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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.

Disneyland Construction

#DisneyTrivia – Disneyland!

Disneyland Construction

Sleeping Beauty Castle — an iconic structure at Disneyland!

Hello everyone, and welcome to our #DisneyTrivia segment for this week!  I’m joined by my special friends Heidi from Heidi’s Head and Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse!  Today is a big day in Disneyland lore — as you know, this past Thursday was the 59th birthday of Disneyland.  Well, did you know that on this day in 1954, the construction for Disneyland began?!  Less than one year later, the park was open!  That’s quite a turnaround, wouldn’t you say?

Thank you for stopping by today!  Don’t forget to link on over and check out the entries that Heidi and Jodi have for you — as well as the entries that you all put in as well!  Have a great day everyone, and remember, if you have a blog and want to contribute, just write a Disney trivia post and add your link in!

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Swiss Family Treehouse

#DisneyTrivia – More Swiss Family Treehouse!

Swiss Family Treehouse

More facts and figures about Swiss Family Treehouse!

Hello everyone, and thank you for stopping by in our #DisneyTrivia segment tonight!  As you probably know, today in our #DisneyWorldCountdown series we focused on the Swiss Family Treehouse, and since we are doing that on the day we do our Disney Trivia segment, we are including some facts and figures about the attraction as well!  I’m happy to be joined by our founder Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and Heidi from Heidi’s Head.  Thank you ladies for joining in!

Swiss Family Treehouse Facts and Figures

Here are some things that you may not have known about this attraction:

  • Did you know there are 116 steps total in the attraction?
  • Did you know that the tree is completely man-made, and stands at 90 feet tall and 60 feet wide?
  • Did you know that this is an original Walt Disney World attraction, and opened on October 1st, 1971?
  • Lastly, did you know that there are over 300,000 leaves on the tree, and that they were all put in place by hand?!

Here are some additional photos from the attraction.  I hope you enjoy them!

Swiss Family Treehouse

A view of the water transport system.

Swiss Family Treehouse

One room where the boys slept.

Thank you for joining in today.  Please take a moment and visit the other great entries for this week’s Tiggerific Tuesday Disney Trivia!  If you have a blog, and a passion for Disney, then I encourage you to write your own trivia post and share it.  Feel free to add your link using the form below.

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Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia – Goofy Teaches Golf!

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Hello everyone, and welcome to our #DisneyTrivia segment for the week.  This week we’re taking a look at an entry that we found on the This Day in Disney History website.  Today’s the 70th anniversary of a uniquely Disney cartoon:

Did You Know…

That on March 10, 1944, Disney’s Goofy short How to Play Golf, directed by Jack Kinney, is released. It is an analysis of the great game of golf … the Goofy way.

To enjoy this timeless classic, here it is via YouTube for you to enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by today for our #DisneyTrivia post!  Please join my friends Jenn from Disney Babies Blog, Heidi from Heidi’s Head, and Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and check out what they have to share with us!  Do you have a Disney blog?  If you do, I urge you to write a post and add it to our links so that we can enjoy your #DisneyTrivia too!  Thanks again, and go out and make it a Disney Day!

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Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia – The TTA!

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Monica, ML, and Sophie relax on the TTA!

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia post, the weekly series where I team up with my friends Heidi from Heidi’s Head, Jenn from Disney Babies Blog, and Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse to share with you a bit of Disney trivia!  I apologize for the delay in getting this post out, I have been having some issues with the network or computer (I’m not sure which) — but everything seems to be okay now!

This week I’ve got a trivia question of my own making based off of something my daughter Sophie said to us about the TTA — the Tomorrowland Transit Authority!  This is likely a very easy trivia question, but let’s see — read it and please leave your answer in the comments below!

The TTA Trivia Question!

Where can you find the Hidden Mickey on the TTA?
a) On the belt of the lady getting her hair curled.
b) In the model of what Epcot was originally going to look like.
c) Somewhere in the Buzz Lightyear scene.
d) There is no Hidden Mickey.

So what do you think?  Do you know the answer to our trivia question?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks for playing along with us!  Now, please go check out the rest of the entries by clicking on the links below, and thanks for stopping by!  Remember to go out and make every day a Disney Day!