30 October 2015

31 Days: Road Trip (Planning Edition)

Hi friends!
So! Tonight I'll share with you my best planning tips when it comes to road tripping, especially to Disney World! So let's just dive in... 

So, when I plan, I include as much info as I can in our itinerary- it just helps make me feel prepared. Below is a peek at our last trip's itinerary for our driving days- the rows are as follow....
day of the week
hotel for the evening
event for the day/final destination
breakfast (where & what we're eating)
morning plans
afternoon plans
evening plans (hotel reservation #s)

And we've already discussed a few topics earlier in the series, like- 
So here's a few other tips and tricks to consider when planning out how you'll be road tripping...

My first piece of advice? Make sure you do plan ahead of time! Road tripping with kids is a big undertaking, no matter the age, so make sure you set aside time to plan out the details!

Get an early or late start:
Some of the best times to travel with kids are early in the morning and late at night. In the morning, the kiddos will be fresh as daisies (hopefully!) and less irritable. Maybe they'll even go back to sleep for a while if you get out early enough! Bring a portable breakfast for the road, like dry cereal, granola bars, or drinkable yogurt. 
If you're night owls, drive at night when the kiddos will be sleeping mostly. This way, they'll have spent most of the morning/afternoon NOT being cooped up in the car, and thus hopefully again not irritable yet! Bring a portable dinner to eat on the road, or plan to stop for dinner 1-2 hours into the trip. Also bring night-friendly activities for any kiddos that'll stay up after the sun goes down- book lamp for reading, iPad games/movies, or glow sticks!

One day, two days, three days, more:
We've done our 12 hour trek to Disney in one day and two days. When we knew we wouldn't be guaranteed an early start, we decided to break up the drive into two days. On the way home, when we hoped that the little one would be tuckered out from a whirlwind vacation, we did the whole thing in one day. Ironically, the straight shot drive was better than the two-days (due to a variety of unavoidable factors)! So just don't be too daunted to try and do it all in one day- it CAN work, if it's your only/best option! Just know that it'll be a long day, there will be delays, so just be prepared to go with the flow :)

Rest stops:
You'll be making them, so try and plan some fun ones! We planned stops at battlefields along the way (we're history buffs!), zoos, and "Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives" restaurants! Does your family have a hobby- baseball, hiking, etc? See if there's any stadiums along your trip, or awesome state parks! Parks & battlefields are also great places to have picnic lunches and let the kids run off some steam, kick a ball around, or just stretch out on a blanket and nap or read. 

There's kind of two schools of thoughts here- (1) make reservations in advance or (2) when you've decided you're done for the day, find a place with vacancies in the nearest town. The OCD planner in me always goes with option #1! While it's often not necessary, I always like to call the hotel and let them know if we'll be rolling in late at night- it's not unheard of for reservations to be given away. If option #2 is more your thing, just be prepared to drive around a bit. You never know if there's a big local event going on and thus no vacancies in town, so you'd have to keep driving. So just be flexible!

29 October 2015

31 Days: Holidays at Disney

Hi friends!
Today I wanted to share with you some fun stuff that happens around the holidays at Disney World! Aside from decorating the parks beautifully and festive cupcake goodies available everywhere, Disney has special events that really enhance the magic of your visit! I'll talk about some of the big events here- lots of extra fun for the littles :)

New Years Eve
If your wee ones are night owls, Disney of course puts on a spectacular fireworks display. The crowds at the parks (particularly Magic Kingdom) are a bit insane, but certainly an event to remember! Select restaurants also offer NYE reservations. I'd highly recommend California Grill- you can view the fireworks show from the top of The Contemporary Resort- a view that can't be beat!

Valentine's Day
Special dinner reservations are available to share an intimate meal with your spouse, or make it a special event for the whole family and share the love! Be sure to keep an eye out on Disney's website for when these reservations are made available- not all restaurants participate. 

Saint Patrick's Day
Be sure to head to Disney Spring's Raglan Road for a true taste of Ireland and some incredible Irish Step Dancing performances and other traditional Irish bands. One of our family's favorite eateries year-round! They even bring some little ones on stage to learn a few dance steps- too cute!

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival- Epcot is transformed with topiaries and gardening delights all over the place! See your child's favorite character created entirely of plants and flowers! Also, like the fall event at Epcot, you'll find food booths set up around the park to indulge in many unique eats! Also enjoy interactive play areas for kids, tips for gardening at home, and concerts!
Atlanta Braves Spring Training- Is your family a baseball fan? Call the ATL your home? Is your little one a sports nut? Be sure to check out ESPN's Wide World of Sports and catch a game!
Star Wars Weekends- Throughout the month of May, be sure to check this out! Featuring everything Star Wars. From celebrity guest appearances to special dining experiences, Jedi Training Academy to a special parade- Hollywood Studios is all things out of this world!

Check out Epcot for an Easter Egg Hunt around the World Showcase.
There are 2 Catholic Masses & 1 Protestant service at The Contemporary Resort on Easter Sunday.
Easter brunch reservations are available at select restaurants.

Fourth of July
Of course Disney puts on a huge fireworks display- not to be missed!!

Night of Joy concert in front of the castle!
Night of Joy- A truly blessed experience! A two-day Christian concert featuring the most popular Christian artists in the business! A separate ticketed event at Magic Kingdom, which means you can enter the park as early as 4pm and regular guests are required to leave by 7pm. Most of the major rides are open with relatively LOW wait times! There are three stages located throughout the park featuring different groups throughout the evening- each band plays roughly a half hour set. If your favorite band isn't playing, be sure to check at Universal Studios, as they host a Christian festival that same weekend, so your favorite may be playing over there instead!
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival- Ok, so this isn't so much for the kids, but it's a huge perk for the adults!! Set up all around Epcot's World Showcase are food booths where you can get appetizer portions of foods and drinks from all around the world. It could actually be a great way to stretch your meal budget, as the portions are kid-friendly (so you only spend a few bucks on your child's meal instead of buy a whole meal!). Definitely a must-do if you're visiting during this time! Throw in some extra learning and take the chance to learn more about the different cultures represented from around the world! Don't forget to catch the concerts featuring well-known bands!

Wine & Food Festival portions from the Ireland booth

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! This is a separate ticketed event at Magic Kingdom. That means that the park closes to regular guests at 7pm, and if you don't have a party wrist band, you'll be directed to leave the park. If you have a party ticket, you can enter the park as early at 4pm that day- so just relax that morning at the resort or Disney Springs and then head to Magic at 4pm and save your regular park ticket for use on another day- it's a great way to stretch your tickets and practically get a whole extra day at the park! There's dance parties, trick or treating trails, special event-only merchandise, the major rides are open with relatively LOW wait times, and it's your only chance to see the spectacular Halloween parade- arguably Disney's best parade!

There are special dinner reservations available at various restaurants. So if the only time you can visit Disney is over the holidays, you can still get your fill of turkey and stuffing! Check the Disney site frequently for when the reservations open up- holiday meals are only available at select restaurants. 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! This is another separate ticketed event at Magic Kingdom. That means that the park closes to regular guests at 7pm, and if you don't have a party wrist band, you'll be directed to leave the park. If you have a party ticket, you can enter the park as early at 4pm that day- so just relax that morning at the resort or Disney Springs and then head to Magic at 4pm and save your regular park ticket for use on another day- it's a great way to stretch your tickets and practically get a whole extra day at the park! There's dance parties, free cookies & hot cocoa, special event-only merchandise, the major rides are open with relatively LOW wait times, and it's your first chance to see Disney's Christmas parade before it debuts at the park during normal hours!
Holidays Around the World- Epcot's World Showcase includes special performers and storytellers at each country to share their country's holiday traditions! Really neat if your kids are old enough to sit through the stories (or they're napping in the stroller, you can sit and listen hehe). Might be fun to purchase ornaments from each country to commemorate your trip!
Candlelight Processional- This one holds a special place in my heart as it truly conveys the reason for CHRISTmas to me. This is an event at Epcot that takes place a few times each evening throughout December. A celebrity narrator reads through the Scriptures highlighting the life of Christ, accompanied by a full orchestra and choir performing some of the most well-known holiday hymns and songs. If you can, grab a "Candlelight Processional Dinner Package" reservation available on the Disney website- this gets you a ticket to the show so that you don't have to wait in line for hours to try and get into a performance! Yes, it's really that sought after. So if you get the dinner package, you only have to line up about a half hour early in order to secure your seat. 
Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights- No, we're not talking about Ozzy here. This is an entire street in Hollywood Studios lined from top to bottom with Christmas lights that "dance" in sync to the music! So grab some hot cocoa and spiced nuts, enjoy the light show, and be sure to stay for the snowfall! Not to be missed! SO festive! This is the last year that they're having it, unfortunately, but there's rumor it may appear somewhere else in Disney in years to come, so fingers crossed!
Gingerbread Houses- If you have some down time (maybe a stray afternoon thunderstorm, or a day off from the parks), be sure to pop on the monorail and over to Disney's Boardwalk! The resorts on those two lines feature some incredible gingerbread displays, and you can purchase your own gingerbread there too! Really incredible displays from a moving carousel to a 10 foot tall house! This is an underrated Christmas experience, but we really love it!

Gingerbread Carousel at Beach & Yacht Club Resort

Christmas Tree at POP Century Resort

28 October 2015

31 Days: Packing for Disney

Hey friends!
Today's is a quick post! I wanted to share the packing list that I use when traveling to Disney. It's fairly tailored- cloth diaper packing list, staying at a Disney Vacation Club timeshare so we have a washer/dryer and full kitchen, "mousekeeping" (aka. Disney's housekeeping) envelopes for tips, etc.- but I wanted to share in case I've thought of something that might be useful for you to add to your own packing list!! If you want to print out your own packing list, check out my last Disney 31 Days series- check it out * HERE * free printable packing list!

Note: you'll see my organized listing tendencies emerged here on the packing list... I have "packed" and "unpacked" so I can check off when everything is put in the suitcase and once everything has returned home! And "place" is to keep track what's in my purse vs. carry on vs. checked bags.

27 October 2015

31 Days: Capturing the Disney Memories

Whether this is your first trip or your fortieth trip, especially when your kiddos are involved, make sure you capture those memories to remember for a good long while to come! I look forward to one day showing our future grandkids photos of the first time we took their parents to Disney World!! Here just a few ideas of how to capture the memories...

Autograph Book
This might be the quickest way to organize your photographs. Buy a traditional 4"x6" photo album, one that has only 1-2 photos per page. Then make a DIY "autograph book" for when your kiddos meet the characters, and make sure the pages are also 4"x6"- just put one or two rings through the corners to bind the book together. Then when you get home, take the rings out and pop the autographed pages into the photo album. Slip in a photo of your child(ren) with each character on the same or opposing page (depending if it's 2 or 1 photos per page)- instant memory album of your trip!

Photo Book
There are tons of online sites available to upload your photos to and create a printed photo book. My favorite is Shutterfly, and they always have some sort of promotion/coupon available. This is probably one of the easiest ways to create a whole memory album of your photos!

PhotoPass & MemoryMaker
This is Disney's version of Shutterfly. In the parks, you'll find Disney's PhotoPass photographers stationed throughout, ready to capture great photos for you. They'll also use your camera, if you'd like. At the end of your trip, you'll log onto your My Disney Experience account and view all of your photos. You can also then create photo books, calendars, photo mugs, etc. You can also choose to just download a photo or two and then print them out yourself. If you plan to get a bunch of photos, purchasing MemoryMaker is your best bet- get all of your photos and then some on one CD. Make sure to purchase your MemoryMaker package more than 3 days before your trip, otherwise you may miss out on some of your photos!

This is my personal favorite! If you're crafty, make sure you journal throughout your trip so that you don't forget any of your magical experiences. Get your kids involved- have them journal or draw out what they did that day! I tend to keep a lot of memorabilia from my trips- everything from luggage tags to receipts, wristbands to colored-on-placemats! You can do the easy and popular pocket scrapbooking method or do traditional full-page layouts!

25 October 2015

31 Days: Celebrations at Disney

Hey friends!
So, did ya'll know there are some super special ways you can celebrate at Disney World? Here are just a few celebrations you can, well, celebrate with your wee ones...

first visit
family reunion
medical milestones 
(cancer free, new glasses, etc.)

It doesn't need to be the exact day either- even if your little's birthday is in July, and your trip isn't until September, you can still celebrate their birthday on the trip! There's no "verification process" or anything- so feel free to celebrate anything you want anytime!
Of course there are plenty of other celebrations too...

military accomplishments

There's a few special ways that Disney can make your celebration even more magical. 

Get a special button at Guest Relations at any of the parks or check at the front desk of your Disney resort. They have a few pre-made buttons or you can customize one for your celebration! Make sure you wear your buttons around the parks- cast members will shout out salutations!

In-Room Gift Baskets
If you're staying at a Disney resort, you can choose from a variety of pre-made gift & floral baskets or customize your own! You can purchase or create baskets to fit most any budget. Just check out Disney Floral & Gifts to find out more and set up your in-room delivery!

Dining Reservations
When you set up your dining reservations, make sure to mention that you're celebrating something! Sometimes you'll get an extra special surprise (not guaranteed though). You can see the complementary cake that we received during our honeymoon above!

23 October 2015

31 Days: Road Trip (Eating Edition)

Hi friends!
Today I'll be sharing some of our favorite snacks for the road! Along with a few tips to help snack time go a little smoother. Please feel free to learn from our family's mistakes on past trips! hehe

First up, our set up...
I keep a small cooler filled with any refrigerator-loving snacks in the backseat. I'll use this same cooler to bring snacks/meals into the parks during the trip, so it serves double duty!  

I have a caddy or basket that I place all of our snacks in for easy reaching. I'll put this on top of the small cooler, so our oldest can easily pick out a snack, and I leave a space here for her water bottle to fit!

I also bring an empty cup, to pour larger containers of snacks into- cereal, trail mix, etc. I got the Frozen cup from the Dollar Spot at Target! Other snacks I'll pre-portion into small tupperware before we leave- veggies, fruit, etc. I got the Mickey tupperware at the Dollar Tree- they're cheap quality but fun! They'll either get added to the kids' play kitchen or tossed after the trip. You could also use 

I also keep a baggie of small paper towels moistened with vinegar in the front seat with me. That's what I use instead of wet wipes (cheaper and no chemicals!). I also keep some dry paper towels and small bath/pool towels on the floor in the backseat for larger messes that may need to be cleaned up. Somewhere either with me or in the backseat (where I can reach from the front) I keep a small bag or garbage bin to collect, well, garbage! 

TIP: Empty that garbage bin every time you stop! Funky smells from foods build up quickly on a long trip, not to mention it'll just get full quickly! 

Now, on to some of our favorite snacks that are car-friendly!! (aff. links)

22 October 2015

31 Days: Disney Park Friendly Snacks & Meals

Hi friends!
So! Today I'll give you just a few ideas for what you can do to help keep that food budget in check- namely, bring your meals and/or snacks to the parks! You're allowed to bring a small personal-sized cooler into the parks, just be sure to leave any glass bottles (aside from baby food jars) at home!

Where you'll be staying and what type of kitchen facilities (or lack thereof) that you'll have access to, that will mostly determine what foods you might bring with you to the parks. Below are some ideas to get you started... and be sure to check out my "Bringing Your Meals" post from my previous 31 Days series for a FREE shopping list printable. If you're a planner like me, also check out my "Meal Planning Trackers" post for FREE meal planning printables for your trip!

Easy To Prepare In A Standard Hotel Room
  • granola 
  • trail mix or GORP
  • oatmeal
  • grits
  • dry cereals
  • sandwiches
  • soups (in the individual serving size containers)
  • garden salad
  • pasta salad
  • yogurt
  • pop tarts
  • refrigerator/overnight oatmeal
  • fruits- apples, oranges, bananas, pears, grapes, berries, etc.
  • veggies- cucumbers, bell peppers, carrot sticks, etc.
  • pickles, olives, sliced salami, etc.
  • dinner rolls
  • crackers & cheese
  • string or sliced cheese
  • nuts
  • pretzels & chips
  • trail mix, GORP, granola bars, etc.
  • fruit leather or gummies
  • applesauce/food packets

Supermarket Shopping Upon Arrival
I'd definitely recommend menu planning ahead of time! Again, above you can find a link to my free meal planning printables. If you're planning on bringing food with you to the park, you have two options- (1) opt to have a food-delivery service, such as Garden Grocer, deliver to your room (2) take your rental car to the grocery store! Also, some items you could pre-package and bring with you from home to avoid buying a large container at the supermarket and throw away much of it at the end of your trip (learn from our family's mistakes, hehe)! Here are some ideas...
  • spice packets- put together all of the spices you'll need for each meal in a baggie, this way you're not buying a bunch of spice containers there just to use for a week, and you also don't have to skip adding spices to your meals and have bland meals all week!
  • bring half, buy half- for example, if you're making rice & beans, bring the pre-measured rice in a baggie with you (since you most likely won't use an entire bag of rice on your trip), but save space/weight in your suitcase by buying the canned beans at the supermarket
  • condiments- sugar, salt, and any other items that you use in smaller quantities
  • water bottle- if you don't like tap water, bring a reusable water bottle and buy jugs of water at the supermarket to refill your bottle, cheaper than buying a flat of disposable water bottles
  • extra water bottles- leave the ice packs at home, instead fill up a spare freezer-safe water bottle or two and pop it in the freezer overnight. When you head to the parks the following day, use the frozen water bottle for an ice pack- it will keep your meal cold but be melted enough to provide a nice cold beverage for you later in the day!
  • tea & coffee- bring a few tea bags, pre-measure loose leaf tea into a baggie and toss in a measuring spoon along with some loose leaf tea bags, pre-grind your coffee and toss in a baggie with a measuring spoon, and bring your own coffee filters! 

Need some more lunchbox inspiration, check out my Pinterest board!

21 October 2015

31 Days: Road Trip (Playing Edition)

Hi friends!
So tonight I wanted to share how we do toys while we're road tripping long distances! Below is our small haul that we did for our last Disney trip. It's 12 hours, one way, and our wee one was 2.5 yrs old at the time of the trip. I had no idea how she would fare, as our longest time in the car was the year prior when we PCSed (Army move), but we kept driving days to 6 hrs or so. Anyhoo, I wanted to make sure she had MORE than ample things to entertain her!

First up, we have our book baskets (aka. magazine files)! One was for the trip down to Disney and one for the trip back home. They each had numbers taped to them so I knew which ones to give her at which point in the trip. I wrapped them up like a gift- it was like Christmas in September for her!

For the toys, I put them each in a baggie and again attached numbered tags to them, so that I knew which ones to distribute at which point in the trip. I tried to choose toys that could be somewhat easily contained (or at least with pieces large enough that they wouldn't get lost in the car seats!)
Some of the toys that we brought were old favorites, toys that I knew the wee one would enjoy. I snuck these away so that she hadn't played with them in about 2 weeks or so- that way they had a "new" factor to them again! The others were new toys- some store-bought or handmade

The toys I bring generally fall into three categories- 
(1) disposable 
Toys that will be tossed in the garbage during or after the trip, think coloring books that get used up, stickers, glow sticks, etc.
(2) educational
Toys that teach letters, numbers, shapes, colors- these will be used again during/after the trip for homeschool purposes! Also items that work on motor skills.
(3) fun
Toys that are just fun! Some are things she's wanted for a while, some again are old favorites, and some are just, well, toys! Disney princess people, mini horses, fun stuff!

Here's how I organized everything- piled in a huge Ikea bag! You'll see the two magazine files with the wrapped books towards the top of the picture. In the bottom of the picture are two smaller bags with the toys in them. One bag is for the trip down to Disney, and one for the trip home. The toy bag & book file for the trip home stayed in the trunk, while the rest lived on the floor below our daughter's car seat for the trip there! I also brought a 9x13 small baking dish (the metal pan on the top of the one bag)- it fit perfectly in her lap in the car seat to help contain the toys with multiple pieces and give a sturdy surface to color on!

Below you'll see my uber-planner side coming out again... Yes, I actually planned out which toys and books to distribute each hour of our trip! Crazy, right?! Well, it made me feel more organized about the trip, and thus less stressed. So it worked for me :) 

See where it says "Rest." over one column? That stands for "restaurant." I noted those so that I could grab them out of the car and bring them with us to the parks to entertain the little one during meals at the sit-down restaurants. Most restaurants give out crayons and paper, but I wanted to be prepared just in case! I also noted here what toys to grab to bring into the hotel for the night.

Want to know some of my favorite car trip toys? The ones that worked best? Here ya go...
(affiliate links)

20 October 2015

31 Days: Meeting the Characters at Disney

Hi friends!
So, do you want to know where you can meet your little one's favorite characters at Disney World? Well I'll share with you a few ways you can get this done! 

Disney Visa Card
If you have a Disney Visa Card, you can meet select characters in a private card members-only area in Epcot everyday and pose for photos! This is an awesome perk (among many other perks and discounts!) offered to card members. 

Character Dining
We go to Disney in large part because of the food, I'll admit. The husband and I are foodies, and Disney has some top notch eateries on property! So, if you love food, and your little ones love characters, consider doing a character meal! There are a ton to choose from- so pick your little one's favorite character, see what restaurants they appear at, and book a meal! Make sure you book 180 days out, as character dining is in high demand and can book up fast! 

Special Events
Check out some of the special events that Disney puts on throughout the year- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, etc- as many times you can find unique characters are out and about during these parties! Sometimes you can only find certain characters at these events, as they're "retired" from appearing at the parks during normal park days!

At the Parks
Of course the most straightforward way to meet the characters? Visit the parks! There are dedicated character meet & greets throughout each park, as well as pop up locations (typically for lesser popular characters). So keep your eyes peeled :) And check out the Dance Parties at the various parks for character appearances too!

19 October 2015

31 Days: Disney's Baby Care Centers

Hi friends!
So today I'll give you a quick and VERY important tip about the Disney parks! One word- BABY CARE CENTER! Ok, so maybe that's three words... 

The Baby Care Centers are rather centrally located pavilions in each park. They are a fantastic reprieve from the parks as well as a real life saver! What are they? Well let's give an overview of what you can find at a Baby Care Center...
  • air conditioning!
  • padded changing tables galore!
  • private nursing rooms (with rocking chairs and changing pad too)
  • typical baby items for sale- spare diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, sunscreen, OTC medicine, toys, etc.
  • microwave
  • oven
  • sink area
  • high chairs
  • complimentary water
  • kids table & chairs area with cartoons on a TV and sofa (great for entertaining siblings while you take care of baby!)
  • a kid-friendly bathroom (lower height toilet with built in potty seat)

SUCH a great tool when you're at the parks. They're not just for "babies" really either. Preschoolers that are potty training will find the kid-friendly bathroom perfect. If you brought food for your wee ones that would be best popped in the microwave- come on over! Are your little ones overheating in the Florida sun, or have a child who is overstimulated with all the Disney excitement? Unwind and calm down in the older kids-area here.

All of the Baby Care Center locations are just next to the First Aid stations. They give out complimentary band aids for minor scrapes as well as more complicated medical issues.

Now, where to find these little Baby Care Center gems...

Magic Kingdom
towards the end of Main Street, on the left by Crystal Palace

in the Odyssey Center, in between Future World and the World Showcase, to the left of Mexico 

Hollywood Studios
just inside the entrance to the left, near Guest Relations

Animal Kingdom
on the left side of Discovery Island, near Starbucks (previously called  "Creature Comforts" eatery)

18 October 2015

31 Days: Get Out and Play at Disney

Hi friends!
I hope you're having a blessed Sunday. Our family is a bit under the weather this morning, so we're staying home from church, but I hope you've gotten a chance to spend some time with our beautiful Saviour and Lord this morning! 

So this morning I'll be letting you in on some GREAT places to let the wee ones get out of the stroller and PLAY at the parks! So let's get to it...

Magic Kingdom
  • Most of the park really! This is the most kid-friendly park, where the majority of the rides are geared towards the youngest guests. Many of the queue lines for the rides have interactive activities or play areas for the smallest of riders!
  • Swiss Family Treehouse- tons of stairs, traversing up and down through the Swiss Family Robinson's replicated treehouse!
  • Dumbo- there's a great air conditioned, indoor play place in the ride line! You can pop in there and just play for a bit, even if you don't want to ride, but you must be under 8 yrs old to play. Complete with slides, climbing nets, and a toddler play place. 
  • Tom Sawyer Island- take a "handmade" boat across the river and explore the island! Complete with a barrel bridge, hidden gem mines, a fort, and tons of room to just run about. On top of the hill is a little play structure perfect place for your littlest ones to enjoy. 
  • Frontierland Train Station- located at the exit to Splash Mountain and the entrance area to the train station platform, you'll find a little play place tucked away, perfect for your littlest adventurers. 
  • Storybook Circus- located near the Dumbo ride has water features for kids to play in on hot days and occasionally has performers come and do short shows!

  • World Showcase- throughout the countries, there's Kidcot Fun Stops where kids can color, make crafts, and learn more about the culture of each country represented. Many of the countries also have performers throughout the day- among them a juggling mime in Italy, drummers in Japan, and a lumberjack show in Canada!
  • The Seas- an indoor pavilion aquarium! Throughout the day, animal keepers give talks about the various animals- learn how much a manatee eats or even see a dolphin training session. 
  • Mission Space- there's a space-themed "Space Base" play area for the youngest adventurers and various astronaut-themed video game type activities for the slightly older ones.
  • Innoventions- an indoor pavilion with a variety of kids for all ages. The exhibitions on display change up every few years, so be sure to check out Disney's website to see what's going on during your visit!
  • Fountains- there are various fountains for kids to play with throughout the front Future World area! Some are only operational in the warmer months. Year round, don't miss the "jumping fountains" up near the Imagination pavilion!

Hollywood Studios
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set- an area of the park mostly dedicated towards all of the youngest kiddos. This is where you'll find the short Voyage of the Little Mermaid show where you can escape into the cool A/C and the Disney Junior- Live on Stage! show where dancing is encouraged as you sit on the large carpeted floor to listen to the show. 
  • Frozen- Sing Along Celebration- another chance to escape into the A/C, the little ones can belt out all of the popular tunes from the Frozen movie while the adults can appreciate the humor of the storytellers in the show- it's hilarious! 
  • Toy Story Land- a brand-new addition to the park, as of late summer 2018. Imagine you've been shrunk to the size of a toy, and you're in Andy's backyard! A fun experience for kids of any age, and includes three fun rides as well as a tasty eatery! 

Animal Kingdom
  • The Boneyard- a play place awaits for kids of all ages (10 and under)! Dig in the sand for fossils, climb across rope bridges and covered slides, musical "bones" to bang on, a Jeep to climb upon, and even a mini slide sections for toddlers!
  • Affection Section- a petting zoo where kids can interact freely with adorable goats! They can also feed a few other animals. A MUST for any animal-loving kiddos.
  • Conservation Station- an indoor pavilion where kids can learn fun animal facts, view smaller animal exhibits, and, if you're lucky, even see an animal surgery (head there early in the day for your best chance to view- not available everyday)!

17 October 2015

31 Days: Disneybounding

Hi friends!
So, what's "Disneybounding," you may ask? It's dressing up inspired by Disney characters! This is a fun little way to make your Disney trip even MORE magical! It doesn't mean dressing up in costume. It means your outfit is merely "inspired" by a character! So perhaps your outfit incorporates the same colors as your favorite character.... or your accessories are a nod to the character. Here, let's show some examples! These are all kids clothes currently in season for Fall 2015!

Snow White


Little Mermaid

Merida (Brave)


Sleeping Beauty (Briar Rose/Aurora)

Frozen- Anna & Elsa


Alice in Wonderland

Marie (Aristocats)

Minnie Mouse

There's a TON of other examples in my Pinterest board, including some DIY ideas! So feel free to go on over and get more inspiration!

16 October 2015

31 Days: Dollar Spot Your Way to Disney

Hi friends!!
Today I'm back to share some fun ideas to keep your budget in check when planning your Disney trip. As with any amusement park, Disney prices are much higher than what you can get at home. Keep this in mind as you plan, and see what you can bring from home in order to avoid buying in-park! The Dollar Spot (at Target) or Dollar Tree stores are a PERFECT way to keep costs in check and pick up some fantastic Disney goodies! Walgreens (especially the clearance section) and Walmart are some other places to score budget Disney items.

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling...