5.19.2010

What to Wear : Looks for Little Boys

My last post was about Disney looks for little girls. Now it's time for little boys! This can be a little more challenging, because girls naturally want to dress up and be festive for the occasion. Sometimes boys take a little more convincing. But there are still some great options!

First of all, if your little boy refuses to wear "themed" clothing, maybe he could wear a special set of pajamas for the trip!


I LOVE the color scheme of this little T-Shirt! It's different, but still very "Disney." I think this is a must if I ever have a little boy!


Here are sibling shirts. A great way to get younger little boys to cooperate is for them to see their other siblings participating. Plus, this style is very simple and plain so it has more appeal to little boys.



This is perfect for a birthday!



Like I said in my previous post, iron-on appliques are the most cost-effective but provide a really cute look! Just iron on to the shirt of your choosing!


Costumes are also available for little boys. However, it might be an easier option to provide "accessories" which always them to wear a normal outfit but still get into the Disney spirit. This little Peter Pan hat is adorable!


Some boys want to jump all in and participate! This Peter Pan costume looks comfortable, which is key.
Peter Pan Costume
$20.97

Here's another set of accessories. These are Cowboy Woody's, and this would also be cost-effective. If your little boy is wanting to dress up, pack your own jeans, shirt, and boots, and add this accessory pack. Be sure that everything is comfortable, and it's a good idea to limit "costume" time. I think accessories are a great option for little boys!

Cowboy Woody Accessories
$19.99

Since "Pirates of the Caribbean" is all the rage right now, a pirate costume would be perfect. Little boys still feel "cool" and they will fit right in at Disney World.

Pirate Costume
$14.25

***It has been recommended by some experts that for safety reasons, especially in a crowded place like Disney World, full name monograms shouldn't be used. However, I've seen children with their names on shirts often. If this concerns you, another option is to do just a one-letter monogram.***

There you have it! Proof that Disney dress-up is not just for little girls! Little Princes can look just as festive and charming! :)



5.15.2010

What to Wear: Looks for Little Girls

We haven't taken our little girl to Disney World yet, but when we do, I know it will be hard to contain myself with the ADORABLE outfits!

When you visit Disney World, obviously comfort is key. My friend Sarah had a great idea: they let their little girls wear their costumes during the evening only. It gives them something to look forward to and it's less hassle for everyone!

I focused this post on girly items, and will do one for little boys soon! Here are a few suggestions and "inspiration" ideas for packing your next (little girl) suitcase to the World:

A great option is packing comfy shorts or leggings (depending on the weather), and if you're going to buy something "cutesy," make it a cotton T-Shirt. It still gives that custom, special look without being uncomfortable.

I love these little shirts with Minnie as the Princesses! The matching hairbow would be a must.

Custom Boutique Applique Princess Minnie T-Shirts
$24.99 (Add matching bow for $3)

Is this not the cutest thing for siblings!?


Tutus have become very popular and look adorable. Be aware that sometimes the netting can start to feel itchy, especially if you're going during a hot time of year. Great look for pictures, but be sure you take a back-up outfit in your backpack.

The easiest way to get a cute "Disney" look is through hair bows, bands, and accessories. I thought these little "Mouse Ears" clips were so creative!


Here's one of the great cotton T-Shirts I was talking about. You can pair it with just about anything, and your little one will be super comfy.


Here's a really cost-effective option: Iron-On Appliques! Buy your own T-Shirt (it doesn't have to be anywhere near expensive) and iron away. I've had a lot of success with iron-ons while making onesies for my little girl. You can't beat the price!


Minnie Mouse Iron-On Applique
$3.00

The ultimate (and probably most popular) way to celebrate being in Disney World: dress like a Disney Princess! I wouldn't recommend going the whole day in costume. Reserve it for nighttime or a special character meal. I also recommend trying to find one that has a shorter skirt. Trains can get in the way, especially for little girls who like to walk around rather than stroll in the stroller. I advise buying a pre-made costume (as opposed to having one custom-made). It's less expensive, and you won't stress if something happens to the costume. These were several I found that have a higher-quality look but aren't expensive:


Cinderella Costume
$26.95


Snow White Costume
$29.99


***It has been recommended by some experts that for safety reasons, especially in a crowded place like Disney World, full name monograms shouldn't be used. However, I've seen children with their names on shirts often. If this concerns you, another option is to do just a one-letter monogram.***

Part of the excitement of a Disney Vacation (especially for a little girl) is dressing up and feeling like a princess. There's no better place than Disney World to dress as royally (and cute!) as possible. There are endless options to make adorable memories in!



5.14.2010

I'm Wishing: Disney Cruises

I've never been on a Disney Cruise, but it's one of my dreams to go on one!


I would love to see the impeccable design and the incredible creativity from the Imagineers and Designers.


Even the restaurants house special effects that are in true Disney form.


And live Disney entertainment? Yes, please!


I've had my doubts on how I would do on cruises (motion sickness), but I would TOTALLY take the risk for Disney!


Plus, I could never turn down a relaxing stateroom, which has the Disney seal of approval. That means it has to be a notch above!


I can just see our family having an incredible time and making so many memories.


Mickey, I'll see you on the high seas someday!


5.11.2010

Q & A

These questions are from my dear friend, Julie. She has three ADORABLE young boys, and she and her husband are planning a Disney trip for them. Hopefully her questions will help some of you. Love you, Julie!

We were originally thinking about going in October until [a friend] said they were thinking about going the first week in December. It's value season, you'd get to be there for all the Christmas stuff, and there is likely to be very few kids there since they will have just had off for Thanksgiving. This could be a very good option for our trip.

December is a great option for seeing the Christmas decorations, and avoiding crowds in value season! Our next trip (after this one in October) will definitely be during this season because it's a magical time to go. I highly recommend it! Be sure you pack all sorts of layers for clothing. Weather can be weird in central Florida, so you'll want to have a big variety of things to layer on and off. That's a big tip for this time of year.

I think we are leaning towards staying in All Star Movies value resort. I think the boys would LOVE to stay in the Animal Lodge in AK, but it's pretty pricey.

All Star Movies will be fantastic for the boys. It's kid-friendly and very engaging. Plus, at this stage in the game, you're really going for the parks and not necessarily a "fine hotel" experience. Although the Value resorts are definitely Disney-quality, which equals excellence. I would highly recommend them to anyone. Keep in mind that you are more than welcome to come and tour the Animal Kingdom Lodge and get the feel of the resort, even if you're not staying there. You'll also get a similar safari/savannah experience just by visiting Animal Kingdom. A great way to save money is to stay at a value resort but visit the lobbies and/or restaurants of finer resorts.

I'm not sure about which dining plan to do. If you stay in a value resort, does that lock you into a quick service meal plan? Which meal plans have you done before?

As far as I know, you are able to purchase whatever Dining Plan you wish, regardless of what resort you're staying in. The Dining Plans are done by point values, so you're not locked in to what you HAVE to eat, as far as menu items. Most of the restaurants at Disney participate in the Dining Plan. However, some signature restaurants will take up double points, if that makes sense. You can see what values a meal would take up by looking at the Disney Dining website, and then you can plan accordingly. From what I've heard, the Dining Plan gives you a LOT of food. That's why Kurt and I have never used it, because I'd feel compelled to use every single dang point I was given--haha! However, lots of families have had great experiences with it. Having three boys, yall might really get a good deal out of it. Keep in mind that if your boys don't typically eat a ton at each meal, sometimes you're better off to split plates and share certain things. It's a money saver, and you haven't wasted food. But only you know how much your kids typically eat.

Will we be able to find somewhat healthy food on that plan? I'm pretty strict about what I let my kids eat (and myself, for that matter).

Yes, it's possible to eat healthy at Disney. For instance, if you use the Dining Plan, you are allotted snacks throughout your stay. All Disney parks sell fresh fruit, and those can be redeemed using your meal plan. Also, there are healthy entree options at most every restaurant. Disney is really accommodating when it comes to guests' needs, so it never hurts to ask if you don't see something on the menu that you'd like you or your kids to eat. There are always fruit options for sides instead of fries, and the list goes on and on. You can read a good article about healthy eating HERE.

Are character meals included in any of the plans or should we just plan on paying out of pocket for those? Which ones of those would you recommend to me? The ones I like just by the sound of them are Chef Mickey, Winnie the Pooh (MK), Donald's Safari Breakfast, Playhouse Disney, and theTusker House Character breakfast (AK).

Character meals are included in your Dining Plan, unless otherwise noted. They only take up one meal allotment per person. I HIGHLY recommend doing a character meal, because it's a wonderful way to get pictures with characters (with no lines!), personal attention, and knock out a meal at the same time. Very much worth the money with kids. I've heard the most about Chef Mickey's, but you can be sure that any character meal at Disney WILL have characters present. They will most likely be themed according to where you are (i.e. "Safari" dressed characters will be in Animal Kingdom, and you'll get Winnie the Pooh and friends at their breakfast, etc.), so based on which characters your kids will like, it will be easy to make a decision. Bottom line: all character meals are good and worth it.

What about the dinner shows? Are those worth the money with my kids?

Dinner shows will most likely take up more of your Dining points, and it really depends on your kids. Dinner shows include a lot of crowd interaction, and kid participation. For instance, at O'Hana, kids play games, run races, etc. at the dinner show. If you have shy kids or kids that get scared easily of lots of noise or people trying to get them to participate, you might want to pass. However, some people argue that you never know until you try. I personally haven't been to any dinner shows, but as with all things Disney, you can be sure it will be engaging and high energy. Personally, I would skip a dinner show on your first visit to Disney. There's so much to see in the parks, they'll have SO much to take in already!

Tickets - is adding the park hopping option worth it? I think that there's probably enough to do in each park to keep us busy for one day, but you tell me if you think we'd benefit from this option. I think we definitely need at least 1 day in each park and then 1-2 more days to go back to what they loved. What do you think? I was also contemplating doing Sea World 1 day. They have a good deal on tickets.

Yes, I recommend doing one park per day, then having a couple of recap days. We personally love the Park Hopping option, because you aren't locked in. I get claustrophobic when I know I HAVE to stay in one park per day. I would feel trapped! ha! However, with young kids it's easier to stay in one park per day because you can take your time touring. I actually recommend doing Magic Kingdom over two days. The only reason you'd need a Park Hopper option would maybe be for your recap days, but obviously you can find plenty to do without park hopping. My recommendations: 2 day for Magic Kingdom, 2 days for Epcot (you can do it in 1 day but it helps to have 2), 1 day for Animal Kingdom, 1 day for Hollywood Studios, and then if you have a day left, pick your kids' favorite park and go back. Sea World is fun, especially for boys I would imagine. I have a friend that did a Disney vacation with her husband and son and they LOVED doing Sea World along with Disney. My recommendation: Do Sea World at the beginning of your trip. To me, Disney parks are unparalleled as far as excellence, magic, rides, etc. Putting Sea World at the end might seem like a come-down from just experiencing all that is Disney. Just my personal opinion!

I would highly recommend getting your tickets from Undercover Tourist. They are legit and have the best deals!

Send any more questions my way!


5.09.2010

I'm Wishing: Mother's Day

If I could give my Mom anything for Mother's Day, it would be a stay in the Cinderella Suite in the Magic Kingdom!






Here are the videos from a D23 Tour of the Suite. They're not "official" quality, as they were filmed by someone touring the Suite, but it's still such a fun view inside. Enjoy!









Mom, you deserve it! I love you so much!

5.08.2010

Ride Review: Peter Pan's Flight

(Photo via Here)

One of my favorite rides at Disney World has always been Peter Pan's flight. It's the classic Disney "dark ride" with Audio Animatronics. As you board your pirate ship, you begin to fly past the nursery of Wendy, Michael, and John, then you ascend over the streets of London on the way to Neverland. It's fascinating to see the tiny lights of the streetcars driving by "Big Ben" and the Tower Bridge. [Fun fact: the "cars" are simply neon paint painted on tire treads that continually rotate!]

As you fly over Neverland, you see the Mermaids, Indians, and Pirates, as well as Peter Pan saving Wendy from certain doom. The magic is enhanced as you fly close to the action of the scenes.

(Photo via Here)
Location: Magic Kingdom : Fantasyland
Who Should Ride: Anyone and Everyone!
Special Notes: Fastpasses go quickly for this ride and it's a very popular attraction. Plan accordingly!
Bottom Line: This ride is certain to be loved by all ages. It's a Disney classic, and there's charm in that.

5.04.2010

Q & A

Do you find that Magic Kingdom is less crowded at night time? I tried to find the answer online but couldn't really find anything for sure.

It has been my experience that the crowds start gradually dispersing from Magic Kingdom from about dinnertime on. The keyword here is gradual. There isn't a mass exodus until the park officially closes. A good number of people stay for the evening parade and fireworks, but if you are willing to forgo watching these events, wait times can be very low at certain attractions! A good tip: If you have the time, space out Magic Kingdom over two days. One night, watch the parade and fireworks. The other night, use the time when others are staking out their parade-viewing spots, etc. and ride all of the attractions you can!

An important side note: Don't count on getting Fastpasses into the evening hours. There are only a certain number of Fastpasses to be allotted each day, and once they're gone, they're gone. Utilize them in the peak park hours, which are typically between 10:00 am and 12 noon.

With Disney, the word "crowded" is obviously relative. In peak season, it will always seem like it's swamped with people (in most cases). But crowds will slowly start to disperse and young children will start having meltdowns at a certain point in the day, so you will be able to enjoy the Magic Kingdom well into the evening. Also, in the summer months, the evenings bring relatively cooler weather, so it's a nice change of pace.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


5.02.2010

Our Dining Plans

Well, I have successfully reserved all of our ADR's for our October vacation!

Even I normally don't reserve this early, but we are almost 100% certain that Kurt will be able to get the week off in October that we want. Also, since this is a rare adults-only Disney trip, we wanted to try some nicer restaurants, which also means that they can be harder to get into. I told Kurt that I REALLY hope there's no glitch in him getting those exact days---simply because of the dining reservations!

Here's where we plan to eat. This will also give you an idea of how I "sketch out" our dining reservations and the plan of where we'll eat.

Arrive on Sunday, October 24

Dinner: Quick Service in Magic Kingdom. We'll be going to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on this night, so we'll eat on the go!

Monday, October 25 (Magic Kingdom)

Lunch: Pinnochio Village Haus. I love watching It's A Small World while I eat--it's tradition!

Dinner: Narcoossee's at The Grand Floridian. I've never been, and we will be going back to the Magic Kingdom that night for Extra Magic Hours. (Image found here.)

Tuesday, October 26 (Epcot)

Lunch: Tokyo Dining. This is new for us, and we wanted to try some good, (close to) authentic Japanese food and sushi. (Image found here.)

Dinner: Bistro de Paris. This is upstairs from Les Chefs de France, where we have eaten before. Bistro is supposed to be more cozy and upscale. Also, I think the views will be beautiful at night! (Image found here.)

Wednesday, October 27 (Hollywood Studios)

Lunch: Quick Service.

Dinner: Sci-Fi Drive In. I've been here before, but Kurt hasn't! The theming is wonderful, and there's a variety of food. We have an early reservation because we want good seats for Fantasmic--we loved it last October!

Thursday, October 28 (Hop-Around Day)

Lunch: Quick Service in whatever park we're visiting!

Dinner: LE CELLIER in Epcot!!!! I set my alarm for EARLY on the day it was exactly 6 months out and nabbed a reservation! I was so excited. Le Cellier is a steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion. The main reason it's hard to get an ADR is because it's a small, intimate restaurant. We are so excited to try out Le Cellier! (Image found here.)

Friday, October 29 (Hop-Around Day)

Lunch: Quick Service in whatever park we're visiting!

Dinner: California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort. We've heard GREAT reviews about this restaurant--the views, food, and experience. I've always wanted to spend some time in the Contemporary, so this should be a great way to do it. Hopefully we timed the reservation right to see the fireworks in Magic Kingdom--they say the view can't be beat! (Image found here.)


We can't wait to experience these old favorites and create some NEW favorites!


5.01.2010

Precious Princess

I came across these videos awhile ago, and they brought me to tears. I haven't been able to get them out of my mind! This little girl first meets Princess Aurora in 2003 at Disneyland. She is so excited to meet her, she just can't contain herself. This particular Princess Aurora is the most beautiful, gracious, loving Cast Member I've ever seen. I hope Evy someday has an experience like this! {Pause my regular music playlist first!}



It gets better. THREE YEARS LATER, guess what happens?



Disney celebrates the simple and pure joy of children. It's enough to move me to tears.

Resort Review : Grand Floridian Resort

Every so often, I'm going to feature a hotel on the Disney property (or even off-property) and share my experience there. First up is the Grand Floridian!

Kurt and I stayed at the Grand Floridian for our Disney trip in October of 2008. The only reason we were able to afford it was because sweet Ashley was working in the Disney college program and allowed us her Cast Member discount. A MILLION thanks to Ashley! It created the perfect environment for our "Babymoon." So much so---we're staying there again when we go this October! That's where the majority of our budget will go, but it's worth it!


Here's what the Disney World website says about the Grand:

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a Victorian-style Disney Deluxe Resort distinguished as the flagship hotel of Walt Disney World Resort and offering world-class dining, entertainment and luxurious accommodations in its 6 striking red-gabled buildings. This magnificent hotel sits along the white-sand shores of Seven Seas Lagoon.

Enjoy an opulent experience that begins inside the Grand Lobby, which stands over 5 stories high, sparkling with the light from 2 brilliant chandeliers. With its gleaming white exterior, intricate gingerbread trim and gorgeous stained-glass domes, the Resort is an architectural marvel.

Retreat to a stately Guest room that marries Victorian sophistication with modern comforts. Luxuriate in style as you take in superb views of the Seven Seas Lagoon, wedding pavilion, pools, marina, Cinderella Castle or nightly fireworks at Disney's Magic Kingdom theme park, or the Resort grounds dotted with gardens and swaying palm trees.

Lounge by the hotel's 2 beautiful pools, treat yourself to invigorating therapies and massages at the world-class Spa and take advantage of state-of-the-art exercise equipment at the Health Club. When you're ready to dine, explore the Resort's 6 restaurants, including the elegant Victoria & Albert's—renowned for its award-winning American cuisine—and Narcoossee's, situated on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon and offering excellent views of Magic Kingdom theme park.


Before looking at the main hotel, one of the reasons I love the GF so much is because the Wedding Pavilion is on property! I wrote about my love of Disney Weddings here. I can't wait to walk around it again--it's beautiful and so dreamlike.


The lobby of the GF lives up to its name--GRAND! One of my tips is to come and tour the lobby and grounds of the hotel even if you're not staying there. It's a wonderful, opulent experience! Another plus is that the Grand Floridian is one of three resorts on the monorail loop (the Polynesian and Contemporary are the others). This convenience can't be beat! However, even if you can't stay at one of these resorts, Disney transportation is always top-notch and will get you to the parks conveniently and in a timely fashion.


There are several restaurants in the hotel. We had breakfast one morning at the Grand Floridian Cafe. It was lovely and so beautiful in the morning.

When I was younger, my family did a Character Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare. It was so elegant but still kid-friendly! You really get that "high-end" feel and meet some great characters. I'll share more about our upcoming trip reservations, but we'll be trying out another Grand Floridian restaurant this time around.

We loved the beautiful, serene decor and the little details of our room. Housekeeping Cast Members are so sweet and leave you the best little surprises!


This hotel is absolutely gorgeous, in every way. The best thing about Disney is that even if you aren't staying in a Deluxe Resort, you can still eat at one or at least go tour one. It's a wonderful way to have the experience without the expense!



My dream is to stay at the Grand Floridian during Christmastime--I can't imagine anything better!

If you would like to contribute a Resort Review, please email me and let me know! I'd love to feature all different types of Resorts so that we can get a feel for each one. You don't have to have as many pictures as I do (or any at all!); just your experience!


Have a magical day!