#moodMonday · Disney Fun Time

#MoodMonday : A Fall Disney Style Challenge and Halloween Reading Fun

If this time of the year hasn’t been crazy enough… we recently came upon two different fun challenges that we are just itching to participate in.

First up! Disney Style’s Instagram is hosting their 3rd round of #fallintoDisneyStyle October Photo Challenge.  Now I’ll (Arianne here) be the first to admit my Disney Style is more of a Hot Mess Disney Mom Style than anything that is considered fashionable.  But I embrace my “Hot Mess Disney Mom” self and why should I shy away from that and not enjoy the fun? Exactly!  So…

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We are already a few days in… be sure to check out all our pictures on Instagram!  Or come back here for our Challenge updates.

And… Second! Emma of A Pinch of Pixie Dust  (@bookishprincess on Instagram) has combined three of her favorite things (Disney, books, and Halloween) and is hosting a Boo To You Readathon!  How fun!  My love of reading (along with cross stitching, playing board games, and cooking/baking) often gets sidelined when life gets crazy.  So anything that will give me an excuse to say “I have to read this! By this deadline!” I will take it, and run!

Emma has created four spooky challenges to choose from…

  • Madame Leota’s Library: read a book that you think belongs in the library at the Haunted Mansion.
  • Park-Inspired Costume: read a book that inspired something in the Disney parks OR that is inspired by the Disney parks.
  • Candy Cauldron / Pumpkin Spice: read a book that’s sweet and cozy and perfect for fall.
  • Impressions de France Group Read: French mystery classic Monsieur Le Coq by Émile Gaboriau.

Now… since I am lucky to finish a book a year…  Yes. I’m still on Book 6 of Harry Potter.    I am just gonna attempt to finish one book by the end of October.  But as I was reading all of the different challenges I couldn’t help but think of which books I wanted to read.  So what the heck,  I picked 3 books.

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  • Madame Leota’s Library Challenge :  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  • Park-Inspired Costume :  Tales from the Haunted Mansion by Amicus Arcane
  • Impressions de France Group Read : Monsieur Le Coq by Émile Gaboriau

and… there’s also The Half-Blood Prince.

If you too are inspired to try one or both of these fun challenges, let us know by leaving a comment!  We can’t wait to hear which challenge you are taking part in.

Disney Fun Time

Our Top 5 Favorite Disney Movies: The Halloween edition

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It’s the first day of October and you know what that means…. Halloween is here.  That’s right.  Pumpkins. Candy.  Costumes.  Scary movies.

Ok…  let’s be honest… if you are like us and have little ones around (or maybe you are still dealing with the trauma of watching 3 scary movies in one night when you were 10… and you are afraid to watch Stranger Things alone while your husband is still at work), watching really scary movies is not the best idea. But there are many great Family Friendly options out there.

Every year Freeform Channel (used to be ABC Family) has their 13 Nights of Halloween filled with Halloween themed movies. This year they upped it to 31 days. You can check out their 2018 line up here.

But… if you’re like us and don’t have cable… We thought we would put together our Top 5 Favorite Disney Halloween Movies that are (some what) guaranteed not to make you stay up passed your bed time worried about clowns, the upside down, or a red bouncy ball falling down the stairs.

1 – Hocus Pocus

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In 1993 Walt Disney Pictures released this fun Halloween film starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker.  As a HUGE Bette fan (thanks to movies like Beaches, Big Business, and For the Boys) I remember seeing this film in the theaters opening weekend.  Ever since it was released on VSH this movie has been a part of my Halloween celebrations.   And why not? With a movie about a villainous trio of witches, who are inadvertently resurrected by a male “virgin” teenager in modern day Salem, Massachusetts.  There’s children running amuck amuck amuck, a really adorable cat, an amazing song sung by the Divine Miss M, and Kathy Najimy riding a vacuum cleaner… What’s not to love?

2 – The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

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Walt Disney Productions released The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, an animated film with two shorts based on the literary classics The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.  If you read our post #moodMonday : Our Mickeys No-So-Scary Halloween Party Wish List from 2017 you already know that one of our favorite thrilling things to see at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the procession ride of the Headless Horseman before the Boo-To-You Parade.  And as a former high school English teacher Maryann loves, LOVES the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow where a romantic rivalry with a “Gaston” type gentleman and a school teacher culminates in a terrifying ride in the night.  Disney does a fabulous job of introducing this classic short story to younger audiences.

3 – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

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Not so much a “Halloween themed” film, but this 1971 movie is a Bedknobs and Broomsticks is based upon the book How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons.  So… how can you go wrong? As a kid I loved watching this movie about an apprentice witch, three kids, and a conman as they search for the missing ingredient to a magic spell that is found to be useful to Britain during WWII.

4 – Toy Story of Terror

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I think all of the world rejoiced as the beloved Toy Story gang came back in this Halloween themed Animated Short, that aired October 16, 2013.  In this short Bonnie takes the toys with her on a road trip.  But things start to go wrong when Bonnie’s mom gets a flat tire and they find themselves spending the night at a roadside motel (very reminiscent of most scary movies).  After Mr. Potato Head vanishes while looking for the motels free amenities, the toys imaginations start to get the best of them.  But as the toys begin to disappear one by one, the gang realize they are caught up in a mysterious story.

5 – Disney’s Halloween Treat 

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Back in 1983, ABC aired this 90 minute halloween special that continued to be rebroadcasted during the halloween season for the next 10 years.  This special combined Halloween themed animated short cartoons (like “Lonesome Ghosts” starting Mickey Mouse or “Trick or Treat” with Donald Duck) or selections from Disney’s feature films such as Fantasia, The Aristocats, The Sword in the Stone, and more. It truly is the best combination of all of Disney’s Halloween themed segments.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t  aired since the 90’s and released onto DVD.  But you can find it… thanks to the internet.

So there you have it! 5 of our favorite Disney movies… Halloween edition.  And the best part? You can find 4 of these at your local store (Target) or on itunes.

What is your favorite Disney Halloween movie? Did it make our list? If not, let us know in the comments section.

Disney Fun Time

Counting down a trip to Disney

If you are like us and you have a kid that does not like being surprised with a trip to Disney… (I KNOW!!! Who’s child is she?!?!) You are often looking for fun ways to countdown your trip to Disney.

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My version of the DIY: Create-your-own Walt Disney World Countdown via Disney Parks Blog 

Over the past few years I have found myself scouring the internet (thanks to Pinterest) for really neat ways or ideas.

Some have worked.  Like the Disney Parks Blog Countdown to Disney  numbers (see photo above), Sticker Countdowns, and my personal favorite “We’re on Vacation” party that happens the night before you leave.  (I’ll tell you more about all of these later).

Some didn’t work.  Like those adorable countdown chain links that look like a character and have a daily activity on the inside. Seems simple and fun? Well, for our family it became too much of a toy to play with and ended up in multiple pieces before the end of the first week. Not to mention doing an activity each night just added stress to our week leading up to our departure. We only did that one once.

The first time we attempted a vacation countdown was a few weeks prior to a work trip back in 2014.  My goal was to prepare our oldest (she was 3 at the time) for a weekend away from Mommy and Daddy.  My husband had a conference at the Swan and Dolphin and unfortunately we had to leave her back home. One of the articles I read in hopes to prepare her, had the idea of creating a nightly countdown chart.  Each night she goes to bed and places a sticker on the day… counting down the days till we come back.  It was a genius idea.  I just had to get her familiar with the concept before that weekend.  Thankfully, my Mommy guilt got the best of me and we planned a 2 day escape to Universal (I know, I know) the week before the conference.  I decided the week before we would count down the days till that trip.  5 nights.  Mirroring the same concept.  We kept it simple and just looked at it as an art project.  We drew ourselves, our suitcases  (her idea), and boxes with numbers and the day of the week.   We then hung it on her bedroom door.  Each night, right before bed, she put a sticker on that day counting down the days till we left.

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She loved this so much and that next week she knew exactly when we were coming back.  Our friend, who was watching her, said it worked like a charm.  Four months later, when we were a month out from our trip to Disneyland, she insisted we make a 30 day Countdown.  Once again, we kept it simple.  A piece of paper, some crayons,  the resort information that Disney Travel Co. sent us about Disneyland, a glue stick, and lots of Disney stickers.

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Ever since that trip, we countdown our trips to Disney.  And after the 2 failed attempts of trying to surprise her, I make sure she is involved.  I find ideas on Pinterest and show them to her…  (She’s now 7)  and we try them.  But as stated above, only a few have become Vacation Traditions in our home.  We always seem to go back to our simple sticker routine. Why? Maybe it’s because it is just that… simple.  And the little one can participate too.

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I’ve gotten fancy over the years.  Or maybe it’s just out of convenience but a while back I created one and now I just print it off from the computer.  But we still have the stickers.

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We found these stickers in the party section at Target.                   Perfect for counting down a trip during Flower and Garden.    

A few years back I found a Pin that lead me to the DIY: Create-your-own Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown on the Disney Parks Blog.  I had to make it just for me.  Who doesn’t love Countdown numbers that looks like a Mickey Bar, a Tiki Bird, or riding in a Tea Cup.  I printed out the pages and made a hanging countdown.  Each night I take one of the numbers off.

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During these 8 nights leading up to our departure, we try to watch a Disney Animation/ Pixar Short Movie (on Netflix or in the special features on our DVDs) while eating a Disney-themed snack.  And by “Disney-Themed Snack” I mean popcorn in one of our many souvenir popcorn buckets, Mickey Mouse Goldfish, Disney themed fruit snacks, or Mickey shapped Veggie Chips.  Then when it is time for bed, we stop by the chart and the girls take turns with our nightly sticker duty.  The next 15 minutes is usually filled with giggles of excitement and speculation of what we are going to do.  Most recently it has become a list of things we ‘have’ to do.  Like Dole Whips, Mickey Balloons, and Splash Mountain… don’t you just love 7 year olds?

And then my personal favorite part of the countdown… Our “We’re on Vacation!” party.  This happens the night before we leave.  Again, I try to make it simple.  I’m ususally still running around packing things for our trip.  We live above a pizza restaurant so I let them take care of dinner.  I cut up any veggies and fruits that will go bad while we are gone and make a platter.  I pull out all the left over “Birthday party” plates, napkins, and cups. Pop some popcorn.  The girls bring down their sleeping bags and tent.  We find a Disney movie and next thing you know our “We’re on Vacation” party has started.  We sit in front of the tv having a “pizza picnic” and enjoy the movie.  The girls love the idea of camping out while watching a movie. For an hour and a half we just eat, snuggle, and laugh (or cry… depending on what we are watching.  Thanks Pixar.) while watching a movie.  It’s the perfect way to start a vacation.   Funny enough they always end up in their beds by the time the movie ends.   For me… it’s also perfect because I don’t have to cook or do dishes.  Clean up is so easy.  Which gives me more time to finalize any last minute packing.

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Our May the 4th Movie Night

 

There are days I wished our  oldest liked surprises.   But this weekly countdown has become such a memorable part of our trips.  I can’t imagine starting a vacation or mini trip any other way.

Do you countdown your trips to Disney?  We would love to hear how you celebrate your vacation starting!  Tell us!!

 

  •  If you would like your own Countdown to Disney chart, feel free to use ours.  Below we have posted a jpeg version and a pdf link that you are more than welcome to use for your own personal use.  We do ask that you please do not reproduce these pages in any way and if you share them, please let others know you got them from us.

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CountdowntoDisney

Disney Fun Time

The Magic Kingdom: 6 Land Challenge

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We are always looking for new and fun things to do while at the parks.  The downside to going as often as we do is keeping it fresh and engaging for our kids.  We often fall into the trap of making the same 3 FastPasses and hitting the same rides, snacking on the same snacks, and sadly doing the same thing we did the last time we were there.  Funny enough our most memorable days are sometimes the ones we were able to break free from the regular day and do something completely different.

Like… there was one day we went to the Magic Kingdom and played Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom all day.  We went from portal to portal, land to land defeating all of the nasty bad guys and then… finally Hades.  All in one day.  We didn’t ride many rides that day. But we had such a great time playing.   It’s been 4 years since that trip and I am surprised that it’s still a day at the park that we all still talk about.

During our last day trip (Presidents Day) I wanted to do something that would break us free from our usual 3 fast passes that I had made weeks earlier.  Ever since I had learned of the 46 ride challenge (where you ride all the rides at Disney World in one day) I have wanted to take on a challenge.  But those types of challenges are tricky when you have 2 kids that aren’t able to ride all the rides.  I searched and searched for ideas and finally around 11pm Sunday night,  I gave up searching and came up with this idea.  The Magic Kingdom 6 Land Challenge.  Perfect for our short amount of time in the park and hopefully guarantee we would be trying something new.  Also partly because I knew I wanted to try some treats we had yet to try.  This Challenge was an easy way to get the others trying new things on board.  And boy, did they jump on the boat with me.

It’s a simple concept.  Ride a ride in each land.  Eat a snack in each land.  Get your picture taken in each land.

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See? Simple.  I quickly made a chart to track our adventure.  Printed it out and tucked it safely in our “Park Bag” for the next day.  During our car ride, I explained our quest for the day.  Which quickly prompted a discussion on what snacks were we going to get.  That soon transitioned into “What ride would we ride?” then segued into the 7 year old suggesting we ride something new! (Bingo!) This entire discussion lasted about an hour. Which for those of you that travel by car to Disney – is HUGE!

When we got to the park, I pulled out our paper and off we went.  We had an absolute blast. We tried new treats that are now new favorites.

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Cheshire Cat Tail – Fantasyland

Stopped and rode things we haven’t done in several trips. And we documented it by taking pictures of ourselves on the rides.  Which we clearly need to work on our “Family Selfies while on rides” technique.

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Walt Disney World Railroad 

During the ride home as we were all talking about our day I realized we would be doing this again.  I immediately pulled out my phone making notes and thinking of ways to expand on the challenge.  I also spruced up the original one page grid to something that resembles a passport (modeled after the ones Epcot uses for their festivals).  It’s been a few weeks, but we are excited to share with your our Magic Kingdom 6 Land Challenge.

Join us on a whirlwind adventure as you travel all around the kingdom in our Magic Kingdom 6 Land Challenge.  Will you meet the quest of riding rides, tasting the treats, and capturing it all on film? Or will the Challenge prevail?

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Below are 4 links that you are more than welcome to use for your own personal adventure use.  We do ask that you please do not reproduce these pages in any way and if you share them, please let others know you got them from us.  🙂

Each land has their own page which includes a list of all rides and attractions, place where you can write your treat selections, and a checklist with photo suggestions.  Once you have completed that land, you can mark it complete.

For those of you that would like a bigger challenge, check out the Challenge Level page.  You can decide which of the 4 levels you and your group will take on.

And be sure to share your adventure on Instagram by using #mk6landchallenge and tag us @the_disney_twins so we can follow along.

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  • Printing tip:  For a  finished book (in park order) print page 1 (front) then print page 4 (back). Print Pages 2 and 3 together (front and back) on the same paper.

 

 

 

Disney Fun Time

Craft Time: Felt Mickey Pretzel Craft

It’s National Pretzel Day! Unfortunately, we are not at the Disney Parks to celebrate properly with a Mickey Pretzel. Or with one of Maryann’s favorite, the Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel from the Lunching Pad.

But… If you’re at home, like us, and looking for fun arts and crafts projects to do with your kids (or kids at heart) we have the perfect project for you.  And it has a Disney Twist… so even better!

We love playing in our play kitchen and making felt food is one of our favorite crafty go-to’s. So what better way to celebrate National Pretzel Day, than making a felt Mickey Pretzel.

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Felt Mickey Pretzel

Want to make your own? You will need the following: IMG_1205.JPG

  • Tan Felt
  • Brown Felt
  • Scissors
  • Glue Gun w/ glue
  • White Fabric Paint (we used imagin8 – Crystal Glitter White found at Michaels)
  • Pen
  • cardstock (to make Mickey template)

 

What to do:

Step 1: Use pen to trace Mickey on Tan felt.  Then cut out.

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Step 2: Cut out facial features with brown felt.

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Step 3: Use glue gun to attach brown facial features on top of tan Mickey cut out.

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Step 4: Use fabric paint to create a salt look on the “Pretzel”.

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Step 5: Let dry according to paints directions.

Step 6: Play!

We hope you are having a fun day celebrating National Pretzel Day!  And if you make your own Felt Mickey Pretzels, share them with us by tagging us on Instagram @the_disney_twins and by using the #thedisneytwins hashtag.

Disney Fun Time

Epcot Scavenger Hunts

Today  we are spotlighting one of our favorite things to do at Epcot during its many festivals that you might not know is there: a scavenger hunt!

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Back in 2013, Disney Parks launched a “Limited Time Magic” “egg” hunt at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. For one week only, guests were able to search for special hidden “Disney Character eggs” at Epcot and Disney California Adventure. This scavenger hunt had you searching high and low throughout both parks looking for these “eggs”.  When you found an “egg”, you recorded your discoveries by placing the matching sticker on the specially themed map that you purchased. At the end of your hunt you were rewarded with an adorable miniature version of one of the eggs you worked so hard to find!  It was so popular that first year that the next year they named it The Egg-Stravaganza Scavenger Hunt and extended it by 4 days.  Bonus, for the Disneyland peeps they added the Disneyland Park as an additional hunt location!  By the eighth day they had sold out of all egg hunts maps for both of the California parks.

Now as a family that is usually in Annual Passholder Blackout during these dates and prefers not to visit during high peak times, we were unable to experience these hunts, so it really should come as no surprise to anyone that I was so excited to see that in 2015 Disney Parks cooked up a version to coincide with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  This time, guests were asked to search for my favorite little chef Remy as he ventured around Epcot’s World Showcase collecting ingredients for his signature dish, Ratatouille. Or as I like to call it Rat – patootie.

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Again, just like the eggs, once you found Remy with each ingredient you place the corresponding sticker on the specially themed map to represent that location.  We had an absolute blast searching for Remy! I loved how this gave our entire family (but more specifically our oldest daughter, who was five at the time) something to do as we walked around the festival.  And she loved, after finding all the ingredients, going up and choosing one of six Remy pins as her prize. Over the first two years she (and her little sister) added four pins with Remy holding one of the sought after ingredients to their pin trading collection.

In 2017 they expanded Remy to 15 different locations in World Showcase and Future World.  They also changed the prize from a pin to (one of four) foam key chains that mirrored the look of that year’s festival decor and merchandise.

I was so excited last year when we were there from Star Wars race weekend and the Egg hunt was still going on.  But let me tell you…it was hard.  My husband and I became obsessed trying to find those eggs.

Now, I figure we are not the only ones that go bananas for these hunts as Disney Parks has now created Scavenger Hunts for the 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts and the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

I’ll be honest…I didn’t learn of the Arts festival hunt until we were walking to Mexico for dinner on the last night of the festival.  Had I known this was there we would have left our “Family Day at the Magic Kingdom” at least an hour or two earlier so we could have searched for that loveable (and our favorite) dragon, Figment.  But that didn’t stop me from purchasing Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt map and our “completed” Figment prize pin.  We were minutes away from Illuminations beginning so I knew starting this quest would not be wise.  That night during our drive home I searched social media and found that Figment’s scavenger hunt had young artists (and the young at heart) searching for Figment in some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, which had been hidden around World Showcase.  Man, now I am really upset that we stayed longer at Magic Kingdom!  Our oldest has really developed a love for art and creating this year with the inclusion of art classes at her school, so I am sure she would have LOVED to see Figment frolicking about in some of the most iconic works of art, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Monet’s “Water Lilies.”  I really hope this comes back next year. If it does, we will be sure to spend a day at the festival, hopefully developing her love, interest, and appreciation of the arts.

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photo: DisneyParksBlog

If you are like us and you missed out on Figment’s hunt…do not worry, there is more to come!  In fact, there are two hunts coming to Epcot in the next few months.  The ever so popular Egg-stravaganza scavenger hunt is coming back to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, this time for a record 17 days, March 16 through April 1. This year, maps and stickers can be purchased for $5.99, plus tax.

If you are not going during that time but are attending the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Disney Parks will have an

ALL-NEW Spike the Honey Bee scavenger hunt! This new springtime scavenger hunt follows Disney’s favorite honey bee, Spike, who has been pollinating his way around the festival, giving gardeners of any age the chance to follow his pollination trail around World Showcase at Epcot.

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photo: DisneyParksBlog

I love this for so many reasons.

First: my kid hates bugs.  If it’s not a lady bug or a butterfly, it freaks her out.  Especially bees.  As much as I try to explain that even though she needs to respect them and she has no reason to fear them, she does. Maybe learning about them will offer a change of heart.

Second: It’s educational. Anything that can spark conversations around learning new things (for instance how flowers are pollinated) I just eat up. Our oldest is a sponge with her Flower and Garden Festival guide, and every year she loves learning about everything to do with flowers, and I know this will prompt several conversations.

Third, and probably most importantly…bees need our help. As pollinators, they play a very important role in our ecosystems worldwide, pollinating many of our plants and food crops. They do this so much that they are called the “super pollinators,” but in recent years there has been a rapid loss in honeybee colonies. It has gotten so bad that some of the 25,000 different types of bees are at risk of being endangered, so I love that Disney Parks has created Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration hunt.  And the name?  Pollination…as in Pollen Nation…?! I LOVE it!!! Then again it doesn’t take much to humor me.  Remember Rat Patootie?!   Yeah…but anyway…

I can’t wait for us to pick up a garden map and look for Spike! Rumor has it in each garden, we’ll have to search for Spike and the plant Spike has pollinated. These will be identifiable by Spike himself and a Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration plant stake.

Maps and stickers can be purchased for $5.99 plus tax at Port of Entry for the duration of the Flower & Garden Festival (February 28-May 28). I am sure we will participate in this scavenger hunt quite a few times.  I can’t wait to see what the “Springtime Surprise” is. From what I have been able to find (unofficially on Instagram) you get to pick one of four “3 Pack patch” sets.

In short, if you are looking for a fun activity that the whole family can participate in while walking around Epcot, try giving these hunts a go during your next visit!

* For Scavenger Hunt Tips and Tricks, check out this Pixie Dust Pointers blog post.