Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Disneyland in My Future

With my husband in Orlando for a conference this week, he has been working like crazy and keeping me up to date with his on-goings.

And, he also sent me a text telling me about next year's conference.

In Anaheim.


We couldn't join in for this year's conference as a family because he found out that he was going too late for us to make it happen.

But, with a year's notice?

I will figure out how to manage a 2 and 4 year old boy by myself at the Disneyland Resort.

Because  - I'm SO going to Disneyland!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

 
Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

New Fantasyland has brought the creation of several new areas - and even new restrooms!

Did you know:

The Tangled Toilets

or Punzie Poo-Poos, or Rapunzel Restrooms (yes, I've heard all 3. I'm not that clever) are the newest and most highly decorated restrooms in all of Walt Disney World


Like most of the Fantasyland, it is incredibly themed with details galore.  Make sure to look up AND down in this new area:

Remember Maximus?  He apparently needed to use these toilets as well!



Thanks for joining me!  Check out all of the other great trivia being offered this week!

Character Interactions - Say More Than Hello

I have to admit - I'm not always one to have a witty comment to say to the characters.  I'm the type of person that has a great comeback after I've already said something.

And honestly, I rarely have much to say when I meet characters - we're goading the boys to say hi, smile, etc... but, not actually interacting with them ourselves.

But, if you were following on facebook, twitter, or instagramhttp://instagram.com/disneybabiesjenn over the weekend, you might have noticed that my husband spent a few hours in the Magic Kingdom all by himself.  In my honor, he met a couple of my absolute favorites: Peter Pan and Wendy Darling!

Peter Pan's Flight is my favorite dark ride.  Yes, it's short, but I adore it!  And, even though Peter can be a bit.... bratty... I still have a soft side for the characters!

Peter Pan is also known for some of the best reactions to comments.

So, their interaction went something like this:
Adam: "Does anyone smell something?" 
Peter: "What do you smell?"
Adam: "Maybe... codfish?"
Peter ran away after that.
Adam - to Wendy - "It's okay! I heard a tick-tock"
Wendy - to Peter - "Peter, come back!  The croc is on the way!"
Peter came back with that!


Now, for those of you who don't know my husband (i.e. 99.9% of readers), he is very quiet and usually laughs at me when I make conversation with random people, so this was not his norm, but I LOVE that he did it!

Next time you're meeting a character, think for a minute to give them something great to say!




Friday, July 26, 2013

Disney's Boardwalk and New Jersey

Disney's Boardwalk is one of my favorite locations to visit while at Walt Disney World.  If I had my way, we would own DVC at the Boardwalk and stay there every time.  In reality, we're not, nor are we planning to be, DVC members and we have yet to actually stay at the Boardwalk.  But, we frequently visit for dinner at Kouzzina by Cat Cora.

The outside boardwalk and in the resort are designed to look like turn of the 20th century oceanside NJ - a little bit of Atlantic City, Margate, Cape May, and several of those ocean-side towns.

Well, lucky for me - we have family up in that area in New Jersey so try to get up there to visit once a year or so (used to be more before kids... I'm seeing a trend).

Take a look at the houses right off the beach - the style is dead on!

Now, has anyone noticed the tiny Elephant statue inside the lobby of the Boardwalk?  It's a replica of Lucy the Elephant, located in Margate, NJ.


Did you ever hear that the Imagineers originally wanted a Ferris Wheel or Roller Coaster, similar to the Steel Pier on the Boardwalk?  It didn't work for a variety of reasons.  BUT, ferris wheels and roller coaster are a stable on these Boardwalks!!  N - my Phineas - LOVED the coaster we rode on together at the Boardwalk in Ocean City.

The Boardwalk is a nice place to stroll - though not necessarily as clean as the Disney version!

And, with a little Disney flair at one of the dozen mini-golf courses on the Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk....

T
They even had a barker bird!

I love finding Disney inspiration outside of the parks.  Where have you found it?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Traveling with Kids - Carry on List


Packing for a road trip or flight with little ones..

can be tricky.  Keeping them entertained, making sure they have plenty to do, wear, eat.  They need toys to play with, blankets for soothing, food for snacking - they need a lot to make the trip as easy and comfortable as possible.

Whether we travel by air or car, there are a few major must haves - while it is easier to pack more for a car trip, sometimes the car trips take longer/allow for fewer potty breaks, so have their own issues!

Food:

Essentials:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes (for kids in diapers OR out of diapers - always good to have something to clean up a mess)
  • Tissues/boogy wipes
  • Change of clothes (more than 1 if newly potty trained)
  • Bibs (if used)
  • Medicine/Pain Reliever
  • Hand/Surface sanitizer
  • Camera 
  • Baby Carrier - a must in the airport for small ones!

Entertainment:

  • Movies - tablet/dvd player/headphones... if they're old enough, it's a lifesaver!
  • Books - touch and feel/search and find/lift the flap - always big hits
  • Coloring books - We love color wonder
  • Toys - for young ones, lights and sounds are great.  For bigger ones, choose new/exciting versions of their favorites!  A new $.99 matchbox car goes a long way on a trip!
  • Comfort animals/blankets - a new plush or an old favorite.  Or maybe a favorite blanket, pacifiers (extra if you're going that route)

Make the trip special!

Road trips can be long/boring/redundant!  I might be planning one in the next few months, which means I will be scouring Pinterest for ideas on games/treats (i.e. every state line do X, every hour do Z, etc...)

What are your travel must-haves?  Share them here or on facebook!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

Fantasia

One of my favorite (hey, I'm a classically trained musician during my day job) Disney movies.  In honor of my 1 year old (who I'm going to start calling Ferb)'s first viewing, I decided to look up some more trivia.

General Fantastia Trivia:

  • Walt Disney expected Fantasia to be a huge success and be updated regularly (60 years isn't regular)
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra with Maestro Leopold Stokowski was the original orchestra.  A 1982 re-release was re-recorded thanks to better recording technology.  However, in 1990 for the 50th re-release, they cleaned up the original recording as best as possible.
  • The images of the dinosaurs, used in Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, was later used in the Disneyland Diorama "Primeval Whirl"
Did you know:
The animators secretly modeled elements of the Sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" on their boss, Walt Disney. The raised eyebrow was regarded as a dead giveaway. They call the character Yen Sid, which is "Disney" spelled backwards. 
Picture from modernmouseradio.com


*I found my trivia and so much more at IMDB.com*

Thanks for joining me!  Check out all of the other great trivia being offered this week!

KidCo PeaPod Plus Giveaway


 Welcome to the KidCo PeaPod Plus Travel Bed Giveaway

The newly designed KidCo PeaPod Plus is here! This convenient travel bed offers peace of mind to parents trekking with kids. A lightweight mesh surround provides increased air flow while a large front zipper panel makes access to your child effortless. The Micro-Lite sleeping pad comes firmly secured to the outer bottom of the PeaPod Plus with snaps, but is easily removable for cleaning or packing.

The PeaPod Plus also has great features for outdoor use including UV protection, anchor straps, adjustable sun screens, and an inner mesh zipper panel perfect for keeping insects out! This handy bed also quickly folds for storage inside its own bag and fits into your luggage, making it perfect for visits or long trips.


I bought one of these for my first trip to Florida when Noah  Phineas :) was 6 months old.  While Disney does have pack-n-plays or mini cribs, my parents did not, so I needed something for him.  It was fantastic.  He slept very well (which was rare when Noah was a baby) and once I got over my phobia of zipping him in, I knew it was a great purchase!  It folds up so well for easy storage and I knew I had to be apart of this giveaway b/c we loved ours so much!

The PeaPod Plus accommodates children from 1-5 years of age. It comes fully assembled with a Micro-Lite sleeping pad already attached to the floor. This feature rich model also boasts two large zipper panels, lightweight mesh for great airflow, adjustable window screens, anchor straps, UV protection and a storage/carry bag. - See more at: http://www.kidco.com/products-page/peapod-plus/#sthash.QBqxRUIH.dpuf


To read Housewife on a Mission's full review of the KidCo PeaPod Plus, click here

This prize is valued at $100 and could be YOURS! 

Open to the US & Canada Residents.  Ends 8/5/13 at 11:59 PM EST.
Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Disclosure: Housewife on a Mission received the KidCo PeaPod Plus at no cost in exchange for her honest opinion.  I have not received any compensation for hosting this giveaway.  The participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Walt Disney World Expectations - Adjusting for Babies and Small Children

Getting away after having children is drastically different than before children.  I remember a vacation before the boys was easy - hop on the plane, go to destination, do as we feel.  Sleep in, eat whatever/whenever, and pretty much play it by ear.

But, once the children came, those expectations changed.


Since having children, even a simple trip to visit family a few hours away has changed, so of course a trip to Walt Disney World is extremely different than before!

Time in the Parks

Unlike before where we would start when we woke up/arrived for the day, with children, we make sure to be early birds (we have early risers, so we take full advantage of that). 

Rope Drop

A must!  Instead of waking up and lounging around, we continue our normal work day routine and head out the door at least 1 hour before park opening!  The goal is to arrive 30 minutes before park opening.  My real goal is be the family of the day.  A girl can dream, right?
Be welcomed to the Magic Kingdom by a Character of Main Street!

Extra Magic Hours

Okay, so for the majority of kids, I wouldn't recommend using the evening hours, unless you're in the slow season when they extend only until around 9.  I can't imagine too many children dealing well out until 3 a.m.! 
However, those morning extra magic hours are perfect in our family.  The parks open at 8 a.m. with them, and by using them, we can avoid the majority of crowds and usually do 4-6 attractions in the first hour!

Midday Breaks

Before kids (and pregnancy), I never stopped mid day.  But, with kids (again, or pregnant) - especially in the heat - taking a break during the hottest part of the day is a lifesaver!  We usually took a break after lunch - the crowds reach their peak from around 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., and we avoid that.  There during thunderstorm season?  You'll most likely miss those, too!  Head back to your resort, take a nap, do a load of laundry, take a shower, or just a dip in the pool.  Recharge your batteries (and those of the kids), and head back in the late afternoon.  
Naptime is a perfect time to hit the adult attractions!

Attractions

Used to going on everything whenever you want?  Not likely with little ones.  The whole group most likely can't go onto every coaster and with stroller naps, potty breaks, and meltdowns, there are some work arounds to still see and do everything without taking twice as long!

Single Rider Line 

Several of the big attractions have an extra line to fill in the extra seats in the car - a "single ride" line.  Look for this extra line when you're going in by yourself at (not always open, but worth a shot)
  • Expedition Everest
  • Rock and Roller Coaster
  • Test Track

Rider Swap

With a small child and two adults, you can easily do all the attractions without waiting in line twice.  Simply talk to the cast member near the entrance of the attraction and ask!  For a more in depth post about Ride Swap, click here.

For more tips and tricks, check out the "Travel Tips" link at the top, follow on facebook, pinterest, twitter, and stay tuned for more travel experiences!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another great Yummi Pouch and Friends Giveaway


We are so excited to once again share an opportunity to win a collection of great products from some wonderful companies! Our New Baby Welcome Package has everything you need for your little one's entrance into the world — from feeding, to sleeping, to soothing, and even playing and learning new motor skills! One lucky momma who wins this giveaway will be all set for her little one's precious needs.

Yummi Pouch - Reusable Food Pouches

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Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches 

little munchkin set giveaway

Little Munchkin Set - Retail Price: $28.95

The Little Munchkin set has everything you need to get started with using Yummi Pouches! Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are perfect for filling with homemade baby food, blended snacks, healthy smoothies, and more. Designed by a husband a wife team, Yummi Pouches are dishwasher and freezer safe, BPA-free, phthalate-free, easy to fill and clean through the wide zipper opening, and encourage healthy snacks for active kids! For more information visit yummipouch.com.

  • Set of 6 Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches - hold up to 6oz each
  • 16oz filling funnel pitcher
  • 10 dishwasher safe name label stickers
  • 2 decorative dishwasher safe sticker sheets
  • 6 mixed color extra pouch caps

Buttons Cloth Diapers

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Buttons cloth diapers

Buttons Cloth Diaper Set - Retail Price: $108.00
6 covers and 12 daytime inserts (small or large)

Buttons Cloth Diapers were born at home. As a husband and wife team, we designed our diapers to be easy to use and affordable for everyone - the way it should be. We believe in keeping our lives simple, even when it comes to diapering.

Buttons Diapers feature soft, leak-proof, and durable diaper covers. The double-gussets around the legs keeps the mess in, so your little one can run, jump, climb, and sleep while your mind is at ease. Elastic at the back and tummy makes a custom fit. The durable snaps allow the covers to adjust to fit any baby (approximately 9-35 lbs.). And, they come in five adorable colors! For more information visit buttonsdiapers.com.

2 Red Hens

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two red hens diaper bag

2 Red Hens Studio Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag - Retail Price: $70
Custom-designed, highly functional bowling bag style diaper bags. When not in use as a diaper bag mom can use as an overnight bag. Includes extra-long changing pad in 2 Red Hens signature red dot pattern.

Available in 5 custom designed vintage-inspired patterns: Chevron Stripes, Grey Damask, Peacock Mum, Pink Lemonade and Owl Dots.

Based in Denver, Colorado, 2 Red Hens Studio was founded in 2011 by designer and resident 'Mama Hen' Lori Holliday. The 2 Red Hens Studio collection of Vintage Chic Inspired Items for Modern Mamas include diaper bags, the Toy Nanny, Shopping Cart Nests, and a range of accessory items. Limited edition handcrafted one-of-a-kind diaper bags and dolls are also offered. For more information visit 2RedHens.com.

L'ovedbaby LLC

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L'oved Baby 4-in-1 Nursing Shawl

4-in-1 Nursing Shawl, Brown - Retail Price: $33.00
Use as pregnancy poncho, nursing cover, stroller/carseat canopy, lightweight blankie. Comes in a matching, drawstring carrying pouch. Machine wash/dry. One size fits all.

L'oved Baby Gl'oved-Sleeve Overall 

and Cute Cap

Gl'oved-Sleeve Overall & Cute Cap - Retail Price: $28.00
Size: newborn - 24 months. Machine wash/dry; winner picks color.

L'ovedbaby is adored by A-list celebrities for their stylish Nursing Covers & coordinating Burp Cloths as well as their mix-and-match Cotton Basics Collection, ranging from Newborn/preemie to size 6 in kids. Coming this November: the Organic Cotton Basics collection from L'ovedbaby! For more information visit lovedbaby.com.

Kushies Baby

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Kushies Zolo Linko toy

Kushies Zolo Linko Toy - Retail Price: $33.99

Kushies Baby - Based in Ontario, Canada, with U.S. headquarters located in Niagara Falls, New York, Kushies® creates and provides an innovative collection of quality baby products and accessories. Trusted by moms since 1987, Kushies offers more than 350 superior baby products including stylish layette and playwear, washable diapers, the award-winning Kushies Zolo toy collection and a broad range of baby essentials. The worldwide market leader in reusable cloth diapers and accessories, Kushies takes great pride in operating as a responsible company and as an environmentally concerned member of our planet. For more information visit kushiesonline.com.
  • Look! Feel! Chew! Connect Linko shapes together to create a love chain!
  • Easily attaches to other Kushies Zolo baby toys with signature clips.
  • Age: 0+ months
  • Contains: 4 Textured teething rings, 4 hold-together rings, 3 plush characters, and 6 signature rings for easy attachment.
  • Encourages: Visual development, flexible thinking,dexterity, tactile stimulation.

Oh, That Baby! Ltd.

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Toofeze Baby Teether

Toofeze Baby Teether - Retail Price: $19.99

Toofeze® is a functional, durable, and all-natural alternative to traditional teething rings and toys. Its three distinct chewing surfaces allow babies to self-manage their changing teething needs. The food grade ingredients are hypoallergenic and intentionally selected to meet the high standards of today's health- and eco-conscious consumers. For more information visit toofeze.com.
  • Therapeutic - The cool stainless steel disk clinically reduces painful teething symptoms caused by swelling and inflammation - a tried and true remedy for teething pain.
  • Convenient - Chills instantly in cold water. Perfect for out and about when a fridge isn't handy. No need to freeze your teether - or your baby's fingers!
  • Ergonomic - Our soft silicone handle and stationary design make it easy for babies to control, and aids in early motor skills development.
  • Sanitary - Toofeze is easily cleaned with soap and water or antibacterial wipes, and is durable enough to be boiled or run through the dishwasher as often as you like!

líllébaby

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lillebaby complete original baby 

carrier

líllébaby COMPLETE Original Baby Carrier - Retail Price: $110.00

The future in babywearing is here! Compare the líllébaby® COMPLETE with any baby carrier and you will see why it deserves its name. COMPLETE in function, comfort, and style, this carrier grows with your family. It includes every carrying position and ensures your baby is positioned ergonomically correct in every setting. It's all about options - it's COMPLETE

Resonating the Scandinavian values of quality of life, honesty, and a love for nature's beauty, líllébaby strives to make baby products that bring this functional style to parents, anywhere. We wish parents to attain the simple luxury of keeping their baby close while building a natural bond, in perfect comfort and style. For more information visit lillebaby.com.

  • Complete age range, newborn – 45lbs (no insert needed)
  • All-in-one carrying (front, hip or back; baby face in, out, or in fetal position.)
  • Ergonomic leg position in every setting, including when baby is facing forward.
  • Seat adjusts to perfectly fit baby at every stage and enables carrying through the otherwise "baby wearing gap"
  • Adjustable neck support with elastic attachments gives ideal support while allowing for movement.
  • The adjustable torso is taller than most brands, giving your baby sturdier support and better posture.
  • Padded side straps protect baby from webbing.
  • Removable sleeping hood adjusts in length and includes elastic edging for comfortable fit. Protects from sun and wind, gives privacy and supports baby's head while sleeping.

Enter to win these must-have items for your baby!

Prize Pack includes:
Yummi Pouch little munchkin set
Pair of BabyLegs leg warmers
Set of 6 Buttons Cloth Diaper covers + 12 daytime inserts
2 Red Hens Studio Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag
L'ovedbaby 4-in-1 Nursing Shawl
L'ovedbaby Gl'oved-Sleeve Overall & Cute Cap
Kushies Zolo Linko toy
Toofeze baby teether
líllébaby COMPLETE Original Baby Carrier

Plus! 3 runner ups will receive:

Set of 6 Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches
Pair of BabyLegs leg warmers
Toofeze baby teether

Yummi Pouch new baby welcome 

package giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

Over the weekend on Netflix, I turned on "Mickey and the Beanstalk" unsure of what to expect - a classic Mickey cartoon, but I didn't know the specifics...

Did you know:

Mickey and the Beanstalk

was the last cartoon in which the voice of Mickey Mouse was Walt Disney himself!

Made (or first shown ) in 1947 as a part of Fun and Fancy Free, a package film (multiple segments put together to become a full length feature), Mickey and the Beanstalk is a fab 5 version of the classic Jack and the Beanstalk and is narrated by Paul Frees as Ludwig Von Drake.


Windsor Hills resort - Win a Free Stay!

I've mentioned before that I occasionally stay off property.  Hey, with a huge group of people and a long stay, sometimes 300 square feet just isn't enough.  I've had 2 fantastic week-long stays at the Windsor Hills Resort.

And now, another Disney Blogger is hosting an amazing giveaway - 1 winner will win a free week in a 2 bedroom condo!  Hard to pass up that, don't you think?




a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks to Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for hosting this fantastic giveaway!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Walt Disney World - Enjoying the Water Parks

I would like to welcome occasional guest blogger, Gaylin, back for another great post!  Today, she is sharing her water parks experience with me - kid free, just a happy adult enjoying the good stuff!

A lot of people go to Disney World and skip the water parks. Not me!  I am not a big swimmer, I can swim, I just don’t do it on my home turf, Vancouver’s (B.C.) weather is just not hot enough for me to need to.

When I am in Florida, after I have gotten a few days of theme park fun under my belt, I start thinking about the water parks.

Many people ask which water park is better: Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. 

They both have terrific slides, tube rides, small child areas and a lazy creek to relax in.  How do you choose?    Both water parks have locker areas, shower/change/bathrooms, snack kiosks and a store where you can buy (at a premium) towels, sunscreen, bathing suits and beach wear. There is also a First Aid office if needed.

My personal favourite is Typhoon Lagoon

for one very simple reason – the Crush ‘N Gusher water coaster!  It has one tower with 3 sets of stairs to the top to go on 3 different water coaster slides. There are inner tubes for 2 or 3 people to go on.  (Must be 48” to ride) These coasters literally are a blast, you go done the first slope and high pressure water pushes you up to the next slope and on and on. I only have photos from Typhoon Lagoon so will include some here! This is a photo of the Crush 'N Gusher area.


The children’s play area at Typhoon Lagoon “Ketchakiddee Creek” and at Blizzard Beach “Tike’s Peak” both have a height limit, you must be UNDER 48” to play there. Sadly that means I have never had the opportunity to check it out either but walking by them, there is always lots of laughter to be heard.

Both water parks have the same attendance capacity but Blizzard Beach feels much larger and, as you are going to be barefoot or in swim shoes, be prepared to walk.  A lot. Most of the walkways at BB have misters spraying to keep the walking surface cool. Typhoon Lagoon has no misters but a much smaller walking area.

I am not fond of the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon, the big waves knock you off your feet (every single time) and the bobbing waves make me seasick.

I do love the creeks at both parks. There are a number of entries in and out of the creek at both parks, you walk down the stairs, wait for an empty inner tube to float by, grab it and relax. There are smaller tubes for smaller children which have a plastic bottom under the ring for your small child to sit comfortably while you float. Adult supervision is now required in the creeks, I know from trips gone by that 6-10 year old kids on their own in the creek can be terrors . . .

There are lots of lifeguards on duty, say Hi, when you float by. I usually ask where they are from and if they have saved anyone recently. They almost always say they have. The creek may not be very deep but not every one has a great swim skill level and if they let go of that tube, they can be in trouble.

Both parks have family tube slides, where you all pile into a circular raft tube and go down the slide together. At either park, these rides areo s worth it.  Even if there are only 2 of you, you do constitute a family.  Both have 'beach' areas where there are lounging chairs, most of these get snatched up right away, I have never bothered saving one. I stuff everything into a locker and when I want to rest I go in the creek.

Blizzard Beach has a chair-lift to the top of the big slides.  If there is a line, go in the single ride line.  They try to fill each 3 person chair, so the single rider line goes quickly.  At the top is the Slush Gusher speed slide and the Summit Plummet speed slide.  Both of these have a height restriction of 48” and rightly so!  Both are longer slides that go very quickly.  Do not go on these in a 2 piece bathing suit unless it is really tight or you will be flashing all those lovely people waiting on the benches, right at the bottom of the slides . . . As it is, expect a grande wedgie.

I have been on the Summit Plummet once, just to say I did it.  The slide is nearly vertical and it is less a slide and more of a fall!  I wouldn’t go on it again- it goes by too fast to be enjoyable and whoa - the wedgie is not comfortable. They also yell at you to get out of the end of the ride as fast as possible so the next person can go, you end up doing wedgie removal out of the water (not attractive).

My last vacation was a solo trip and I didn’t go to a water park. They are definitely something to be shared with at least one other person. If your kids are not 48” tall and you are staying at a resort with fun pools, I would stick with the resort and save the money until they are tall enough for everyone to enjoy all the slides. Having said that, if your kids are water babies, this might be a great way to spend a day.

My only complaints about Blizzard Beach would be that it is painted and themed with a lot of white.  It is a melted ski resort – this means in the middle of the day the glare of the sun on all that white can be painful.  My only other complaint is that when showering afterwards there is no warm water in the showers! That might be okay in July, but not so much fun in October.

All in all, I definitely recommend both parks. I usually get there close to opening and last about 6-7 hours!

  • Be prepared to be very, very tired.  It is a lot of work to play in the water for that many hours.  
  • Bring your sunscreen! Waterproof is best and reapply often.  
  • Both parks have lunch counter food service. 
  • I like having a small waterproof hat because of sun glare, I am so classy, I shove it down the front of my bathing suit when I go on a slide. 
  • Remember other than whoever you are with, you will never see these people again, it really doesn't matter what they think of you.


This last photo is from 2005 when I had shaved my head for charity, I raised $1,500 for the Children's Hospital Kids Cancer Ward. Being bald on vacation is wonderful, no maintenance hairstyle indeed! I got a lot of funny looks - oh well!
What an awesome person, don't you think?

Thanks Jennifer for inviting me to write!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Best Table Service in the Magic Kingdom

Welcome to those of you joining me from Cooking with Mickey and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

When Kristen (Cooking with Mickey) decided that she wanted this month's blue loop to be our favorite Table Service Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, I knew this would be an easy one because there aren't too many options!

Magic Kingdom Table Service Restaurants:

  1. Liberty Tree Tavern
  2. Tony's Town Square Restaurant
  3. The Plaza Restaurant
  4. Be Our Guest Restaurant
  5. Crystal Palace
  6. Cinderella's Royal Table
Of these six restaurants, I have eaten at 3.
And while those have been good experiences, the choice for me is easy.
The Beast's Castle

Be Our Guest Restaurant

When we went, everything was great!  My soup, steak, and sides were fabulous (though the dessert wasn't the most exciting).  


A welcoming rose napkin

An enchanted ceiling  
The angel babies are actually picture of the animators and their babies!

Delicious French Onion Soup


The beast welcomed up to his dining room

My little man dressed as Sheriff Woody

The steak was perfectly cooked and the garlic stuff.. oh man!


Try the Grey Stuff, it's delicious!

Plus, after a great meal, they welcome you to tour the rooms that you might have not dined in.


Our dining experience was fabulous and I definitely plan to eat there again soon (yup, we have an ADR for November!).

What is your favorite Magic Kingdom or Disneyland restaurant?

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Days in the Park

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

**2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog
3rd Stop ~ Days in the Park

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Walt Disney World Expectations - Fact or Fiction?

I've been thinking a lot about vacation expectations recently.  I've heard several time people disappointed in their Walt Disney World trip and I do believe much of that is based on conceived notions of what the parks should be.

If you have never been before, you may think you know what Walt Disney World is -

  • A place for kids
  • A very expensive vacation
  • A place for lots of rides and burgers 
These are all half truths.

A Place for Kids

While obviously, Walt Disney World is extremely kid friendly (with only Victoria and Albert having a dress code and age restrictions), it is also a great place for adults.  Walt Disney envisioned his park as a place for a family to be together.  So yes, while the children have a great time, it is the hope for the parents to enjoy the experience as well.

A Very Expensive Vacation

While I can't deny that in any way shape or form, let's go back to the time audit I learned from Social Media Guru Maria Bailey - $1 per minute.  For entertainment from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m (give or take depending on the park and time of year), we're getting way more than our money's worth.  Compare it to a beach vacation - yes, a beach is free during the day, but with a 3 year old, the beach is good for 2-3 hours max (at least in my world).  Or, a trip to the local aquarium.  For an adult, it's $35 (plus $5 more for the 4d movie) and $21 (again, add $5 for that movie) for a child.  that' $40 for 2-3 hours.  And, I don't think I'm ready to take a week long vacation in Baltimore, so while we might have an afternoon of entertainment, it's definitely no vacation.

Walt Disney World offers 4 theme parks filled with all of the entertainment possible for children of all ages.  One price, albeit a steep one, includes all the attractions, shows, movies, fast passes, and so much more.  
More than meets the eye at WDW

A place for lots of rides and burgers

Rides at Disney Parks are known as "attractions."  To many, that may seem like a simple wording difference, but it is a big difference if you look more closely.  

Dark rides are prime example 

let's look at The Haunted Mansion.  Haunted House ride or more?  More.  Themed queue - you really feel as though you're walking into an old decrepit house.  Then, you are welcomed inside as you watch the rooms stretch, and then you are lead through a dark and scary walkway.  This attraction tells a story - it does not simply scare you like a local Halloween Haunted House.

Even a roller coaster, like Expedition Everest, has a very well themed queue- slow down and look at the wall to see what the they found on their expedition!  While you may easily realize you are not actually in Nepal, the mountain and decor are themed to at least help you imagine being on that runaway train.  And, beware of the Yeti!  If nothing else, you make get an ill feeling from strobe lights.

As for the burgers

Okay, burgers are everywhere.  And to me, they taste the same in all of the counter service locations.  But, you can find many choices other than burgers.  There are dozens of table service (sit down/waiter) restaurants with delicious, and to many, unique foods.  One of my favorites is Kouzzina by (Iron Chef) Cat Cora.  It's Greek, which is one of my usual favorites, but I've had several fantastic experiences and haven't found anything quite as good at home!
A meal at Kouzzina starts with a sampling of olive oils and olives!

If you want burgers, head to just about any counter service restaurant.  Same with not-so-exciting pizzas.  But, if you're looking for chicken, seafood, pasta, salads - they are all possible to find.  And, if you have any allergies or special dining needs, Disney is amazing at helping you with those, too!

What have we learned?

Well, if you are purely a thrill-seeking junky and only want to ride roller coasters, Walt Disney World isn't the best fit.  If you're in for an experience that truly takes you out of modern day and into a completeg experience, Walt Disney World is for you.