It’s no lie to anyone who knows me that next to the Magic Kingdom, where I feel like I’m stepping right into my favorite stories, I love Animal Kingdom. Soon, I’m going to be sharing some of the AMAZING photos I got of KiteTails, Disney’s special 50th anniversary show at Animal Kingdom. Today, however, I’m so excited to share these incredible, in fact, so awesome I’ve got to say it again, incredible National Geographic books.
National Geographic is a staple in our house. Since a young age, my kids have devoured their books. The photographs are amazing, the facts interesting, and if one ever has had a question: “Let’s see if we can find the answer in a National Geographic Book” is usually what someone says.
I was thrilled to be sent FOUR National Geographic books to share my opinions on. For a new homeschooling mom, not only are these going to be perfect for this year’s life sciences study in fourth grade, and Greek mythology in ninth grade, they have my kids begging for summer 2023 to get here so we can visit Animal Kingdom again.
While at Animal Kingdom, one of our favorite things to do is walk the different treks. My youngest likes the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where he can see the various wild cats! Tigers are his favorite, so he was excited to see that the 2023 National Geographic Atlas had a tiger on the front! He also wondered if it was a typo, (spoken like a true editor’s child!) as he said we weren’t in 2023 yet.
These books are not only going to teach us about many of the animals found at Disney, but also introduce us to new ones!
Each of these books are incredible. I’m honestly not sure which is going to be looked at the most. Check out some of these photos! What surprised me about the atlas, was it also had pages like this!
Do you kids love just random facts? Some of these completely surprised me. I loved the tidbit about snow cones, one of our favorite summer treats! (See photo!) From everything to treasure and weapons, to animals, money, and well, everything in between, this is tied for my favorite of these four books.
It’s getting close to Christmas. If you are anything like me, you like to shop early, hit the sales, but also have the best selection in the stores, right? When it gets a little too close to the wire, it’s ALL picked over. At least, that’s how it is here in our town. Wouldn’t one or more of these make a great gift for someone? If not for a child, then to a classroom! Mr. Disney Magic is a teacher, and I love to stock his shelves with high quality books for the children to curl up with during silent reading and absorb. I’m pretty sure every kid likes animals!
Do you see these incredible and vivid images? The sea animals make me long for the amazing aquarium at EPCOT, at the Seas with Nemo.
These also make for perfect road trip entertainment, instead of just electronic devices! Even if your kiddo only looks at each page, I’m thinking an hour of silence per book. Maybe more!
The thing I really love most about National Geographic books, is they take into consideration the target age of their audience. You know a kids book is going to be safe to leave kids alone with. It’s going to have age appropriate language, pictures that are engaging, and…I’m going to say it again…are just incredible.
Now, yes…Greek mythology, that’s not quite Animal Kingdom, right? And everything I review has to have some sort of a Disney slant. That’s my thing. Don’t worry, it’s still Disney related!
For years, Disney has been teasing that EPCOT may get a new pavilion. Greece is one that many people have asked for. It wouldn’t be a stretch, think about how many times a character from Greece has appeared in a Disney movie. Ahem, Hercules anyone? What about Mal from Descendants? Did you realize that Zeus was her uncle? Zeus actually makes several appearances in Disney films, everything from muppets and animation, like Fantasia, to in Marvel movies. That’s right…Thor! Loki! Some of the most popular Greek names are in those movies. Maybe Season 2 of Loki will introduce us to a few other gods or demigods? In the meantime, you can get refreshed on your Greek mythology.
Tell me, don’t these pictures just make you want to read more? What was neat about the Greek mythology book, was it’s not just stories, but interesting facts, too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures and these connections to Disney as much as I have! As my husband says, I can turn anything into Disney. Maybe it’s true…I don’t know, but I see these books, and I sure think so!
Stop by my Facebook page, tell me some of your favorite National Geographic books! How do you connect those to Disney?
If you have an upcoming Disney vacation, you might have noticed that instead of loads of choices in the MagicBand selection it's...well...a little lacking the magic.
So, what should you do?
Just like everyone else, Disney is struggling with supply issues. It's noticeable in their food, their merchandise in Park, and also the MagicBands.
Before you sit down in your My Disney Experience and start to panic, let me reassure you. You'll be able to get something. And, changes are really good it's something that you will like! But...there are a few tricks to that, and I'm going to explain them.
First, let's talk about HOW you get a MagicBand, and what it does, for those of you new to Disney's MagicBands.
What it is
A MagicBand is like a key and your credit card. If staying at a Disney resort, it acts as your room key. When you make a purchase, with your pin, you can just automagically (no typo there!) have your room or card billed.
This band used to get you into the Fastpass Lanes, now, it's for the Lightening Lanes.
How much are they? Are they free?
MagicBands used to be free when you had a Disney package. They now are not. You are given a pre arrival discount though, and there are a LOT more designs to choose from. A plain band is $10, and they go up from there, generally in incriments of $5. So, $10, $15, $20, etc.
Now, do you NEED a MagicBand? Nope! You are perfectly fine without one. A lot of stuff can be done on your phone. But I'm going to be honest with you. I was super grateful I had my phone on my when I stepped outside my resort room and the door slammed behind me and I was alone. I opened my app, clicked to open my door and....I turned my phone this way. I jiggled it that way. I adjusted the brightness. I wiggled it, and started to get frustrated. Just as I was about to manifest into a Disney villain, CLICK. It opened. Boy that was frustrating. And it took a long time too! What if I had someone I had to get to quickly?
How do you get one of these magical devices?
You can get MagicBands one of four places, and each has it's benefits or pitfalls.
1. Reuse one of your old MagicBands. You can reuse a MagicBand that was assigned to you on a previous trip.
2. You can buy one on ShopDisney. Their collection is very, very small though. As in, last time I checked, two band styles.
3. You can buy a band at a Disney Park or Resort. There is going to be a larger selection in person, but there's no discount on the price.
4. You can purchase before your trip, through My Disney Experience. This can be tricky. Let me explain.
Purchasing MagicBands Through My Disney Experience
Since there are thousands of people trying to buy MagicBands for their trip the same time as you are, it can be hard to get the style band you want.
At any given time, I found between twenty and forty different MagicBand styles. Huge difference, huh?
See that sparkly rose gold one up there? I really had wanted the silver. Or the solid raspberry. But I waited too long...and couldn't get it.
As a matter of fact, I had to check every day for two weeks before we were able to get bands that each of us liked. Yikes! Even still, when we got our young's MagicBand in, it was supposed to be an orange-y coral color with Chewbacca on it. That thing is pinkish! Luckily, he didn't care, maybe because I talked up the cool picture, but remember, the color may vary slightly!
There are a few things to know, and these tips will help you do the trick: Getting the MagicBands you want.
1. Check the site when the bands restock in the morning!
The MagicBands restock in the morning! That's your go time! Channel that inner "Gotta get my fastpass or dining reservation" attitude, set your clock, and get ready!
If you can't do that, then...
2. Check several times throughout the day.
That's right! It's quite possible that someone had been dithering about their band, a trip got canceled, or some other thing and the band you want reappears. That's actually how I got my sparkly rose gold one! That one was my choice #3, which leads into...
3. Know ahead of time what you might like.
Have a few favorites in mind. It's best if everyone in your party can have two of three band ideas that they like. Then, once you know what's a yes, and you see at least one for each person, you can grab the perfect MagicBand set!
4. Pounce on it when you see it
Seriously. Don't think ohhh I'll wait...nope. If there's a band everyone in your party will like, snag it while they have it.
5. Don't give up
If you can't get just what you want the first try, or ten, just keep swimming. You'll find a fun band you like eventually, I promise! That might mean you wait and get one in person but there are still many MagicBands out there for sale!
Hopefully these tips helped a little to assist you in getting JUST the perfect MagicBands to make your Disney vacation extra magical!
I admit, I'm an absolute sucker for Mickey shaped items, so when ShopDisney got these fantastic foam soap dispensers in...I bought two. I mean, the kids need one too, right?!
This little beauty is sitting in out downstairs half bath, ready to delight each user, giving a little puff of Disney magic!
Of course, it wouldn't be as great if you couldn't refill it, and I have, successfully many times, and it still works beautifully. This does take the foaming soap refill, and like many of you, I've made my own with liquid soap, but I have not done that with this bottle. I don't want to risk damaging it, so I've only used the foaming soap refill.
There is a little trick though to get the perfect Mickey shape. Do you see the little white bits on the side of the soap pump? Touch your hand to those. If you do, you get a perfect Mickey head each time. Otherwise, it looks a bit off. It's still Mickey, but only Mickey-ish.
These are available for $20 from Disney, and if you happen to be going to the Parks this year, maybe you can snag the 50th anniversary themed one too! I know I'm going to try!
Though $20 is a lot for a bathroom soap dispenser, I have to be honest, the joy it brings with each handwash is priceless! And if you have young kids who might squeeze gobs and gobs on...or skips washing, this is perfect because it gives the right amount, and makes washing up fun!
I admit it...total sucker for a pretty gift card. It could even be empty and a little voice in my head goes Ohhhhhh and it sounds a LOT like the Little Green Men from Toy Story for some reason...
A few years back, I was incredibly disappointed when Disney did away with the pretty gift cards! They completely stopped, and only had the red Mickey. I bet you know which one I mean. The one that everyone sells.
I'm thrilled that a few months back, they brought BACK these amazing gift cards. Best of all? There are SO many incredible designs to choose from. I bought myself the three above. When you order your gift card, it comes in a nice envelope.
And then once you open the envelope...is your gift card, in a beautiful card!
The card tells where you can use it, how you can use it, and the value of the card.
I'll be honest...I'm not sure what I love most! The pretty card, the pretty gift card, or the fact possibilities are endless...you could frame the cards...make ornaments...bookmarks...gift tags...there's a lot of creative possibilities here.
We typically pay off our Disney vacations with gift cards. Here's why! (Hint! I don't pay retail!) And when strolling through the parks, a gift card is how we cover our meals, souvenirs, and etc. The kids also have a souvenir, and one of the ways I like to tell which is the food card, which is Kid #1's card, etc, is by each thing of person having their own separate card. It helps me see if we used all we had budgeted for or not.
As a matter of fact, there are a LOT more ways to use a Disney gift card than you may realize! I've got a list of 11 different ways you can use your Disney gift card while on your vacation.
Our kids loving making their own purchases too, and it's such a time saver to pull out the Iron Man card and know who it belongs to, or the Darth Vader one. I'm never even worried about my kids losing their gift cards. Why? Well, because of the 10 second, less than a dollar way to make sure you kid won't lose it!
When you buy these gift cards from the site, there is a minimum of $25 to get the card. If you are a card collector, Disney Stores and Disney Parks will still let you put as little as $15 on a card. When we vacation, I snag a few of these cards for $15, and gift them along with the kids' birthday cards, or Easter baskets. It's an easy way to help them save. As a matter of fact...one year Santa even dropped some in the stockings! How awesome of him!
We are planning our summer trip to Disney World, and there are droids to be build, saber accessories to buy, and more plushies than our van can likely hold, so the boys know they need to save up!
Stop by Disney's site to browse their gift cards. What's your favorite? I've so many I love!
Photo Copyright Disney
Apologies for not updating sooner. After avoiding covid for so many years, well, it's paid a call. This will be a short post, but we are all doing well, and trying to recover and get caught up!
Are you a pressed penny collector? My boys are! I'm a HUGE fan of the medallions though! It shouldn't be any surprise that Disney will make sure there are special things ONLY available during the 50th! Places are sharing that the final machines are in and ready for your pressed coin purchases!
Here's the official Disney Parks Blog Post. Now, just how many pressed pennies are they? Holy mouse, guys! There are SO MANY! Check out these photos!
Photo Copyright Disney
Photo Copyright Disney
Photo Copyright Disney
Which are you most excited about? Those tags are pretty fun looking!
Now, these are scattered all throughout Disney property...that means all four parks, the reports, and Disney Springs. Are you the ambitious sort who wants to collect them all? I know myself...I can be the sort who would want them all, but to be honest, the only ones I want are the generic, 50th anniversary ones. I can't wait to get them in a few months!
Remember...the machines have changed! Very few actually take your pennies and quarters now. Most are credit card. Sure, that's fast and easy...but is it as much fun? While I'm not sure how many of the old locations have the new machines, here's a fantastic list of locations to get you started!