Atlantis started as an interesting story that just gets too complicated to hold children’s interest. And they find Atlantis so soon into the movie, it is kind of a let-down. The movie sort of falls flat for kids. And then they made a strange sequel with different voices and the story is bad. Definitely a must-miss.

HomeRange

4. Home on the Range – Bad story, unlikable characters, fart-jokes, simple graphics. Just not a great movie. It had potential but fell short.

Cinderella3

5. Cinderella 3 – There was a “Cinderella 2” and it was actually a cute sequel. The kids always enjoy watching that one. But they never want to watch Cinderella 3. It is too scary (for my little ones) with the Stepmother and they don’t enjoy it at all. If my kids always so “No” to watching a movie, I think that says a lot. We’ve only watched this one once.

TreasurePlanet

6. Treasure Planet – Great premise to create a futuristic twist on “Treasure Island” in space. It just falls into the over-used Disney formula of story and character including the cute animal side-kick. The plot loses kid’s interest quickly. The story doesn’t develop to hold interest. It just really falls flat.

BlackCauldron

7. The Black Cauldron – I know this is a classic, but it isn’t a favorite. The story, while creative, is strange and hard to follow. The animation is very dark, and I mean in color, scenery and shade, which makes it hard to see what is going on. The villains are too scary and the accents are too thick. Overall, it is a good one to skip.

Neverland

8. Peter Pan Return to Neverland – First, there shouldn’t be a sequel to a great movie like “Peter Pan”. With that said, this movie is an insult to the first. The plot is boring and the main character is more annoying than fun. The voices are off and the music isn’t good. There is definitely a lack of quality story here.

JungleBook2

9. Jungle Book 2 – Another sequel that shouldn’t have been made. The first “Jungle Book” was fantastic. The story line with the sequel doesn’t work with the first movie, which makes the movie a little lack-luster. And you can’t just change an iconic voice for Baloo and think it will go well, because it flopped, big time.

ArielsBeginning

10. Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning – I think if I asked my kids about this movie, they would say it was OK. Considering how many movies they love, that says a lot. This is actually the third sequel to the original “Little Mermaid” and my kids enjoy the actual sequel. This is technically a prequel. But it lacks good music which is ironic because it is about music. And the story is a bit boring and formulaic.

The truth is that a mediocre Disney movie is far better than some of the movies that other studios produce for kids (I won’t name names here). And I know there are many people who enjoy these films quite a lot. But if you are trying to decided whether to watch one of these movies or choose another one, you might want to skip these in our opinion. There are definitely better Disney animated choices out there! Or at least skip buying the DVD and borrow it at the library instead.

Did I miss a movie you think should be on the list? Or did I include one of your family’s favorites? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Mega Muppets Mania!

MuppetLogo

I’m predicting it now. Muppets Mania! The muppets are growing and gaining in popularity after the release of the new Muppets movie last year. Disney has been slowly beefing up its Muppets appeal, and I think next year the Muppets will get even bigger with the release of their sequel to “The Muppets” movie.

New Movie

If you didn’t know that a sequel was coming soon, it is now called “Muppets Most Wanted” and it is set to release on March 21st, 2014. The trailers looks great, and it features the fantastic comedic talents of Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, and Ricky Gervais. Here is the latest trailer:

Muppets on the Web

For all the latest Muppets information including games and activities, visit muppets.disney.com.
You can also follow them on Social Media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/muppets
Twitter: @MuppetsStudio
Pinterest: Muppet Mania
YouTube: www.youtube.com/MuppetsStudio

Muppet Apps

There are two new Muppet apps for iPhones, iPads and SmartPhones. Both are free right now for download.

Tap Tap Muppets is a Muppets version of the Tap Tap game. It plays Muppet songs and you have to tap the drums when the disks drop. My nine-year old liked it but the easy setting was challenging for her. My Muppets Show is a digital Muppets show you put together by “buying” different characters and lighting and decorations, and putting together the Muppets show you would like. I found it a little boring but my older kids thought it was fun.

TapTapMuppetsShowApp

DVD Release

I am a big Muppets fan from the days of “The Muppet Show” on television, but I must confess that my kids didn’t take to watching these shows on DVD when I bought one of the seasons for them. What they did enjoy was watching the first, classic movie, “The Muppet Movie”. They really loved this movie as it is timeless and the music is wonderful. It was recently released on BluRay/DVD for the 35th Anniversary. DVD is available in stores and online for purchase.

DVD

This is the movie that started all the movies, and it has some wonderful moments and music. Here are a few pictures from the movie that I love.

Kermit

KermitPiggy

MuppetMovie1

Muppets Merchandise

While Muppets themselves aren’t a merchandise giant like other Disney characters and movies, there is something about it that is nostalgic and fun. Here are some items I found online that I think are particularly special and fun. Another great spot to find Muppets merchandise is at the Disney parks. Disneyland has a small shopping spot near the MuppetVision 3D attraction, and Hollywood Studios at Disney World has a wonderful Muppets store near the MuppetVision 3D attraction. It is called Stage 1 Company Store and it is actually one of my favorite shops. Each photo is linked to where you can buy these items online.

Kermit Knit Hat

Kermit Knit Hat

Muppets Bed Sheets Set

Muppets Bed Sheets Set

Women's Muppets Watch

Women’s Muppets Watch

Muppets Figurine Set from Disney Parks

Muppets Figurine Set from Disney Parks

Muppets Bandaids

Muppets Bandaids

Muppets Pin from Disney Parks

Muppets Pin from Disney Parks

Muppets Christmas

With the holidays quickly approaching, I just wanted to look at some old Muppets favorites that we still enjoy every December and that I think are still great even if they are much older than the newer Muppet Christmas movies.

The Muppet Christmas Carol – A fun Muppet version of the Christmas classic starring Michael Caine as Scrooge. The music is wonderful with great dance scenes and my kids always love watching this one.

ChristmasDVD

John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together – This is an old soundtrack (I had it on vinyl!) but it really is sweet and fun and kids love it. And how can you not love John Denver?

JDenverCD

A Muppet Family Christmas – This is almost impossible to find today (for a decent price), but it is my favorite Muppet Christmas movie. And this is the only movie where Sesame Street joins the Muppets, as well as Jim Henson who makes a cameo in the end. We only have this one on VHS, but I hope they will re-release this on DVD because it really is special.

MuppetFamChristmas

Other Christmas movies from the Muppets include Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa and It’s a Very Merry Muppets Christmas Movie.

Next year, with the release of the new Muppets movie, I think we will see more Muppets fun and the next generation of Muppets fans will continue! Are you a Muppets fan? Do your kids love the Muppets?

WDW Dining Review: Whispering Canyon

WCSign

Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge

The Whispering Canyon Cafe is located at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World. Wilderness Lodge is located near Magic Kingdom but it is secluded in a wooded area that is only accessible by bus and boat (visitors can also drive to the resort). Whispering Canyon is right inside the gigantic lobby of the hotel, and it actually opens to the lobby on one side of the restaurant which allows visitors to still experience the beauty of the Wilderness Lodge.

Whispering Canyon is a very unique dining experience. Reservations are highly recommended for this table serve restaurant because it is quite popular. It is not the easiest to get to this location but it is worth the trip. We were able to take a water ferry over to the resort, which was a relaxing and fun ride along Bay Lake. It allowed us views of the other resorts on the water like the Contemporary, Bay Lake Tower and Fort Wilderness.

The atmosphere and decor are a rustic wilderness theme, and the restaurant is a bit loud. The wait staff are colorful and creative, including a little yelling and hollering, all for fun. If you ask for ketchup, they make you stand and yell for it, and each table brings you a bottle. It’s a tradition at the restaurant. And they regularly do horse-stick races around the restaurant (and lobby even!) with the kids.

WCInside

HorseParade

The restaurant’s cuisine is barbecue and is now served all-you-can-eat family style, except for lunch. We actually enjoy family style dining as it is easier for our kids than a buffet. We had dinner at the restaurant and the menu has a wide range of meats and sides to choose from. The meal begins with their delicious cornbread, which is really big slices! Small portions are the key at this restaurant!

Cornbread

The family style begins with choosing three types of meats as well as sides. Meat choices include pork ribs, pulled pork, herb chicken, beef strip loin, fish and sausage. Sides include vegetables, potatoes, baked beans, and corn on the cob. I had difficulty getting great pictures of the food at this restaurant because it was eaten so quickly!

BBQ1

BBQ2

Veggies

The desserts are served as a sampler plate, which is great because you will be pretty stuffed by the time it comes out to the table. Each of the desserts were delicious!

Dessert

Breakfast is also served family style with all-you-can-eat breakfast fare like scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon. Lunch is served with individual choices from the menu but still barbecue cuisine.

The food at dinner was excellent. My kids ate most of it and really enjoyed everything. They liked the atmosphere and the fun throughout the restaurant.

If you are a vegetarian or not much of a meat eater, this restaurant might be a little hard to find something at, although my sister-in-law is vegan and tried their Navajo Bread appetizer and said it was superb.

Appetizer

If you don’t like loud, over-the-top waiter/waitresses, this is not the place for you either. They will be loud in front of the entire restaurant and try to embarrass people and just have a rowdy, good time. For some, that is fantastic. For others, they want to crawl away and hide. The service also moves a little slow, so if you want a faster meal, this isn’t the place. The atmosphere in the restaurant is casual and relaxed so you don’t have to get dressed up. It is a nice restaurant to have good food and have a very unique experience. And if you like fun and quirky, this is the place for you!

Preschoolears Rating: Four (4 out of 5 stars)

For more Walt Disney World dining ratings, please visit the Preschoolears website.

Tag*A*Long Review & Giveaway

I wanted to share with you a recent product our family used on our last vacation. I only share products and services on this website that I believe will benefit other families. And I was not paid for this post or my opinions in it.

TagALong

We tried the Tag*A*Long handle on our last Disney World trip and thought it was great. It is a very simple product with an easy idea. The handle loops around your stroller and provides a handle for walking children to hold on to while you stroll along. This is a fabulous idea for the Disney parks since there are lots of crowds and it is easy to get lost in the shuffle a bit. If you have a child that is walking along side the stroller, they can just hold on with the Tag*A*Long handle. The picture above is my 9-year old and believe it or not, she used it quite a few times. Our 5-year old and 7-year old used it quite a bit as well. I think it gave them some security in crowded situations, especially when they didn’t know where we were going.

TagALongPackage

TagALongBlue

If you are interested in purchasing a Tag*A*Long, they are hard to find in stores. But they are easily purchased on the internet. We found ours at Amazon – click here to see them. You can also find more online vendors on the company’s website, TagALongKids.

Because we loved this product and think that other families will love it too, we are doing a giveaway of one Tag*A*Long! Would be great for families heading to Disney! If you would like to enter the giveaway, use the raffle below to enter. The giveaway ends on Friday, August 23rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...