Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Staying on Property

Staying on Property

Looking out our window.  Such a beautiful view!

One of the advantages is not driving to the park.  You hop on a bus or the monorail and it takes you right to the doors of the park of your choice.  It is so nice.  

In the lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge.

At one of the pool at the Lodge.  So fun.  
If you can swing it STAY on property.  What an experience it is.  You can often times get great great deals.  This past time we went, we got 40% off our stay which is awesome.  We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge again because it is so amazing.  We keep wanting to try somewhere else, but we love it so much there we keep going back.  The pool is awesome, the animals are amazing the s'mores every night by the pool is so fun.  There is something so magical waking up looking out your window and seeing Zebras and Giraffes while eating your breakfast.  So fun!


One of the best rides in all of Disney World is at Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Ride.  Oh my goodness, so so fun!  However, you need to run straight to the ride and get a fast pass first thing there.  Sometimes the wait is 100 minutes which is crazy.  We have never waited in any lines because we always take advantage of the fast pass option.  For the rides that smaller children can't ride we also take advantage of the rider switch pass which is awesome too!

Sometimes you get lucky!

So FUN!!!

Sometimes you get lucky!  As we were sitting down for an amazing spread for Breakfast at 1900 Fare the sweet waitress asked how old our Emmy was.  We told her she had just turned one.  Just a few minutes later she returned with sick gourmet cupcakes for all of our children saying that they all had a birthday at some point this year so they all needed one. It was so cute and such a fun surprise.  Super yummy too!  Also, be sure to grab a birthday pin or anniversary pin right when you get in the park, or if you are staying on property they will have them when you check in.  You will be sure to get birthday wishes all day long if you do.  It is so fun for kids!

Our Newest Disney Trip

We had such a great time this year going back to Disney.  We had a year off.  
We missed it.  The kids are at great ages to enjoy and take advantage of pretty much everything they have to offer.  

We spent some time at the beach before we went and then 5 days at Disney.  It is always such a blast.  We love watching the faces as the experience every thing there.  So fun!

Monday, September 6, 2010


tip time is here again!

This is just a little helpful hint when traveling, especially with several little ones who completely need my help getting ready and certainly picking out outfits.

each time we go on a trip i use bags of some sort. i have been using gallon size ziploc bags and i recycle them for each trip. on each bag i write day 1, day 2, day 3 and so forth depending on how long we will be gone. i also write undies/sock and jammies on separate baggies. in each bag i coordinate their outfits and put them all into each bag. so i have each days worth of clothes in each bag and each morning i or whoever is able grabs the days worth of clothes for that day and it works so so well. the kids are getting better so i will probably have to switch to walmart bags for the future.

it really works out nicely to not have to find an outfit for each child, decide who needs what and so forth. this is a great tip for our family! enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


this may not seem very disney helpful, but there is nothing like a homemade treat to take to the parks with you. my kiddos love these! the bonus of this cookie is there are not any chocolate chips to melt while tuckes away in your bag, nor do they crumble easily. so next time you go, bake up a few batches of these babies to take with you!

1 cup Shortening (Crisco)
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 cups Quick Oats
½ cups Finely Chopped Pecans
Preparation Instructions
In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening with both sugars until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs together. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Add to the shortening/sugar mixture and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix carefully into the egg/shortening mixture until well combined. Now add the quick oats and mix well again. Finally add the finely chopped pecans and mix well to combine.
Divide the dough in half and place each half of the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll the dough into a log and then wrap it tightly in the waxed paper. Now you can either chill or freeze the dough until later or you can go ahead and slice the dough evenly into cookie rounds.
When you are ready to bake them place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until they are golden brown.

you wanna meet mickey

a trip to disney would not be the same with out meeting mickey mouse himself, right? well have i got a secret for you! DO NOT WAIT FOR HOURS IN LINE A MAGIC KINGDOM! I repeat do not wait in a 2 hour line to meet him at magic kingdom. we were going to do that the first year and realized we are not going to wait in that long of a line for hours with several little ones. then our oldest convinced us. it doesn't look like that long of a line so we jumped in, then they push you into another room, and wait, then another line and wait and then you finally see mickey and even though it was fun for kids it was not worth it for the parents.

you can also see goofy, pluto and so on on the streets and you wait in line forever for them too. i never get how parents can wait an hour in the heat to get a pic and a hug from donald duck. maybe it is because i used to be daffy duck at an amusement park and i know it was just normal kids in those suits, but i know it is all for the kids, but still!

so here is one of the best tips i can give on disney world...see all the characters at hollywood studios! {without a wait}! ok you may wait like a minute or two, but it beats the hours you will spend wasting at magic kingdom to see them! you can see them in the animation building. they do not really publicize they are in there nor do you hear people really talking about it. it is the best kept secret. you walk in and there they all are. the incredibles, what ever movie they are currently promoting, mickey, minnie, pluto, tweedle dee and tweedle dum, stitch and many many more. you walk up get to spend time with them because they are not pushing you off to get to the next person that has waited an hour to see them. it is a win win in my book!

here the kids are with mickey and they are extra happy they did not have to wait an hour to see him. mickey had fun with them and posed them too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

big rides

like i mentioned in my previous post, there are only a few rides that even have height requirements. i will mention most of them here by each park.

magic kingdom
this park is mainly for the whole family to spend time together. it is set up basically in a big circle. there are a few rides that have a height requirement, but not many. my four year old's could do everything in this park other than space mountain, one of my favorites. you have to be 44 inches and they are just quite not there yet. there are a few other in that park that you need to be of a certain height as well like splash mountain and the big thunder railroad.

animal kingdom
there are a few things here that you have to be of certain height as well. dinosaur, mount everest, river rapids and primval whirl.

soarin, test track, mission space are three i can think of.

hollywood studios
tower of terror, rockin rollercoaster and star wars are the only ones in this park you have to watch your height for.

To put it into perspective, my 9 year old can ride everything, my four year old's, can ride mostly everything, my three year old is a hair away from being able to ride everything and my almost two year old cannot. I am only talking about these rides with height requirements. disney does a very good job with everything being really family friendly!

here is a little guide that may be helpful!

animal kingdom

wonders of life / body wars

animal kingdom
primeval whirl

magic kingdom
tomorrowland indy speedway

animal kingdom
kali river rapids

test track

magic kingdom
space mountain

magic kingdom
stitch's great escape

animal kingdom
expedition everest


mission space

hollywood studios
the twilight zone tower of terror

hollywood studios
rock 'n' roller coaster starring aerosmith

hollywood studios
star tours

magic kingdom
splash mountain

magic kingdom
big thunder mountain railroad

amusement park vs. theme park

two times we went to disney we took one of my sister in laws. they had never been. each time they were surprised there were not more thrill rides. i kept telling them that it was not an amusement park it is a theme park. there are not a lot of thrill rides. in fact there are probably only about 2 rides in each park that little kids under 44 inches cannot ride. it is all about the family. in fact when i went 7 and a half months pregnant, i could pretty much do everything other than a few things here and there. so warn your high school boys that if they are looking for thrills stick to 6-flags!

my favorite ride

i have to say my favorite ride in the whole entire disney world is the dinosaur ride in animal kingdom park. it is so so fun and so so scary, to me that it. yes i know it is fake and yes i know that it is a ride for kids, but my goodness i cannot get through the whole ride with my eyes open! it is so fun and such an adrenalin rush. i went this last time with my two sister in laws and it was a blast! it is a must see for sure!

I am not even kidding this picture makes my heart skip a beat. it is SO scary!


if you can handle it, opt for the second parade in magic kingdom. the first one is at 9 the second is at 11. sounds ridiculously late, but let me tell you the time goes so fast it all seems to work out. if you do chose the first parade you must be there at least an hour and a half before the parade starts to even come close to a seat on the street! the second parade is much less crowded and you only need get there maybe 15 minutes early.


rider switch passes are the way to go. if you have small kids this is the best thing disney has going! you walk up to the fast pass lane and tell them you need a
rider switch pass for however many people. they will then give you one pass which gets in three people on it.
if you need more just ask for however many passes you need. then you just wait for your party to get back in and you go right into the fast pass lane where there is no wait ever.
this is our best tip i think. especially if you have fast passes already because then they
get right in right away and then you do!


get your button! when you first come into the magic kingdom, go straight to the guest service building and tell them why you are visiting! they have a button for every reason. anniversary, birthday, reunion, graduation, wedding and so on. they are free and a fun memento for the kids!


taking a baby to the parks may not sound like that great of an idea, but let me tell you, they treat you like a queen! They have the BEST mother baby stations. Find out where they are before you even enter the park. You will love them. The little ladies in there working are so sweet and so helpful. They have little individual rooms for nursing and feeding and changing and relaxing. Often times they have recliners too! Could that sound any greater. It sure beats the heat too or trying to feed a baby on the pirates ride! So take advantage of it, put your feet up and find the baby stations!


in may, on our way home i stopped at some lovely outlets. i do not know what it is about outlets, but i love them! i rarely buy anything, i just love looking! this time, however, i did buy something. i actually spent more money on shoes than i think i ever have before, and they are sandals to boot! i went into the sketcher outlet and they had the sandals i saw so many moms wearing in the parks. they are their tone up sandals. go and get some right now. they are amazing. i am not sure if they are really toning anything, but let me tell you last week we spent five days in the parks for open to close and my feet did not hurt even once. not even once. now that is amazing. i have tried all kinds of shoes for the parks. i have tried crocs which actually work nice. they are light and comfy and dry off really well for those water rides and the every day showers disney gets. i have tried just regular ole flip flops. but there is just not a lot of support for those long days. i have tried tennis shoes too, but those are the worst in my opinion. there is nothing worse than wet feet in tennis shoes that do not dry for hours and hours. they are also heavy and you cannot flip them on and off easily. so spend an extra few bucks if you can and opt for these beauties!

for us

three years ago when we decided to go to disney i think we shocked everyone and quite honestly ourselves. what were we thinking doing disney with a 7 year old, two 2 year old's and a 1 year old while i was 7 months pregnant!?! it sounds insane really it does. i was pretty sure we would come back totally exhausted, but i wanted our little ones to experience it and so we did it.

it all worked out lovely. all but the 7 months pregnant part. that was rough, but i am so glad we did it. now i have to say, like i always tell everyone, i cannot imagine going anywhere else with these little ones. yes i dream of one day going on educational vacations, where we can be in nature or learn more about our country, but lets face it with four little little ones, that is not anywhere in our near future! and by the time you go somewhere and pay for a hotel and pay for food three times a day and a museum and somewhere else to use our time up to keep these little ones active and moving it would be far more expensive than disney, so disney it is.

our kids love it. they do fine in lines and if you plan it right you will not wait in any lines, they do fine with the heat and again if you plan it right you don't have to worry about that either not to mention you are really not outside much at all. plus the best thing for us is disney is all about the kids! yes we do get looks and comments, but you expect to see families there, so no one really questions a family with more than the norm amount of kids or a tired baby. it really works out well for us in more than one way as you can see! that is why for us in this time of our lives disney has been the place for us to be!

where to start

this a big topic of conversation. as far as what parks to do on what days, i think it is pretty safe to say to do magic kingdom in the middle of the week as much as possible. that being said, we don't. i really like to start and end with the magic kingdom. it truly is the most magical. but honestly i think monday's and friday's and saturday's are their busiest days. as far as the other parks, i epcot is really good at looking busy, but not waiting in lines. they do a great job at having things more spread out and not so congested. i think anytime you go there you will not have a hard time with lines and such. we really like epcot and this past trip i am pretty sure it was our most favorite park to visit. i think because it was somewhat new to us. we don't go there very often, but now i realize it is really a fun place. with lots to do! but like i said you can go any day of the week and i think they will be fine. holly wood studios is really fun too, but they seem to be pretty busy as well. rumor has it wednesday is the best day to go there. animal kingdom is so so fun. they also do a great job of spreading things out so it doesn't feel so crammed in to everything. i would start your trip at magic kingdom no matter what because that is where the magic is and you want that wow factor to start off with. then we did hollywood tuesday, epcot wednesday, animal kingdom thursday and back to magic on friday. this being said. give yourself a break. take a day or two in between parks and enjoy your resort, enjoy a relaxed day together with those you came with. you will need it and then you will not need a vacation after your vacation!


bringing your lunch and or dinner is a great idea and eating line sounds great to save time, but that is another things the hubs and i kept saying about loving the dining plan is it forces you sit down and eat, regroup, appreciate those you are there with. and as an added bonus you are not completely spent at the end of the day because you took time to settle down a little. if you are only going for one day this may not be that pertinent or even two days, but any more than that, you want to take a moment to do this! your feet will thank you!

vacation club

andy and i have seriously thought about this many times. for our family we could buy a week of dinsey vacation which you can actually use any where for about the cost of two disney trips for us. i wish we could have done his about two years ago. we are hoping and thinking and hoping we will be able to jump in before our trip next year, but we will have to see.

even if you have no plans ever on buying into disney going to their little open house is a must. let me be up front and tell you they are not pushy little pushers! i have been to those time share things that are exhausting and nauseating. those people are too much. disney has class. they do not push at ALL. it is actually quite fun!! you call and schedule an appointment and you can bring your children because they have an awesome play place with lots of care takers and FREE snacks. they give the kids whatever the want. i am talking good snacks too. then we are free to go "talk". they first tell you what is available to buy into, what they are building and then you do a walk through which is right where you are. They have mock buildings. We went to Animal Kingdom lodge and the new Bay Lake Lodge all within walking distance. You are also greeted with a free bag, books and notebooks. We had paxton with us and they kept bringing snacks to him and coloring books with crayons and stickers. then you go into a room and they tell you the price tell you they will leave you for a moment to discuss and they come back about 3 minutes later say what do you think. then you say yes or no or whatever you want to say and then you are on your way, except before you go they give each person in your family a 15 dollar disney gift certificate. that adds up for our family of 7. they show you out through the ice cream parlor where you get pick whatever you want. then we left. it is as easy as that. and to be honest it was quite fun.

disney dining plan

it is no big surprise to admit we are big time dinsey fans. we love all things disney. if you can try try try to stay on resort. it makes such a huge difference. we have gone four times in the last three years. the first time we stayed at a condo for a decent price for the whole week. it was really nice and really fun. the second time we did the whole disney thing. we flew, we stayed on resort, we did the dining plan and all that jazz. the third time we stayed on resort, but drove because we wanted to do the beach for a few days before hand and did the dining plan, and now this last time we stayed at a hotel with no dining plan. i cannot tell you how many times we said this past week how much we missed the dining plan and staying on resort. yes it is more expensive. i say if you can do it, go later or in a non busy time and save longer to be able to really experience the real deal.

to put it into perspective, we ate at the cinderella's royal table in may and our dinner would have cost roughly 250 dollars for a family of 8. of course, you do not have to choose this place nor would would you have to spend that much, but we honestly did not spend much more than that for the dining plan for four days. there is nothing like that experience either. you go into the castle have pictures take with cinderella which are delivered to your table free of charge and it brings tears to my eyes every time we are eating with the princesses seeing my kids faces when they come up to them.

now with the dining plan you get 1 quick service which would be like a fast food visit, only in my opinion it is much better than fast food, 1 sit down service which would be like cinderella's royal table and other character dining places or just real nice dinner places. then you get one snack as well. you don't have to hear your little ones beg for a 2 dollar churro or a 3 dollar ice cream sandwich all day, you can get one! it has just been really good for our family, we really love it as you can see.

to be honest i think that the food in disney world is very good quality and lots of options. it is fresh, organic in a lot of options and very tasty too. i will mention some of our faves in later posts, but just know you are getting what you pay for.

it is important to mention that you can only use the dining plan if you are staying on a disney resort and only the amount of days for the amount of nights you stay. so if you plan on sleeping 3 nights at the resort you can only get three days worth of dining plan even if you plan on going to the parks four days.

i also have to mention that you will not go hungry on this plan. before we leave our resort we would have bagels or some other type of quick breakfast and then we would eat our first quick service around 11 if we got there when the parks open. if we aren't quite hungry yet we wait till a little after 1 to not be there when everyone else in the park is. then during the after noon parade we get a snack for every one only we get 3 snacks and share them because they are always biggie size! we eat dinner when ever we have our reservations around 6ish and then another snack that evening. we end the day stuffed. no one is ever hungry. we also end up with extra snacks at the end of the trip.

i am sure you will see many dining plan tips throughout my blog. this is just a start. it is important to note, to save on money you can bring food in the park which i think is very nice since most places like this you cannot. this past trip i made lunches the night before of pb&j's for the kids, juice boxes, carrott's and apples and special treats as well. you do save on money and then we would eat dinner there. my four youngest children would split 2 meals, partly because the meals are big and partly because they do not like to eat! andy and i would share sometimes to so our family of 7 could eat on $21.95 if we needed to.

so here you have it. just a little info on the dinsey dining plan!

for my first post

i have three tips i would like to share for my very first post. they are more about traveling that really help. as you can imagine traveling with five kids it is important for me to be organized and on top of ways to travel the most convenient ways.

TIP #1
travel with plastic cups. when the kiddos need a snack you just pour them into the cups and hand them back. they are so easy. much easier than baggies and you can keep reusing them. i decorate them with their names and they just love it. we also take them into the park for apple slices, carrots or chips. it works really well.

TIP #2
name tags, name tags, name tags. so this is a great thing. i get the name tags like the hello my name is tags. i write on there, MY MOMS NAME IS AND HER NUMBER IS and fill in the blank. I put this on the inside of the back of their shirts. I talk with them before we leave for the parks and tell them if you lose mommy you find someone who works there or someone that looks like a grandma and tell her you lost me and show her your tag. my kids never wander so i have never had to use this, but it something would happen I am fairly confident this would be helpful.

TIP #3o
coffee cups are grand! so if you are staying in a hotel and they have those free coffee makers then normally have little coffee cups that are styrofoam with awesome lids that have the little slits in them to sip hot drinks. well in the car when drinking is not always the easiest thing to do for adults much less little ones, these work perfect. we take five and keep them by the drink basket and as soon as someone needs a drink we pour their drink into their cups and hand them back. they do not spill and are way easy to drink out of and keep their cool. it is a lovely little helpful hint!

welcome to my disney blog

i am not sure how great this blog will be, but everytime i go to disney i think how great it would be to share everything that i have learned from our many disney trips. so here i am sharing. you are welcome to email me any questions.