Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Renting A Car In Orlando

If you are flying to Disney World consider yourself lucky! There are many benefits to flying to Orlando, Florida however when you fly you no longer have access to your personal vehicle. This can be a scary thought for many Mom's and Dad's who have babies and toddlers that require a car seat.

Did you know that the Disney transportation system will pick up guests at the airport for free? You simply must let them know in advance of your flight information. However, car seats are not allowed on the Disney transportation system. This is a scary thought for someone like me who is paranoid enough with my children riding in our own car in car seats on a highway. I worry about car accidents constantly and can not stand the thought of my children (all under age 6) being on a bus, train or even air plane without their car seat.

So what is a parent to do? If you feel the same way that I feel about children being in a car seat then there are other options. You can pay for a taxi cab to transport your family to your resort from the airport. The average taxi fare from Orlando airport to Disney property is roughly $50. If you are on a tight budget and trying to determine the best option for your family I would recommend doing the math. Add up how many cab rides you will be needing (Do you need groceries? Do you need a cab ride to Universal Studio's?) The cost of relying on the taxi cab could quickly add up. If you just need a taxi cab ride to and from the airport to your resort it would cost about $100. But if you plan to do any sight seeing on your own in Orlando, purchase groceries, etc. then I would highly recommend that you rent a car. There are several car rental companies located at the Orlando airport. How convenient is that?! You can rent a small compact car for 7 days for $150 or if you need more space you could rent a mini van for 7 days for $300. This way you have your own transportation and your children can safely ride in their car seats.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Giveaway Time!

My friends at Kid-e Tag have such an awesome product that I wanted to share it with my readers. Mom invented Kid-e Tags quickly relay vital information to an adult, caregiver or medical personnel in an emergency situation. The specially developed ID tags are for children of all ages, not just for those with a medical condition, special need or allergy. Kid-e Tags are the perfect solution for general identification of your child's backpack, lunch bag and jacket, etc. They are great to use when going to crowded venues (Disney, festivals, malls, etc) where a child might get lost. Made in the USA, Kid-e Tags are durable, laminated polyester plastic tags that are waterproof and one-of-a-kind. Simply fill in the fields with a permanent marker, apply clear protective label provided to protect writing and attach where applicable.

One lucky winner will win an emergency id Kid-e Tag starter kit which includes: car seat/bag tag, key tag and a shoe tag. To enter follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. Here is a special code for my readers to receive 10% off all products: "KET_FBLIKE" use this code at check out.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party On A Budget

My daughter's 2nd birthday party--Minnie Mouse theme turned out super cute!

Super cute personalized water bottles from Names & Such. I handmade the pink bows for each child's plate. The polka dot favor boxes are from Bella Bargains on Etsy.

Handmade mouse ear's from Bella Bargains

Minnie Mouse cake was delicious

white chocolate Minnie Mouse pops

I covered the table with a vinyl pink table cloth then purchased large pink scrapbooking paper for each child to color on. Then I purchased 2 ft of pink toile at the local craft store and bunched it up.

Printed these adorable water bottle labels from an Etsy shop

The adorable birthday girl :)
You can recreate this super cute Minnie Mouse birthday party very easily and for less than $100 (depending on the number of children). The tablecloth and toile I already had from a previous party and the only items I had to purchase were 6 pink scrapbooking papers, black paper plates and napkins. The balloons and cake cost $40 and the party favors were less than $50. I tried to keep it simple but yet cute. I am just so tired of the junky party favors that no one has any use for (candy, random bouncy balls, silly straws, etc) and I wanted to find a party favor that children could actually use and that is how I came across the personalized water bottle idea and mouse ear's.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Planning A Disney Themed Birthday Party

I am in the process of planning my daughter's second birthday party and let me tell you, I am having fun! My little Alexis absolutely loves Minnie Mouse and I knew right away that was going to be the theme for her second birthday party. We are having a small party with just a few children and I always try to plan parties on a budget. For starters, I chose the party date and time (afternoon party to avoid cranky toddlers who haven't had a nap!) and then I chose the party favors.

I am really excited about how cute the party favors are. I found them at a super cute Etsy shop called Bella Bargains. Each child will receive their own handmade mouse ears to wear at the party and to take home. Bella Bargains specializes in party favors and accessories on a budget. They have the most adorable chevron striped paper straws that are such a hit at parties. They sell a wide variety of party goodies ranging from super cute cupcake wrappers to party favor boxes.
can't wait to see these on all of the kiddies at the party!

wide variety of fun bright colored paper straws to choose from!
In addition to the mouse ears the children will also be receiving these adorable personalized water bottles that I found at another great Etsy shop called Grimes Graphics. They are available in pink or red with your choice of Mickey or Minnie ears (bows) for $5.89 each.
Next up I had to decide cupcakes or cake? There are just so many "Minnie" themed cupcake designs that I love that I am having a hard time to choosing! Thanks to Pinterest I have seen some really amazing cupcakes that I am hoping to reproduce myself. This is one of my favorite's:
I am not sure how I will create that bow though...
I love this three tiered cake but there is absolutely no way that I could even attempt to recreate this! Stay tuned for my next blog post on how the party turned out!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Columbia Harbour House Review

The menu at Columbia Harbour House

Anchors Aweigh Tuna Sandwich with chips, Garden Harvest Salad and apple crisp for dessert

Close up of the delicious Anchors Aweigh Sandwich
Columbia Harbour House is my favorite quick service dining option at Magic Kingdom. It is located near the Haunted Mansion and offers plenty of indoor air conditioned seating. The menu offers a wide range of delicious foods ranging from lobster rolls to fried shrimp platters. My husband ordered the Anchors Aweigh tuna sandwich which he said was delicious. The sandwich comes with a side of potato chips. I ordered the garden harvest salad which was delicious. The salad has grilled chicken, mixed greens, green beans and carrots. For dessert we had the apple crisp and after eating this we wished we had ordered two! The apple crisp was amazing! The meal cost a little less than $25 and we loved it. The server also gave my children two Mickey straws because he saw that they were crying. The straws cost .59 each and they are available in red or blue. I would give Columbia Harbour House an A+ for the clean interior of the restaurant, delicious food and value of the prices.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gaston's Tavern Review

Gaston's Tavern is located in the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom

Picture of the limited menu

Warm cinnamon roll
Gaston's Tavern is a great spot to grab a quick breakfast in the new Fantasyland or a snack. The menu is very limited and unfortunately they do not serve iced coffee. I grabbed a quick breakfast and I was hoping to grab a specialty coffee but unfortunately the only option they had was plain old regular hot coffee. I prefer the iced coffee version on a hot Florida morning. The warm cinnamon roll was delicious and the portion was great! I noticed many people eating the pork shank later in the day when we were walking by. Those things are huge! Overall I would give Gaston's Tavern a B for the limited menu and lack of iced coffee.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2013 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

The 2013 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival was SO amazing. Even my three children enjoyed it! The day that we were visiting Epcot was a cloudy and overcast day but it was still very hot. My children had never been to Epcot before and they loved it! I had read and heard many mixed reviews on Epcot but I am so thankful that we went and saw for ourselves just how fun it is. My children are ages 6, 3 1/2 and almost 2. We spent a full day at Epcot and despite the periods of rain and thunder we had a great time. The children were never bored and never asked to go back to the resort. They enjoyed seeing the beautiful character topiaries, meeting Winnie the Pooh and the various princesses and participating in the Kidcot Fun Stops.
My oldest daughter with her Kidcot Duffy Bear

My son with his Kidcot Duffy Bear

Such beautifully detailed topiaries can be found throughout the park

My daughter in front of Tinkerbell's Butterfly House

The butterfly life cycle


there were such detailed little fairy houses hidden throughout the fairy garden

What a fun day at Epcot!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free Dining for Disney Visa Card Members!

Free dining for Disney Visa card members is back! To learn more information and request a complimentary quote go to Cheryl's website.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kingdom Strollers Review

This year we decided to rent a stroller from Kingdom Strollers in Orlando instead of packing our own double stroller. Our double stroller takes up most of our trunk space and let me tell you, it was so nice to have the extra space for packing the van this year! We arrived at our hotel and simply called the bell station and asked for our stroller which had been dropped off that morning. They brought it up to our room and it was so easy.
Kingdom Strollers has several options for stroller rentals. Single or double strollers are available. They rent by the night and will deliver and pick up the stroller at most Orlando area resorts. For 7 nights it cost $70 which is much cheaper than renting a stroller at the park. I really loved this double stroller, there is plenty of storage below for a backpack, shopping bags, etc. A small cooler bag is included in the rental price which is great for storing baby bottles, sippy cups, etc. The stroller has a weight capacity of up to 100 lbs and will hold children up to 44" tall. We will probably never pack our own stroller again when traveling to Disney. It was so convenient having this and it was easier to push that I had thought! My children were comfy and the baby even took a nap in the recling seat.
City Mini Double Stroller

Clearly labeled with our last name

Cup holder and two storage spaces (great for snacks, maps, cell phone, etc)

Plenty of shade for napping
Here are my girls riding in double stroller at Epcot

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kona Cafe Review

We had a wonderful dinner at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Café. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and wanted to eat somewhere special. We really love the Polynesian Resort and try to eat there each time we go to Disney World. When we arrived at our dinner reservations we were given a pager and waited just about five minutes to be seated.

The children were given crayons and a children's menu to color. We were immediately served warm delicious bread with honey butter (it was gone before I could take a picture). I just love the bread at Kona! I ordered the long awaited Lapu Lapu drink (I had been reading reviews about this drink for months!). The Lapu Lapu is served IN a pineapple! The drink consists of Bacardi 151, Myers rum and tropical juices. I did ask the server to ask the bartender to leave out the 151 because I did not want the drink to be too strong!
totally worth the $12

this is me enjoying every sip

My husband ordered the Kona Coffee Rubbed Pork Chop with mashed sweet potatoes and seasonal veggies. He enjoyed his meal very much and said he would highly recommend it. I ordered the Teriyaki Style New York Strip topped with diced pineapple and served with stir fry broccolini and sticky rice. The sticky rice was somewhat bland in my opinion and I wished that I had substituted the rice for the mashed potatoes. The steak was amazing and the flavor really was perfect. I would definetly order the New York strip again!
Kona Coffee Rubbed Pork Chop

delicious mashed sweet potatoes
teriyaki New York strip

my daughter enjoying the chicken nuggets and fries

kids ice cream sundae

complimentary cupcakes for our anniversary :)
Overall this meal was wonderful and I would highly recommend Kona Café to anyone who wants a nice sit down dinner in a wonderful atmosphere. The meal cost $98 before the tip and we would love to go back again!