Disney

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UPDATED | 10 Stroller Recommendations for Walt Disney World

UPDATED | Stroller Policy Announcement

The internet is buzzing this morning with the latest from Walt Disney World! As of May 1st, 2019 there are three major changes to the Walt Disney World Parks. One of which is the size of strollers. You can read about other two changes here.

What does the Policy Say?

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Thoughts from a Mom of 3 Stroller-Age Children

As a mom of three children ages 5 and under, I must admit I had an initial panic when I heard there were new guidelines for stroller size. Strollers are important for a successful (full day) at Disney. I’ve been known to ditch the stroller a time or two, ultimately I beleive that strollers are an important piece of equipement at Walt Disney World.

Does My Stroller Fit?

My friend Keri did a post not too long ago asking our group of Disney Mom’s what stroller they recommend for Walt Disney World. In that post, I recommended the City Select I love my City Select, It’s absolutely perfect for a family with mulitple children. However, when I saw the dimensions, I knew it was likely not going to be suitable for the new guidelines. The guidelines state that the stroller must not be longer than 52 inches and wider than 31 inches.   So, does my favorite stroller fit with the new guidelines? Yes – but barely.

I measured my stroller the old fashion way (with a tape measurer) and my favorite stroller is almost too big for Walt Disney World. It measured at exactly 52 inches long.

Double Stroller Recommendations

Since my City Select is a little on the large side, and if I’m being honest it can be tricky to maneuver with large crowds, here are some options for strollers that fit the new WDW Stroller Guidelines.

BOB Revolution Flex Duallie 2.0 

If I had to pick an absolutely favorite double stroller for maneuverability, it’d be the BOB brand. I trained for my first Marathon with a BOB stroller and the quality of this stroller is absolutely worth the investment.

SOURCE

phil&teds Dot Compact Inline City Stroller with Double Kit

I found this stroller while search “slim double stroller” on Amazon. It fits well under the new stroller guidelines but has very limited storage space. I think it would be perfect if you have smaller children, but I’m not sure an older child would fit comfortably in this stroller. It’s worth a look – the reviews are mixed. |UPDATE: Jennifer from https://lovedwellshere.com/ has this stroller and says it surprisingly has more storage than you’d think and recommends it to other moms!

The MacLaren Twin Triumph 

If you are looking for a more simple umbrella type stroller for two, you might check out this one. I love that the canopy has a UPF50+ sun canopy. As we all know, protection from the sun in the Florida heat is so important. Especially for our little ones.

Chicco BravoFor2 Standing/Sitting Double Stroller

This stroller was released just after I had my third baby. I didn’t purchase it because it didn’t have enough reviews. Would you believe I still think about this stroller?  I don’t regret purchasing my City Select for a minute but I do seem to have a silly fascination with this stroller. It just looks so amazing! Perfect for families with older and younger children who still need a stroller for little rests. This stroller would not work if two of your children needed to nap at the same time.

This post focused a lot on double strollers. Simply because the new policy has really affected those of us who still require a double stroller for the parks. If you double stroller is too large for the parks. I might also recommend a single stroller and a great baby carrier.

When we traveled to the parks with an infant and 2 year old we typically only took one stroller and our favorite baby carrier. The Lillibaby is amazingly comfortable and even has a zipper pocked large enough for your phone, a snack and a small wallet. It’s perfect for being hands free!

Mom’s Favorite Single Strollers

Here are several options for single strollers!

The City Mini is one of the top recommendations among my mom friends. It’s even the stroller my sister purchased when she was expecting her first. It’s lightweight, easy to steer and comes in adorable colors!

BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 Jogging Stroller

Graco Strollers in general are great because of their amazing storage.

Baby Trend Falcon Jogger Stroller  

Baby Trend is known for their affordable options. At less than 200 dollars, this is a great alternative to some of the more expensive jogging style strollers.

I certainly couldn’t do a stroller recommendations list without mentioning the UPPAbaby CRUZ  these strollers are so sleek and beautiful. It’s a little on the pricy side, but a stroller is an investment for many years. You want to purchase one that lasts.

Umbrella strollers are perfect for families who don’t need a lot of space for diapers and supplies. But, do require a place for an older child to sit and rest for a bit during a long fun day at the parks!

Thank You

Thank you for reading, I do hope you found this post helpful as you plan your trip to Walt Disney World! W

Join my Disney Fans Group (It’s FREE)

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More Great Content!

The Walt Disney World 4 park Challenge | Ultimate List of tips!

The Walt Disney World 4-Park Challenge

I first heard of the WDW 4 park challenge when I was watching some of my favorite vloggers (The Wayts World). This awesome family had decided to conquer all four parks in 1 day and vlog the journey for all of us to see.

As our annual passes were about to expire in December of 2016 my husband and I booked a quick 2 day trip to Walt Disney World. We’d just recently welcomed our third daughter and even though it probably wasn’t ideal for us to complete the challenge, I had too!

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Check out Part 1

4 Park Challenge History

I’ve done some research around the internet and found a post from The Main Street Mouse. This post explains the story of how two friends accomplished the most epic day, visiting all four parks and riding the properties 62 rides. You can read one of the Orlando news articles here.  The Main Street Mouse gives several options for completing the challenge. However, in my opinion, with the opening of Pandora, Toy Story Land and the much-anticipated opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge (August 2019) the original challenge seems impossible. Not that I don’t want to try it,…it just seems like quite a task! 😉

Our 4 Park Challenge Experience

My husband and I completed the 4 park challenge with our infant in December of 2016. We followed the same guidelines The Wayts World used. 1 Ride, 1 Snack, 1 Photo in each park. This challenge is exactly as the word says “a challenge”. My husband and I were fortunate enough to attempt this challenge during the few months that Walt Disney World was piloting the “Disney Express Transportation“. This meant, that my husband and I only had to go through security 1 time and that we were able to travel through back-stage Disney to get from park to park. This service was really affordable ($15 per person), and probably the best option for families wishing to park hop. Sadly, express transportation is no longer available, but it was worth every penny! We did complete the challenge, and it was literally one of the most memorable Disney experiences I’ve ever had.

Things to Consider

The Weather

This is Florida. Our weather is quite unpredictable. In Summer the weather will be hot. You will want to be sure you have lathered up in Sunscreen, are properly hydrated and even have cool comfortable clothes for the day. You will also want to consider if there is any rain in the forecast. Fall and Winter the weather isn’t quite as hot as the summer months, but the weather can vary in extreme temperatures so you will want to be prepared with some layers. Spring is a beautiful time to visit the Disney Parks. The weather is usually warm but not quite hot and the mornings are a little cool. Not enough for the need of layers, but comfortable. For a more detailed and informative post about crowds and weather expectations by each month, check out my friend Keri’s post.

Nutrition and Hydration

When completing this challenge, you will be walking about 20 miles in one day. That’s a lot of walking! You will want to be sure to have a water bottle, snacks and your meals planned out for the day.

Park Hours and Park Order

Be familiar with the Disney Park hours before attempting the challenge and have a plan. If you are staying on property, be sure to use the Extra Magic Hours to your advantage. Many people like to start the day atAnimal Kingdom and then head towards Hollywood Studios from there. It doesn’t matter what order you attempt the challenge, but be mindful of park hours. It’s a good idea to consider starting at the park that opens the earliest and ending the day at the park that is open the latest. Typically the Magic Kingdom. You will want to have the My Disney Experience App downloaded on your phone.

Something to consider is that Animal Kingdom is the farthest park as it is not connected to any of the others. You can easily walk from Hollywood Studios to Epcot and there is a monorail that takes you from The Magic Kingdom to Epcot. It is for that reason that many people check Animal Kingdom off thier list first

How much should I budget?

Park Hopper Ticket: $169.00 (Florida Residents $139.00) Ticket prices do change without notice. Be sure to check the Walt Disney World website for the most up to date prices. Money-Saving Hack: You can purchase Walt Disney World Gift cards from Target with your Red Card and save 5%. You can also purchase a discounted gift card with your wholesale membership to store like BJ’s and Costco. This is will only save a few dollars at a time, but every little bit helps when saving for a trip like this.

Meals and Snacks: Each snack is roughly between $4.00 – $7.00, and a meal will cost between $10.00 -$15.00 at quick service locations.

How should I schedule my FastPass+

Since there were specific rides we wanted to ride in The Magic Kingdom (our last park) we scheduled them there. I know many people like to schedule theirs for the middle of the day. In all honesty, I think it’s important to pick a couple of rides or perhaps your favorite park and schedule those fast passes.

4 Park Challenge | Experiences of Others

Taryn and her family attempted the challenge in June of 2018. I loved how raw and honest Taryn is about the challenge. It is important to realize that there are many variables that come into effect when attempting the challenge. One must consider the weather, crowd levels, and your own personal health. Although Taryn didn’t complete the 4 park challenge how she anticipated, the Lau family did manage to visit all four parks. Read all about their experience here!

Jill completed the challenge in March of 2019 with her husband and 3 year old son. She recommends comfortable walking shoes as she logged 12 miles on her fitbit! She also gave some tips for getting the most out of your fastpass. She scheduled each her fastpasses on the MyDisneyExperience app one at a time while she was in the park. It worked like a dream, you won’t believe how much they got done by 9:00 p.m.! Check out her post here!

This husband and wife team accomplished the challenge, quite by accident. They simply wanted to make the most of their 1 day at Disney! Such a fun read. I love that they completed the 4 park challenge on their first ever day at Walt Disney World! First Trip Goals!

Join my FREE Disney Planning Group!

My friend Keri (www.flipflopweekend.com) and I have an awesome group of Disney fans and bloggers, we’d love for you to join us! We are two moms who love Disney and love talking about it. See you in the group!

WATCH THE VLOGS!

Let’s Chat

Comment below if you’ve done the 4 Park Challenge, or if you are planning to do it soon!

The Mouse Boutique

About The Mouse Boutique

Central Florida locals, Michele, and her sister have been selling t-shirts since 2014. I met Michele when she joined my Disney Fans Facebook group I was so honored when she asked me to select a few shirts for my family to review. If you saw my unboxing video you know that I couldn’t decide so she sent me a sampling based on our families interests!

Watch the Video Here!

Sometihing that I found to be unique about The Mouse Boutique is their approach to creating the shirts. Instead of typical vinyl on a fabric t-shirt The Mouse Boutique (TMB) does things a little differently.

All of the designs are custom created and printed directly onto the shirt with a process that fuses the design into the fabric. This produces prints that are crisp, soft, and breathable. Inks are Earth-friendly, water-based, and are non-toxic. Prints are sealed with a commercial heat press to ensure the design stays put.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/themouseboutique#about
Photo by: Erin Jimenez, StorybookErin.com

Interview with Michele

What do you love about being a small-business owner? 

My sister and I both love the freedom it gives us to be with our family stay home with child and grandkids

What are the challenges you’ve faced being a small-business owner?

Making sure each of our customers are 110% happy with their order and always trying to go beyond what is needed. After all the customers are the heart of our business.

How do you stay motivated? 

We stay motivated by the sweet comments that our customers post about our excited they were about wearing the shirts on their trip.

What do you think is unique about your store?

All the different designs and shirt colors that we offer. I am sure we are one of the few with soooo many designs. My sister does a great job.

My Thoughts on The Mouse Boutique

The Quality 

The shirts are comfortable and hold their shape throughout washings. We haven’t gotten a stain yet – but with three young children, I’m sure we will test stain removal soon.

The Designs

There are so many designs, TMB could absolutely be a one-stop shop for all your customized t-shirt needs. They have RunDisney inspired shirts, park-inspired and with the ability to add your name to it you are destined to find a shirt you like.

Erin Jimenez |StorybookErin.com

Turn around time and communication

Working with Michele is so easy! She is quick to respond to Facebook messages and willing to help you find the best shirt for your trip.

Once the item leaves the shop it generally makes it to the customer in 2-3 days. However, since they are local to the theme parks, TMB will often hand-deliver the shirts to your hotel. How awesome is that?

hcom/shop/TheMouseReady to order? 

Michele was kind enough to give my readers a discount code. Just use BLOGGERFREE when checking out and you will receive FREE shipping on your order!

Visit her Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMouseBoutique

Michele, thank you so much for sending these adorable shirt to our family.

Erin Jimenez | StorybookErin.com

FREE Facebook Group for Disney Fans!

Are you a Disney Fan? Would you like to join my FREE facebook group for Disney Fans and content creators to connect! This free group is managed by my dear pal Keri from https://www.flipflopweekend.com/. We’d love to have you join our Ohana!

Tips for Staying Cool on a Hot Day in Hollywood Studios

Florida Weather

As a Florida Native, I sometimes don’t realize how hot Florida weather temperatures are for some. Yes, us Floridians are hot (don’t misread that) but we’ve had a lot of practice keeping cool in the heat. Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite spots to cool off during a visit to Hollywood Studios.

In my experience, the coolest months to visit Walt Disney World will be from late-October until about mid-April. If you are visiting any other time of the year, you will want to check out some of my favorite spots – so keep reading.☺

Plan Your Day

When going to Hollywood Studios when the weather is particularly warm you will want to have a plan. The warmest part of the day will be from about 1-4 p.m. This is the perfect time to check out some shows or even book a dining reservation. When we visited HWS in August, we spent the morning inside the new Toy Story Land and then for the afternoon we had a leisurely lunch in the nice cool air conditioning, did some indoor attractions and character experiences before heading back to Toy Story Land in the evening.

Be sure to catch the Vlogs to see all the fun we had!

Avoid the warm weather with these shows

The following is a list of indoor shows available!

Muppet Vision 3D

Do not skip this! This show is a little bit hidden towards the back of the park, just before the entrance to Star Wars Land (opening in 2019).  The entire show is about 15-20 minutes and will have you giggling the whole way through. We also love this section of the park because there are several little areas to just sit quietly and avoid some of the crowds.

Frozen Sing-Along

This 30-minute show is absolutely hysterical. It combines your (kids) favorite songs from frozen with just enough humor to get even the non-frozen loving guest to laugh. This show is perfect for less-than-perfect weather days inside Hollywood Studios.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid, one of the most adored princesses of all. Follow the story with this semi-live-action show and be out of the weather elements for about 20 minutes. If you have an Ariel Fan, be sure to check out this post. 

Indoor Rides

Rockin’ Roller Coaster

Arguably my favorite ride on Disney Property, Rockin’ Roller Coaster is completely indoor. The line cue begins outdoors but is mostly inside, as is the coaster. Be sure to check height requirements (48 inches) or take advantage of rider switch.

Tower of Terror

The line cue for Tower of Terror begins outdoors with several fans to keep you cool. There is a height requirement of 40 inches for this ride, so be sure to make arrangements for rider switch if traveling with smaller Mouseketeers.

Midway Mania

Located inside Toy Story Land, Midway Mania is the perfect family friendly ride to do while avoiding the warm weather.

Star Tours

Star Tours is such a classic. It was the first of the Star Wars attractions to open inside Hollywood Studios, and with each refurbishment, it’s gotten better and better. The height requirement for Star Tours is 40 inches.

Educational Experiences

I guess it’s my background in education that is really shining through, but there are some really cool educational experiences inside Hollywood Studios. One of them will even get your name written in the Walt Disney World Archives! Are you intrigued? I’ll start with that one them.

Walt Disney Presents

If you want to see some of the most unique Disney artifacts on the property, and see sneak peeks of upcoming attractions you will want to walk through the Walt Disney Presents. If you want to have your name in the Walt Disney World Archives, ask the cast member at the entrance for the trivia game.

When we visited HWS in August I wanted to try my hand at the trivia. It was so much fun to do and only took about 10 minutes for me to complete. This experience is a must-do for all my Disney Nerds out there!

The Launch Bay

Inside the Star Wars Launch Bay, you will have opportunities to see props from the movies and meet several of the characters. There is so much to do inside, you will be able to avoid a few hours of the warm weather and have learned so many cool things about Star Wars.

Top Places to Eat

If I had to pick my favorite place to eat inside Hollywood Studios, I’d say The Brown Derby that’s only because I got engaged there in March of 2008. The food is a little pricey, and if you are on the Disney Dining Plan it’s 2-table service credits.  So, keep that in mind when booking the Brown Derby.

Other great options are Mama Melrose or 50’s Primetime.

My favorite quick service inside Hollywood Studios is Pizza Rizzo. I love it because it’s towards the back of the park and typically not as crowded as other quick service locations. Also, there is plenty of indoor seating. It’s the perfect way to avoid the harsh weather.

Looking for more great weather tips? Check out my friend Keri’s post on what to do when it rains during your Disney vacation! 

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Let’s go Running and Give Kids The World in 2018

Running?

Remember when I used to run? Yeah… it was a while ago I know. After training for and completing the 2018 WDW Marathon, I decided to take a break from the sport.  I guess 3 babies in 3 years does a number on your body…😉

I’ve spent 2018 re-building my core through different beach body programs and other routines found on Youtube. I’ve also made a commitment to my husband that I wouldn’t register for any more Half Marathons or Marathons until our youngest daughter starts school (3 years to go…).

On a personal level, we just felt the commitment of training for those type of races combined with the logistics of actually attending the races is too much right now. #adulting

So, I took a break from running. Until now…

Give Kids the World

Give Kids the World is an organization in Orlando Florida that grants a wish for families with children who have life-threatening illnesses. This non-profit organization began in 1986 by hotelier Henri Landwirth. Mr. Landwirth passed away in April, but the organization continues on with the goal of making wishes come true. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Give Kids the World Village when I was in high-school. It was such a unique experience. If you ever have the chance, I recommend volunteering there!

Running: December 8, 2018

This year I have teamed up with my blogging-bestie Keri (Flipflopweekend) and our Disney Fans FB group (Join the Ohana!) to run the Give Kids the World 5K. All proceeds from the race will be given to Give Kids the World.  The GKTW 5k will be my first race since the 2018 WDW Marathon. I am so excited to participate in this event! Guess what, we are doing the virtual option, so you can join me!

REGISTER HERE! 

Running isn’t my thing…

I hear you, a lot of you perhaps aren’t into running. That’s okay, you don’t have to be a runner to participate in this race. We created a virtual team, and you can either walk, run or cycle! My friend Jennifer is actually going to be in Miami on December 8th so we are going to complete the race together!

So will you join me? Will you help Give Kids the World? 

REGISTER HERE!

Planning a trip and want to support GKTW at the same time? Check out Keri’s travel resource page. 10% of the proceeds earned through her affiliate links will be donated to Give Kids the World.

Join our Ohana! 

 

The BEST time to Meet Characters in Toy Story Land

If you are heading to Toy Story Land for the first time, I encourage you to check out my round-up of tips from bloggers, vloggers, and Moms.

Who can I Meet in Toy Story Land

Inside Toy Story Land you can meet:

  1. Buzz Lightyear
  2. Woody
  3. Jessie
  4. Green Army Men

We traveled to Toy Story Land in August of 2018, and here is where we found each of the characters.

Character: Buzz Lightyear

As you enter Toy Story Land you will be greeted by Woody with a large “Toy Story Land” sign. Directly after the welcome sign, the line forms to meet Buzz Lightyear. If you are coming to the land in the evening, he is in the same area just a little more into the land as there is better lighting for photos.

Our favorite Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear is available for photos from park open to park close (weather permitting). We found that the best time to meet Buzz was right at the park opened. Many people rush to the rides and miss the opportunity for character interaction.

Characters: Woody and Jessie

Woody and Jessie can be found just a few steps beyond the new entrance to Midway Mania. The absolute best time to meet them is right as you enter into Toy Story Land. During the morning Extra Magic Hour, the line for Woody and Jessie was only about 15-20 minutes.

Watch our Meet and Greet with Woody and Jessie

Catch our latest Disney Vlog to see the amazing character interaction and hear my tips for meeting the characters with your toddlers.

Characters: Green Army Men (Green Army Brigade)

Walking around throughout Toy Story Land and interacting with guests you will find the Green Army Men. With the opening of Toy Story Land, they changed the name to Green Army Brigade in order to include women.  There are also opportunities for toys (guests) young and old to play games with them. As long as the Army Men aren’t participating in an activity, you can approach them for a photo and autograph. The Army Men were one of the most fun parts of the atmosphere of Toy Story Land, simply because it’s not a common occurrence for characters to walk around freely among the toys (guests). I loved it!

Best Autograph Books and Alternatives

For our visit to Toy Story Land, we opted to use a Canvas panel to collect signatures. This was so that we would be able to use the signatures as artwork in our children room. My blogger pal Keri, as a whole post of ideas on autograph books, if you are looking for more creative approaches to gathering signatures.

Shop for Autograph Supplies

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Preparing for your first visit to Toy Story Land

About Toy Story Land

Today Story Land is the newest addition to the Walt Disney World Parks in Florida. It opened on Saturday, June 30th, 2018. With the opening of Toy Story Land, there are two NEW rides for guests to enjoy. Both of these rides have height requirements, so that is something to keep in mind if traveling with young children. My friend Meg, had the opportunity to interview some of the Imagineers as well as the Entertainment Director for Hollywood Studios and has lots of great information on her blog. 

Toy Story Land Opening Day (Vlogs)

Grant and Jayme’s Perspective: Flying Elephant Apparel on YOUTUBE

Missy, Casey & Elijah’s Perspective: The Wayts World 

Stephanie and Corey’s Perspective: Cory Meets World 

Preparing to Go to Toy Story Land

My husband and I will be taking our oldest daughter to Toy Story Land in August. She will be going to Preschool towards the end of the month, and so we wanted to take her on a special trip. Toy Story Land was the perfect destination for our trip. The Toy Story movies really sink into your heartstrings with reminders to play, to create and to dream. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, if it is your first time or one-hundredth time seeing the Toy Story Movies, the story is relatable to all generations. It’s that relatability that is the number one reason I believe the Toy Story Land was so heavily anticipated and has been loved by everyone who has gone.

I am so ready to PLAY BIG this summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I have been soaking in as much as I can to prepare myself for the trip and I wanted to share all my knowledge with you!

Tips from people who have gone to Toy Story Land

Protect yourself from the Sun

In Toy Story Land everything is large, this gives the illusion that YOU are one of the toys in Andy’s backyard. Due to this design, there is limited shade. As we know, the sun is the most intense between the hours of 11a and about 2p. It is crucial for guests to protect themselves from the sun.

Ways to Protect yourself from the Sun

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Drink Water

FYI – Disney does provide cups of water to guests free of charge at most quick service locations. All you have to do is ask.😉  We like to take a water bottle and ask for ice – As it melts we have nice cold water to enjoy.

Sunscreen

My absolute FAVORITE sunscreen is Babyganics. I have used this sunscreen on myself and my three children exclusively for the last four years and we have not gotten a burn. Prior to finding this sunscreen, I’d typically get burned regularly during the summer.😱 I like to buy this at my local CVS using my 30% off coupon and extra bucks. It’s a little money saving tip for my Mama’s on a budget.

Fans

Taking a small hand fan or a necklace fan like my friend Jen talks about in this video can help so much! In the video, Jen brought up an excellent point, and that is that when standing in long lines it can be a little stuffy. A small hand fan or necklace fan (like this one) can really help keep you cool as you wait for rides in the parks.  We picked ours up from our local CVS Store, but you can definitely order them on Amazon. Be sure to order some extra batteries though. ☺

The *NEW* Rides!

There are two new rides in Toy Story Land. Both of these attractions have height requirements, so you will want to be sure to get an accurate measurement of your little Mouseketeers before traveling.

Slinky Dog Dash

Undoubtedly the most anticipated ride, slinky dog dash looks like an incredible experience. In order to ride this ride, you must be at least 38 inches. This is the same for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom. So, if your toddler is able to ride this ride, they should be good to go for the NEW SLINKY DOG DASH.  

I have read several reports that claim this ride is much longer than you expect and April from Pixie Dust Savings gave this ride a thumbs up for plus-sized guests as well.  From everything I’m seeing, this ride is your number one choice for a Toy Story Land Fast Pass reservation.

If you aren’t able to score a Fast Pass for this attraction, my friend Jen (from Jen Lafforge on Youtube) said in her review of Toy Story Land that the lines went significantly down in the evening. Just a quick reminder, if you are IN LINE before the park closes, you will be able to ride the ride. Watch her review here. 

Alien Swirling Saucers

Our family has a Fast Pass for this ride when we go in August. However, many reports are saying  Fast Pass isn’t worth it. According to a few Disney Fans I follow on Instagram, this ride is a lot of fun it just goes too quickly. Since the ride is relatively short, the line moves fairly quickly. They recommend using your Fast Pass reservation for something else.

There is a height requirement for this ride of 32 inches.  Goofy’s Barn Stormer in the Magic Kingdom is 35 inches, so if your toddler can ride this ride. You are all set!

Instagram Worthy Walls

There are lots of “Instagram Worthy Walls” throughout the Disney Parks. Toy Story Land is no different. For detailed information on where to find the walls in Toy Story Land, check out Heather’s Blog.

Here are a couple fun photos of some of my friends in my Disney Fans Facebook Group! 

A post shared by M E G (@meg.for.it) on

Final Thoughts

From everything I’ve read, Toy Story Land is incredible. Walt Disney World captured the hearts of Toy Story fans young and old and I simply can’t wait to go PLAY BIG this summer with my daughter!

If you found this post helpful, I hope you’ll give it a share! – Thank you! 😍

 

Preparing to Tent-Camp at Walt Disney World

Let’s go Camping!

Camping isn’t for everyone, but I can assure you camping at Disney just might one of the most fun experiences you can have. I grew up in girl scouts, and we would always camp at Walt Disney World at least one time a year. I have very fond memories of setting up tents, playing on the beach and just exploring.

5 Things I googled before our camping trip

Is “googled” a word? Regardless. I am no stranger to camping. I’ve camped at Disney, I’ve camped in the mountains of North Carolina and throughout Florida and Georgia for much of my childhood.  However, once you have children, it seems to be a whole new world of questions and preparations that need to happen.

So, here are five things I searched on google before packing for my camping trip to Walt Disney World.

1) Is Parking Free at Fort Wildness Campground?

Ever since WDW announced they were going to start charging all overnight guests parking, there has been a lot of uncertainty about fees and such online. I wanted to be sure we budgeted appropriately for our trip, so I checked it out.

The answer is Yes. 

Standard parking is still complimentary at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. If you want more information on the parking fees, you can check out this website.

2) Do I need to bring a Towel?

The answer is Yes.

Many of the resorts at Walt Disney World have complimentary towels at their pools. Additionally, if you are staying in a resort there are towels inside your room. Tent-Camping at Walt Disney World, however, you will need to bring your own towel.  Read more about it from the Disney Parks Mom’s Panel. 

3) What if a Hurricane Comes when I’m camping?

Read the Disney Hurricane Policy Here.

I’m scheduled to camp during the month of August. As a Florida native, I am all too familiar with the possibility of hurricanes. I am thankful that Disney does have a full policy to help their guests have the most magical experience possible. Just be sure to keep your eye on the weather during Hurricane Season.

4) Can I cook and clean my dishes at my campsite?

Yes. Each campsite has its own grill and water. You will want to bring your own supplies and dishpan though.

Find out more about the accommodations here.

5) Can I come earlier than 3:00 p.m. to the campground?

Yes.

Your campsite might not be ready. However, there is a parking lot available so you can park your car and then use Disney transportation to explore the property.

What other questions do you have about camping at Fort Wilderness, am I missing anything? 

If you want to check our Fort Wilderness but aren’t sure tent-camping is for you, try renting a cabin. These are perfect for families. You can also visit the resort and join in on some of the festivities such as the evening campfire, learn more about it here.

Disney Fan or Planning a Trip?

I invite you to join my Disney Fan’s facebook group.  This group is co-admined by my friend Keri from www.flipflopweekend.com in this group there are lots of opportunities to ask questions, share stories and just talk Disney. We’d love to have you join us! 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

Our Favorite Camping Gear

Our family has a few camping items, and continue to build our collection after each trip. (Read about our first camping trip here) Here are a couple of my favorites. These links are affiliate links if you decide to purchase it will cost nothing additional for you, but your support helps keep StorybookErin.com going.  I appreciate your consideration and support.

If you found this helpful, would you mind giving it a share? ⭐

Recipe for Hidden Mickey Cookies!

Cookie Collaboration

Who wants a Cookie? I am so excited to collaborate with my new friend Bethany from The Pintastic Girls to share our favorite Cookie Recipes. Be sure to go check out The Pintastic Girls and give their channel some support! You can find them on Youtube, Twitter and Instagram! 

My Favorite Cookie Recipe

My favorite Cookie Recipe was actually found by my sister in law, and she first made it with my girls a couple of months ago. (Find the recipe here) It has become our go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and if i’m being honest – I have made it about 3x this week. It really is THAT GOOD!.

Cookie Ingredients

Again, this recipe was not created by me, it was found on pinterest.

  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Flour (Sifted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup (1-Stick) Melted Butter
  • An egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

In order to make these cookies Mickey inspired, I purchased some M&M’s and added little Mickey shapes into each of the cookies. For the Minnie Bow, I cut an M&M in half and attempted a bow look. I think it turned out pretty cute, but you definitely need to use your imagination for the Bow. 😉 For all Disney sweets inspiration, I encourage you to check out this instagram feed. She does some of the cutest little Disney treats.

How to Make the Cookies

First, combine both types of sugar with the softened or melted butter. 

Next, you will want to add the egg and vanilla. Mix the dough until well combined.

Finally, sift the flour and baking powder together.

Don’t forget the Chocolate Chips! 😍

After everything is combined, let the dough chill for about 20-30 minutes.

We like to use a tablespoon to scoop out our cookie dough, but you can use whatever you prefer for this step.

To make these cookies Disney inspired, add your M&M’s in the shape of a Mickey Mouse and bake.

Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes in the oven preheated to 350 degrees.

Pro Tip: These cookies are extremely chewy, you will want to let them cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Frugal Tip: M&M’s can be found pretty inexpensively at your local pharmacy or grocery store, and are an easy way to create Disney Inspired cookies. If you have Mickey-Loving kids like me you will want to give this little tip a try! When we made the cookies in the video we added the candies before baking. This didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. Simply because the cookies expanded. A better way would have been to let them back halfway and then add the candy for the remainder of the bake time.

 

Recommended Baking Supplies

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Visiting The Animal Kingdom at Night!

Animal Kingdom After Dark

We recently traveled to Orlando on business, and on the first night we arrived I snuck over to the Animal Kingdom and met my Disney Blogger Pal Keri from flipflopweekend.com for about an hour of mischief and fun! You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in just a short period of time!

Keri and I moderate a FB group for Disney-Fans and bloggers to connect, and would love for you to be a part! We have a lot of fun and it’s a great resource for bloggers or families planning a trip to Walt Disney World.

JOIN HERE! 

This post may contain affiliate links, it costs nothing extra to use my link but I may receive a small commission with your purchase. I thank you in advance for your support.

Must-Do One

We entered the park about 1-hour before closing and headed straight to ride Everest! This is one of my all-time favorite rides at Walt Disney World, and my Number 1 MUST-DO inside the Animal Kingdom at night.  We did have a FP+ reservation, but to be honest, there was no wait for this ride.

There is something a little more exciting about riding roller coasters at night. I’ve always preferred it – can anyone else relate?

Must-Do Two

My second MUST-DO inside the Animal Kingdom at night is the Kilimanjaro Safari! This ride is fun for the whole family and in the evening, there are animals to be seen at every turn! Like these cute Bongos!

We happened to be on one of the last trucks of the evening, and our tour guide was so fun and informative. I highly recommend the Kilimanjaro Safari at night!

Must-Do Three

The third MUST-DO inside the Animal Kingdom at night is to enjoy the ambiance. The park has such a unique vibe after dark. I’d been wanting to find this instagram famous wall, and Keri was so gracious to help me find it!

If you want to find it yourself, look inside the Harambe Village – If you’re hungry I recommend any of the food stands in the village they are excellent! Our favorite menu item is the Grilled Chicken Skewer!

See the full menu here! 

There are no fireworks inside the Animal Kingdom, but you can see some while on the Safari if you time it right. You can also watch the Rivers of Light show, or the watch the Tree of life sparkle and shine with a beautiful show set to music.

Personally, I have not watched either show from start to finish. However, the parts I’ve seen are so beautifully done.

Must-Do Bonus!

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Pandora. Pandora – the world of Avatar opened in summer of 2017 and has been dazzling guests daily ever since! One of my favorite things about this new section of the park is the way that it seems to sparkle as you walk through it during the evening.

While in Pandora, head over to Pongu Pongu for a night blossom. This beverage was all over instagram, and I was a little skeptical of how good it really was. Well, in February my family decided to give it a try and we LOVED it! This ice cold beverage is layers of frozen apple, desert pair, and lime topped with passion fruit boba balls! It can be purchased for 5.99 or by using one snack credit on the Disney dining plan! 

 

There are so many fun things to do inside the Animal Kingdom during the night, I hope you won’t skip it on your next trip!

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Here’s a family vlog from Fall of 2017 when we celebrated our youngest daughter’s 1st birthday!

The Ultimate Little Mermaid (Ariel) Experience!

The Ultimate Little Mermaid Experience

Do you have an Ariel fan in your life? Perhaps you are the mermaid fan! My youngest daughter is completely obsessed with The Little Mermaid. At around 1-year old she started to show a huge interest in this particular princess, and her love has only grown. If you are looking to build the ultimate Little Mermaid experience at Walt Disney World, this post is for you!

Finding Ariel – Without a Park Ticket

It’s true, you can find the Little Mermaid without a park ticket!

Art of Animation Resort

Walt Disney’s Art of Animation has an entire section dedicated to The Little Mermaid. In this resort, you can stay in a Little Mermaid themed room, swim in the pool or explore the props throughout the resort.

Electric Water Pagent

Find a spot on the seven seas lagoon between 9-10 p.m. and watch the Electic Water Pagent. You will find Dolphins, King Triton, and other Little Mermaid inspired friends. My first memory of this parade is from when I was a girl scout and we’d go camping at Fort Wilderness campground. We’d find a spot on the beach each night to watch the parade!

Meet Ariel at the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast

If you want to meet Ariel and Prince Eric, book a breakfast at the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast!  We dined at Trattoria al Forno in February and had the best character interactions.  The food was also delicious!

The Magic Kingdom

There are many places inside the Magic Kingdom to find Ariel. Depending on your budget and the type of experience you want, here are a few recommendations!

Meet Ariel

Ariel’s Grotto

If you want to meet Ariel, I recommend booking at FP+ reservation for Ariel’s Grotto. Ariel is very friendly and loves to talk with all her friends. This makes for great memories, but long lines. If you aren’t able to score a FP+ reservation, you might want to go meet her in the first hour that the park is open.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Inside Cinderella’s Royal table is another place to meet Ariel. This dining experience is 2-table service credits on the dining plan and reservations are recommended 180 days prior to your visit.

Themed Ride

Under the Sea, The Journey of the Little Mermaid. Located inside New Fantasy Land this ride is a must-do for all Little Mermaid Fans! This ride is designed so that it never stops moving, making the line for this move very quickly. Our experience has been that we don’t need a FP+ reservation for the ride. Pay attention to the beautiful details inside the line, there are lots of hidden treasures that the true Little Mermaid Fan won’t want to miss.

Interested to know what the ride is like? Watch this video put together by Nicole from Happilyeverdisney.com!

Mickey’s Philharmagic

This adorable show featuring Donald Duck and all your friends has a slight peak under the sea during the show. We enjoy heading into the Philharmagic show on a particularly hot day or when it rains.

The Festival of Fantasy

See your favorite characters from Under the Sea during the afternoon Parade. I like to watch the parade from Frontier Land, but many others enjoy the main street view. The parade begins in Frontier Land and ends on Mainstreet. I find it best to consider my next fast pass before choosing a parade viewing location.

Epcot

Ariel isn’t very well represented inside Epcot, but she can be seen in Akershus Royal Table.  Our family really enjoyed this dining experience. The breakfast was very filling, and we loved that we could book the dining 1 hour before the park even opened.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has quite a few ways to soak in all the fun of the Little Mermaid. You can’t currently meet Ariel inside this park, but there are a few great experiences you won’t want to miss.

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid (show)

This 17-minute show is a fun way to get out of the sun and beat the heat during the summer. It also takes you on a musical journey through the movie, ending with the iconic transformation of Ariel as a mermaid into a human.

Fantasmic

Ariel and her prince can also be seen during the Fantasmic Show.

Animal Kingdom

There are currently no Little Mermaid experiences inside Animal Kingdom at this time.

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Oh My Disney: We are flipping our fins over a new collection featuring a Sebastian pool float, mermaid leggings and more!

 

 

Dining at the Whispering Canyon Cafe

Do you Love Mickey Waffles and a refillable skillet full of delicious Breakfast foods? You might want to check out the Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

Whispering Canyon Cafe, Location

The Whispering Canyon Cafe is located inside the Disney Wilderness Lodge. Since you are just a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom, it is perfect for breakfast before hitting the parks. If you decided to visit the Magic Kingdom, be sure to look for these little secret spots for some added Magic to your day.  We were not going to the parks on the day we ate in the Whispering Canyon, so we took some time to walk around and explore the resort.

What to Expect at the Whispering Canyon Cafe

Prior to eating in this restaurant, I asked a group of Disney Moms, and overwhelmingly they all recommended it. Instead of doing some personal research, I just booked a brunch.

When you check in for your meal there is an adorable little table with Lincoln Logs for the kids to play with. My kids loved building little cabins and making friends with other guests.

The cast members are loud, rambunctious and a have a little attitude. It’s all in good fun, and there is a cute little prank with the ketchup. Be sure to ask for some ketchup and even your kids will have the opportunity to get involved.

The food is an all-you-can-eat family style buffet. If you can’t get enough Mickey Waffles, this dining experience is for you! My favorite thing at this restaurant was the bottomless Chocolate Milkshake.

Cost

Dining at the Whispering Canyon Cafe is 1-table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

You can expect to pay between 15-25 dollars per person during breakfast.

Whispering Canyon Cafe wasn’t for us…

Despite all the great things this restaurant has to offer, and the playful atmosphere it wasn’t a good fit for our family.

My girls are quite shy and don’t like too much attention drawn to them. The charm of this restaurant is the rambunctious behavior, and little practical jokes the cast members play. From the moment we approached the counter my girls were on edge and clingy. This made it almost impossible for us to actually eat our meal. My husband and I each traded having the kids on our laps while we tried to eat our meal.

From now on, I think we will stick with Trails End.  They serve similar food and a less rowdy experience.

The Question of the day

Have you ever regretted a dining reservation?

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Why I always book a dining at Biergarten Restaurant

Biergarten Restaurant

If I had to pick one restaurant in all of Walt Disney World property to eat at for the rest of my trips to Disney, it’d be Biergarten. My husband and I have eaten at this restaurant at least six times in the last four years. To be honest, typing this post is kind of making my mouth water for some of the yummy-food they have to offer!

Restaurant Location

The restaurant is located all the way towards the back of the Germany Pavillion in Epcot. Look just behind the beautiful fountain and you will see the entrance to the restaurant. You will need to check in about 15-minutes prior to your dining reservation. We like to check in, and then sit by the fountain and enjoy the ambiance while we wait. Pro-tip. If you are traveling with children in your dinner party, request to be on the floor closest to the stage.

The Ambiance

Imagine yourself at an outdoor Oktoberfest in a village. There will be dancing, live music, communal tables and a large assortment of delicious German food. One of my favorite things about this restaurant is that once you walk inside, you really feel as though you’ve transported to Germany. Similar to the Mexican restaurant, the ambiance of the restaurant makes you feel as though you are dining in the evening. Even if you have an early afternoon meal.

Menu Options

The Biergarten Restaurant is not the healthiest restaurant on property. Although salads are available, they are not exactly known for the salad. This restaurant has incredibly seasoned meats, potatoes and a flavorful cheese soup that pairs perfectly with their pretzel bread. I think one of the reasons this restaurant is so appealing to my family is the wide variety of meats.

See the full menu here. 

I recently tried the grapefruit beer while we were dining at Biergarten. I felt the beer was a little too sweet for the main course, but paired nicely with the desserts. If you like fruity beers, you might want to give it a try. Alcoholic beverages are included in the 2018 Disney Dining Plan.  

Biergarten Restaurant Pricing

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, this restaurant is only 1-table service credit.

Adults (Lunch): 34.99

Adults (Dinner): 59.99

There is a discount of Annual Pass holders available.

This isn’t the most economical restaurant on the Walt Disney World Property. However, our family really enjoys the whole experience. Plan on about 60-90 minutes for this dining experience, and have a good time.

Is Biergarten Kid-Friendly?

Yes. Absolutely.

There is a great show that goes on while you are eating your meal. You will always see a crowd of kids both young and old dancing to the music. The show is also an educational experience as you will have the opportunity to see the types of instruments played in Germany.

Our girls actually look forward to this dining experience. I think this is because they are not required to sit still for the entire meal. Kids and families are encouraged to get up and dance and have fun.

Our family absolutely loves dining at The Biergarten Restaurant. It is one that has become a tradition for us, and one I crave when I’m home. If I had to pick a favorite, hands-down Biergarten!

 

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What’s in my Diaper Bag for Disney

Packing a diaper bag for Walt Disney World can be a little overwhelming. In fact, my first trip to Disney with my oldest I packed WAY too many things but still seemed to not have what I needed. It was crazy to me that we had so many things, but I still felt under prepared!

Now that I am a mom of three (ages 4,3 and 18m) and annual pass holder, I finally feel like I’ve wrapped my mind around packing for the parks!

Diaper Bag Pre-Packing

When packing your diaper bag it is important to consider a couple of key things.

  1. Weather
  2. Reservations
  3. Amount of time in the park

Florida weather can be pretty fickle. I’ve been in the parks when the weather has gone from 70’s to 40’s in just a few hours. When packing your diaper bag, consider the weather. Sometimes the weather is a little rainy in the parks, my friend Keri has some great tips on what to do when it rains at Disney on this post. 

You will also want to consider your dining reservations or fast pass+. If you are going to be dining with Mickey and Minnie or some of the Princesses, you will want to make sure your outfits and your children’s clothing are ready for all the photo opportunities. I often change my girl’s outfits right before a fastpass+ reservation, just so they are clean and fresh for the photopass pictures.

Lastly, how long will you be in the park? Are you planning a rope drop to fireworks day? Do you plan to head back to the hotel for naps or some time in the pool? The longer you plan to be in the park, the more diapers and outfit options you will need.

My Diaper Bag Essentials

These are the essentials I like to have on-hand in my diaper bag for a typical day in the parks during the Spring and Summer. Again, this is for my family of 5. I have a 4-year-old, a 3-year-old (almost fully potty trained), and 18m old. This post does contain affiliate links. It costs nothing extra for you, but your support helps our family.

If you have more than one child, I recommend a backpack. Be as hands-free as possible for your day at the parks! Our “diaper bag” is my husband’s college backpack.  I’ve tried to find a replacement that we loved, but the truth is, we just are more comfortable with the backpack.

 

Disney Resources

If you love Walt Disney World or are planning a trip soon. I invite you to join me in my Disney Fans Facebook Group. 

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What’s in my (Disney) Bag: First Aid Essentials

Walt Disney World is equipped with incredible First Aid Stations. I’ve personally visited them and directed guests to them on a few occasions. – They are AWESOME! Although Disney does provide this (free) resource for their guests, it isn’t always in a convenient location. That is why I like to pack a few essentials in my backpack!

If you do end up visiting First Aid, you will get an adorable little Nurse Mickey or Nurse Minnie sticker. My kids thought this was so adorable. They would wear them with pride!

What’s in my First Aid Kit

First Aid Kits are important for mom’s to have. No matter the ages of your family, I think it’s important to have a few essential items with you. As a mom with three young children (4,3&1), I tend to keep mostly infant and toddler-friendly items with a few essentials for my husband and me.

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First Aid Essentials: Mom and Dad

The few items I like to keep in my backpack for a day at a Disney park for my husband and I include:

  • Tylonal or Ibuprofen
  • Eyeglass cleaner
  • Bandaids

 

First Aid Essentials: Infant and Toddler

  • Tylonal or Ibuprofen (with the proper dosage information)
  • Travel Size Diaper Rash Cream
  • Tums

First Aid Essentials: Other Items

There are a couple of other items that I like to keep with me when in the parks.

  • Small notebook with a pen
  • Thermometer
  • Hair ties
  • Comb

Here is a video I made to show you have I pack everything inside a small cosmetic pouch. I hope this was helpful for you as you plan a trip to Walt Disney World with your family!

What items do you keep in your first aid kit? Leave me a comment with what you recommend! If you are looking for more tips for planning an epic Disney Vacation, be sure to check out this post! 

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

Ever since Disney Parks Blog announced the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast I have been wanting to go and take my girls. My oldest daughter 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. 

Reservations at Trattoria al Forno

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 at Trattoria al Forno

The food was quite good and very filling, we each got something different off the menu and shared with each other. One of my favorite things about the restaurant is the uniquely themed pastries. 

You can check the full menu here. 

 

Do I recommend Trattoria al Forno

 
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. 

Review of Akershus. 

 

What to Expect at the Bon Voyage Breakfast 

 

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. 

Planning a Disney Trip? 

Join my FREE Disney Facebook Group! 

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* This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase it will cost nothing extra for you but a small percentage will go to support our family.

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?

This post may contain affiliate Links

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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How to stay warm before a race at Disney

Marathon Weekend 2018 was once again a very cold one at Walt Disney World, and my sweet friend spent the week before the race running around grabbing the most epic layers to keep us warm before the race.

So how does one dress when it is in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s at the start of the race?

Layers.
Beautiful, crazy layers! 

Being a Miami girl, I was pretty cold for more of the race, so I kept almost all my layers for 14 miles and then eventually had to ditch them.

Where to buy layers?
We found all our layers at Walmart for less than $10.00, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny!
What happens to the layers after you toss them?
RunDisney gathers the layers and donates them to local charities.  
Do you toss all your layers? 
No, I always keep my hat and gloves. 
I stuff them into an elastic on my running belt and keep them for the next race. 

Are you a Disney Mom or Disney Blogger?

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More RunDisney Posts

Should I take my Preschooler to Hollywood Studios?

Hollywood Studios is currently going through some major changes and with the new Toy Story section scheduled to open in the summer of 2018 and the new Star Wars land opening in 2019 you might question if you should even take your young family to Hollywood Studios at all.

Here are a few things to consider when planning your trip to Walt Disney World.

  1. Does someone in my party love all things Star Wars?
  2. Do my children like to meet the characters? 
  3. Do we enjoy watching live-action shows? 
  4. Any thrill-seeking adults in the party? 

If you answered yes to most of the questions, you probably want to consider adding a day HWS and here is why.

Star Wars

  • The Star Wars Launch Bay is a unique place in Hollywood Studios to see movie replica’s, meet star wars specific characters, and interact with Storm Troopers. 
  • Captain Phasma leads the March of the First Order through Hollywood Studios on the hour for most of the day
  • Star Wars Specific shows on the main stage, and ending the night with the Galaxy in the Stars fireworks show
  • Star Tours Ride, height requirement of 40 inches
  • Jedi Training Academy
    • Ages 4-12
    • Must register for this activity, registration is limited (information here
Unique Characters
At Hollywood Studios, there are lots of characters at Hollywood Studios both in secret, not published locations, and proper meet and greet locations. 
In Hollywood Studios, you can expect to see in a proper meet in greet:
  • Disney Junior Characters
    • Sophia the First
    • Jake the Neverland Pirate
    • Doc McStuffins
  • Fab-Five
    • Sorcerer Mickey 
    • Red Carpet Minnie
    • Pluto
  • Star Wars 
    • Chewbacca
    • Kylo Ren
    • BB-8
  • Olaf 
  • Pixar
    • Buzz and Woody
    • Cruz Remirez
In pop-up locations I’ve  seen the following characters:
  • Chip & Dale
  • Goofy
Live-Action Shows

The shows at Hollywood Studios are a lot of fun, some of our family favorites include:
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Disney Junior
  • Indiana Jones 
Thrill Rides
If there are thrill-seekers in your party, you won’t want to skip Hollywood Studios. HWS is home of my favorite roller coaster, (Rock’n Roller Coaster) and the fabulous Hollywood Tour Hotel’s Tower of Terror. 
Be sure to ask a cast member about rider swap for the thrill rides. 
Perhaps it is because Hollywood Studios is where my husband asked me to be his wife 10 years ago, but I love the theme park so much and feel it is worth considering when planning your trip to Disney.

Shop for your Disney Trip!* Twice Upon a Year – Up to 75% off when you take an extra 25% off! Code: EXTRA25. Valid 1/26/18-1/28/18. Some Restrictions Apply.


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5 Selfies to take inside the Magic Kingdom

Let’s Take a Selfie!

In an age of independence, we have traded in our high-quality photos for the perfect selfie… I love the way the girls over at What’s up Mom’s captured this concept in thier “Livin’ for the Share” parody.

Since I am known to take a few (too many) selfies to share on Social Media, I thought i’d give my top 5 selfies to take while inside the Magic Kingdom. Please note, you are not permitted to use a selfie stick on Disney property, so be sure to leave those at home.

SELFIE #1 – Transportation

On your transport of choice to the Magic Kingdom. Do you take the bus to the Magic Kingdom? Perhaps you ride on the Highway in the Sky? Maybe the boat?
No matter how to enter the Magic Kingdom, take a selfie! Capture the excitement of your crew as you approach the happiest place on earth!

SELFIE # 2 – Favorite Ride!

My favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom is Space Mountain. Since I had three babies in three years, I wasn’t able to ride it for quite a while. As soon as I was finally able to ride it again, I took that selfie! Sadly it’s a little blurry because of the low-lighting inside the ride. It’s still one of my favorite selfies i’ve ever taken in Magic Kingdom though!

Follow my Disney Bestie for adorable Disney Bounds! 

SELFIE # 3 – The Indian on Mainstreet

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been taking photos with and of the Indian on Mainstreet USA. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to look up the reason for the 2 Indians inside The Magic Kingdom. When the Magic Kingdom first opened, this statue was placed outside of the two locations you could purchase Tobacco. In the year 2,000 The Walt Disney Company stopped selling Tobacco inside Magic Kingdom Park, but the statues have remained as part of the charm on Mainstreet USA.

SELFIE 4 – Your Crew!

Each time you go to Disney it is potentially with a different Disney crew take a selfie with your crew to capture the memories from that specific day!
This is the day our daughters all got thier first haircuts on Mainstreet USA! Such an adorable and fun experience for kids! Read all about the Harmony Barbarshop and what to expect here! 

SELFIE 5 – The Castle

This photo was taken during the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon. (Read about the race here)


@StorybookErin on instagram! If you are still in the mood to take some selfies, head on over to the Purple Wall and take a selfie! Join the 25,000+ other photos on Instagram with the Hashtag of #purplewall

*Edit: The Purple Wall just got a new paint job, totally gives me Spaceship Earth Vibes. Anyone else?

 
What are YOUR favorite selfies to take inside
Magic Kingdom? 
Are you a Disney Fan or Blogger? 
SHARE ON PINTEREST
 
 

Authentic Mexican Food in Epcot: San Angel Inn Restaurante

Every Disney Fan has a bucket list of their own, maybe it’s to stay in the Grand Floridian and watch the fireworks from your balcony in your pj’s, perhaps it’s eating around the world in Epcot. One of my bucket list items was to eat at the San Angel Inn Restaurante at Epcot, and after the 2018 Disney Marathon, my husband treated me to lunch there. 

The San Angel Inn is considered a hidden gem of Epcot, simply because it is located inside the Mexican Pavilion, beyond all the little shops right next to the Three Caballeros  Gran Fiesta Tour. This restaurant has been on my bucket list for quite some time simply because the Mexican Pavilion is one of my favorite pavilions in the World Showcase, and every time I ride the “Donald Duck” ride, I am curious about what it’d be like to eat at the restaurant that you see from the ride. 

The Ambiance

As you approach the reservation desk at this restaurant, you will notice a unique charm. Even though you are inside a building, the atmosphere is as if you are dining outside on a cool evening in Mexico. The lights a dim, and the vibe is very relaxed. 

Due to the dim lights, this is not a restaurant I would take my young family too. It is more of a date-night, or adults only Disney trip type of restaurant. 

The Food

The food was very good, and the portions were large. My husband and I ordered 1 appetizer and one meal to share, and we still had plenty of leftovers. This is also a Gluten Free and Vegan-Friendly option, you just have to request a menu from your server. 

We ordered:


Combinación Mexicana

  • Braised short rib with a chile pasilla sauce over poblano-corn rajas | Enchiladas Verdes de Pollo with corn tortilla-stuffed with pulled chicken topped with melted Chihuahua cheese, queso fresco, and crema Mexicana | Chile Poblano stuffed with black beans and queso Chihuahua with chipotle-tomato sauce

Tostadas de Pollo

Crispy corn tortilla smothered with black beans and topped with chipotle chicken. Garnished with crema Mexicana and queso fresco, avocado, and tomatillo sauce

Blood Orange Margarita 

Tequila, orange liqueur, sweet-tart mix of blood orange juice topped with wildberry foam on the rocks with Tajin chili powder rim
Blood Orange Margarita 

I wasn’t exactly a fan of the Margarita, but I wasn’t surprised about that because I very rarely drink any alcohol. 

The Tostadas de Pollo was absolutely delicious, very fresh and tasty.

The combination platter was also very good, I really enjoyed the ribs – they really had a nice spice to them! 

The Cost
In all honesty, I felt this restaurant was a little over-priced for what the food is. 
Yes, the food was delicious.
Yes, the ambiance was everything I thought it’d be. 
Unfortunately, I just felt like I would have been just as happy at the Taco Stand just outside the Pavilion. 

If this restaurant is on your bucket list, or you are looking for a place to escape the Florida heat in the summertime, you might want to check it out. But, if you just want to satisfy a craving for some great Mexican food without breaking the bank, you might want to check out La Cantina de San Angel (Menu) It is the quick service stand located right across from the Pavilion. I craved their nachos so much during my third pregnancy! 😉 
Heading into my favorite Pavilion!

You might Also like…
Best Rides for Babies in Epcot! 
Star Wars Half Marathon – Race Recap

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Did I meet my goal at the 2018 Disney Marathon?

If you’ve been on Instagram for 1/2 a second, you most likely saw too many a few photos from the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon! Today, I’m going to share photos from all along the course.
**SPOILER ALERT** I had so much fun at the WDW Marathon, and can’t wait to run it again!

The Course! 

Bundled up at the Start! 

Twinning is Winning! 

Miles 1-3

The first 5k really seemed to fly by, I started the race with my friend Stephanie and we were sticking to a run-walk interval of 30/30.

Stephanie and I parted ways just after the ticket and transportation center (between mile 3 and 4) because she needed to use the bathroom. 

Miles 4-7
Here is where we enter into the Magic Kingdom, I wanted to run with my friend and I was doing pretty well with my timing so when I saw some short lines of characters, I decided to get some fun photos! 

Running from the sweepers! 

The third *evil* step sister 😉 

 Miles 7-12

I saw my chEAR squad at the Grand Floridian, got a hug from my husband and kept on running. I had take my sweet time through the Magic Kingdom and knew I needed to make up some time while the weather was still cool and I was feeling good.

My daughters have recently been obsessed with Mary Poppins, so a photo with the Penguins was a MUST DO for me!

I actually kind of enjoyed this section of the course and even had negative splits! Around mile 8 I saw my friend Stephanie, and felt relieved that she was still in this! 
Miles 13-14
Animal Kingdom, … I started to get emotional at this point in the race. I had been feeling SO great during the first half of the race, but now I was getting nervous. I hadn’t heard from my friend in a while, I was starting to get nervous for her sake. I didn’t want her to get swept, I didn’t want to get swept. 
Another hug from my husband and a tissue from my sister and I was on my way to ESPN, Wide World of Sports! 
It was in Animal Kingdom that I had to finally ditch my blanket. I used the restroom and just couldn’t get it tied back on me comfortably, so on trashcan just outside of the Finding Nemo Show, I left my fabulous tie dye blanket. 

Miles 14-18

After a clif bar and a hug, I was ready to head back out to Osceola Parkway for the long stretch to ESPN, Wide World of Sports.

Miles 18-20

ESPN… Oh, ESPN… I didn’t remember it being this awful. Perhaps its because in 2015 when I ran the Goofy Challenge my sisters were chEARing for me in the parking lot… perhaps it is because there was a huge crowd of people, I don’t know but RunDisney… You NEED to get some more support on this section of the course. – Seriously, hear our plea…

When I made it to ESPN, it was pretty evident that I was towards the back of the pack. I hadn’t heard from Stephanie in a LONG time, and the sun was out and the winds were up. I was a weird combination of hot, cold and just plain miserable. With views of construction, direct sun, high winds and essentially zero cheering zones, I was one hot mess.

 Miles 20-23

Just leaving ESPN, I found myself amidst the 7-hour pace group. The Walt Disney Marathon has a time limit and you are required to maintain a 16-minute mile, or else you are at risk of being swept. So, when I saw that Jeff Galloway Pacer holding a 7-hour sign, I latched onto the group and with everything I had in me stuck with the intervals.

At one point I confirmed with another runner when we were safe from being swept because I was so scared I was going to end up on the “Parade Bus”.

I didn’t take photos during this time, I was focused on sticking to the intervals and not getting swept.

Mile 23-24

Finally made it into Hollywood Studios, where we were handed Halloween Candy… (Um, seriously RunDisney? Candy Corn M&M’s?  – No thanks). I stuffed the Candy Corn M&M’s in my bra and grabbed plain M&M’s down a little further and tried to relax a bit since I was almost beyond all the sweeper busses!

“There you are”

I hear from the crowd at Mile 24, I look up and see Chris searching the crowd desperate to find me. I smiled a little brighter after seeing him there and started to make my way towards the finish line. I knew he’d never make it to the finish line to see me, so I made the decision to soak everything in. 
I would stop for any photo I wanted, and venture off course to find a snack to eat at the finish line. I worked hard for this moment, and I wanted to enjoy it! 

Miles 24-26.2


THANK YOU RUNDISNEY VOLUNTEERS!
26.2 Magical Miles! 


 So what’s next for me? 
I promised my husband, NO more Full Marathons until after all our girls start school. Therefore, I’m going to focus on improving my time on the 10K, and Half Marathon before taking another 26.2-mile journey.

Thank you so much for all the love and support during this journey. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and ability to participate and complete the 2018 Walt Disney Marathon!

Finally, thank you to my number one fan, the man who sacrificed so many Saturday mornings of sleeping to watch our girls so I could complete my training runs. I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line without the many people who took a turn watching the girls so I could run.

Sharing is caring!

P.S. I friend Stephanie DID finish the race! 😉 

My Goals for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon!

Happy Friday!
Today is the day I head over to Walt Disney World, to join in on all the fun of Marathon Weekend! The weather has been extremely cold in Orlando the last few days but looks like it should be warming up for the Full Marathon on Sunday. So, here’s hoping it stays in the 40-60 range. 
I can work with 40-60 degree weather, in fact, I think that’s perfect for the actual running of the marathon. I’m a little nervous about waiting in the corrals for the cold, but I’m not going to stress too badly. 
I’ve seen a lot of my running/blogging friends split their goals into two parts, an A goal and a B goal, so I am jumping on that band-wagon and also sharing two sets of goals. 

Goal A – Best. Race. Ever! 
  • Stop for 3 Character photos along the course 
  • Take a photo in every park 
  • Beat my current PR 7:01:17 (Read about it here
  • Finish with a smile 
  • Finish without getting injured 
Goal B – Best-ish. Race. Ever! 
  • Stop for 2 character photos along the course
  • take a photo in every park 
  • Finish the race without getting swept
  • Don’t get injured. 
I think these goals are absolutely attainable and am looking forward to the actual race. My nerves got the better of me today, and if you watched my Instastories you saw I was totally sick, but I’m feeling much better now. – Thank you to the many people who reached out and offered kind words. 

I can’t wait to share all about the weekend, I’m not sure how active I will be on social media, I will probably be the most active over on Twitter, so be sure to follow along! 
Thanks so much to everyone supporting me and chEARing me on through this journey. It means the world to me. 

My outfit for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

Happy Walt Disney World Wednesday!

We are just a few days away from the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon, those who are running the 5K, or Dopey Challenge are already en-route to the Happiest Place on Earth, but some of us won’t be heading towards Orlando until later in the week.

I’m not going to lie, my Instagram feed is full of amazing pictures of people soaking in the fun at the parks before the craziness of RunDisney weekend sets in, and I’m slightly jealous. So, to combat my fear of missing out I’m going to share my costume for the Marathon!

Originally, I was going to be someone very Shiney… 😉

I even bought a shell to spray paint for my Moana Crab (Tamatoa) costume. However, as the race approached I didn’t feel like I’d do the costume justice and genuinely felt like the shell would annoy me. So, I ditched that idea and started over. 
Training with three kids, ages 3 and under proved to be much harder than I thought it’d be. Throw in an exclusively breastfed infant who refused a bottle for most of her life, and you’ve got my reality.

Training for this race was harder than I anticipated, 
but I got it done! 
Around the time I was trying to find a new costume inspiration, my daughters had been requesting to watch Peter Pan on repeat, and I’m glad they did. 
For the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon, 
my costume is inspired by the Movie Peter Pan! 

If I have time, I plan to add a red feather to my visor, and white pom poms to my shoes.  We will see if I can make it out to a craft store for the supplies.
Costume Details! 
  • Shirt: Raw Threads, get yours here.
    • sign up for their newsletter, they always have amazing sales! 
  • Shorts: Under Armour Compression Shorts
    • These shorts are my favorite! They even work well during pregnancy. 

  • Skirt: Sparkle Athletic
    • sign up for their newsletter, they also have amazing sales! 
  • Timer: Gymboss
    • I plan to do 30/30 Run Walk Intervals for the Marathon, I felt it gives me a nice and comfortable pace. One that I can maintain for all 26.2 miles!  
  • Watch: Garmin Forerunner 220
    • Love this watch, it’s super simple to use and has very limited bells and whistles. It’s an older model watch, but it’s perfect for what I need. 
  • Costume Inspiration, Peter Pan! 
Who is your favorite Character in Neverland? 
Pin for later… 


What I carry with me for a Marathon

We are just a few days away from the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon!

I literally am bursting with excitement for the Marathon, I had some struggles with my training but overall I feel confident in my abilities to complete the race! 
So, as I put together my lists of things I’ll be taking with me along the course, I thought I’d share it with you! 
Running Belt
I purchased this running belt prior to the 2015 Goofy Challenge, and have used it for most of my big races ever since. I’ve also purchased a handheld water bottle but found it to be difficult to take pictures while holding the bottle – so, for the 2018 WDW Marathon, I will be pulling out my running belt once again!

It does have some bounce, but I don’t find it to be unbearable. 

If a handheld water bottle is more comfortable for you, check out this one. I used it for the Navy Air-Force half last September and liked it. Like I said, it was hard to take photos while holding this bottle, and since I’m running at Disney, I know I’ll want to take a lot of photos! 
What’s inside my running belt? 
  • Fuel
  • Tums
  • Tissues
  • Vaseline
  • Headphones
  • ID
  • Cash
  • Ipod
  • Phone 
  • 2 Pieces of Chocolate for Mile 20
Fuel
For this training cycle, I’ve found pretzels to be my preferred fuel. I find that the mixture of carbs and salt seem to be just right for my body. 
I’ve also been using some of these Clif Shot Blocks. They aren’t my favorite, as far as taste, but I know my body responds well to these for a boost of sugar during the Marathon. I tested our Skittles but found they gave me heartburn.

Tums
I sometimes get nauseated after my long runs, so I decided to take a few tums with me for right after the race. I considered having my husband keep them with him, but since it takes time to find each other after the race, I want to be sure I have what I need. 
Tissues
In case my nose starts to run, or I find myself in a port-o-potty without any toilet paper, I’ll have what I need. 
Vaseline
In case of chaffing. 
Ipod and Headphones 
I don’t know if I’ll run with them during this marathon, but it helps me stay calm while in the corrals. I can’t stand all the chatter around me, so my headphones help me to get into the zone!
Phone
My phone to contact my hubby, and take way too many photos! 
ID and Cash
For my safety, I always like to have my ID and a little bit of cash on me. 
Chocolate for Mile 20
Because when I make it to mile 20, I want to celebrate with some chocolate! I did this during my first Marathon, and it really did give me quite a boost! 
What’s on your list of MUST have’s for running a Marathon?

Sharing is Caring, Pin for later! 

Win an Authentic Disney Parks Pin from StorybookErin

Source: GIPHY
I am overwhelmed with gratitude! My little corner of the internet is growing, and I am pleased to announce that I have almost reached my goal on Twitter, in fact, I am so close that I’ve decided to host the giveaway! 
In October of this year, I was feeling so defeated as a blogger. So, I set a goal and if I accomplished it I would redesign my blog, and launch it in 2018. 
So, what was my goal? 

My goal was to increase my Social Media Following by 20%  in two months. 

I reached that goal fairly quickly on all social media platforms, except Twitter. So, I’ve been hanging out on twitter a lot these days and having a blast connecting with people! 
So much fun that I’ve decided that even though I am 44 followers short of my goal, I am going to host the giveaway anyway! 
What will I win?
I have purchased an Authentic Disney Parks Pin, for one LUCKY Follower!! 
How to Enter
  1. Follow @StorybookErin on Twitter 
  2. Tweet to me your Favorite Disney Ride and hashtag, #StorybookErinsmagicalgiveaway
    • Be sure to tag me @StorybookErin so that I can count your entry for the Giveaway! 
** This Giveaway is not sponsored or affiliated with Twitter**

That is it! Good Luck to all who enter!! 


2018 WDW Marathon, Planning, Packing and the Party at the Finish

Source:  GIPHY
Give yourself a HIGH-FIVE! 
Not only have you made the commitment to run a MARATHON, but YOU have made it to the end of your training! If you are anything like me, you’ve probably had some challenges along the way. 
In my opinion, challenges are a part of the Journey to the Marathon, and it is how we respond and how we keep going that will prepare us for the Marathon!  So, here’s to YOU! 
Source: GIPHY
Now that we are less than 20 days away from the Walt Disney World Marathon, I thought I’d share some of the things this Florida native is doing to get myself prepared. 
RunDisney Forms & Information
I am sticking close to the RunDisney website, Facebook, and Twitter for any and all information I can gather. I like to have as much knowledge as possible BEFORE the race weekend, simply because the race is SO huge and SO overwhelming that I don’t want to miss out. 
Here are a few KEY things you will need before you head to the Expo! 
Forgetting to print out your waiver is not  the end of the world, they will have computers and printers available at the Expo for you to print out, but you might want to go ahead and take a look at the waiver because printed on the bottom you will find your much-anticipated BIB NUMBER

2. Bib Number 
Your Bib Number helps you understand where you will line up and begin on race day. You as a runner, want to be as close to the start line as possible, this gives you an advantage because there are fewer people on the course. So, once you’ve gotten your bib number head on over and check out your CORRAL PLACEMENT

3. Corral Placement
In order to keep some kind of order on the course, RunDisney separates all the runners into Corrals. Each Corral represents a predicted pace. This is why it is crucial to submit a proof of time by the deadline, you might remember my fail of an attempt for a proof of time from earlier this fall (Refresh your memory
For the 2018 WDW Marathon, my POT landed me a spot in the G corral, so if you are in my corral – say Hi! 
Find out your Corral Here. 
You might always want to check out the Event Guide to see where your favorite vendors will be and start following them on Social Media. The girls over at Sparkle Athletic are amazing on Social Media and are always giving away prizes, so make sure you follow along! 
Sparkly Soul has also been known to host a giveaway or surprise sale to their social media followers! 
Now that you are RIDICULOUSLY excited for the weekend, let’s talk PACKING! 

The weather in Orlando during the months of December and January are awful to predict, but here is what I can tell you based on the last couple of years of following along with this race.
In 2015, when I ran the Goofy Challenge with my husband Orlando was hit with a crazy cool front, that put the runners of the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon under FREEZING conditions at the start. I’m not talking, “freezing” for a Floridian, I’m talking actual freezing, in the 20’s weather! 
The Half Marathon was so cold for this Miami girl, that I actually ran the entire race in Sweat Pants!

2015, 5 months pregnant with Baby # 2 
In 2017 my sisters were scheduled to run the Goofy Challenge, but when torrential downpours happened on Friday night and into Saturday the race was actually CANCELLED and on Sunday it was absolutely freezing for the Marathon. 

It is still too early to do a weather watch for the 2018 Marathon weekend, but typically about 10 days prior you can start to see what you might expect for RACE DAY!

So, how should you pack for the WDW Marathon Weekend?

Pack in layers for all types of weather.

Here are some of my favorite race day options to stay warm before the race!*

You’ve done the training, you’ve prepared yourself as much as possible for the festivities of the weekend, now it’s time to Party!

Source: GIPHY
Now is not the time to be stressing over anything, except how much fun you will have! If you’ve been training and putting in the work to the best of your abilities than now is the time to sit back and enjoy the experience. There is truly nothing like running a Walt Disney World Marathon! 
Read all about my first WDW Marathon here.

Sharing is caring… 


Quick, Easy, Frugal Friendly Sugar Scrub Recipe

Frugal Friendly Sugar Scrub

Disney Springs: Must Do

One of my favorite places to go to in Disney Springs is Basin.  Today I am going to share with you how I make my DIY scrub with just a few ingredients.  Visiting Basin is such a fun experience. I just love all the unique fragrances, hydrating scrubs, and Magical soaps!  One of my favorite products is the body scrub. I love the way it makes my skin feel. Since adding a couple of princesses to our family, we don’t get to shop in Disney Springs or visit Basin very often anymore. When I realized that I could make my own at home with only a few ingredients, I was thrilled.

Basin sells a jar of their body scrub for around $35.00, but you can make your own with just three ingredients that you might already have in your home!

Uses for the Sugar Scrub

I recently used to create party favors for my sister in law’s baby shower. This recipe was so easy that my three-year-old was able to mix the scrub and help assemble the jars for gifting. This scrub is great for gifts, or to use personally in your home.

DIY Body Scrub

Some of my favorite essential oil scents to try. 

  • Lavender
  • Lavender and Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Peppermint and Lavender
  • DoTerra Serenity

Why Fractionated Coconut Oil?

Fractionated coconut oil has been processed to remove the coconut scent, and also will not harden in cooler temperatures.

 


Can I use regular olive oil or coconut oil for the scrub? 

Yes. You can certainly use olive oil or the coconut oil for the scrub, I have. However, please be aware that the scent of the oil can be overpowering.

Where I buy DoTerra Essential Oils

I purchase my DoTerra essential oils directly from my mom who is a DoTerra Wellness Advocate. She has used EO’s for many years and has a lot of information on improving health and well-being through the use of EO’s. I’d encourage you to connect with her to purchase some oils of your own.


Purchase Oils Here! 

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl add a 50/50 mix of sugar and coconut oil.
  2. Add 10-15 drops of essential oils
  3. Stir until you have created the consistency you prefer
    1. If the mix is too wet, add Sugar
    2. In the mix is too dry, add oil
  4. Store in a glass container and enjoy!

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Disney Tip: 

Basin can be found in two places on the Disney World Property.
1. In Disney Springs
2. The Grand Floridian Resort
I love to go to the one inside the Grand Floridian as it is a much smaller store, and never as crowded as the one in Disney Springs. You’ll also get a chance to check out the beautiful Disney resort! *Pay attention to the floor in the Grand Floridian Lobby, you might spot some Disney Pals in the tile designs.

Get into the Holiday Spirit with this FREE Disney Experience

Want to Experience some Disney Magic this Holiday Season, but would prefer not to pay the hefty price tag for a park ticket? Check out the Christmas Tree Trail in Disney Springs!

November 10, 2017, through January 7, 2018, experience 
this festive holiday experience 
FOR FREE!


Where to park
The Christmas Tree Trail is located in the Market Place, very near to the Days of Christmas shop. However, there parking on that side of Disney Springs can be quite hectic and often full. Instead of parking on the Marketplace side, park in the Orange Garage and either walk or take the short boat ride to the other side of Disney Springs. The boat ride drops you off just outside the exit to the trail, so this option is especially great if you are traveling with any young children. 
The Christmas Tree trail features 25 trees beautifully themed after a Disney Character or one of your favorite movies.  You will also experience festive holiday music, snow and can even make reservations to see Santa Clause himself.  More details here
Each tree was beautifully themed, with intricate details about either the movie or character so you can either take a long leisurely stroll through the trail exploring each detail or just walk through enjoying the ambiance.  (Full Walking Tour on our Youtube Channel)

Whether you are leisurely walking through searching for Hidden Mickey’s and Secret details or chasing your toddlers through the trail, take a look at the tree toppers, each one was so unique and so beautiful. My favorite was Miss Piggy on the Muppet Tree! 
For an added treat to the Disney fan, pay attention to the signage around each tree. 
This Disney Magic experience is sure to get you into the Holiday Spirit! 
If you are traveling with older Children, or adults only check out Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt. This FREE Scavenger hunt through Disney Springs. Ask a cast member for your guide, and head on a tour through Disney Springs. If you complete the hunt, you will be eligible for a surprise! This activity could absolutely be completed with babies and toddlers but might be a little more challenging. 
If you are looking to add some FREE Disney Magic to your holidays, check out these two great Family Friendly Experiences in Disney Springs! 
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! 
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Add to the Magic with these Fun and Festive Products!*


*Amazon Affiliate Link. 

What’s in my Lunchbox? Family of 5

Need some lunchbox inspiration? Look no further! Here are the items that I pack for an afternoon at the Zoo, Park or Theme Park with my family!

  • Sandwiches 
    • Peanut Butter only for the girls, cut into fun shapes!
    • Peanut Butter and Jelly for my husband and I
  • Nuts (for mom and Dad)
    • Almonds have been my favorite right now 
  • Fruit (pick 2)
    • Apples
    • Grapes
    • Clementines
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
  • Veggies (1 or 2)
    • Grape Tomatoes
    • Carrots
    • Cucumbers
    • Peppers
  • Cheese
    • Cubed
    • Cheese Stick
  • Yogurt
    • I like to freeze them, they are the perfect temperature by the time we eat lunch 
  • Something Crunchy (1 or 2)
    • Granola Bars
    • Puffs
    • Cereal
    • Pretzels
My current favorite lunch box is one that I purchased from my friend Deanna who is a Thirty-One consultant. 
The Around the Clock Thermal is perfect for packing lots of snacks for your day at a theme park, the local park or zoo. Some of my favorite features include a long strap for cross body carrying, front zipper to carry hand sanitizer and a small trash bag. 
Current Price: $30.00
Get yours from your local thirty-one representative or from my friend Deanna
Let’s support as many small shops and small businesses as we can this Holiday Season. Let me know in the comments below, what are some of your favorite small businesses? 

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    Harmony Barbershop, Walt Disney World

    Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls,

    Welcome to the Magic Kingdom –

    Where Dreams Come True!

    If you dream of creating a magical experience for your child’s first haircut, I urge you to consider Harmony Barbershop on Main Street, in Walt Disney World.   Each stylist at Harmony Barbershop is a state-licensed cosmetologist, armed with stickers and pixie dust to ensure a magical experience.

    The “My First Haircut Package” is only $25.00, and includes a personalized certificate, a small piece amount of hair from the first cut, and commemorative Mickey Ears!  Harmony Barbershop also offers haircuts for children (9 and under) for $18.00 and an adult haircut is $19.00.

    Although there are a few walk-in appointments available, you might consider calling ahead to make a reservation. Especially since you will be using some of your time inside the Magic Kingdom to get your haircut.

    Reservations can be made by calling (407) 939-7529
    Prior to arriving make sure your child’s hair is clean and dry and detangled. The stylists do not wash your child’s hair, but will potentially spray some water on their hair.  You have to arrive and check in about 20-30 minutes prior to your appointment, this is to ensure efficiency with appointments. After checking in for our appointment, we sat outside on Main Street and enjoyed the ambiance, took some “before” photos and listened to the Barbershop Quartet singing nearby. 

    Once it was our turn, the whole family (and I mean, the whole family) piled into the window seat of the barbershop and watched our two oldest daughter’s first haircuts. 

    The stylist first introduced herself to our daughters and gave them as many Mickey stickers as they desired, and toys to play with during the haircut.  The entire haircut lasted about 30 minutes per child and included a sprinkle of pixie dust at the end. 

    I was a little concerned that our girls would get a little anxious to get down during the middle of the haircut, so I purchased a Mickey Lollipop at the gift shop next door for them to enjoy during the haircut. 
    We had such an amazing experience at the Harmony Barbershop, and even with our large family group piled into the room we were not once treated disrespectfully or asked to rotate guests in and out of the barbershop,  it was truly a magical memory, one I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    So, if you’ve got a trip to Disney coming up and you want to add a little extra magic in your day, consider stopping by the Harmony Barbershop. Even if you aren’t getting a haircut, ask for a sprinkle of pixie dust to add a little extra sparkle to your day. 
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    Animal Kingdom: Fun Facts and Things to Do

    Jambo Friends!

    Today I’m going to share a little about Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When Animal Kingdom opened in 1998 I was approaching high school and our Disney Trips were mostly reserved for Night of Joy.

    As a result, my first visit to Animal Kingdom was a few months before my husband and I got married in 2008, and I don’t have childhood memories of this park and it just isn’t my favorite. However, once we purchased an Annual Pass to Walt Disney World, we’ve been exploring the park and I’m finding a better appreciation for this theme park – especially because of the Dumbo Style ride in Dinoland USA.

    Make sure you take some time to explore The Tree of Life as you enter Discovery Island. Standing at 145 feet tall and 50 feet wide, there are over 300 animals carved throughout, you might find your favorite mouse hidden among the branches.

    Speaking of your favorite mouse couple, take some time to go visit the Mickey and Minnie meet and greet as AK is currently the only theme park that provides an opportunity for you to meet them together. During the Holiday Season, you will even have an opportunity to see them in their festive sweaters.

    My favorite ride in Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest! Unfortunately, our children aren’t quite tall enough for the attraction. That’s why I love to take advantage of the Rider Swap that Disney offers. Before entering a ride, make sure you ask the cast member for a Rider Swap ticket so that you can switch places with whoever is watching your little ones – it’s a great perk for everyone in your party to ride the coaster without spending most of your day in line.

    While the big kids are riding Expedition Everest is the perfect time to try a Mickey’s Premium ice cream bar! There’s a quick service location just to the left of the entrance for the ride.

    Animal Kingdom is unique in that this theme park is considered more edu-tainment than entertainment. Meaning, there are lots of opportunities to create learning experiences with your family. My girls enjoy walking the nature trails, visiting the tigers and visiting the aviary, make sure you pick up an animal guide at the front of the trails this creates a fun game while searching for the animals.

    There is so much more to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll see why it’s quickly becoming one of my more preferred parks to visit, especially with my young family.

    So what do you think, is Animal Kingdom a MUST SEE or MUST SKIP?

    Want more Disney? Check out our Animal Kingdom Vlog on Youtube! 

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    From the Archives: My Experience at the 2015 Marathon

    Hiya Pals!

    Happy Throwback Thursday, as I prepare for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon I can’t help but reminsce about the first time I ran a Marathon!

    My desire to run the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge started after my first 5K, That’s right before I even ran the Princess Half  I had decided that I wanted to run the biggest, baddest, RunDisney race (at the time) of them all!!

    Goofy’s Race & a Half Challenge! 

    Of course, since then RunDisney has added the Dopey Challenge – so Goofy isn’t as highly recognized as being a big deal… but… Mr. Goof’ I think your race is pretty sweet, and to be honest… Even just part of the Goofy Challenge is pretty tough – and something you have to train for.

    But … enough babble – let me actually talk about the race.

    The Night Before
    The night before the race we had dinner with our families (yep.. OUR families) So, my Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother in law. Along with my Mom, Dad, Grandma, Sister, Sister, Brother in Law & Niece all got together at the Olive Garden for some dinner.

    Of course, Little Lady and Little Miss stole the show with their cuteness and I could barely eat. I just didn’t feel good, and nothing on the menu seemed appetizing so… I picked at my food and shared with Little Lady.

    We got back to the hotel room, organized our things for the race in the morning and went to bed as early as possible.

    The Middle of the Night
    Little Lady had gotten cold in the middle of the night, and so I snuggled with her until the alarm went off and it was time to get ready to go!

    Little Lady was snuggled warmly on our bed, and we began to get ready to go. I felt really stiff so I grabbed my headphones and my iPhone and went through a Yoga Sequence (Yoga with Adrienne).

    Pre- Race
    We were in Corral O, which is pretty much the last corral to start. I mentioned that there was whining before the half, and honestly… what’s the deal?  To block out the noise around my I put some music on and tried to get my nerves in check before the race.

    Miles 1-5 
    Just like the half, these miles seemed to FLY by. We didn’t really go FAST, in fact, I was a little dehydrated, so I had to drink a little more water than I wanted to in order to avoid a cramp. So, an extra bathroom stop became necessary – which made our time a little slower. My sisters and niece had decided to follow us along the course – it was a HUGE surprise to see them when we turned onto Main Street. I almost cried, because… there it was… The castle, and my sisters cheering me on!
    I defiantly had an “is this real life” moment.

    Miles 6-12
    A blur… I stayed so focused on my 1 min walk / 1 min run ratio, and was determined NOT to get swept, I just buckled down and ran. I will say, I do remember this being a really boring section of the course. A special thank you to the employee in the Animal Kingdom the words “course to the left, bathrooms to the right” sounded so beautiful to this preggo.

    At mile 12 I ate a Clif Bar and treated the second half of the course like “just another half marathon”. I think breaking it down like that really helped me.

    13.1
    As we crossed the Half Marathon mark I heard a lady say her friend was swept at mile 10. I got scared… Truly – it lit a fire under me because I was NOT ready to be swept. I’d trained too long and hard for this, I WOULD finish.

    13.1 – 17
    So,  this was another really boring part of the course. My husband saw Little John from REALLY far back and ran ahead to get in line. Robin Hood is his FAVORITE Disney movie, and he’d never seen Friar Tuck out for pictures. So, we waited in line.

    He didn’t know about what I overheard, and how terrified I was of getting swept.

    Also during this stretch, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said “I know you”, at first I was a little surprised because I was so focused on my intervals I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me, but it was pretty neat to be recognized.

    Mile 17.
    Is there anything as disheartening as seeing the mile marker for mile 17, then a BUNCH of people turning into the road that leads to MGM at Mile 21 right next to you? Yeah, don’t think so.  I’d noticed it but didn’t want to think about it. Until some total stranger taps me on the shoulder and says “THAT’S MILE 21, AND WE ARE ONLY JUST AFTER MILE 17” … I could see ESPN Wide World of Sports, and I knew it’d probably be a scenic 5 miles, but … now all I could think about was how many miles we had left and how much I had to use the bathroom (again!).

    ESPN Wide World of Sports
    We made it. The Wide World of Sports, full of interesting things to look at, a banana fuel station, a cold wet towel, lots of people cheering you on – it was a dream. I (sadly) had to pee SO badly. Our time suffered greatly because we waited about 5 minutes for a bathroom. Annoyed almost to the brink of tears, I held it together. During the WWOS we also ran the track that we’d just run for the kid’s races, so naturally, I started thinking about Little Lady about how much I missed her, and how someday I’d get to tell her and the little love bug inside of me all about our first Marathon. The two of them were such a big part of it – I guess mile 19 brought out the sentimental side of me?  We saw my sisters again, and got some more hugs and were on our way.

    I’d saved a FunSize Hershey bar for mile 20 celebration. I knew if I made it to Mile 20 without being swept, I could do it!

    Mile 21 – 24
    We finally made it to MGM and the volunteers never looked more fabulous with buckets full of chocolate for us back of the pack runners. (One of the fuel stations was empty before we got there) We moved pretty quickly around the park and before we knew it, were on our way to the Board Walk. As soon as I saw the boardwalk I got so emotional.

    Why?
    1) I just ran a WHOLE lot of miles with a 25-week baby bump – I’m allowed to get emotional.
    2) The crowd on the boardwalk was vibrant! So many runners with their medals, and families, and people with “way to go” signs.
    3) We were almost “safe”

    Mile 24-26.2


    As soon as we turned the corner into the World Showcase of Epcot, I could NOT stop the tears. I’d made it. Only 2 more miles until I was given the title of “Marathoner”. I’m not talking pretty tears, I’m talking big ugly tears. Through the rain, humidity, and COLD we followed the Galloway Run/Walk, and we had done it. About the same time we made it to Epcot I noticed my watch had died, so we just did what felt good for the end. 

    We soaked in the energy from the crowd, high-fived small children, and waved to people on the sidelines, and then as we approached the finish line we smiled and waved at our families and I blew some kisses to my dear friend Lena who came to cheer me on.

    A hug from Minnie Mouse, and we crossed the finish line.

    Goofy Challenge Finishers.

    Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be running a Marathon. Never would I have imagined I’d run a Marathon at 25 weeks pregnant, but sometimes dreams change.

    I’m so thankful for the opportunity to complete the Goofy Challenge without anything more than bruised and ugly toenails.  My husband was my constant beacon of love and support, I knew he believed in me and together we could cross both finish lines for the goofy challenge. 

    I’m also thankful for our families who supported us, watched little lady for us during long training runs, fed us when I was too tired to cook, and came and cheered us all the way to the finish line. 
    Purchase your Minnie inspired tutu here!*

    We are truly blessed. 
    Now, to focus on havin’ this baby in just about 13 more weeks… 
    *This post contains affiliate links, this costs nothing extra for you but your support of StorybookErin.com is greatly appreciated. 😉

    WDW Wednesday: Magic Kingdom with Toddlers

    Hi Pals! 
    As a Disney loving mom of three young children, I’ve learned so many hacks to having an amazing day at The Magic Kingdom. Today on the vlog I share a few of my favorite tips, so I encourage you to take a look. 
    On the vlog, you will find:
    • Where to meet your favorite characters
    • Best spot for a picnic
    • How to get an extra fast pass, and give your toddler the opportunity to ride a favorite ride twice
    • Tips for having a memorable conversation with your favorite princess
    See ya real soon. 

    Tips for taking your Toddlers to the Magic Kingdom – AFTER Bedtime!

    Hiya Pals!

    In an attempt to capture as many beautiful memories of the days when we traveled through Disney with three toddlers, I have brought my Youtube Channel back to life!

    In my most recent vlog, I share several tips on how to have an amazing time in the Magic Kingdom with your toddlers after they are typically in bed. My top three tips are listed below, but lots of cute family moments are captured in the vlog, I hope you’ll take some time to check it out!

    Tip 1 
    Make sure children are well rested. Since we live about 5 hours from Walt Disney World, our children are often asleep most of the time we are driving. Since it’s next to impossible to get them to go to sleep once we get to our hotel room, we opt for a few hours of fun in the parks. 
    Tip 2
    Have a plan. 
    For this trip, we decided to grab fast passes for the Princesses and Peter Pan because those activities typically have a long line. In order to make the most of our evening, we only did things located in Fantasy Land. This helped maximize our time inside the parks. 
    Tip 3
    Utilize the Baby Center! 
    Prior to leaving the park, we like to go change our girls clothes and give them a snack. It’s quite a journey back to your car from the Magic Kingdom, so the baby center is a great way to get all our things in order before heading to our hotel. 
    What are are some of your favorites tips for having a great evening in the Magic Kingdom? Share them in the comments! 
    PIN FOR LATER 

    Budget Friendly Beauty and the Beast Party!

    Beauty and the Beast has such a special place in my heart. When it was released in 1991, I remember going to the movie theater with my neighbor to see it. It was such a big moment for me because it’s one of my first memories of going somewhere without my parents or sisters.

    For my birthday that year I got some Beauty and the Beast Sheets, that I still have and use. So, to say I’m fan of beauty and the beast might be an understatement.

    I tried not to host a Beauty and the Beast (BatB) party for our daughters first birthday, in fact I really wanted to host a Fiesta and serve tacos and play Uno. However, my husband was completely not on board with the idea so we went with BatB.

    Her name does have Belle in it… so it was the obvious choice!

    If you are looking for specifics on how to save money on hosting a Disney inspired party, check out my Rapunzel party post, it’s got lots of great tips and ideas. This post applies the same concepts, and will hopefully give you some inspiration for your upcoming celebration.

    Menu

    As you can see, we kept the menu quite simple with a few uniquely themed items. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and since we kept the menu very basic all the kids ate very well too!

    Try these at home! 
    In keeping with the rose theme, I attempted to arrange the meat and cheese like a flower.

    The Grey Stuff – It’s delicious!
    Try it at home! 
    “Snow” covered Fruit 
    Our little Belle, enjoying her muffin! 

    Activities

    Birthday parties for very young children have the potential of being a little overwhelming for the one being celebrated. In order to ease the awkwardness, we have started doing an activity for the adults. For this party, I created a trivia game and gave the guests 2 minutes to complete it.

    In addition to the trivia game, we made a slideshow of photos and had it playing on the T.V. This is a great budget-friendly way to share pictures from your child’s year without printing several copies of photos. 
    Costumes
    I purchased a few BatB patches from this etsy shop, and ironed them into white shirts for the girls to wear. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos because the girls refused to wear them.  The patches were nice quality and the shop owner was very friendly and easy to work with.
    For Belle, I purchased a blue shirt, white ribbon and felt. This created a Belle costume for less than 5.00 with supplies purchased from my local wal-mart. 

    I hope this post inspired you to think creatively when hosting a Disney inspired event. I love Disney events, be sure to tag me in your Disney inspired celebration on Instagram, @StorybookErin! 

    _ _ _
    PIN FOR LATER 

    DIY Disney: Vanellope Von Schweetz Costume

    Hello everyone! I am Dana, Storybook Erin’s sister. I ran the 2017 Goofy Challenge, with our older sister and had an adorable costume inspired by Wreck-it Ralph so, I was asked to share how I completed the look while sticking to a very small budget!

    Character Inspirations

    • Vanellope von Shweetz
    •  Taffyta Muttonfudge

    After hours of searching the Internet for easy costume ideas and only finding 2 tutorials, (Both were outside my current skill level, and more effort than I wanted to put into a costume). I realized that I could just paint on the details!

      My solution for the shirt was simple and cost less than $5.

    The Shirt

    My local Salvation Army sells all clothing for 50% off on Wednesdays, so two Wednesday in a row I went and scoured the racks. I found a short sleeve shirt with a v neck design similar to a hoodie. Next, I purchased fabric paint and polymer clay from Michael’s, so I could put the finishing details on the shirt.

    Instructions

    1. Lay the shirt on the table and use a sheet of paper to help with placement and sizing
    2.  Fold a corner of the paper down to choose the angle of the pocket
    3.  Folded the paper in half and cut the angle. 
      • Now you have a pocket stencil!
    4. Put a piece of cardboard or paper bag inside the shirt 
      • This prevents the Sharpie from bleeding through
    5. Unfold your newly made custom stencil and place on the shirt
    6. Draw a line around the stencil with Sharpie
      • PRO TIP: To prevent the sharpie from catching on the fabric, try to stipple the line on. 
    7. Paint on additional details with pink fabric paint and let dry! 

    I have continued to use my Vanellope shirt for several training runs and the paint is holding up well, even with an accidental trip through the dryer!

    The Hair Accessories

    I used polymer clay to make the hair candy according to the direction on the clay packaging and super glued the pieces on to clips. The super glue did not hold well. I had enough usable pieces on race day, but I do not recommend using super glue for the accessories. A glue gun may have worked better, but I did not have access to a glue gun while crafting my hair pieces.

    Another option I thought of for the hair pieces would have been to sew buttons onto a sweat band and use two red pipe cleaners twisted together for the look of red licorice.

    Supplies Needed w/ Cost!

    • Shirt ($2.00)
      • Thrifted
    • Pink Fabric Paint ($1.39)
      • Michaels 
        • Don’t forget to grab a coupon from their website!
    • Hair Clips ($3.50)
      • Walgreens
    • Polymer Clay x 3 ($5.07)
      • Michaels
    • Red Pipe Cleaners (FREE)
      • Personal Craft Supplies 
    • Sharpie (FREE)
      • Personal Craft Supplies
    • Brown Sparkle Skirt ($25.00)
    • Silver Sleeves ($22.00)
    • Visor ($25.00)
    • SockWell Compression Socks ($25.00)
      • Amazon.com


    Shirt and Craft Supplies Total 
    11.24 + tax


    COSTUME TOTAL 83.94 + tax

    Total I spent almost $100 on my outfit. However, when you remove items purchased from Sparkle Athletic, the total cost was less than $12.00.  

    Sparkle Skirts, Socks, Sleeves and Visors are absolutely reusable, and the quality of Sparkle Athletic items is excellent! Be sure to subscribe to their mailing list to be alerted of any sales or new products, I purchased my first sparkle gear during a Christmas in July sale.

    I hope this post inspired you to think creatively when putting together a costume, I’d love to see your creations! So please tag my sister’s Instagram if you decide to make this costume!

    Shop the Look*


    PIN FOR LATER 

    How to Host a Tangled Party on a Tiny Budget! – Part 2

    I recently shared about our daughters Rapunzel party, and how I did the whole party on a TINY budget. I thought I’d take some time to go over the DIY’s we did, and how we saved some money during the process.

    DIY Sun Stencil

    When hosting a Tangled party it is impossible to skip over the detail of the sun. The image of the sun is painted throughout the movie, and I wanted it to be a part of our party. I thought about ordering a cookie cutter of the sun that we could use as a stencil and then make cookies. However, we decided to create a stencil by using a printed out image of the sun, glued it to card board and then used an exacto knife to cut it out.

    It worked out well and we made lots of different banners with our simple stencil.

    DIY Wanted Posters

    Another detail I wanted to incorporate into the party was the Wanted Posters.  For this, we simply purchased white and brown paint poster pant. We used a car seat box for the signs, and then set up a photo booth. It was a lot of fun to see all the photos at the end of the party.  

    DIY Hair
    We hosted the party in my in-laws beautiful back yard. Ever since the pergola was completed, I couldn’t wait to decorate it for a party! Rapunzel’s hair was the PERFECT thing to do just that.  
    Originally I thought I would purchase several yellow table cloths and braid them into a long piece of hair. However, the longer I thought about it, the more complicated that seemed to be. So, we purchased a large roll of yellow plastic table cloth and cut it into three strips. 
    TIPS FOR BRAIDING 100 FEET OF HAIR
    • Unroll the Table Cloth 
    • Cut into three strips
    • put a rubber band around one end 
      • have 1 person hold the end 
    • three people will then braid the hair loosely 
      • much like in the film 

    More Hair

    We also incorporated Rapunzel’s hair into the food and beverage table. At my local walmart, yellow yarn was only .50 a package, so I purchased several packages and made several braids, and wrapped the yarn around baskets and then I hot glued a three onto a picture frame as additional decoration.  


    Tsum Tsum’s

    I found several Rapunzel Tsum Tsum’s on clearance at a Disney outlet store a few months before the party, so I just pulled them out of the toy bin and placed them around the party for additional decoration. 
    Cake Topper
    My sister in law’s wedding theme was “Best Day Ever”, and she was kind enough to allow us to use her cake topper for the wedding – it was such a beautiful touch. Instead of ordering a speciality cake, we just picked up a simple cake with flowers from the grocery store. 
    As you can see, the party was put together with very simple materials but, in my opinion looked beautiful! 
    Happy party planning! I’d love to see photos of your party, be sure to tag me on instagram so that I can see them! 
    _ _ _
    Suggested Party Supplies*

    * affiliated Links 

    How to Host a Tangled Party on a TINY Budget.

    The Setting 
    It’s two weeks before your daughter’s third birthday, and you have spent months planning all the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DIY’s you are going to do for your daughters birthday. The last thing to do is buy the supplies and your daughter a cute new dress.

    You log onto Amazon.com with your daughter to pick our a Minnie mouse dress and she asks “Where are the Rapunzel dresses for my Rapunzel party?”

    Um… What?

    Yes, that actually happened to me and I literally had 1 week to switch gears, and get my daughter’s Rapunzel party pulled together on a budget!

    Step 1: Set a Budget
    If you want to host an amazing party on a lower budget, it’s important to SET a budget with your spouse or co-party planner. It’s crucial to have open communication about the budget and keep track of your spending.

    Step 2: Head on over to Pinterest!
    I spent a few hours one-afternoon pinning ideas and writing out a shopping list.
    Check out our planning board here.

    Step 3: Know your DIY limitations
    I got really inspired on Pinterest and wanted to do so many things. However, we were on a budget and short on time so I really had to pick and choose. As much as I wanted to make lots of lanterns and hang them on the pergola, I knew I couldn’t get it done. So, I spent my time braiding yarn and making lots of banners with our stencil (made from cardboard).

    Step 4: Simplify.
    There are SO many wonderful and adorable ideas out there, you could host the same theme party every year until your child turns 18 and never have the same decorations. That’s the beauty of Disney, there are so many ways to create a beautiful party.

    Don’t get overwhelmed. Simplify your decorations, and only emphasize one or two things.  For our party, we emphasized Rapunzel’s hair and the color of her dress (purple).

    Step 5: Relax and Enjoy
    Don’t fuss over what could have been different or better. As soon as your child see’s the party all put together, I invite you to embrace the moment. Make the day special and beautiful for them. My daughter absolutely LOVED her party, and spoke about it for months after!

    Embrace the moment, capture the smiles and give the gift of your PRESENCE.

    Wishing you THE BEST DAY EVER as you celebrate the Tangled Fan in your life.

    If you are interested in the details of how we accomplished the DIY’s, I’d be happy to go into more detail! Just let me know. 

    Read PART TWO Here! 


    The Secret to Keeping Cool at Disney

    Summer heat is upon us down here in South Florida, so I decided to make some “Elsa Spray” for my husband to keep in his backpack. He bikes to and from work every day, so this spray was the perfect thing for him to have. I saw this idea originally on this blog, but added a few drops of lavender EO’s to give it a little more of a soothing property.

    It is also a great item to slip into your backpack for a trip to the theme parks. Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Disney World are all located in Sunny Florida and with limited inside rides and waiting cues, this spray could be your little secret to staying nice and cool. 

    The Recipe: 
    • 2 OZ water
    • 3 drops Peppermint Essential Oils
    • 2 Drops Lavender Essential Oils 
    The Benefits: 
    Peppermint*
    • Cooling Effect 
    • Often used to improve respiratory function
    • Can help relieve tension 
    Lavender
    • Soothing to the skin
    • Relaxing aromatic properties
    • Eases Muscle tension 
    Where do I get my Essential Oils? 
    I purchase my EO’s from my mom, who is a wellness advocate for DoTerra. With several years of personal experience with essential oils, she is a great resource. Would you consider supporting her small business?

    Kitty Slusser, Doterra

    *be sure to do your research on peppermint EO’s before using on babies and toddlers. 

    DIY Disney: Winnie the Pooh Party

    Bounce on over to the Hundred Acre Woods with me, as I share (far too many) photos and tips for hosting a BUDGET FRIENDLY Disney themed party!

    For the last few months our daughter has been in love with that silly ol’ bear we all know and love, Winnie the Pooh. So I put on my thinking cap, and headed over to Pinterest for some inspiration. With technology and accessibility of things such as Amazon Prime, it’s easy to burn through a huge amount of money on something like I party.

    It’s only natural to want the BEST party ever for your kid. You love and cherish them, why not throw the biggest, baddest, most pinterest worthy party ever?!!

    Friend, please if you click away from this post before reading until the end I beg you to please remember this.

    Build Memories with YOUR children,  not a pinterest board of activities never completed. 

    Time with our children goes so quickly, and especially in the toddler years, they LOVE to be with YOU. 


    Now that I’ve stepped down from my soap box, here’s my quick tips for hosting an AMAZING (Budget Friendly)  Disney Themed birthday party! 

    Set a Budget & Stick to It!
    It’s so hard, again with everything available at your finger tips, it’s so easy to add just one more quick thing. Resist the urge to over spend, stick to your budget!
    I actually was able to stretch our budget pretty far, thanks to all the Easter Sales. I shopped for the party the day after Easter, and got lots of carrot themed decorations, and yard games for the party. 
    If you have a theme, look around the sales and see if something can be inspired by the theme. 
    Get the Kids involved & DIY
    If you want to host a party your kids will love, and be excited about, get THEM involved. Hype the party up;
    • talk about costumes,
    • do some DIY’s together,
    • discuss who is coming
    My oldest got REALLY into the costuming for the Winnie the Pooh party, and declared that I would be Eeyore,  and daddy would be Christopher Robin.  So, of course I found a way to sneak in a little extra money to the budget so I could grab this shirt from Etsy. 
    Simplify Everything!
    Keep everything simple, and if someone offers to help. LET THEM! You want to be IN your pictures, and ENJOYING your kid right? If someone offers to help, let them! We kept our menu simple, and I had the grandparents make the sandwiches while I took a zillion pictures and experienced my toddler look around at all the decorations. 
    Thanks for joining me in Zuzu’s hundred Acre Woods, I hope you’ll take a moment to watch our Youtube video of photos from the party, and give us a thumbs up if you thought it was adorable! <3 

    Love the ears? Get the FREE printable here

    For the Cake Topper we used Little People, it doubled as a gift for our daughter. 

    Disney Nature: #BornInChina

    On Earth Day, 2017 Disney Nature will be releasing another film in their collection of nature films. Our family had the opportunity to see it before it was released to the general public, and if you want to hear our thoughts or find out if we felt it was a good idea to take our two oldest (3 & 2) to the movie, Stay tuned…

    About the Movie: 
    #BorninChina takes you into three animal families living in the wilds of China. In the short 1 hour and 16 minute film, you will have the opportunity to see a year in the life of some adorable Panda’s, Snow Leopards, Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey and a few others.

    The film is narrated by John Krasinki.
    Rating: G

    Thoughts: 
    The visuals in this movie were absolutely stunning! If you want to see the beauty of wild China where the animals roam, go see this movie you will not be disappointed. However, if you are more interested in learning facts about the habitats and survival skills it might not be the right fit for you. Yes, you will learn about how and where the animals live, but it isn’t exactly presented in the same more serious style of other nature documentaries available.

    My toddlers enjoyed the silly remarks and jokes spread throughout the film, and I enjoyed seeing their excitement about the animals.  So, although I felt it a little hard to connect with the stories, I did enjoy the visuals of the film.

    Was this film appropriate for young Toddlers? 
    Yes, the content of the film was appropriate for young children. At 1 hour and 16 minutes, it was difficult for the girls to sit still. However, the quick movement between animal stories and beautiful scenery helped keep them engaged.

    The movie does take you right into the habitats of the animals, and some images may be a little scary for younger audiences, but it provides an opportunity to talk with your children about animals and respecting them. There was one scene with the monkey’s that was a little intense and again with the leopard, but it wasn’t gruesome.

    Educational Opportunities: 
    Prior to seeing the movie, the girls and I talked about the different animals we would see. I also printed some Panda coloring pages for them to color while we chatted.

    Disney Nature has also created educational guides and activities, complete with a chart of common core standards. Perfect for Teachers or Parents to integrate into their classrooms or homes to continue the conversation with their children.

    Disney #BorninChina Educators Guide (72 Pages)
    Disney #BorninChina Activity Packet (24 Pages)

    *This is not a sponsored post, I won 4 tickets to see a preview of #borninchina from an online contest. All opinions are my own*

    DIY Disney: Tangled Tower

    Walt Disney World Wednesday

    This week I did a really simple and quick tangled inspired craft with my toddlers.  Here are 3 things to love about this craft!

    1. Hardly ANY supplies required
    2. Hardly ANY setup
    3. Great for developing those FINE MOTOR Skills!

    Here’s what you need for your Tangled inspired craft!

    Supplies:

    The Process:

    Put a bunch of holes in a piece of paper and have your children practice threading the yarn through the holes. This can be tricky for your toddlers, it’s important to guide them through the process so they have fun with it without getting frustrated.
    Once they’ve gotten the hang of threading the yarn through the holes, you can move on to the actual craft. Cut a tower out of construction paper and hole punch a few holes throughout the tower.
    Have your child thread the yarn around the tower to look much like Rapunzel’s hair when she lets it down for her mother to climb.
    Once the yarn has been threaded throughout the tower, glue or tape the tower onto a piece on green construction paper.
    My daughter then added some flowers with crayons and stickers for a little extra decoration.

    Teachable Moments:

    • Vocabulary
      •  talk with your toddler share new words with them such as and help them to say them clearly
    • Color identification
      • The colors of the flowers
      • The Hair
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • To make it a little easier, put some tape around the end of the yarn to help it thread through a little easier
    As a bonus, we watched Tangled together while we finished decorating our tower.  We hope you will give this quick and easy Tangled DIY a try and love it as much as we did!
    *this post contains affiliate links, it costs nothing extra for you but a small percentage of your purchase comes to us. 
    We appreciate your support! 

    Love this craft? Would you consider sharing it?

    Love Disney?

    Consider joining my facebook group for Disney Fans to network and share Disney Magic.

    CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

     

    DIY DISNEY: Recipe for Grey Stuff

    My three year old is really into crafting right now, and so when we ran across the recipe for “grey stuff” we knew we HAD to try it! Cooking and Crafting with your toddlers is such a fun and rewarding experience, one I highly recommend! 

    Ingredients*: 
    Instructions:
    1. Make Vanilla Pudding, as per the instructions
    2. Smash the Oreo Cookies into small pieces
    3. Mix cookies into the Vanilla pudding
    4. Add Cool Whip
    5.  Mix in 2-3 tablespoons of Chocolate pudding powder
    6. Chill before serving
    Optional:
    • Put onto brownies 
    This recipe was super easy and fun to make. I think if I were to make it again, I would just use cookies and cream pudding instead of mixing cookies into the vanilla pudding.  As far as making it with a toddler, this was great! It was great for my three year old to practice some skills. 

    Teachable Moments:
    • Discuss utensils used
    • Read together
    • Gross Motor Skills 
      • Mixing
      • Pouring
    PIN FOR LATER 

    More Disney DIY
    *this post contains affiliate links, it costs nothing extra to you but I do receive a small amount if you make a purchase.
    Here is the post where I originally found the recipe for “grey stuff”, check her channel out and give her some support. 


    DIY Disney: Moana Necklace

    I fear we are a little late on the whole Moana craze. To be honest, I didn’t know much about it, and we didn’t see it until we rented it a few days after it released on DVD. So please forgive me if the love of Moana is old news, but…we LOVED Moana! It’s so nice to have some great non-princess movies for our girls to like.

    Our oldest daughter has recently been really into crafting, and her younger sister wants to do anything and everything her big sister does. So, I’m always on the hunt for quick and easy crafts that both a 1 and 3 year old can do.

    Crafting with toddlers can feel overwhelming, but as a mom of three young ones I am here to tell you – it doesn’t have to be! This craft can be done in about 5-10 minutes and requires very few supplies, set up and clean up.

    Supplies

    • Green construction paper
    • markers (or crayons)
    • glitter glue
    • Ribbon 
    • scissors 
    The Process
    • Have your children draw several circles on the green paper
    • cut into the shape of “The Heart of Te Fiti”
    • add glitter
    • add ribbon
    My girls spent the rest of the afternoon pretending to be Moana together. So, the next time you need a quick easy craft that shows a little bit of your Disney Side, consider our heart of Te Fiti necklace!

    Express Transportation at Walt Disney World

    Have you heard about Disney’s newest mode of transportation between parks?

    Disney Transportation is a great perk for guests staying on property, guests who want to park hop and also guests who come onto Disney property to enjoy a meal at one of their fine restaurants. I’ve opted out of driving my own car in order to take advantage of the Disney transportation for years. It’s great! However, it’s a little bit slow and as we approach a major Holiday such as Christmas, the transportation services are always a little bit more crowded and a little bit slower.

    Enter. Disney Uber. It’s not really called “Disney Uber” it’s actually called “Disney Express Transportation” and in my opinion, it’s worth EVERY PENNY and here are my top 5 reasons why!

    1. VIP TREATMENT.
    Yes, VIP! You’ve seen those guests being escorted around Disney property chatting with cast members like old friends, well… that could be YOU! Once your bus arrives, you are personally escorted from inside the park to backstage, loaded on a private bus and in 10-15 minutes you are back inside another park.

    2. EMPTY AIR CONDITIONED BUS.
    True, the bus is the same one you would ride with traditional Disney transportation, but the major difference is the crowd levels. The biggest amount of guests we rode with during our trip was about 6 people. This is especially great if you have strollers and young children. Cramming yourself into a crowded bus with a toddler (or 3) is NOT easy, but you do it because you want to experience as much Disney as possible!

    Personally, I appreciated the VIP bus because we were able to spread out and feed our newborn comfortably while we went from park to park.

    3. 10-15 MINUTE COMMUTE.
    In order to maintain the 10-15 minute commute, the bus had to remain reliable. If the bus was scheduled to leave at 12:00 p.m. the bus left at 12:00 p.m. It was amazing! As an example, we went from Spaceship Earth inside Epcot at 12:00 p.m. to the FastPass Line of Rockin’ Roller Coaster inside Hollywood Studios by 12:10.

    Ready to ROCK!

    4. ONLY $15.00
    If you’ve already invested in a Park Hopper Pass, then you want to take advantage of each day by being INSIDE the parks as much as possible. For an additional 15.00 per person, this program allows you to do that. Disney is expensive, we all know that and an additional 15 dollars per person can really add up, but in my opinion, this fee is something that should be in your budget planning.

    On the last day of our Annual Pass we wanted to do the #4parkchallenge. Having the peace of mind that we’d be able to walk onto a bus to the next park at a specific time gave us the confidence to get in an extra line or two and ride some more rides before heading to our next park!

    Heading Backstage in Animal Kingdom!

    5. ONE TIME THROUGH SECURITY ALL DAY.
    Yes, you read that right! Since you are literally being escorted from the park, to a bus and back into the parks you only have to go through security 1 time. This is especially helpful if you have babies on board, and require more bags and items.  During the Holiday’s you can spend 30-45 minutes just getting from your car into the park, it’s CRAZY! Who wants to spend their Disney day in security lines? Not this girl!

    When would Disney Uber not be a good idea? Quite honestly, if you are traveling solo or with a small group without and bags, you might want to save your cash for a snack inside the park and go the traditional route of transportation for park to park. However, if you are in a hurry to get around the parks and make the most of your time INSIDE the park, Disney Express Transportation might be for you!

    Question of the day: What’s your favorite Disney ride?

    Baby Wearing at Disney, the best way to be Stroller Free!

    Stroller Free at Disney?

    Yes, my family of 5 has spent many days and nights at Walt Disney World without the stroller. There are perks to having the stroller but after so many trips of feeling overcrowded and frustrated with pushing the stroller through Main Street USA,  we’ve on more than one occasion ditched the stroller and been so much happier.

    This post contains affiliate links.

    Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

    How to be Stroller Free with Three Kids (3 and under) 

     1. Pack lightly!

    If you have young children in diapers, there is no way around the need for a certain amount of diapers and snacks, here is what I tend to pack in my backpack.
    • Diapers
    • Multiple Types of Snacks
    • 2 Servings of Milk
      • always saving one for them to drink on the way back to the hotel or car
    • Extra set of clothing

    *Updated packing list April 2017*

    2. Baby Wearing!

    The quickest way to get from place to place in the parks is by babywearing.  Our favorite baby carrier for this is the Lille Baby Airflow. You can wear it six different ways, is very breathable for the Florida heat, and even has a zipper pocket for your phone and keys. – This purchase has been worth every penny for our family!

    Lille Baby just partnered with Disney to make some adorable new prints. You can see all the new prints here on this post from Michele! 

    3. Have a goal!

    Before entering the park my husband and I like to take a few minutes to chat strategy. We go over our fast passes and decide what direction we will be going once inside the park.

    This eliminates the stress of trying to “wing it” while chasing our three children. Since we are more relaxed we are able to experience the parks with our children.

    4. Stay on property!

    This isn’t an absolute necessity in my opinion, but it does help. Especially if you have very young children and would like to rest between morning fast passes and evening shows.

    Sometimes, we just have to bring the stroller. 
    For example, if we are planning a rope drop to wishes (or Happily Ever After) type of day. In situations like this, I find it best to park my stroller in the section of the park we are exploring and walk to a few rides. Grabbing the stroller only when we are moving to a new section of the park.

     
    How about you, what are your tips for Disney with Kids? 

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    3 Tips for taking your Newborn to Disney

    A Newborn…in DISNEY?

    Yes, I took my newborn to Disney (more than once) and today I am going to share with you how I kept her safe and germ-free! I think the key to taking your newborn baby to Walt Disney World is confidence. If you feel confident about taking your child, go for it! Make memories, take photos and have a great time. If you are a little apprehensive about it, perhaps you might want to wait until they are a little older.

    Tip # 1 – Wear your baby!

    I don’t know why, but in my experience, if a baby is in a stroller people are more likely to breathe and touch them. However, if you have them tucked away nice and close to you in a baby carrier, people are more likely to give you some space! As an added bonus, baby wearing is beneficial to the emotional support of both mom and baby!

    Here are some baby carriers that I recommend.* 

    Tip # 2 – Be picky about where you change the diapers!

    Walt Disney World has these AMAZING baby centers in each of the parks. It’s not always convenient to where you are located. However, if you have a young baby with you, it is worth the trip to the baby center. There are cast members inside cleaning up after each diaper change and can help you with anything you might need.

    If you are in an emergency type (blow-out) situation, I recommend using a “companion” restroom. Your spouse and other children can come with you to help get your baby cleaned up and back out having a good time in a hurry. In my experience, not all of these restrooms have a changing table, but most of them do. Especially in Hollywood Studios.

    Another thing you can do is bring a thick blanket to place over the changing table. Once you change your childs diaper, fold the blanket in such a way that the next time you need to change the diaper, your baby is only touching the clean side of the blanket.

    Tip # 3 – Learn to feed and walk

    Newborns have tiny tummies and need to eat often. My newborns always seem to take a LONG time to eat. So, instead of sitting on a bench feeding my baby, I learned how to breastfeed in a carrier. I’m not going to lie, it’s a little awkward at first but once you get the hang of it – you will be discreetly feeding like a pro! Be confident! If breastfeeding in the baby carrier isn’t your thing, you can also feed your child while on some of the slower moving rides – use your discretion.

    If you need a comfortable place to feed your baby, there are lots of little private areas throughout the parks and there is even a private nursing room in each park! On a recent trip we had lots of family with us, so I went to the baby center and fed the baby before heading to the car.

    You can also bottle-feed while you walk, the key is to walk slowly and always keep a visual on your baby, making sure their airways are not obstructed in any way.

     Bonus Tip

    I was sure to keep babies hands covered. You can do this by putting the baby in one of those onesies with built-in mittens or buying some separate. I was sure to change her clothes throughout the day and not let the Characters get too close to photos.

    We had such a lovely experience at Disney with our newborn, and I know you will too!

    The Question of the day: How young were you on your first trip to Disney World?

    More Magic!

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    Storybook Erin is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

    Tips for a #disneyside Maternity Shoot

    As promised, here are some of the photos from our #disneyside maternity shoot last Sunday. I will admit, I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t get to take one more photo of my baby bump at Disney, but sometimes we just have to accept that plans need to change. 

    Here are my tips for accomplishing a semi-non-cheesey #disneyside maternity shoot! 

    1. Gather some Disney inspired props.

    When I think about Disney world, and the Disney company, I think about attention to detail! From the sights, and smells at the theme parks, to the hidden similarities within the movies. The Disney company pays attention to detail. 

    Why wouldn’t you do the same for your Disney inspired shoot?  I was tempted to put on some Minnie mouse earrings, but I didn’t think it would show up very well so I skipped it. Instead, my husband put on his Donald Duck shoes and Mickey watch. 


    2. Don’t have Disney accessories? Use your wedding bands to create a Mickey shape on your bump!  



    3. Have FUN! 
    “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever. 
    (W. Disney)

    Sliding down slides at 9 months pregnant, what could be more fun than that?  


     4. Embrace the bump! 

    “Even miracles take a little time.” 
    — Fairy Godmother (Cinderella)

    No matter what size your bump is, the reality that you are supporting the life of another with your body is beautiful and a bump should be embraced and loved.  

    The question of the day: How do you show your #disneyside at home? 


    Disney Inspired Baby Moon – At Home

    Since our plans to travel to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival were totally thrown out the window, we spent the weekend at home. My doctor didn’t feel comfortable with me traveling from Miami to Orlando at 35 weeks pregnant.

    I had every intention of just going to Disney for the day, even though my OB didn’t fully support the trip. However, on Thursday evening I started having some pretty strong contractions. It was enough to make me second guess our trip. So, we opted to have a #disneyside babymoon at home.

    On Friday afternoon we dropped our girls off with their grandparents, and I went and got my eyebrows waxed. After a little bit of pampering, we had to go to the store and return an item. It’s in the same shopping plaza as our FAVORITE Pizza place in Miami, so obviously, we had to treat ourselves to dinner.

    Looking for great Italian food in Miami? Go to Marinos!

    After dinner, the baby decided she wanted a Coke Slurpee. Since the Slurpee’s are buy-one-get-one at 7-11 right now, we journeyed to 3 different 7-11’s called 2 and ended up at Burger King for our frozen coke (the craving was legit!).

    When we returned home, we put on our jammie’s and watched a Disney Movie! I’d heard poor reviews about the movie Tomorrow Land, but I still wanted to see it. Without giving any spoilers, I’ll just say it was “okay”. Not my favorite Disney movie ever, but also didn’t hate it completely. It’s worth a watch if you are a Disney movie buff.

    On Saturday morning, my husband got up and went for a run while I started cleaning the house.
    Clean and ready for playtime!
     After cleaning and his run, we enjoyed a home-made pancake breakfast (complete with beverages in Disney cups) and set off for a haircut and a little bit of retail therapy! 
    Farewell, long hair. 
    I’d had my eye on a specific doll for Baby Jimenez at Hollywood Studios. However, since we didn’t get to GO to Disney, we went to explore the Disney store. 
    After shopping, we came home and watched some college football (#FIUPANTHERS!) then headed out in search of pedicure supplies. We ended up having dinner at Taco Bell, and then headed back home so I could soak my feet, and watch another Disney Movie in our pajamas! 
    Does Spicey food really work to induce labor?
    On Saturday evening we decided to watch Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day!  
    I loved it!
    Sunday morning, my husband went for another run while I did absolutely nothing…  (I’m a little impressed with myself over that one!) When he got home, we got ready to go to the park and have a #disneyside Maternity shoot. The shoot was SO.MUCH.FUN. It’s going to get its own post, so check back to see more of the photos later in the week. 
    After our #disneyside Maternity shoot, we decided to do our groceries for the week, come home and watch some football! (#MIAMIDOLPHINS) and of course, catch up on the Amazing Race via Hulu. 
    In the evening we ate some Salsa Chicken and watched Soul Surfer.  We watched Bethany on the Amazing Race, and since then we had Soul Surfer on our list of movies to watch. It was pretty inspiring to see her story. 
    Even though I didn’t get to watch the Electrical light parade from start to finish one more time, or eat a Mickey ice cream bar all alone, or see the star wars fireworks without a toddler cleaning to me, it was a great weekend and I am so ready to have this baby! 

    My Daughter’s FIRST Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar!

    If you spend any time around Disney, chances are you’ve eaten something shaped like the beloved Mickey Mouse.  My favorite mouse shaped treat is the Premium ice cream bar! Smooth creamy vanilla ice cream shaped like Mickey Mouse with a thick coating of chocolate surrounding it.

    It always tastes best when eaten on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, but I’m sure that’s just because you are looking at the castle. You can purchase the treat at the resorts and each of the parks, I just prefer to eat it on Main Street before the parade (It’s tradition).

    Our “babymoon” 11/2013 
    Since having children I haven’t gotten many of them because I just didn’t want to share, but on a warm February day in 2016 I decided it was time to introduce my oldest daughter (2 years old) to the joys of a Premium Ice Cream Bar. 
    The verdict: She LOVED it! 

    How old were you when you enjoyed your first Mickey Ice Cream Bar? 

    First Premium Ice Cream Bar, 2-14-16 
    SHARING IS CARING

    Top 3 Rides in Epcot for Small Children

    Epcot


    Epcot is the best place for young children. There is so much to love. For example, in each 
    country, there is a Kid-Cot Fun Stop. There will be a cast member there with a craft for your kids to complete (for free).  It can be a great activity for your kids to do if it’s particularly busy that day. I love to walk around the World Showcase, I love to eat around the World Showcase, and some people even love to drink around the World Showcase. Typically it is considered to be a park for adults and it is, it really is, but don’t hesitate to bring your little ones to Epcot. There is plenty of fun things for them to do.

    This post is to talk more about the rides my two girls (2-years-old and 9 months) have been loving lately!

    Spaceship Earth.

    This slow moving ride is perfect for your young family. When you first enter the ride you will answer a few questions on a screen and have your picture taken, then you will ride through the “big ball” and learn about the history of communication.

    At the end of the ride, your picture is used to show you a cute and sometimes funny video.

    The Seas with Nemo and Friends

    If you love Finding Nemo, you will enjoy this ride. This is another slow-moving ride that loosely follows the Finding Nemo story and at the end plays a catchy song.

    We squeeze our family of 4 on one cart for this ride and enjoy watching our girls clap and point at all the “fishies”.

    Gran Fiesta Tour Featuring the Three Caballeros

    Our two year old LOVES Donald Duck (and Daisy). Our number 1 must do ride when she is with us at Epcot is the boat ride in the Mexican Pavilion. It’s kind of a hidden gem because when you walk into the pavilion it looks like several shops and a restaurant. Keep going! There is an adorable boat ride, fun for the whole family!

    The question of the day: Have you ever been to Epcot? So there you have it, our little lady’s top ride picks for Epcot!


    Top 3 Magic Kingdom Rides – 2 and Under

     

    Our Top 3 Rides in Magic Kingdom for Kids 2 and Under

    Hello Disney loving friends!

    For today’s post I wanted to give our top 3 favorite rides for families with very young children. These are my 2 year old’s MOST requested rides at the Magic Kingdom! I’m pretty excited that she loves these rides so much because I love them and also want to ride them over and over again!

    As a point of reference, we have annual passes and very rarely wait in long lines for rides. We use the fast pass+ or often times go to the Magic Kingdom late in the evening after the girls have napped a lot of the guests have departed for the day.

    Number 3. 

    The Little Mermaid. 

    My 2 year old has recently fallen IN.LOVE. with Ariel and the Little Mermaid movie. On our most recent trip to the Magic Kingdom there was no line for the Little Mermaid ride and so we rode it 3 or 4 times without getting off.

    The line for this ride is also pretty cute, you get to see scuttle, some of the treasures Ariel finds and outside is Prince Eric’s castle and a boat with Ariel on the front.

    Why we like the ride:

    • Slow moving
    • Bright colors
    • Music
    • Our family of 4 can ride together 
    Number 2.5 (BONUS).
    Winnie the Pooh. 
    At 5 months old my oldest daughter identified Winnie the Pooh as her favorite. She loves the color yellow and Winnie the Pooh (still does at 2 years old).  So, I had to include this ride as a top for our family.  
    The line for this ride is also very interactive, there are lots of games and activities to keep the little ones entertained. 
    Why we like the ride: 
    • slow moving
    • brightly colored
    • fun music
    • our family of 4 can ride together
    Number 2. 

    DUMBO

    When you think Walt Disney World, you think Disney… (am I right?).  It is simply a MUST DO ride. My husband grew up loving the movie Dumbo, and of course the ride as well.  Our 2 year old will now ask us to go to Disney to ride Dumbo. We can’t go to the Magic Kingdom without a fast pass for this ride. 
    Recently Disney expanded this ride to have two dumbo rides and a huge play area for young children under the big top. We haven’t used the play area yet, but are looking forward to using it when our youngest gets a little older.  I believe there is a system in place where you can play for a bit inside the play ground and then go ride the ride, I’m not certain how that works but it sounds really great for families! 
    Why we like this ride:
    • It’s Dumbo. 
    • Children are able to move the cart up and down
    • outside 
    • Iconic Disney Ride 
    Number 1. 

    The Carousel

    Although Dumbo is her most requested ride while at home planning for a Disney trip, our top ride for 2 and under is the Carousel. I put it as number one because our daughter melts into a thousand pieces if we walk by this ride without riding it – she just LOVES it! 
    One lesson I recently learned was that during the fireworks they close the ride down. This was quite unfortunate because that’s when we were about to go ride it. We spent some time with the princesses while we waited for it to open and all was well, but it is something to consider. 
    The line isn’t too exciting, it wraps around the carousel and is pretty hot during the day because there is limited shade. We prefer to do this ride in the evening or early morning. 
    Why we like this ride: 
    • Indepence
      • My daughter can ride a horse all by herself (with mom right there)
    • Beautiful views of the castle
    • Fun for the whole family
    • Iconic Disney ride
    I’m sure as our children age, even this year, they will begin to have new favorite rides – it’s only natural. I am excited that these are their current favorites because they are some of my favorites too! 
    Question of the day: What’s your most favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom?

    What is Club Disney at Hollywood Studios?

    On our most recent trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios my husband wanted to ride Rockin’ Roller Coaster before we left. So, I took the girls to explore while he waited in line for the ride.

    I happened to see a big sign just beyond Rockin’ Roller Coaster with the FAB 5 on it, so we went to check it out. I then noticed Pluto was in a courtyard taking pictures, so he went over to say hello to Pluto.

    A cast member invited us to dance with Pluto and friends inside club cool, so we did. I didn’t think my two year old would have as much fun as she did – mostly because she’s terrified of the characters who wear masks, but she DID. In fact, we were there for over two hours dancing and having the best time!

    It’s kind of a hidden gem of Hollywood Studios, as it’s beyond Rockin’ Roller coaster, and typically I would just gone on the ride and moved on and never even known about Club Disney, but with kids you end up finding great treasures!

    What is Club Disney? 
    4 Disney Characters at a time come out and dance with the guests for about 30 minutes while a DJ plays music, and clips from movies play on big screens around the ceiling.

    There is also places for you to charge your phone, a bathroom, and snack bar to purchase food.

    What age is it for? 
    All ages.

    Extra Cost? 
    Nope. It was included in your park admission.

    Who are the Characters? 
    When we were there (1/18/16) the characters were Mickey, Minnie, Chip & Dale, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Donald.

    The characters came out 4 at a time and danced for about 30 minutes.

    More info on the Disney Parks Blog.

    Here are some photos from our dance party with our Disney Pals!

    Question of the Day: Have you ever danced with your favorite Disney Pals? 

    3 Reasons to Love RunDisney Kids Races

    I’m so excited to share about the 2016 WDW Kids Races!! This was my 2-year-old’s third time running in the Kids Races, and my 8-month-old’s FIRST time.

    We left our home bright and early and headed over to the Expo and Kids Races. I just love the energy during Marathon weekend, I love seeing everyone proudly displaying their medals, and wearing their “I did it” shirts.

    It’s so hard to attend Marathon Weekend without getting inspired by the amazing stories.

    We picked up our packet, and the shirt this year was ADORABLE! It was white with Steamboat Willie and vintage Mickey.  I have to give a HUGE shout out to the voluntEAR helping me with my girl’s packets this year. I was a little annoying and couldn’t make up my mind if I’d gotten the right size shirts for my girls and she was just so kind and helpful. I apologized for being annoying and she laughed and said it wasn’t annoying to make sure your kid has the right size shirt, which of course made me feel so much better.

    After recieving our bibs, we headed out to the Kids Races for some fun!

    PRO TIP: You can pick your bib up for the kids races, the day of. Packet pick up is on your way to the field!

    2016 Kids Races 

    2016 Kids Races 

    Little Lady’s group went first. It was adorable to see all the little 1-3-year-olds running the 100-yard dash. My husband ran with her and I waited near the finish line with the family (both sides of grandparents, aunties, uncle, and cousin).  After her dash, we had to wait about an hour before our love bug was able to participate in her Diaper Dash, but with the DJ going the time passes pretty quickly!

    The mat for the Diaper dash was pretty far from the spectators this year, so I wanted to be in the last heat of babies to crawl.  This would help our family to have a better opportunity