Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lots to Learn at Disneyland

There are about a gazillion educational opportunities to take advantage of while in Disneyland, and much of it can be done while having fun. Kids may not even notice that they are learning. The obvious ones are things like budgeting money for souvenirs, telling time, and counting change. For the pre-school crowd, color and shape recognition are simple to do while standing in line or grabbing a snack. For older children, the history of Walt Disney or Disneyland itself, and history of various inventions, such as the steam engine can be started on various attractions and supplemented by books and information available in Disneyland, bookstores and on the Internet. All ages can partake in a little art and music appreciation.

This weekend a new idea came to me - that of social observation. Yes, people watching. A specific idea came to me as I was talking with our six-year-old son.

"Mom, next time we go to Disneyland, I think I will be ready to go on Splash Mountain again, and that big space ride that is like a box that moves."

"Star Tours?"

"Yes....and (everything except the Haunted Mansion)"

When his was four, he was traumatized by the elevator ride into the attraction when everything goes dark and the person is seen hanging above the riders' heads. What scared him was that the elevator was full of teens and everyone screamed when it went dark.

I explained how he is older now and knows what's coming so it shouldn't be scary the next time around. I could see he was considering my words.

"You know what?" I said, "Next time you will know what is coming, but some people won't. You can watch them and see if they get scared."

"Yeah!" This got him. He seemed delighted with the idea that he might catch others being scared while he stayed cool and calm.

So, maybe watching the reactions of others - fear, delight, impatience, etc. may be another skill to be honed while in Disneyland. We shall see!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Parade in Town

My son called me at work today very excited about something.

"Mom, do you know they have a new parade at Disneyland?"

He went on to say it had Cars and Sully and Woody and lots of other guys in it, but no Green Men (toy soldiers that were in the Block Party parade). He had clicked on a link in his favorites and seen a video of it and says we really have to go to Disneyland. He is right, of course.

It is called the Pixar Play Parade, and looks similar to the Block Party in that it is high energy with fun music and features Pixar characters. Our kids loved Block Party and so I am sure Play Parade will be a huge hit with them, too. Can't wait for that "someday" to happen!

Below is a picture of our Boy Wonder shaking his booty before the Block Party parade during the warm up activities hosted by the Green Men.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Feeling the Disney Magic

A couple nights ago, after a day where I had desperately searched for good deals to get us to Disneyland, our 3-year old Princess said, "Mama I want to go to Disneyland so I can meet Bambi and Thumper." (Bambi is not a big story in our household, so I can only assume she was looking through old books earlier in the day.) Wife told her that those were characters in a book, but that you didn't usually see them in Disneyland.

Her 6-year-old brother reminded us of the Magic Hat at the Disneyland Hotel - and how wishes really can come true. On our last day at Disneyland the last time we were there, as he walked under the Magic Hat, he wished he could meet some characters he'd never seen before. He was LOVING getting autographs. Well, in amazing Disney fashion, we ran into about 5 or 6 characters he'd not yet met, so he was thrilled.

A few minutes later, the Princess was off to bed, and I sat quietly by my son's side as he snuggled into his own bed. He looked at me very seriously and said, "Some things aren't really magic, but I think Disneyland really is magic." With tears in my eyes that my son could still feel the wonder 2 years after his last trip, I had to agree, "Yes, I think Disneyland is magic, too."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's New?- Toy Story Mania

Wow - what a slacker, right? First post in over one month! Well, guess that is what happens when a student is out of school for the summer :) I have been busy working at my regular job and dreaming of our next Disneyland vacation, but not actually going on anything resembling a vacation. Hey - budgets are tight all around, and when you are a student with a family to support....well, you get the idea. We will be doing some fun local things in August and saving our money for a big Disneyland bash sometime in the next year. Maybe after the bar exam? (Although I have heard that "brain dead" will be my state of mind for at least a couple of weeks afterwards.)

So, what's new at the Disneyland Resort? Toy Story Mania opened to the public in Disney's California Adventure on Tuesday, June 24th.

The reviews on this attraction, which is an interactive ride through carnival games with Woody and Friends, are really great. This is similar to the Buzz Lightyear attraction in Disneyland where you help Buzz defeat the Evil Emporer Zurg by shooting at targets. I have read a few reviews calling the attraction "addictive" as riders want to play over and over again to beat their friend's and own personal best scores.

Lines are reported to be fairly long - I've seen reports of 45 minutes to over 2 hours - so if you are planning on going, sounds like first thing in the morning and the end of the day are your best bets. There is no FastPass hooked up at this time.

For an in depth review of Toy Story Mania, check out this article. This sounds like a "Do Not Miss" attraction to me! I can't wait to experience it for myself!