Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday - Trip planning!

After the Disney Mom's Panel application, I looked into the 2nd and 3rd round questions.

One of them struck me as odd - show the program or a file that you use while planning a trip.

Hmm.  A program or file?  Really?

As a long-time day tripper, my plan looked like this:
              Wake up early (6am), drive North on the Florida Turnpike, Osceola Pkwy exit, drive to the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Seeing that I followed that routine (sometimes with a stop to pick up a college friend) for the better part of the past 10 years, I never thought about making something fancier.

For this past trip, I used Disney's online planner.  It seemed like fun and gave me something to do, but when I printed it out, it was missing all of the details I typed online.  Geesh.

So, yesterday I sat down and typed everything up.

I made a simple word file that shows every day of the week, has all of our flight and rental car information, the villa information, dinner reservations (and Noah's first haircut reservation!), and what parks we're planning to visit for each day.

What I realized in my plans - I'd rather stop by the Magic Kingdom 3 different times than ever go to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  And, I'm not sure if we'll visit the Animal Kingdom.  I'm planning on 3 days at WDW with a 4th park day to visit Universal's Islands of Adventure.  If we're not loving IoA (read: Wizarding World of Harry Potter), we'll have a 4th day on our card to drive across town and hit another park in the afternoon.  We just all really want some butter beer!

Our plan looks like this (I've omitted all reservation info as well as villa for posting purposes):


 Walt Disney World Half Marathon
January 6-13, 2011
Thursday, January 6th:
7:30 Leave for IAD
Jet Blue Flight IAD-MCO
11:45 a.m. Enterprise Car Rental
12:15 p.m. Head to ESPN Wide World of Sports – Marathon Weekend Expo
                Pick up race packets 
2-3 p.m. Grocery Shop
4 p.m. Villa Check in
Parents arrive
               
Friday, January 7th:

11 a.m. – Mickey’s Marathon Kid Fest – ESPN Wide World of Sports
 Noah’s Diaper Dash                                                                                      Explore Celebration/Downtown Disney

Saturday, January 8th:
5:40 – Half Marathon begins!
After Race: Sea World/Celebration/Downtown Disney
p.m. Kouzzina by Cat Cora
               
Sunday, January 9th:
9:00 a.m. – Magic Kingdom (EMH – 8, no rope drop)
a.m. – Harmony Barbershop – Noah’s 1st haircut
p.m. Le Cellier Steakhouse
               
Monday, January 10th:
9:00 a.m. – Islands of Adventure
                Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!

Tuesday, January 11th
9:00 a.m. – Magic Kingdom (rope drop!)

Wednesday, January 12th:
9:00 a.m. – EPCOT (rope drop)
p.m. Il Mulino NY Trattoria

Thursday, January 13th:
10:00 a.m. – Check out time
Return Rental Car           
Jet Blue Flight MCO - IAD
               

 I promise it looks nicer in my own file - I removed spaces and other info to save room, but this is the general idea.  How does our trip compare to yours?  Do you have a better way of planning out your trips that you'd like to share with a recovering Day Tripper?

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Monday, November 29, 2010

Posting after a long weekend!

I haven't posted in nearly a week, can you believe it?

I've been posting almost every day since the inception of the blog, but needed a break (and a few more ideas!). Hope you haven't missed me too much.  But if you have, that's okay, too ;-)

Yes, I just blogged an emoticon.

My sister-in-law and blogger Mellon, hosted a fantastic Thanksgiving gathering for all of the family and we enjoyed a delicious meal together with little ones everywhere.  Noah, who is ridiculously close to his 1st birthday (12/6), has 3 cousins (2,4,6) that are teaching him the ropes of family dinners.  He enjoyed eating (as always) and playing on new and different toys.

My job was easy: bring a salad.

Where did I head to find a salad recipe?  You guessed it: the Disney website!  The Mickey Mom's Club has very little - I've been hoping for an update or a newsletter, but there hasn't been anything since May.  What it does have, however, are a few recipes from the Polynesian Resort's restaurant - Kona.  I've always heard how amazing the Tonga Toast over at Kona is, so when I saw a recipe for their Polynesian Salad, I couldn't resist.

If you like pear, gorgonzola, and other delicious flavors all tossed together in an OJ vinagrette, this salad is a must try.  Here is the recipe for the Kona Salad.  Hope you enjoy!!

Did you incorporate any Disney recipes in your Thanksgiving holidays?  Hope everyone had a great holiday!

And - can't wait to hear about Jenny's Family Vacation!  Hopefully a post will be coming soon about her family's trip last week!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday - Entertaining the little ones

Today's Travel Tips are coming from Lisa Battista's book, Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers.  



I wanted to give my readers more examples of why this book is fantastic - and more reasons to purchase the book on Amazon, or simply register for my giveaway!  More examples of the little things I wouldn't have thought of before my next trip!  I am paraphrasing so you can get even more from the actual book




Entertaining the Kids while in Line


Plan your next move- While you're waiting, pull out the guide books and maps and decide where you'll be going next and what else you want to see


Shutterbugs- Buy a disposable camera for your little ones to take their own pictures.  They'll truly have memories from their own experiences with these cameras


Bubbles and Stickers- As Lisa points out, pretty much all preschoolers (and younger) love bubbles and stickers.  If you don't mind your shirt getting a little messy, you can use your own shirt as a canvas for the stickers - then you won't even need paper or anything to make art!


Refuel- I know even at 1 year, my son loves to eat.  A great distraction is food - bring snacks (maybe leftover carrots or applesauce from an earlier meal) for the little ones to munch on during their wait.


iPod/iPhone (Droid in my house)- Download some music, tv shows, or video clips to keep the little ones entertained for the longer wait times.  If you're lucky enough to have a phone with Disney apps, these will help keep them entertained while keeping the theme of the trip - Magic!




Hope you liked these tips.  Now go register to win a copy of this book!


Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Monday, November 22, 2010

One year ago

This week, I was 39 weeks pregnant and waiting to finally meet my son after so many months.
11/13/09 - I still had nearly a month?!
My due date was 11/28 - the Saturday after Thanksgiving -  but I was so hopeful that he would be out sooner.

12/4/09 - induced the following day

Of course, he had no desire to come out on his own.  My little man was born on December 6 - 41 weeks and 1 day, thanks to the evil, yet necessary, drug known as Petocin.

And this past Saturday, with the help of my husband's family, we celebrated my son's 1st birthday.  We exchanged gifts, sang Happy Birthday, than brought him a cupcake with a large "#1" candle on top.
Excuse my hair!
For a few minutes, he sat there looking at this weird piece of food cautiously.  He started carefully with his fingers, than began playing a bit more.  I tried putting a little on my finger for him to taste, but he showed no interest.

 

And then, he realized that it was delicious.
Only a 1 year old can pull of this look
Isn't he cute?

A very Happy *Almost* Birthday to my wonderful baby, Noah!  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

And the winner is...

Our Sweaty Band giveaway is now officially over!
And the winner is:




And thanks go to my awesome husband for creating a fun excel program for me to generate the winner!


If you want a Sweaty Band of your own, make sure to follow my link to check out the Sweaty Band website for all sorts of awesome Sweaty Bands!


Thanks to everyone who entered our first giveaway!  We have another one going on, so make sure you check in an enter to win an awesome Disney guidebook!

Friday, November 19, 2010

28 going on 9

For the past 2 years, I have celebrated my birthday at Walt Disney World.  This past June, I turned 29 at the end of a 4 day trip, celebrating with dinner at Kouzzina by Cat Cora (amazing, btw).   A sophisticated meal and a delicious ouzo-tini (think: good 'n plenty in an alcoholic beverage).

But, for the majority of the trip, I'm a child.


When I first walk down Main Street U.S.A., I'm giddy.  I want to run to Tomorrowland and hop on Space Mountain, then run to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, then run to my next destination  Even this time while pushing a stroller, I made a beeline for Fantasyland and my personal favorite ride: Peter Pan.  I'm nearing 30 and Peter Pan gives me the warm and fuzzies.  Maybe that's a sign that I don't want to grow up?

There must be something other than the smell of baked goods in the air.  I think they're pumping pixie dust over the crowds - keeping the magic feeling alive

Once I start planning a trip, I get very excited (heck, the last time I was planning, I created this blog!) and the excitement doesn't fade until we leave.  Heck, months in between trips, I spend an hour or so a day scrapbooking our last trip.

But, there is nothing like the feeling of being a little kid again.  Yoga has been helping by giving me a real reason to practice headstands, but it's not quite the same as the giddiness I get when I start the trek up the Florida Turnpike and exit onto the Osceola Parkway.  Once we pass through the signs for Walt Disney World, the smile doesn't leave my face until I'm sleeping - and I'd bet it's still probably visible then, too.
Driving in June 2009
Of course, back at home, I'm a "responsible" adult.  I'm not so good on the household stuff - definitely not meant to be a housewife.  Luckily, my husband loves me anyways.

But I digress. I always love the chance to really act like a kid again.  And now, having a husband and a little one to share it with makes acting like a kid so much more fun.  I can't wait to act like a 9 year old again..  Just a little over a month away.

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review - Beyond the Attractions!

Over the past few months, I've had friends, coworkers, and readers asking me questions about traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort with their children and families.  Being a life-long Disney-phile, I feel very competent in helping

With well over 20 trips under my belt, I've only been with children twice - once along with my mother, niece, and nephew while they were in elementary school (for a day trip), and this past summer with Noah.  Since several of the people asking questions have 2 or more kids, I like to have other, more experienced,  sources to offer them.

That's where Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers comes in.

Updated annually, this guide book written by mother and Disney veteran, Lisa M. Battista, offers tips for travelers at any level of experience.  I was happily surprised when I kept seeing tips and tricks that I had never known!

This book includes the necessary chapters on lodging, transportation, dining, attractions (including the height requirements - I unfortunately received this the day after I finished looking them all up individually for Jenny!), but also includes so many extras that go above and beyond the standard guide books.  Beyond the average book are chapters on recreation, child care and safety, and even Lisa's very own must-do lists for children of different ages.

My personal favorite chapter was Hidden Activities.  Even after so many trips, I didn't know that the Japan Pavilion featured a candy artist who sculpted animals out of candy and a pick a pearl area to choose a pearl from an oyster and have it set in jewelry.  More importantly, are tips and suggestions for parks, shops, and other points of interest to keep the children entertained.

Lisa has put together tips for planning the trip, traveling, touring, and even tips on how to help pay for the trip. For more information about Lisa and her book, you can buy the book here (it's even on Kindle) and/or check out her website, www.BeyondTheAttractions.com

I can gladly say that you will not be disappointed by Lisa's Beyond the Attractions.  And, I'm excited to offer 1 lucky reader a copy of their own!

To enter the Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers giveaway, leave me a comment telling me that you want to win a copy (automatic entry). Make sure you give me a way to contact you if you win!

For extra entries (1 each - leave a separate comment for each)
1. Follow me on publicly Google Friend Connect
2. Follow Disney Babies Blog on Facebook
3. Follow Beyond the Attractions on Facebook
4. Follow Lisa on Twitter
5. Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends December 2nd so get your entries in now!

Trust me - you want a copy of this book.  Enter now!
~Jenn

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book review coming soon

I have in my possession the book Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers 2011 by Lisa M Battista. 


I've read the book twice through now and loved it.  Now, I'm in the process of writing my review.


I had intended to write it all tonight, but realized - my saying it's AWESOME isn't enough.  While I plan to highly recommend this (heck, I already have) book to anyone traveling with preschoolers, I want to give you more details on why this book is fantastic.


Oh, and I'm also planning to give this one away!  If you're interested, you should go ahead and follow Lisa of facebook and twitter, so you can have more chances to win a copy of this amazing book.  Even for those of you without kids, it would make a great gift for friends or family going soon! 


Check back tomorrow for the full review!
~Jenn

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Disney Store!

It just so happened, that I had a trip planned to NYC for the weekend following the big grand opening of the new Times Square Disney store.  I think, mostly because of twitter, I've read/heard/seen a ridiculous amount of hype for this store and knew I had to schedule a trip.

I didn't think I could convince any coworkers to stop by, so expected to wait until January, when my hubs and I head back to the Big Apple for a wedding.  But, without much convincing at all, I headed almost directly to the store first thing (so what if I said "hey, want to check out times square?" and later casually mentioned the store).  I accept that the majority of the time, I look like a ridiculous NY tourist, camera in hand.  Times Square loves me for that.  So, camera in hand, I headed up to the new flagship store.



The thought behind the new store is that it's more than just shopping - it's 30 minutes of entertainment for your kids  And, that's about what you get.  Trying to compete with the neighboring Toys R Us, Disney needed to step up their game.  

Walking up to the store is a brand new and incredibly beautiful Disney screen, showing pictures of contest winners in their Mickey ears and clips of upcoming movies


Clip of Tangled. Pretty.
You're greeted by cast members as soon as you walk in and several times throughout the store.  Maybe it's because they had just opened their doors, but I've never seen so many happy employees!  We even happened upon one singing Disney tunes to herself as she was straightening up an area.
First views
As for the interactiveness - head up the long escalator to find a station where you can design and build your own car.  I watched a 3 year old boy putting his wheels together and wanted to build my own.  Next to that, there were a few small tables with a their own private movie theater.  Continue walking through the store and you'll find, hidden in the very back, Snow White's mirror.  Wave a magic wand in front of the mirror, and you'll see Snow White come to life.  Every little girls dream!  
Welcoming you to the 2nd floor
Snow White's Magical Mirror


The store is beautiful.  It's much more decorated than any other store and is fun to walk through.  My only complaint was a standard complaint - everything is still so geared to the girls.  There are Tron, Iron Man, and Cars areas, but the princesses do take over.  And, in all of my looking, I didn't find a single outfit for a boy under 2T.  We found several little girl outfits, but none for boys!  But, I guess that's okay because Noah is not in need of any more Disney stuff for the time being.
Tinkerbell's corner


Next time you're in Times Square, make sure to stop by and check out the new store!  And maybe that new build-your-own poptart store.. didn't see that one this time... 
I don't get Vinylmation, but I took a picture for everyone who does!


Have you been to any of the new stores popping up around the country?  Excited to visit?


Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Monday, November 15, 2010

Twittering away

For the longest time, I heard the word "Twitter" and rolled my eyes.  Seriously?  Do I need to know what Ashton Kutcher is eating for breakfast?  Or, how many dates Kim Kardashian has?


Obviously, for me, no.  


But, once I became addicted to the whole blogging thing, I realized it was inevitable and started tweeting.  


What I learned is that it's amazing for Disney-philes.  It's a humongous and close knit-community of all different people, but because of this, I feel like I "know" several of the Disney Mom's Panel, the finalists, and now I'm already following some of the 2011 panelists before they truly begin their journey.  


But, what's my favorite part of twitter?


Being in the know.


Following Samantha Brown (twitter: @Samtravels), I saw she was heading to EPCOT during the food and wine festival.  Several others I'm following actually got to meet up with her during her trip and said she was just as nice as she is on tv.  But, I tweeted a mention towards her one day and she wrote back to me personally (it's like we're going to be BFF now, don't you think?).


And, now I'll share my "in the know" knowledge with you.


Look for Samantha Brown's newest Disney special coming to the Travel Channel near you Feburary 12th.


It's a shame you can't set the TIVO for 3 months away...


Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Friday, November 12, 2010

Introducing the Magical Blogorail!

Por favor mantangese alejados de las puertas.

Okay, okay.  This Blogorail contains no doors, but it does contain a series of Disney-loving bloggers who will each present our own views on different topics.  Though this month is simply an introduction - us getting to know each other, and the readers getting to know different bloggers - we plan to discuss our favorite parks, vacation spots, restaurants, and many other topics concerning the Disney parks. You're starting about halfway through the blogorail loop, but follow the links at the bottom to read everyone else's blogs!

The Disney Babies Blog was created in the spring preceding a 2 family trip to the WDW Resort with my (Jenn) family and with Melissa's  family.  With a similar mission as Amy's, over at Growing up Disney (another blogorail stop!), we started blogging to fill the void of information about traveling in the parks with BABIES.

Melissa has already taken her June '09 baby (Piper) twice - 6 months and 12 months - and has a 3rd visit planned for 21 months.

We met her and her family in June with our then 6 month old, Noah, and are headed back in January - 13 months - so we can run 13.1 miles around the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.


Melissa and I became close friends our sophomore year in college at LSU (GEAUX TIGERS!) - we were both in the Golden Band from Tigerland and music majors.  Add a love for Disney and boy bands (hey, it was 2000) and you've got an instant friendship.

Though we don't live anywhere near each other now (Louisiana/Virginia), we still have managed to maintain a great friendship and love having babies only 6 months apart.  They won't get to play often, but our hopes is to meet up at Disney every few years - and maybe a few hometown visits in between - so they can become good friends, too!

I heard from so many people "it's a shame he won't remember the trip."  Well, to that I say: I don't remember the trip I took at 10, nor the one at 12 (except I do remember vaguely that Hulk Hogan was filming a movie at the Grand Floridian, where we stayed - but I remember practically nothing else).  But, I'll have fun while we're there.  And, he'll have a great time.  He just won't remember it for the long term - and I'm okay with that!

Hope you enjoy the Magical Blogorail Loop!  If this is your first stop, check out the next blogs on the loop.  If  this is your first time to the Disney Babies Blog, Thanks for stopping by!  Hope to see you real soon!

~Jenn (and Melissa)

The previous blogorail stop was: 
                   
The following blogorail stop is:
Kristin over at Cooking with Mickey

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Disney trivia

I LOVE Disney trivia!

I wanted to share some trivia that I love, but is not as well known as others. Here are some of my favorite Magic Kingdom trivia! Enjoy!

-Mr. Toad has a grave in the pet cemetery after you come out of Haunted Mansion!
(if the pet cemetery tombstones are still there!)

-You “die” in the Haunted Mansion as you “fall” out of the attic window. When your doom buggy turns backwards, that’s when it happens!

-Haunted Mansion attraction doesn’t take place in the “house” you see at all! It all happens in a plain building behind the fa├žade of the house.

-The dog with the keys in Pirates and the dog in Carousel of Progress are both Walt Disney’s dog.

-When you enter Owl’s house in the Winnie the Pooh ride, look to the left. You will see Mr. Toad handing the “deed” to the ride off to Owl. This ride used to house Mr. Toad’s wild ride!

-The walkway is red so that guests enter the park on the “red carpet”.

-The parking lots use 6 of the 7 dwarfs’ names. They don’t use “Doc” because they didn’t want people to confuse that and the boat dock!

See ya real soon!

~Mellie

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Budget-friendly

Well, we are in the midst of planning our next Disney vacation! This being out 3rd vacation in 15 months, we needed to do it on a STRICT budget, so we started by booking our room at the All-Star Music. While it’s not lavish and huge like some of the other resorts, it is perfect for someone (like us) traveling on a budget. I love luxurious hotel rooms, but for Disney, I know this is just a shower and a bed. We spend so much time in the parks that I am ok trading luxury for value on this trip.


For us, a flight is the only way to go when you travel with a child under 2, especially one who will be potty training or just finished training! This is another reason why we cut corners with the hotel.


Now that we have our hotel and flights booked, it’s on to decide how to spend our fabulous Disney days! Because this is surely NOT our first trip, we have decided (for the first time ever) not to get Park Hopper tickets. I would not recommend this to most visitors. Most people like Hoppers because they allow you to visit different parks in the same day. For us, we will be coming back to the room to nap, so we will spend one day in each park (we are skipping Animal Kingdom this trip) and hopefully it will give us enough time with the Extra Magic Hours to enjoy everything that Piper wants to see.


We are also planning to bring breakfast foods in our luggage and eat in the room. That’s one less meal we have to pay for.


I am planning one special lunch for us: Hollywood and Vine’s buffet with Little Einsteins, Handy Manny, and more! She LOVES Little Einsteins, and I think she will adore meeting the characters while we eat. I cannot wait to experience this with her!


Anyway, Disney can be done for much less than people think. You just have to be willing to do a little research (or let us do it for you!)


See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday - The First Phase of Planning

Preparing for a trip to Disney World is a huge task.  Figuring out where to start is the first major task.

When I'm planning, my first task is to decide how many days I plan to stay in the parks.  Luckily for me, Disney has been giving out amazing discounts for military members for the past few years, making my first decision much easier.  

Once I know how many days we'll be in the Orlando area, the next decision is where to stay.

So many options - and I've written about several of them before - but, to sum up -

How much to spend on a resort? 
Go cheap and stay at an All Star or (best bet) Pop Century?
Spend a little more for a Moderate (anything but Caribbean in my opinion)
Splurge and discover the Boardwalk or Animal Kingdom Lodge (2 on my Disney Bucket List)?
Or, finally discover the Shades of Green (military resort). 

Or - as we've chosen to do in January - stay off property.

When a coworker asked me about where to stay on his first trip - a trip he's planning for his son's 5th birthday, I recommended that staying on property is absolutely the way to go.  The extra magical experiences can be totally worth it, especially for first trips!

Oh, decisions, decision!

Where do you start when you're planning a trip?

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Weight Watcher at Disney

I may have mentioned this before once or twice, but...

I have been a Weight Watcher since college.  Let's just say, a very not-nice boy inspired me, then a very nice friend helped me.  I lost 30 lbs when I was 21 and I've kept it off for 8 years (okay, I've gone back up 5-10, but I have the tools and knowledge to get it off).  I've only fully "dieted" the first time and after pregnancy.  I constantly stay on the plan, for my own sanity, and to make sure I'm eating well.


On vacation, many (myself included) tend to eat everything their heart desires..


But, what if your head is winning over your heart and you want to eat well?  Well, Walt Disney World isn't the best (apparently, Disneyland has an abundance of healthy options, but that's California for you!), but it's absolutely doable.


First, just as I would normally check an online menu before I hit a local menu, I love to check the WDW menus.  I like planning my meals before I enter a restaurant - less likely to splurge on a less-healthy meal.  


Second, accept that on vacation, it's okay to cheat a little.  With all that walking (I'll have my GPS watch on me in January to clock mileage, but Adams phone picked up several miles in our first hour last trip), it's automatic exercise, so I don't feel nearly as guilty!


Here are some of my tips for eating healthy in the parks:



  • Drink water - bring your own or buy, but water is necessary and can keep you fuller to help avoid the temping snacks.
  • Eat meals in your room before heading to the park.  I love having my own cereal to start my day off with my normal routine.
  • Bring healthy snacks (100 cal packs, fruit, granola bars) or use a Dining Plan snack credit at a shop like the market in Liberty Square that always has vegetables and fruit option. 
  • Plan your splurges accordingly - it's okay to have a Mickey Bar one day, but not every day of a 5 day trip!
  • Beware of the Dining Plan's included dessert.  Every meal doesn't need a full dessert!
Some of my favorite restaurants for staying on track  include:

  • Sunshine Seasons (EPCOT)
    • I had a delicious black bean soup and beet salad last trip and my husband didn't have to touch any of it!
  • The Moroccan Pavilion (EPCOT)
    • Both the quick service and table service restaurants have many healthy options
  • Kouzzina (Boardwalk Resort Area)
    • I adore Greek food - similar flavors as Moroccan food, but so delicious and filled with vegetables and healthy options
  • Columbia Harbor House (Magic Kingdom)
    • With a chicken salad option - not coated in Caesar Dressing - and a hummus/veggie sandwich, this is one of the better options in the Magic Kingdom.
Plus, with a baby eating off of my plate, I prefer having something healthy to share - not just french fries and burgers!

*A shocking surprise is the calorie count on those Turkey Legs..  Turkey, can't be too bad, right?
Wrong.  Those fried turkey legs are a whopping 1,000 calories.  Eat at your own risk!


Anyone else trying to stay healthy on vacation with me?  What are your favorite tips/restaurants?
Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review/Giveaway - Sweaty Bands!

As some of you might have read in my post A Running Must Have back in September, I'm obsessed with my Sweaty Bands.  I hate to work out in anyway without mine.  Whether yoga (my other go-to), running, spinning, or even pushing the stroller around the neighborhood, I wear my sweaty band.  
Rocking my Sweaty Band before the Army 10-Miler
And now, as an "affiliate" (I will receive an incredibly small portion of sales if you purchase through my link), I get to offer a GIVEAWAY!  I'm very excited to bring this my readers.  I found these at my local running store, contacted them, and contacted the company to affiliate because I SWEAR by this product.  


You have multiple ways to take home a Sweaty Band:
1. Check out their website and buy one there
2. Find them at a running store/race expo
3. Enter to win one through the Disney Babies Blog!


To enter, you must:
Leave a comment on this post


For additional entries (1 entry each - leave separate comments for each entry),
1. Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect
2. Follow us on Twitter and tweet this giveaway (no more than once every 2 hours)
3. Like Disney Babies Blog on facebook (button on the right)


This giveaway will end on November 21st and will be announced on November 22nd.  Get your entries in soon!


Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fun Dining Experience- Hoop Dee Doo Revue

Let's talk about a GREAT family dining experience.  At Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, there is a dinner show called the Hoop Dee Doo Revue.  As far as I'm concerned, it is a must-see attraction!  I have been to Walt Disney World probably 20 times, however, my first experience with this show was in 2008.  I didn't realize what I was missing until then! 

This is a high-energy, hilarious, rootin', tootin', dinner show.  It is a sit-down dinner, and there is a show that goes on all around you, complete with audience participation, while you eat.  The food (fried chicken, bbq ribs, salad, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake) are amazing, and most of it is served in buckets!  I have been twice, and both times, someone from my group has been involved in the show!


2 cast members dancing in the aisles!

That cornbread wasn't just for me, but it was delicious!


My brother was chosen to play and Indian!

Everyone plays the washboard at the end!

It is great for kids and adults alike, and I took Piper at 12 months, and it kept her attention.  Dinner is a little pricey, but when you factor in the entertainment value, it's definitely worth it!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Jenny's Family Vacation: The Finale!

Our last stops for Jenny's vacation will be Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom.  


To me, both of these parks are hopper parks.  I've never spent a full day in either, though there definitely are must-sees/rides in both of them.  For now, I'll start with my personal preference for the two:


Animal Kingdom


- I should admit that Animal Kingdom, we were there for such a short period of time (it was SO hot), that I only nursed Noah once.  And, for that, I found the Baby Care Center.  Located across a bridge somewhere and behind a tree :)  I had to ask several cast members for directions!  The Baby Care Center was fabulous.  Free water, nice and air conditioned, and a great place to stay out of the heat for a little while!  I hid in a back room and glided peacefully!
- For little ones, like Tiger, there are many awesome attractions:


The Affection Section which is basically a petting zoo, and trails filled with animals to see.
It's Tough to be a Bug 3D show kept Noah's attention the entire time.
As for the rides, 


Everest will be a must for the parents (in my opinion!), but it has a single rider line, so no worries about the Rider Swap or fast pass!  44" minimum height
Dinosaur requires a mininum of 40"
Kali River Rapids  has a 38" minimum
Primeval Whirl has a 48" minimum - definitely a no-go for those boys!
The TriceraTop Spin has no height requirement, so perfect for both of the boys


As for nursing - I'd recommend the Baby Care Centers, one of the shows, or any comfortable bench.  Unlike some of the other parks, there are no rides I would feel comfortable nursing on - maybe the Kilimanjaro Safari, but then you might miss some of the animals!! And, it is very open to everyone around and I personally prefer a bit more solace while nursing!


as for


Disney's Hollywood Studios


There are several shows/rides to sit and relax for a nursing stop, with only the
Rock'n Roller Coaster
and 
The Tower of Terror 
with height restrictions to worry about.  
Without looking, I can guarantee both are too tall for those little guys.


So, go, grab a fast pass for Toy Story Mania, and enjoy your visit!


Hopefully this has helped Jenny and anyone else traveling with little ones to the parks.


Feel free to offer advice or ask more questions, either commenting here, on facebook, or following us on twitter!


Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DBB's version of Tomorrowland

I'm excited to have a few adventures coming our way.  

In a few short weeks, Disney Babies Blog will be having our *first* giveaway!!  Remember those sweaty bands?  Get ready - I'll announce the official giveaway as soon as I have the bands in my possession with another review of my favorite workout accessory.  

I'm also excited to review a book that I'll be able to giveaway when I'm done reading - Beyond the Attractions by Lisa Battista.  I've only read great things, so I'm excited to share the wealth with all of my readers!!

And last but not least - I've hooked up on a new venture to more easily share Disney blogs and keep us linked up.  Fun for us, and hopefully fun for our readers!  Keep looking for the Magical Blogorail - hopping to your neighborhood blog very soon!

Hope you're enjoying The Disney Babies Blog.  We're having a lot of fun writing and researching!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday- Trip Pre-Party!

Older kids know about Disney World.  I don't know how, but they know.  Maybe they've seen commercials, or maybe they've heard from their friends (or parents).   But, what about the little ones that don't have any Disney experience?  

Show them a little Disney magic before the trip!


Most of you may know - Disney is all about the experience.  Even the pre-trip experience.  Over on Disney's website, they have FREE CUSTOMIZABLE MAPS.  Maybe you didn't catch that.  Maps.  That you can customize.  For FREE!!  There are 2 options - print them at home, or have them printed and mailed to you.  Again, for FREE!  And, they're on nice, thick paper and full of colorful characters.  These aren't the maps you pick up when you enter the parks.  These could be framed.  The shipping takes 2-4 weeks and they can be made every 6 months, so you can have new maps for every trip (if you trip like we do).

Okay, okay, as if that isn't enough, now you can customize your own vacation planning video.  This one isn't quite as cool, but you can order your own vacation video that you can customize with what you want to see.  Show off Fantasyland, parades, resorts, characters, etc..  Give them a taste of the magic pre-trip.  Who knows, maybe this will help the traveling!

Have you ever ordered the maps or videos?  Our maps from June are in Noah's baby book!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Want free vacation planning help?  Email me for your free free, no obligation price quote!!



Monday, November 1, 2010

Disney radio and podcasts

If you're a "regular" Disney fan like I am (okay, was up until a few months ago), you probably have no idea how much Disney media is around.  Since I joined the blog world, I've realized how much is out there - so many Disney radio stations, blogs, podcasts (what?!), etc...  It took me a long time to open up to listening as opposed to just reading.  I normally skip videos on all stations, so when or where would I listen to that stuff?


Running, in the car, waiting for trick-or-treaters, at home when tv is too distracting.  I've tried a couple of podcasts - but beware - every Tom, Dick, and Jane with a mic is making a podcast.  If you're not sure, a podcast is basically people sitting around doing their own radio show about a topic.  I only listen to Disney ones, but they are readily available for too many topics. My absolute favorite is WDW Radio with Lou Mongello.  First of all, his name is fantastic (I always think of Lemon Jello).  Second, he interviews Disney Legends (post forthcoming.. hopefully).  It's so interesting listening to stories about old time Disney and Walt straight from the people who lived them. 


I've found that running with a running partner is helpful - talking is distracting if nothing else.  These are the same for me.  I feel like I could be having a conversation and I'm engaged in the stories.  


There are several, but I haven't tried any other radio stations aside from Reedy Creek Radio.  I discovered RCR via Twitter (another weird, but thoroughly amusing addiction).  As I handed out candy to some adorable (and a few ungrateful) trick-or-treat-ers, I had RCR on.  I listened to music from the Haunted Mansion (Grim Grinning Ghosts!), Pirates of the Caribbean (really bad eggs), and other random Disney Halloween music.  It really is fun to listen to.  I love having it on at home while Noah is playing.. getting him used to the sounds of his upcoming trips.
My very own Pumpkin Hidden Mickey


If you're gearing up for a trip, or just in a bad mood, check out some of these tunes/podcasts.  If you can't be in the parks, you can do your best to feel like you're there!


Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn