Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How To Choose Your ADR's---Advanced Dining Reservations

Many people ask me for advice on which restaurants are the most 'child friendly'. For starters I always recommend previewing the menu of the restaurant prior to making an ADR (advanced dining reservation). You want to check for two things, the prices and the kids menu. Not all kids menu's are created equal. Meaning, they are not all going to serve the same old typical food consisting of chicken nuggets and pizza. The new Be Our Guest restaurant serves a much more upscale and healthier kid's menu consisting of grilled fish, grilled steak, whole grain macaroni and grilled chicken breast. I dont know about you, but my children are not going to eat any of that.

My family packs our own lunch in a cooler to save money. However, we do budget to have at least three ADR's. We always plan to have one character meal and we vow to try a new restaurant once. My favorite character meal is Chef Mickey's. We love Chef Mickey's because of the wonderful character interaction. You can find the "Fab Five" here-Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. The food is not gourmet but it is good not to mention the great variety. The typical picky eater won't go hungry here. My favorite is the Mickey shaped waffles and the fresh fruit selection is wonderful.

Our family loves the Polynesian Resort and we always try to make at least one ADR to eat there. We love venturing to the Polynesian Resort to explore the property, gift shop and of course the yummy food. We ate breakfast at O'hana one day and dinner at Kona both were absolutely amazing! We did the Laua a few years ago at the Polynesian and absolutely loved every second. In my opinion you can't go wrong with any of the dining options at the Polynesian!

Lapu Lapu at Kona is such a fun drink!

My little's love the kids meal options at Kona

Husband loved the meal options too ;)

Here are my tips for choosing your ADR's if you have young children especially babies. Choose a restaurant that is loud-O'hana is a great choice because it is not a quiet. Avoid places that are more of a romantic atmosphere where a loud baby might be an annoyance to someone on a date. Fulton's Crab House is one of the places that I have always wanted to try but with three kids under 6 years old I think I will pass. Also try to find a restaurant that is in your price range, a $40 per person all you can eat buffett may not be the best choice for your family if you have picky eater's who won't really eat much at all. Make your ADR's early-do not wait until the week before your vacation to decide where you would like to eat. I recommend making your ADR's once it is 180 days until your vacation. There will still be plenty of time to cancel, change a time, etc but at least you will have a plan. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Disney Cruising-Excursions on Castaway Cay

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Orange. Enjoy the ride as we share the various excursions to choose from on a Disney Cruise.

I am going on my very first Disney Cruise in May! I am SO excited and I have been exploring the different options for excursions. I really look forward to a nice relaxing beach day and can not wait until our day at Disney's private island called Castaway Cay!

Look how beautiful and clear that blue water is at Castaway Cay

Here is a great map that you can download and print *photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

There is just SO much to do on Castaway Cay. There are a lot of FREE activities on the island which is nice. The island consists of a post office, family beaches with complimentary umbrella's and chairs for guests, private adult beach called Serenity Bay which also offers complimentary umbrella's and chairs for guests. There is also a water play area for younger children called Spring A Leak on the island and a really fun water slide attraction called Pelican Plunge located in the water near the family beach. There is also two restaurants, Cookies BBQ and Cookie's Two BBQ. For those that want a nice refreshing adult drink there are multiple bar's on the island. 

There are a lot of fun excursions offered on Castaway Cay. To view the excursions you can visit the Disney Cruise Line website and then click 'ships and activities' and then choose the option that says 'port adventures'. Next choose the island you are visiting and then you can view the many excursion options. 

Castaway Cay offers the following excursions for an additional fee:

  • Abaco Back Country Fishing excursion
  • Bicycle Rentals
  • Boat Rentals (Sea Kayaks, Hobie Cats, Aqua Trikes, Stand Up Paddle Boards)
  • Castaway Cay Getaway Package (this is a great value and it includes 3 fun activities: snorkeling, bike rental for one hour and a float or tube rental for the day
  • Castaway Cay Island Cruise (90 minute adventure)
  • Private Cabana Rental for the day (there is limited quantity)
  • Stingray Adventure
  • Extreme Getaway Package (this is a great value and includes 4 fun activities: snorkeling, bike rental for one hour, float or tube rental for the day and the stingray adventure)
  • Float and tube rentals ($10 per tube for the whole day) *please note you are not allowed to bring your own float on a Disney Cruise
  • Parasailing 
  • Glass Bottom Boat
  • Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure
  • Wild Side Teen Adventure
  • Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure
  • Jet Ski Rentals (singles and double)

I am looking forward to renting a private cabana on the family beach. With three young children I feel it will be a really nice luxury to have a private area to relax, change the kids, rinse off with the private shower and take a nice afternoon nap. Here is a great YouTube video that shows a tour of a private cabana tour. I am planning to rent a jet ski and take the 45 minute island tour with my Dad. We might even check the kids into Scuttles Cove so that we can have some quiet time on the beach with a nice adult beverage and a good book!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Mama's.

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

1st Stop ~ Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers - You are here now
2nd Stop ~ Disney Mamas - Submarine Excursions on Grand Cayman
3rd Stop ~ Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere Stingrays Stingrays Every Where!
4th Stop ~ I Am a Mommy Nerd - The Walt Disney Family Museum
Final Stop ~ Two Moms and Mouse - When You Cant Afford An Excursion

Monday, October 20, 2014

Enter To Win A Beautiful WDW Magazine 2015 Calendar

 Enter to win a WDW Magazine 2015 Calendar

Each calendar includes 12 beautiful color photo's

This is such a fun, bright and colorful calendar. This will make the perfect gift for a teacher, neighbors, friends, family and of course you know you want one for your desk ;)

Enter to win here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't win you can purchase your own WDW Magazine 2015 Calendar on Amazon for just $19.95 Each calendar includes 12 beautiful color photo's and insider tips.

Friday, October 17, 2014

1900 Park Fare Dinner Review

We had dinner at the Grand Floridian's 1900 Park Fare on our Magic Kingdom day. We found it quite convenient to simply hop on the monorail from the park. It is nice to check out the beautiful lobby and shops at the Grand Floridian also. Be sure to allow some extra time! We had dinner reservations for 6 pm. When I checked in with the hostess and let them know we were there she said it would be a 5 minute wait. We waited in the lobby and after about 15 minutes I went back and asked how much longer it would be. Luckily I asked on the status because the hostess had seated someone else in our place! Apparently another family shared our same last name and had a similar time for their reservation.
Once we were seated Prince Charming immediately came to our table to say hi and pose for some pictures. The step sisters and the evil step mother made their way around the room also. The step sisters were really quite entertaining, arguing with each other and being very loud. They really played the part! The food at 1900 Park Fare was wonderful. I felt like we really got our money's worth on this buffet ($38 per adult and $19 per child). There is a salad bar stocked full of fresh fruits, rolls, salad, strawberry soup and eve California sushi rolls. The carving station served beef and pork loin. The 'hot line' was our favorite and consisted of Guiness beef stew, salmon, chicken marsala, vegetables, shrimp, soups, etc. Be sure to try to the strawberry soup. It is so amazing and a must! My children really enjoyed the children's section of the buffet, it had pizza, chicken, elbow pasta and many fresh fruits and vegetables. The dessert buffet section was stocked full of yummy treats including gummy bears, brownies, cookies, pudding, etc.
Prince Charming stopped by our table to say hi

My birthday princess and Cinderella

The evil step mother really wasnt too evil :)

The step sisters were quite entertaining

Complimentary birthday cupcake (my little princess had her 1st BBB makeover experience this day at Magic Kingdom)

Overall I would highly recommend 1900 Park Fare character dinner. The experience was priceless and the food was surprisingly wonderful. I am not a big fan of buffet's but this one was so well laid out and had a wide variety of great options.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection CD's Review + Giveaway

I received a set of the Legacy Collection CD’s as a member of the Entertainment New Media
Network. No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may
also contain affiliate links.

Walt Disney Records announces The Legacy Collection. This is a wonderful collection celebrating the anniversaries of Disney's classical movies. The Legacy Collection includes a few of my favorite classic Disney movies: Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. The Lion King is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. I remember watching it as a child. The Lion King cd really brings back a lot of great memories from the movie. This is a two disc cd collection complete with the awesome classic songs from the movie: "The Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" and of course "Hakuna Matata" are all included on this two disc collection.

Sleeping Beauty cd collection includes some favorite's from the movie such as "Do You Hear That?" and "A Fairy Tale Come True". This is such a fun collection of song's perfect for a princess of any age.

The release schedule for Walt Disney The Legacy Collection follows:

The Legacy Collection 2014:

  • The Lion King 20th 6/24/14
  • Mary Poppins 50th 8/26/14
  • Sleeping Beauty 55th 10/7/14
  • The Little Mermaid 25th 11/17/14 *Coming soon*

The Legacy Collection 2015:

  • Fantasia 75th 1/3/15
  • Pinocchio 75th 2/3/15
  • Toy Story 20th 3/17/15
  • Disneyland 60th 4/7/15
  • Lady and the Tramp 60th 5/12/15
  • Pocahontas 20th 6/23/15
  • Aristocats 45th 8/14/15*
  • Cinderella 65th 8/14/15*

*First to Market at D23

One lucky winner is going to win this awesome three pack of cd's from the Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection!! Enter to win by using the Rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lion King released June 24, 2014
Sleeping Beauty will be release October 7, 2014
Mary Poppins released August 26, 2014

Giveaway is open to US residents age 18 +

*If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional
blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to chose another winner.*

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Top 10 Ways To Survive Disney With A Baby

Traveling with a baby can be stressful but if you plan ahead and pack accordingly you will survive! 

  1. Pack pack pack ALL of the baby must have's that your baby needs on a daily basis. This includes the obvious, binky, blanket, favorite teether, diapers, wipes and of course a change of clothes in case of an accident.

     2.  Be prepared to take an afternoon break each day to keep baby out of the heat and Florida sun.

     3.  Bring sunscreen and a hat for baby to prevent sunburn.

     4.  Bring a comfortable stroller for baby to ride in around the parks, I suggest a stroller with a sun canopy and a stroller that has a lot of storage underneath. I highly recommend renting from Kingdom Strollers.

    5.  Bring a backpack so that when you park your stroller you can have one parent wear the backpack and avoid leaving important items in the stroller unattended.

    6.  Don't try to ride every ride. There are some great rides for young children and babies, check out my top 10 rides for babies and toddlers at Magic Kingdom. Pace yourself and remember it's all about having fun.

   7.  Your baby won't remember meeting the characters or riding the rides, try to just relax and enjoy the moment. Take plenty of pictures and avoid overdoing it.

   8.  Hand sanitizer! Don't forget to bring hand sanitizer. Many first timer's complain that their children picked up a stomach bug at WDW, but then I ask, did you have hand sanitizer? Did you use it after EACH ride? Kids put their hands in their mouth, especially babies! To avoid picking up unwanted germs remember hand washing and hand sanitizer is key.

   9.  Avoid trying to make advanced dining reservations at restaurants that are not 'kid friendly'. The last thing you want to do is have a tired, cranky screaming baby at Le Cellier for example. Make dining reservations at a loud family friendly restaurant such as O'hana, Chef Mickey's or Rain Forest CafĂ©.

   10.  Buy a few memorable must have's from DisneyStore.com before your vacation. I really love to see these adorable mouse ears on little one's.