Epcot

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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

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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!

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

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!

 

More Epcot Dining Options

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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.

Shop before you go!

Imagination Play Garden

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

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

Road to Florida 500

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

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

StorybookErin - Flower and Garden Festival

The Goodness Garden Butterfly House

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

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

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

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

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StorybookErin - Flower and Garden Festival

 

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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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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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