Friday, February 28, 2014

Disney World Series Part 3B: Animal Kingdom Review

The fact that E1, E2, and E3 are all animal lovers, we knew that Animal Kingdom would be a big hit for them.

Favorite Rides & Places to Play: 


Kilimanjaro Safaris

E1's favorite animal.
Seeing live animals is something all 3 older E kids enjoy so we knew that this ride would be a big hit for them. We spent 1 1/2 days at Animal Kingdom and each time this was the first ride we went to. The first day we waited for almost an hour, we got there around the early afternoon time . The second day only 10 minutes because it was early in the morning.

A good thing about this ride is you are allowed to have your stroller with you till almost the end, so if there is a long wait the kids would take a nap in the stroller. But you do get "set back" a bit when you go to park your stroller parking towards the end, not a huge deal though.

Now on to the actual ride itself. About 20 people are loaded onto a jeep fashioned to look like one you would sit on in Africa. Granted I've never been on an actual safari in Africa but this is how I imagined it would look like. Each jeep has a guide that tells you about each location and the animals you will see there. There are a few staged "dangers" along the way and it is a rather bumpy ride but you do get to see quite a few animals much to the kids delight. If possible, I would recommend getting seats on the last row of the jeep because you get the chance to turn around and take some pretty good pictures without any obstructions.

The Boneyard
A great area for the kids to stop and play. Granted you didn't come all this way to Disney to play in a playground but this is a nice break from waiting in the long lines. Just beware it might be hard to keep track of your kids since some of these slides can go fairly high unless you want to go on the slides too. I did witness a few parents go down them. But don't worry kids won't be able to run off since it is in an enclosed area and there's a Disney employee at the entrance and exit. H even asked to go here again on our second visit to Animal Kingdom.

Favorite Shows: 

Festival Of The Lion King

A great interactive show that lets you be part of a wonderful festival for Simba and his friends. You will get to hear your favorite songs from the movie and enjoy some wonderful acrobatic performances.

The whole family will enjoy this show, even my hard to impress husband was pretty impressed with the flame twirler in the show. And the kids asked to watch the show again!

Finding Nemo - The Musical
One of the best shows I've seen! A 40 minute "condensed" version of the movie with spectacular singing and puppetry performances. It felt like we were watching a broadway production. The kids soaked up every minute of it. H&N were singing the tunes afterwards. Makes us want to watch the movie again.

It's Tough to be a Bug!
A 3D show where you get to experience what it's like to be a bug with characters from "A Bug's Life". While we waited inside a dimly lit ant hole, H&N wore their bug glasses. As N put them on he said "Ahh I can't see!" haha silly kid. There might be a scare factor to some young children but only for a moment. And if you don't like bugs then you might just jump out of your seat. But don't let this scare you away it's REALLY a fun show to check out. H&N were giggling and talking about what they liked as we headed out the doors.

What is your favorite Animal Kingdom show and ride?

Zi and Eva

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Disney World Series Part 3A: Magic Kingdom Review

The largest kingdom at Disney World has tons of great rides and shows, it is hard to pick just one favorite.

So, here are a few of our favorites.

Favorite Rides:

E1 with grandma
This is really a classic ride. Especially fun for preschoolers but really perfect for all ages. They have made some updates to this ride so it is actually "fun" to wait since there is a play area under the big top. But the wait can still get long so it would be a good idea to Fast Pass this if possible.

Didn't get a chance to get a good picture on the ride? They have a Dumbo set up right outside the ride that is a great photo op.

"It's a small world"
Another classic ride. This was one ride that I (Eva) remember when I was younger at Disneyland and now for my kids. They kept on saying "Look at this, look at that!" The lines may be long at times but moves fairly quickly since it loads large number of people on a boat. Just beware that song might be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, hehe.

Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid
Definitely a must for a fast pass if you want to get on this ride. A cute under the sea adventure with classic songs from the movie.  This was H's favorite and wanted to go back again. And if you want to meet Ariel, she's right next door in "Ariel's Grotto"

Favorite Shows:

Enchanted Tales With Belle

We had no idea what exactly this was when we lined up for it but it turned out to be a rather fun experience. It is an interactive show that is a condensed telling of Beauty and the Beast story.

While you wait for the show to begin, you walk through Belle's father's cottage with nice props. There is a bit of a surprise at the beginning that I won't ruin for you. And then a few members of the audience get selected to be part of the show. E2 actually got selected to be Chip the first time we went. Yes, E2 and 3 enjoyed it so much we actually went to this twice.
It is also a great opportunity for the little ones to meet Belle and get pictures taken with her.

Mickey's PhilharMagic
A 3-D movie starring various Disney characters. The kids loved "grabbing" at flying objects and a few surprises in between.  Don't want to say too much and spoil it. But it will definitely stimulate your senses and give smiles all around at the end of the show. There are times when the wait was only 10-15 minutes, so definitely keep this in mind. It's great, plus a fun experience!

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular

You can't go to Magic Kingdom and not stay for their fireworks show at least one time. And during the Christmas season they also have a light show that happens beforehand which is really amazing and hard to describe in words. Let's just say that it will most likely be the best fireworks show you see in your life! Also, try to get a spot around the front of Cinderella's castle so you can see Tinkerbell fly by at one point in the show.
There are so many great rides and shows at Magic Kingdom, please share yours!

Zi and Eva

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disney World Series Part 2: Navigating Tips

Thought this post would be best done in Q and A format. Keep in mind that our group consisted of kids ranging from age 2 to 5.

Q: How many days should I spend per kingdom?
A: Magic Kingdom is the largest kingdom in terms of things to do for both little kids and adults alike, so you can definitely spend at least 2 to 3 days here.
Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot could all be a 1 day excursion. But if you have more days on your schedule, there is enough to do at these kingdoms that you could spend another half a day or another full day there.
Got even more time in your schedule? It is actually a good idea to take a break between your excursions to the kingdoms because you will be tired and it would be nice to have time to relax and recharge.

Q: How does Fast Pass work?
A: Few things to know about Fast Pass, a) the kiosks to get Fast Pass for any particular ride or show is never located where the ride/show is, b) you are only allowed to get 1 Fast Pass every 2 hours, c) totally worth it for super popular rides.
With these few things in mind, here are some strategies for using Fast Pass. Find out what ride your group really wants to go on that usually has the longest wait time. Send 1 person in your group along with everyone's tickets to get the Fast Pass for that ride. Everyone else in your group could line up for another ride at the same time to save on time. Have a plan as to what other ride you would like to Fast Pass, so when your 2 hour freeze is up, you could go get the next one.
Usually rides that only take a few riders at a time will most likely have a longer wait time, logically this makes sense right? Say for example, at Magic Kingdom the Peter Pan ride takes only about 3 riders per pirate ship and the It's A Small World ride takes over 20 people per boat, so obviously Peter Pan usually has a longer wait time.

Q: How much is parking? 
A: Parking is $15 at all kingdoms. Once you pay for parking it is good for the whole day at all the kingdoms. Just remember to keep your stub.
*Parking tip: remember to snap a pic of the row and location sign to help you remember where you parked.

Q: Where did you buy your Disney World tickets?
A: Eva's family bought their tickets through her husband's workplace and Zi's family bought it through The prices were pretty comparable,both had buy 3 days get 2 days for free offers, with being slightly cheaper by a few dollars per ticket.

E2 favorite princess-Snow White, signing her book.
Q: Where is the best place to meet characters?
A: Each kingdom has designated spots where you can meet specific characters. The more popular characters will most likely have the longest lines. So if there is a specific character your child absolutely HAS to see, find out where you can see them and we would recommend going there first to beat the crowd. For example, there is a "Princess Fairytale Hall" where you can meet Snow White and Rapunzel at one side and Cinderella and Aurora on another. Rapunzel being the newest princess was more popular, and on our first day at Magic Kingdom had a 2 hour wait. So the 2nd day we went to Magic Kingdom, we decided that we would go there first and had a 30 minute wait instead which was much more tolerable with little children.

Q: How did you get to Florida?
A: Of course this is all dependent on where you are coming from. We were going down to Florida from Pennsylvania so both our families decided to drive. It is about a 15-16 hour drive from where we live. With at least 2 drivers it is totally possible to make it in one straight shot. But on the way down, Zi's family made a couple of stops in Raleigh, NC and Savannah, GA and Eva's family stopped in Savannah, GA. On the way back, both families did a straight shot back through the night. Driving through the night makes it a little easier in the sense that the kids slept for most of the trip. But can be difficult for the drivers since they have spent a full week at Disney =)

Questions we didn't answer here? Feel free to ask in comments.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Disney World Series Part 1: Packing List

Our families spent the last week of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 at the most magical place on earth--Disney World!

Since our return, it has been a whirlwind of getting the kids back into their school schedule, getting our lives back on track, unexpected new car purchases for both our families, and LOTS of snow days, that it has taken us almost 2 months to put together this series about our trip. Despite the long wait, we hope that this will be a helpful series for all who plan to make a trip to Disney World.

This is what you can look forward to in our Disney World Series:
Part 1: Packing List
Part 2: Navigating Tips
Part 3: Ride and Show Reviews by Kingdom 
           A) Magic Kingdom
           B) Animal Kingdom
           C) Hollywood Studios
           D) Epcot
Part 4: Recap

A quick note before we start, the children in our group were aged 2 to 5, so many of our tips and observations will be most appropriate for this age range.

Now let's get to it, here is our recommended Packing List (obviously this is not every single thing you need to bring):

1) Stroller For Each Child--one of the best advice we received before going to Disney World was to make sure we had a stroller for each child. The days will be long and the kids will get tired and most likely nap at some point. So it very nice to have a place for them to do so. It is also nice to help carry things like food and water since those things can get heavy. That being said, make sure the stroller is relatively light weight, since there will be times where you need to pack it up and carry it, so you don't want to be lugging around a huge stroller.

2) Pack Lunch and Lots of Snacks--park tickets aside, the thing you will be spending the most money on is food at Disney World. So it is definitely recommended that you pack at least your lunch and lots of snacks. If you are able to, go ahead and pack dinner too since you will most likely be spending all day at the parks. And as parents of little children know, they will need snacks. So pack lots to keep the kids fueled throughout the day. There are also water fountains in the park, so go ahead and bring water bottles that you could refill while you are there.
There is a size restriction to the coolers that are allowed in the parks, so make sure you check Disney's site for those dimensions.

3) Make Your Own Autograph Books--one of the fun experiences about Disney is that children get to meet their favorite characters, get a picture taken with them, and have them sign their autograph books. But honestly, most lines are pretty long for these character meets, especially if they are popular, so you probably won't meet too many. So why spend over $10 for an autograph book when you could have a DIY version that is just as cute. Both Eva and I just bought inexpensive notebooks and decorated them for our kids.

E2/3's autograph book being signed by Marie
 4) Ponchos/Raincoats--being in Florida, you can expect some rain while you are there, so it is always a good idea to pack ponchos are some lightweight rain gear for everyone in your group. Great place to look for these are Walmart or Target. Didn't get to pick some up before your trip? No worries! There is a Walmart and Target close to the park that you could easily pick some up. And honestly, the kid size ponchos at the park are not too expensive, they are about $8 which is what you would pay for a decent poncho elsewhere.
Going along with the ponchos, it is a good idea to have a couple of large trash bags or umbrellas. These could be used to cover your strollers while they are parked. And yes, you will be parking your strollers quite a bit.
Zi with Mickey and wearing one of the extra kid ponchos =)
5) Disney Merchandise--no matter how hard you try to avoid it, kids will want to buy something from the many many stores at the park. If your child has a character or princess that they are really fond of then it is a good idea to purchase some merchandise ahead of time from Walmart, Target or maybe even a consignment sale. It will most likely be cheaper than getting it at the parks.
Based on personal observation, the items that are seriously over priced at the park are the clothing (t-shirts, hoodies), dress up clothing (especially the princess dresses), and large soft toys.

6) Backpack and/or Messenger Bag--with kids to keep track of and all the things you need to pack, it is a good idea to have a bag that can carry many items and keep your hands free. Both of our families had at least 1 backpack. Zi also had a messenger bag with multiple compartments which made it easier to keep track of items, like park tickets, photo passes, pens, autograph books, and hand sanitizer.

7) Glow sticks--one of the things that really catches children's attention are all the glowing toys that Disney pushes once the sun goes down. So the best way to combat your child's urge to throw a tantrum because they just got to have one is to bring some of your own glow sticks. They are much more affordable from a dollar store or places like Five Below.

Got something to add to our list? Please feel free to share in comments!


Thursday, February 20, 2014


Now that H is in Kindergarten her circle of friends is growing. The girls in her class are all best friends and such a close knit group. Us kindergarten moms LOVE this fact and hope it can continue on throughout their school years. So with that H's social calendar is filling up... from birthday parties to playdates after school. It wasn't too long ago when playdates meant time for mommies to get together, have a "break" and enjoy talking to another adult.
Playdates past... my baby girl & her buddy
Now it's "Mommy can so and so come over? Can I go over so and so's house? OK! Bye Mommy!"

I can't get over the fact that now it's truly is a playdate for H. It's actually a few hours "away" from Mommy. My little bird is testing her wings. It truly hit me when H went over her friend's house to play, without me?! what?! sniff sniff. Time really flies, my baby girl is a big girl now... in a blink of an eye. Granted there are still times when I'm good friends with the mom and we hang out as the kids play. So everyone gets to socialize and have fun haha!

At the last birthday party a bunch of us parents were discussing how at 1st grade is usually when parents just drop off the kid at the party and leave.
Do you remember how old when that happened for you?
What do you love most about playdates? 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Valentine for you!

We have been busy working on Valentine's for H's class. Last year we made our Heart Hand Warmers. These are available in our HONEYCOMB STORE.

This year H wanted to give heart lollipops. So I created a new design and attached the lollipop by cutting two slits on the card.

Did you get your Valentine cards yet? If not, we are sharing free BOJ's valentines HERE!
Have a Pinterest board? Please pin it and share with your friends.

Are you making Valentine's this year? 
Would you rather have chocolates or candy hearts?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Buzz by our honeycomb store for some fun Valentine's gifts!

Great for kids, the teacher, babysitter, grandma or anyone you love!
Need something red to wear for Valentine's? How about our Heart-Felt heart clip or pin.

Pack a surprise in your kid's lunch on Valentine's day with our lunch buddies sets. 

Looks like we still have 6 more weeks of winter! 
Here's something to keep you warm, our Heart Hand Warmers.
Thanks for buzzing by!
Eva & Zi

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Valentines for the teacher

Too cold outside or more snow on the way? No problem!
Here's something to keep the kids busy and have a Valentines ready for their teacher(s).

I don't know about your kids but H LOVES her teacher! She misses her over a break or a long weekend. H even said the other day "How about we invite Mrs. B to my birthday party?" Now how many kids say that? 

So what better way to say how much we love her by making her a Valentine!
You can too by clicking HERE.

Will you be giving your child's teacher something for Valentine's?
If you're a teacher, what's the best Valentine you ever got?