TEN reasons why our trip to Florida was a unique educational experience for our children â¤ï¸

Ok, so we didn’t book our trip to Florida for the educational value. We booked our trip as I am a die hard Disney fan and I have dreamed of visiting Walt Disney World since I was a little girl. I was looking forward to meeting the characters, experiencing the rides and most importantly sharing the magic of Disney with my family. What I didn’t expect was that so many parts of our trip would be valuable educational experiences that I think will stay with the boys and us forever.

Education is very important to me having worked in a High School for twelve years. I am a mum of three Aoife ( 18) James (4) and Joseph (20 months) Aoife is currently studying Fashion at University in London and didn’t want to come away with us so it was just my husband and boys that went on the trip. Although school is a massively important aspect of education, I also believe that the foundations for learning start at home and that parents and families have such an important role to play in shaping the minds of our little people.

I believe that experiences are just as important in shaping the minds of children as classroom teaching. this can be through travel, visiting museums, planting seeds or just exploring whenever and wherever you can. I have done this with all three of my children, even when I was on my own with Aoife, I used it save up to go on little trips together, just the two of us and we would visit places like London or York and explore.

So whilst planning our trip to Florida, if I’m being really honest, I didn’t consider an educational element to the trip. James loves dinosaurs so I wanted to include as many dinosaur related experiences as possible. However, my planning was more about which rides we wanted to fast pass, which restaurants we would I eat in, what we would wear etc… I did not think beforehand that the trip would leave have such a profound effect on me in terms of how much all members of the family learned from it.

We arrived at the Art of Animation resort and the learning experience started there! We were walking to our hotel room for the first time and James points to a sign near the lake. It has an alligator and snake on it. James explains to me that this means there might be Alligator or snakes in the lake. I actually had no idea that this may have been the case but James told me that rattle snakes live in florida. We then went to our room and researched what types of Alligators and Snakes May live in Florida and what we needed to do if we encounter them.

This was only a tiny snippet of how much we learned during our trip. All of the parks have an aspect of educational value however it was two parks in particular that I believe offer the most valuable learning experiences . If you have been to Walt Disney World you will probably know that they are Epcot and Animal Kingdom and they were our favourite parks as a family to visit.

I thought I would share my TOP TEN educational experiences at Walt Disney World with you all.

1) Kilimanjaro Safaris

We did the Safari twice, in the morning and the evening and I am so pleased that we did. The Safari takes place on an an open sided jeep and drives through an area created to replicate the a savannah of East Africa. On the day time Safari we saw Elephants, Crocs, Giraffes, Hippos amongst others and the whole family were in wonder at being so close to these stunning animals. I was worried about the evening Safari as I thought it would be difficult to see the animals. However, it was a very different experience to our daytime visit. I was actually a bit scared… but Gareth and the boys loved it and we saw the Lions which we hadn’t during the day and James hasn’t stopped talking about that fact since.

2) Epcot World Showcase

It is just amazing!I mean where else in the world can you watch an Italian street entertainer, listen to a Canadian band and pick up some British Fish and Chips within an hour? James was fascinated by it. He was continuously asking questions about things he was seeing and he was over the moon that he had his photo taken beside the Eiffel Tower. We actually didn’t have enough time to explore the “world” as we much as we would have liked. I know that many people said to me that there weren’t many rides here and that’s why they disliked it. In all honestly, it doesn’t need rides, for us it was a welcome, relaxing break and again another opportunity to for the little ones to gain knowledge of the world. I also believe that there are Kidcot stops around the world where children can collect stamps and create a personalised souvenir. We will definitely be doing this if we get the chance to visit again.

3) Spaceship Earth – so I had no idea that the big Golf Ball was a ride! I hadn’t really given it much thought at all. We managed to walk straight on it during magic hours and we loved it. It takes you on a time travel of how communication and knowledge has developed from the time of the first humans. No one had mentioned Spaceship Earth to us so we had no idea what to expect but we loved it. James asked so many questions afterwards like “why were people writing on walls” what is papyrus?” And he embraced the interactive side of the ride.

4) The American Adventure

Again, no one has mentioned The American Adventure to us. I have never seen it on anyone’s Instagram or heard anything about it. We just kind of stumbled past it on our last day and Gareth suggested we went inside to cool down… what a wonderful experience we had! We missed two fast passes but it was absolutely worth it. The experience we had was in two parts. Firstly the Liberty Singers sang some traditional American songs. They were unbelievably talented and the boys were entrances by them. Then we went on to the theatre to watch a stage show of American history which was fascinating, more so for me and Gareth and I think important for the kids to see considering we were visiting America!

4) It’s a Small World

We were familiar with this ride as I have visited it many times at Disneyland Paris. However, this was the first time that the boys have gone. They LOVED it and James spent the whole ride asking “which country is that? how do you know? Why are they wearing that?”

Again, it’s just another example of how a 10 minute Attraction can start a conversation that will stay with a young person.

5) The seas with Nemo and friend

Again, this was one attraction that no one had actually mentioned to me before our trip. So I just assumed it was another story telling ride through Finding Nemo. So we were shocked ha thrilled to discover that there was an actual aquarium inside! I actually almost cried to see the boys excitement when they watched the fish, turtles and sharks swimming by. They would have happily spent hours viewing the aquarium but we had a fast pass to visit. We did however go back to visit them on our last day to say goodbye!

6) Gorilla Falls exploration trail

This was another attraction that we stumbled upon at Animal Kingdom. I don’t think we even realised we were following the trail until we ended up in the bird area. We headed here straight after the Safari and we are super glad that we did. The boys love animals and the happiness on James face when he saw creatures such as an African Bull Frog that he has never seen in person was priceless. He pointed at some strange looking creature and told me that they were Mole Rats? He is four… I have no idea how he knew this but he was correct and so thrilled to see them up close and personal. There is also an area where you can look for birds that are shown on a guide and it was inspiring to see James hunt around the area for a specific species.

7) Living with the Land

We managed to jump straight on Living with the Land when we arrived early at Epcot one morning. Living with the Land is a boat tour that travels through the Greenhouses at Epcot and it explains how Scientists work to develop a sustainable approach to farming and how farming has developed over the ages. For the first four days this was James favourite ride ( till he rode Everest! – very different I know!)

8) Soarin

Ahhhhh where do I start? Mine and Gareth’s absolute favourite ride at Walt Disney World. It was both exhilarating, fun and thought provoking! Soarin takes you on a journey across the world where you encounter Orcas ( James told me this), Polar Bears, fly across the Great Wall of China and soar across Mount Everest. It was such an exciting attraction for a young mind and again opened a floodgate is questions. It also ignited a need to travel in both me and my husband and it makes you want to see these places in person. Although, it did actually feel like you were there in person. We were in the front row on our first ride and I had no idea just how high we we’re traveling until I was in row three on our second turn. Love love love Soarin!

9) Carasoul of Progress

This was another surprise! We were just pottering around Tomorrowland waiting for our fastpass for Monsters Inc Laugh floor to arrive when we spotted the Carousel of Progress. I had a quick look online and when I saw that it was apparently Walt’s favourite attraction, I was very excited to try it. The boys sat throughout the whole show and were transfixed ( with the dog mainly). We also had “there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow stuck in our heads for a long while after. I actually felt very emotional on this ride and shed a little tear as it reminded me so much of Walt! The fact that it takes you through a time travel of innovation is so interesting and nostalgic! Not only that but the fact that the whole theatre rotates was so exiting… for all of us!

10) Dinoland

Our budding Palaeontologist loved exploring Dinoland and pointing out all of the species to us! There is also a Dinosaur boneyard which he could have quite happily spent all day digging for fossils. There was also the Dino bash taking place whilst we were there which was a lot of fun!

So to summarise, we had a great holiday at Walt Disney World and this was only a fraction of the experience and knowledge that we learned during our trip. I haven’t even touched on the transport systems, local wildlife and learning about different climates and currencies. So although a great deal of our holiday was thrill seeking and cuddling some of our favourite characters. I was shocked at just how much we all learned and I think that I have told so many people in person just how impressed I was with the education aspect to it!

I know this might not be everyone’s idea of fun but for us I believe this is what made our trip extra special.

Let me know if there are any other bits of information or knowledge you have gained during any of your trips?

Thanks for reading!

Love Roisin 🌟💫✨

FRIDAY faves at Disney Store ðŸŒŸðŸ’«âœ¨

I was hoping to get this blog posted at about 10 this morning but life had other plans! I have just managed to sneak downstairs after spending an hour singing to Jospeh in an attempt to get him to sleep! I’ve sang Part of that world, Tale as old as time,  Under the sea and Beautiful boy by John Lennon at least twenty times, he finally caved… and bare in mind this was with James on the other side of me requesting these songs… ahhhh!!! (Gareth is out tonight so it’s not normally this difficult! 

Anyhoo…. back to the reason for the post! 

Do you have a wish list at the Disney Store? I do and I seem to add to it every week as there is always such lovely merchandise appearing all of the time. So what I thought I would do is share with you my favourites every Friday. 

I also thought it might be a good place to share NEW collections in more detail and give my thoughts and opinions on them. I sometimes feel like it’s hard to express my opinions on instagram as I would rather that people make their own decisions about products where as it is quite nice for me to have a space to do this now. 

So here is my first Friday faves✨ click on image to see online 

EMILE plush £8.99


Is he not adorable? I think Ratatouille is a fabulous film and it’s actually one of James favourites too! Emile is my favourite character in it too so I would just love this little cutie, also Ratatouille reminds me so much of Disneyland Paris so I might wait till I go there to get him✨

BE OUR GUEST dinner set for four – £209.99


I can barely look at these sometimes, I want them so badly! ( embarrassingly so true!) I saw these on instagram before they arrived on the UK site and I thought they were wonderful. And we REALLY NEED NEW PLATES ( Gareth this is for you in case you read this!) they are quite expensive but they would last forever so please they can be a joint birthday and Christmas gift 😉✨

MXYZ Cheshire Cat stationary set £9.99


This little stationary set is Super cute. You actually get quite a lot inside it to plus I love that it comes in this case so it keeps everything all in one place as I am forever losing stuff! In fact I really like a lot of of the MXYZ Cheshire Cat range but this is the piece I would like the most! ✨ 

Winnie the Pooh romper suit 


The little girls outfits at Disney Store are gorgeous and there is also a lot of choice. I particularly like the girls Winnie the Pooh collection – lots of pretty dresses and other little suits. Go and take a peek if you haven’t seen it already – See here✨

Pirates of the Caribbean compact mirror – £9.99 

I am loving all of the NEW Pirates merchandise at Disney Store at the moment but this is the piece I am after! I love that they have introduced a few of these compact mirrors – I have the Cinderella one and I think that these mirrors may be something I would like to collect in the future✨

Mary Poppins PLUSH -£18.95 


Isn’t she lovely!?  My plush collection is growing but I would love to add Mary to it! I can’t wait to see the next Mary Poppins movie and I especially can’t wait to the merchandise – it’s so exciting ✨

Star Wars backpack 


I really like this Star Wars backpack, I think the design is great and it really stood out when I was in store. I am really looking forward to watching Star Wars with James as I think he will love it but Gareth thinks he is a little too young at the moment ✨ 

Dancing baby Groot 

​​
I fell in love with this dancing baby Groot when I spotted him in store and I love the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy! I don’t know what it is about this little guys eyes but anyway… I really wanted to bring him home! I haven’t seen Vol 2 yet but hoping to very soon✨

Disney Store 30th Anniversary snowglobe 

Did you know that snowglobes are my favourite? I am sure that most of you will know that I collect them! I have space on my shelves for four more and I am so tempted by this! I love that it has so many of the characters but more importantly I love that it celebrates 30 years of my favourite ever Store! ✨

Mary Poppins mug £12.99
And finally, the mug of the moment! How could I not add this Beauty to my wish list! I will be getting this mug in fact… I have just ordered it… it’s just so pretty ✨

So thank you so much if you have taken the time to read this! Please let me know if you have enjoyed it by leaving a comment on my instagram. 

Now, I am going to have a bath and chill as I have not stopped since 6 this morning! Hoping you all have a magical weekend… 

Love Roisin 🌟💫✨

NEW Disney unisex baby range from Matalan 🐭 

He looks so bloody cute, Doesn’t he? ( I know i’m incredibly biased and have no shame!)   Matalan  very kindly sent me some pieces from the NEW unisex baby range and I just wanted to share some of it with you all. 

I love the Disney baby range at Matalan and have already bought Joseph the Finding Nemo dungarees – See here and The Mickey swimsuit and Nemo one. Click on image to buy.

I would definitely say that Matalan is one of the main places I shop at for character clothes for the boys! I find the designs really tasteful and the quality is amazing. 

I love the age that Joseph is at right now. He was such hard work for the first six months but now he is just a little angel and so happy all of the time so taking these picture and spending a little one to one time with him was a pleasure. 


Matalan sent me a pack of two jogging bottoms (£8)  a pack of two long sleeved vests(£8) and a gorgeous babygro with a bib (£8) 


I absolutely LOVE the designs on all of these pieces and also love that you can mix and match the bodysuits and jogging bottoms. My favourite pieces are the outfit that he has on below. 

The artwork on the babygro and bob is so lovely – see in more detail below! 

 I also like that it is black and white so it’s suitable for both girls and boys. Also, I have already been asked twice where I had bought his outfit from so that is always a good sign. 

I hope that you enjoyed this – thank you so much for popping over! This range will be available is now available in store and online – find it  here To see the full character range available now See here !Have a magical Wesnesday…. 

Love Roisin 🌟💫✨

Finding Magic in Alnwick ðŸŒŸðŸ’«âœ¨

Have you ever heard of Alnwick? If not then you are really missing out and if you have then I’m sure that you know that magic I am talking about! Alnwick is a little town 34 miles from Newcastle Upon Tyne and it took us just over 40 minutes to drive there.  I really want to share with you all about our recent visit and explain why I think it is so special.

Can you imagine a place that incorporates the adventure of Swiss family Robinson?, Visit gardens that would not be out of place in a Princess movie? Admire the castle that was actually used in the Harry Potter movie as Hogwarts and visit a book shop that you could quite imagine Belle hanging out in? I think you need to visit Alnwick! 

There were four main parts of Alnwick that we visited but the town as a whole is quite spectacular and there is something there for people of all ages. On this particular trip we visited the Tree houseThe GardensThe Castle and the most amazing Second hand book shop.
The TREEHOUSE


It is free to visit the Tree House and it is great fun for both adults and children. With wobbly bridges and fun frames built in amongst the trees it has a real Swiss family Robinson feel to it. The fairy lights give it a real sense of wonder and enchantment and if you get an opportunity the restaurant inside the treehouse looks superb! We haven’t eaten here yet but hoping to try it out some time this year. The treehouse also has a cafe called the Potting Shed where you can pick up a cuppa and a cake or maybe some light lunch for you or the little ones.

THE GARDENS 


So we had visited the Alnwick Gardens last year and we became friends of the gardens which cost about £45 for the year for two adults and three children ( totally worthwhile by the way!) You can also get a ticket that incorporates the castle which we will certainly be doing next time.


The gardens are out of this world and absolutely huge. You could easily spend a day here and actually each time I go back I find something new to do. From the water fountains to the kids tractors, the garden of swings and the fairytale trail there is so much to do for kids both big and small.

​

I’m going to be really honest and say the fairytale trail is my favourite part of the gardens. We have done it twice and it just doesn’t lose it’s magic! There are lots of Disney related parts and when we went last year the kids dressed up which was an extra special touch!

You could spend hours on the beautiful swing garden where all of the family can swing to their hearts content and marvel at the spectacular views. 

​

​
My friend and I escaped for half an hour without the kids to visit the poison garden (don’t worry! )Their dads were left in charge although I did watch in horror as Jospeh rolled away from a Gareth in his pram but luckily a lady caught him! I wouldn’t recommend the poison garden for children under 5 as I feel they might lose interest. It’s great  for older children though as the tour itself was very informative.

This is literally only a snap shot of what you can do in the gardens as there is so much to do and there is such a stunning array of flowers. 

So yeah you need to visit the North East guys! Oh and I forgot to add that there is even a fish and chip shop so if you forget a packed lunch or you never really get round to making one then you’ll all still have a chance to eat!

THE CASTLE 

Castles form the centrepiece for so many of my favourite Disney films, from Sleeping Beauty to Tangled and my personal favourite the castle from Beauty and the Beast.

Alnwick Castle is simply spectacular and it was actually used as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter Movies. It has also served at a backdrop for a number of television and Film productions  see here  I absolutely LOVE Castles, I find them so fascinating and magical. It’s almost like time has stood still and you can transport yourself back and imagine the people that lived there throughout the years. So if, like me  you enjoy visiting castles then you are going to fall in love with  Alnwick Castle.

​​
On this visit we didn’t venture inside the castle but spent a good hour or so admiring it from outside and enjoying the stunning views that envelope it. There are a number of activities inside the castle for children including broomstick training and a Knights quest so we can’t wait to experience this. There is also lots of fun things for adults to do especially if you are interested in History. We will hopefully be heading back up in the next few weeks so will share that with you all.

BARTER BOOKS

So where do I start with Barter Books? I don’t think I have the words to do justice to such an awesome place. I first visited this second hand bookshop about two years ago after seeing a picure of it on someones facebook and I will never forget the feeling I got when I walked through those doors.  

It’s almost like stepping onto the film set of a live action Disney movie… it really is that magical! I’m not sure whether it’s the lighting, the smell of the old books or the noise of people quietly chatting or turning pages but it has the most wonderful ambience. 

It’s also great for kids, there is also a wide selection of books for children and teens. I left Gareth reading to the boys whilst I had a wander about looking at the books and taking in the atmosphere! James absolutely loved the model train set that runs above the book shelves. He thought that was amazing and so did I to be honest. 


I have told Gareth that I want to spend the day there again soon, on my own! ( sorry family) but I just can’t think of anything better than losing the day reading a good book, sitting by one of the open fires in this beautiful setting! Oh and there is also a little coffee shop so you can get watered and fed too! To find out more about Barter Book – See here

So, I hope that you enjoyed this blog and if you did then please let me know! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! 

Have a magical day….

Love Roisin