Have you been wondering about the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration? It’s a small invite-only conference put on by Disney, and this year it’s in Disneyland!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

We’ll be there Instagramming, tweeting, and facebooking about the best social media tips, Disney magic, inspirational speakers, and more–so make sure you’re following us!

Karen Heffren

Find Karen at:

Desert Chica Ramblings

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Facebook

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Becca Ludlum

Find Becca at:

My Crazy Good Life

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

 

We were sent a complimentary collection of Disney Music CDs by as part of Entertainment New Media Network.  Giveaway is sponsored through the network by Disney In The Desert with prizes provided by Walt Disney Records.

Our kids love Disney Junior, and now we have a way to take a break from the TV and have some family fun with these Disney Junior CD sets!

Disney Junior CD Set Review and Giveaway!

We were sent the Disney Junior Preschool CD set to review, and the boys’ favorite (by a landslide) is Disney Junior DJ Shuffle! It includes songs from the other CDs as well as all of their favorite Disney Junior shows, including Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and Minnie’s Boutique! The FROZEN CD is all the rage right now with preschool kids right on up through adults!

Disney Junior CJ Shuffle CD

Disney Junior has several CDs out with the best songs from their most-loved TV shows for both kids and tweens. Kids between the ages of 2-12 will love being able to sing along with their favorites while making crafts or having fun during a party.

The Disney Junior Preschool Set includes the following CDs:

Doc McStuffins

DJ Shuffle

Jake and the Never Land Pirates / Yo Ho Matey

Frozen

 

The Disney Junior Tween Set includes the following CDs:

Frozen

Austin & Ally: Turn It Up

DC Play it Loud

Teen Beach Movie

 

Giveaway!

We have a preschool and a tween CD set to give away! To enter, please comment below with which set you’d like to win. If you’d like an extra entry, please head over and “like” the Disney In The Desert Facebook page and then leave a separate comment telling us you like the page! One entry can’t be counted multiple times, so please make sure to leave a comment for each of the entries (maximum of 2).

This giveaway will remain open until April 8th. A winner will be chosen and notified on April 9th and will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  

Even if you don’t live right in the shadow of Space Mountain, it’s every Disney fan’s wish to someday hold a magic ticket–an Annual Pass. In my first Annual Pass article, I covered how to work the discounts of holding one Annual Pass to save you money at Disneyland, even if you only visit once. Now it’s time to really dream big: what if you all had Disneyland family Annual Passes?

Is buying a Disneyland Annual Family Pass worth it if you don't live near the parks?Photo credit of Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

First, let’s clarify that this article is less about saving money and more about maximizing value–buying Annual Passes to Disneyland takes more than a mouse-sized amount of money. Currently, a Deluxe Annual Pass to Disneyland will set you back $499–that’s $1996 for a family of four! But with a little planning and pixie dust, you can turn that investment into a whole year of Matterhorn-sized memories!

If you live outside of Southern California, I would recommend this option most to a few groups of people:

1. You love Disney and visit two or three times per year. If you go to Disneyland twice during the year and purchase three-day parkhoppers both times, it will cost you $520 per person. If you can work around a Deluxe AP’s 50 blackout dates (mostly popular Saturdays and big holidays), you’ll save money already.

2. You want to stay at Disneyland more than five park days. Disneyland no longer offers a 6-day ticket for U.S. residents, so if you want an extended visit to the Happiest Place on Earth, you’re better off with an Annual Pass, especially when you factor in food and souvenir discounts during a long stay.

3. You go to Disneyland only once a year — with a catch. Your “year” starts the first day you use an Annual Pass. Could you plan your yearly summer Disney vacation for the last week of July this year, and an earlier week in July 2015? Or an after-Christmas visit one year and before Christmas the next? You’d have two years of vacations paid for with one set of Annual Passes.

4. You want to experience different special seasons at Disneyland. A year with an Annual Pass could get you into the 24-hour “Rock Your Disney Side” party in May, the summer “Magical” fireworks, rides on Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy in the fall (and discounts on Mickey’s Halloween Party), and the unmatched Christmas season offerings.

5. You also visit Southern California for other reasons throughout the year. Do you visit family nearby (with a place to crash for free)? Do you have business in the area? Conventions in Anaheim? Would you want a day or two at Disneyland with a San Diego or Hollywood vacation? Any of those could turn your “once a year” trip into a few extra Disney days.

Of course, you’ll also benefit from all of the hotel, food, tour, and souvenir savings I outlined in Part 1.

The Disney Store seems to be all out of magic wands, so how to pay for all of this? Annual Passes could be a showstopper family Christmas present, with the first trip scheduled before the kids go back to school in January or for spring break. Asking grandparents for Disney gift cards or to sponsor one Annual Pass could be a very memorable gift. You could buy Annual Pass vouchers one at a time as you have the funds; they can be activated through the end of the year.

If you are the type of family that would love to visit Disneyland more often, take a few minute to think about how buying Annual Passes might work into your vacation plans. You might find that you’ll be singing along to “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Yo Ho, Yo Ho” more often than you thought!

Do I live too far away to have an Annual Pass to Disneyland? Is a Disneyland Annual Pass worth it even if you live out of state? I think so, maybe I can convince you too!

Is buying a Disneyland Annual Pass worth the money for non-California residents?Photo credit of Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

Many Southern California Disney fans who live within driving distance of the parks hold yearly passes. But what about those of us who live in Arizona, Northern California, or even farther away? Could we ever justify having an Annual Pass? Let’s see if we can magically make those savings and discounts work for us!

This topic is big enough for two articles; we will give you Part 2 of Annual Pass magic in a couple weeks.

If you’re not a Southern California resident, you have two options for Disneyland Annual Passes, Deluxe or Premium. The Premium comes with slightly better discounts, free parking, and no black-out dates, but let’s use the lower-price Deluxe Annual Pass for our first set of figures. Currently, a Deluxe AP is $499. A 5-day Park Hopper ticket for an adult is $300. If you plan to visit for 5 days, that seems like a big difference of $200! But there are many ways having one person with an Annual Pass in your group can make you back that upgrade cost.

1. Staying at one of the Disneyland Hotels. Disney gives some of its best discounts to Annual Passholders. For example, last spring I booked my family two rooms at the Paradise Pier Hotel for four nights. The savings was $450 total, saving me far more than the cost of upgrading one of our tickets to an Annual Pass. The discounts will vary and aren’t available during the busiest weeks. But you can always call the Disneyland Resort hotel line and ask them to run the numbers for you, even if you haven’t decided to purchase a pass yet. If you book a room with an Annual Pass discount, you only need to show your pass at the hotel before checking out.

2. Discounts on food, tours, and souvenirs. Disney’s Annual Pass page details the savings at nearly every restaurant in the resort, including character meals and high-end dining like Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel. Passholders also save 20% on tours for their whole group, so if you’ve ever wanted to “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps,” this would be the time — a family of four would save $87 just taking this tour! Add in spa discounts at the Grand Californian and a few great souvenirs, and you could probably make your money back on these savings alone.

3. Coming back, but with a different group. Will you be traveling to California later in the year for business trips, conventions, or to see extended family? Even if the rest of your party isn’t getting an Annual Pass, you might want one if you can foresee reasons you might be spending more days in Disneyland throughout the next year.

Using a handy calculator and our graphic, you can map out your savings with a few minutes of pricing, using the Disneyland website and restaurant menus from a site like AllEars:

APsavingschart

As long as the total discounts with the Annual Pass are greater than the cost of upgrading one regular ticket, you can make your money back on THAT TRIP!! And you hold a pass to get you in the parks for the next 51 weeks!

In the next article, we’ll discuss how that large cost of getting your whole family Annual Passes might still pay off.

Muppets Most Wanted is coming to theaters March 21!  To keep your little ones busy until then, we have some fun activities for you! Click the picture to print the full size image.

Printable Muppets Activities: Muppets Most Wanted

Online and Printable Muppets Activities

Send a postcard from Kermit:

Muppets Postcard

Do you have a Muppet look-alike? Take the fun online quiz right here!

Learn to draw your favorite characters!

Kermit The Frog:

Learn To Draw Kermit: Muppets Activities

Miss Piggy:

Learn how to draw Miss Piggy

Fozzie Bear:

Learn to draw Fozzie Bear: Muppets Activities

Who is your favorite Muppets character?

Activities and images provided by Walt Disney Studios.

Free Incredibles

 

Disney just released Disney Movies Anywhere, their all-new digital movie service and app. What makes it so cool? It’s a simple, streamlined way to manage and enjoy your digital collection of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies on multiple devices (from iPhones and iPads, to apple TV and personal computers (including Windows based PCs).

Plus for a limited time receive a free digital copy of Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles when you sign up and connect your iTunes account. Yay!! My boys recently discovered The Incredibles, so they will LOVE having it available on our iPad.

Plus all the digital copies you already have will be merged into your account and you will be able to earn Disney Movie Reward points on digital purchases!

Since 2008, Disney has included codes in select DVD and Blu-ray products redeemable for digital copies of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel films. Users can now redeemthese codes through Disney Movies Anywhere, and Digital Copy titles previously redeemed in Disney Movie Rewards or via iTunes will automatically be active in both Disney Movies Anywhere and iTunes once a user logs into Disney Movies Anywhere and connects their iTunes account. Additionally, for the first time, consumers can now earn Disney Movie Rewards points for their digital purchases through Disney Movies Anywhere going forward

Currently Disney Movies Anywhere is only available on iTunes, hopefully they will open it up to the android market soon.

For more information check out Disney Movies Anywhere online or download it now on iTunes.

Sheriff Callie’s Wild West has taken Disney Junior by storm! Our post with Sheriff Callie Party ideas is one of our most popular articles right now so we are sharing even more Sheriff Callie fun today.

StickHorseBrown

It’s the start of Rodeo Break here in Tucson, so after crafting a stick horse for Quinn to ride in the kindergarten parade, I made a fun version of Sheriff Callie’s blue horse, Sparky!

Stick Horse Supplies

Sparky Supplies

  • Wood stick, dowel or mop handle
  • Blue yarn
  • Blue duct (blue electrical tape would be easier)
  • Googly eyes
  • Black and blue felt
  • Blue sleep sock
  • Tan rope or twine
  • Blue handkerchief (I think a pink one would be cute too)
  • Stuffing
  • Zip tie

Quinn helped me make most of his horse, so I promise it’s very easy to make. In fact it would make a fun craft activity at a Sheriff Callie Party! It’s also inexpensive to make, I found most of the items at the dollar store. Check out my stick horse tutorial for all the details!

Besides a her own Sparky, your little Sheriff Callie might need a pretty pink cowgirl hat. Check out how to create Callie’s hat on Disney Junior!

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 1.20.06 PM

If you make your own stick horse, we’d love to see it!

Sheriff Callie's horse sparky