Learning at Disney World OR Why I think it’s okay for kids to miss school for a Disney World trip

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I love Disney World but Disney World during a school vacation? Not as much. There are too many people in my opinion. That’s why I try to schedule all my Disney trips while school is in session. Of course that means that my kids have missed school in order to head to Disney but there are plenty of opportunities for learning at Disney World. Plus, most teachers will give kids work ahead of time. I always try to get most of the school work done before we head out and while traveling (in the airport or on the plane); this way we are not worried about hitting the books at night.

In Animal Kingdom, you can see animals in their habitats. There is also nature talks at Raffikki’s Planet Watch as well as a chance to watch vets work on the animals. Animal Kingdom has dinosaurs, which includes opportunities to learn about the dinosaurs and possible explanations as to what caused their extinction. Also at Animal Kingdom, you will get plenty of information about conservation, always useful.

At Magic Kingdom, the Carousel of Progress is an entertaining look at technological changes from the 1800-1900 turn of the century  as well as a look at some ideas of new technology to come. One of the most informative attractions in the Magic Kingdom is the Hall of Presidents. In the pre-show area, there are on-going exhibits which rotate; there is a good chance you will see something new each time. Recently, the displays included some First Lady gowns, Presidential china and President Eisenhower’s gold clubs. The show features a brief history lesson and then the curtain rises for the Presidential roll call.  As each President is named, that President acknowledges his name, I love watching each head bow or nod (watch carefully and you may also notice  whispering between the Presidents). President Obama addresses the audience (if you are not a fan of history or really need a break, this cool, dark show is perfect for a nap)

Declaration of Independence

Washington’s Inauguration

Lincoln

Of course, Epcot is a learning mecca. Some of the learning in Future World includes the history of communication (in Spaceship Earth), the oceans of the world are explored at The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and at Club Cool you can learn about other cultures while you try different flavors of Coca Cola from around the world. It’s really interesting and kids will be more receptive to trying something close to what they know (like Coca Cola).

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Over in World Showcase, every nation is a learning opportunity. Disney hires employees from these countries to staff the pavilions. These staff love talking about home and will happily discuss home and answer questions for you. There are chances to try foods from around the world while including kid friendly options at each restaurant. There are unique demonstrations in each country. You can learn belly dancing in Morocco, origami in Japan and (for adults) wine tasting in France.

Last but not least, you can learn about show business over at Hollywood Studios. The back lot studio tour takes you behind the scenes of movie making and you can learn about Walt and his innovations at One Man’s Dream. I also found a great picture of Thomas Edison. I was thrilled because I had never seen a picture of Thomas Edison before and didn’t even know that there were any pictures of Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison from a picture found at Hollywood Studios

I hope I have given you some information that may be helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts about learning at Walt Disney World or if you have questions. Happy learning and lots of Disney Dreams everyone!

Disney Dining Review: 50’s Primetime Cafe!

Reviewing 50’s Prime Time Cafe

After a very lengthy pause, welcome back to another Disney Dining Review! In today’s review, we are going to examine all of the fun that you can have at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, so read on for more details!

50’s Prime Time Cafe

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe is located over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, and is an enjoyable place to eat. It is not a character dining restaurant, but what it lacks for in that regard, is totally made up for in the theming that the restaurant provides!

The moment you walk through the door to the restaurant, you really are transformed into the home of the family of the 50’s!  After you check-in, you are invited to hang out in the living room/family room to relax for a while.  If you would like a drink, you can go check out Dad’s liquor cabinet to see if there is anything you would like to drink before dinner.

After a short wait, you are called back to your table, and it is there that the fun really starts!  Last June we ate there, nine of us, and Ma, our waitress, did a great job of making sure that we all ate all our food!  When they sat us, she handed out the silverware, but there was only eight settings, and our table had nine.  When I mentioned it to “Ma”, immediately she went into a fit, “Oh, we’ve got a whiner!” in her best Jersey accent, and sang a song to me, that goes something like this:

“Every party needs a pooper and that’s why we invited you!
Party Pooper, Party Pooper!”

It was so funny!

Then it was Sherry’s turn to get in trouble.  She said something to “Ma” that I had done, and immediately Sherry became a tattletale!  Then we sang the same song to her!

What was funny though was that Sherry and Ma were from the same part of New Jersey!

To top off our fun meal, my sister-in-law Nancy didn’t eat all her green beans!  That was a serious no-no, and as a result, Nancy got her own special dessert, as you can see here.

My Dreams of Disney
Nancy just couldn’t eat her veggies!

We have eaten at 50’s Prime Time Cafe twice, and in this particular restaurant, you will definitely get out of it what you put into it.  If you approach your reservation like you are just going to have a good meal and move on, you probably won’t enjoy it as much — despite the fact that the food is pretty good!  However, if you approach your reservation knowing that you are in for a fun time, and can enjoy yourself and play to the charm that the restaurant has, which is definitely in it’s wait staff, you will really enjoy yourself, and you will leave the restaurant knowing that this was one dinner you won’t soon forget!

This restaurant isn’t on our list of must eat at every vacation, but this is certainly a restaurant that we’ll eat at every few years!

So tell me, have you eaten at 50’s Prime Time Cafe?  If so, what did you think of it?  Worth it, or over-rated?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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My Top 10 Quick Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World!

There are so many great counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot all have a plethora of great restaurants to choose from! As crazy as it sounds, I’m going to pick my top ten quick service restaurants at Walt Disney World. As with every top 10 list I’ve ever created, my list varies from day to day, so let’s see what we get and how long it lasts! Here goes nothing!

10) The Pinocchio Village Haus

Magic Kingdom's Pinocchio Village Haus Quick Service

This quick service restaurant serves up standard fare — pizza, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, etc., but what makes this place good to me is the location.  Situated behind Cinderella’s Castle, right next to it’s a small world, this location even has windows that look down into the launch area for the popular attraction.  Couple that with it’s Old World charm, and it becomes a place for us to eat at least once per trip.

9) The Liberty Inn

Located over at the American Adventure pavilion on the World Showcase at Epcot, this quick service restaurant, like Pinocchio Village Haus before, serves standard American food such as hot dogs and hamburgers.  However, what makes this place a really great place to eat is the large, open courtyard seating — which holds probably 200 people (although I don’t have exact numbers).  Additionally, there is an old style military band that plays periodically in the courtyard, and they are well worth the wait if you decide to stay and listen to them.

8) Flame Tree Barbeque

Flame Tree Barbeque, located over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is one of the best quick service restaurants in all of Disney in my opinion.  This restaurant serves up a lot of great food at a good price.  We don’t eat here every year because some trips we only make one trip over to Animal Kingdom, and often we have a big dinner planned somewhere else that day, so we don’t want to overeat.  However, if you ever have the chance, check out the Flame Tree!

7) Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House, Magic Kingdom

The Columbia Harbour House is a great quick service restaurant for many reasons.  For starters, it is rarely busy because it is kind of forgotten over between Liberty Square and Fantasyland.  In addition, as the picture shows, they offer Chicken, Seafood, and Sandwiches, so there is a large variety of food to choose from.  Lastly, there is plenty of seating available, so you can spread out, relax, and even look down at the people walking below. Try the Fish and Chips, they are good!

6) Main Street Bakery

Chip and Company, Main Street Bakery, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA

Special thanks to Chip & Company for sharing their photo!

If you want a quick place to grab some good food, this is the place.  Serving everything from yummy breakfast items like cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for picky eaters like Sophie, this is the place to be.  One step inside the shop and you are inundated with all sorts of sweet smelling treats, just begging you to try one out.  It was here where one of our Disney memories was created when Sophie was presented with her huge chocolate chip cookie, courtesy of Cinderella.

{Editor’s Note: You may have heard that the Main Street Bakery is closing and reopening as a Starbucks.  You may have even read about it on this site.  Fortunately, Disney has heard the cries from those of us that love the MSB, and they have modified their original news report to indicate that the Bakery will still be there, but that it will offer Starbucks Coffee in the restaurant.  I can live with that!}

5) Casey’s Corner

Casey's Corner, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA

Casey’s Corner is a good hot dog shop located at the corner of Main Street USA and the Hub.  Because of the location, the restaurant is often quite busy, and seating is almost non-existant.  More often then not, you will find yourself eating while sitting on the ground, or being lucky enough to get one of the bar tables where you can stand and eat. Despite all of that, though, the food is quite good, and as you can see from the picture above, there is entertainment there periodically throughout the day, so relax and enjoy your food and the music!

4) Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a large quick service restaurant located in Tomorrowland.  They have three different bays available; one for burgers, one for chicken, and one for sandwiches.  At each of the bays you can also get the standard Disney kids meals.  The selection at the restaurant is enough that there is something for everyone, and there is a lot of seating, both indoor and outdoor, so this is one place that should be on everyone’s list.  As an aside, Cosmic Ray’s is also a great place to bring your child if they are afraid of the fireworks — you will be inside, and the rest of your party can enjoy seeing them outside.

3) Backlot Express

The Backlot Express quick service restaurant is located near the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” playground — so it is a good choice to both get a bite to eat and let your kids run off some energy afterwards!  For an open air type feel, it serves good food in my opinion, and is an easy way to recharge yourself for the afternoon ahead at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

2) La Cantina De San Angel

La Cantina De San Angel, Mexico, World Showcase, Epcot

Located just outside the Pyramid that symbolizes the Mexico Pavilion, La Cantina De San Angel is the quick service counterpart to the San Angel Inn (which is located inside the Pavilion.)  I have never eaten at the SAI, but the Cantina is a great substitute for me as they serve up many Mexican favorites of mine (especially since my family doesn’t like Mexican as much as I do!)

1) Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons, The Land, Epcot

My number one quick service dining location is Sunshine Seasons.  This restaurant is really good because it combines incredible food — with hot and cold options available — with a prime location inside of the Land Pavilion — so you can get in out of the heat, and a convenient location to wait while others in your party enjoy other attractions.  As I said, you can enjoy everything from hot and cold dishes, sandwiches, and other things, all the way to sushi if you so desire.  The food is incredibly fresh, and you will enjoy it, no matter what you try.

That, my friends, is my list of my top ten quick service restaurants to eat at Disney World.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to post any comments, or even your own top ten list!

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Letter “G”

Sophie, Stephanie, Goofy, Cape May Cafe

Stephanie, Goofy, and Sophie at the Cape May Cafe!

Hello everyone, welcome to my rendition of the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop hosted by my friend Debra from Focused on the Magic!  This week’s theme is “Disney Letter ‘G'” and I’ve got a good variety of photos to share with you, starting with the one at the top — Sophie, my niece Stephanie, and Goofy at the Cape May Cafe!

In addition to that photo, though, I’ve got several others, so take a look and enjoy!

Gus, Jacque, Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom

Gus & Jacque at Cinderella Castle!

Pirate Goofy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventureland, Magic Kingdom

Pirate Goofy and Madelyne-Lois!

Goofy's Barnstormer, Mickey's Toontown Fair, Magic Kingdom

A shot of the old Goofy’s Barnstormer roller coaster!

Garden Grill Restaurant, The Land, Epcot Future World

The Garden Grill Restaurant

Gran Fiesta Tour, The Three Caballeros, Mexico Pavilion, Epcot World Showcase

The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

John Wayne, Great Movie Ride, Disney's Hollywood Studios

The John Wayne scene from the Great Movie Ride!

Gonzo, Muppets, Clock, Disney's Hollywood Studios

Look closely, hang on Gonzo!

Giraffe, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris

A Giraffe as seen during Kilimanjaro Safaris

So there you have it, some great representations of the Disney Letter G from each of the four major parks of Walt Disney World!  What pictures would you have shared for your Disney Letter G?  While you think about that, head on over to Focused on the Magic and look at all the entries for this week!  See how many of them match up with what you would come up with.  Thanks for stopping by, just click on the button below to link over!

Focused on the Magic

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia — This Day in Disney History!

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia, the weekly series that shares some interesting Disney Trivia with you!  Along with my co-hosts Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from Heidi’s Head, and Jenn from Disney Babies Blog, I am Mike from My Dreams of Disney!

This week’s trivia comes to us from a very unique site called This Day in Disney History.  This site is incredible, with all sorts of neat historical factoids about Disney!  Go check it out after you look at all of our entries!

Did You Know…that on October 8, 2003, Mickey’s PhilharMagic had it’s official Grand Opening!  Here are the details about the event:003:

Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a new computer-animated 3-D  attraction, has its
official grand opening in the PhilharMagic Concert Hall at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Pop idols Howie Dorough of The Backstreet Boys and Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync are on hand for the premiere.

Additionally, also on October 8th, although this time in 1992, we have this very interesting trivia for you also:

Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream 1 makes its last flight when it touches down on World Drive, west of Disney-MGM Studios (today known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios). To be added to The Backlot Tour, the airplane was used to fly Walt Disney on secret scouting missions over Central Florida when he was looking for the perfect spot to build a second theme park.

 That’s all we’ve got this week on Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!  I hope you all will check out the rest of the entries, and check back with us again next week!  Have your own Disney trivia and a blog? Why not write it up in a post and link it with ours!

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia