Sunday, January 23, 2011

Disney Y.E.S.

Maisie and I just returned from our time down at Disney participating in the Disney (Y.E.S.) youth education series.  Our days at Disney were fun, educational and exhausting and though we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves it’s great to be back home.  Last Sunday Maisie and I drove down to my parent’s home, spent the night and then Monday in the pouring rain Maisie, my Mom and I headed over to Disney where we checked into our hotel.  We decided that it was too rainy to do anything at one of the parks so instead we headed out for lunch, did a little shopping on International Drive, checked out the Animal Kingdom Lodge and tried to make it an early evening as I knew that Tuesday would be a full and busy day.

photo (7)Tuesday morning we were up bright and early and our park for the day was Magic Kingdom.

photo (2)The children were divided into small groups of five and then we were off to start their first program.

photoThe class at Magic Kingdom was How Things Move.  For three hours the children were led through the park and were shown, observed and experienced how things moved.  They learned about how wind, solar, water, mechanical and chemical energy make things move and work and observed and experienced the motion whilst riding on some of the attractions. 

photo (2)Maisie loves merry-go-rounds and after we rode a number of attractions with her class and then did almost every other attraction in the park, to end our day Maisie wanted one last ride on the merry-go-round. 

It was a fun day at Magic Kingdom but it was a long day, between the class and our free time we were at the park for over eight hours.  We went out for dinner and then it was early to bed as we were all tired and Wednesday was going to be another early and long day.

photo (3)Our second day of class was at Animal Kingdom for the Wild by Nature program.  The children took part in an interactive survival game being a pride of lions as we moved through the park.  They learned about animal survival behaviors and how their natural adaptations to their environment help them to survive.  They also learned how human behavior can aid or strain an ecosystem and affect the animals. 

photo (5)The group this day had fifteen students so the children paired up and Maisie was with her friend from school and gymnastics, Kaity.  I’ll tell you, Kaity was so cute with Maisie as she always made sure to position Maisie so that she was upfront and able to see everything as Maisie is a good head shorter than all the other students.

photo (6)During the three hour class we covered a lot of ground and at a relatively rapid pace so the children and chaperones alike were dragging by the end but my Mom, Maisie and I decided to spend the rest of the day exploring the park.  Maisie enjoyed the affection section where she was able to pet and brush different animals and she also really enjoyed the Kilimanjaro Safari which we experienced twice.  Mid-afternoon though we went into see It’s Tough to be a Bug but complete exhaustion had set in with Maisie and it totally freaked.her.out, so-much-so that now anything which requires the use of 3-D glasses puts the girl into a panic.  By 4PM all that Maisie wanted to do was to head back to the hotel as she was d.o.n.e.  I knew that once we were back at the hotel we wouldn’t be going out again so before we left the park we stopped for a quick dinner at Rainforest Cafe.  It was truly a quick dinner as Maisie had no interest in being in the fun restaurant and the noises were just too much for her.  Once back at the hotel she was happy to change into her pajamas and by 7PM she was fast asleep even as all the lights were still on and my Mom and I were still up and making noise.     

P1200013aMaisie had a fitful night, overtired and nightmares from the little bit of It’s Tough to be a Bug that she saw but Thursday was a new day and first thing in the morning it was a Synergy in Science class at Epcot.

P1200011Look at my poor girl’s tired eyes.  The children were taught to be Disney Imagineers, to see how things worked together, how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and how to think outside the box.

P1200017After viewing a 3-D movie (well everyone but Maisie and one other girl because well, it involved wearing 3-D glasses and that was *not* going to happen for my girl after the previous days terrifying experience) the children were taught how the 3-D glasses worked and how our eyes and brain experience where the image appears. 

P1200022A final demonstration of how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts as each child had one little part of the Mickey picture before it was all put together.

After three mornings all of Maisie’s classes were finished and we were free to play.  The first thing we did after Maisie’s final class ended was to head over to Test Track as I knew that Maisie would enjoy the ride as she loves coasters and going fast.  Maisie loved the ride but the poor girl was tired and since we wanted to spend the remainder of the day at Epcot I thought it would be a good idea to get her stroller so that we could wander through the countries.  So after Test Track my Mom and Maisie headed over to get fast passes for Soarin’ and to sit down to have a little snack while I headed out to the car to get Maisie’s stroller.  Once back we all enjoyed Soarin’ and then Maisie was happy as a lark to park her tush in the stroller as we wandered through the countries. 

Since Maisie and I did all the character breakfasts and Princess teas when we did our Disney cruise back in April I didn’t plan to do any of those meet-and-greets this trip.  As we were going to the countries though, we happened upon some of the characters and since there weren’t any lines and Maisie wanted some pictures, we took pictures.

P1200026Maisie and Mickey.

P1200027Maisie with Minnie.

P1200028It’s Donald Duck.      

P1200029Daisy and Maisie.

P1200030My Mom getting into the picture with Maisie and Goofy. 

P1200031Maisie and Pluto.

P1200034We walked through all the countries, ate sushi and udon soup in Japan and then Maisie colored a fan in China.  Before leaving the park we picked up some pastry in Norway and by then we were all good an tired so after another 8+ hour day at a park we headed back to our hotel.  We were all exhausted but I hadn’t really slept during our trip and it all caught up with me that night.  Maisie got in bed with me but I was the first to fall asleep, probably just before 7:30 and Maisie was sound asleep minutes later.  My Mom may have made it to 8PM…maybe. 

All the classes that we participated in were excellent, informative, fun and Maisie got quite a bit out of them and really learned a lot.  Also, how cool to be able to take classes at Disney where riding on the attractions reinforces what you’re learning.  Maisie’s school is planning on making Disney Y.E.S. a biennial event so it will be fun to see what classes we participate in next time and I know that Maisie being older next time, she’ll hold up better and get even more out of the program. 

Friday was our final day at Disney and since we had 4-day park hopper passes, even though we were all sort of Disney’d out and exhausted we decided to spend the morning at Hollywood Studios.  I thought that Maisie would enjoy Toy Story Mania! but that involved those stinkin’ glasses so Maisie was miserable.  She did enjoy Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! as well as Beauty & the Beast – Live on Stage but she did not want to see or go on anything else, Maisie was stick-a-fork-in-her-done and didn’t want to be there.  While Maisie and my Mom did the two shows that Maisie would see, I wandered off and rode on my favorite ride, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, so much fun!! Since Maisie didn’t want to do anything and I rode my favorite ride and my Mom was done and ready to go home we left the park early, headed off for some Chinese food per Maisie’s request and then headed back to my parent’s house to spend the night.

We had plans to spend Saturday day & night with some of our China travel mates but unfortunately they were sick with the flu.  We’re sorry that we didn’t get to see them and hope that they are all healthy again soon and hopefully next time we’ll be able to meet up.  So instead of driving home Sunday we headed home Saturday which worked out well as we’ve had today to settle back in, get unpacked and laundry done and now we’re ready to get back to school, gymnastics and a regular schedule.  I’m hoping that this week goes smoothly but I’m thinking that this is going to be a rough week trying to get back on schedule.  In the past seven weeks between two weeks in Aruba, two weeks off for Christmas, one week off because of snow and ice and now one week at Disney, Maisie has only been at “real” school three days and same with gymnastics, only three days in 7 weeks!!  Wish me luck this week, busy days and early bedtimes and we should make it though!


  1. Wow! I'm tired just reading your post! LOL! It looks like you had an amazing time. Disney is such a busy trip, isn't it? Bri had a few overload moments herself while we were there. Sorry Maisie got scared in that 3D movie. We haven't visited Animal Kingdom, so we've never seen that one.

    Glad you are home and hope you can get back into the routine quickly!

  2. Maisie does look pretty tired in a few of those pictures. That sounds like a great program, but very intense. Still, how awesome to go learn at DISNEYWORLD. I bet the next time she gets to go, she'll enjoy the program even more.


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