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How Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Came to Be

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{Editor’s Note: I am thrilled beyond measure to welcome my good great friend Jodi Whisenhunt from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse to join us today.  Jodi is a great writers, a great blogger, but even more, a great person, and it is my honor to have her on our site today.  Read more about her site, and please stop and thank her for taking the time to join us!}

I’m so excited to be your Guest today at My Dreams of Disney! Mike has graciously invited me to share a bit about Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and how the site got started. So, hi! For those who don’t know me, I am Jodi Whisenhunt, owner and feature writer of Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, a fan site that incorporates the magic of Walt Disney entertainment into homeschool lessons. I cover all the theme parks at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in the United States, as well as the international resorts and Disney Cruise Line. Movies, music, and special events work their way in sometimes too, because there are infinite ways to learn while you play when Disney IS school!

The adventure began five years ago—no, let’s back that up a bit. Once upon a time…

I always loved Disney movies and entertainment, but I never visited any of the theme parks until I was in my 30s and married with children. My husband and I took our three children and my parents to Walt Disney World Resort in 2006 to attend the Ultimate Field Trip, a week of exciting events and activities onsite with hundreds of other homeschooling families from across the country. My kids were nine months, a month shy of three, and 11 years old at the time, and all but the youngest still remember that trip like it was yesterday. The thing all three agree on is that the magic is real! We dined with royalty at Cinderella Castle, took a private, after-hours safari and dinner at Animal Kingdom, and became totally immersed in the magic that IS Walt Disney World. The only thing that disappointed us was that there was no way to take it all in in that one week. Of course, that just meant we had to return again…and again…and again.

Cinderella Castle http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com

A few years later, my friend Carol Beth Scott of 3D Travel Company, herself a veteran homeschooler and the creator of The Ultimate Field Trip, noticed that although she and I were already including Disney in our kids’ daily work, there were no resources on the web combining these two passions. She suggested I create a blog to stretch the boundaries of the home classroom. I didn’t want just a common, run-of-the-mill blog, though. That’s not the Disney way! The Walt Disney Company “plusses” everything they do; they take the standard and kick it up a notch. Likewise, with Magical Mouse Schoolhouse I strive to plus not only the homeschool experience, but also the Disney experience.

At Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, I publish fresh articles every Monday, covering a particular monthly theme. Each article uncovers educational tidbits that hide in Disney theme parks, Disney movies, Disney art, and more. You’ll learn about things like Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion or Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain, and at the end of each post you’ll see suggested homeschool activities that tie in to the subject being discussed. You’ll find assignments for various skill levels, from preschool through high school, in subjects such as physics, arts and crafts, and language arts.

Epcot American Adventure http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com

Here’s a clip from a favorite post, “Magic Kingdom Park: Peter Pan’s Flight”:
Who hasn’t dreamed of flying? How often do your kids don a cape or fairy wings and pretend to soar? I mean, all it takes is a little faith, love, and pixie dust, right? Well, at Magic Kingdom Park, you can fly! You can fly! You can fly!

Peter Pan’s Flight takes Guests right into Walt Disney’s classic 1953 animated film, Peter Pan. Passengers board a colorful galleon and sail high into the London sky, glimpsing the Darling children’s nursery, flitting past Big Ben and Tower Bridge, veering toward the second star to the left, then straight on till morning…

Today’s Takeaway:
Look up! The weather van atop the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction was made to look like the pirate ship from the film Peter Pan. Weather vanes, in general, are instruments for showing the direction of the wind. Most are ornamental and usually include directional letters for north, south, east, and west.

Today, follow this tutorial from WikiHow to create either a decorative paper wind vane or a permanent wooden one…

SCHOOL SUBJECT: Meteorology, Arts & Crafts
SKILL LEVEL: Elementary

(Click here to read the article in its entirety.)

Weekly features include Wordless Wednesday and Tiggerific Tuesday Disney trivia, which until recently was a bloghop co-hosted by Mike here at My Dreams of Disney. Although no longer in linky form, we still enjoy our trivial Disney tidbits. You’ll find giveaways, product reviews, press releases, and other Disney entertainment information throughout each week. I also offer a FREE monthly educational incentive program called Earn Your E.A.R.S. (Enriching Academic Reward Series), in which students who complete each assignment receive a small reward for actively participating in their education.

In 2012 I converted blog to book with the publication of MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort (on sale for $11.31 at Amazon). The book has been a big success, and a subsequent Disneyland edition is currently in the works. I have found that although the site and book were originally geared toward home educators, anyone with kids in their lives can benefit from what is offered. Parents whose children are in traditional schools tell me they do the assignments to keep their kids from stagnating over the summer. Public school teachers have told me they’ve used some ideas to supplement activities in the classroom. Aunts and uncles and grandparents say they like to pull the book off the shelf to entertain visiting nieces, nephews, and grandkids. As I said before, when Disney IS school, there are no limits on ways to learn while you play!

Thanks, again, for letting us visit today! See ya at the Schoolhouse!

Keep up with Magical Mouse Schoolhouse’s current events on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine.

Blogging over at A Disney Mom’s Thoughts!

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Today, my friends, I’m joining my good friend Beth over at her site, as we talk about what it’s like to visit and stay at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  I was lucky enough to be able to do so a couple of years ago, and wrote my thoughts down for Beth to share with her readers!  In the post, you’ll see some of the following:

  • Pictures of the room we stayed in.
  • Pictures of the lobby.
  • Pictures of the exterior of the building.
  • Links over to the official Disney page.

To access the post, please click on the image to head over to the post, or on the link below.

Thanks for stopping by, I’ll see you on the flip side over at A Disney Mom’s Thoughts!

Thanksgiving

Kids Corner Preview

{Editor’s Note: My daughter Sophie joins us today with a preview of an idea that’s been bouncing around for a while — the Kids Corner.  Here’s her preview, I hope you enjoy! ~ Mike}

Kids-Corner

Hey Kids! I’m assuming you haven’t seen the “Kid’s Corner” yet. So here’s the scoop. My name is Sophie. My Dad, Mike, runs the blog. He’s also a travel agent, so if your ‘rents want to plan a WDW trip, he’s the guy to call. ;)

Thanksgiving

My big, happy, Disney Family!!!

As for me, you can probably tell that I’m a kid too. So if you have any questions about Disney for me, I can probably answer them. Questions like:

  • “How many times have you been to Disney?” I can answer that one off the top of my head. The answer is: I have gone to Disney 12 times, the tradition started in 2005.
  • “How many hidden Mickeys are in Walt Disney World?” That one may take some research… by the way, the answer is: over 1,000 (I Googled it).

But, yes. Ask me any Question, and when you get your answer, just call me “Miss Disney-know-it-all.” Just kidding, don’t call me that. That, you might say is “part one” of my Kids Corner intro. And it is! So check back later.

 

2014

2014 In Pictures!

2014

Happy New Year, everyone!  On this, the last day of 2014, I am taking a moment to share with you some of my favorite memories from the year — in picture format!  If you like looking at Disney photos like I do, this post is absolutely for you!  Have a peek, and thanks!  As always, a big thank you goes out to all of you for stopping by, for reading, for sharing, for commenting, and for choosing My Dreams of Disney as one of your places to go for your Disney fix.  Now, here is our Year In Review.  I hope you enjoy!  All of the images you see below are configured so that if you click on the picture, it will open the post that the picture is from.

Anna

January saw us looking fondly at loved ones that we had recently lost — in our case, Cindy’s Uncle Bob. Suddenly, the question “Do you want to build a snowman?” took on more meaning…


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In February, we had a post about our favorite Disney memories. In this case, we were looking at our favorite Disney memories from 2011!


In March, we started our 100 Days til Disney countdown – our look at 100 things we wanted to explore on our upcoming trip.


In April, I wrote one of my favorite Magical Blogorail posts — a comparison between New Orleans Square and Liberty Square, and which one I like best.


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In May, one of the things we counted down on was ways that we can celebrate Disney Magic.


Festival of the Lion King

In June, Sophie wrote a post about a special Circle of Life video that her band class did near the end of school. Have a look, and enjoy!


Disney Music Monday

In July, we started a short lived series called #DisneyMusicMonday, with a look at the incredible Julie Andrews and the music of Mary Poppins.


Robin Williams

In August, we, along with the rest of the world, mourned the loss of Robin Williams, who was the Genie in Aladdin.


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In September, we wrote about the ways that Disney can help us deal with grief for the Magical Blogorail.


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In October, we hit a bit of a blogging rut — the words just wouldn’t come out of the keyboard! Despite that, we wrote about education at Liberty Square for the Magical Blogorail.


Happy Birthday Mickey

In November, we celebrated the birthday of our favorite Mouse couple — Mickey & Minnie!


Walt-Disney

We started off December by remembering Walt Disney, who was born on December 5th, 1901.

Pirates

We continued the month by writing about 5 facts about the Pirates of the Caribbean that will impress your friends!

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Lastly, we wrote about how Pixar short films (and Disney ones, too) are the best thing since sliced bread!


I hope that our year in Pictures has brought enjoyment to you, and a good reflection on some of the things that we have done this year.  It has been a full year, full of joy, fun, laughter, exciting Disney memories, and wonder, but there has also been sadness.  My prayer for each and every one of you is that this year is better now than it was when the year started, and that your 2015 is full of happiness, joy, Peace, wonder, prosperity, and love.  Please be safe if you are traveling, and remember, if you enjoy some adult beverages, please do not drink and drive.