The Disney Parks are famous for taking the familiar and kicking it up several notches to bring Guests extra-magical experiences they won’t soon forget. And of course, they make no exception during the holiday season.
My favorite holiday “plus” at Walt Disney World can only be seen at one party at one park. Guests who attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom get to play in the snow!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a festive tradition of decking the halls with holiday splendor on selected nights during November and December. The Park closes to day visitors at 7:00 PM, and those with special event tickets are let in and immersed in yuletide cheer for an evening of dramatic stage shows backlit by Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle, a-shimmer with 200,000 white lights, Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks spectacular, a lively holiday parade starring Santa Claus himself, and all the hot cocoa and warm cookies their hearts desire.
But what caps it all off is the snow. I mean, this is central Florida—a tropical land of sun and rain, but certainly not of snow—and flurries fall on Main Street, U.S.A.! I’m a Texas girl, and snow is a magical treat for me, so to see one of my favorite places on Earth glistening with the white fluff is supercalifragilistic! Now if only I could be there in person right now, it would definitely be a holly, jolly Christmas. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Did you know that, like human fingerprints, each snowflake that falls from the sky is uniquely formed and never exactly replicated? True!
No two snowflakes are exactly alike! During certain atmospheric conditions, water droplets fall through the clouds and are shaped by a combination of factors into millions of unique, tiny, geometric patterns. These beautiful little crystals we call snowflakes are difficult to study due to their rapid melting rate. In 1885, a homeschooled 19-year-old farmer living in Vermont brought new understanding of snow crystals to the scientific community when he became the first person to successfully produce a photograph of individual specimen.
Wilson Alwyn Bentley magnified the crystals he gathered to 3,000 times on glass plates and discovered that every ice crystal is unique and grows symmetrically in a 6-sided hexagon around a tiny nucleus. Factors like temperature and water content determine whether the shape grows concentrically or dendritically (branching) from that nucleus.
Cut out paper snowflakes and string them in your windows. Visit Dave’s Paper Snowflake Patterns for free downloads of over 450 designs. Remember that REAL snowflakes have 6 points. Patterns with a differnet number of sides are considered stars, but both are fun to create!
My kids & I made this fun Mickey Mouse snowflake!
For more study on snowflakes, consider how temperature, humidity levels, and the laws of thermodynamics (the movement of energy in matter) govern the growth of snowflakes. Snowflakes are crystalline structures with a specific bond geometry.
- How do water molecules bond? (This will explain why all ice crystals and snowflakes are hexagons.)
- What are the different types of clouds?
- What are the four precipitation types?
- From which type of cloud do most snowflakes fall?
- What weather conditions must co-exist for a frozen water droplet to make it all the way from the cloud to the ground as a snowflake?
- What happens if the air beneath the cloud is warmer than that in the cloud?
- What if the air beneath the cloud is dry?
- What are the different types of water crystals?
- What determines the resulting shape?
- Do the shapes ever blend?
- What processes can alter a flake?
- What affects the growth rate of a snowflake?
- Does barometric pressure affect snowflake production?
The WhyFiles website offers excellent resources regarding snowflake formation.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Art, Science
SKILL LEVEL: All
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse!
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