Disney

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Epcot Flower and Garden Festival with Kids!

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is perfect for young families. Today I am going to share our top three favorite activities to do during the Festival.

Flower and Garden Festival with Kids

This post contains affiliate links.

About Flower and Garden Festival

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. It began on February 28th, 2018 and ends on May 28th, 2018. Each Spring Epcot is filled with beautifully cultivated topiaries, gardens and pop-up venues to try fresh and unique menu options. There is so much to see and do at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, you might want to plan a few days during your visit so that you can see it all.  Since the Festival is held at the Epcot park, you will need to purchase a park ticket.

Shop before you go!

Imagination Play Garden

The imagination play garden is located on the walkway to the world showcase near the Figment ride. This play area is perfect for children of all ages and with plenty of chairs in the shade, you won’t want to skip it. The garden is only open until dusk, so don’t wait until the end of the day, because it will be closed.

Inside the Imagination Play Garden, you will find several xylophones, and materials to create music. You will also find chairs under the shade, this is a great spot to take a break!

Road to Florida 500

If you have a Disney / Pixar Cars fan in your life, you will not want to miss this little play area. Just outside this section, you will find Topiaries for Lightning Mcqueen, Mater and Cruz Ramirez. Cruz Ramirez was introduced to us during the Cars 3 movie. You will have to go watch the movie to find out all about her story.

This play area is much smaller than the imagination garden, but there are plenty of nice shaded seats for parents to watch their children play.  My girls enjoyed racing around the track, and playing in the tires!

StorybookErin - Flower and Garden Festival

The Goodness Garden Butterfly House

Our third favorite must-see activity for kids during the Flower and Garden Festival is the butterfly house presented by Gogo Squeeze.   Located on the other side of Starbucks this little house is both beautiful and educational. Your family will have the opportunity to see hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the house. There are many educational posters to learn about the lifecycle of a butterfly.

This is a walk-through experience and no seating is available. You are permitted to take your stroller inside.  However, I found it to be a little cumbersome to navigate through the exhibit. I ended up taking the youngest to have a snack while my husband and our older girls continued to observe the butterflies.

As mentioned before, there are so many things to do in the Flower and Garden Festival, so be sure to allow plenty of time to explore the park during your visit.

Looking for the most frugal way to get to Orlando? Check out this post from my friend Keri over at Flip Flop Weekend.

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StorybookErin - Flower and Garden Festival

 

I let my 4-year-old plan our day in The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom can be a very daunting park to plan. In fact, with so much to do and see it can be hard to accommodate the wishes of everyone in your party. So, when my daughter asked if we could skip a birthday party and take the family to the Magic Kingdom instead, I decided we would have a “yes” day!

The Magic Kingdom “Yes” Day!

Instead of spending hours planning every detail to ensure we had the most fun possible in the Magic Kingdom, I simply said “yes”. Yes to everything the birthday girl wanted to do – and it was awesome!

“May I dress up like Snow White and take a picture with her?” – Yes! 

Even if it means walking to the back of the park with 4 girls ages 4 and under. 

“Let’s ride the Ariel Ride!” -That sounds amazing!

“I want a MICKEY SNACK!” – Yummy!! Where should we get one? 

Lessons Learned

For a person who loves to see spreadsheets, checklists, and plans all set into place before a big trip, this type of day can be a little scary. I was a little nervous that we’d get into The Magic Kingdom and wander around aimlessly and not accomplish anything. To be honest, we kind of did that a little when we were looking for Snow White and the My Disney Experience App was directing us to the wrong spot. However, when I saw the smiles and heard the giggles from the girls I knew we’d made the right decision. 

It wasn’t my birthday we were celebrating. It was our daughters, and this was her day.

Friend, are you going crazy, trying to plan the most amazing Magic Kingdom day for your child? – Don’t. When we are so focused on the matching outfits, the perfect instastories and conquering the Magic Kingdom in a day, we miss out on the giggles and opportunities to soak in the sweetness of our children creating memories.

My friend Keri recently touched on this on her blog, and if you are feeling overwhelmed with Disney planning I invite you to go read her post. 

How to make Fastpass+ Reservations on a “yes” Day!

If you are planning a “yes” day at The Magic Kingdom, I think it is important to make a couple of fastpass+ reservations. I know my girls absolutely LOVE meeting all the princesses, so I used our Fastpass+ reservations on two meet-and-greet opportunities and one of their favorite rides.

Since this was a “yes” day, we were not concerned if we actually made it to the fastpass+ reservations, we simply asked the girls where they wanted to go. If we were near a reservation time I would ask if they wanted to go meet the princess and we went from there. If you want to plan a “yes” day, I don’t recommend booking dining reservations. The reason I don’t is that there is a penalty if you don’t show up.

The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is beautiful. No matter how you decide to spend your day it will create a lifetime of memories. Go ahead, have a “yes” day with your family. Ditch the schedule and embrace spontaneity! Or you can follow my quick tips for planning an epic Disney Day! 

No matter how you decide to plan your Magic Kingdom Day, make sure you embrace the moments with your family.

Soon these moments will become memories.

Let’s make them beautiful!

_ _ _

If you are looking for more encouragement as you plan your trip to Disney,

check out my FREE facebook group! 

What happens when you let your 4-year-old plan your day at the Magic Kingdom

Dining at Chefs de France in Epcot

Chefs De France, Epcot

Is there a more romantic section in all of  Epcot than France? – I’m not sure. I’m on a mission to eat my way through Epcot, and today I’m going to share our perfect date-day at Epcot! This February my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a few hours at Epcot for a romantic lunch at Chefs de France and stroll through the Art Festival.

Chefs de France, Location

Located just over the bridge in the World Showcase, you will find the beautiful country of France. The streets in this section are filled activities, such as; adorable vendors, street performances, a gazebo where you can meet Princess Aurora, and a garden where you can chat about your favorite books with Belle. In the midst of all those things is the lovely Chefs de France Restaurant.

I’ve been intrigued by this restaurant for years because there are windows throughout the entire restaurant, so you will be able to enjoy your meal and still be a part of the experiences happening outside.

Chefs de France, Ambiance

The ambiance of this restaurant was very relaxed, with bright lighting from the windows and soft lighting from the overhead fixtures I felt very comfortable and happy in this restaurant. On the walls, you will find many bottles of wine displayed, and the tables are set with stunning glassware.

This restaurant made me feel, happy. 

Chefs de France, Menu

FULL MENU HERE

The menu at this restaurant was much of what I’d expect to find at a French restaurant, and since we were on the Disney Dining Plan, we made sure to order a variety of items to share. Everything we ordered was absolutely delicious!

Here is what we ordered:

  • Appetizers

    • Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)
  • Main Dish

    • Filet de saumon mariné auvin blanc et citron

    • Jarret de porc braisé, spaetzels (Pork)
  • Dessert

    • Assiette de Sorbets du Jour
    • Meringue aux fruits rouges

The food was absolutely delicious! Since I have a food allergy, I got the opportunity to meet the chef! He was so kind and made sure I was at ease with all my menu choices, and even came after the meal to ask me how everything was. It’s the little extra pixie dust that Disney adds to the experience that gets me every time!

If you follow a vegan, gluten-free or other dietary restriction, I’d recommend looking into this restaurant as the chef was very accommodating and friendly!

Chefs de France, Pricing

Although not on the top tier of dining, it isn’t necessarily a budget-friendly dining location. If you want to experience French food on a budget, you might want to check out Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie  (menu) but the food and ambiance at Chef de France are absolutely worth the investment.

If you are on the 2018 dining plan, this meal is only one table service credit! 

Interested in more about the Dining Plan? Check out this post! 

If you are not on the Disney Dining Plan, the general pricing is as follows:

  • Appetizers: $9.00 – $17.00
  • Main Course: $18.99 – $35.99
  • Dessert: $9.75

Overall thoughts on Chefs de France

I loved this dining experience, I thought it was absolutely perfect for a romantic date or even a family meal. The ambiance of the restaurant really made it friendly for a wide range of experiences, it was definitely one of my favorite dining experiences in all of Epcot.

Other Epcot Dining Experiences to Consider

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, and have questions about the new My Disney Experience App? Check out my friend Keri’s post with all the details on how to set up your account! 

The Question of the Day, What is your favorite Dining Location in Epcot? 

Le Cellier Steakhouse, Epcot

About Le Cellier Steakhouse

Tucked away in the Canadian Pavilion is a beautiful garden, with a waterfall and the most delicious steakhouse you’ll find on Disney Property.  Le Cellier Steakhouse has been high on my husband’s bucket list of Disney Restaurants to try, so for our 8th Wedding Anniversary, we thought we’d give it a try, and the food and the experience did not disappoint!

The theming was so perfect, you felt as though you were entering into a wine cellar with the dim lights and beautiful architecture. When you are seated, you will be seated in one of the provinces of Canada, so look for some specific details in the section you are seated.

Menu Options

The attention to detail at Walt Disney World is remarkable when we were seated and handed our menu’s I literally almost cried when I saw that our menus were personalized with “Happy Anniversary” at the top and an image of Cinderella and Prince Charming Dancing – this was so special to me because Cinderella is my FAVORITE Princess.

There were so many delicious options, and not everything on the menu was steak.  We tried the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup as an appetizer and it was delicious! – Highly recommend this! 

 

How much does it cost? 

 
If you are on the Disney dining plan, your meal will cost 2 table-service credits.
If you not on the dining plan, adult meals are between $35-$55*
Reservations can be made 180 days in advance by calling 
(407) WDW-DINE or  (407) 939-3463
*DVC and Passholder Discounts are available.


Is it worth 2-Table Service Credits? 

Personally, I wouldn’t use two table service credits for this meal. There are other dining experiences that I’d love to try and so I think I’d pass on this restaurant. The food, atmosphere, and service were impeccable, I just think I wouldn’t use two credits on it.

If you LOVE steak and wine or are celebrating something special – absolutely! It was such a romantic experience and our server gave us an adorable chocolate to share and one to take home for later, so if you are on your honeymoon, or celebrating something special you might want to consider this dining experience.

Bottom line, it depends on the type of experience you wish to have.

Is Le Cellier Kid Friendly? 

We took our three-month-old with us, and it was okay for a young baby but I wouldn’t recommend bringing toddlers to this restaurant.  With the romantic lighting and atmosphere, my kids would struggle to sit still (or at all). Given the price tag, I’d recommend leaving the kids with family or a babysitter for your dining.
Overall, I’d recommend this restaurant for a celebration or a date but would not for just a meal in the parks – there are so many other quick options that are delicious and less expensive.
 
 
Happy Disney Planning! 
 
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Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast, Trattoria al Forno

Disney Bounding as Rapunzel and Prince Eric
 
Ever since Disney Parks Blog announced the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast I have been wanting to go and take my girls. My oldest is a HUGE Rapunzel fan, and her younger sisters have just fallen in love with Ariel so this restaurant was the perfect fit for our family. 
 
About the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast
This character breakfast in the newest one available in the Disney parks, and just opened in April of 2017.  Located just outside of the Epcot Resorts on the Boardwalk, this breakfast is the perfect option for guests who want to experience Disney magic without the cost of a park ticket. 
 
Breakfast reservations begin at 7:30 a.m., and end at 11:00 a.m.
 
Pricing: 
  • 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan 
  • $15-20 per child
  • $15-34 per adult 

 

Since this is a fairly new character dining reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.
 
Dining reservations can be made by calling: (407) 939-5277 
 

The Food: 

 

The food was quite good and very filling, we each got something different off the menu and shared with each other. 
 
Do I recommend this restaurant? 
 
Yes, absolutely. 

 

Unlike the Akershus restaurant in Epcot, this dining experience has both Prince and Princesses, making it an ideal restaurant for families with both young boys and girls. 
I did love the Akershus restaurant but didn’t feel it was a good fit for everyone. 
 

What to Expect

 

Each of the characters will come to your table to sign autographs, take photos and converse with you. My daughters were especially excited to be interacting with Flynn Rider and Prince Eric.  This was a new experience for them, and they still giggle about meeting the prince’s when going through their book of signatures. 
 
After you eat breakfast, make sure you leave a little extra time in your schedule to explore the Boardwalk. There are so many fun things to do on the Boardwalk with your family or you can enter into Epcot in the International Gateway.  
 
Frugal Tip
Although there is a small gift shop just outside the restaurant, you can purchase your outfits ahead of time and save a significant amount of money. 
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Secrets for planning a Successful Disney Vacation

Are you subscribed to my Youtube Channel

I recently posted my first ever PLAN WITH ME video featuring my Erin Condren Life Planner and shared 3 of my best tips for planning an epic Disney vacation! 
Our most recent Disney vacation was absolutely perfect, zero complaints and millions of memories! If you want to see some of the footage from our trip and see how I use my Erin Condren Life Planner for memory keeping, please check out my Youtube Video. 
Tip 1: Plan in Advance! 

Planning a Disney Vacation can be pretty overwhelming, that’s why I feel it is important to plan well enough in advance that you can do some research and decide what you want to accomplish during your trip. 
Some important dates to keep in mind, 
Another thing to consider is the Disney Dining Plan and if it is a right fit for you and your group. We decided to go with the Disney Dining Plan for our last trip, but there are a few things to consider before committing too it.  You can read more about the Dining plan on this post if you are interested. 

Tip 2: Consider a Travel Agent 
Did you know that it is absolutely FREE to use a Travel Agent? It’s a common misconception that you have to pay a fee for using a travel agent and for that reason many people plan on their own. It is possible to plan an epic Disney vacation on your own, but a travel agent who is in-the-know can really help you. 
Our travel agent helped us with:
  • Countless questions about the Dining Plan 
  • Fast Pass+ reservations
  • Countless questions about hotels
  • Discount Monitoring 
  • General Advice 
  • Surprise gift in the mail a week before we left 

I am not a travel agent, but the one we used was fabulous! Find her here. 

Tip 3: Don’t over commit and over plan 
It is so easy to rush around the parks trying to go on the most rides, see the most shows and eat the most snacks – and those things are all fun! But, have you ever just taken a leisurely stroll down Main Street, USA? Walked around the World Showcase and had conversations with the cast members? There are so many beautiful details, and magical experiences to be had! 
Just a few we had: 
  • Ride the Trolly down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom
  • Walking with Mary Poppins, chatting about tea 
  • Ride the Nemo Ride 3x in a row 
  • Cotton Candy gift from a cast member 
When you have a little wiggle room in your schedule you open yourselves up to so much opportunity. 
Happy Planning! 



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Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, is it right for you?

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I often hear the criticism that Epcot is for adults only, and people are shocked when I tell them that it is actually my favorite park to take the girls too! There are so many things to do in Epcot that are appropriate for all ages, including my new favorite breakfast location, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

About Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Located inside the Epcot theme park, just outside of the new Frozen Ride (formerly maelstrom) you will find the entrance to the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. When you enter the banquet hall you are greeted by a Princess and a photo pass cast member. So make sure you have your autograph books and magic bands ready to scan.

After your royal greeting, you will be ushered to a table and greeted by a waiter to take your beverage order.

We had an 8:00 a.m. breakfast reservation, so we had the opportunity to enter the park one hour before the park opened and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. This was a unique breakfast because it was partially buffet and partially family style.

Breakfast Menu Options 

 
On the buffet, there was plenty of fresh fruit, yogurts, cheeses, salmon and other Norwegian style cuisines.  Serves to the table was a large platter of eggs, biscuits, bacon, and sausage. Even though this was family style, you could request more of any of the items you desired.

What to expect when meeting the Princesses? 

Every few minutes the princesses come to the table and invite the children to join them in a parade through the restaurant. My four-year-old was in heaven. She literally couldn’t contain her excitement, and if I’m being honest, her excitement made me love the whole experience even more. My 1-year-old was more concerned with eating, and my two-year-old is quite shy so instead of going on the parade with the princesses, she would find a quiet spot and dance to the music.

After the parade, the princesses come to each of the tables and chat, sign autographs, and pose for photos. They didn’t rush when they visit your table. During our breakfast hour, we saw each of the princesses once and were able to participate in two parades.

 What Princesses will I meet? 

As always, the princesses can change without notice. – But, the princesses we met while we were there were:

  • Belle, Beauty and the Beast
  • Princess, Aurora, Sleeping Beauty
  • Ariel, The Little Mermaid
  • Cinderella
  • Snow White

Do I recommend this for all-ages or only toddlers girls? 


I think the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is a great option if you have someone in your party who absolutely LOVES the classic Princesses. The breakfast menu had something that everyone in our party would enjoy. Even my picky preschooler found something yummy. Plus, you can take photos with your favorite princesses.

You can meet the princesses throughout the parks, but often times the lines are long and it’s just fun to combine the princesses in with a mealtime.

If you aren’t a fan of princesses and all things girly, I’d skip this. The price point is a little expensive for the type of food, but the atmosphere and character interaction is worth it if you have a Disney Princess fan in your group.

Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall was absolutely a highlight of the trip for my girls.

How much does it cost? 

If you are on the 2018 dining plan, this meal is only 1 table service credit. This is a great option for meeting the princesses, especially since Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom is two table service credits.

Adults are 59.99
Children 3-9 are 35.00

Reservations are recommended and can be made 180 days in advance on this website. 

Check out my thoughts on it here. 

FRUGAL TIP: 
Purchase your Costumes online prior to going to Walt Disney World. 

 

SHARING IS CARING 
 
 

 

Affordable Disney Inspired Jewelry!

A few weeks ago I shared the news that I am a brand rep for the Etsy shop Cajun Keepsakes, and I shared a little about the shop owner and some of the products I have from her shop.  (You can catch up on that post here).

Today, I wanted to share some of her adorable Disney inspired pieces. All her pieces are affordable and can be customized to say pretty much anything, so if you’ve got a favorite Disney quote here is your chance to wear it with pride.

I currently only have one Disney inspired piece from her shop, but have my eyes on a couple more pieces.

This darling Mickey necklace with my Blog Name stamped on it was so comfortable and proved to be a big conversation starter especially with cast members and people in lines. You can pick this beautiful necklace up from Cajun Keepsakes for about $7.00, use the code STORYBOOKERIN for additional savings at checkout!

I love this so much, it looked cute with everything from dresses to t-shirts. If you are a fan of the Mouse, go grab one of these necklaces, you won’t be sorry!

There are a few more Disney inspired pieces in her shop that you might like. 
These Lava Rock bracelets with a little Mickey bead are $10.00 and can be used with your favorite essential oils. 

These Princess Bangles are a subtle and inspiring way to share your love for the Princesses. They remind me of some of the bracelets I’ve seen in the Disney Parks. They are $7.00.

If Disney inspired jewelry isn’t your thing, she has lots of other family and motherhood inspired pieces all at affordable prices.  Be sure to use the code STORYBOOKERIN at checkout for a discount.

This code is not an affiliate link, all proceeds go directly to Kelli and her beautiful family. The code will expire April 26, 2018, and is valid for 10% off your purchase of $5.00 or more.

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Your guide to the Epcot Festival of the Arts with kids

Walt Disney World brought back the Festival of the Arts for the second year, and it is SO much fun for adults AND kids! There a few days left in the Festival so I thought I’d share some of our favorite activities you should definitely check out at the Festival! 

The Festival Ends on February 19th, 2018! 
So you don’t want to miss it! 


Paint By Number! 
I found this activity to be so nostalgic, I remember painting by number as a child and now that my girls are getting older it’s becoming one of our favorite activities. 
Seriously, how exciting is it to paint a GIANT Canvas IN DISNEY WORLD? 

We absolutely loved this activity and the free postcard given when you exited was an added bonus to the excitement. 
Artful Photo-Ops
These were so much fun and rarely had a line so you could take lots of fun photos as a family or however you want. 

Kid Cot Stations 
There were custom stamps for the kids to collect in the countries in addition to the traditional stamps you can collect in the kid cot locations. 
Art Walk 
Inside your FREE Festival of the Arts Passport, you are led on a little tour of the countries filling your passport with images found when rubbing a crayon over the template. This was a lot of fun for the girls, our two-year-old especially loved this!
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your family and head on over to Epcot for some Art filled fun! There were so many other things to do at this festival these were just the ones we did with our girls and found perfect for families of all ages.

The question of the day: Did you attend the festival, what was your favorite part? 

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Is the 2018 Disney Dining Plan right for you?

I just got home from the most magical week at Walt Disney World, and am so excited to share some Disney content!

I’m a Florida Resident, and also an annual pass holder so since I’m semi-local to Walt Disney World, we don’t often stay more than a few days at a time.  This year we decided that we would do an entire week, and check out the dining plan, and I am so happy that we did, you do have to be staying on property for more than one night (I think three nights is the minimum), but when you consider the perks of staying on property it is worth it!

The dining plan we purchased had the following credits and was only $75.50 per night. 

  • 1 – Table Service (per night of stay)
    • Includes alcoholic beverage for guests over 21
  • 1 – Quick Service (per night of stay)
    • Includes alcoholic beverage for guests over 21 
  • 2 – Snack Credits (per night of stay)
I personally found the dining plan to be absolutely worth it. We just spent a week in Disney with our three kids, and never had to purchase any food – everything was paid for in advance! 
If you are on the fence about the dining plan, here are a couple of things to think about. 
  • Are there enough table service restaurants that you have been wanting to try to fill your vacation?
Long before our vacation, I had a list of places we wanted to try with our family, and when we were 180 days before the trip, I started making my reservations. 
  • Are you willing to sacrifice park time for a sit-down reservation? 
I have small children, so a sit-down meal out of the sun was perfect for our family. But, you might not want to sacrifice the 60-90 minutes out of your day for the dining. (There is a quick-service only dining plan you could look into). 
  • Do you want to try all the snacks? 
Disney is known for some creative and yummy snacks, these snacks can be quite expensive so we personally don’t typically buy a lot of snacks while we are there. On the dining plan, there are two snacks per day included. We had so many snack credits left over that we actually we able to bring a whole bunch of treats home to share. 
  • Do you like to have a Beer (or wine) with your meal? 
Something new that is included with the dining plan in 2018 is the inclusion of a specialty beverage with both the quick-service and the table-service meals. I am not a big beer drinker or wine, but it was nice to have that available. 
Favorite Snacks tried
  • Carrot Cake Cookie
This is only available inside Hollywood Studios, and is ABSOLUTELY delicious! 
  • Caramel-Covered Pop-Corn
This is only available in the Werthers Store in Epcot, SO GOOD! A large bag is considered a snack credit and fed our whole family of five. We loved it so much we brought home 3 bags! 
  • Starbucks Beverages 
All sizes are included, so get a venti of your favorite beverage. 
  • Cookies the size of your face!
Available at Big Top Treats inside the Magic Kingdom, this cookie was so much fun!
Overall, we loved the Dining Plan and would absolutely do it again for a future trip! I’d love to hear from you, have you tried the dining plan? What snacks did you try? 
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