Tag Archives: Emily Moise

What to Expect Behind the Doors at Disney Encanto x CAMP D.C.

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of three young children.  She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area as well as products for little ones and more — see all of them here.]

 

The word “immersive” is thrown around often these days, so going into the Disney Encanto x CAMP D.C. experience, I had modest expectations. Those expectations were blown away! It was some kind of Disney World meets Broadway dreamland, and it is the definition of immersive. Here’s what you can expect…

 

Live musical performances. Forget front row seats at the theater…be a part of the show as you sing and dance along with the cast of characters. Expect to hear all of your favorite Encanto songs, and get reeled into the fun by lively performers and guitarists.

 

Intricate sets with integrated play structures. You’ll feel transported to the real Madrigal casita with its’ magical doors and vines of roses. Multiple slides, spinning chairs, rocking donkeys, and more are seamlessly incorporated throughout.

 

A guided tour with Disney-level staff. Arrive ahead of your ticketed time so you don’t miss any of the action. You will be led from room to room, performance to performance. But you are also allowed to roam free, explore, and pretend play with the characters.

 

Endless photo ops. Forewarning: the lighting is tricky, but you will still get so many great photos. And the performers will help you! There is also a family photo room as you exit the experience—these photos can be printed at an additional cost

 

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, perhaps. While the new CAMP toy store and party venue is now a fixture at Tysons Corner Mall, the immersive show space is rotating. Expect five months of Encanto before it transitions to one of these: Trolls, Bluey, or Little Mermaid.

 

You can read more FAQs here, and view more of my experience here.

Disney Encanto x CAMP D.C.
Where: CAMP at Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA 22102
When: Grand Opening December 8 with dates through April
Admission: Starts at $32; free/age 1 & under | Purchase tickets in advance

[Note:  You may have seen this included in the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide — surprise the kids with a visit here in 2024, since December is mostly sold out]

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Filed under 2023, 2024, Winter

5 Festive, Kid-Friendly Destinations for the Holiday Season — Within 3 Hours!

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of three young children, who just visited Koziar’s Christmas Village with her family.  She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area as well as products for little ones and more — see all of them here.]

 

Mix it up this holiday season with a quick getaway to a festive destination! When you feel like you’ve seen and done it all around DC, or just want to add a little extra magic to the season, road-trip-it to one of these locations less than three hours away from the DC metro area — and maybe make some fun stops on the way. Your kids will love the thrill of it all (and, for overnighters, your heavily-tinseled hotel)!

 

 

Koziar’s Christmas Village – Bernville, PA
Experience an old-timey Christmas Village unlike anything in the DC area. The self-guided tour features a 75-year-old collection of lights and decor, housed displays of memorabilia, a garage of vintage sleighs, gift barns for your holiday shopping, and snack shops with candy cane straws for your hot cocoa. Arrive early to avoid long lines into the winter wonder-farm-land.

Festive stops along the way: Dutch Winter Wonderland, Strasburg Rail Road Christmas Train Experiences

 

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Photo: Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Christmas Town – Williamsburg, VA
Go for the big thrills with a holiday celebration at this popular amusement park. Enjoy spectacular light displays, over 25 rides and coasters (many with a 48” height requirement), live entertainment and shows, the Mistletoe Marketplace, a holiday scavenger hunt, visits with Santa and Rudolph, and much more.

Festive stops along the way: Christmas in Williamsburg, Christmas at Mount Vernon

 

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Photo: Experience Harpers Ferry

Old Tyme Christmas – Harpers Ferry, WV
This two-weekend-only Christmas celebration offers seasonal activities for the whole family. Featuring historic tours, wagon rides, caroling, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, shopping at the Handmade Holiday Market, and much more. View the full schedule of activities for December 1-3 and December 9-10 here.

Festive stops along the way: The Old Lucketts Store, Christmas in Middleburg

 

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Sesame Place “A Very Furry Christmas” – Langhorne, PA
Bring the littles to a holiday celebration with their favorite Sesame Street friends. This amusement park is transformed with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations. In addition to fun rides, you can sing and dance along at music and light shows, and enjoy the Sesame Street Christmas Parade with festive floats.

Festive stops along the way: Baltimore’s B&O Polar Express & Christmas Village, Longwood Gardens, Philadelphia’s Christmas Village & Macy’s Christmas Light Show

 

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Photo: Schellville

Schellville Enchanted Winter Celebration – Rehoboth Beach, DE
Head to the beach for this family-friendly event with endless activities—most included with your free admission. Featuring live music, train rides, sledding, roller skating, maze of lights, play house village, holiday shopping, beer garden, and visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. You can even splurge on a heated Alpenglobe.

Festive stops along the way: Berlin’s Christmas Parade & Hanukkah Celebration, Chocolate Binge Festival

 

What is your favorite festive destination? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Amazon Holiday Gift Picks for Ages 8 & Under

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of three young children.   She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ items as well as local explorations with little ones. See more of them here, hereherehere, here, and here.]

 

It’s that time again to light up the lives of the little people who light up ours when we need it the most. My kids have already circled the catalogues and have compiled the lists — to which I do a heavy edit, because mama knows best. Here are my 2023 Amazon picks for little kid gifts, including many of our personal favorites and soon-to-be favorites, sent with best wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday season.

 

FOR THE ANIMAL LOVER
Guess Who Animals – A kid-friendlier update to the classic game.
Toniebox Audio Player – National Geographic story-tellers include a whale, dinosaur, & penguin.
Robo Alive Lurking Lizard – To get you through the wanting-a-pet-lizard phase.
Warmies (Alligator) – The newest craze: microwaveable, weighted animal stuffies.

 

 

FOR THE LITTLE ENGINEER
LEGO DUPLO Gingerbread House – A seasonal intro to the LEGO world.
LEGO Marvel Spider-Man Set – We’ve spent many hours scheming at this webquarters.
Alphabet Transformers – So much play-based learning in this set!
Diamond Magnetic Tiles – The best building toy ever, but prettier.

 

 

FOR THE 2023 MOVIE-GOER
Barbie Festival-Themed Doll – Not from the movie, but six-year-old me wants this one.
The Little Mermaid Doll – Almost as beautiful as Halle Bailey!
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie Firetruck – Paw Patrol vehicles will earn their keep, trust me.
Ninja Turtle Hoodie – Put your little heroes in a half-shell zip-up hoodie

 

 

FOR THE SWIFTIE
Karaoke Machine – With Bluetooth to sync Taylor’s version.
Unicorn Fleece Jacket – Sequins and lavender…IYKYK.
Friendship Bracelets Kit – Includes a variety of letters and easy to DIY elastic string.
Taylor Swift: A Little Golden Book Biography – A story so good it seems like folklore.

 

 

FOR THEIR LITTLE PIGGIES
Fuzzy Lined Crocs – Your best bet transitioning to “winter” footwear.
Tiger Paw Slipper Socks – My son would roar for these!
Bunny Slippers – Is there anything cuter?
Glitter Boots – All sparkly, everything.

 

 

FOR THE SENSORY LOVER
Cosmic Shimmer Unicorn Slime Kit – I give up, slime wins!
Plush Diary and Squishy Pens for all the feels.
Play Doh Pizza Oven – Just be prepared to pretend-pizza-eat for hours.
Bluey Slimy Sand – A Bluey kinetic sand set—for real life!

 

 

FOR THE LOVE OF ICE CREAM
Little Tikes Ice Cream Truck – The coolest cozy coupe in town.
LeapFrog Ice Cream Cart – My kids gravitate to this as much as real ice cream.
Play Doh Ice Cream Truck Playset – Take the Doh to the next level.
Magnetic Ice Cream Sorter Board – Hello, uninterrupted time!

 

 

 

FOR THE BABY
Treetop Adventure Activity Center – With sectioned off parts for focused or parallel play.
Baby Einstein Around We Grow Walker & Activity Center – Hands-down my #1 baby item.
Baby Tissue Box Toy – Round of applause for the creator!
Indestructibles: Jingle Baby – Babies devour these rip-proof, waterproof books.

 

 

FOR-EVER ON OUR LIST
Dino Egg Bath Bombs – Never not needing a bath time bribe.
Crayola Coloring Set – Replenish the dried out supplies and add these Mini Sketch Pads.
Squishmallow (16”) – Can someone just invent a Squishmallow bed?
Shearling-Lined Puffer Coat – This 3-in-1 dinosaur coat looks like a winner too.

 

 

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT
Disco Light – Add an Echo Dot (Kids) and the dance party will commence.
Sushi Bar Train – Influenced by an Instagram reel!
Claw Machine – I can see so many bribes uses for this.
Gumball Machine – Fulfilling FAO Schwarz kinda kid dreams.

 

What’s on your kid’s wish list this year?  Tell us in the comments!

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a small commission.  This helps me continue to produce KFDC, all completely free to readers.  Thank you so much for the support!

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Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays, Product, Shop

KFDC Contributor Emily Shares Thoughts on Antisemitism, “Otherness”, and Resources for Kids

Emily on her Birthright trip in Israel, the soldier referred to in the article on the far left

 

[Note: This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise.  When she sent me the draft and asked if I might want to share it here, I didn’t hesitate for a second after reading it to tell her, “Yes!” 

I’ve drafted a similar post in my head numerous times over the years, as antisemitic incidents have occurred in the world and in our communities, or when I’ve encountered it through casual jokes, “accidental” comments, and pro-Nazi graffiti etched into a bench at the park two blocks from my house.  While I’ve shared some thoughts on all of it through links, I’ve never put them all in one post.  But Emily does that beautifully here…and I can relate to much of her experience.  Maybe we all can in some way. 

She also shares some resources for discussing this topic with children, and something I’d like to add is the new(ish) Capital Jewish Museum is hosting a monthly story time with a session taking place tomorrow, October 12. Thank you for reading and feel free to share resources and more thoughts in the comments.]

 

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No words on my paper make a difference for a decades-old land battle and horrific terrorism in Israel. But maybe I can add a few meaningful ones to the discourse on modern-day antisemitism and feelings of “otherness” in the U.S.

As a Jewish kid growing up in Montgomery County, MD, I naively thought I was in a well-sized segment of the U.S. population. I never felt like an “other” except maybe around Christmas — though eight crazy nights of Hanukkah was more than consolation. My knowledge of antisemitism was around the Holocaust and the KKK in white robes — a barbaric thing of the past.

In college, my sheltered bubble burst. It started out innocently…

“You’re the first Jewish person I’ve ever known!” a small-town Pennsylvania friend exclaimed.

“Both of your parents are Jewish??” a sorority sister questioned.

And became more direct…

“No Blacks, No Jews” read a short-lived, handwritten sign on a fraternity dorm room.

Post-college, as a young woman in the corporate world, the comments I received were more mature, yet equally laden with antisemitism…

“How are so many Jewish people so successful (i.e. wealthy)?” probed a much older colleague.

One colleague enlightened me that according to his beliefs, “Jewish people do not go to heaven.”

On a Birthright trip to Israel at age 26, I began to wrap my head around my Jewish-ness as a secular (non-religious) person. Several Israeli soldiers accompanied my tour group as we traveled through the beautiful, embattled country. One of them, an 18-year-old girl half my size, wore fatigues and a cross-body weapon covering most of it. She was fulfilling her country’s service requirement, and she could have been me.

My ancestors fled Europe to the U.S. The young soldier’s ancestors fled Europe to Israel. Both of us were born Jewish, yet born into much different circumstances. Since that trip, I have never forgotten the notion of being born into privilege — or not.

My Jewish is your Irish (if only it were that simple). Today, my mixed-faith family enjoys Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover. We don’t practice a particular religion, we practice traditions (some stick, some don’t!). But we never forget where we came from.

I hope to teach my children about all religions, spirituality, the ecosystem, and our place in it. I will do my best to explain the value of religion towards community, connection, and purpose, and where it can go south—disconnection, bigotry, and war. When needed, we will discuss the subtleties of antisemitism, religious assumptions, and to never impart that feeling of “other” on others.

You likely want to do the same. Here are a few children’s books that may help:

Elle the Humanist

The Kids Book of World Religions

Annabelle & Aiden: OH MY GODS! A History of Belief 

 

Do you know of other resources to aid this discussion with kids? Tell us in the comments.

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Must-Haves for Keeping Kids Cool at the Pool

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children.   She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ items as well as local explorations with little ones. See more of them hereherehereherehere, and here.]

 

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Summer comes at you fast, and if you’re like my family, it’s time to gear up for spending the majority of your time at the good ol’ community pool. For us — and our water loving five-year-old — pool days have actually been year-round, giving us extra time to work out the kinks with goggles, swim bags, shower supplies, and more. Here are our must-have items for keeping kids cool at the pool.

 

 

De-Boggling Goggles

Oh first world little kid goggle problems: they leak, fog up, straps snap, or are just never quite comfortable enough. My 5-year-old has tried at least half-a-dozen this past year. This bungee strap pair is the winner. Here’s a similar style at an even better deal.

 

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Sunscreen Success

After many trials and tribulations, Bare Republic Clearscreen (plus the face version) became our family favorite last summer—it’s clean and has an invisible finish. For squeamish faces, try an applicator or makeup brush. Glitter sunscreen is on my radar if we encounter resistance.

 

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Preferred Swimwear

If you’re familiar with Fair Harbor swim trunks (and the game changing boxer brief liner), you’ll love this highly rated option for kids. And for girls who are into color and cut outs: rainbow one piece, cut out one piece.

 

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Unbeatable Bags

Mesh bags are a must for pool rats, and this backpack style is just perfect. This larger backpack will hold just about everything, plus features hooks on the outside to hang swimsuits to dry. And these waterproof and tip proof totes are splurge-worthy.

 

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Tried and True Toys

For pool time with little ones, there is one brand of toys that floats to the top: Green Toys. These ferry boats with cars and spouted submarines are classics, and these newer seacopters and rescue boats with removable figurines look like winners.

 

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Shower Power

Nothing beats sling-back Crocs for showering (make ‘em extra with charms). Avoid a swim bag disaster with leak-proof, refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. And don’t forget a mini Wet Brush for easy detangling.

 

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Quick Change

The “time to go” process can be an ordeal. For a quick change, opt for a terry romper (here’s another option for sizes 6-13). This is a classic swimmers “shammy towel” for quick drying. Or just throw on a hooded poncho towel and go (best of luck with the ice cream truck!).

 

What are your must-have pool items for kids? Tell us in the comments!

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Filed under 2023, DC, Product, Shop, Summer