My Disney Class podcast

Howie and Ryan visit with teachers, educators and administrators on how to integrate Disney ideals of creativity, innovation, critical thinking, STEM and MakerSpace into classrooms. Twice a month they share why they are passionate about Disney and how their passions has brought them together in this joint mission to help bring ideas for innovation, storytelling, creativity, and the principal foundations of what makes Disney and great choice for projects and resources in the K-12 Classroom. They also talk about the companion website ( that will spotlight incredible educators from around the globe and be packed with resources that teachers can use in their classrooms.
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My Disney Class podcast





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Now displaying: Category: education
Jul 1, 2017

            Join Howie and Ryan as they travel the world today.  Well, maybe not the world, but the world showcase pavilions at E.P.C.O.T.  Starting at Mexico and working all the way through to Canada, Ryan and Howie share what their thoughts are on the current offerings at each location and then share what Disney could do to improve each pavilion's child appeal.  Though both agree that there is a lot to learn and do for both adults and children at each pavilion, there are some things that could be done to increase the appeal and desire to go back to each pavilion and discover more.  For example, could Japan benefit with putting in a thrill ride like a Mount Fuji roller coaster?  Well, today Howie and Ryan will dream big and play armchair Imagineer as they redesign and plus each pavilion with what they think will bring in the crowds.  We hope you enjoy today’s World Showcase dreaming and like always, if you have a comment or suggestion about today’s topic, let us know by commenting on iTunes, Facebook, or send us an email at

Jun 12, 2017

On today’s show, Howie and Ryan welcome Kristen Echols from Oklahoma City, OK.  Kristen is a home school mother of three that adds a little Disney magic to her lessons.  We first learn a little bit about Kristen, which includes how she went to school to become an elementary teacher, but realized that she didn’t love everything that was involved with teaching at a school.  She then shares with us how she came to the decision to homeschool her kids and what home schooling actually means.

Kristen then takes us through what she does before a trip to WDW with her kids that integrates the pre-trip planning, like budgeting, into the daily lessons her kids need to learn.  She then shares with us the ways she keeps the time down at WDW educational while still having fun and not ruining that Disney magic.  This includes how she actually calculates and plans several learning opportunities that can count as classroom days for her kids.  We finish off by learning how this family keeps the dreaded not at Disney feelings away until the next trip arrives and how that includes keeping the high engaged learning going.

We had a ton of fun talking with Kristen on this episode and we learned all about home schooling.  After listening, we are sure you will agree that this home schooling mother of three is an educational rockstar with a knack and a magic flare for teaching.  

Jun 1, 2017

Like Olaf, Howie and Ryan are really big fans of summer.  So in today’s episode, we are going to talk about what to do with the kids, or yourself, during summer.  We all know that Disney is an incredibly fun place to go and play for a few days in the summer, but what if you can’t go or what if you’re going and want to plus the trip with some learning opportunities.  Well, we have got you covered for both scenarios.  

Howie shares some of his favorite learning opportunities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Ryan will cover the less fortunate ones that are staying home.  So from homemade lightsabers to encounters with wild creatures, will help you get your Disney fix this summer and possibly learn something along the way.  We hope you enjoy today’s episode and if you do, please stop by iTunes and leave us a rating and review.

May 15, 2017

On today’s show, Ryan and Howie are honored to have former Imagineer Brian Collins here to discuss his story.  Brian has been a Disney cast member since the early 1990’s and helped create magic daily as he worked both on the front line of customer service at the Contemporary front desk and as a Disney Imagineer.  Listen to his story as he shares how he started at the ground level and worked his way up to the magical dream job at WDI.  

            During his time at WDI, Brian was a show writer and worked on classic attractions like Jungle Cruise and The Great Movie Ride to name a few.  Brian shares with us some wonderful behind the scenes stories of the teamwork done to pull off the magic and how he loved what he was doing every day, so much so he says he never really worked a day in his time at Disney.

After Brian left WDI, he didn’t stop creating and spreading magic!  He founded his own company WDWithMe, whose mission is to share the knowledge he has amassed working for the mouse and helping others be more creative and innovative.  Brian also describes himself as a passionate educator and has served on several different college and university faculties.  Brian has taught courses on entrepreneurship, marketing, innovation, and product development for theme parks.

            Listening to today’s show, we know that you will hear the passion and humor that Brian brings to any task he tackles.  There are few places that equal that of Disney when it comes to creativity, innovation, storytelling, and magic, but we all know that it’s the people that really make the magic.  Brian Collins is one of those people and what’s even more magical is that he hasn’t stopped spreading the magic beyond the mouse.  We hope you enjoy today’s episode as Brian shares with us how to think like an Imagineer!

Apr 30, 2017

Summer break is fast approaching and if you are like us here at My Disney Class Podcast, you may already be daydreaming of those warm carefree days ahead.  Some of you may even be preparing for that most magical summer destination of all, Walt Disney World!  

On today’s show, Howie and Ryan discuss how you can take the weeks or months leading up to your next fairytale vacation and make them have some educational value.  I know what you might be thinking, how can there be any educational value in planning a vacation?  Well, listen as we go through the whole process from travel to checking into your hotel and we share all the questions, decisions, and real-world educational scenarios, you can work through with your kids.

 Who knew planning a Walt Disney World vacation could be such a powerful educational tool?  Ok, ok, Ryan and Howie knew and we hope you enjoy the show as we take you through our thought process on how to create these opportunities.  

Mar 28, 2017

The Disney Driven Life

With Author Jeff Dixon

 What a show do we have for you today!  Howie and Ryan are incredibly lucky to welcome Jeff Dixon on the show today.  Jeff is the author of the "Key to the Kingdom" series, which is a fictional series of four books that follows the adventures of Grayson Hawkes as he attempts to solve a complicated series of puzzles laid out by none other than the man himself, Walt Disney.  Jeff recently broke from this series and wrote a book called "The Disney Driven Life".  This book is a guidebook that not only guides you through the Magic Kingdom but also guides you through the lessons you can learn from each attraction that ultimately helps you be your best version of you.  In Jeff’s own words “ A Disney-driven life is a life where you move beyond being a person loaded with potential and become a person who lives up to that potential.”  Jeff has unique and rich experiences that he draws from to write his books.  He grew up in Florida and remembers a time before Walt Disney World existed.  He has seen it grow and change and he has even worked for the Mouse.  In his day job, Jeff serves as the Transformational Architect at The Church @ 434 in Central Florida.  

In today’s episode, we visit with Jeff and  talk about some of his favorite examples from the book and how they can impact us as educators.  We discuss what lessons we can learn from the attractions and how studying a little bit of the history of Walt, we can have a great impact on the learning and engagement of our students.  We hope you enjoy today’s episode as Jeff shares how his background at Walt Disney World and his current role as a pastor helped him develop into the wonderful storyteller he is today and how we can become the author of our own and our students own, greatest story.

Mar 28, 2017

On today’s show, it seems like Ryan has bumped his head pretty hard as he actually suggests changing the show name to My Universal Class.  Listen in as Howie tries to talk some sense into Ryan and get him back on the magical path.  As the debate continues, you will hear several points and counterpoints to which is better Universal Studios or Walt Disney World.  Hopefully, you will enjoy this light-hearted comparison of both parks and learn a few things about that other park called Universal Studios.  To end this April Fools episode, we will share information we have found on the educational programs that Universal offers.  This is no joke and the educational opportunities seem to be really engaging and very rigorous.  Some of the topics include  Your Classroom in motion, Storytelling, and Our Weather.  We hope you enjoy today’s episode, as we discuss something out of the Disney universe, but we think it has wonderful educational connections.

Mar 15, 2017

Ryan and Howie are excited to welcome, all the way from his home planet of Tatooine, Thomas Riddle to the podcast.  Ok Thomas may not be from Tatoonie but with the level of force and good that he has been bringing to education, we wouldn’t be surprised.  Thomas has been in education more than twenty years and has served as a teacher, coach, principal, adjunct college professor, educational consultant, textbook publisher, and served on the South Carolina Department of Education.  If this wasn’t enough Thomas regularly conducts professional development and instructional methodology at all levels across the country.  

            On today’s show, Thomas shares with us how he and his long-time friend Wes Dodgens were able to partner up with Lucasfilm,Ltd. to create “Adventures in Learning with Indiana Jones” ( provides teachers with interdisciplinary curriculum and lesson ideas based upon Dr. Jones aka Indiana Jones.  In 2012, Thomas and Wes launched a sequel to Indiana Jones called “Star Wars in the Classroom” (  This site provides engaging lessons in all subject areas using the power of the force found in Star Wars movies.  

            We hope you enjoy today’s show as Thomas takes us through ways to incorporate the movies that we love into our classrooms.

Mar 1, 2017

Join Ryan and Howie as they jump into the Timekeeper’s time machine and dream about what it would be like to experience some of Walt Disney’s greatest moments.  We can’t help but think that this could be something educators could build upon and make a lesson out of.  Imagine what the students could discover by pretending to go back in history to meet or observe a historical figure or event.  

             Howie and Ryan share some points on Walt’s timeline that mean something to them.  Howie talks about Walt’s failures in the beginning, Disney’s Folly- Snow White, and Walt’s trip to Orlando in 1965.  Howie does a masterful job of taking us back to these particular times and sharing some little known facts about these events.  Ryan shares some of his favorite Walt moments that include; young Walt and family moving to Marceline MO, Walt’s trip to South America, and the informational video shot about E.P.C.O.T.  

            Enjoy the 15th episode of season 2 as much as we enjoyed traveling back in time and sharing our thoughts about Walt’s life.  Walt is, after all the inspiration for both Howie and I in creating My Disney Class and of course we hope he inspires you as well to create your own classroom magic.   

Feb 15, 2017

Ryan, Jerry and Howie, discuss the NEW ONLINE Disney Class “PD Maigc: Edmagineering The Future of Professional Learning. It is offered through Buena Vista University and Educators can receive 3 Graduate Credit Hours for taking the class.

Discover the five core values in the class and how they integrate into your curriculum:

Creative Storytellers

Innovative Designers

Memorable Leaders

Blues Sky Thinkers

Empowered Learners

Knowledge Constructors

Join us and discover the layout of the class and how to bring Disney ideas and content into your classroom.

Link here for additional and registration information:

Feb 1, 2017

Join Howie and Ryan as they discuss Disney projects to use in your classroom.  Explore with us new ways to integrate, critical thinking, innovation, web literacy, storytelling, conspiracy theories, patents, research, communication, curiosity and collaboration.

​A sample project includes taking a trip to Walt Disney World.  How much does it cost, how will you get there, where will you stay, how much do tickets cost, what are the alternatives.

​Discover projects that are interdisciplinary and engaging.  We hope that you enjoy these experiences as much as we do. 

Jan 15, 2017

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

 Join Howie and Ryan as they discuss EPCOT’s newest festival, The International Festival of the Arts.  This inaugural festival is a collaboration with Disney’s Theatrical Productions and will highlight guests favorite music and Broadway talent. There will also be galleries that feature two of Disney’s most prominent artist, Mary Blair and Herb Ryman, as well as current Disney artist.  All the arts are covered in this festival, including the culinary arts!  Not only can you see and experience all this great art but guests are able to take workshops and learn some of these trades right along side the experts.  

 To honor the arts in this episode, Ryan and Howie share some of their favorite places to find art and art techniques in Walt Disney World and the resorts.  We hope that you find joy in these experiences as much as we do.  We hope this episode does the A in STEAM, justice and helps shed some light on the Arts in Disney.


Jan 1, 2017

Join Ryan and Howie as they bring in the New Year by exploring educational opportunities at two of their favorite parks.  In today’s episode Howie and Ryan will list their top 5 free, non-attraction, educational experiences at both the parks.  Howie tackles his favorite park Animal Kingdom and Ryan tackles his, E.P.C.O.T.  We cover everything from 60 different species of aquatic life, watching veterinary procedures, to the educational opportunities of talking with cast members.  There is always something to learn at Walt Disney World if you just take the time and know where to look.  Discover these educational gems with us as we welcome in 2017 and as always we wish your coming New Yyear is filled with joy and magic!

Dec 15, 2016

The Imagineering Pyramid author Lou Prosperi visits today and breaks down the process of Imagineering and how you can apply those techniques to other areas, Learn how to apply this to education, as we climb this fascinating pyramid and discover how we can bring the creative energy of Imagineering into our schools and classrooms.

Nov 30, 2016

 In today’s show, Ryan and Howie put on their Santa caps and break out the eggnog as they share their top 10 Disney holiday gift ideas!  If you’re anything like the My Disney Class crew, you maybe running around last minute trying, that perfect Disney gift.  Keeping the whole family in mind and a wide budget range, we have some really fun and educational gift ideas to share with you.  No matter if you’re the maker type or the bling loving type, we have a gift for you.  We hope you enjoy this episode and remember that while it is fun to discuss all the fun Disney gifts out there, the true meaning of this time of year is much more than that.  We at My Disney Class can’t help but pause and reflect this time of year and we couldn’t be more thankful and awed by the wonderful My Disney Class community. 

From Howie and Ryan, we thank you so much for your support and we wish you a very happy holiday and healthy new year!

Nov 14, 2016

Take a trip back to one of everyone’s favorite neighborhoods, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hedda Sharapan shares what it was like to work with Fred Rogers and how she is carrying on his mission today. 

Hedda is helping to carry on the Rogers legacy through writings, speeches at conferences, developing and presenting professional development materials for people who work with children,

Hedda is also a Senior Fellow at The Fred Rogers Center, where she works to continue the Center’s mission of helping children grows as confident, competent, and caring human beings.

 Join us and discover the wonderful resources and lessons that you can learn about on this episode of My Disney Class but the real value in today’s show is the feeling that you get listening to Hedda. 

Oct 30, 2016

Join Ryan and Howie as they look at the educational topic of “Design Thinking”.  Howie and Ryan share some practical applications of Design Thinking as well as resources that they have found helpful in learning about Design Thinking. 


Howie shares a discussion he caught on tape with educator Thomas Riddle and one of the curators of  Thomas talks about how design thinking is used in his classroom and why he feels that it is important to develop these critical thinking skills with students. 


Listen as Thomas shares how he develops empathy in his students through projects like building a prototype home for the homeless in their community. 


Like always we hope you enjoy the show as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you and we hope you learned a little about design thinking along the way.

Oct 15, 2016

Howie and Ryan welcome a very special guest, Disney Historian and author Jim Korkis.

Jim has had a connection to Disney since very early on when his elementary teacher was none other than Mrs. Disney! 

Jim shares his journey from Mrs. Disney’s classroom all the way to his own classroom, where he taught English and Drama.  He then shares with us how he incorporated Disney in his teaching as well as how he now incorporates what he learned from the classroom in his Disney work today.  

We then take a closer look at 4 of Jim’s 33 books, that he has authored.  Jim is one of Ryan and Howie’s favorite Disney authors and it’s not just because he’s a great storyteller, which he is, but also because he is someone we can trust for accurate Disney history and facts

Oct 1, 2016

Howie and Ryan discuss two more of their favorite attractions, “Space Mountain” and The “Pirates of the Caribbean”. 

 They discuss the history of these attractions they also share lessons ideas that these classic attractions have inspired. 

 Journey through a Space Station on our way to board a rocket.  The attraction Is packed with learning opportunities and inspirations that you can bring into your classroom.  Learn how to bring new ideas to the table about how you can use Space Mountain in education. 

 Next we grab his sword and parrot and heads to the high seas as the captain of our own educational ship. From History to Communication Arts, Pirates of the Caribbean has all the educational ties you need to fill your lesson plans with adventure and engagement. 

 Enjoy our inspirations from these attractions as well as find inspiration yourself for use in your classroom.

Sep 1, 2016

Join Howie and Ryan as they discuss two of their favorite attractions, the “Haunted Mansion” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”

Discover what they love about these attractions, and ways to integrate the concepts into several lessons that have been inspired by the attractions.

What can we learn about the 999 haunts that reside in the Haunted Mansion? What is the Pepper's Ghost? Learn how to teach lessons on the magic of the properties of light, reflection, and refraction.  

Howie and Ryan then tackle the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and share ways you can bring this lovable bear into your classroom to teach a wide variety of topics that range from elementary all the way up to high school.  

Aug 14, 2016

Howie and Ryan interview the author of the book "Walt Disney World for Teens and Tweens", by Tim Brooks.

Tim’s book shares his book that is a guidebook for teens and tweens and  addresses the issue of finding the educational value of a trip to Walt Disney World.  In this episode we explore the reality that a lot of families with teens find themselves in and that is leaving for vacation to the most magical place in the world in the middle of school, sports, and many other commitments of the teen’s demanding life. Listen as Tim gives advice from his book and his personal experiences on how to handle these situations.

Jul 31, 2016

Welcome to Season 2 of My Disney Class Podcast.  

 10 ideas to bring Disney into your classroom.

We are thrilled to be bringing the Magic of Disney to your classrooms for another year.

 Howie and Ryan discuss ways to capitalize on that renewed energy from the summer and utilize professional development in a way that is more meaningful to you and your students.

 Come along with us as we discuss several ideas for the coming new school year and share some of the tools that can help you implement those ideas when you go back. Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho it’s back to school we go!

Oct 29, 2015

Halloween Fun in the classroom and an In depth look at the storyline on Phantom Manor and The Haunted Mansion.

 In today’s show Howie and Ryan are haunted by the idea that good stories and fun Halloween activities can make your classroom a Spooktacular place. In this show Ryan shares some ways he has celebrated Halloween in his class while also engaging his students in some science concepts of the Halloween season.

 In the second half of the show, Howie shares with us his recent trip to Disneyland Paris. Howie takes us on an in depth tour of one of the most famous and beloved attractions of all the Disney parks, The Haunted Mansion or as it is called in Paris, The Phantom Manor! Listen in as Howie and Ryan discuss all the story elements of Phantom Manor and how those elements are similar between the different parks and how they are really different.  

Throughout this show we share lesson ideas that we see as possible connections to this attraction as well as some of the wonderful history of its development.


Oct 14, 2015

Howie and Ryan interview the creators of the covEars.  They talk about the design process, creating and producing the product and so much more..

Covears™ started as a way to breathe new life into our old Mickey Mouse® ear hats.  Part of the magic of going to a Disney® park is wearing your favorite souvineers - pins, sweatshirts, along with your trusty ear hat.


Bringing the same hat into the parks day after day got us thinking - how can we freshen up our hats  to match our style and mood for the day without doing anything permanent to them?  

That's when founders Jason and Taren came up with Covears™.


Covears™ are fabric covers for your favorite pair of Mickey Mouse® ears.  Slip them on for a colorful change and explore any Disney® park in style!  Ready for a new look?  Covears™ are easily removable - just pull them off - and slide another set on.  It's a great way to add some flair to your day!


Sep 29, 2015
Join us as Howie and Ryan share their 5 favorite web sites to incorporate Disney ideas, innovation, creativity and problem solving into the classroom.  They also share their favorite Disney books and give a sneak peek at future shows.
Enjoy the journey as they take us through the process of exploring and developing the classroom ideas and then integrating it.
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