Disney Vacation Planning

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Dining In Paradise At Disney’s Aulani Resort

I have written about Aulani before – it’s Disney’s Resort and Spa located in beautifully tropical Hawaii, and it is a place I would LOVE to go with my husband – and we are hoping to make it there for our 10 year wedding anniversary (which gives us 6 years to save up and plan for it!)

If you’re considering going, then I think you’re making a SUPER smart choice – beautiful views, clear water, plenty of activities for everyone of all ages, and then there’s the FOOD – you won’t want to miss all that they have to offer in that department either…

AulaniDining BeachLounge

Off The Hook is an open air lounge that’s located right on the beach, and they serve up plenty of tropical drinks, as well as an assortment of fresh appetizers like shrimp cocktail and beef sliders

AulaniDIning Makahiki

If you’re a fan of buffet dining, then you’ll want to check out Makahiki-The Bounty Of The Islands – where you can join your favorite Disney characters for breakfast, and enjoy a peaceful delicious dinner of seafood and asian inspired entrees

AulaniDining AmaAma

If you’re looking for more of a gourmet experience, then Ama Ama is the place for you – contemporary Hawaiian dishes are served up here (with an oceanside view of course!) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – oh, and they make all their own desserts fresh in-house daily

AulaniDining ShaveIce

Or let’s say you are in a hurry or just looking for a quick snack to tide you over – then might I recommend you check out some of the Aulani Quick Service Dining Options – which include traditional Hawaiian shaved ice, hot dogs/chicken tenders, salads, pretzels and more!

Aulani has it all – a full service spa, amazing rooms and service, plenty of activities to keep you and your family busy and happy, amazing ocean views, and some pretty awesome FOOD too! Hope you get a chance to visit this amazing vacation spot someday and that you get to indulge in all the amazing cuisine they have to offer!

TGIF

 

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, The World Outside Disney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – The Fall Season Is In Full Bloom At The Disney Parks!

Fall is – in my humble opinion – the very best season of all! Apple and pumpkin everything, cool air, changing leaves, sweaters – I love it all. And although autumn may not officially begin for a few days (9/22 to be exact!) – the season is definitely in the air everywhere – here in upstate NY you can see it in the apple orchards and feel it in the crisp air, and in Walt Disney World, you can see it everywhere you look!

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…And of course with fall comes Halloween – which Disney is already fully prepared for, since they are already in the midst of their Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party celebrations! Whether or not you get to celebrate fall or Halloween at Disney, I hope you get to enjoy the season as much as I do!

TGIF!

Categories: Disney in Pictures, Disney News, Disney Vacation Planning, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Times They Are A Changin’…

I am in the home stretch of my first pregnancy – early next month my little guy will be here and nothing will be quite the same ever again! I have many hopes and dreams for him and for our life together as a little family – aside from wanting him to be happy, healthy, and to thrive and grow – I am hoping that he inherets my husband’s curiosity and intellegence, my organizational and planning skills – and if we are being honest, I am kinda hoping he inherits my love of all things Disney too (that being totally secondary to all the other things of course!)

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I first visited Walt Disney World when I was 4 – and I do remember parts of it – sitting on my dad’s shoulders, getting Mickey Bars (which looked a bit different back then – plus you could buy them at grocery stores too which we did often!), begging for the Daisy Duck hat with the giant HEAVY plastic brim (her beak, of course!), and most memorably – I recall crying and crying after my dad convinced me it would be fun to ride Space Mountain (it was NOT fun – but luckily I got over it)

I was lucky enough to spend over a dozen family vacations at Disney World with my parents – we made memories that I will always cherish, and I truly hope I can make some similarly amazing memories with my husband and our son in the years to come

Ok, so if we are being honest, there are a few things I am hoping he likes when it comes to Disney:

-Rides: He doesn’t have to like them all, but I hope that he will be willing to try all the different kinds – from the thrill rides to the “kiddie” rides – I hope he has an adventurous side and is open to them all!

-Characters: Giant fuzzy creatures coming towards you for a hug can be extremely frightening for a little kid – and many young ones have cried at their first character encounter, even if its with their favorite character who they have been dying to meet. You just never know, but I am hoping my kid will love the hugs and attention even at a young age (I sure did – man did it feel special and awesome to get a hug from Pooh at breakfast!)

-Food: Disney does an amazing job catering to those with allergies, food sensitivities, and especially to those picky eaters out there. I don’t think any parent hopes for a picky eater, but hey – it happens, and luckily they can have their fill of chicken nuggets, fries, and mac and cheese at Disney World. Do I hope my son wants to try the sushi and steak and gelato and naan bread? Yes, of COURSE I hope he wants to try something new, but if he doesn’t, we can both eat the chicken nuggets together (as they are pretty good too!)

These are all “nice to have” wishes, but in reality, I just hope he wants to go places with us, and can look back on the memories we made as a family when he grows up

Needless to say, a trip to WDW is not exactly in the cards for us for….a while. Probably 3-4 years at least. But in the meantime, I will have a LOT going on – and something tells me I wont miss it that much compared to the joy ahead of me – like getting to meet the little guy kicking around inside me (you can come out any day now – seriously). I can only hope that my love for Disney will be passed on to my son and that he will get as much joy and pleasure out of it as I have!

Categories: Disney Food, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Custom Disney On Etsy!

In case you haven’t ever gotten sucked into Etsy.com – let me break it down for you – it is a place where you can find basically any and every craft/hand-made custom item you could ever even imagine. Seriously – from jewelry and bags to clothes and home furnishings – if you want something unique and one of a kind, you MUST check it out.

Etsy has a LOT of Disney stuff available through the various shops they host – it’s a really great way to get something unique to wear or bring to the Parks. Check out these amazing items:

    Etsy Necklace

My husband actually got me this necklace for Christmas last year – and I LOVE it – I wear it all the time! Check out AOS Design for this and other great Disney baubles

EtsyShirts

This is a great idea for your Disney trip – not only will the shirts look great in pictures, but it makes it easier to keep everyone together too! Check out Creations By Jeanne for these awesome custom shirts

Etsy Bag

I have to say – I seriously LOVE this idea – to have your kids bring a tote bag for autographs is practical (they can carry their own stuff this way!) and unique! Available on Two Boys And A Tee

EtsyInvites

Ok so let’s say you’re planning your child’s Disney themed birthday party (or maybe it’s your own birthday party? No judgment) Find amazing invites, décor and more on Gardellas Global

Etsy Ears

Ok I must admit – these are my favorite! I actually follow Brooke on Instagram, and when I saw these amazing creations of hers, I was in awe! These are custom Mickey ears – available in a TON of amazing patterns and fabrics – the Haunted Mansion ones pictured are my fave but she has TONS more – check her out Here!

Can’t find exactly what you want? Most shop owners will create custom pieces for you – so don’t be afraid to ask!

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney in Pictures, Disney Vacation Planning, The World Outside Disney, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Five Ways We Will Be Cutting Costs On Our Next WDW Trip

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My husband and I are expecting a baby in October – which is SUPER exciting and amazing – and we can’t wait to be able to take the little guy to Disney in hopes that he loves it as much as we do! However – since that is likely several years away, we have been talking about a vacation he and I might take just the two of us in a year or so – we are hoping to go to Disney (again, of course, what did you expect?!), but we know that money will be MUCH tighter with a baby to take care of, so I have been brainstorming and have come up with these top five money saving tips that we will be using on our next trip:

Pack Our Own Supplies: You can buy almost everything you could need at Walt Disney World – but it comes at a price, and I don’t know about you, but spending $18 on a bottle of sunscreen (that costs $8 at home) – doesn’t exactly thrill me – its not the best souvenir ever, that’s for sure. So we like to make sure we think ahead and pack stuff we know we will need: sunscreen (in small TSA approved bottles since we don’t like to check luggage!), ponchos, extra camera batteries and phone/tablet chargers, and another big one is medicine – I like to travel with a little mobile medicine cabinet – advil, tylenol, tums, NyQuil, and band-aids/neosporin are some things you might want to consider including in your “take to the Parks” bag – you’ll be glad you did, trust me!

Bring Food From Home: We like to pack snacks to help keep us tided over between meals – things that are easy to eat on the go work best – like granola bars, small packages of nuts/pretzels/trail mix, dried fruit, gum (not really a snack, but you won’t find it for sale at any WDW stores so best to pack your own!), water bottles – which we like to fill and freeze using our room fridge (perfect for those long hot days at the Parks), and most important of all – breakfast! It might seem strange to pack breakfast in your suitcase for the whole vacation, but its such a money and time saver – apples, bagels, peanut butter, fruit cups, cereal – these are items we have found to work the best over the years – you can usually purchase some small variety of these and some perishable items like milk, fruit, etc at your WDW Resort gift shop to supplement what you brought – and while the prices are high, they are still cheaper than a Disney breakfast (which can cost around $8-$15 a person – yikes!)

Share Meals: Being that we are a party of 2 adult travelers (for now, until our son is old enough to come with us!), we are lucky in that it’s easy for us to split meals – and many Disney meals and snacks are large enough to allow for this. Most meals include an entrée and a side, and then sharing a drink helps save money too – check out this article for more sharing ideas

Skip The Dining Plan: This might seem like a strange one – as the dining plan is hugely convenient, being that you pay for it before you even arrive and then just swipe your Magic Band when it comes time to pay, and you’re done! But – it isn’t always cost effective, especially if you have people in your party who aren’t big eaters or who can share most larger meals. This time around, we will be skipping the upfront cost (which is a BIG savings), and bringing our own breakfast, sharing lunch, and then splurging on 1 or 2 nicer sit down dinners – which will save us a lot in the long run (and still allow us to sneak in a few character meals too, which is imperative!)

Souvenirs: Disney souvenirs are pricey. Amazing, but pricey. I usually make myself a budget before I leave for any WDW trip regarding what souvenirs I want and how much they are and which ones I really want versus which ones aren’t really necessary. I do this by using the DisneyStore.com website to estimate prices and see what items might be available for me to buy at Disney. I mean – in reality, no one needs more than 1 or 2 souvenirs, and I always have loved trip photos so much that they end up being my favorite souvenir each and every time – a great way to relive the memories for years to come. So stick to 1 or 2 small things per person (and make that clear to the kids before you leave!) and then make sure you take tons of pictures – those are the most cherished souvenir anyway (in my opinion that is!)

You might have noticed that the majority of these money saving tips involve FOOD – and it’s not because we want to deprive ourselves of all the amazing Disney Dining options – but rather because the cost of dining at Disney is HIGH – meals are expensive, and yes the food is amazing – but it adds up quickly, especially if you are paying out of pocket for your whole party for every meal

Check out more money saving ideas here, and hopefully you will be able to make a WDW trip an affordable reality soon for your family!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney Quick Tips – Know Your Limits!

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It’s easy to get caught up all that Disney Magic while you’re on vacation at Walt Disney World – so easy in fact that you might get so busy that you forget to eat, or put on sunblock, or sit down and relax, or drink enough water…basically, Disney is distracting. Mostly in good ways, but you’ll want to remember to take care of yourself too while touring the Parks – so I suggest you KNOW YOUR LIMITS:

-Food: This is an especially important one for me, with two diabetic parents, we have to keep on a pretty strict eating schedule – making sure we eat meals around the same times each day, and carrying snacks for those in between times helps too. Make sure you are listening to your stomach – and when it rumbles, feed it ASAP!

-Drinking: This applies to both alcohol and water – make sure you don’t drink too much alcohol (especially during the day!), and make sure to replenish very frequently with water (bring your own water bottles and refill them often!)

-Downtime: Disney has a tendency to make us rush – we want to see it all, and do it all, and we want it all NOW! Well – ok. I get it, I have been there, but guess what – its not possible. You just aren’t going to get to see every single little thing in one day – so stop trying. Take it slow, enjoy the scenery, and when you’re feeling tired – sit down and relax for a bit, or better yet – return to your Disney Resort for a nap or a quick dip in the pool after lunch (when it’s hottest out and the likelyhood of meltdowns and tantrums are highest!)

The urge to rush and run and do it all will definitely happen to you at some point during your WDW vacation – but try and fight it as best you can – make sure you know your limits, and stick to them. If you do, your vacation will be much happier and more fun for everyone!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Resorts, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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