Enchanted Mommy

Tips to Navigate the Magic Kingdom at Disney World!

Planning a Disney trip this year?  We just got back from Orlando and I wanted to share some tips on how to navigate the Magic Kingdom.   We had so much fun even though we went during one of the busiest weeks of the year… spring break!

It was crowded, but I was really impressed with how well Disney manages such a large crowd.  I did talk to one of the employees on the tram back to the parking lot and he told me that the best time to come is late september and October.  He said that spring break, summer, and the month of December will have the biggest crowds there.

1.  Get there early!  Plan to be there at least 30 minutes before the park opens.  The parking lot is very intense and it will take you that long to get to the gate.  You have to first take a tram from the parking lot to the kiosks.  There you can buy your tickets and then hop aboard a ferry boat or a train that will take you to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.  If you get in the park right as they open all the Disney characters are right there doing a welcome song and dance as you walk in.  It is pretty cool to see, plus you can get a lot of your pictures done first thing without having to hunt for the characters through out your day.

2.  Let them take your picture!  They will hand you a card when they take your picture at the entrance.  You can use this same card the entire day each time you want a family picture.  You just hand them your card and they scan it, take the picture, and hand it back.  After you get home there is a website on the photo card (disneyphotopass.com) you can go log in and view, share, or order any of the pictures you want.  There are employees all over the place and they do not mind taking pics for you from your camera or iphone either.

3.  Bring lots of snacks and drinks!  Besides glass bottles, you can pretty much bring in whatever you want.  I packed a backpack full of bottled water and snacks and passed them out to the kids while whenever we were in line somewhere.  It kept the kids busy while waiting in line, plus it kept them full and we avoided buying food at the park.  If you want to buy a meal at the park I would suggest doing it around 345pm.  The dinner prices start at 4pm so that is your last chance to get a big meal for the lunch price.  It is late enough that you can make it the rest of the day with just the snacks you packed.

4.  If you need to bring a stroller make sure you distinguish it somehow.  There are gazillions of strollers in the stroller parking area and sometimes the disney employees even move them around a bit to keep them organized.  Our stroller was not always in the same spot we left it when coming back from a ride.  We got some bright orange ribbon for 75 cents at the craft store and tied a bow around the handle to make it stand out.  Some people bought balloons and tied that to their strollers too.  The last thing you want to do is spend 10 minutes looking for your stroller in the crowd of strollers!

This is actually one of the smaller stroller park areas we used near the Haunted Mansion. Ours is the stroller with the orange ribbon tied to it. You can easily see how useful this was!

5.  Use the fast passes!  Here is how the fast passes work.  In front of the major rides there is a fast pass kiosk.  You put your admission ticket in and it prints out a ticket with a time printed on it of when you need to come back.  Come back during this time and you enter a fast pass line that is dramatically different then the regular line.  For example:  We used a pass on Space Mountain.  The regular wait time was 85 minutes and we only waited 12 minutes using the fast pass line.  Don’t waste your fast passes though…  once you have printed a fast pass you cannot get another for a couple hours so pick the rides you want to use them on wisely.  I would suggest using them on the mountain rides (Splash, Space, and Thunder mountains).

This was our 2nd round of fast passes to Space Mountain. As you can see, we got the tickets at 1:50pm and were not able to get any more fast passes until 350pm

6.  Use the free Disney app to estimate wait times.  This was incredibly useful and helped us decide which rides to go on and when.  We used the Disney World Wait Times app (has a picture of a frog on it).  It was easy to use and also has a map of the park on it.  You can also make lunch or dinner reservations and find where you favorite disney character is using the app.

6.  I strongly recommend hitting up the classic rides in Fantasyland first.  These are the famous Mad Tea Party,  Flying Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Railroad, Prince Charming’s Carrousel, etc..  If you dont do them first thing then you may not get to later on.  They are very popular and the lines get pretty long later in the day.  With all the other rides at the park I didn’t want to wait 40 minutes just to ride the tea cups if you know what I mean.  Plus it gives you something to do while you wait to use your fast pass to nearby Space Mountain.  :)

7.  Stay for the parade and fire works.  It makes for a long day, but you wont be disappointed.  They really put on a great show.  Dont underestimate the day time shows either.  They give you a time to sit and relax for a bit and they really are well done.  We went to the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Show.  It was pretty funny.  I think I enjoyed it as much as the kids.  You can text a joke into them on your way in to the theater and they  really do try to use them in their act.

 

Rice Crispy Easter Treats!

Delicious and adorable Easter treats!  I made these for the kiddos just to get us in the Easter mood.  They are pretty cute I have to say! Nothing to them really.  They are just chocolate rice crispy treats made in cup cake tins with Easter M&M’s in the middle.

I thought about putting some shredded coconut in a little green food coloring to look like grass under the M&M’s, but I forgot to get the coconut!  Oh well… these were still awesome!  We gave a bunch of them to some friends who have three cute kiddos too.  It is always good to have friends to help you eat the goodies!

Enjoy the yumminess and Happy Spring!!!!!!!

 

 

R is for Rainbow! Fun Letter R Preschool Activities!

We did a lot of fun stuff this week for preschool.  The thing I like about this preschool swap arrangement is that I only teach every four weeks.  It works out great because you don’t get burnt out and you have plenty of time to come up with creative things to do when it is your turn.

So its letter R for me! R is for Rainbow!  There are so many fun rainbow crafts to do!  I really had to pick a couple of them so I would have time to do everything else.  The rainbow cupcakes were the kids favorite of course!  They were pretty simple too!

All you need to do is use white or yellow cake mix and prepare it as the directions say.  Divide the cake batter equally between 4 or 5 bowls and add food coloring to each bowl.  Put a small scoop of each color in the cupcake papers and bake as directed!

This is a great cross curricular activity since it includes language arts for the letter R, life skills in baking, and science for food coloring.  The kids really enjoyed helping mix the colors together and scooping them into the cupcake tin.

The easiest why to get your frosting in your pastry bag!

Yummy!

We also made some rainbows out of fruit loops!  How cute are these!  Click here to download your own rainbow/fruit loop template.  I wouldn’t leave your final project out on the counter unsupervised if you have a dog… I made that mistake!!!

We also read “The Little Red Hen” and “Little Red Riding Hood” during circle time.  I had the kids raise their hands every time they heard me say the word RED.  Then we made collages out of everything RED we could find!

Preschool Letter Q Activities

“Qq” is a hard one… there are not a ton of things that start with the letter Q.  There is Queen of course, but since we had just done K is for King I didn’t want to go there.  So instead, we did Q is for “Quack!”  It ended up being a lot of fun!

During circle time we reviewed our numbers, letters, and letter sounds.  Then we introduced the letter Q by singing “Five Little ducks Went Out to Play.”

Five little ducks went out to play
Over the hills and far away
When old mother duck said, “Quack, quack, quack”
Four little ducks came waddling back

Repeat and count down to one

One little duck went out to play
Over the hills and far away
When old mother duck said, “Quack, quack, quack”
No little ducks came waddling back

But when old Father duck said, “quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!!!!!”
All five ducks came waddling back! 

We made theses cute little paper plate ducks.  The ducks stand up on their own but can also lay flat and slide right into a page protector in their alphabet binders we have been working on.

SUPPLIES:
1 paper plate
yellow paint (or yellow crayon)
orange and yellow construction paper
glue
2 googley eyes

1.  Let the kids paint or color the paper plate yellow.  When the plate is dry fold it in half.
2.  While it is drying, fold a piece of yellow construction paper in half.  Help them trace their hand on the yellow paper.  Having them trace their own hand or their friends hand is a great fine motor activity for little guys!  Plus, they love doing it!
3.  Cut out the traced hands out and make a circle for the ducks head with the left over yellow paper.  Make a beak and duck feet with the orange construction paper.  You want to keep the duck feet connected with a 3 to 4 inch thin rectangle.  Fold in half along the thin rectangle connecting the feet.
4.  Glue the feet to the bottom of the open plate, putting one foot on each side.  Glue on the head, beak, and eyes.  Use the cut out handprints for the ducks tail feathers byt gluing one hand to each side of the paper plate.

Here it is standing up

We also painted with Q-tips.  The kids had fun with this and thought it was great to paint with something other than a paint brush or their fingers.  The pictures turned out pretty cute.  I glued a couple Q-tips to the paper so the kids would remember what they did when they look back at their picture in their alphabet books.

Painting with Q-tips

Even the younger kids enjoyed this activity

 

Preschool: Letter K

I found some fun letter K activities to do with the kiddos when it was my turn to teach preschool last month.  Don’t ask why I am just not posting them… life just gets busy!

Anyway, we read the story of Humpty Dumpty during circle time after we had talked about the letter K.  It wasn’t the basic nursery rhyme, but a more detailed story with lots of fun pictures.  I told the kids before the story to listen for someone important in the story who started with the letter K.  The kids are still mostly 3 year olds and needed a few hints before coming up the with the King as the important person I was referring to.

So we made ourselves Kings by cutting and decorating our own crowns and then walking around the house pretended to be Kings.   The kids really had fun with it.

Love these little Kings!

We also painted uppercase and lowercase K’s for our alphabet book.  For each letter we make a nice project that can represent that letter to put in our binders.  When we finish the alphabet we will have our very own home made books to help us remember all our letters.

One of the cross curricular activities we did was a kite puzzle.  Along, with reinforcing the letter K and its sound, the kids matched the shapes and numbers to make the kite.  They also counted the pieces to the kite.

Painting our K's

The kite puzzle

L is for Ladybug!!!

We had so much fun learning the letter L with our preschool class.  (For those new readers, I have a preschool swap program with a couple friends that have kids the same age as mine.  We trade off who teaches every couple weeks.  It really works out great!)  So it was mine turn to teach the letter L.  We had a blast Leaping like a Lion, making our own lion masks, decorating the letter L with Leaves, making L’s with play dough, and making a cute Lady bug take home project.

L is for Ladybug!

Ladybug supplies needed:
black construction paper
wiggly eyes
1 paper plate
red paint

Very simple… cut a paper plate in half and let the kids paint it.  Once it is dry have the kids glue it on a pre-cut ladybug head and body.  I used a hole puncher for the spots and crinkled construction paper strips for the legs.  **This is a cross-curricular activity since it covers, art, science, and math.  Take time to help the kids count the ladybug spots and talk about ladybugs and insects!

L is for Leaves!!!

The kids really enjoyed this one!  Even though it is winter out we were able to find enough leaves to do this.  It was different for the kids so they thought it was pretty cool.

 

Coloring our lion masks

The fun part about making lion masks is running around pretending to be one!

Lion Mask Materials
Paper plate
crayons
wide popsicle stick

 

Have a Lion Jungle Party!

I feel everyone is always looking for fun birthday party ideas for preschoolers.  Once they are in grade school the kids seem to have their own ideas of what they want for their birthday parties.  So why not have a Lion Jungle Party.  This party was awesome and very inexpensive!

I love to make my own cakes and always make this party of the birthday ritual!

We decorated the house with different shades of $1 green streamers hanging from the ceiling to give it a jungle feel.  We also got some jungle looking plates, napkins, and a table cloth.  Green balloons littered the floor as well.  As the party kids arrived they sat at the table and played play dough with all my animal cookie cutters and plastic animal toys.  I called one child over at a time and had them pick an animal face painting design I had preselected (I checked out a book from my local library).  I painted each child’s face with some left over Halloween face paint.  After everyone had their face painted we went to the basement and played freeze dance to some sweet jungle songs (Lion King sound track, Wild Thing, Jungle Fever, etc..).

After that it was cake and cupcakes!  Easy and inexpensive!  The party went really well and the kids had a great time!  I highly recommend a Lion Jungle Party!

M&M for the eyes, mini marshmallows cut in half for the cheeks, and red fruit loops cut in half for the mouth

 

The table setting for the party

Have Weekends Away From Your Kids… It’s SO Healthy!

I might get a lot of bad views by the title of this post, but it’s probably from the moms that haven’t left their kids before.  Of course I HATE saying good-bye to them, but it’s a chance for me to get to spend one on one time with my husband.

Last weekend, we went to Wintergreen Resort skiing (midwest fans don’t laugh) with Brian’s work.  We had the most awesome time.  We slept in and enjoyed each other without interruptions.  It was just us.

skiing

Having a great time!

Some things I just don’t notice when I’m busy with two kids, here’s one:

tree sno

Some things I take for granted when I'm so busy with two little ones.

We definitely had great food while we were there — a serious shout out to Harris Grant Consulting for everything.  This was our last meal.

breakfast at wintergreen resort, The Copper Mine

Our last delicious meal.

We had so much fun, but I was so excited to see my babes!

two sweet girls

Neither one of them were asleep, they just wanted their mama!

My whole point of this article is to tell you that it isn’t easy getting away and leaving your kids, but it really is healthy.  It was great spending time with my husband and so awesome to see my kids faces light up when they saw me after the trip.  Ella did have a great time with her grandparents and they had a great time with her.

Seriously, try it.  Go away for even one night.  There is an advice sheet that the doctor gives parents at each well visit and all of them say to take time to spend with your spouse.  So true.  It was amazing.

 

Preschool: Learn the letter Hh

Yep, my turn to teach preschool again.  We had a lot of fun learning Hh!  There are a lot of things you can do with the letter H since Hand print starts with H.  However, I feel like I have done the hand print projects to death lately so I went another direction.

We talked about our Hearts and how to take care of our bodies.  The kids seemed to enjoy it.  We did a couple different projects this week.

Decorating the letter H with hearts.  This was really simple, but is great for fine motor development.  The hearts are small so they had to work to pick them up and glue them on.  I used a heart hole puncher sort of like this one to make the hearts.  I got mine at Michaels for a under $5 though.  I scrap book a lot and slowly like to build up my stash of supplies.

I put glue all over the H to save them the trouble of trying glue each tiny heart individually

The final product!

The kids are in the process of making their own alphabet book.  Each week we learn a new letter and do a couple crafts to represent that letter.  They all have their own binders full of plastic sleeve protectors to store their projects in alphabetical order.  When we finish all our letters they will have their own little book to review their letters.

Here is the other project we did for the alphabet book for letter Hh.  It is pretty self explanatory.  They kids loved it… really anything involving paint is a big hit with the kids.

Painting his heart!

Too cute! Perfect for his alphabet book!

Painting with Ice! So fun!

Brrrr!  We really had fun painting with ice cubes! This is such a fun little project!  I even enjoyed participating! All you have to do is fill up your ice tray and put a drop of food coloring in each one.  No need to mix or stir.  Just put in your drop and wait for them to freeze.  Pull the cubes out and let them sit for a few minutes before starting.

We are learning the letter Ii this week in preschool so painting with ice cubes was a perfect project!  This is also a great sensory and science activity.  Make sure to have the kids describe how the ice feels in their hands.

The kids also made igloos to learn about ice and the letter Ii as well.  Just cut out a bunch of white squares and let them create their igloo house!

Here is one of the finished igloo houses made by a 4yr old.