Land Signs – Buena Vista Street & Hollywood Studios

Posted on by Stephanie in 03) Back Home After The Trip, Creating Magic at Home, Electronic Die Cutting Machines, Organizing Photos, PhotoPass, Pocket Scrapping (Project Life), Scrapbooking (digital or paper) Leave a comment

I’m back with more paper pieced titles inspired by the lands at the California Adventure Park. Today I’m going with the Art Deco inspired areas of Buena Vista Street & Hollywood Studios.
First up, Buena Vista Street. To tell you the truth, I haven’t been inside the Disneyland Resort since January of 2012! I know, right. I’ve been depending on online images and gracious friends to take pictures of various signs so i could have reference points to work from. That’s how I was able to transform our backyard into Radiator Springs for our little guy’s birthday last year! I keep telling my husband we have to go soon, it’s research! But I digress, I chose to do a simple street sign for this title. I’ve seen some other signs that I love and will give them a try later on. So much gorgeous detail. This sign is just simple rectangles and the Roadway font.

Hollywood Studios gave me some trouble in trying to find out what the land is actually called. The last time I was there it was “Hollywood Pictures Backlot” but on the map it is Hollywood Land, but the sign in the park says Hollywood Studios. So very confusing! This sign is the Market Deco font, but the “W” has a very distinct shape. To achieve this I used two “V’s”  and merged them together. To create the dimensional look I cut one set of letters from a dark yellow and then created a shadow in a lighter color and then adhered them slightly askew. For the towers I used parts of the Empire State Building cut file found on the Art Deco Cricut Cartridge.

Stephanie is an avid paper crafter, scrapbooker, and lover of all things Disney. She also enjoys playing with geeky toys to create her paper creations! When not creating scrapbook pages about her husband and son, she can be found at making handmade paper crafts for parties and events.

Episode 83: Disney Memory Keeping News

Posted on by Wendy in 04 Tools, 05 Podcast, apps, MemoryMaker, Photography 2 Comments

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 HeatherW and Tanya join me in this episode as we share some news for Disney memory keepers: ride videos, new magic shots, what happened to the text/email ride photos at Disneyland, MemoryMaker day passes, the Project Life app, and Disney Infinity.


Heather (heatherw25 on Twitter and Instagram)
Tanya (Tanyah666 on Twitter and Instagram)
Steph (Capturingmagic_ on Twitter and Instagram)

Show Notes

Picks With Pixie Dust

HeatherW: ferdalump on instagram
Creation’s Love on Etsy
: Target Disney Tees

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Posted on by Beth in Creating Magic at Home, Holidays Leave a comment

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic















One of my favorite animated films of all time is the mid-century classic Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. I love it for so many reasons: its adaptation of classic literature, the charm of the animation and music (Bing Crosby!), the perfect narration by two distinctive voices. When it comes to Halloween, we can have no better story than that of Ichabod, Brom Bones, and the Headless Horseman. It is so special that even the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World gives subtle nods to the film in the park – hefty waffles and homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches are legendary at the Sleepy Hollow snack shoppe. Bump it up a notch to the special ticketed event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom, and you can see the Headless Horseman trot down the parade route in spectacular, spooky fashion. But if you can’t attend this event every year, here are five ways to celebrate Halloween with “fiendish glee” at home.

1. WATCH THE MOVIEFor when the hour grew late, Van Tassel would call on his guests to tell him ghostly tales of Halloween. Newly released on Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital HD, the DVD includes a digital storybook of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Serve up this easy popcorn snack with a cup of apple cider on the side for your movie night. 

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic













Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic





















Like all easy snack mixes, this one is really adaptable to taste and diet, so substitute as you like. Simply combine ingredients in the largest bowl you can find. Adjust how much you use of each ingredient based on personal preference and quantity desired. Below, I have tweaked the autumn snack I have been making my kids for over ten years in honor of my favorite spooky story. Ichabod’s Trail Mix includes apple chips for the autumn harvest; hearty oatmeal clusters for a schoolmaster’s sustenance; and chocolate bits to honor the sweet lassies. And of course, candy pumpkins to represent that scary guy. 

  • large bag of popcorn
  • 1 lb. bag of pretzel sticks
  • 1 box of granola cluster cereal
  • 1 bag of apple chips
  • M&M’s or choclate chips (I used orange and brown M&M’s)
  • 1 bag of candy pumpkins

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic












2. READ THE BOOK / LISTEN TO THE STORY - Brom knew there was no more firm, potent believer in spooks and goblins than Ichabod Crane. The short story by Washington Irving titled “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” recounts the tale of Ichabod and the Headless Horseman in beautiful prose, establishing it as a classic piece in American Literature. Get reacquainted with the original via book form, or download a wonderfully narrated, unabridged version of Irving’s story FOR FREE, on Audible (download to the Kindle Fire or to the Audible app). The narration is done by none other than Tom Mison, the British actor who plays Ichabod in the FOX television series Sleepy Hollow. His period-appropriate accent is swoon worthy! 

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic








3. MAKE A WREATHOnce inside the murky glen, Ichabod’s anxiety increased one-hundredfold. The forest seemed to close in behind him. Every small detail of Brom’s awful story returned to haunt his recollection. Last year, as I was walking in the craft store contemplating supplies for new fall wreaths I was making, I came across some artificial cattails that instantly reminded me of the scene in the film when Ichabod is reacting to every sound in the woods on his way home that fateful Halloween night. As his imagination is running away with him, he comes to the realization that what he perceived as a threat was really only the thumping of cattails against a log. Poor Ichabod, he has no idea what’s about to happen. Mini jack o’lanterns, scratchy twigs, smashed pumpkins, a small stack of schoolbooks, and paper cabbages made from dollar bills would all work as Sleepy Hollow inspired decor. 

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic

credit: Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad







Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic



















4. INSPIRE YOUR WARDROBEGhosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed is the Headless Horseman, he’s the worst. That’s right, he’s a fright on Halloween night! Leslie Kay of DisneyBound has created a few outfits that are inspired by the Headless Horseman and Ichabod. I would love to see some ideas for Katrina Van Tassel and Brom Bones (hint hint, Ms. Kay). And now I need to go buy a pair of tall black boots!

 Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic













5. COOK UP A MEAL - For it behooved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. Especially if their mothers happened to be good cooks. It is not lost on most viewers that Ichabod has an appetite that is truly a bottomless pit. The Disney animators really play this character trait up in a fun way. Clearly the guy has a high metabolism! Check out Oh My Disney’s post from last year, a review of the film with a foodie perspective. If you want to take it a step further, read this sweet remembrance of the film by Elena Parker, who cleverly writes about various Dinner & A Movie ideas. Then, get to cooking in your kitchen. The recipes look delicious, especially if you are an apple cider fan like me. Use pewter serving pieces, candlelight, and creepy storytelling for bonus points.

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic

credit: Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad











Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze
credit: Food52 Blog at










If you have never seen The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, get thee to the local library or to your nearest retailer to obtain a copy and watch asap. It is a treasured classic that continues to delight Disney fans 65 years later. If you should try any of the ideas listed above – or have new suggestions – please share them in the comments below, I would love to hear from Ichabod and Headless Horseman fans! With a hip-hip, and a clippity-clop, he’s out looking for a head to swap. So don’t try to figure out a plan…you can’t reason with a headless man!

Celebrate Halloween with Ichabod | Capturing Magic

Disneyland Pumpkin Carvers – October 2013












A scrapbooker and collector since childhood and long time fan of Disney parks and media, Beth ventures into the blogging world at Any Happy Little Thoughts where she shares her approach for preserving personal Disney memories, one story at a time.




Extracting Autographs

Posted on by Heather in 01) Before You Go, 02) When You're There, 03) Back Home After The Trip, Autographs, Characters, Disney World, Disneyland, Scrapbooking (digital or paper) Leave a comment

As everyone knows, one of my favorite things to do at Disney is meeting characters. If a character signs (check out my post on which characters sign autographs at the parks), I like to include the autograph on my scrapbook layout. I’ve always gotten questions on how to do this, but it’s really easy!

Before you meet your first character of the trip, you want to make sure you are using the best pen and paper to get that autograph onto your scrapbook layout later. I always use a clickable sharpie. Thicker markers like Sharpies show up easier than pens when scanning. For many of the characters, they have an easier time holding thicker pens like sharpies, and when it’s clickable, they can open & close it themselves. I’ve even had some cute interactions where the character plays with clicking it on and off!

THE most important thing is to get autographs on a plain background, so it’s easier to extract the autograph after signing. If you are going to buy your book at Disney, they sell several different kinds of autograph books. One has plain white paper inside, which is the one I recommend. Others have color paper and lines on them. This will make the extraction a bit tougher. If you are making your own book, make sure the part the character signs is a plain background. The color doesn’t really matter, but I just find white easier.

First, scan the autograph. I used to do this once I got home on our computer scanner. Lately, I’ve used an app on my phone called Scanner Pro, so I’m able to just scan quickly either in the room at night, or once I got home. It’s even easier than dealing with a scanner! Either way, once you have your scan, open it in Photoshop.

Crop the scan so only the paper and autograph is showing.

Next I duplicate the background layer, and turn off the bottom layer so that after the next step, the background will be transparent

Then I use the magic wand and select the background. This is why having the background be plain & all the same color is so important! To get inside closed parts of letters, such as the inside of the “a”, hold down the SHIFT button and click. Continue doing this to all closed parts of your signature, so that the entire background is selected.

Then, hit delete! It’s ok if you missed any of the closed parts of the signature in the above step. Once you hit delete, you can see what you missed, and go back in with the Magic Wand or eraser and delete it now.

Then I go in and fix the layers, to color correct my scan, so the autograph looks more black. You may not have to do this step, if you decide to change the color of the autograph once it’s on your page.

Delete the bottom layer, and save as a png so you can use your autograph whenever you want. Here’s the layout I scrapped with this autograph:

Credits: The Mane Event Bundle by Chelle’s Creations. Let Down Your Hair by Britt-ish Designs. Half Pack 21 Templates by Cindy Schneider.

One last tip about character autographs. The longer you are interacting with the character, the more pictures you will be able to take. I always like to get a picture of the character signing my book. Those pictures are especially cute when using the signature on your layout! You can see I included these photographs on my layout, and I think they really help to tell the story.

Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter , instagram, and facebook. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 200 characters she’s met at Disney World and Disneyland.

The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World – Part 2

Posted on by Terri in Disney World, Extra Magic, Journal Leave a comment

The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World - Part 2 -

In Part 1 of this post, I discussed different types of school reports and suggested ideas for learning in Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Today, we’re talking about the more obvious parks for educational opportunities, Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and some less obvious options outside the parks.

The most overlooked learning resource in Disney is the Cast Members. In Epcot’s World Showcase, Cast Members hail from the country that they are representing and are happy to talk about their home. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Cast Members handling the animals are specialists trained in the care and feeding of their animals. Keep your eyes peeled at various animal viewing stations too; the Cast Members stationed there are knowledgeable about the animals and trained to answer any questions you might have.

Epcot – World Showcase

When you think of education at Walt Disney World, most people immediately think of Epcot. Some families think Epcot is boring, so it must be educational, right? Or is it really just a lot of “edutainment”? Truthfully, Epcot is my family’s favorite park, and we particularly love World Showcase. We spend more time there than any other place in Walt Disney World.

When thinking about school report options in World Showcase, I realized that there were two ways to approach the topics. One would be a comparative report on a subject between two or more countries. Every World Showcase pavilion represents its country with unique food, architecture, entertainment and clothing.

World Showcase Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Come to Epcot during a special event, such as the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, Epcot International Food & Wine Festival or Holidays Around the World, and you have even more comparative options. 

Epcot Special Event Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Also, don’t forget to stop at the Kidcot Fun Stops in each country. Besides stamping your passport, Cast Members will often teach you to speak and write in their language, and of course, they’ll be happy to answer questions.

Japan Kidcot Station - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

An alternative to the comparative report would be a more in-depth report on a single country or subject. Not every country has educational attractions or exhibits, but the following is a selection of the some of the most informative ones.

Morocco Pavilion

When my son had to do a report in 3rd grade on the basic needs of people, we knew the Moroccan Pavilion would be perfect. The Pavilion includes the Gallery of Arts and History (the current exhibit is “Moroccan Style: The Art of Personal Adornment”, a display of traditional clothing, jewelry, makeup and henna tattoos). Combined with pictures of Moroccan architecture and a recording of the music played in the pavilion, he had a relevant and informative report to share with his class.

Morocco Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

You can see more about my son’s report in Part 1 of this post.

China Pavilion

The China Pavilion has a stunning 360 film, Reflections of China, but for more detailed report information check out the exhibit of historical artifacts in the House of the Whispering Willows. The highlight of the exhibit is “Tomb Warriors: Guardian Spirirts of Ancient China”, the one-third-scale reproductions of the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang. 197 of these statues were buried with the emperor in 209-210 BC. Notice the unique facial features and expression of each statue. The original statues were also painted in bright colors, though time and the elements have weathered them to their original clay. Look for the one painted warrior in the exhibit. Other artifacts in this exhibit include 2000-year-old tomb sculptures and replicas of imperial horses and chariots.

China Pavilion Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Japan Pavilion

In the Japan Pavilion you’ll find a wide array of food, culture and entertainment. The Bijutsu-kan Gallery houses the exhibit “Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars”. This exhibit shows how today’s popular characters have their roots in traditional Japanese folklore. Also be sure to stop by the Kidcot Fun Stop in the Japan Pavilion, where kids can learn origami, the art of Japanese paper folding.

Japan Origami Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

American Adventure Pavilion

The educational highlight of the American Adventure Pavilion is, of course, The American Adventure, a 30-minute show of American history. The show is hosted by Ben Franklin and Mark Twain and includes 35 Audio-Animatronics figures, historical film and music. Inside the theater check out the statues lining the walls. These statues display famous Americans to personify ideals such as Individualism, Innovation, and Independence. In the theater lobby, you’ll find the Hall of Flags exhibit, a display of the different flags throughout U.S. history.

American Pavilion Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Norway Pavilion

The Norway Pavilion was best known for Maelstrom, a fun attraction set in the Norwegian mythos, which will now be replaced by a Frozen-themed attraction. For a more educational experience in Norway, however, visit the Stave Church Gallery a display of traditional Norwegian artifacts including clothing, instruments and folk art.

Of course, these exhibits and performances may change, so always check before you go. The Stave Church Gallery, for example, recently changed to include information about the making of the movie Frozen.

Epcot – Future World

While World Showcase covers art, culture and history, the attractions in Epcot Future World give you a lot of options for a science report.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion

The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion offers a number of educational opportunities for kids of all ages. After the ride (or you can bypass the ride by entering the gift shop), younger kids can enter the educational play area, Bruce’s Shark World. Here kids can learn about sharks and other sea life.

Bruce's Shark World Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Of course, the highlight of this pavilion is 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium, housing more than 200 species of sea life. Fish feedings run at 10:00am and 3:30pm and a Cast Member will be available at that time to talk about the sea life and answer questions. Don’t miss the Observation Deck upstairs; this circular room is in the middle of the aquarium.

Aquarium - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

This pavilion also houses a working manatee rehabilitation center. Presentations are provided throughout the day by marine mammal researchers. Check the daily activities schedule outside the Observation Deck.

For a more in-depth learning experience, Disney offers three behind-the-scenes tours in this pavilion.

  • Dolphins in Depth - This 3-hour experience is a chance to meet Disney’s dolphins up close and is run by expert trainers and researchers. This activity is limited to no more than 8 guests, age 13 and older, per day. Cost is $199.
  • Epcot DiveQuest - This tour is a scuba experience in the Caribbean Coral Reef, Epcot’s giant saltwater aquarium. This is your chance to see sea turtles, fish, dolphins, rays and sharks up close. The experience lasts 3 hours with about 40 minutes spent on the actual dive. The experience also includes a backstage tour of the the infrastructure that supports this manmade reef. Guests must be at least 10 years of age and SCUBA-certified. Cost is $175.
  • Epcot Seas Aqua Tour - This is a 2.5 hour snorkeling experience, great for guests that are not SCUBA-certified. The experience includes a backstage tour of the infrastructure that supports the reef, an educational video presentation and 30 minutes of snorkeling. Guests must be at least 8 years of age. Cost is $140.


The Land Pavilion

The Land Pavilion also offers an educational experience, focusing on agriculture and eco-diversity. Truthfully, I remember going to Epcot with a youth group, as a teenager, riding Living with the Land, and thinking how incredibly boring it was, but you can’t deny that it’s educational. Living with the Land is a ride through four greenhouses and a fish farm, highlighting innovative growing techniques, high-yield crops and diverse ecosystems.

Land Pavilion Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

For a more in-depth learning experience on this subject, check out Behind the Seeds, a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities. Unlike some of the other tours, Disney has made this one very kid-friendly and there is no minimum age requirement. Kids are even given a vial of lady bugs to release into the greenhouse. Cost is $16 per child and $20 per adult.

Spaceship Earth

If you’re paying attention, Spaceship Earth can definitely be educational for older kids. This ride is a lesson in the history of communications from cave drawings to the personal computer. Unfortunately, the educational opportunities are limited to the ride itself. The activities of Project Tomorrow are fun, but they’re more entertaining than educational and not directly related to the communication theme.


INNOVENTIONS East and West pavilions house a variety of interactive exhibits, simulations and games. Some are more entertaining than educational (I do love The Great Piggy Bank Adventure!), but a few of the exhibits are both.

  • Where’s the Fire? – For younger kids, this interactive exhibit focuses on fire safety.
  • StormStruck – This show and exhibit teaches about weather and storm safety.
  • Take a Nanooze Break – This interactive exhibit teaches about nanotechnology and is appropriate for all ages.
INNOVENTIONS Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Exhibits at INNOVENTIONS change more frequently than other attractions, so check before you go.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

If you visit Walt Disney World during April and May, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a special event that provides even more learning opportunities. The Festival includes exhibits and presentations of flower and garden techniques. You’ll find learning opportunities for kids and adults of all ages. I highly recommend the Butterfly House and the English Tea Garden Tour. For more information check out my post, Capturing Magic at the Flower & Garden Festival.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It would be impossible to list all of the learning opportunities in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Animal exhibits and interactions are placed all around the park and knowledgeable Cast Members are always there to answer questions. I will highlight some of the standing exhibits, but keep your eyes peeled for animal feedings and close-up interactions. In particular, when you enter the park, spend some time walking the Discovery Island Trails that circle the Tree of Life. Most people race through this area on their way to more popular attractions but this area houses a wide variety of plants, birds and small animals.

Animal Kingdom - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World - Part 2 -

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

For a guaranteed educational experience, take the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This area houses a variety of eductional opportunities for all ages.

  • Affection Section – a petting zoo with goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and pigs.
  • Conservation Station – an animal care facility, including a working veterinary clinic and interactive exhibits. This area often includes live animal encounters.
  • Habitat Habit! – an outdoor trail with lessons about conservation and featuring cotton-top tamarin monkeys.
Rafiki's Planet Watch - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

I highly recommend going to Rafiki’s Planet Watch in the morning. We usually hit the park at rope drop, head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and then jump on the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This gives us the best chance to catch a live veterinary procedure, which generally occur between 9:30 and 11:00. Most days the procedures are regularly-scheduled check-ups on the various small animals, but this is a working facility and emergency procedures could happen at any time.

Veterinary Procedures - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Keep in mind that between the round trip train ride and all of the exhibits, you can easily spend a couple hours at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Kilimanjaro Safari

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of our family’s favorite rides in all of Walt Disney World. We try to ride it multiple times, usually at different times of day. The ride is listed as an 18-minute trip through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, but because live animals are unpredictable you never know what you’re going to get. Our family once spent nearly 10 minutes sitting on the trail while a herd of giraffes blocked the road.

Kilimanjaro Safaris - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

As always, don’t be afraid to ask your guide questions. Cast Members are extremely knowledgeable about the plants and animals on the tour.

Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest Exploration Trail are self-guided tours through Southeast Asia and Africa respectively. These trails highlight plants and animals representative of their locations. As you wander the trails you can read about the various wildlife. Cast Members are also available. Maharajah Jungle Trek also includes an aviary. Pick up a laminated card and see how many birds you can identify.

Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Flights of Wonder and Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight

For more information about birds, check out Flights of Wonder. This entertaining show highlights the natural behaviors of at least 20 exotic birds. The show includes audience participation, and after the show, you’ll have the opportunity to take pictures of some of the birds up close. Our family loves this show, and although the basic script doesn’t change, the bird behaviors do. On one trip the trainers invited audience members to stick around after the show to watch them put some new birds through their paces. That was very instructive. Check the Times Guide for show times.

Flights of Wonder - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Disney recently introduced a new bird show, Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight. This show releases birds, including six shades of macaw, to fly around the Tree of Life and descend into Discovery Island. Up-close encounters about macaw behaviors and conservation efforts are also available.

For more in-depth experiences, Disney offers several tours at Animal Kingdom.

  • Wild Africa Trek -  This 3-hour tour takes you through the Safi River Valley and the African savannah and brings you up close to many of the animals that you can see from Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests must be at least 8 years of age. Cost varies by season but generally ranges between $180 and $249 per person. My family took this tour shortly after it opened. You can read more about our experience in Capturing Magic on the Wild Africa Trek.
  • Wild By Design – This 3-hour walking tour is about the planning and design that was required to transform Florida wetlands into Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. Guests must be at least 14 years of age. Cost is $60.
  • Backstage Safari - This 3-hour tour covers the backstage animal care facilities, including the Animal Nutrition Center, animal-housing area, Animal Programs Administration building and the veterinary hospital. The tour also includes a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests must be at least 16 years of age. Cost is $72.

Wild Africa Trek - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Disney’s Resorts

Disney’s Resorts are known for their gorgeous scenery and detailed theming, but they can also provide some free learning opportunities that don’t require a park ticket.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas

I mentioned above what a valuable learning resource Cast Members can be. Nowhere is that more true than Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here you will find both animal specialists and cast members knowledgeable about the history and culture of Africa throughout the resort, all ready to talk to you and answer any questions you may have. Explore the four African savannas filled with mammals and birds or investigate the large collection of African art. Check the resort activities schedule for animal feedings, kids activities and cultural presentations.

Animal Kingdom Lodge - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Two extra opportunities available only to guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas, include Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Night Safari and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Sunrise Safari.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

If geology is your subject, you’ll want to check out Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. This resort is themed after the American Northwest, and includes a 120-foot geyser that spouts every hour on the hour from 7:00am to 10:00pm. Inside, the massive fireplace is a scale representation of the geologic layers of the Grand Canyon. On each floor you can read about the layers and view rocks and fossils from each era.

Wilderness Lodge - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Disney Youth Education Series

If you really want to go all out for a learning experience in the park, consider the Disney Youth Education Series. This program is best known for providing classes to home school groups, but some of the classes are also offered on an individual basis. The program is available year-round for students from elementary to high school, and includes classes in science, environmental studies, liberal arts and leadership.

A visit to Walt Disney World is certainly an entertaining and magical experience, but just because it’s fun doesn’t mean you and your kids can’t also learn something while you’re there. Have your children done school reports at Disney? We’re always looking for new ideas. Share your experiences here.

Terri -

Introducing… Minnie T!

Posted on by Tanya in 06 Minnie Me, 08 Minnie T, Blog, Disneyland, Instagram, Photography, Uncategorized 1 Comment

Note from Steph: Minnie Me is sooooo excited to introduce to you her newest friend she *just* met!! Minnie T!!!!

I am here today to introduce you to Minnie T!

Minnie T is super excited to join her besties, Minnie Me and Her Mini, here at Capturing Magic!

You will be able to follow her Disney adventures here on the Capturing Magic blog, the Capturing Magic Instagram feed and TanyaH666′s Instagram feed!

Minnie T and I went out to Disneyland a couple days ago to do a quick little photo shoot to show her off!

She was only in the park for 10 minutes and was already making a impression!  I had THREE people ask about her while I was taking this photo!  I would like to think that is was because she is so darn cute, but it was probably because people were just wondering what I was doing crouched on the ground. LOL!!

So be on the lookout for Minnie T and Tanya out and about at Disneyland!  Minnie T would LOVE to take photos with all of our Capturing Magic friends!!


Tanya is the digital scrapbook designer known as Crossbone Cuts Designs. You can check out her designs and products at Read her Disneyland trip reports on her Blog and you can also check her out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to follow along in her almost weekly adventures at the Disneyland Resort!

Post-Trip Update: A Memory Keeping Plan for a runDisney Weekend

Posted on by Beth in Capturing Magic Trip Report, Disneyland, Instagram 2 Comments


runDisney weekend memory keeping plan | Capturing Magic














I ran, I saw, I photographed. Or at least, that is what it felt like after almost five days at Disneyland for a runDisney weekend! I came home from the Happiest Place on Earth having reached a new fitness goal; with my sister visiting from across the country; loads of photographs and some fun souvenirs; and a cold (thumbs down on that one!). But really – best of all – I have a new collection of memories. In preparation of the trip, which took place over Labor Day Weekend 2014, I outlined a memory keeping strategy to help me stay organized and cognizant of images and feelings I hoped to capture on the trip. It included a photo wishlist that would help guide my eye and camera/iPhone during the stay. Below is an overview of what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned for next time.

PRE-TRIP + MISCELLANEOUS | I did get some pics of my stuff before packing them in my suitcase. And although I was still sewing on one of the running outfits the day before I left, I managed to get some pics of the process. I cannot say this enough (and this is true for any vacation) – AN EXTERNAL PHONE CHARGER IS A MUST! (The one in the link is the one I purchased, but there are other options as well.) I did take my Nikon, but I admit that I hardly used it. I felt it bogged me down and I just didn’t have the patience to get it out of my bag. I found I much preferred my iPhone 5 and the Camera+ app, it is just more convenient and I am very familiar with what it can do. The PhotoPass+ was well worth the expense. Some of my favorite photos are from that source. As for social media, after searching a few options for a specific hashtag for my trip, I decided on #DumboorBust (Dumbo or Bust) – something short and easy. Steph had the fun idea to use #CMrunDisney (Capturing Magic runDisney) for the team members who were there for the weekend, so check it out for the collection of photos shared between Heather, Tanya, Jon and Ginger, and myself.


WHILE AT DISNEYLAND | a photo wishlist

Paradise Pier Hotel – staying on property means I’m doing a happy dance – pics galore! I did take pictures of the hotel, including a couple of trademark details (there is a Surfer Goofy statue in the main lobby), pics of the pool area, the view out of my window, multiple shots of the room and bathroom interior, and a shot of the room number outside of the door. TIP: take your room photos as soon as you enter the room for the first time, if possible. I had great daylight and there was absolutely no mess or clutter yet, so I was able to get the clean shots I wanted.

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Paradise Pier Hotel | Capturing Magic













from where I stand perspective, from multiple locations - I was pretty obnoxious about taking these types of shots. I love the various details and moods that were captured from this angle, and I have quite a handful to show for my efforts. So much so that I plan to write an entire post about it, with plenty of examples and tips. So stay tuned! The shot I share here is one of my favorites. I just love the plants and that line of turquoise tile. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - from where I stand | Capturing Magic













food and drinks – specifically Starbucks, unique dining, and snacks! I enjoyed a few Starbucks drinks during my trip, and this shot was taken soon after I entered the park after completing the Dumbo Double Dare challenge. And I also enjoyed a lunch at Cafe Orleans on my first day of the trip. I was solo in the park and ate at a small table outdoors. TIP: if given a choice, outdoor dining in the shade can offer great conditions for lighting; or else, ask for a table by the window. Make your food and accompanying utensils cozy together to capture a full place setting. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Starbucks | Capturing Magic

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Cafe Orleans | Capturing Magic

























runDisney – expo, race events, medals - I did get plenty of pictures of my medals, the swag from the runner’s bag (tech tees), and some shots from outside. Inside, the expo lighting was that weird flourscent/dimness that often frustrate me for indoor shots. Therefore, my expo pics are lacking. I probably didn’t put much effort into it either, to be honest. As for the events themselves, the start of all these races gives you the darkness of pre-dawn, and by the time I was done at the finish lines, it was super sunny and bright, so there was lots of harsh sunlight and squinty eyes. I was happy with the image below because it inlcudes the runDisney logo. I actually rotated the photo and did a blur effect to bring focus to the snack box and drinks. TIP: rotate, crop, edit. These tools are your friends! Don’t be afraid to use them to achieve the look you want. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - refreshment 10k | Capturing Magic













commemorate the Dumbo Double Dare – Dumbo ride, Dumbo statue - I went a little Dumbo-crazy for photos, but I am glad I did because not all of them turned out. I took photos standing by the ride, of a Dumbo popcorn bucket, and even of a wall of Dumbo plush in the gift shops. I had seen race medals featured with the small character statues found in the DL hub, and had in mind to get my own. Not surprisingly, I ran into people getting their pictures taken with this Dumbo statue. Luckily, I had a PhotoPass Photographer nearby (they take shots in the hub with Walt and Mickey, and with the castle in the background) and she came up to me and offered to take my picture with the statue – score! The photos she took turned out better than the ones with my phone. I tilted, cropped and edited the PhotoPass picture seen below. TIP: It never hurts to ask the PhotoPass Photographers to take photos with other nearby props, backgrounds, etc. Think outside the box!

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Dumbo bling | Capturing Magic













with my sister, and any friendly encounters – I haven’t been in a Disney Park with my sister in almost 20 years, and that was at Epcot. I knew we would need to get some great photos, and this is where the PhotoPass really payed off. While we have some fun selfies taken with our phones, the PhotoPass pictures we have from various locations in the parks gave us some winners, including the one below which I love the most. (I edited the photo in Picasa to improve the color tone, which was weird due to the bright sun.) I was also happy to have a picture with fellow CM contributers Tanya and Heather from one of our quick meet-ups in Disneyland – this photo was taken while they waited for the afternoon parade. TIP: I highly recommend stalking – I mean, meeting – these gals if you ever get the chance, they are as cute and fun in person as they are in the virtual world. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - PhotoPass Pic | Capturing Magic runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - CM team | Capturing Magic
























modeling with special jewelry, accessories – a popular photo trend at the moment is to take a photo of jewelry and accessories, with a relevant backdrop featured as well. This is such a great idea for recording the story behind a special souvenir. I have started a collection of the Alex and Ani charm bracelets, and knew I wanted the Disneyland charm as a keepsake of this special weekend. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - Alex and Ani | Capturing Magic













character selfies - I managed to get a few character selfies during the trip, which I shared on my Instagram account. This one with Stitch was the last one, fitting as it was a Stitch themed 10k race (of which I am wearing the tech shirt with Stitch on the front). If you have friends or family standing by with a camera or video recorder, tell them to be prepared. I had a very fun interaction with Goofy when I asked him if he would take a selfie with me – he proceeded to preen and fuss over himself for an exaggerated amount of time – I told him he was worse than my tween-aged daughter! You never know what those characters will do. TIP: I did not heed my own advice (see above re: food photos), but I wish I had asked if we could be seated near a window or out in more natural light when we ate at PCH Grill. As it was, we were seated at a small table by the wall and next to the kitchen, which offered yucky lighting and wonky shadows.

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - character selfie with Stitch | Capturing Magic













random details – Some of my favorite photos capture the small details that make all the difference in the Disney environments. They help tell the story, and they can serve as poignant reminders of magical experiences. For me, I love the fringe detail on the banner that I accidentally captured in this picture of the castle. Editing the photo enhanced the color. TIP: Tilting the camera up is an easy way to get rid of crowds and clutter in your park photos.  

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - details | Capturing Magic













magic shots and ride photos - These are really unique to Disney and provide a look into your trip like no other photo can. How else do you get a little sparkly Tinkerbell in your hand, or a happy animated Olaf, into your photos? And the ride photos are priceless. Sometimes the strangers in the photo with you steal the show and add so much to the story!  TIP: The ride photo shots tend to happen at the height of the thrill, or rather on the biggest drop, of the ride. The bright flash of light you see is the moment the photo is taken, so plan to be prepared on your second run so that you know when to flash your best scream-y smile. 

runDisney weekend memory keeping plan - ride photo | Capturing Magic














NEXT TRIP…. A few photo opportunities did not make the cut this time. The concept of a photo of me and my sister with Elsa and Anna just wasn’t worth the wait and effort required – that character meet and greet has crazy long lines! I tried for some fireworks pics but had an obscured view, and we didn’t make it to World of Color (gasp!). I realized I had not taken any balloon photos, so when I did remember it was at night and on the last park day, so what I did take are not the best. I will keep the balloons in mind for my next trip. But as I look through my list of photo ops, I am happy that I captured most of them!

I really feel it can pay off for your photo haul if you do some planning regarding the photos you think you want to take on your next vacation. Seeing what others take photos of can inspire and get your mind thinking outside the box. It will impact your memory keeping projects after the trip, and how you visually remember the vacation. And the longer the photo wishlist, the better. You will have plenty of photo prompts, while allowing for some breathing room for the ones you never get around to. (Those photos you don’t get can simply go on the list for the next trip!) The runDisney aspect of my trip was very important, and therefore I had an experience different from when I go with my kids. I feel I was able to capture that in my photos.

What photos would you put on your wishlist for your next vacation? We would love to get your input, so share in the comments below.


A scrapbooker and collector since childhood and long time fan of Disney parks and media, Beth ventures into the blogging world at Any Happy Little Thoughts where she shares her approach for preserving personal Disney memories, one story at a time.




Creating a Mickey Photobook Cover

Posted on by Chelle in 03) Back Home After The Trip, Photobooks, Scrapbooking (digital or paper) 1 Comment

Want to create a photo book with your favorite Disney Character?  Here’s how:

I created my cover in Photoshop, but you could create it in PSE as well.  

I printed my book with Adoramapix, so I used their layered (PSD) cover templates, found here:  (The dark gray around the edges in these screenshots is the bleed guidelines.)
1.  I started with a generic gray paper, but any solid would do. I filled the background with the light gray paper.  I had to duplicate (side by side) to fill the entire space.  (If you look super close you can see the seam on mine, but only because the paper texture doesn’t quite match up.)
2.  I searched for a Clip Art Mickey head.  I used this Mickey Head:    I did not “complete the offer” for the vector version, but you could.  I just right-clicked and copied.  Then on my cover, I pasted.
3.  I changed the blending mode of the mickey head to darken or multiply and lowered the opacity of that layer until it looks just right.  Mine is about 50%.
4.  I enlarged the head until it looked like what I wanted.  (Enlarging loses some of the crispness of the edges, but I found it wasn’t noticeable even on my 10×12.5 cover.)
5.  I typed the title on the front & the title on the spine (using the template guidelines) with a favorite font.  I used KG The Last Time, found here:
6.  I duplicated the gray paper and placed it on top of BOTH of the type layers, clipping it to them (Ctrl-G in PSE, Alt-Ctrl-G in PS)
5.  I saved the file & uploaded it to Adoramapix.
I think for my next trip I’ll try a different character…or maybe a different color background.  They’ll look great together on a shelf!

The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World – Part 1

Posted on by Terri in Disney World, Extra Magic, Journal 1 Comment

Title Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World - Part 1 -

The best time to go to Walt Disney World is during the off-season, when crowds are at their lowest. Of course, this usually means taking the kids out of school. We’re fortunate that my son attends a school that views every travel opportunity as a learning experience, but he’s still had to produce some evidence of that learning. Most people think of Walt Disney World as a big amusement park, only valuable for it’s entertainment, or, at best, “edutainment” value, but there are some truly educational experiences.

When I was researching this post, I found a handful of homeschool-related articles about illustrating things learned at home in the parks. Leaving aside the questionable idea that any child will be thinking about physics while riding Space Mountain, I wanted to look for educational experiences that did not require a lot of advance research. Of course, any of these ideas can be supplemented by additional reading and research, but most of the ideas I’ve listed here can provide sufficient information to produce a short report.

Written Report or Journal

My son has done two kinds of school projects in the parks, a written journal and a digital report. For the journal he chose a Smash Book and Project LIfe journaling cards. I kept a stack of journaling cards with us everywhere we went so that he could journal whenever we had downtime. It was a good way to keep him occupied in line or while waiting for our food to come in a restaurant. We also kept a small notebook to jot down a simple chronology of our trip and updated it each evening.

SMASH Book - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Naturally, I took lots of photos of our trip, but my son also took photos, so that the project (and my scrapbooks) would reflect his own visual perspective.

SMASH Book Animal Kingdom - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

For this 4th grade project, my son’s teachers wanted him to capture some of the things he experienced, so he wrote about the attractions, the food and the magic. Of course, this approach could easily be used to capture a more specific subject and could be tailored up or down depending on age.

For more ideas on using a Smash Book to capture Disney memories, check out Episode 32: Involving Kids in Capturing Magic.

Digital Report or Video

My son’s school uses a lot of technology. In 2nd grade, he was introduced to an iOS app called StoryKit. This app allows the student to capture photos, sound and words in an interactive report. When we went to Walt Disney World for a long trip in January 2011, my son’s class was learning about the basic needs of people — food, clothing, shelter — and how geography, climate and culture shape those needs. While we were in Epcot’s World Showcase, we happened upon an exhibit in Morocco showcasing Moroccan clothing and adornment that highlighted these themes. My son was able to take pictures and even capture the sounds of the Moroccan pavilion to accompany his report.

StoryKit Morocco 1 - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Other apps that can be used to capture information and create school reports include:

  • Evernote - my go-to app for capturing everything,
  • Animoto - an easy app for creating video slide shows,
  • Story Creator - an app similar to StoryKit available for both iOS and Android.

Make sure that the app you select allows the final output to be shared as a file or via email. StoryKit, for example, allows you to share your project via email, however the sound feature is not enabled in this format.

Magic Kingdom

The most educational land in Magic Kingdom is historical Liberty Square, home of The Hall of Presidents, but also colonial architecture and details from the American 1700s. While many people think of the Hall of Presidents as a good place to take a nap in the air conditioning, if you’re looking for a genuine learning experience, this is it. This attraction starts with a historical film and then turns to Audio-Animatronic presidents delivering famous speeches.

Hall of Presidents - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Before you enter the theater take a look at the presidential portraits, First Lady dresses and other presidential memorabilia in the atrium.

The Hall of Presidents - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Another attraction in this area is the Liberty Square Riverboat, the Liberty Belle. The riverboat is an actual working steam-powered paddle boat, modeled after those used on the Mississippi River in Colonial times. Check out the details of the boat itself or relax and enjoy the sights, accompanied by the narration of Mark Twain. The riverboat runs every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour.

Liberty Belle Riverboat - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Before you leave Liberty Square take note of the historical details, including a replica stocks, the Liberty Tree and the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell Replica - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

After tackling Liberty Square, however, I quickly ran out of educational ideas in the Magic Kingdom.  When you think of Magic Kingdom you immediately think of the fantasy elements. Trying to find attractions with factual information was a challenge. Much as I love Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, I wouldn’t really consider it very educational, at least not without a lot of outside research. Then I realized I was overthinking it – Magic Kingdom is about fantasy and fiction, the perfect place to discuss literature and illustrate book reports. Of course, young children might read their favorite Disney fairy tales but there is plenty of quality literature for older students represented in the parks as well, including:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain) – Tom Sawyer Island is a walk-through attraction in Frontierland. The attraction starts with a raft trip to the island, and includes a trek through Harper’s Mill, Injun Joe’s Cave, and Fort Langhorn. Besides being heavy on details from the book, this is a great place for kids to burn off some energy, climbing and exploring the various paths.
  • The Swiss Family Robinson (Jonathan David Wyss) – Disney’s Swiss Family Treehouse is a replica of the Robinson’s home in the book.
  • The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne) – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh includes not only scenes from the book, but also pages with the actual book text. The ride is slow so if you have a fast camera you should be able to take pictures of some of the scenes. You can also take photos in the extended queue before the ride.
  • Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie) – Peter Pan’s Flight is a ride that highlights scenes from this classic tale.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) – The Mad Tea Party is a spinning teacup ride, but look around the attraction and surrounding area for more details from the book. You can also find Alice and the White Rabbit meeting in this area.


Magic Kingdom Fiction Collage - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

For more book ideas check out Alison’s post, Booking’ It in the Parks.

One extra Magic Kingdom educational experience that’s worth noting is Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour. This 3-hour tour starts before the park opens and gives guests a peek into the history of these trains, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to keep the steam engines running. The tour is $54 per person. Valid park admission required.

Steam Train - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios used to be more educational, back when it was a working studio. In the years since, Disney stripped out pieces of the Studio Backlot Tour to make space for new attractions. Now they’ve shut this entire attraction down completely. Still, even without the film history, there remain several educational attractions related to the history of Disney and animation.

On our last big trip we visited Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Truthfully, we debated whether this attraction was worth visiting right up to the point where we were standing outside the building, but we were all really glad that we did. It turned out to be a really fascinating look into the history of Walt Disney, Disney films and the Disney parks. The attraction includes a 15-minute film about Walt Disney and a museum of over 400 artifacts. My son (then 10) was particularly fascinated by the early Audio-Animatronics and film technology. My favorite was the scale model of New Fantasyland (which had just opened the week we visited).

One Man's Dream - The Magic of Learning at Walt Disney World -

Other educational opportunities can be found in Animation Courtyard. This area houses:

  • The Magic of Disney Animation – a short film about the animation process and character development, starring Mushu from Mulan,
  • Animation Station – interactive exhibits, including The Sound Stage, You’re a Character and Digital Ink and Paint,
  • Animation Gallery – an exhibit of animation cels, movie props and awards, and
  • Animation Academy.

We did Animation Academy last November for my son’s birthday. This is an actual drawing class with a Disney-trained artist. My son loves to draw, but the lesson is accessible to anyone regardless of your artistic skill level. It also produces a wonderful souvenir. Classes generally run every 30 minutes; check the Times Guide for the exact schedule. Note – even on a slow day this activity can fill up. When we got there the line was already pretty long and we didn’t want to wait for the next class, so only part of our party made it in. If this is a must-do, allow plenty of time.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of Mickey Mouse or the thrill of Space Mountain, but with a little thought and planning there are definitely educational experiences, even in the Most Magical Place on Earth. My son even had his first map-reading experiences in Magic Kingdom. Playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, exploring A Pirate’s Adventure or even just navigating with the park map can be a true learning experience. Stay tuned for my next post where I cover Epcot, Animal Kingdom and some educational opportunities outside of the parks.

Terri -

A Devilishly Disney Halloween at Home

Posted on by Steph in Creating Magic at Home, Holidays 1 Comment

If you are like me, and wishing you were going to be visiting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World OR Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, then you will be excited to hear about Disney’s NEW Halloween site and they will be adding new content all month!!! Disney invites fans to roam the halls of Disney.com¹s Haunted House at to discover spook-tacular games, videos, crafts, and galleries of the most dastardly villains. Every dark corner and hauntingly sweet floor of the page offers online and offline fun for the whole family, including:

  • Disney themed not-so-scary stories told by Disney Blogs
  • Trick and treat ideas inspired by Disney Family
  • A costume destination brought to you by Disney Store


Bring your family¹s Halloween to life by visiting Disney.com¹s terror-ific haunted house this October. Creepy new content will be added throughout he month, so check back regularly for new fun and frights!

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