July 3, 2015

Top 10 Family Friendly 4th of July Movies

Independence day means celebrating America! Barbecue (barbeque or BBQ, depending on the region), family, fireworks, watermelons, swimming and general merriment abound. After a day or two, my family needs a little downtime, so we fall back on our favorite kid friendly movies about the revolution, patriotism and American apple pie nostalgia.

Best movies for Independence day
Ten kid friendly films perfect for Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July

In no particular order:

The Top Ten Family Friendly Fourth of July Movies

Ben & Me
The classic film short following the mouse behind the man. See Benjamin Franklin's adventures from inventions to the Declaration of Independence.

Disney's American LegendsDirect to DVD - I'd rate it G
James Earl Jones introduces the legends of John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan and Casey Jones. Try watching these without reminiscing about elementary school movie days. Not really possible is it?

Yankee Doodle Cricket
TV Movie - I'd rate it G
The gang from "A Cricket in Times Square" join up to aid in the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere needed a little bit of help during the early revolutionary war!

A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America
Yes, it's a short clip from the attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Yes, it is still mandatory Independence Day viewing.

You're welcome.

Liberty's Kids

Benjamin Franklin recruits a few spunky kids and a young woman who act as "on the spot reporters" for the events leading up to the American Revolution. From the Boston Tea Party to meeting George Washington and John Adams, this television series bring history to life.


This 1960's gem features a girl on a mission: find something (anything!) to be glad about and in the process love everyone she meets and spread around pure joy and inspiration. Aside from a very brief scene of "America the Beautiful" there is nothing overly "American" about this film. Think of it like Main Street U.S.A: lovely, wholesome and American as apple pie.

Johnny Tremain

Taken from "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" this film follows Johnny Tremain as he gets swept up in the revolutionary war. I'd hold off on letting the kids watch this one until after they have the chance to read it as some parts could be considered disturbing,

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Fancy celebrating your "Indy-pendence"? These are fun old fashioned films and worthy of a movie marathon. Fighting Nazis? Definitely American.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Follow along on a different kind of revolution as a ragtag band of mercenaries, politicians and smugglers band together against an evil empire and win! I can make an argument for watching all of the original trilogy, but Return of the Jedi made the list.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Steve Rogers is willing to do pretty much anything for America and when that means stepping up as a mascot of sorts or going hand to hand against the Nazis or Hydra.

Honorable Mentions:

National Treasure

Schoolhouse Rock: Shot Heard Round the World

Happy Fourth of July (Peanuts)


What are your family's go to patriotic movies?

July 2, 2015

Ten Easy to Follow Steps to Reach the Final Round of the Disney Parks Moms Panel

Last year by late June, the #DisneyMP twitter tag enjoyed a workout as all of the #2015Hopefuls proceeded to begin the annual process of waiting and hoping for pixie dust emails know as the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. The aura of mystery around the selection process keeps us hopefuls coming back each year to wish on a star for this year to be "our year" on the panel.

Just keep writing. Just keep writing. What do we do?

Somehow last year, I *did* manage to make the final round(s) so I feel well equipped to tell you roughly the proper process to make it through to the finals.

1.) Notice round 1 dates are announced on the Disney Parks Blog, Twitter and/or other forms of social media. (Approximately end of August) 

2.) Apply as soon as applications open. (Around Labor Day week.)

3.) Read over your essays. Spellcheck. More than once. Be mindful of proper nomenclature. (I'm embarrassed to say that this takes me an hour or two depending how much "assistance" I get from my two kiddos.)

On your mark.
Get set.
4.) Develop patience. (They review the applications for a month to a month and a half.)
     a.) Swear off social media because it isn't helping with patience.
     b.) Tell your husband, BFF and dental hygienist about your commitment to/hatred of the
Oxford comma.
     c.) Reread essays. They're perfect.
     d.) Wake husband/BFF/etc. in dead of night because you had a nightmare about spelling
and nomenclature.
     e.) Over breakfast husband/roommate/pet hamster insists you rejoin social media as a support 
     f.) Rejoin social media.

5.) Announcement Day! (16 hours) 

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

6.) Find out if you make the next round (five minutes). You feel (pick one):
     a.) Elated
     b.) Gassy
     c.) Somewhere in that zone.

7.) Repeat steps 1-5 for round 2 going into the final round. (About one month.) If you did not make the second round, you still stick around to be a ch-EAR-leader for all of your friends!

8.) Last round is just before Thanksgiving with a very, very quick turn around. (One week or so, but it feels MUCH longer!)
     a.) Re-read your essays from round 1 and round 2. You still like your answers, but wish you could tweak them.
     b.) Make lifelong friends with other mouseketeers.
     c.) Phone interview and maybe a little something for a surprise. (Fastest 15 minutes of your life.)
     d.) Re-read your essays. It's a bad idea at this point, but you can't resist going back over it again.
    e.) Know that whoever makes it, you will end up crying. Each one of the other hopefuls is an amazing person and you feel blessed to hang out together online.

9.) Ten minutes of internet silence as all of the final emails go out. Wish a hearty, "Congratulations!" to the new panelists. Reset the countdown to next year's applications for the other finalists. (Eight months until it starts all over again!)

10.) Plan a consolation/celebration trip to Walt Disney World. If it's not your year, use this trip as your "qualifying trip" for the following year!

How do you actually make the panel?
I haven't the foggiest.
I'd imagine it involves the right combination of research, nomenclature and just a pinch of magic.

Are you planning to apply to the Disney Parks Moms Panel this year?

For what not to do see:

July 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday | July Calendar

Welcome Wordless Wednesday Blog Hoppers!
Can I just stop for a moment and say how shocked I am it's July? Deb, am I right that this year is going super fast?

Magic Kingdom train station.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom swapping cards before rope drop.
Do you have any Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fans among your mousekateers?
Thank you to Focused on the Magic for hosting!
Focused on the Magic

June 29, 2015

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On The Road" Austin

Early Friday morning, I tried to avoid all of the controversy on Facebook. In case you hadn't heard, they banned the selfie stick from  all of the Disney Parks locations and the Disney discussion was running rampant. Just before I shut off my phone, I checked my email.

#DisneySMMC #KeepAustinGoofy
I love pixie dusted email!
I squealed.
I jumped up and down.
I hopped onto Twitter and tweeted my disbelief.
Then I hopped back onto Facebook and discovered my Disney BFF, Casey who blogs at Mommy to All Girls got in as well!
We'll do our best to #KeepAustinGoofy and report back after the #DisneySMMC conference in August!


How do you get invited?
Please visit www.disneysmmoms.com and add your email to their email list! You'll get notified when it's time to apply for future "On The Road" events. No one really knows how the selection process works, but you can never g wrong following Genie's advice to, "Just BEE yourself!" The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a magical conference that happens in early May and is also invitation only.

Congratulations! Is this that Disney Moms thing you applied for last fall?
This is not the same as the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Disney Social Media Moms is a really cool group of ladies (and a few select gentlemen) who love sharing online through Pinterest, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any form of social media and love the magic of Disney! Read more here.

Oh. Well are you still going to try for the Disney Parks Moms Panel?
I'm still planning on throwing my mouse ears into the ring again when applications for Disney Parks Moms Panel open up in August or September. The panel selection is generally completed right before Thanksgiving. Send pixie dust!

June 28, 2015

The Three Mousekateers | Squirrel!

After ending the day Saturday with twenty Wilderness Explorer badges, the kids voted unanimously to head back to Animal Kingdom for more. The badge stations opened a little bit later than park opening, so we ducked into the Tree of life to warm up while we waited.
Guess who was coming out just a we left the world of the bugs?

Wilderness Explorers Club House Meet and Greet
Our fellow Wilderness Explorers, Russell and Dug greeted Christ and Kylee. The kids told them all about their mission to become Senior Wilderness Explorers. Russell wished them well and signed their Wilderness Explorer Handbooks.
We hiked off to the Maharajah Jungle trek through the quiet of the morning.

Split Day | Wilderness Explorer Badges
Beautiful and fun.
The tigers weren't out yet, but the badge guides were.

Split Day | Senior Wilderness Explorers
Talking tiger with their badge guide.
We hopped one of the first trains out to Rafiki's Planet Watch and the kids faced their biggest fear...the petting zoo. The badge guide insisted that the kids had to go into "Affection Section" (aka the petting zoo) in order to wash their hands and earn their badge. With much squealing and careful avoidance of the goats and sheep, Kylee made her way through. Nothing would stop her from getting her badge, because she's got grit, gumption or plain old stubbornness depending on your point of view. All the same, I'm sure she'd rather have ridden Expedition Everest again instead.
Thirty badges in hand, we stopped by Tamu Tamu Refreshments for a lunch of Dole Whip number four another pineapple soft serve and vegetable curry lunch.

Senior Wilderness Explorers!
Caw! Caw! Roar!
We headed back to the bridge to Discovery Island for the kid's final badge.

Split Day | Animal Kingdom
A wilderness explorer is a friend to all, be a plant or fish or tiny mole!
The wilderness must be explored!

This is Part 14 of an Ongoing Trip Report "The Three Mousekateers."
Additional sections will be found on the Trip Reports page after they are posted!  


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