Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Missing Disney Already...

My family took our Disney vacation last week and let me tell you, it was a blast! We are already missing Disney though. We spent 7 days in Orlando and stayed off property at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. We had originally planned to stay on property at the new Art of Animation resort in a Finding Nemo suite. But my husband had unexpected appendicitis and ended up having his appendix removed three months before our vacation causing him to miss work and we were stuck with a pretty big medical bill (even with insurance!). We had to make a tough decision, cancel our Disney vacation or stay 'off property' to save money.

After researching the options of off property accommodations I came across Wyndham Bonnet Creek and realized that it technically is 'on property' but not by Disney standards. It is not owned or affiliated with Disney. However, it is literally two stop lights away from Hollywood Studio's and Epcot! We were able to drive to the theme parks in record time, a mere ten minutes or less! Everything worked out for the best and our kids loved the variety of pools, lazy rivers and pirate themed play area's. We rented a two bedroom condo from an owner (the property is a timeshare property) and we were able to save over $1,000 vs staying on property. We actually ended up with much more space than the Finding Nemo suite would have been for our family of five. The condo had a full size beautiful kitchen, dining room, master bedroom with gorgeous bathroom complete with a jetted tub and separate shower. The children shared a room and it had two queen sized beds and enough room for our packnplay too! Some condo's on the property even have fireworks views of Epcot! Ours did not unfortunately but we were still loving it!
my son loved the splash park at the resort

it is padded to prevent slipping

the water slide/pool beside our tower

the playground was so nice, again, padded to prevent falls
my children enjoyed playing here after a long day at the parks

we saw many ducks and babies
there are 6 towers at the resort all located around the beautiful lake

 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hollywood Studio's Baby Care Center Review

The baby care center at Hollywood Studio's is located at the front of the park inside of the guest services building. The baby care center is really nice and a great spot to change a diaper, nurse a baby or heat up baby food. There are two private nursing rooms (on the left you can see the curtain for one) and then there is a separate area with changing tables and a small child sized potty. I must note that the child sized potty does not have the automatic flush which scares some small children. I really think that the baby care center is a wonderful place that Disney provides for mom's and dad's. I just wish that there was more than one located in the parks.


several clean changing tables located in the baby care center

private child sized potty

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Looking For A Great Deal?

Windsor Hills vacation rental homes are located just a few minutes drive from Disney World and provide plenty of space for the whole family. Some rental homes even have their own private pool! They are currently running a great special that I just had to share with my blog readers. If you're looking for a great deal then here it is!! For only $299 per week (plus cleaning fees & taxes) you can rent a vacation home in Orlando. Go to their website for more information and pictures of the rental homes: http://www.vacationcentralflorida.com/

Details:
Windsor Hills For Less!  Select 2 and 3 BR Condos just $299 Per Week Base Price!
APRIL 20 to APRIL 27
APRIL 27 to MAY 4
MAY 4 to MAY 11
MAY 11 to MAY 18
MAY 18 to MAY 25
- Just add Cleaning, fees, and Taxes!  (remaining UNBOOKED weeks only)

You can find them on Facebook too!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What To Do If You Get Sick On Vacation

Nobody wants to get sick or hurt while on vacation but you can rest assured that there is a first aid center located in all of the Disney theme parks (and water parks) just in case you need them. The biggest first aid center is located at the Magic Kingdom behind the Crystal Palace. They are able to treat minor problems such as scrapes, headaches, twisted ankles, etc. They can also store medicine that requires refrigeration for guests. There are trained nurses available during normal park hours. They can provide over the counter medicines but not prescriptions.

If you have a more serious problem then you should get to the hospital. The closest hospital to Disney World is the Celebration Health Hospital located just about 15 minutes away. Their phone number is (407) 303-4000. If you don't want to go to the hospital then you can always go to Buena Vista Urgent Care open Monday thru Friday 8 am until 7 pm and Saturdays  and Sundays 8 am until 3 pm. No appointments are needed and they accept most insurances.

Don't forget to pack the following items for your vacation:
  • thermometer
  • band aids
  • children's Tylenol
  • Benadryl
  • bug spray
It's always best to be prepared even if it means over packing :) I also pack an extra set of earrings for my daughter in case she looses one on a ride.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

5 Tips To Enjoy The Moment On Vacation

Many people rush, rush, rush on their Disney vacation and forget to stop and enjoy the moment. Take in the details of Main Street, the flowers, the water fountains, etc. Many people run around the parks trying to check off items on their list and forget to relax.

Five tips to enjoy the moment:

1. Take pictures! The infamous Castle in the background, the Streets of America Set at Hollywood Studio's, Epcot's Eiffel tower, Mickey Mouse topiaries, etc all make wonderful photo backdrops! Purchase a Disney photo album with the year on it to look back on your vacation.

2. Relax and take a day OFF! Enjoy the resort pool, sleep in, order room service. You're on vacation!

3. Window shop. Take time out of the day to take a leisurely stroll down Magic Kingdom's Main Street, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studio's, visit the countries in Epcot. There are many neat shops located throughout all of the parks and even hotels. You can hop on the monorail and visit the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Resort and the Contemporary's gift shops. My personal favorite is the BouTiki gift shop located at the Polynesian Resort.

4. Sit and people watch (hotel lobby's are a great spot to sit back on those comfy couches and people watch). Find a nice spot in the shade on Main Street and watch a parade or enjoy some ice cream.

5. Go fishin! Many of the resorts offer dockside fishing in stocked ponds. Fishing gear is available for rental at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Disney's Port Orlean's Resort. All fishing at Disney World is a catch and release only. You do not need a fishing license.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Disney Packing List

Disney Packing List

Must Haves:
  • Park tickets
  • maps
  • confirmation #'s of hotel, adr's, car rental, etc.
  • swimsuits
  • Sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • Hat
  • camera
  • camcorder
  • chargers-for camera, cell phone, etc.
  • good walking shoes
  • socks
  • water shoes
  • clothes-pre packed outfits for each family member (by day & labeled in a sealed bag to allow for easy unpacking & your children will know what outfit to wear what day)
  • travel potty
  • stroller
  • stroller rain cover
  • poncho’s (purchase at the dollar store)
  • a few surprises for your children for both the road trip and in the hotel room

Toiletries
  • Hair Brush
  • Hair Bows
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Hair dryer (check with your hotel prior to see if you need to bring one)
  • Hair de-frizzer (Floridia humidity is bad!)
  • Makeup
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Children’s shampoo
  • children's washcloths/towels
  • Lotion
  • Aloe for those that get too much sun
  • Tylenol (just in case)
  • Anti-nausea medicine (again, just in case)
  • Plenty of wipes
  • Diapers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Razor/shaving cream
  • Bug spray

Items to keep your children occupied on the plane, train, car, bus, etc.
 
  • Crayons/markers/coloring book (I love the Crayola travel box that holds the color wonder markers)
  • Stickers—these are great!
  • books
  • handheld games/batteries
  • mess free snacks!
  • Homework—if your child is missing school ask the teacher ahead of time for some worksheets
  • Activity books (ex. Mazes, crossword puzzle, look and find, etc)

Friday, April 5, 2013

PassPorter's Walt Disney World Review

The PassPorter is a must have for planning a Disney vacation! I recently received a copy and have been hooked ever since! The PassPorter is not your average travel guide. It is a planner, organizer, journal and keepsake! It comes with park maps, resort maps complete with room layouts and pictures and a planning section that you can complete on your own. I really love the packing and budget worksheets that you can complete to help with your planning.
 
The are 18 different peer reviewers who helped the authors to rate the different rides and attractions in each of the parks. There are 'value ratings' that range from 1 to 10 and are based on quality, variety, scope and overall value of the park. Then there are magic ratings based on theme, excitement and overall magic of each ride/attraction. They also review and rate the various restaurants located throughout Disney World.
 
I love how the PassPorter describes each restaurant, quick service and snacking location and provides this little box for readers to check off when they have eaten at one of them. There are opening and closing times listed beside each dining description as well as the average price and location. There is even a meal worksheet included in the PassPorter that allows readers to write where they are eating each day for each meal. This is such a nice feature. There is even an ADR worksheet (advanced dining reservations) for readers to list their confirmation numbers, restaurant name and dining time.
 
Last but not least, my favorite part of this awesome book--you can customize your PassPorter! There are stickers included that you can use as tabs or flags throughout the book. For example, 'our anniversary', 'my birthday', etc. Then there are envelopes that you can place tickets in, maps, keepsakes, etc. and you can personalize your journey. There are pages for each day of your vacation that you can fill out, day 1, day 2, etc. with spaces for you to write your favorite memory from the day.
 
To purchase your very own PassPorter go to this website to view the different options. There are many editions of the PassPorter available, Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, Disney Vacation Club Guide and Disney Weddings & Honeymoons!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Surprise Disney Breakfast Reveal

My three children had absolutely no clue that we are going to Disney World in just three weeks. It has been SO hard to keep the big secret from them and on a few occasions it even almost slipped out by accident. The kids woke up today to a very special surprise Disney themed breakfast. The kitchen table was decorated with Mickey confetti, Mickey ear shaped donuts (the circular mini waffles have been so hard to find that I just gave up and went with the donuts) and personalized shirts for the vacation! My oldest child read the words to her brother and sister from the chalkboard that I made..."20 days til Disney World" she screamed with delight. My three and half year old son was so excited and they immediately began talking about all of the rides they want to do. It was just too cute to watch the expressions on their little faces when they realized that they would be going to the happiest place in the World in just a few weeks!
20 Days til Disney!!!

What's this on my head Mommy?!

So excited!

Allie reading the sign to Hunter

Ready for Disney!