My family is taking the plunge: Our first trip to Disney World is scheduled for the end of September. It’s really for my older daughter Petunia, who turns 4 next week, but my younger daughter Peony, who turns 1 a month from today (sniff, sniff), is in for a good time, too. Of this I’m sure.
Petunia has long had a love affair with all things princesses, but at the moment she is in the throes of a serious Minnie Mouse phase, mostly because the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show is all she’ll watch on TV these days. We don’t let Peony watch TV jut yet, but I see her sneaking a peek when Mickey is on and she giggles just as loud as her big sister, if not louder, when that charming little mouse dazzles his way around the small screen.
I’ve been doing lots of Disney homework in preparation for our trip. Not the least of which is on the best apps to have handy for the journey to and in the Magic Kingdom.
There are scads of Disney World apps. But Petunia will be the first to tell you that the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally app for the iPad reigns supreme (particularly since she trusts her tour guide parents will take care of all the pesky travel and planning details).
We count her iPad use with her total TV screen time so her eyes don’t get crossed from all of the glare. But she frequently prefers the iPad to the TV if it means she can play all of the Mickey games — like Clear the Duckies from the Road, Rescue Chip ‘N Dale, and Pull the Silly Switch — in addition to watching full appisodes of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I imagine this app on the iPad will be her constant companion for when a little distraction or downtime is needed on a trip full of stimulation. I don’t believe in TV or personal devices as babysitters, in general, but if I had to choose, apps like this one would win in a hearbeat.
Petunia has also recently watched a few episodes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so we’re saving the new app, Jake’s Neverland Pirate School, to surprise her with on our Disney journey. Anything that includes pictures of her (the little egomaniac that she is) to be used is always a big hit, so there’s no doubt that this app that uses her picture to fight off the evil pirate will keep her entertained for hours. And keeping a 4-year-old occupied on a plane is worth it’s weight in gold.
Have I mentioned both apps are free (my favorite 4-letter f-word)? They’re ready for the downloading at the iTunes store. (But don’t you know we already have them, natch.) Disney Junior WATCH also makes full length episodes of its popular shows available — for free! — online here and via the Disney Junior WATCH app on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
I’m not saying I’m relenting and letting Peony watch TV or play with an iPad anytime soon. I’m just saying that when Petunia and Peony are sitting next to each other on the flight to Orlando and Petunia has the iPad on her lap and is watching or playing with Mickey, I won’t be rushing to divert Peony’s eyes from the screen. It’s hard to imagine a better primer for a visit to the House of Mouse.
Join us August 8th at 9 PM EST for a Disney Junior Twitter party! You could win an iPad. RSVP here use the hashtags #spon and #mackidtips
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Photo credit: Meredith Carroll