Archives for December 2014

Mickey’s Magical Math World and Disney’s Imagicademy

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Disney recently launched a new learning brand for parents and kids ages 3-8 called Disney’s Imagicademy. The app is Mickey’s Magical Math World and it is a wonderful new math game for preschoolers. My preschooler has been playing this game for two weeks and he loves it, truly. Mickey is his favorite and he loves interacting with characters and playing the games. The app has within it five different games that focus on a specific math topic for preschoolers.

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The premise (and the video at the beginning explains this) is that Mickey and his friends are traveling into outer space to help a space station that is having problems. So all the games have rockets or aliens or planets as part of their theme. It is a fun, space themed magical world! Mickey runs the rocket depot that designs and fixes rockets. My preschooler loves building rockets here – the ideas are endless.

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Some of the games involve shapes and counting. The games are very interactive for preschoolers, where they can touch and move almost anything. While as an adult, this was hard to understand, a preschooler thinks it is awesome getting to explore just about everything. And each game builds on concepts learned in other games so they are interconnected. This game in Mickey’s Shapes requires the child to use the wrench to turn the bolts until they are tight.

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Minnie’s game is Count Along and is set at a robot playground where everything can be played with and moved, and games require counting. Children can create and play with lots of robots.

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My preschooler says that Goofy’s Sorting is his favorite. The sorting actually increases in difficulty as the children progress. It isn’t just shapes but colors and symbols, as you can see below. When it is sorted correctly, the alien’s rocket pack will go off and they fly away. So cute!

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Donald’s game is adding and subtracting, and you have to launch the alien to wake up a sleeping Donald. It takes some problem solving skills as well. My favorite game is Daisy’s Problem Solving where you have to move the sleepy alien through the maze and collect “trash” in order to count by tens and put the alien to bed. It changes every time and requires kids to figure out how to collect all the sheep and trash. While it sound strange, it is actually lots of fun and a great brain game for kids.

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Along with Mickey’s Magical Math World, you can download the parent app Disney’s Imagicademy that has loads of great parent tools in it including games to play with kids, printables, crafts, and lots of fun ideas. It is great resource to spark some creativity for parents – what should we do today? What would kids like to know? I like how the feed changes with new ideas and themes each time. The one thing I have liked is the games you can play with your kids, at home or on the go. Some of the ideas would be great for waiting in line at a Disney Park! It also connects you with a community of parents and families that support and encourage children’s creativity and curiosity.

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You can link it to Mickey’s Magical Math World and it will show you what you child it doing during the game including the levels they unlock and robots they build. Then you can give them a virtual high five that opens on the game when they play.

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As a review of Mickey’s Magical Math World, I would say that the games are educational for preschoolers and the graphics are well done for an app. It holds my preschooler’s interest for a long time and he loves playing with it.

Both apps are free to download (see links below to download), but in order to unlock a lot of additional options in each game, you will have to make a purchase. They are upfront that there are in-game purchase options. My preschooler started playing the free app and pretty soon was asking for the unlocked items. Each game can be upgraded for $4.99. Or you can download the entire math pack for $19.99.

I do think it is a little pricey for an app. But I will say that the app has much more depth in content that most children’s apps. It is highly educational and I do think it has great value. It is priced a bit high. It also does use quite a bit of memory on an iPad as well as taking a bit of time for the games to load if you move from one to another. Once it is loaded, it runs very smoothly.

Mickey’s Magical Math World is only compatible with iPad (2nd generation or higher). Disney’s Imagicademy is compatible with both iPad and iPhone.

If you have a preschooler looking for some new fun this holiday break, try out the new Mickey’s Magical Math World app – link to the apps below.

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

Disney Parks Update 2014

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This is our last update of 2014 for the Disney Parks and news! Hard to believe that 2015 is almost here! If you will be at the parks this holiday or soon after, here are all the news!

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

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New “Frozen Christmas Celebration” – On Christmas Day, millions of viewers will be watching the Christmas Day Parade at Disney Parks on ABC. This year, the characters from “Frozen” have been added to the parade which moves several characters around on floats. Filming has already begun at Disney World and musical guests this year include Train, Trey Songz, Lucy Hale, and Trisha Yearwood. Disney hasn’t announced all the hosts of the parade but one of the co-hosts was recently announced: Tim Tebow. Tune in on Christmas Day for all the parade fun!

New! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sold Out Dec 19: The very last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the Season is now officially sold out.  Tickets are still available for December: 11, 12, 14, 16, and 18 2014.

New! Meet Santa at Magic Kingdom Park During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Santa is available to meet guests at Town Square Courtyard on Main Street, U.S.A., during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Epcot

New! United Kingdom Pavilion Receives New Entertainment Offering: The Paul McKenna Band debuted last week in the United Kingdom as one of the new World Showcase entertainment acts. The Paul McKenna Band is a traditional four-piece group from Glasgow, Scotland who will perform in the courtyard of the United Kingdom. The band’s contemporary approach to songs never strays too far from their Scottish, folk music roots. Show times for the Paul McKenna Band are 11, 11:50 a.m., 12:45, 1:40, 2:35, 3:35 and 4:50 p.m.

Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre, with show times at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. While some of these dates have passed, we wanted to share with you the entire list of narrators that are part of this program. Narrators include:

  • Jodi Benson – November 28 – 29, 2014
  • Neil Patrick Harris – November 30 – December 2, 2014
  • Jonathan Groff (NEW!) – December 3 – 4, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 – 6, 2014
  • LeVar Burton – December 7 – 9, 2014
  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 – 12, 2014
  • Joe Morton (NEW!) – December 13 – 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 – 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 – 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

Candlelight Dining Packages are available for Guests. With these special dinner packages, Guests receive dinner at a restaurant of their choice, guaranteed seating at America Gardens Theatre for a booked Candlelight Processional show time and viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Note: Dinner packages do not include park admission. Limited availability.

New! Meet Santa at Epcot:  Santa is available to meet guests at The American Adventure, during Holidays Around the World.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Disney Forms Relationship with Turner Classic Movies for The Great Movie Ride: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has announced a new strategic relationship with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and The Walt Disney Studios to broaden its reach in family entertainment with joint efforts centered on classic film. The relationship features include new TCM integration into The Great Movie ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on-air showcase of Disney Treasures. TCM branding will be integrated into the attraction’s marquee as well as banners, posters and display windows outside the attraction. In the queue line, families will enjoy new digital movie posters and will watch a new pre-ride video with TCM host Robert Osborne providing illuminating insights from the movies some of which Guests will experience during the ride. The finale will feature an all-new montage of classic movie moments. After Guests exit the attraction, they will have a photo opportunity with a classic movie theme. Changes are expected to be seen in The Great Movie Ride by Spring 2015.

Disney’s Star Wars Weekends Dates Announced and Dining Available for Booking: Attention fans of The Force – get ready to plan your trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2015! Star Wars Weekends will be held every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from May 15-June 14, 2015. Once again, the Star Wars Character Dining Experiences will be available and they are open for booking now. Choose from Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at $49.99 per adult and $31.99 per child ages 3-9 or Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, Including Fantasmic! Dining Package at $57.99 per adult and $34.99 per child ages 3-9. Prices include tax, but not gratuity. Star Wars Weekends dates are as follows:

  • Weekend I: May 15-17, 2015
  • Weekend II: May 22-24, 2015
  • Weekend III: May 29-31, 2015
  • Weekend IV: June 5-7, 2015
  • Weekend V: June 12-14, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree Barbecue to Close Temporarily Starting Jan. 5: Beginning Jan. 5, construction will start at Flame Tree Barbecue, which will result in an approximate three month closure. During the refurbishment, which is anticipated to last until early April, we will enhance the location by adding additional covered seating areas, covering choice Guest walkways to some pavilion seating areas and extending the roof over the main building to offer additional cover for Guests waiting to place their order. Since the food offerings at Flame Tree Barbecue are favorites amongst Guests, a selection of them will be offered at existing kiosks throughout the park during the downtime.

Disney World Resort Hotels

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Front Desk Reopened: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has reopened the front desk of the Great Ceremonial House, and it’s beautiful!

Resort Holiday Decorations have Returned:

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort:  The all-new “Frozen” gingerbread ice castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is adorned with sugar snowflakes, gingerbread shingles and chocolate-coated trees – Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven are decorated with sugar, chocolate and candy.

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort: Also all new is a life-size replica of a Jersey Shore Boardwalk concession stand serving holiday treats – ice cream cones, gingerbread houses and cookies and stollen bread. Sweet wreaths and Mickey- and Minnie-shaped gingerbreads decorate the stand.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: The life-size gingerbread house celebrates 16 years at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – the pastry chefs use the same building plans to re-create a fresh masterpiece each year, using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria (they estimate 400 hours of baking).

Disney’s Beach Club Resort: Check out the 14th annual Holiday Carousel, a life-size, spinning carousel with ponies made of chocolate and fondant, handcrafted poinsettia and gingerbread snowflakes – look for 14 hidden Mickeys, one for each year!

Disney’s Yacht Club: Find an adorable holiday village with miniature train adorns the lobby, surrounded with sugar rock mountains.

Disneyland

“Frozen Fun” at Disneyland

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Frozen is invading Disneyland in 2015! All the new Frozen attractions will officially open on January 7th but they will begin select sneak peaks starting December 20th.

  • For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – The Muppet*Vision 3D theater in Hollywood Land has been transformed for this event into the beautiful Crown Jewel Theatre from Arendelle. You’re invited to step inside and join the Arendelle Historians – along with special appearances by Anna, Elsa & Kristoff – for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
  • Olaf’s Snow Fest – Stage 17 in Hollywood Land plays host to an immersive winter wonderland straight out of the Kingdom of Arendelle, complete with a giant snow play area and musical performances by The Frolicking Fjords and The Tubadors. You can glide down a snow slide, build a snowman of your own and visit everyone’s favorite snowy pal, Olaf and give him a warm hug.
  • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post – Head back outside, and nearby you’ll find Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, where you can pick up the latest “Frozen”-inspired apparel, plush, toys, mugs and more.FrozenOlaf
  • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – Anna and Elsa meet & greet will move from Fantasyland to an elegant new location inside the Disney Animation attraction at Disney California Adventure park, where you can meet them as part of a special royal greeting. You may also get a chance to meet Olaf! The colorful and varied display in the Animation Courtyard will also now include scenes and music from Disney’s Academy Award-winning blockbuster hit, “Frozen,” and at Animation Academy, a Disney artist asks, “Do You Want to Draw a Snowman?”
  • Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party – Each evening, you’re invited to “chill out” in Hollywood Land with music, dancing, interactive fun and more in this new, family-friendly experience. You’ll arrive at the party through an icy archway to find wintry décor, dazzling lighting effects, cool photo spots, yummy treats and frosty beverages for all ages. Throughout the night, a giant thermometer registers the drop in temperature, as things get so cool they ultimately reach the freezing point when everyone lets it go in a spectacular “Frozen Fun” crescendo!
  • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade resumes January 7th and Anna & Elsa will once again be on their pre-parade float.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats returns later this month with a new addition to this charming and beloved Fantasyland attraction, with excursions through the world of “Frozen” offering views of the fjord-side village of Arendelle, including the stately castle where Anna and Elsa grew up, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, and Elsa’s mountaintop ice palace. The miniature locales of “Frozen” will find a new home among the familiar scenes of some of Disney’s most enduring and timeless fairy tales.
  • Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink will be continuing through February 22, 2015 at Downtown Disney District
  • Anne & Elsa Boutique is open now at Downtown Disney District.

We will soon be posting a look into what is happening in 2015 for Disney parks and Disney news so stay tuned for our next post!

Happy Disney travels!

WDW Memory Maker Price Increase

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Disney announced a price increase for their PhotoPass Memory Maker. As of December 3, 2014, pre-orders now cost $169.99 which is a $20 increase. If you purchase Memory Maker at the park or need it activated immediately, the price is $199.99.

If you aren’t familiar with PhotoPass Memory Maker, here is a quite rundown of what it is. It was formerly called PhotoPass+ (and before that, it was just PhotoPass CD). What this service provides is a pre-purchase of all your photos at the parks taken by a PhotoPass photographer, as well as all on-ride photos (only available on select attractions) and character dining special photos. Disney offers a special discounted price if you pre-order the CD but it is also available at the parks as well as after your vacation is over only it is a higher price.

If you purchase Memory Maker and add it to your My Disney Experience, you will receive all your in-park photos that will be mailed to you after your vacation. You can have multiple PhotoPass cards and simply log in to the Memory Maker website once you are back from your trip and log all your photo cards in to your account. They will compile them for you and mail them to your home.

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We highly recommend purchasing Memory Maker and we have done it on all our Disney trips. Disneyland still uses PhotoPass+ for their parks and it provides the same service for $69.99 but it must be purchased 14 days in advance of your trip. For Memory Maker, there is now a 3-day wait period before it is active and will include park photos. Any photos taken in that 3-day time period will have to be purchased separate.

If you are heading to a Disney park next year, we recommend pre-ordering your Memory Maker, but please take note of the price change!

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