Summer Family Movies 2016

It’s almost summertime! Our family is so excited for all the fun activities that come along with summer, and my kids love seeing the great summer movies. We have compiled the list of the family movies coming out in theaters this summer that we think you and your family will love seeing!

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The Jungle Book – In theaters now!

Technically, this movie is in theaters NOW but it is a huge hit and kids love it! Whenever we get a free weekend, this is tops on our list! The movie is the live action version of the animated version The Jungle Book – the story of Mogli, a boy raised by wolves in the jungle, who has to leave the jungle because of the tiger, Sheer Khan. He is accompanied by his friend, the panther Bageera and the bear, Baloo. Rated PG

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Angry Birds – May 20

Movie based on the very popular game app – you would think it was the other way around. We follow the story of the bird island and three particular birds, why they are angry, and how they have to thwart the evil plans of the pigs! Looks really funny actually…my kids have been wanting to see this one for awhile! Rated PG

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Finding Dory – June 17

The sequel to the amazing “Finding Nemo” movie and who isn’t looking forward to this one? The plot of this movie is Dory in search of her family along with her beloved friends who help her along the way. All the original voices are returning for this fun sequel! Not yet rated

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The BFG – July 1

When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite books. And I’m SO excited they are making it into a movie that kids are going to love. AND its directed by Steven Spielberg! If you didn’t read the book by Roald Dahl, the little girl Sophie befriends a friendly but lonely giant and the adventure begins from there. Not yet rated.

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The Secret Life of Pets – July 8

This movie looks really funny and my kids laugh at the preview every time! The storyline follows one dog, Max, who is dealing with a new dog in the family, as well as a sub-plot of abandoned pets who want to take over the “pet life” world. Expect lots of laughs with this one! Not yet rated

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Ice Age: Collision Course – July 22

Yep! Its another Ice Age movie! My kids really have loved all the movies so I would expect this one to be just as good as the other…how many is it now? Basically, the world is in peril and the Ice Age crew has to save themselves…again. Should be a funny film and parents actually like watching these too.

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Pete’s Dragon – August 12

I grew up loving the original Pete’s Dragon, so I am hesitant about the remake. But I’m sure Disney will make this magical and bigger than ever! We aren’t sure yet if the story line will be similar to the original movie or go off-course. It still centers around Pete and his best friend, Elliot who is a dragon.

Tween Summer Movies

Do you have a tween that would like to “graduate” from the animated family flicks this summer? Here are a couple summer movies that the older kiddos will be excited to see!

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Alice Through the Looking Glass  – May 27

If your tween didn’t see the first Alice in Wonderland movie, it might be a good idea to watch before this movie as the same weird and quirky characters are revisiting Alice in this sequel. This movie will be a little dark and weird, but totally awesome and spectacular at the same time! And tweens, teens and parents will love it! This is probably not a great movie for the younger crowd as it might be too visually “different” but it won’t be scary or inappropriate. Rated PG

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Ghostbusters – July 15

If your tween has seen the original two Ghostbusters movies, this will be right up their alley! Basically, the story line is similar to the first with a misfit group of people who are trying to rid the city of ghosts through unconventional methods. It hasn’t been rated yet but expect some language and inappropriate content of some sort. But it will most likely be hilarious and is a very anticipated movie for the summer! Not yet rated

Just making this list makes me excited for summer movie season!! I hope your family is excited for some fun movie adventures and I can’t wait to see these fun films! Now I need to put together a list of summer movies for date nights!

Circle by Disney Review

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You may have seen ads about Circle by Disney and wondered what this is and what it is all about. After our family looked into it, we decided to give it a try and see if it could help in our house. You may not be at the point in your house where you have multiple electronic devices that everyone is using at different times, but our house has iPhones, iPhone Touches, a kid’s computer, laptops and iPads that our kids are on throughout the day. Sometimes these are used for school assignments but sometimes it is just for fun. It can be next to impossible to manage all of these devices all the time. That is where Circle comes in and helps parents monitor all of these devices.

Summer is coming…I know parents don’t want their kids spending summer doing this:

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At our house, we try to limit the amount of time our kids spend having screen time: television, iPads, games, computer…there are a lot of screens! On top of that, we want our kids to only have access to safe stuff and restrict online access. Circle helps with all this! Circle lets you manage content that your kids are exposed to AND the amount of time they spend online and on apps and games. And parents can manage it all from the Circle app on their phone.

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This is what our app looks like on our phone. Each person has a different age setting: adult, teen, kid and Pre-k. And you can set time limits and bedtimes for each age. So lets say your preschooler grabs an iPad and wants to play a game after their bedtime. If they try to log into the iPad after their set time on Circle, they encounter this page:

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Our family has had issues with managing time on devices. As hard as we work, it is really difficult and Circle is helping us really reign it all in. In addition to setting time limits and bedtimes, you can filter out things you don’t want kids to have access to as well as adults. While our kid’s setting doesn’t allow YouTube, the adult computers do so if they want to see an awesome Disney YouTube video, they can get permission from us to see it. This limits the chance of them clicking on something that we don’t want them to see.

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Parents can also get an insight on each family member and device on what has been played and viewed. What exactly is your tween spending time doing on her phone? What is your preschooler’s favorite game? And how long did they spend on that game or app?

The Circle device is very small and non-intrusive. This is it (minus the box):

Circle

That’s it! Just that little white box and it can be anywhere in your house but of course, a central location is best for internet access. If you are interested in getting Circle for your family, you can purchase it from multiple locations including Amazon and Best Buy. You can also purchase directly from Circle by Disney online. All locations offer it for that same price of $99. If you want to read more about circle, visit the meetcircle website.

Start this summer off right by limiting kids screens and making management easy! We are loving how simple Circle has made this for us and how easy it is to adjust it from our phones. We highly recommend this system for families.

We did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions are our own and offered by our own accord.

Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration 2015

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Last week, I had the honor of attending Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. This amazing event is an invitation only conference for bloggers and social media moms, and I was so excited to be invited this year! Disney designs this conference as a family event and attendees are encouraged to bring their families along. I chose to bring my oldest daughter with me as part of a graduation gift as well as some very special mother and daughter time.

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I would like to share some of the highlights from the weekend with you. The conference was held at the beautiful Yacht Club, which is one of my favorite resorts at Disney World. We were greeted by our favorite character, Mickey Mouse!

View from our room at the Yacht Club

View from our room at the Yacht Club

The event began with a fabulous welcome reception held at Epcot that included fabulous food, music and character greets for kids. The food was so creative, and I mean that in a good way! Where else would you find cheeseburger egg rolls and smoking popcorn? My daughter and I took pictures with Rapunzel, Sorcerer Mickey and Baymax and Hiro. It was a very fun kick off for the weekend!

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The social media celebration was one full day of sessions held at the Yacht Resort Conference center. We were treated to some delicious meals and snacks, as well as some amazing speakers that inspired everyone!

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Our first speaker was George A. Kalagridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort. He shared with us upcoming expansion news including Animal Kingdom and Avatar World. He told us about DisneyGrants for 2015 (#2015DisneyGrants). And he gave sneak peeks at the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Celebration that begins May 22!!

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We then heard from Eva Smith, Head of Marcom and Insights at Pinterest. She shared great insight on Pinterest use for our blogs and how to reach a wider audience. It is amazing to see what a large reach Pinterest has and how much it has grown over the years. Pinterest is one of my favorite places on the web!

Next, we heard from Jonas Rivera, Producer of the upcoming Pixar film Inside Out. He shared with us the process of their storytelling and development for the exciting new film that is opening in theaters June 19th. They have been working on this film for five years! My kids can’t wait to see it.

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Disney Social Media reminded us that Star Wars weekends were starting the following weekend, and we were surprised with Storm Troopers in the conference! As a Star Wars fan, it was very exciting!!

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Our next speaker was Janice Baldemino, Director Global Brand Marketing for Disney Infinity! We got the inside scoop on the upcoming release of Disney Infinity 3.0! My family loves Disney Infinity so I was so excited to learn that in the summer, they will be releasing Star Wars characters – three sets, with the new 3.0 as well as Inside Out characters! And the newest characters coming are Mickey and Minnie! They gifted all the attendees with these classic characters! Check out the new 3.0 characters coming soon!

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The most inspiring moment of the day was hearing from Vivienne Harr, Chief Executive Officer at Stand. She is 11 years old. She started a campaign selling lemonade to help end child slavery around the world, and her small idea grew into a huge movement! She has started the company Stand, to unite people for causes around the world. Check out her site at stand.tc

One of the main sponsors of this amazing event is Alamo. Megan Maguire, Brand Publicity Manager, spoke to us about their new Twitter presence and their new social media team of Chief Travel Moms who blog about traveling with kids. Check them out on twitter @Alamo.

Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group and bestselling author of eight books, spoke to us about developing a newsletter and developing content for our readers. He had amazing insight for everyone!

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Next, we were so lucky to have Jeffry Epstein, Manager of the official Disney fan club, D23! He talked with us about the upcoming D23 Expo that will be held August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is a biyearly event and it is filled with entertainment, celebrity and talent visits, special exhibits, new Disney announcements and sneak peeks, special merchandise and a fan costume contest that is fantastic! To check out all the info, visit D23Expo.com. If you are interested in membership into the fan club, there are different price levels including a free level!

Imagicademy

Disney Imagicademy spoke to us about their new line of kids apps, which we have featured on our blog including Mickey’s Magical Math World and Mickey’s Art World. Dr. Tanya Altmann shared with us that their next amazing kids app is coming this summer and it will be Frozen: Early Science. What they showed us looks awesome and it may be one of our favorites!

DonaldDriver

We ended our conference with a speech from retired NFL Wide Receiver Donald Driver. He was inspiring and funny, and the best end to a wonderful day. He shared parts of his life story and how he overcame the challenges in his life. But he also shared a story about experiencing harsh and cruel words through social media, and how he dealt with it. He inspired us to give purpose to the words we write. “Stars do not struggle to shine. Rivers do not struggle to flow. It’s all about the power of your passion!” -Donald Driver

After all our sessions, we got to have a special Mickey’s Beach Bash on the beach in front of the Beach and Yacht Club. Mickey and friends joined up for the fun, and we enjoyed live music and delicious Disney cuisine!

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My favorite decoration of the night was a hand crafted sandcastle made just for us!

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The next day, we were given the opportunity to see a sneak peek of the new Disney Pixar movie, Inside Out! We were shuttled to  the AMC Theater in Downtown Disney and treated to a light breakfast while we watched the movie. We also got to see the first 12 minutes of the new Disney movie Tomorrowland.

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First, Inside Out is awesome! We didn’t get to see the end because the finishing touches are still being put together, but the part we saw was fantastic! Kids will love it! It is really clever and funny. The preview for Tomorrowland was awesome too! It looks like a unique and intriguing movie. Inside Out will be in theaters June 19th and Tomorrowland opens this weekend, starting May 22nd.

There was plenty of park time for us as well, as we were able to enjoy some of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival which was beautiful. I will share some of our photos of the festival in another post. The next day was Mother’s Day, and Disney treated all the Social Media Moms to a delicious breakfast as well as some music from the a capella group Voice Play. It was an awesome show!

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My daughter and I had a great time and I had the most amazing experience learning and meeting other bloggers. The social media moms were a diverse group of bloggers and vloggers. I was truly honored to be included in their group!

Disney gave us lots of great gifts as well as treated us so special. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to be a part of the celebration. My daughter and I had a great mother and daughter trip too – something that can be rare in a family of four kids.

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I hope we are given the opportunity to be part of Disney’s Social Media Moms celebration again. Disney is an amazing leader in the social media world and they really know how the reach their audience. This was a wonderful weekend!

Disclaimer: Preschoolears is a personal blog and all opinions, ideas and content are my own. We did receive gifts from sponsors as well as discounts on Disney accommodations, park passes and park perks for attending this conference.

15 Tips for MagicBand and FastPass+ at Disney World

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Disney World has turned high tech with MagicBands, FastPass+ and the My Disney Experience app. Their new system is designed to make your visit to the happiest place on earth as easy and simple as possible! While it is quite slick, you have to get to know the system a bit to make it truly easy and seamless. We were newbies on our last trip to the world with the new system, but after two weeks, we consider ourselves pros on it now. We would like to share our 15 top tips and advice for using the MagicBands, FastPass+ and the My Disney Experience app for families.

Keep in mind that MagicBands are free for guests staying on Disney property with purchased park tickets. If you are staying off property, you can still purchase a MagicBand if you have park tickets or use paper tickets for FastPasses.

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  1. On the My Disney Experience website, make sure all family members in your party are linked together. This will make it simple for one person to make all the FastPass choices and reservations for everyone.
  2. Customize your MagicBands on My Disney Experience by color and name. Each person can have their own color and their name is printed on the underside of the band. Also, the bands come in one size BUT you can remove the gray surround to make the overall band smaller for kids. They are meant to be adjustable this way.
  3. Wear them all the time. They can go swimming with you and get wet – no biggy! Get used to having them on so that you are never without them. They are your key to your room as well as your pass to the park as well as your FP for your next ride as well as linking your photos to your Memory Maker. And you can charge things at dining and shopping from your band. So with all that linked to one band, you better keep it on ALL THE TIME!
  4. Schedule your FastPass+ right when your window opens. Don’t wait on this one because times are being taken quickly especially during busier times of year. And the hottest FastPasses go really fast.
  5. To open the door to your room, you have to give it a hard tap. This may seem like an odd tip but all other places in the park, you hold your band on the scan for a few seconds. But on their hotel doors, you have to give it a hard tap on the sensor for the door to open. This little tip will save you some time fighting with your room door late at night. Your welcome.
  6. Pre-purchase Memory Maker and link it to your band. When you are on attractions with ride photos (i.e. Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Buzz Lightyear…) the ride will automatically load those photos onto your account by reading your band on the ride. Yep, you don’t do anything but wear the band. See tip #3 for a reminder of wearing your band all the time! And PhotoPass photographers just scan your bands when they take pictures. Easy pleasy.
  7. You are given three FastPass+ options each day at one park, but once you are done with those three, you can visit one of the FP+ kiosks to add more one at a time. Only one person from your party needs to go to the kiosk (since you did tip #1 and linked everyone’s bands) and then they can get another FP. Cast Members are standing next to each kiosk to help you through the process although it is really simple.
  8. Use the My Disney Experience app in the parks to check your scheduled dining,  and FastPasses as well as attraction wait times. You can make some changes to FastPasses from this app but the kiosks are a bit easier. Also, keep in mind that the app is dependent on signal and number of users at the park so it has times it doesn’t load. Wait times were fairly accurate on the app within each park. It is a great tool while at the parks.
  9. Want to bling out your band? You can get Disney Band-its to add to your MagicBand. They are similar to the Jibbitz that you could put into your Croc shoes–they simply stick into the empty holes on the band, and there are lots of choices. There are also LOTS of choices of special MagicBands you can buy that are available at select locations in the parks.
  10. Know where the kiosks are in each park. All parks have three locations and Magic Kingdom has four. So there aren’t a huge amount of spots, which means when crowds are high, the lines are long. It is very, very important that you know where these locations are at each park – memorize it! Bring a list with you! Trust me – this little tip will save you lots of wasted time.
  11. When you all use a FP, make sure every child/person swipes their band BOTH times through the line so that the computer logs it at used and you can add additional FP. Once a FP window has passed, you can add more as well.
  12. Remember the grace periods on your FP window. Five minutes early is fine, and fifteen minutes late is fine. Anything outside those times and you won’t be let on the attraction or show. If you miss your FP, its gone.
  13. When you schedule a FP for a show and they give you a window of time to return, for the best seat, arrive at the beginning of that window. If you arrive at the end of that window, you are basically the same as the standby line. If you have a FP for an attraction and you have an hour window to return, anytime in that window is good–it won’t matter when you arrive in that window.
  14. Anyone with a band on your account can use it for photos, park passes and opening your resort door. You have to authorize who can use it for purchases and a pin is required when you scan it. It could be “dangerous” at Disney for kids to have authorization for purchases depending on the age. But using the band for quick snacks and meals was so great and easy.
  15. Finally, to make sure you don’t forget a band each day (see tip #3 again!) make a Park Packing List that you check off every morning to make sure you have it all. Sunglasses, sunblock. autograph books, snacks AND MagicBands! You won’t forget necessary items as well as those marvelous bands.

In general, we loved the MagicBands. Our kids thought they were so much fun! I must confess I loved how slick it all was and we didn’t have to think about too many things. And we didn’t have to carry as much. The system itself still has some glitches but I believe it is getting better and I think it is a revolutionary idea. If you are heading to the parks this year, have fun with the MagicBands and the My Disney Experience system! And take our tips and advice to make it even better!

**Last little tip: If you also wear a FitBit or electronic exercise band, wear your MagicBand on the opposite hand as the signals can compete with the scan. Always wear your MagicBand on the same hand you use for the finger scan at the gates each time.**

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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