Archives for November 2013

Frozen Review

Disney_Frozen_snowman_poster

Disney’s “Frozen” opened in theaters today, November 27th. I took my three older children, ages 5, 7 and 9 to see the film and they loved it. We didn’t see the 3D version but I can imagine it would be really good as a 3D movie.

The story is centered around the relationship of two sisters, Elsa and Anna, in the kingdom of Arondale. Elsa was born with magical powers to create ice and snow with her hands, but Anna has no magical powers. When their parents realizes that Elsa’s powers could hurt Anna, the two are kept apart as they grow up. And Elsa’s powers are kept a secret from everyone. This is the center of the story.

Elsa

As Elsa is crowned the new Queen of Arondale, Anna falls in love with a handsome prince. But they are both very isolated, and Elsa leaves the kingdom to protect everyone from herself and to finally be free from hiding her powers. Unfortunately, she sets Arondale into a forever winter and Anna sets off on an adventure to find her and heal their relationship.

FrozenSisters2

The story is wonderful, which is to be expected since it is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story The Snow Queen. The characters are sympathetic but also appealing to kids. Olaf, the magically talking, walking snowman that Elsa creates, is a fantastic humorous sidekick without being overbearing. My kids loved Elsa and Anna, and having two daughters, it was a great story about the love between two sisters, as well as the conflict.

A great part of the movie is the music. The original songs are fantastic, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez, who are known for their Broadway musical writing talents. The two best songs are “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” and “Let it Go”, which is also performed by Demi Lovato at the end of the movie. And speaking of the end of the movie, there is a fun little clip at the end of the credits that is cute and fun.

The movie is rated PG because of some of the violence in the Mickey Mouse short before the film begins as well as a wolf and snowman attack in the movie.

If you are considering heading to see this movie this holiday weekend, and are wondering what age is best for viewing it, Common Sense Media says age 5 and older will love it. They also gave it 5 stars! And we would agree. We skipped our preschooler seeing it not because it would be scary, but it is a longer movie and he would get antsy.

CSMFrozen

But make room for two new Disney princesses that your kids will fall in love with! And of course, a very cute snowman!

For more “Frozen” fun:

Frozen Printables
Official Disney Frozen website

Disney’s Frozen Printables

Disney_Frozen_snowman_poster

Disney’s newest movie “Frozen” opens in theaters this Wednesday, November 27th. Our family can’t wait to see it and we have heard great things about it so far! Will you be going this Thanksgiving weekend? I predict it will be a huge hit! If your kids are excited to see it, like mine, here are some fun printables from Disney that they can play with before going to see the movie.

Click on the small image to open the pdf to print or download!

FrozenSnowman FrozenSnowflake FrozenSnowflakeMazeSm FrozenMaze2 FrozenElsa FrozenMatchCards FrozenDifference FrozenAnnaFrozen-snowflake-mazeSm

For more Frozen fun, visit the official “Frozen” website.

Enjoy!

 

Disney Thanksgiving Printables

Disney and Disney Junior have some fun printables for kids this Thanksgiving. Disney Junior released some placecards, thankful sheets and how-to-set-the-table mats, with characters from Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, and Mickey Mouse. Over at spoonful.com, there are lots of Disney crafts as well as some fun printables like coloring sheets and activity placemats. Click on the picture below to download the printables for your Thanksgiving celebration! There are multiple pages in each download.

And follow Disney Junior, Spoonful and Disney on pinterest for more Disney fun! Enjoy!

SofiaPic MickeyPic2 JakePic DocPic

MickeyPic

Holiday Happenings at Disney Parks

If you are planning a Disney vacation to either Disney World or Disneyland this holiday season, there are plenty of special and amazing holiday things to see and experience. The most popular time of year to visit both parks is Christmas time! It is also the most crowded times to visit both parks. But, Disney adds holiday sparkle to every parks and resort, and it can be a magical time. We have rounded up all the Christmas and holiday events, decorations, dining and special treats to see during this time of year.

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

MickeyParade

Photo courtesy of Chipandco.com

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This is a special event held at Magic Kingdom on select nights, and requires an additional ticket. The party runs from 7:00 pm until midnight, although ticketed guests are allowed to enter the park as early as 4:00 pm. The party includes:

  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade that includes Santa
  • Holiday Wishes Fireworks
  • Magical snowfall on Main Street
  • Complimentary cookies and hot chocolate
  • Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella’s castle
  • Celebrate the Magic castle show with Glow with the Show Ears (ears sold separately)
  • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show featuring Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski and Stitch
  • Celebrate the Season Show which is a special version of the Nutcracker musical spectacular
  • Special character meet and greets throughout the park

Dates of the party are November 17, 21 and 22 and December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 20. Tickets are $62 for guests age 10 and older, and $57 for guest age 3-9. Children younger than 3 do not have to purchase a ticket.

Cinderella’s Holiday Wish and Castle Dream Lights

CinderellaCastle

Fairy Godmother lights the beautiful, icicle lights that cover Cinderella’s castle each night. The show runs Tuesdays to Saturday at about 6:15 pm.

Celebrate the Magic – Holiday Edition

The fabulous light projection show at Cinderella’s castle has been changed to a holiday edition for Limited Time Magic. Best viewing is at the hub near the castle, without any trees to block your view of the castle.

Jingle Cruise

New to Disney World this year, Jungle Cruise has been decked out and turned into Jingle Cruise. The queue area and boathouse, as well as the boats, have been decorated with holiday decorations and the skippers have new holiday jokes and banter that make it even more fun to ride this attraction!

Periwinkle returns!

Periwinkle will be returning to Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook in Adventureland for character meet and greets, and it is turned into a snowy wonderland!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Holiday Offerings

BibbidiFrozen

New to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney is Anna and Elsa packages, for girls to dress as their favorite Frozen character. There is also a new Holiday Minnie package that includes a red holiday dress.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Almost daily on Main Street, you can experience the magical Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Watch the daily Times Guide for specific time of lighting.

Holly Jolly Trolley Show

Main Street characters arrive on the trolley to perform fun holiday songs.

Epcot

Candlelight Processional

On most nights through December, the Candlelight Processional is held three times a night at the American Gardens Theater. An orchestra and choir perform holiday music along with a celebrity narrator reading the story of Christmas. This very popular event fills quickly and is first come, first served unless you purchase the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package (for lunch or dinner) that includes VIP reserved seating. Times of the performance are 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm (except December 8th which is only 6:45 pm and 8:15 pm). Here is the celebrity schedule for narrators:

11/29-12/1 Gary Sinise
12/2-12/3 Neil Patrick Harris
12/4-12/5 Ashley Judd
12/8-12/10 Sigourney Weaver
12/11-12/13 Dennis Haysbert
12/14-12/16 James Denton
12/17-12/19 Edward James Olmos
12/20-12/22 Trace Adkins
12/23-12/25 Stephen Curtis Chapman
12/26-12/28 Blair Underwood
12/29-12/30 Amy Grant

Holidays Around the World

Each country decorates with their own unique yuletide traditions. Decorations begin on November 13th at the front entrance, Future World, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico and France pavilions.

Anna & Elsa Meet & Greet

AnnaElsaMG

The new Disney movie Frozen welcomes two new sisters to the Disney family, and they will have a new Meet and Greet in Norway. Guests can meet both sisters in their frozen surroundings for autographs and pics.

Hollywood Studios

Photo courtesy of wdwinfo.com

Photo courtesy of wdwinfo.com

Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

This wonderful light show runs from November 7 until January 5th along the Streets of America. Glittering and twinkling lights dance to synchronized holiday music. This fantastic light show is included in park admission.

Animal Kingdom

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade

This daytime parade is a fantastic treat for park guests! The Christmas jungle parade includes holiday floats, dancers and favorite characters. The parade runs from November 7th until January 2, and it is a favorite parade!

Gingerbread Displays

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com

Select resorts and parks throughout Disney World take place in annual Gingerbread creations for guests to view each year. The Pastry Chef’s at Disney World out-do themselves with this annual event! Here is a roundup of all the goodies to view and don’t forget to collect the limited edition Gingerbread Pins at each resort.

  • Grand Floridian Resort– Life-size gingerbread house that stands 16 feet high (pictured above)
  • Contemporary Resort – Giant gingerbread Christmas tree
  • Beach Club Resort – gingerbread carousel and miniature train
  • Boardwalk Resort – A Merry Gazebo and gingerbread and chocolate replica of the bakery store front
  • The Land Pavilion at Epcot – pastry Chef’s create unique treats and gingerbreads for guests
  • Magic Kingdom – miniature replica of Independence Hall baked by park pastry chefs
Collectible gingerbread pins for 2013. Photo courtesy of DisneyFoodBlog.com

Collectible gingerbread pins for 2013. Photo courtesy of DisneyFoodBlog.com

Christmas Day Feast

If you will be at the park for Christmas Day, there are plenty of dining choices for your family to enjoy as the resorts and parks offer special meals for guests to celebrate. For all offerings, reservations are highly recommended.

Parks

  • Biergarten in Germany at Epcot – special holiday dishes added to their traditional German buffet
  • Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot – special Christmas Day menu
  • Tusker House at Animal Kingdom – Christmas specials in their buffet
  • Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios – Christmas lunch and 2 dinners including carved turkey, cornbread stuffing, root-beer glazed butternut squash, and spiced pumpkin mousse, along with other buffet offerings
  • Diamond Horseshoe – Christmas dinner
  • Tortuga Tavern – holiday dinner buffet

Resorts & Downtown Disney

  • Fort Wilderness:
    • Mickey’s Backyard Christmas Day Feast, at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm
    • Trail’s End Restaurant has lunch and dinner options on Christmas Day
  • Yacht & Beach Club:
    • Cape May Cafe will be serving hand-carved ham and turkey with stuffing
    • Captain’s Grille will have a holiday buffet
    • Yachtsman Steakhouse will have a special menu
  • Contemporary:
    • The Wave will have a special Christmas Day menu
    • Chef Mickey’s offers a Christmas Day brunch
  • The Grand Floridian:
    • Citricos will have 2 special dinner seatings at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as a private Chef’s Domain seating with a 4-course menu
  • Boardwalk:
    • Flying Fish will be offering a prix fixe 4-course menu
  • Wilderness Lodge:
    • Whispering Canyon will have an all-you-care-to-eat holiday dinner including turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the traditional fixings.
  • Fulton’s Crab House and Portobello’s in Downtown Disney will offer prix fixe dining

Additional Events

  • Sleigh Rides at Fort Wilderness will be available nightly in December
  • Santa will be at most resorts on Christmas Eve from 5-9 pm
  • Festival of Seasons at Downtown Disney
    • Holiday carolers
    • Holiday musical performances
    • Costumed stilt walkers
    • Holiday dance party
    • Visit with Santa
  • Amazing Christmas decorations and Christmas trees at most hotels on property, including the largest Mickey wreath on property at the Contemporary Resort.
  • Mrs. Claus’ treats are set up at The Bake Shop in Epcot near The Promenade. Plenty of holiday treats and candy are available for purchase here.

Parade Taping for ABC

The Christmas Day parade at Disney World will be taped on December 6 & 7 at the Magic Kingdom and regular park guests can attend the parade. A few tips if you are interested in watching the parade for taping:

  • Taping has long waits
  • Floats and performers are frequently stopped and restarted, and performers have to repeat routines to get camera angles right
  • Can be a long day if watching the whole parade
  • Great time to ride attractions as a lot of people watch the parade

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

DisneylandCastle

All events listed below, unless otherwise stated, are included in a regular park pass for Disneyland.

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade – great Christmas parade that is a wonderful, family treat! See Disney characters in their holiday attire as well as prancing reindeer, toy soldiers and dancing gingerbread cookies! Always a wonderful tradition!
  • Believe…in Holiday Magic Fireworks – holiday themed fireworks show over Sleeping Beauty’s castle
  • it’s a small world Holiday – Small World is decorated with thousands of lights and new 3D projection technology. This year features a new surprise when the quarter hour strikes on the clock!
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday – Jack Skellington has decorated the Haunted Mansion for Christmas!
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle – decorated with thousands of glittering lights that look like white snow and ice! A three part “show” each day to sprinkle snow on the castle, included with the parade and fireworks shows.
  • Jingle Cruise – New to Disneyland this year, Jungle Cruise has been decked out and turned into Jingle Cruise. The queue area and boathouse, as well as the boats, have been decorated with holiday decorations and the skippers have new holiday jokes and banter that make it even more fun to ride this attraction!
  • Elsa and Anna Meet and Greet is new to Fantasyland this holiday season! From the new movie Frozen, these two sisters will be out for pictures and autographs at their new icy location.
  • Frontierland Jingle Jangle Jamboree – this Christmas party is hosted by Mrs. Claus and includes:
    • Visits with Santa
    • Holiday crafts and greets from Mrs. Claus
    • Holiday treats to purchase
    • Meet and greet with Pluto and Chip & Dale in their holiday attire
    • Petting zoo with the “goats of Christmas Present” and 2 “baaaa-humbug” lambs
    • Reindeer games for kids
    • Holiday songs sung and led by Billy Hill and the Hillbillies
  • Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour – learn about the holiday traditions over the years at Disneyland with a tour of the park and also receive a collectible pin, a holiday treat and warm drink, and reserved seating at the Christmas parade. This tour requires additional reservations and tickets. Space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling Disney or visiting Guest Services on Main Street.
  • Main Street Decorations, including a 60 foot Christmas tree in Town Square as well as garland and wreaths. Enjoy wonderful Christmas smells and treats along Main Street USA as well as strolling Christmas Carolers.
  • Cookie decorating for children on Main Street and New Orleans Square

California Adventure

Carsland

  • Amazing Christmas decorations on Buena Vista Street, A bug’s Land, and Cars land
  • World of Color: Winter Dreams – this amazing water and light show has been changed into the new Winter Dreams theme and includes characters from the new Frozen movie.
  • Holiday dance parties at Phineas and Ferb Dance Party and Mad T Party
  • ¡Viva Navidad! at Paradise Garden Area – Begins November 15th and offers live music, kid’s crafts and face painting, and holiday foods
  • Carolers strolling along Buena Vista Street

Downtown Disney

  • Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink – New outdoor ice skating rink with a theme from the new movie Frozen. Skate rentals and admission are an additional cost. Ice rink available from November 14 until January 11. General admission is $17 and children under age 6 are $12.

Resorts

All three Disney resorts will be heavily decorated with holiday and Christmas decorations. The best tree to view is at the Grand Californian which is the largest and decked out in a woodsy Christmas theme. An A Capella Dickens Christmas Carolers group roams the resorts and you can ask at the front desk for times they will be at specific hotels

Special treats and desserts are available all over Disneyland from ice cream to candy to cookies. There are not any special dining offerings for Christmas.


The holidays are a magical time to visit the Disney parks. There are so many special events, shows and decorations to see. If you will be celebrating Christmas Day at Disney World, you can have order an in-room celebration through their Floral & Gifts department. They can help you decorate your room with a Christmas tree and other special decorations.

I hope this list helps you plan your holiday visit to Disneyland or Disney World! For more holiday details, visit the Disneyland and Disney World websites.

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt Books Review

Do your kids love adventure? Do they love animals? Do they love to read mysteries? Then they will love the book series Travels with Gannon and Wyatt! Our family was recently sent this book series to read and review. My kids love to read, and I love to encourage them to be good readers, so I was very excited to have the chance to try out these new books with them and share them with you.

BookSeries

In the books series, there are three stories (thus far) of the travels of twins Gannon and Wyatt, along with their parents. The first book is about their travels to Botswana, Africa. The other two books take them to The Great Bear Rainforest and Egypt. The stories are aimed at middle-grade age kids, and I read the first book to my 9 and 7 year old. From the beginning, they were hooked! They were literally sitting on the edge of their seats wanting to know what would happen next! Each story involves the boy’s travels and challenges in a new place, and it also involves the boys solving a mystery.

Travels-with-Gannon-Wyatt-GreatBearRainforest

The books are written in a unique format that appeals to kids because it is from the boy’s perspective. You are readying their journals on their adventure, and you get to know each boy’s personality and tone with each entry. Our favorite story was “The Great Bear Rainforest”. Gannon and Wyatt travel by boat to the Great Bear Rainforest in search of the Spirit Bear. But they are soon thrown into a rescue mission to find their missing Captain and parents, and survive in the rough, rainforest wilderness on their own as well as solve an ecosystem mystery. It is definitely a race for survival! This book was packed with lots of mystery and action. Whenever I would stop reading, my kids would beg for just a bit more. And they were always excited when I would tell them each night that it was time for Gannon and Wyatt!

Travels-with-Gannon-and-Wyatt--Botswana Travels-with-Gannon-Wyatt-Egypt

These books were great for my 4th grader to read on her own, but also for me to read to my 2nd grader. It is very important to not only have our kids read on their own, but also experience being read to as this helps them increase their reading vocabulary and fluency. These books are perfect to read aloud to your kids if they are not yet to middle school, and they will love getting to know Gannon and Wyatt on their travels.

Reading

My fourth grader enjoying the Great Bear Rainforest!

And one of the most amazing things in these stories are the real photographs from their travels. The stories, written by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet, are loosely based on the real-life adventures of twins, Gannon and Wyatt. My kids loved the photos and they were very inspired not only by the stories, but also to be adventurers themselves. Kids can join the Youth Exploration Society by visiting the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt website. This organization is for young people who love to travel and learn about geography, wildlife and other cultures. Visit the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt website for more information about the organization as well as the locations in each book. You can also follow them on Twitter @GannonAndWyatt.

Through the month of November, the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt Facebook page will be giving away three Kindle Fire HDs! Visit their page to enter to win! All three Travels with Gannon and Wyatt books are available at Amazon. Books are available as paperback, hardback and Kindle Editions.

And we would like to give away a set of the series to one of our Preschoolears readers! We would love to share these books with your family as well. Please enter the giveaway below and the winner will be sent the 3-book series! Giveaway for US only and ends on November 25th. a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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