July 2020 Presentations Online

Me in front of the screen

I haven’t had online programs for awhile now, but this month I have TWO digital presentations. Check back to find out about new programs.

July 9, 2020 at 10:00 am – Iowa Public Radio Book Club –  Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder/ Birch Bark House – Louise Erdrich (fiction)
– I’ll be part of the on air book club. It will stream online live. Find all the information about how to stream it.

Saturday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode TWO: Playing Games / Grasshoppers
Interview with Sarah S. Uthoff, a respected authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder, one-room schools, historic foodways, and living history will speak about her many Laura projects. She is a dominant online presence in the Laura Ingalls Wilder World with her Trundlebed Tales site and its many related connections. Uthoff is an active Wilder researcher and a well-known Wilder authority and sought after speaker.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Summer 2020

Digital Events Updated: July 6, 2020
Scroll Down. They are Listed below the Homesite schedule.
Digital Events Updated: July 8, 2020 
Book Club event postponed until July 9, 2020.

UPDATED July 13, 2020: Follow this link to my Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom 2020 podcast.

I didn’t do a podcast episode this year projecting what was going in Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom this year. — Boy, that was a good call. I wouldn’t have even been close and frankly I don’t know that I know a lot now. Please consider all of this as possible to change. Check directly with any site before you go.

No matter what they’ve ended up doing the museums were forcibly closed a least part of the year in prime school tour time. Like many other institutions they need help. If you have some extra money or you’re looking for something to put part of your stimulus money, any of the homesites could use some money.

Before we get into the official homesite reports, I want to take a moment to point out the biggest on-going Laura Ingalls Wilder event of the year. Starting in March Alison Angrim began reading the “Little House” books on her Facebook page. It’s had a large audience and a good chunk of them are TV show fans so it’s wonderful they’re being exposed to the books. Also, Alison is pointing out the layers of the story which I think some people don’t get.

Pepin, Wisconsin

Starting Friday, June 12 at 10:00 am the museum will be open regular hours will be 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily (7 days a week). They will also be open July 4th & Labor Day. They are asking guests to wear a face mask and to observe social distance. Hand sanitizing stations will be available.

Laura Days, their yearly festival, has been canceled for this year. Next year’s dates are September 11-12, 2021. There were some changes announced for this year. I think they will all still be in place next year.

Independence, Kansas

Little House on the Prairie opened on June 1st. They encourage patrons to wears masks when inside the buildings. They will also be providing hand sanitizer inside each building to promote the safety of our patrons and employees.

Prairie Days was canceled this year. They will have a special event for Carrie’s 150th Birthday celebration August 1, 2020.

Walnut Grove, Minnesota

The museum opened on Friday, June 19th. They will be open limited days: Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Limited Buildings are open. Social Distancing and masks are required.

Their pageant, Fragments of a Dream, was canceled for this year. However, they are going to do special online events. (See below.)

Burr Oak, Iowa

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa has decided to remain closed for the 2020 season. They feel this is the safest option to protect their Staff, Volunteers and Guests. The online gift shop will remain open, so we encourage you to consider supporting the museum in this way.

Their Laura Days event is canceled for the year.

DeSmet, South Dakota

Both the Ingalls Homestead and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society opened up as of June 1st. The Ingalls Homestead has put together a great list of everything that’s closed and opened there this year.

The pageant is being replaced by a radio play this year. It will be Facebook lived and then available through South Dakota Public Radio online. (See below)

Old Settler’s Day has been bumped back to August (no official date yet). The Harvey Dunn Plein Aire painting event is canceled for this year. They are exploring an option of having a digital version, but nothing is finalized yet.

Keystone, South Dakota

They will only let 14 people in at one time. Masks will be required. If you don’t have a mask the museum will have them for sale. There will be hand sanitizer for use. The museum will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Spring Valley, Minnesota

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Spring Valley has reopened as of June 13th. Visit daily between 10am – 4pm. You can walk-in for a self-guided tour or make a reservation for a guided tour. Masks are required.

Mansfield, Missouri

The museum reopened as of June 1st. New safety measures have been implemented throughout the historic site, including 6 feet social distancing. All visitors are being asked to wear face masks. If you don’t have a mask, they are available for purchase for just a $1.00.
The Museum gallery and historic properties are being capacity controlled and hand sanitizing stations will be positioned around Rocky Ridge Farm.

Both Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camps for kids are canceled for the year.

Their new event in Mansfield is the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Festival. It was held for the first time last year and was moved to the fall on the original schedule for the year.  A selection of authors will be available for you to meet and sign books at the Ann Short Turner Community Center. Its new dates are November 5th and 6th.

At this point Wilder Days is still scheduled to happen October 9th and 10th.

Mansfield’s pageant, Laura’s Memories, is canceled. It will NOT be part of Wilder Days this year. It will return in 2021.

Malone, New York

They are open from 10:00am – 3:00pm, Thursday through Monday. Time slots available for tours are 10am, 11:30am, and 1pm. Tours are approximately 1 hour long, with time in between for sanitizing. Non tour visitors are always welcome, but access to the Wilder home and barns is only available through a guided tour. Certain smaller areas, for example the second floor of the Wilder farmhouse, will not be accessible and will NOT be included on the tour during this time.

Tours can be reserved online. Please make reservations at least 2 days in advance. Please call 518-483-1207 during open hours for questions or more information. Please call in advance if your group is large enough to require 2 tour groups (maximum per group is 5), so we can arrange times close together. Masks must be worn. Temperatures will be checked and contact information collected for contact tracing if needed.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

While the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site as part of the National Park Service is open with some COVID-19 protections in place, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is part of the National Archives and will be closed until the National Archives re-opens. As part of that they have canceled this year’s Laura Day event. Speaker William T. Anderson has been rebooked for next year. Luckily you don’t have to wait. Here’s Anderson’s last Laura Day appearance.

And since nobody asked, here’s mine.

Digital Events

The Walnut Grove pageant is canceled this summer. Instead they are doing a digital replacement series.  I’m going to do one interview and when I get a finalized list I’ll add the other speakers. Watch for links when they come out.

The De Smet pageant is also canceled this summer. They are going to replace it with an online production called The Hard Winter. The Hard Winter was what The Long Winter was called before someone at Harpers decided that nothing should be presented to children as hard. The De Smet pageant people decided that instead of trying to get the proper rights clearences for Laura material, they’d instead do a brand new original production.

I had thought maybe they’d do the original radio play script of The Long Winter that they’d bought all rights to when they started the pageant. Instead it’s going to focus on the town in general’s experience with the Hard Winter. I think this is a great idea for a new take because as John Miller would say there were many more people who had very similar experiences during that winter. I’m looking forward to it.

Digital experiences by both groups are listed by date below. All times are Central Daylight Time.

July 8, 2020 at 10:00 am – Iowa Public Radio Book Club –  Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder/ Birch Bark House – Louise Erdrich (fiction)
– I’ll be part of the on air book club. It will stream online live. Find all the information about how to stream it.

“Due to a technical issue in our Iowa City office, the July Talk of Iowa Book Club will now take place tomorrow, July 9, from 10-11 a.m. We apologize for the inconvenience!” UPDATED July 8 2020

Before July 9, 2020 – Walnut Grove Pageant’s LAURA’S PRAIRIE CHALLENGE! If you are more than a coach potato and want to get in the stream with us, request information and apply to enter email us at LaurasPrairieChallenge@gmail.com.

Online Laura-Nellie Contest. On Zoom you will be interviewed and asked to demonstrate some pioneer skills including (but not limited to) questions about Laura Ingalls Wilder and demonstrate a talent such as baking vanity cakes, dancing with your parents or even singing a song like ‘Ol Dan Tucker! We will do an initial round via Zoom and choose great performances to share live on our YouTube and Facebook.

Pa Ingalls Look – Alike Contest. Not to leave anyone without a chance to share, we are looking for recent images of you that look like Pa Ingalls! Email pictures! Must be suitable for children. We will do a live interview with the winner.

Both contests are about fun and recognition. There are no great prizes or free trips back in time but at least you’ll have the opportunity to imagine part of history with us in our two challenges! Deadline for emails to LaurasPrairieChallenge@gmail.com is July 9th. “Laura’s Prairie Summer” will be live at 7:00 p.m. July 10-11, 17-18, 24-25! Check the Wilder Pageant webpage at walnutgrove.org and our Facebook page for frequent updates.

Friday, July 10th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode ONE: A New Home / Dancing in the Blizzard
Dean Butler who played Almanzo Wilder on the NBC television series. Plus interview with Dale Cockrell, a specialist in American popular music will share his work as founder of “The Pa’s Fiddle Project,” an educational program dedicated to recording music of the “Little House” books and reconnecting the nation’s children with the rich music legacies embedded in them.

Saturday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. (DeSmet) The Hard Winter
Facebook live

Saturday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode TWO: Playing Games / Grasshoppers
Interview with Sarah S. Uthoff, a respected authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder, one-room schools, historic foodways, and living history will speak about her many Laura projects. She is a dominant online presence in the Laura Ingalls Wilder World with her Trundlebed Tales site and its many related connections. Uthoff is an active Wilder researcher and a well-known Wilder authority and sought after speaker.

Friday, July 17th at Noon. (DeSmet)  The Hard Winter: It will be on SDPB Broadcast or at sdpb.org

Friday, July 17th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode THREE: Welcome Home / The Central Truth / Lemon Pie
William Anderson, author of the 2016 book “The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder”. He has written extensively about Laura Ingalls Wilder and has authored or edited around 25 books and more than a hundred articles.

Saturday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. (DeSmet) The Hard Winter: It will be on SDPB Broadcast or at sdpb.org

Saturday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode FOUR: Brotherly Love (V) Missed Opportunity (L) Town Council
Wendy McClure, author of “The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie”.

Friday, July 24th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode FIVE: Justice with No Peace / Under the Stars
Alison Arngrim who played everyone’s favorite Nasty Nellie Oleson will join the series for a live interview with wit and stories you will not want to miss!
Barb Mayes Boustead climatologist and meteorologist who writes extensively about the weather described in Laura’s books.

Saturday, July 25th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode SIX: Vanity Takes the Cake / Making Laura’s Dream
Pamela Smith Hill, editor of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, an award winning Laura Ingalls Wilder biography.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

May the Fourth Star Wars Day 2020

This is me and Darth Vader courtesy of our local Drug Town about the time of Return of the Jedi.

Me and Darth
Me and Darth

This has been the first year that Galaxy’s Edge is a thing at both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios. Last year both locations opened with only one of two major E-ticket rides up and running. Then did have two experiences building a droid and building a lightsaber which were both very popular and very expensive. There were also themed food oppportunities including blue milk. (Now I’ve watched the Star Wars movies since I was a kid and it wasn’t until I made some online connections that I found out blue milk was a big deal, but if you don’t know in the 1st movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, they have a family meal and they drink milk that is dyed blue. I don’t think it’s that noticable I mean it isn’t bright tourquoise or something, but apparently to people who are big fans, it’s a BIG deal.)

Us and Chewie in Star Wars Bay

During Summer 2019, I wish I could have gone because crowds were extremely low. Some of this was because of good planning and some was that there had always been a surge when something Star Wars was added before (we were caught in one such surge when we took a trip in 2015). So people expected it this time and non-Star Wars fans scheduled around it (again including us we went in early February 2019 deliberately chose before it opened hoping to hit a dip in crowds – we totally didn’t).

While Smuggler’s Run offered an opportunity to fly the Millennium Falcon which was awesome, but very close in structure to Star Tours and that was the only ride. Plus, the one adventure offered in Smuggler’s Run was focused on the spin-off Han Solo movie that did so poorly that it lead to the cancellation of several other spin-offs in production. So word was all that summer and beyond that the best part of Galaxy’s Edge was crying over seeing the Millenium Falcon and an X-Wing fighter in real life. Other than that going to see a place that was not any place you wanted to be in the Star Wars universe was disappointing.

Sarah and Kylo Ren Prepare to Rule the Universe

Then the second E-ticket ride rolled out….

And I think almost every single review I read online (there were many others who probably differed) thought that Rise of the Resistance was the best Disney ride/experience that they have done to date. With a bunch of different experiences used well it really seems to make you feel that you are in the Star Wars adventure. The most impressive thing I’ve heard people say is you go in and out the same door in different places like the shuttle actually moved and it wasn’t just shaking. I haven’t been on it, but here’s a full ride through of the experience. You can find many more versions on line if you look.

And with that a final Star Wars Day reminder. “I love you more than Star Wars.”

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,   listen to her podcast,    look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,   Twitter ,   LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Some Things I Learned on Our 2019 Disney Trip

With the one year anniversary of our latest Disney trip here are some things I learned this time. Some of it I learned after we got back especially looking for solutions to problems we had. I finally got our group podcast done so I thought it was time to revisit Walt Disney World. Find my report on Disney book recommendations from last time and some sources I recommended from our 2015 trip. I did a podcast in 2013 with my friend Richard Simms, my report on our 2015 trip, and our group podcast from our 2019 trip and a podcast with definitions for Disney jargon.
Sarah with Balloons on Main Street
Sarah with Balloons on Main Street
Most of this post is things that are just informational and I think are things that anyone, especially those staying at Pop Century would find helpful. There is some actual advice. It MAY be true and useful for you. It may NOT be true and useful for you. It’s all in how you do it.

Pop Century Resort

I love Laundry View. It shows you a drawing of the individual laundry rooms at Disney and other resorts (search by name and select in terms of nearest pool) and which machines (washers and dryers) are available. I still look sometimes just to feel like I’m there – which I know is pretty sad.
There are shower/bathtub units available in the Pop Century resort. Most of them are shower units the same size as a bathtub, but they felt some parents would want the tub option. We had joined rooms where one had the tub and one didn’t. If I’d have known I’d have requested the one with the tub. If you want one, ask. It wasn’t shown on any of the room tour videos I watched in preparation.
Pop Century Pool
Pop Century does indeed have a business center, it’s around the corner from the front desk in the hallway that runs in front of the giftshop, BUT unlike any other business center I’ve visited in the last 5 years or so you have to pay for time online. Things didn’t work out so I wouldn’t have had many chances to check in  my online stuff anyway, but while you could get to the boarding pass print-out page for free, you couldn’t get anywhere else. I was sadly disappointed I couldn’t pop on and check a couple of things quick. The Wi-Fi was free, but I didn’t want to drag along a laptop for the once or twice I’d use it.
None of the value resorts have hot tubs, if you want one you have to go up a level.
Normally it takes quite a bit to make me complain about fast food, it is of course, fast food and you can’t expect it to be more than it is. While I have my favorites I don’t ask all that much of it in places that aren’t my favorites. However, I was thoroughly disappointed in the Pop Century food court which I thought was vastly inferior to the one we used at Art of Animation on the last trip. No one seemed to know what they were doing and none of it was really what I’d been taught to expect for Disney food quality and when I contemplated grabbing something at the quick service inside The Land at EPCOT I changed my mind because it looked exactly the same down to the slow service as I watched. Lots of people said good things about the Pop Century Food Court online who have been proved right about all sorts of stuff so maybe the problem was seasonal? Really though it needed a good solid cleaning and didn’t get one the entire time we were there (for instance the mess by the microwaves). It was also super noisy even the couple of times when it wasn’t busy. They could really use some kind of sound deadening.
Pop Century
Overall I was kind of disappointed in Pop Century, but as I thought about it over the year, I decided my biggest problem was the food court. If I planned to not use it except for quick drink refills and instead use the Art of Animation’s food court and giftshop it would be better. Also the addition of the Disney Skyliner station would certainly plus it up. If someone offered me the opportunity to stay at Art of Animation again, I’d jump on it. If someone offered me the opportunity to stay at Pop Century again, for most of the year I’d hesitate, but now I think I have a plan worth trying. (Using the food court at Art of Animation for everything, but drinks and using the Skyliner to get to the parks.) I’d still rather try a more expensive hotel, but don’t see it happening anytime soon.
Jen and Mom on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Jen and Mom on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
One sad thing we piled stuff on our room phone and so missed our character wake up call which was awesome. A recording of it was put on PhotoPass later.
Another thing I tried for was late check-out. My mom got exhausted – it really was too soon after her last operation to have gone – and didn’t want to go at all the last day. Our Magic Express didn’t come until the afternoon. We asked for a two hour extension at the front desk and were told no. About 20 minutes or so later we got a phone call – which we heard as packing up the phone wasn’t smothered anymore – and they said she could stay an extra hour. That was super nice because Shannon Albert who goes all the time WDWPrepSchool said it almost never happens. (Really dislike the WDWPrepSchool website redo, but the rest of it is awesome sauce.)
Chef Mickey's Mickey Designed Chairs
Mickey Chair design in Chef Mickeys

Dining Plan

Being terribly late for one of our dinner reservations (started late and then got on wrong monorail – see below) like an hour late for that one and a half hour for another they told us they’ll hold your place for 15 minutes past time and after that they’ll still work you in and not charge you for not showing as long as you appear at some point (I’m assuming that day or within a couple of hours, but they didn’t say). Calls to the dining reservation line to let them know you’re running late are only met with that information and an assurance you’re fine and not to rush. I don’t think they have any direct links to the restaurants.
Our first character meal of the trip was at Chef Mickey’s. It was the one where we were super late. It was our best character experience of both trips. If I went again I’d book it late when it’s less busy and they’re reaching the ends of their shifts. I really think I’d do that for all the dinner reservations unless it was tied to something like the Fantasmic package. It’s my favorite show and I’d definitely do that again, but not with the Brown Derby which was frankly a disappointment. It was stuffed with tables and although I’m glad to have gone once to try their signature dishes (versions of the ones from the original restaurant in studio era LA) I really didn’t care for any of them. Also, right after saying our credits were good for anything I tried to order the Kobe steak so we could all try it and were told anything, but that. Really the waiter was one of the least helpful we dealt with this trip, too.
Family at Chef Mickey's
Family at Chef Mickey’s
Since we were there – maybe it was true before and somehow we just didn’t find it – they have an express monorail that only stops at the Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom so you watch helplessly as you rush past Chef Mickey’s. Be sure you know which one you’re heading to.
In front of the Mary Blair wall
The Mary Blair wall in the Contemporary
The rose beepers no longer buzz at Be Our Guest once they hand you head right to the bridge. Related – repeating the same information repeatedly has made many of the cast members talk quickly and softly to the point that it’s impossible to decode – ask if you can’t hear don’t assume things work the same as last time to fill in any gaps. From this experience it’s probably changed. Also, realize that any time before 11am is breakfast. If they have 2 menus, you might be able to get stuff on the other menu, but you can’t preorder it.
Me and the nephew at Be Our Guest
Another thing to learn is to talk to your group. I had figured that the Mexican restaurant in the Mexico Pavilion would have been what they wanted. However, when we were watching EPCOT videos and the niece and nephew were stoked to go to the Beirgarten. So I changed the reservation and they had the best food and meal of our trip.
Sarah and Susie at Beirgarten
Sarah and Susie at Beirgarten
Another favorite was the Bon Voyage breakfast. Love the princes and the food which was amazing!
Sarah at Bon Voyage Breakfast
Sarah at Bon Voyage Breakfast, wearing Disney Bound Rapunzel
Disney Bounding is superfun. It’s even more fun when people figure out who you are.
Sarah and Rapunzel
Sarah and Rapunzel
Sarah and Prince Eric
Sarah and Prince Eric
Sarah and Ariel
Sarah and Ariel
Sarah and Eugene
Sarah and Eugene

1900 Park Faire was one of my favorite restaurants both trips. The 2015 trip we went for breakfast. The 2019 trip we went for supper.

Loved Cinderella and Prince Charming, their princess parade and dance where they basically hung around a good chunk of time in the afternoon

I loved it for both food and everything else. I want to recommend the strawberry soup which is available for BOTH breakfast and supper. I wasn’t sure about that and I was glad. Months later there was a soup contest as a fundraiser and she announced she had to make her favorite soup the strawberry soup from 1900 Park Faire.

Strawberry Soup

Another favorite both trip was visiting the tea shop in the Grand Floridian lobby they were very accomodating this time letting us sit there a long time even when I ran off to see Cinderella and my mom waited at the table.

Mom and me in the tea room
Tea Food

My biggest disappointment was that I got sick one day. I threw up in Hollywood Studios and learned that no matter how sincerely your mother needs your help working the laundry don’t walk if you feel like you have to throw up. After I got home I found out about Zylast which is a high power hand sanitizer that can take on stomach flu and I’ll definitely take some next trip. Anyway it meant I missed the meal I was looking forward to most the new Snow White meal at Wilderness Lodge.

The Wilderness Lodge with the niece and nephew

We’ve now tried both the Deluxe and the Standard Dining Plans. I think if we go again I might try it without the dining plan unless I had a chance for free dining. Both times it was just TOO MUCH FOOD! While I loved how it kept you in the Disney bubble I really think I’d like to try to put the amount of money I spent on the dining meal aside so it would already be saved and actually buy. Even though we did better the second time what with being sick we left money on the table both times. I think just pretending it was all paid for might work better.

Stuff in the Parks

The moving sidewalks getting on and off the rides seemed to go faster than the last time we were there (our entire group agreed). Frankly I’d think they’d start to have problems getting older people and young kids on and off although I didn’t personally see any problems.
If someone in your group gets tired, this is a great place to wait and find them again. It’s in fantasyland right across from the Seven Dwarfs Minetrain. Mom waited here quite a few times.
Mom waiting at tower
Mom waiting at tower
Fantasmic is BY FAR my favorite nighttime show. It’s worth it. I’d also get the dinner package so you have a reserved area to sit in. They really were good seats near the top so you could see the whole stage. I might even set it up to go 2 nights if possible.
Sarah at the Dessert Party
The Dessert Party (Garden View) was also a wonderful night and meal. The view was great. I wish there had been chairs to see the fireworks. My mom didn’t want to come because there weren’t. To be clear there were chairs to sit and eat, but not to watch the show. We showed about about a half hour early because that’s what they recommended and stuff was already a little picked over. I’d go earlier next time.
Desserts at the Dessert Party
My niece LOVED it and said why hadn’t we gone every night! Her dad told her it was an extra ticket and reminded her it was her Christmas present from me, but she still wanted to know why we couldn’t go every night.
Our tour guide on the Marceline tour showed us there is a murder mystery within the busts, who killed who?
The Marceline to Magic Tour is much less on the Marceline part than I expected, especially light on Main Street, but once you realize it’s mostly about the history of the Magic Kingdom it was pretty amazing and I want to go again knowing what to expect and to hear a different guide’s take. From that tour, while the lights are out during the fuse blown scene on the Carousel of Progress the audioanamatronics keep moving as if you could see them despite the fact it is pitch black and you can’t (the guide had us flashlight mode all our phones and shine them on the stage – we had our own car – so we could see). I don’t have any photos because you’re not allowed to take photos behind the scenes on most of the tours.
Once again having carefully picked a time when it should have been fairly slow crowds cast members agreed it was unexpectedly and surprisingly heavy for the time of year because we seem to cause that. I guess people just want to see us. LOL. Another cast member said there basically is no off season anymore.
Kylo Ren and Sarah talke over the universe
A cast member told us they expect that when Star Wars Land opens it will double attendance at Hollywood Studios. Not sure if that’s actually true, especially since they’re cutting bus times because of the Disney Skyliner.
Family and Chewie
Another one pointed out that a big problem with the scooters at the parks isn’t the fact that there ARE scooters, it’s that a lot of people rent them and have very little idea how to make them work well. If they were more of the people who use them in the parks actually were good at driving them they really wouldn’t be as much of an issue in his opinion which I thought was a very interesting point. It also reminded me of my failed campaign at the museum I used to work at to get people mover drivers to pass a test before they were allowed to drive at least for liability sake. THIS IS NOTHING I HEARD AT DISNEY but in my own never humble opinion a test/class to make sure you could actually handle the scooter before you got a “license” of some sort to take them into the park would make a lot of sense and would be good for everyone. My mom really should have rented a scooter, but she has a thing against them and wouldn’t. She would have been able to do a lot more if she would have or even a wheelchair, but no dice. She’s stubborn.

DVC Tour

My brother and I took the DVC salespitch tour. I really expected more of a tour of the resort – for instance taking us through the DVC area of the resort, into one of the DVC only lounges, that sort of thing – instead they have mocked up rooms of different sizes from various resorts. They were SUPER nice, but had a kind of theater set feel to them the way they were set up. I mean I’m sure they don’t in place, but I felt a bit like I was in a furniture store bedroom if you know the feeling. I’d have much rather seen the real thing. We were upfront that because of some large expected one time expenses that should be coming up at an undetermined time in the next few years we weren’t looking to lock in any new on-going expenses and they really didn’t push too hard. They did lose a little interest in us at that point which was a little bad on them because we have seriously talked about doing it and I believe there is a good chance we will in the future. We did have lots of our questions answered. There were only 3 things (besides the on-going expense factor mentioned above) that gave us pause so here they are in case you’re thinking about it too. If you go to the Parks you will think about it because they have booths EVERYWHERE selling it as compared to when we went in 2015.
1. Apparently the 50 year clock (you pay off the purchase in the 1st 10 years and then for the next 40 only have to pay a relatively small maintenance fee) doesn’t start when you purchase, it starts when they open a new DVC resort. All the leases expire at the same time per resort (I’m guessing so they can easily close it and do updates or build a replacement) so if you buy in at full price in a resort that only has 30 years left on the lease you get 30 years instead of 50 — at full price. Which seems a little shady to me and definitely not something they mentioned earlier in any of the videos, booklets, or phone calls we’d seen before although they had talked about buying into already existing resorts.
2. Disney apparently has the right to unilaterally change the benefits you get with your membership. So another salesman we talked to in the parks (their booths are EVERYWHERE you go now compared with 2015) told us when they started you got a free ticket to the park each year with your membership so you sign up with that expectation — and then they ended it. Much more recently they decided that if you sell your points to someone else they no longer get any of the benefits of membership other than the right to stay in the resort (including free parking, lounge access, etc.). That is always a dangerous way to sign a contract when the terms can change at any time because these changes were retroactive it wasn’t that new purchases didn’t get them it was that nobody got them anymore.
3. Even if you bought points from Disney and maintained your membership, if you bought points or I think rented them from someone other than Disney – they were less clear on that and I was a little too surprised to think to ask for clarification – you didn’t get any of the benefits of membership while you were using points you hadn’t purchased directly from Disney.
I’d still recommend everybody do the tour though. It was fun and the 3 anytime, anywhere (except headliners) fastpasses were amazing and if they offered your whole party 3 of those every DVC trip I might have been talked into signing immediately despite my good sense. I really loved the bus ride over where we saw the dog hotel, the famous treehouses, and other Disney special sites. It was at Saratoga Springs. Here I am in the Winner’s Circle.
Sarah in the Winner’s Circle

Touring Plans

Having followed my brother’s plan this time of basically no planning and putting all your fastpasses as early as possible in the morning – I don’t recommend that. As the group couldn’t get going in the morning and I stayed with the group we missed almost every one of our first fastpasses of the day and when we tried to book later in the day very, VERY few remained for anything. I missed riding on my favorite ride Peter Pan’s Flight even though I had two fastpasses for it. Sometimes by midmorning a few would remain for that evening, but “No remaining fastpasses” was on almost everything by 10 am or so on the days we were there. Remember this was supposed to be a light crowd time. If that’s true and the number of fastpasses holds constant, I shudder to think how fast they must go during busy times just assume you won’t get any additional fastpasses, still try and just because you don’t see any once don’t give up, but you might as well go into it with the assumption you won’t get any extra. Have a good touring plan that spaces your fastpasses knowing where you are going in-between and be willing to adjust and you will not have to feel you are on a forced march which I did every time my brother or sister-in-law took the lead to whatever random ride had the shortest wait time even if it was across the park which what happened most of the time.
I’m now convinced that using early morning Extra Magic Hours no longer has any benefit and you’re much better off scheduling your day by going to whatever park had Extra Magic Hours the day before. That’s because many people schedule their day by the magic hours and don’t do the same parks back to back. It’s another Shannon Albert – WDW Prep School suggestion. The only exception being if you had park hoppers and a plan to leave as soon as you felt crowded. Also, apparently some of the late night times were less crowded so that might be an option.
It’s worth spending time in other resorts. Besides the DVC tour to Saratoga Springs (the bus out there alone took you past things like the dog kennel – which is decorated by portraits of Disney dogs – and the famous treehouses), my brother took time to visit Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian and I spent a lovely afternoon with my mother at the Grand Floridian.
Sarah and Susie at Tea at the Grand Floridian
We took the Minnie Vans and Mears Taxis back to Pop Century from the resorts we visited. They were very helpful. The amount of information you got from a Minnie Van driver varied. One we took was beyond excellent, another gave the suggestion to go to the far left bag check line first which was great advice, but really the only on topic thing she said. They don’t let you make reservations ahead and when I was trying to get one to get me there the day of my tour I had my request time out 3 times before I finally got a Minnie Van, but it really doesn’t take long to get there when you can pull up to the front door of the Magic Kingdom, but I made it in enough time to take a restroom break and sit down for awhile waiting before we started. Leave plenty of time for morning rides though.
Sarah and Susie by the Minnie Van
Cinderella and Prince Charming waltz at the Grand Floridian every afternoon
Park Hoppers are definitely worth it. Pretty much everyday of the trip I had to go back in the afternoon to check on my mom who wasn’t doing mornings in the Parks (see operation remark above). Having to go through the SAME security line twice in one day just felt like an unpleasant redo. Going through into another park, felt much better. Schedule mornings and evenings at different parks especially if you’re going back to your hotel room in between.
Deconstructed strawberry cheesecake on cardboard plate
The food at the EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts was really good. I had the deconstructed cheesecake. They serve the food on really solid cardboard plates so I was able to flip one over on the other to carry it home. The people at the stand were real nice about helping me. I was afraid they were using really dishes and I couldn’t do it, but you could.
This time we visited Disney Springs. We hadn’t before, but it’s definitely worth a visit. One thing it was so large. Even though I’d looked at videos and maps I really didn’t get a feeling at how big it was. It’s really huge. We ate at the Hardrock Cafe. Our waitress was really great. She was attentive and when we had a beverage spill she handled it great. It was super loud though and the theming wasn’t nearly as as cool as it looked online. If I went again I’d pick a quick service place there.
Look up the Disney PhotoPass options before you go. They tend to default to Tinkerbelle, but there are a lot more options. You want not only to know what photos are available, but have in mind a reaction or pose for the best effect. Not all PhotoPass photographers have all options most just seemed ot have a couple so be sure to ask what they have.
Mom and me with magic hyenas
Mom and me with magic hyenas
Finally since I haven’t linked to it yet, besides the official Disney app, Kenny the Pirate (especially the character locater) and Touring Plans were the best. Kenny saved the day when my niece decided in the middle of the trip that Stitch was her favorite character of all time. (During the year based on a health scare, Kenny switched to having other people post to his page which aren’t nearly as good as when he was doing it alone sadly, but FYI. — I’ve recently started watching the Touring Plan livestreams and videos. They are great! Still don’t like the book though.)
Kylo Ren and Sarah take over the universe
Kylo Ren and Sarah take over the universe
Sarah and Launchpad McQuack
Sarah and Launchpad McQuack
Sarah by giant camper kiosk in Hollywood Studios. Sarah is in Snow White Disney Bound
Me and Snow White at Airport Disney store
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,   listen to her podcast,    look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,   Twitter ,   LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Looking for Anne in PEI

I had this video pop up in my feed. It’s dated 2020 because of when the video was put together. The photos were taken between 2015-2019.

I wanted to share out this view of Prince Edward Island. PEI is well-known by readers of Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and other books by L.M. Montgomery. The video is made from a series of still photos of the Montgomery sites, big and little, in PEI. The same channel has a longer video from 2015, but it’s also just still photos set to music.

This video came through this feed and I don’t know anything about the channel. I have since found out it was done by Bernadeta Milewski. I’ve since found out about her since I first published this. Find her on Twitter under Bernadeta Milewski @@Bernadeta555 on Twitter.

The video does have a nice collection of photos of a tour around Prince Edward Island I assume by the person whose channel it is. The song is from the Sullivan productions and has a song credit, but I’m not sure it was used by legitimate permission or not.

The photos are from a variety of the Montgomery sites around Prince Edward Island. The ones included I’ve listed below:

  • Green Gables Heritage Place
  • Anne’s Bedroom
  • Lover’s Lane
  • Haunted Woods
  • Avonlea Place
  • Cavendish United Church
  • Green Gables Post Office
  • L.M Montgomery Cavendish Homestead
  • PEI National Park
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace
  • New London Range Rear Lighthouse
  • Cape Tryon Light
  • Ingleside
  • Anne of Green Gables Park Corner
  • The Lake of Shining Waters
  • New Moon
  • Bideford Parsonage Museum
  • Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse

UPDATED: January 30, 2020

The video’s creator reached out to me on Twitter and I added her information and her Twitter handle. She caught a couple of mistakes on my list. I think it’s correct now. If anyone notices any problems let me know. She also does the Destination Green Gables blog I have on my L.M. Montgomery Links page.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Dakota and Lakota Traditional Games Resource

In the January 8, 2020 issue of the DeSmet News they had an article about a newly released resource from the South Dakota State University Extension system. Jeremy Red Eagle and Mike Marshall worked with them creating a collection of games focused on bringing values from tribal cultures. They include honoring the person who gives you a challenge, respecting the people you play with, showing courage and perserverance and being humble. They worked with International Traditional Games Society (ITGS) to help recover some tribal games.

Dakota Lakota Traditional Games Resource

Their handout booklet gave directions on how to play various games.

Dakota Games

  • Kaƞsu kutepi – They shoot the plum seed (dice)
  • Tasiha uƞpi – (Foot bone game)
  • Hokṡina itazipe – (Young boy’s archery)
  • Tahuka caƞhdeṡka – (Hoop and arrow)
  • Caƞkawacipina – (Spinning tops and whip)
  • Takapsicapi – (Lacrosse)

Lakota Games

  • Icaslohe econpi – (Game of bowls)
  • Inyan onyeyapi – (Rock sling)
  • Ipahotonpi – (Popgun)
  • Napsiyohli – Small Finger Ring (Ring Toss)
  • Tateka yumunpi – Wind Buzzer (Bull Roarer)
  • Tate kahwogyapi – Wind Chaser – (They are chasing the wind)

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

DeSmet Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society Commercial 2019

Surveyor’s House

Have you checked out the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, South Dakota’s website? They have a new video encouraging you to visit. It’s got some really great photos of the inside of the historic homes, camera moving across still photos style. It’s commercial length and I think you’ll enjoy it.

LIWMS 2019

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one   yourself,   watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Show Me The State: The Lost Disney Park

Show Me State is a public radio series about Missouri. They’ve done a couple of really cool episodes lately. This is one is about Walt Disney’s “hometown” Marceline, Missouri. I’ve added notes about the main points of the radio show.

​http://www.tinyurl.com/y3mj9qou

Sarah in Marceline Mo
Me in Marceline

Marceline, Missouri heavily influenced Disney both in Parks and movies.

Kaye Malins, head of museum

Co-author of Walt Disney’s Missouri: The Roots of a Creative Genius, Dan Viets

Agricultural museum show kids what turn of the century farms were like

Newish town – Marceline was about 20 years old – when Walt first arrived

Pop caps at 4,000

To Walt the most important thing was dreaming tree

Walt’s speech in Marceline is recorded – talks about how Roy was always looking out for him, making sure he had money, Roy was a financial genius

Walt had many projects going

“I feel sorry for people who’ve lived in cities all their life and don’t have a little hometown.”

Asked Walt if they could name the pool for him. He wrote right back and wanted to know if he could bring Roy. Took him to his dreaming tree.

Walt asked his friend to buy the former Disney farm. He planed to re-create his version of Marceline IN Marceline.

Plan never made it past drawings and mock ups.

Roy asked to do Florida project, he would finish, but couldn’t do Marceline. His health was gone.

10 Overnight rooms

“Good job, Kay.”

Dan Viets has recording of Disney’s speech

 

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Plays 2019

Photo in Wilder Farmhouse – Courtesy of Connie Jenkins

 

 

I’m late this year listing the Laura Christmas productions this year, but I wanted to get a record of them up anyway. Look for next year’s list and be sure to tell your local theaters that these plays are available.

Christmas Plays and Laura – An Annual Tradition

It’s time to get in the mood for the holidays and for many families attending a Laura Ingalls Wilder play. There are four titles that are currently running on the circuit.

  • A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas by Laurie Brooks
  • A Little House Christmas by James DeVita
  • Melodies and Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • A Little House Christmas at Plum Creek by Lisa Cordes

I’ve only found productions of the first two works this year, but I’ve included information for all four in case you want to encourage a local theater group to put one on for next year. Remind them there are only SO many versions of A Christmas Carol they can do and one of these might make a fun change.

I’ll also mention that although it really doesn’t have much of a Christmas connection Little House on the Prairie: The Musical is also available for production. Spread the word!

Little House on the Prairie: The Musical

This play was originally opened at the Guthrie and had an international tour. Then lay  fallow for about 10 years before rights were released for purchase for local production groups. I’ll try to keep track of productions if you find out about one, please let me know.

Rochester, MN

December 6-7, 13-14, 2019

Basic Information:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2778904678808215/?event_time_id=2778904682141548

Peace United Church of Christ
Rochester, MN

A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas by Laurie Brooks

If you want your local group to try it next year, check out the script and production rights. Learn the basics. Check out the author’s page.

Here’s a clip from a production in 2012.

Dodge City, KS
Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 2019
Depot Theater Company (there are 2 theaters, this is the office)
201 E Wyatt Earp Blvd
Dodge City, KS 67801
620-225-1001

 

“A Little House Christmas” by James Devita

Check with the author for production rightsLearn more about him.

Shots from a production.

Grand Island, NE

December 11-15, 2019

Basic Information:
http://www.githeater.org

Grand Island Little Theatre
3180 W US Hwy 34
Grand Island, NE 68801
308-382-2586

Greenfield, SC

December 13 – 15, 20 – 22, 2019

Basic Information:
https://www.theabbevilleoperahouse.com

The Abbeville Opera House
100 Court Square
Abbeville, SC 29620

“Melodies and Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder”

Check out this clip from a 2009 production. No current productions found this year. Find out more if you want to put it on.

“A Little House Christmas at Plum Creek”

No current productions this year.

Here’s a story about its release.

This was the second year for a TV show cast reunion event. They are looking at making it an anuual event.

Colony Theater – Burbank, CA

“Little Christmas on the Prairie”

December 13-14, 2019

COLONY THEATER In Burbank, CA

Alison Arngrim
Rachel Lindsay Greenbush
Dan McBride
Wendi Lou Lee
Charlotte Randall Yerke

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Events 2019

Baking on a wood burning stove
Baking at Ushers Ferry

When you think Laura trip, normally think of summer trips. Planning driving trips around the Midwest during the winter isn’t a wise person’s first choice, but sometimes early December is still fine weather. Over the years several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites have had a Christmas event that first December weekend. Currently Mansfield, Missouri, and Malone, New York, have Christmas Events.

Mansfield MO

December 7, 2019 – Christmas with Laura 6:00pm

Mansfield’s Christmas event is smaller. Refreshment, shopping, and tours of Rocky Ridge are all part of the event.

Malone/Burke NY

Christmas with Almanzo  – December 7, 2019

  • Children’s  craft activities
  • Farmer Boy Christmas chapter readings, carol singing.

Spring Valley, MN

For years Spring Valley hosted a Christmas tree at their museums. This is the first year without one. I’m sorry to hear it and we’ll watch hopefully for their return.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one  yourself, watch  her videos,  listen to her podcast,  look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.