Adventurer Mom http://www.adventurermom.com Live. Learn. Explore. Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:10:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 http://www.adventurermom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/cropped-Small-Logo1-32x32.png Adventurer Mom http://www.adventurermom.com 32 32 95676531 Disney Cruise Line Summer 2018 Itineraries! http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/02/disney-cruise-line-summer-2018-itineraries/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:10:30 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=4043 Surprise! Instead of making us wait until late March like the previous two years, summer 2018 itineraries will be available for booking as of February 23 (February 22 for those Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members.) What’s New? The Disney Magic will flip flop her usual schedule, beginning the European itineraries in the Mediterranean and …

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Surprise!

Instead of making us wait until late March like the previous two years, summer 2018 itineraries will be available for booking as of February 23 (February 22 for those Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members.)

What’s New?

The Disney Magic will flip flop her usual schedule, beginning the European itineraries in the Mediterranean and cruising into the British Isles and Norway for July and August. New ports include Genoa, Italy and Cork, Ireland.

The Disney Wonder cruises five and nine night Alaskan itineraries in addition to the traditional seven night cruises from mid-May throughout summer of 2018.

The Disney Dream continues her three and four night Bahamian cruises to Castaway Cay but be on the lookout for some five night double dips as well.

The Disney Fantasy is continuing  with Eastern and Western Caribbean weeks with one Southern Caribbean thrown into the mix for good measure.

What are you interested in booking?

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Early Morning Magic Fantasyland http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/02/early-morning-magic-fantasyland/ http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/02/early-morning-magic-fantasyland/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 22:20:12 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3861 Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing fun ways to splurge at Disney. Have you ever dreamed of visiting Magic Kingdom when it is (almost) empty? Sneaking onto the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as many times as you like without queueing? Dancing up Main Street without any crowds? Are you an extreme …

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Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing fun ways to splurge at Disney.


Early Morning Magic
Castle pictures at dawn? Yep. Just me a photographer and a cast member rolling his cart to work.

Have you ever dreamed of visiting Magic Kingdom when it is (almost) empty? Sneaking onto the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as many times as you like without queueing? Dancing up Main Street without any crowds? Are you an extreme early bird who would love a few rides before breakfast time?

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Pulling on the Sword in the Stone in front of the empty Carousel.

 

 

 

Me too!
So I decided to splurge for the Early Morning Magic Fantasyland tickets last vacation.

Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland
Limited entry, early access to the parks an hour prior to park opening. Includes The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Also includes an all you care to eat buffet hosted by Pinocchio’s Village Haus. $69 per adult and $59 per child plus tax. Advanced reservation highly recommended.

Early Morning Magic-Fantasyland
So close!

Available select mornings only, I found myself queuing outside our resort to catch the bus well before dawn. How early? We excitedly queued at our resort bus stop at 6:30 AM and arrived at the Magic Kingdom by 6:45 AM. We were second in line waiting for security to begin around 7:00 AM. (For reference, the normal park opening hours weren’t until 9 AM that day.) Several of the Early Morning Magic families queued together took turns running kids to the bathroom.

Early Morning Magic-Fantasyland
Our week got plastic party bracelets stamped with the Early Morning Magic logo!

A cheerful predawn cast member checked our reservations and distributed event identification. Then right before 7:45, they released our group!

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Don’t trip on the trolley tracks!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to a rope drop where we were absolute first into the park. I never pick the right line. Since the couple in front of us wanted to climb upstairs and see the view from the train station, that left us as the first occupants of Main Street U.S.A. How do you put a value on gleefully skipping toward Cinderella Castle and giggling like a school girl?

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Priceless.

PhotoPass Photographers capture memories all down Main Street and throughout the hub. After some quick pictures, we decided to take our road less traveled and cut directly through the castle. I always mean to go through the castle. I usually cut around toward Merida’s meet and greet to shave off wait time…but that’s not a concern this morning.

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Wait…you mean you can go through the castle?

Christopher and Kylee each have a go at Excalibur in front of Prince Charming Royal Carousel. Then we get down to the business at hand. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Lots and lots of times.

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
After a few rides, the kids were worried we would lose track…hence the countdown photos. This is our seventh time up the first drop.

The main reason we theoretically took the chance on this splurge is that my kids were in the sweet spot for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train…it’s just thrilling enough, but not too scary for re-ride-ability. During Early Morning Magic, they let us turn right around, and bypass most of the exit to return through the normal FastPass+ queue. I don’t know where the other guests went. Perhaps they were hungrier than us. Several times we were the only guests on the entire train.

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Yes, they each have their own row. (This is ride eight.) Chris decided he preferred the front car, Kylee, the back car, they tried sitting most of the train that morning.

In the end, the kids felt ten rides on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (and once each on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight) made for a perfect start of the day. (We went twice more later in the day, making an even dozen.)

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Waiting for Princesses to wake up? #bestbrotherever

To round out our magical morning, we queued outside Princess Fairytale Hall and met Aurora and Snow White as soon as they woke up for the day.

Assuming a wait of only half an hour for each time on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh, we saved a minimum of six hours queuing. Reality is, we’ve queued well over and hour for each ride before…more than once. Splurge? I think of this more as a savings. Savings for my sanity. #disneymomproblems

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Waiting for us with all the juice, pastries, eggs, bacon, coffee, tea, and French toast we could care to eat. The buffet continued until 10 AM. We pushed it off until 9:30 after several more rides to take advantage of the low crowds at park opening.

We headed over to Pinocchio’s for a nice quick breakfast and then leisurely began our touring plan for the day.

Is Early Morning Magic Fantasyland the right splurge for you?

For us this was a no brainer. My kids love one of the three rides offered beyond all hope of reason.

How much do they love thee?
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, they voluntarily queued for an hour and a half when they’d already ridden it that day.

This is perfect for naturally early risers who love either one or more of the offered rides extremely much (AKA those who end up queuing for all three of these rides despite FastPass+).

Early Morning Magic Fantasyland
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Super Fans, only.

Skip this splurge if you hate waking up early (6 AM is much earlier on vacation than at home), if one ride on each of these rides is enough (FastPass+ is free, y’all!) or if you’re doing it for the empty Main Street USA photos (not guaranteed).

We’re excited to try out the night owl version, After Hours at Magic Kingdom, next month!

So what do you think: plurge or skip? Why?

For more Disney Splurges,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue  | Disney Splurges Loop:

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National Plan For Vacation Day. It’s a Thing. http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/01/plan-for-vacation/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:42:19 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=4019 Study after study has proven that downtime has real benefits, and while the majority of Americans believe strongly in the value of time off, we continue to function under the assumption that endless face time serves us better than taking the occasional break. We fail to plan for vacation. Let that number sink in. More …

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Study after study has proven that downtime has real benefits, and while the majority of Americans believe strongly in the value of time off, we continue to function under the assumption that endless face time serves us better than taking the occasional break. We fail to plan for vacation.

Take Back Vacation!
Take back vacation!

Let that number sink in.

More than half of us aren’t using our hard-earned vacation time, resulting in a stockpile of 658 million unused vacation days and a workforce always on the brink of burn out.

What’s worse, we’re doing nothing to correct our work martyr mentality—if anything, we’re letting it thrive. While senior business leaders overwhelmingly recognize the importance of using time off, they aren’t talking, as nearly two-thirds of employees say their company says next to nothing about time off. Couple that silence with our fears and anxieties about taking time off, and it is a recipe for keeping us at the office. According to research from Project: Time Off, the top barriers for employees include:

  • Concern over returning to a mountain of work, 37%
  • Feeling that no one else can do the job, 30%
  • Impression that taking time off is harder as you grow in the company, 28%
  • Wanting to show complete dedication, 22%

There is a secret to overcoming all our vacation fears: planning.

Planning is the most important step in making vacation possible and, according to Project: Time Off, planners are more likely to use all their earned time off and take longer breaks at once. They are also happier with their personal and professional lives—not to mention they have bosses who have plenty of advanced notice to cover them while they’re out.

Plan for Vacation

It’s time for you to take back your calendar and put downtime at the top of your list of priorities. Planning for vacation can be achieved in three simple steps:
  1. Determine how much time off you earn and identify the vacation policies at your workplace.
  2. Get to dreaming! How do you want to spend your time off this year?
  3. Add your vacation plans to the calendar and share with your manager, your colleagues—everyone!
Plan for Vacation
So many dream vacations. So little time.

This year, don’t let your vacation days be part of a statistic. Your bucket list can be a to-do list with dedicated thought and planning.

Whether you’re wanting to visit Walt Disney World, Disneyland, head out on a cruise,  or relax on Hawaiian beaches, I can help you get started!

Take Back Vacation!
Take back vacation!

Read more about the importance of planning at www.ProjectTimeOff.com/PlanForVacation

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Adventurer Kids | Disney Queues http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/01/disney-queues/ http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/01/disney-queues/#comments Mon, 23 Jan 2017 23:00:02 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3975 Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are sharing some of the best queues at the Disney Parks. Disney queues, lines, and wait times, oh my! While generally my approach to the parks focuses on minimizing standing on queue (thank you, FastPass+) a few queues are worth waiting for. While I love the …

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Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are sharing some of the best queues at the Disney Parks.


Disney Queues
Ogling Ahsoka’s Lightsaber in the Chewbacca Meet and Greet Queue

Disney queues, lines, and wait times, oh my! While generally my approach to the parks focuses on minimizing standing on queue (thank you, FastPass+) a few queues are worth waiting for.

While I love the little details all over the parks, the lines often get overlooked. I wondered if the kids even noticed the Disney queues, let alone had favorite queues. Save your FastPass+ for another ride (or go on these twice) as the Adventurer Kids rate their all time favorite Disney Queues- an attraction worth waiting for!

ADVENTURER KID INTERVIEW FOLLOWS
(From here on Adventurer Mom’s comments appear in parentheses.)

Code Name: Adventurer Boy

On Meeting Chewbacca: Totally cool. Bummer they didn’t have Luke or Han or Yoda, though!

Name: Christopher
Age: 10
Specialties: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, and Wilderness Explorers. Anything interactive.
Height: 51″
Favorite Park: Epcot
Favorite Disney Memory: I was on Star Tours and they scanned the area for a match. They found me. I ended up being a rebel spy so the Imperials started shooting our transport! C3PO managed to get us out of the hanger but we went through several battles, including the battle of Coruscant and Kashyyyk. Jango Fett almost got us blown up but we met up with the Rebel cruiser. And made it!
Very Favorite Attraction: Test Track

Best Disney Queues

5. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin – It explains what your mission is. It makes me feel like I’m ready to beat Zurg.
4. Space Mountain – It can show you all the destinations in several galaxies. I like the safety reviews. I like the video games when they were working.
3. Barnstormer – Goofy did tricks like jump through a hoop on fire. There is a cannon he flew out of. It looks like he made lots of mistakes. Because he’s Goof’ it’s often. It’s funny.

Disney Queues
C3PO and R2D2 prepare your Starspeeder 1000.

2. Star Tours – It acts like an airport but for spaceships. It has the stuff to let you know what trips are scheduled where. (Arrivals and departures board?) There’s also droids and you can see Jawas through glass. I like Jawas because they’re traders and good scavengers.
1. Test Track – I love testing and making the vehicles. It’s just so exciting getting to test what you make. I like the part of Test Track right at the beginning and right at the end when they test your pace. I liked when our car won the categories.

Code Name: Adventurer Girl

Dream Jobs: Stunt Woman, Actress, Disney Cruise Line Dancing Cast Member, Homeschool Mom and a Librarian too.

 

Name: Kylee
Age: 8
Specialties: Adrenaline Junkie, Meet and Greets
Height: Just Over 44″
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Disney Memory: On my first trip to Walt Disney World on Barnstormer, my first ever roller coaster, it was really exciting! The part where it drops after it goes up? That’s when I fell in love with roller coasters.
Very Favorite Attraction at Walt Disney World: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – I like it because if you’re a first timer it’s always fun because you’re going up the hill through the mine you think it’s going to be the end but you get a whole ‘nother drop after the ‘Heigh-Ho!’ around ’till you get to the cottage.

Best Disney Queues

5. Star Tours (The Adventure Continues) – In the ride there are all these different robots around you and it’s all “oh I want to stay at this part of the queue!” Then there is a video talking to you about embarking and safety but Star-Warsy.
4. It’s Tough to Be a Bug – You get to see all different kinds of animal patterns in the walls. (The Tree of Life.) It really brings the ride to life, because you can tell “oh there might be a bug on this one!” It keeps with the theme that it’s tough to be a bug because you get lost wandering around in the queue in the dirt.

Disney Queues
The Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom boasts over 300 animals carved in her “bark”.

3. Haunted Mansion – I mean you tap a book and another one will come out. Then it closes and another comes out at you, which I just find fascinating. It keeps on subject, ‘spooky’ and it’s all still scary. (You mean it keeps consistent with the theme?) Yes. That’d be a grown-up way to say it.
2. (The Many Adventures of) Winnie the Pooh – You get to play with little bees and there are screens with pictures hiding under honey so you can try to wipe the honey off of them.

Disney Queues
A dozen rides on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in one day? You’re going to really get to like the queue. Or tolerate it for your brother.

1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – You get to play the whole time and it’s really fun. There are spinny crystals and you look at the ceiling and there are lights in the ceiling. There were water things that made music.

And I’m back! A bit surprised that neither of my kids picked my favorite queue…

Disney Queues
Name that queue!

What about you? What are your favorite queues?


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green  | Best Disney Queues Loop:

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How to Save Money on a Disney Cruise http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/01/save-money-disney-cruise/ http://www.adventurermom.com/2017/01/save-money-disney-cruise/#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:45:07 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3941 Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing ways for you to save money while you’re at Disney. Why should I try to save money on a Disney Cruise? I love Disney. I love Disney Cruise Line. Some of my most cherished and priceless family memories happened out to sea with Mickey …

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Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing ways for you to save money while you’re at Disney.


Save money. Hundreds of dollars off on a disney cruise, even if it isn't on sale.Why should I try to save money on a Disney Cruise?

I love Disney. I love Disney Cruise Line. Some of my most cherished and priceless family memories happened out to sea with Mickey and the gang. But if I can save a couple hundred thousand dollars, that’s more money for cabanas, souvenirs, fruity drinks and the future cruise desk.

Buckle up.

Save money. Ten tips for Disney Cruise Line on a budget.
Consider yourself warned.

Ten Insider Tips and Tricks to Save Money on a Disney Cruise

10. Save Money by Moving to Florida

Do you live in Florida? They offer last-minute discounts as Florida Resident Rates from time to time. They verify proof of residency at check-in.

Do you live in Canada? They rarely offer last-minute discounts for our neighbors to the north as well!

Do you live in Southern California? Disneyland’s neighbors also occasionally find discounts directed specifically for them.

To find this week’s deals, check out the Special Offers page on Disney Cruise Line’s website or contact your travel agent.

9. Save Money by Booking Onboard

Aside from the 10% off most stateroom categories (not the concierge rooms) and on board booking stateroom credit ($100 credit for six night or shorter cruises, $200 for seven night or longer cruises), they occasionally run specials onboard that they aren’t yet running on land or the website.

If you are uncertain of your desired dates, a future cruise voucher carries the same perks. As Disney Cruise Line puts it:

Travel must take place within 24 months of reservation to maintain booking benefits. Blackout dates apply to the Onboard Rebooking Offer, please inquire when booking a confirmed date or contact Disney Cruise Line or your travel agent for more details. Onboard credits, per stateroom, will vary based on sailing. $100 for sailing of 6-nights or less and $200 for sailings 7-nights and greater. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Not valid on VGT, OGT, or IGT stateroom categories with restrictions or 2-night sailings.

8. Flexibility Saves a Ton- 50% Off Tip Here

Disney Cruise Line cruises four different ships nearly all year long. Your flexibility in ship selection or itinerary may be well rewarded! Let’s look at the start of April this year.

Save money. Ten tips for Disney Cruise Line on a budget.
Having cruised on all four ships, picking a favorite is hard. I love all of them! If I had to, I’d go with the Disney Wonder.

I could select cruises from three, four, five or seven nights long to the Bahamas or the Caribbean departing from Florida. Current prices for these cruises for a family of four vary from $2,234 to $8,440.

FYI: The cheapest way to buy a week in that time frame today is back to back cruises on the Disney Wonder…around $3,000 cheaper than a week on the Disney Fantasy.

Flexibility on stateroom category saves a ton of cash. (Concierge rooms run roughly twice as much as interior staterooms for a family of four. Fifty percent off if you don’t opt for concierge.) I love concierge…but I love two cruises instead of one also. #firstworldproblems

If you adore concierge but could also be happy in an interior, maybe rolling the dice on a port upgrade is your style?

Save money. Ten tips for Disney Cruise Line on a budget.
Stretch your budget without pulling a muscle.

7. Plan REALLY Far in Advance

How far in advance?
In January 2017, I am waiting for the 2018 summer cruise itineraries to get released. That is likely in April/May of 2017, but DCL likes to keep us on our toes. We’ll find out two or three days beforehand at the most.

How does Disney Cruise Line pricing work?
The lowest regular cruise fare emerges on opening day. As the ship fills, the pricing increases ship wide. I’ve spent time watching a single stateroom jump in price over a thousand dollars as the ship fills over the course of an afternoon.  If I’m interested in a stateroom, I book it. I prefer this as it lets me have ample opportunity to plan.

6. Procrastinate and Still Save Money? Maybe.

Interior Guaranty, Oceanview Guaranty, and Verandah Guaranty, (oh my!) Occasionally last-minute deals open up.
The IGT, OGT, VGT rates, as the different categories of last-minute guaranty rates are abbreviated, come with an extensive list of requirements.

Save money. Ten tips for Disney Cruise Line on a budget.They price similar to the first day rates. However, I only recommend these for VERY flexible people.

IF:

  • You aren’t picky about your stateroom or location; they will assign a room and not move you.
  • You don’t already have a cruise booked, new bookings only.
  • You have the entire cost of the cruise sitting in your bank account, required on booking.
  • You realize it is nonrefundable, nontransferable and nonnegotiable.
  • You know all party members full legal names and birth date at booking.
  • You have at most four party members.
  • You want a less popular time of year or a common itinerary. The more popular dates and itineraries rarely offer GT rates.
  • You’re patient. These offers come and go.

Please read any fine print! And then go with the flow.

5. Credit is King

If you enter your Disney Visa Card as your form of payment for all onboard purchases, your “Key to the World” card will show that you are a Disney Visa Card member and eligible for onboard perks. (Though you might need to mention these offers to receive the savings.) As of early 2017, Disney Visa is offering ten percent off some DCL photo packages, 10% off select onboard merchandise purchases over $50, 10% off a Castaway Cay Getaway Package, and 20% off select onboard spa services on port days. To see the latest offerings, visit the Disney Rewards site.

4. Save Money by Skipping School Breaks

Moving a cruise by a week or two can save a thousand dollars, especially if one of those weeks happens to be during a school vacation week. If you can pull your children out of school, you might find more room availability and lower prices as well. The cheapest rates for cruising are when children attend school. Cruise prices (almost) double by booking an otherwise identical cruise in mid-August and not mid-September when schools are in session.

Save money. Ten tips for Disney Cruise Line on a budget.
What do we do?

If you can’t take the kids out of school or work for the school districts and can’t leave, look for the odd weeks your schedule affords. Do you have an October break? Check that week for cruise rates. Do you start super early but finish at the start of May? Check the first week you have off in May. Do you start super late? Check the end of August or start of September. It’s almost always cheaper than the middle of summer.

3. Work With a Travel Agent (One You’re Comfortable With)

Most reputable Disney TAs work FOR FREE. (Disney pays them). Shop around and find one you’re comfortable with before you book or transfer to one within thirty days of booking. A good TA is priceless if you are learning the ropes. They do the legwork comparing dates and rates, suggest the perfect room for your party, calling Disney Cruise Line with gift cards or payments, and jamming to the hold music on release day.

Full disclosure, I’m a travel agent. I love Disney hold music. There may be Disney hold music dance parties.

2. Buy Disney Gift Cards (with Target Red Card)

Did you know that you can call Disney Cruise Line or login to your reservation and pay off your balance with Disney Gift Cards? Disney accepts Disney Gift Cards as payment to your balance on the ship at Guest Services. You can buy Disney Gift Cards either in store or online for 5% off of the face value. So if you apply $100 in gift cards, you save $5…but if you buy $5000 in gift cards, that’s $250 off.

1. Disney Rewards Dollars

Using your Disney Visa card earns Disney Rewards Dollars instead of a cash back bonus. (Or pick your favorite rewards card system.) If you run all of your utility payments through a good rewards card, it can add up quickly. I usually cover a significant percentage of our family vacations with our rewards, but that’s not the best of it…

IMG_3344
I surprised Ben with a cruise in 2013, paid for entirely in Disney Rewards Dollars. Then again for a girls weekend cruise in 2016. TWO FREE CRUISES! For paying utilities, groceries, gas and restaurant purchases, that’s not shabby.

 

What are your best money saving tips?

For more ways to save money at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red  |  Saving Money at Disney Loop:

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Best. Year. EVER! http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/12/best-year-ever/ Sat, 31 Dec 2016 02:27:36 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3885 Merry Christmas! You can consider this your Christmas card, because between all the awesome stuff, a Christmas card won’t be happening this year. Again. Oh well! So like any year there were plenty of ups and downs. American history and algebra and surprise birthdays for my January princess and mini ninja classes for everyone. Star …

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Merry Christmas!

You can consider this your Christmas card, because between all the awesome stuff, a Christmas card won’t be happening this year. Again. Oh well!

Best. Year. EVER!
A little end of year celebration goes a long way.

So like any year there were plenty of ups and downs.

American history and algebra and surprise birthdays for my January princess and mini ninja classes for everyone. Star Wars and new jobs and sunshine and movie nights and fairy tales and set backs and bridging ceremony or two. And a fracture that had nothing to do with fairy tales.

Broken Metatarsal
In some cases more movie nights than others.

Also a lot of different celebrations and trips and changes.

Benjamin didn’t travel for work much this year…until the fall. Then he traveled like a crazy person. Canada and Utah and Arizona and so forth. He enjoys running and Skyrim and taking the kids out. I get to go out too sometimes.

Christopher keeps getting better.
Another chapter in the ongoing saga of Chris.

Christopher finished out all of his Bear Cub Scout badges then retired his neckerchief and after three (literal) marathon years with the running club, finally found his sport with parkour.

chess

He loves hiking, theatre, Warcraft, volunteering, (not necessarily in that order) and is a really excellent travel companion. Chris is growing up so fast. All those moms who say that it goes really quickly were right, but I’m starting to be okay with that.

Kylee 2016
Kylee 2016, The Year Her Schedule Imploded

Dance and ninja and theatre, oh my! With a brief (three month) recess for her fractured metatarsal (courtesy of Gaga Ball at the local Y), Kylee emerged much the same as she began 2016, with a stronger sense of her own voice thrown in for good measure. Which is good.

iPhones and texting and tweens? We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
iPhones and texting and tweens? We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

I’ve been pretty busy between teaching (oh yeah, we’re still homeschooling) and finding my way as a travel planner. Between trips to Austin to visit my best friend’s new ranch, my brother’s wedding, a girl’s trip on board the Disney Dream, a last minute trip on the Liberty of the Seas, and a back to back weeks on the newly refurbished Disney Wonder, I’ve finally got packing and travel with kids down to an art form. Oh yeah! I’ve still got this blog.

Oops.

Key West Sunshine
Key West Sunshine

I knew I’d forgotten something.

That’s okay. I’ll be back! With a few different trip reports and photo updates to keep things interesting.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

magic-kingdom-castle-pic

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The Disney Movie Challenge: Free Printable http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/10/the-disney-movie-challenge/ Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:21:47 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3872 Do you have a Disney vacation coming up that is tantalizingly close? Do you or your kids vaguely remember the characters or songs, but not the movies? Or better yet, don’t remember a character at all? With fifty-five animated feature films to pick from, it’s understandable that a film or two might get missed. Even for the …

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Do you have a Disney vacation coming up that is tantalizingly close? Do you or your kids vaguely remember the characters or songs, but not the movies? Or better yet, don’t remember a character at all? With fifty-five animated feature films to pick from, it’s understandable that a film or two might get missed. Even for the most dedicated mouseketeers. Enter the Disney Movie Countdown Challenge.

Disney Movie Challenge
Movie nights covered for more than a year.

My son has reached an age where he’s back around to loving all the old classics, (Sword and the Stone anyone?) but doesn’t really remember the films. Characters and songs? Yes. Specific plot? Not so much. It’s almost as much fun as watching them over for the first time.
#watchallthemovies

So as we approach our next trip, we decided to finally take one for the team, to work our way back through all the old animated films. For the sake of simplicity, we are working through only the Walt Disney Animation Studios animated feature films. (Sorry Tinkerbell films!)

The Disney Movie Countdown Challenge: Walt Disney Animation Studios

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  2. Pinocchio
  3. Fantasia
  4. Dumbo
  5. Bambi
  6. Saludos Amigos
  7. The Three Caballeros
  8. Make Mine Music
  9. Fun and Fancy Free
  10. Melody Time
  11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  12. Cinderella
  13. Alice in Wonderland
  14. Peter Pan
  15. Lady and the Tramp
  16. Sleeping Beauty
  17. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
  18. The Sword in the Stone
  19. The Jungle Book
  20. The Aristocats
  21. Robin Hood
  22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  23. The Rescuers
  24. The Fox and the Hound
  25. The Black Cauldron
  26. The Great Mouse Detective
  27. Oliver & Company
  28. The Little Mermaid
  29. The Rescuers Down Under
  30. Beauty and the Beast
  31. Aladdin
  32. The Lion King
  33. Pocahontas
  34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  35. Hercules
  36. Mulan
  37. Tarzan
  38. Fantasia 2000
  39. Dinosaur
  40. The Emperor’s New Groove
  41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  42. Lilo & Stitch
  43. Treasure Planet
  44. Brother Bear
  45. Home on the Range
  46. Chicken Little
  47. Meet the Robinsons
  48. Bolt
  49. The Princess and the Frog
  50. Tangled
  51. Winnie the Pooh
  52. Wreck-It Ralph
  53. Frozen
  54. Big Hero 6
  55. Zootopia
  56. Moana (Coming November 2016)
  57. Wreck It Ralph 2 (Coming March 2018)
  58. Gigantic (Coming November 2018)
  59. Untitled (November 2020)
  60. Frozen 2 (TBA)

Sometimes we work along in release order. (Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia…) Sometimes we skip around. (Beauty and the Beast, Dinosaur, Bambi…) Either way, we get to refresh our memories of old friends and hang out as a family.

Your free printable is available here as a pdf: disney-movie-challenge

In the nearly eighty years since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937, Walt Disney Animation Studios films produced an astonishing fifty-four animated feature films. Number fifty-six, Moana comes out next month!

#WatchAllTheMovies #DisneyCountdown
Share your Disney trip countdown journey by using the tag #DisneyMovieChallenge

A hint if you can’t find a movie or two, Netflix, your local library and your friends on Facebook can probably help you fill in a film or two!

If fifty-six movies isn’t challenging enough, The Completist Geek published A Check-List of All Animated Disney Movies (as of 1/3/2014). It contains all of the made for TV movies, Pixar, Marvel, Studio Ghibli, Miramax, DIC, and direct to video movies too and lists two hundred and twenty-two movies for super-fans!

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Free Printable Walt Disney World Touring Cards http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/10/free-printable-walt-disney-world-touring-cards/ Sat, 01 Oct 2016 16:47:26 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3862 I like to plan out every minute and bring my phone along to snag last minute FastPass+, but sometimes I need a low tech way to tour Walt Disney World. I originally developed these touring cards to help my son track our day. He enjoys a “set” schedule. After seeing how they helped his sense of …

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I like to plan out every minute and bring my phone along to snag last minute FastPass+, but sometimes I need a low tech way to tour Walt Disney World. I originally developed these touring cards to help my son track our day. He enjoys a “set” schedule. After seeing how they helped his sense of routine, I knew I needed to share them with you!

Walt Disney World Free Printable Touring Schedule Card
They loved checking the schedule on the bus!
(I printed off some fun questions for them to fill out on the plane ride home too!)

Each evening at Walt Disney World I lay out their outfits for the following day and the card for the next day sits right on top of the pile. After they dress in the morning, they slip their touring card into a pocket or lanyard. Then they pore over them after they are awake.

If you aren’t in need of a full days schedule laid out, you can also use these to jot down you FP+ times and ADRs and you’re ready to make some magic!

Free Printable Walt Disney World Touring Cards

To print off cards and handwrite your own schedule or details, print off this PDF:

free-printable-wdw-schedule-cards-for-handwritten-notes

To edit your own set of cards using Word, download the docx link below. It uses the fonts Florida Project, Century Gothic, and Waltograph.

free-printable-disney-world-schedule-cards

I like to laminate the cards to protect them from water rides, rain and sweat, then cut them out. I get one set. The kids each get a set.

Free Printable Walt Disney World Schedule Cards
Fill in as much or as little information as you want!

Do you like using schedule cards or tech trackers?

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Go Directly to Magic Kingdom http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/09/magic-kingdom/ http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/09/magic-kingdom/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 22:58:52 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3844 Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing how we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney. I moved around as a kid. I went to elementary school in five different states in six different school districts. My parents moved an additional five times since then. The smell of waffle cones, the warm glow …

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Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing how we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney.


Go Home to Magic Kingdom
Calling “no running” and “watch for the trolley track” when all you want to do is run up Main Street with the kiddos. #DisneyMomProblems

I moved around as a kid. I went to elementary school in five different states in six different school districts. My parents moved an additional five times since then. The smell of waffle cones, the warm glow of fireworks over Cinderella Castle, and the strains of ragtime drifting through the evening air, Magic Kingdom *is* my childhood home.

With the streamlining of Disney’s Magical Express handling the luggage and online check-in handling our resort hotel, we opt to hop directly onto a Magic Kingdom bus immediately.

Go Home to Magic Kingdom
I play this card every single trip possible.

After months of planning, days of packing and hours of traveling by bus, plane, monorail and foot, I emerge from the train station tunnel and take my first steps down Main Street, U.S.A. In that first glimpse of the Magic Kingdom, I am home.

How to Know You’ve “Arrived” at Disney
Go Directly to Magic Kingdom

1.) Plans? What Plans?

Whether we swing by the firehouse to pick up our Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards, stop to meet Tinker Bell and Mickey at the Town Square Theatre or head out to hit Space Mountain, this is the second that we’ve arrived on vacation.

Home at the Magic Kingdom
Define “on vacation.” Give three examples.

Life slows down a lot.

We laugh a little more, snack a little more and relax a little more. Our first afternoon at the park is usually very loosely planned. We book our FastPass+ and wait to see where the wind takes us.

Home to Magic Kingdom
Touring cards? Plans? What?

For a recovering parks commando, this is a big deal. I totally blame Magic Kingdom for bringing out my spontaneous side.

Free Printable Schedule/Touring Cards are available here!

2.) The Outside World Disappears

I forget to take pictures on vacation. (Bad blogger!) I forget to check my email. I forget to scroll Facebook. I occasionally forget I have a phone.

Somewhere between Main Street and Fantasyland, the outside world ceases to exist. Maybe it’s all of the spinning. Either way, I’m focusing on my kids and family for a good couple of days.

3.) Running Amok

Pixie dust does not allow for self-consciousness. When I get wrapped up in the magic, I join in a little more and worry a lot less about what others might be thinking.

Home at Disney
Hiding behind potted plants to avoid suspicion during a spy mission? Totally normal on vacation.

Selfies, public singing, skipping, and matching outfits? Just another day of magic. The faster we get into the Magic Kingdom, the faster we know we’ve arrived at Walt Disney World.

How do you know you’ve arrived at Disney?

For more ways we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue  | How We Know We’ve “Arrived” at Disney Loop:

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Adventurer Mom at Looking Glass Travel http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/08/looking-glass-travel/ http://www.adventurermom.com/2016/08/looking-glass-travel/#comments Wed, 10 Aug 2016 23:33:42 +0000 http://www.adventurermom.com/?p=3792 Every year around this time, I shift into high gear. It’s Disney Parks Moms Panel season! This year, I’m doing something different. Opting out entirely. Actually, I’m disqualifying myself. Rather than practicing my grammar, I’ll be joining my friends Tracy and Rachel at Looking Glass Travel. After a couple of enjoyable afternoons completing Disney’s College of Knowledge, I am thrilled …

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Every year around this time, I shift into high gear. It’s Disney Parks Moms Panel season! This year, I’m doing something different. Opting out entirely. Actually, I’m disqualifying myself. Rather than practicing my grammar, I’ll be joining my friends Tracy and Rachel at Looking Glass Travel.

Looking Glass Travel #lookingglasstravel #LGT2016
Into the Looking Glass!

After a couple of enjoyable afternoons completing Disney’s College of Knowledge, I am thrilled to start this new adventure! As a travel specialist, I get to share my love of Disney travel by helping you plan your next Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa and Adventures By Disney vacations! Since vacation time is precious, I love to take the time to make sure it’s just right down to the details.

Would it surprise you to know that even with years of experience, I still used a Travel Specialist to book the surprise trip coming up next week? (Thanks again, Tracy!)

Ten Reasons to Love Your Disney Travel Specialist

  1. Experience. There is nothing like a trip to Walt Disney World (or ten) to get a feel for the different experiences. Different groups. All throughout year. Varying itineraries. When you’re visiting an area roughly the size of Manhattan, it’s nice to have a friend who knows the lay of the land and can get your trip started off on the right foot.
  2. Freedom and Choices. When you work with a Disney travel specialist, you can have as much or as little direct control as you want. If you want to stay up at midnight to book a cabana on Castaway Cay, you’re welcome to do so. If you’d rather your travel specialist handles the legwork, you’re welcome to sleep right through reservation bookings.
  3. Deals, Sales, and Specials. A Travel Specialist knows what’s coming up and what applies to your trip. They happily sit on the phone listening to Disney hold music for a ridiculously long time on opening days. (I occasionally throw dance parties when “In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” comes on…it’s a thing.) If you don’t like hold music, thank your travel specialist.
  4. Less Stress. Knowing that your plans are all laid out makes vacation less stressful. That’s better for everyone.
  5. Research. Lots of it. A travel specialist spends a good amount of time reading up on the latest developments. They stay in the know, so you don’t have to.
  6. Free Advice. If you want to know all the best tips and tricks, ask a travel specialist. Ask anything! There are dozens of free and nearly free fun things to do at any Disney vacation location, but knowing is half the battle.
  7. Papers, Please! You don’t need a passport to travel around the World Showcase at Epcot. What about a Disney Cruise? A travel specialist can advise you on the required paperwork for your vacation,
  8. Back-up Plan. If something goes wrong on your vacation, you can bet your travel specialist will be with you every step of the way.
  9. Free. Would you be surprised to know that all of Looking Glass Travel’s Disney travel specialists offer all services entirely free to you? They do.  From booking resorts to hotels to dining to all-inclusive packages, all services are free.
  10. Pixie Dust. When you find the right travel specialist, it’s a bit of magic. From the personal touch of planning tailored itineraries to booking the right cruise to stress-free allergy dining, the magic of Disney lives in the attention to detail that a travel specialist brings to your dream vacation!

To get in touch on the Adventurer Mom at Looking Glass Travel Facebook page, by commenting on any blog post or email me at AdventurerMom@LookingGlassTravel.com

Adventurer Mom at Looking Glass Travel
Set sail for adventure!

For more information visit Looking Glass Travel!

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