Tag Archives: travel

The Perfect Stroller For Small Spaces & Traveling #GBQbit

24 Sep

The GB Qbit made it’s official release in July.  We had the chance to try it out. As you can imagine, city-life requires a lot of walking.  I average 7 miles a day.  A lot for a young child which is why I rely on a stroller to get my youngest around.  Space is few and far between in NYC. You have to get creative in finding space for the every day stroller that can navigate through the snowy winters as well as the light-weight stroller that’s easy to take up and down the subway steps.   It can be tough.

IMG_3380
The GB Qbit is easy to fold, one-handed, and is compact. It fits easily on my closet shelf, leaving floor space, something that is very important in apartment living.  I also found the stroller to be ideal for traveling. For navigating the subway stairs, it’s light-weight, only weighing 14 pounds.  There is a built in carrying bag, perfect for protecting the stroller when traveling by air. It also fits easily in the back of our car.

IMG_3396

Other fabulous features include:

  • Removable Cup holder
  • Transport Bag
  • Fits most many airline overhead compartments
  • Expandable sun canopy
  • Under basket for diaper bags, toys, or groceries home.
  • Affordable compared to many strollers, $179.99 at Toys R Us and Babies R Us.
  • Infant Car Seat compatible with GB Asana35, Maxi cosi Mico AP, and Cybex Aton.
  • Watch it in action here

IMG_3388 IMG_3391 IMG_3384

So far the stroller has been fabulous. My daughter loves it. I am interested to see how it holds up navigating the streets of NYC or traveling during the winter months.  I will definitely keep you posted.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our experiences with the GB Qbit Stroller. I received a stroller as part of the review.

Advertisements

Five Favorites To Keep Kids Entertained While Traveling

15 Jul

The girls and I headed down South a couple of weeks ago to spend the Summer with family. My girls have only flown once but I had my husband with me to help. I have to admit I was a little nervous going without my him this trip, especially when I received a text message on my way to the airport that my flight had been delayed. Thank goodness for these five activities packed in their Boost-A-Paks, featured below, because the delay and flight were a piece of cake.

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 9.02.31 PM

Boogie Board: An eWriter that allows kids to draw and simply push a button to erase. My girls spent majority of the time using this while we waited and on our flight. They drew pictures, wrote notes, and played tic tac toe. Definitely worth purchasing if you have any travel plans this summer. No marker or pen marks all over your car and you won’t have to worry about picking up several crayons off the floor. It’s also great to bring to restaurants to keep the little ones busy.

10506741_10101787103616899_3524413446512593413_o
Melissa and Doug Scratch Art: All you need is your wooden pencil/ stick to scratch off and discover beautiful colors below. There are several different activities, notebooks or stickers to choose from. My girls love their sketch books but their favorite on the plane was the window glass scratch art. The girls would scratch a design then stick it on the plane window and see the light shine through.

scratchArt

Images from Melissa and Doug

Tegu Pocket Pouch Blocks: I got a set for each of my girls. They worked together to create and build.

tegu

Image from Tegu

iHome Disney MiniMouse Headphones: My girls were so excited to see their favorite shows playing on the screen in front them. They also enjoyed listening to music while they drew and built their creations. The iHome headphones stay on their head and have in-line volume control. Also, great to plug into an iPad, tablet or phone when using Apps or watching downloaded movies on a car ride, train ride or next flight.

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 9.20.48 PM

Image from ToysRUs

Travel Wind Up Fishing Game: I used to love this game as a kid. I found it in an isle at a grocery store, also available on Amazon. The girls loved playing and we took turns playing against each other. Keep it stored in a ziplock and place fish back in the bag to keep from losing the pieces.

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 9.31.50 PM

image from Amazon

 

Happy Traveling this Summer!

 

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

Trendy Travel with Momtrends

6 May

Memorial Day is only THREE weeks away!  Pools will open and traffic to the Hamptons and Jersey Shore will begin.  Shortly after, summer vacation will let out and families will travel to local beaches, other countries, or to visit family and friends near or far.

Last week I attended the Momtrends Travel Event at Butterfly StudiosMomtrends always hosts fabulous events that keep me up to date on the latest trends, newest gear and more for moms and kids.  At the Travel Event, Momtrends shared tips and introduced products to make your trip(s) trendy and stylish.

butterfly studio

images from momtrends

Butterfly Studios styled hair and shared tips to keep hair looking good.  Jill, my stylist, says to dry from the top, the moisture will go to the ends. Founder Kattia Solano demonstrated cute, easy ways to keep your hair pulled up and out of your face while traveling or spending the day by the beach.  I love the bun/ braid combo pictured above (bottom right).

Picture 14

Getting to your destination with a child(ren) can be challenging. Whether you are driving, taking a train, or flying Britax offers fabulous products to make traveling easier. A few products include:

  • The Britax Travel Cart to easily bring your car seat by pulling it along.  The best part, your child can sit in the car seat while you pull so you can check your stroller.
  • Driving long distances? The Kick Mat will keep your seat protected while having pockets to organize toys, books, snacks, or water.  The EZ- Cling window Shades
  • Potty training or wet bathing suits? Keep your seats from getting wet with the Seat Saver Waterproof Liner is easy to insert into a car seat or stroller.
image from momtrends

BOB Revolution Pro image from momtrends

While on vacation, I love starting my morning with a run along the beach.  At the event, I got a sneak peak of the BOB Revolution Pro jogging stroller, available at REI in a single or double.  The pro has an adjustable handle.  The wheels are bigger, good for rough terrain like the sand (or snow). Although it is a bigger stroller, it’s fairly light, it has an easy 2-step fold and a travel bag is available to make bringing it with you easier.

images from momtrends

images from momtrends

I’m more than ready to soak up the sun by the beach or pool.  One of my favorite swimsuits is a Miraclesuit® I received it at a Momtrends event a couple of years ago(read review here).   I was excited to see the the Miraclesuit® team at the Travel Event.  Miraclesuit® empowers women to feel good and look fabulous no matter your body type. At the event they showcased the latest swim trends.  Snakeskin is in!

paddlePak

Besides being absolutely adorable, the Trunki PaddlePack is perfect for children (or yourself) to carry towels, toys, and more.  The PaddlePak is waterproof, has straps to carry it on your back, a zipped pocket for carrying money, and a ring to hook keys or string goggles through.

DSC_0503

After a long road trip or an afternoon playing in the sun, we love to cool off with ice cream.  Adironack Creamery offers several great flavors, caramal apple was my favorite.  Their ice cream is made with simple ingredients with no colors, additives, or preservatives.  The milk they use is hormone-free from the farms of the Hudson Valley.

Picture 20

Still making summer plans and planning your next vacation? Kim-Marie Evans of Luxury Travel Mom spoke at the event sharing her tips for traveling.  Tips to make your vacation one you and your kids will remember included searching on VRBO for rentals outside of cities for an authentic experience and not to be afraid of taking a group tour or traveling with a group.

Thank you to Momtrends and all of the sponsors for a wonderful event.  I'm ready for fun in the sun wearing a PaddlePak, Miraclesuit Hat & Miraclesuit Bathing Suit. Carrying a Vera Bradley Towel and Britax Coffee Mug.

Thank you to Momtrends and all of the sponsors for a wonderful event. I’m ready for fun in the sun wearing a PaddlePak, Miraclesuit Hat & Miraclesuit Bathing Suit. Carrying a Vera Bradley Towel and Britax Coffee Mug.

Happy Travels!

 

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  I received a gift bag for attending the event.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.  All information came from the event.

 

Family Fun On Board The Norwegian Getaway!

30 Jan

20140127-110652.jpg

Every once in a while, the girls will catch a cruise ship out of the corner of their eye while walking along the Hudson or they”ll catch a glimpse as one passing by our living room window.  They have so many questions about the ship passing by.  As I was walking by the Hudson River, partly covered in ice (pictured above), all I could think about was a vacation to a warm destination.  Although the girls have asked to go on a cruise as they watched ships pass by, I never thought about taking a cruise for our family vacation. Partly, because I never realized how much they have to offer for families but also because my husband has only heard negative media so wasn’t a huge fan of the idea.  When I got the invite from  The MOMS to spend the day on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Getaway, I couldn’t say no. I was anxious to see the girls reactions when they saw a ship similar to the ones they would look at in the distance but I also wanted to see all the cruise ship has to offer.

20140127-142238.jpg

We watched as the Norwegian Breakaway sailed past our building last summer!

The Getaway recently sailed across the Atlantic from Germany,where it was built, to its temporary port of New York City. The Getaway transform into a Bud Light Hotel during the Super Bowl. After the Super Bowl, it will make its way to it’s new home in Miami, Florida.  Beginning in early February, the Norwegian Getaway will set sail all year-long from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean (yes, get me out of this freezing cold weather and take me to sunny beaches).  There are two itineraries to choose from:

  1. Embark in Miami, with stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Nassau, Bahamas, then Disembark Miami
  2. Embark in Miami, with stops in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Tortola, Nassau, Bahamas, then Disembark Miami

Getaway to Paradise

As we pulled up to Pier 88, for our outing with TheMOMS, my girls were mesmerized by the size of the ship. When your small, everything seems so much BIGGER, so I can only imagine what was going through their head. I heard “wow”, “oh boy”, “it’s soooo big”.  I was excited to see my girls reaction when they saw a ship up close and personal.  Throughout the day we got to experience a sample of activities, services, and amenities offered on board the Getaway.

NCLGetaway Dining

The Norwegian Getaway offers many dining options.  There are complimentary options which include three main dining rooms with brand new menus as well as O’Seehans Bar and Lounge which is open 24 hrs.   Finer dining is also available for a cover charge. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant Ocean Blue is on the Getaway with a chance for a dining experience with him on select cruises!

Our day on board began with a three-course meal in the Illusionarium.  The starter was prosciutto with mozzarella, tomato, balsamic vinaigrette, and gourmet young mesclun greens.  The main course was a surf and turf with jumbo coconut shrimp, roasted beef tenderloin, double baked potato, broccoli and a demi-glaze sauce.   The dessert included a trilogy of sweets: red velvet cupcake with vanilla cream cheese frosting, vanilla crème caramel with wild berries, and a flourless chocolate cake with praline crème. The children had a separate menu that included macaroni and cheese or chicken tenders with a banana cup cake for dessert.  Not only was the food delicious but the service and staff onboard was phenomenal. I was very impressed with our waitress, Donie.  She was very accomodating when my youngest couldn’t decide what she wanted so she brought her both, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.  Before we even looked at the menu she asked about any food allergies. As a mom of a daughter, with a peanut/ tree nut allergy, I can’t tell you how appreciative I was. It’s rare a waitress or waiter at a restaurant asks, I’ve always had to tell them about my daughters allergy.

Entertainment1

During our experience on board we got a little sample of the entertainment on board. All the performances we saw took place in the Illusionarium however there are separate theaters onboard when on vacation. My girls were in awe of the performances by the Burn the Floor dance group.  They also loved watching Legally Blonde the Musical and seeing their favorite characters (Dora, Diego, SpongeBob SquarePants & Patrick Star) during a performance by Nick Junior.  The magic show was unbelievable. They were amazed to see a table float through the air. It was an incredible experience just watching the shortened, condensed version so I can only imagine what they would think of the full shows.

NCL endless possibilities

The recreational activities for kids and families are endless.  There is a Nickelodeon Jr theme aqua zone for kids to splash around.  In the aqua park there are 2 pools, 4 hot tubs, and 5 water slides.  The Free Fall water slide is one of the fastest at sea and one of two drop slides that floor comes out from underneath you and drops you down the slide in 6 seconds.   The sports complex features a miniature golf course, a basketball court, a rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and a ropes course.  At the end of the ropes course, those brave enough can walk an 8 foot plank off the side of the ship with a photo opportunity at the end.  Other activities include an arcade, pool parties and opportunities to meet Dora, Diego, SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star.

splash

Splash Academy provides complimentary drop-off activities for ages 3-12  onboard the ship from 9:00 am – 10:30 pm, closing during meal times.  Once on board you can get the full schedule of activities and classes offered.  Each themed activity is two hours.  Themes and activities change daily.  Whether it’s free-style play, a Turtle’s Luau Party or super sports, your child will make new friends and have tons of fun.  While my husband and I were on a tour of the ship, both of my girls spent some time in Splash Academy.  They came out with art projects, balloons, and a huge smile on their face from all the fun they were having.  The supervisors were extremely friendly and engaging with the children.  Each child was assigned a number upon entering.  To pick up your child, parents we required to return the corresponding number.  Because of food allergies, Splash Academy is free of food.  A late-night zone with fun activities like fort making and Nintendo Wii action is available from 10:30 pm until 1:30 am at a reasonable rate ($6 for the first child and $4 for siblings).

DateDayorNight

After you drop the kids off at Splash Academy, don’t feel guilty their having fun, you can head to the spa for a dip in the thermal pool or for a relaxing massage.  There are also many adult only areas to enjoy a beverage, a bite to eat, or soak up a few uninterrupted rays!  While on international waters you can also take an hour (or more) for duty-free shopping or chancing your luck in the largest casino at sea!  At night, you can visit the dueling piano bar, Howel At The Moon or cool off after a day of fun in the sun for a unique experience in the SVEDKA and Inniskillin Ice Bar.  While onboard, don’t miss The Grammy Experience.  The first headliner will be Nestor Torres.  I could go on forever with the entertainment, bars, and activities you can take part in if you need a date day or night while on vacation.

staterooms

While we were onboard we got to peek into a few staterooms.  For families, there are suites with pull-out sofas, adjoining rooms, or rooms with two single beds and 1 or 2 pull down beds above.  The Haven Suite is incredible, my daughters couldn’t get over the closet and the spa bathtub filled with roses. Budget friendly options are available as well!

You may have seen the recent news about the recent outbreak of a virus leaving 600 passengers onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise.   When you hear news like that you may be skeptical of jumping aboard, I know my husband was in the past. We were discussing the news and my husband, the skeptic, pointed out how extremely impressed he was with Norwegians proactive efforts to make sure cleanliness and hygiene were a priority aboard the Getaway.  There were hand sanitizing stations almost everywhere you turned. In the bathrooms there were signs reminding guests to wash hands and use a paper towel to open the door.  The sink, soap dispenser, and trash can had sensors so you didn’t have to touch anything.  The trash can had a reminder note on top letting you know not to touch.

Explore

There is so much to do and explore.  By the end of our day on board the Getaway, I had to drag my girls off the ship. They were ready to move onto the beautiful ship, permanently.  My oldest said “This is a beau-ti-ful ship! Mommy, can we move here?”  When I told her that a cruise ship is for vacations and not for living she said “Can we go on vacation NOW?” My husband even changed his mind about taking a cruise and is ready to book for an exciting and entertaining adventure for all at sea.

Can’t make it to the port of Miami, the Getaway’s sister ship Breakaway embarks from NYC and sails to Bermuda!

Watching the Norwegian Breakaway sail by!

Watching the Norwegian Breakaway sail by!

Thank you to The MOMS and Norwegian Cruise Line for an awesome day for my family.  For more information visis www.ncl.com, follow on Instagram: NorwegianCruiseLine , on twitter: @cruisenorwegian and be sure to like Norwegian Cruise Line on Facebook!
Follow the Getaway’s journey at #UltimateGetaway.

To learn more about The MOMS visit http://themoms.com

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I received a day on board the Norwegian Getaway and complimentary services and meals as part of the Family Media Day with The MOMS.

Make Traveling Easier, Especially This Holiday Season!

6 Nov

It’s hard to believe Halloween is over and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  Every year we travel to see family.  We are in the process of figuring out how we are getting to and from.  Traveling by train and plane can get tricky because we have to think  about a car seat and booster seat to help us get to and from.  If  booking last-minute, renting from a car rental company be an option because they could be sold out.  It also gets tricky when traveling alone because I need hands to help my girls and can’t carry the booster, push a stroller and carry the luggage.  The less I have to carry, the better!

20131105-212324.jpg

We recently had the opportunity to try the BoostAPak, a booster seat and back pack in one created by Safety 1st and Trunki.   Did you know the law requires all children under 12 years old or 135cm in height to use a booster seat? This backless booster is for ages 4- 12 and 40-80 poundsIt is great for car pools or travel as it moves easily from car to car and fits into an overhead aircraft bin. It also has a unique, patented fold-out seat belt guides, and a durable plastic shell. Retails for $69.99 at BuyBuyBaby (click link to purchase)!

20131106-100445.jpg

Why we love it:

  • Easy to install
  • Small, compact and easy to store in small city apartments.
  • My daughter thinks it’s “cool”.  She WANTS to carry it on her back, making it easier for me so I have free hands to help her and her sister.
  • She can fit a pair of PJ’s, her teddy, and an outfit or two, and her toothbrush and rainbow loom for an overnight trip to visit her godmother on LI or to visit relatives in NJ.
  • My parents relocated to South Carolina.  I know I will be flying alone this summer, the BoostAPak will be great for my daughter to bring coloring books, crayons, and other toys to keep busy and I won’t have to buy multiple booster seats for cars.

Traveling this Holiday season? Here are Travel Safety tips from Julie Vallese, Consumer Safety Expert for Safety 1st:

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of car seats on the road are installed incorrectly.
  • The safest place to install a car seat is typically in the center of the rear seat.
  • Check in with a local Child Passenger Safety Technician to ensure your child’s seat is installed correctly. You can visit a local police station, fire station, AAA office or Safe Kids Chapter for guidance.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
  • Don’t leave a child alone in the car. Hyperthermia is a severe form of heat stroke and last year 32 children died after being left or trapped in a hot vehicle. You can learn more about this issue and easy tips to prevent it here.
  • Childproof the inside of the car and eliminate projectiles. Anything in the car that is not secured is a possible projectile – even a child’s toy, or a water bottle. In a crash, objects take on greater weight due to crash forces.
  • Make sure unused shoulder belts are not in reach of children as they can pose strangulation risk.
  • Car seats expire! You can find the expiration date on the back of the car seat. Also, another very important tip – once a car seat has been in a crash you should not use it, plastic can warp and materials can fray. To properly dispose of a car seat check with your local waste management facility to see if they recycle number 5 plastic.

Safe travels this Holiday season!

Disclaimer:  I received a BoostAPak for review.  All images and opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics came from a press release or the BoostApak website.

Win It Wednesday: Stokke MyCarrier (#GIVEAWAY)

16 Oct

Halloween is 2 weeks away!  How do you take your little one trick-or-treating?  When my 2nd was born, trick-or-treating got a little tricky with 2.  I did not want to take my stroller through crowded hallways and streets.  Wearing my youngest was a much easier option.  Check out these awesome babywearing costume ideas.

Enter to win a Dark Navy Stokke MyCarrier to make this Halloween (and travels during the upcoming Holiday season) easier.  Contest ends at 11:59 pm October 24!

image from Stokke

image from Stokke

To win:

  • Leave a comment below telling me what your little one will be for halloween and/ or your favorite way to wear your baby (inwards, outwards, or on your back).

Additional Entries:

Please leave a comment for every entry.

About the Stokke MyCarrier:  The Stokke MyCarrier3 in 1 baby carrier, easily transforms as your child grows from birth through the toddler years.  It can be worn facing inwards, facing outwards and on the back. Retail value $219.99!  Watch this video to learn more.

Image from Stokke

Image from Stokke

Disclaimer:  I received this Stokke MyCarrier at an event.  My girls are past the age of carriers so I would like to give it to one lucky reader.  Information about the MyCarrier is from stokke.com

Congratulations to Jessica for winning the Stokke My Carrier!  Thank you to everyone who entered!

 

Quinny Yezz (GIVEAWAY)

20 May

Picture 8

Picture 9

Images from 360 PR.

Images from 360 PR.

Living in NYC, I rely on public transportation.  I can’t even tell you the number of times I have had to carry one of my girls and lug a a stroller up a flight of stairs because the subway stop I needed to get off at didn’t have an elevator.  Like the subway, the bus is just as difficult to get on and off with a large stroller.  I recently learned about the newest stroller, the Yezz, from the well-known brand Quinny which seems ideal for all of those situations city moms and dads may experience.  The Yezz was featured on the Katie Couric show for her Big Baby Shower episode.  Yesterday parents braved the rain and lined up as early as 2.a.m at locations to receive one of 400 Yezz strollers that were given away at various locations around New York City which included Giggle, The New York Baby Show, and Albee Baby.

Features of the Yezz include:

  • Approximately 11 lbs
  • Ultra compact quick fold
  • Stands when folded, includes adjustable carry strap
  • Frame is made of IXEF® material, a high performance injection molded composite fiber — allows for the stroller to be light weight and extremely durable
  • Interchangeable seats to allow parents to change the fashion
  • Available Colors: Blue Loop, Yellow Move, Blue Track, Grey Road, Red Signal and Purple Rush.
  • For children from 6 months to 40lbs.
  • Available Accessories: WeatherShield
  • SRP $279; additional seats for $69

It’s not too late to get your hands on a Yezz.  Quinny is offering one Tastefully Childish reader the opportunity to receive a Yezz.  To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me your favorite Yezz color (mandatory)

Follow @tastefulychldsh on twitter

Follow @QuinnyUSA on twitter

Tweet: I want to win the @QuinnyUSA  #Yezz on @tastefulychldsh http://wp.me/p1XtzY-1sJ

Like Tastefully Childish on Facebook

Like Quinny on Facebook

Please leave a comment for every entry. Giveaway ends June 4, 2013 at 10 p.m. CLOSED

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway.  All entries were put into excel. Your name was entered for every entry you made and a random number was given for your entry.  Random.Org choose a random number to select the winner.  The WINNER is Number 64, Megan Crose.  Please e-mail your information to tastefullychildish@gmail.com!

Picture 4

Picture 9

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  The product was given for a reader.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Images are from Quinny and 360 PR.

Tea Party and Other Great Games

22 Jun

My older daughter, 3 1/2, has become interested in playing games together.  One evening she had my husband pull out Monopoly and asked him to teach her to play (way over her head).  We don’t have many games that are good for her to play.  I was telling a friend that she has a sparked interest in group games and she told me about a Cupcake Game her daughter, also 3 1/2, had received as a gift and loved.  We happened to be together at Hombom Toys, a new toy store in TriBeca, when we came across the Cupcake Game– a spinner game by Eeboo.  They had a variety of games by Eeboo so we let the girls pick which game they liked best.  My daughter ended up chosing the adorable Tea Party Spinner Game and LOVES it.  A week after getting the Tea Party game and playing at least twice a day, we went back to Hombom Toys for another game, this time she chose the Cupcake Spinner Game.  The Eeboo spinner games have been wonderful for Friday Fun Nights where we either watch a movie and have popcorn or play games.  They are also great for rainy days and super hot summer days. We have also taken the games to the park and laid out a blanket to play on days with beautiful weather.  I checked out Eeboo’s site to see what other products they have and they have a variety of products; puzzles, decorations, travel games, write me a story and more.  I look forward to purchasing more products and games by Eeboo.

About the games we purchased (all information in italics and images below are from Eeboo.com):

Spinner GamesEeboo has perfected the art of spinner games. The arrows on all their spinners are clear, so there is no question about where the arrow stops. Attached with a rivet on a spacer, the arrows spin freely with a flick of the finger. Each game takes a different tack to build the relational skills of game playing while promoting an assortment of literacy and math skills. Pieces are of sturdy card stock. Each contains clear directions with ideas for additional ways to play.

Time for Tea!
Spin for a plate and napkin first,
Then some tea to quench your thirst.
Mind your manners if you please
But lose a turn if you see bees!
Ta-ta for now, I have to run;
I finished first and I have won!

To play, just check the recipe, and spin for what you’ll need
To bake up perfect cupcakes, satisfaction guaranteed.
Even though it’s make believe, it’s splendid what you’ll learn.
Try not to spin the rotten egg, or you will lose a turn!
Be first to gather what you need and you will be a winner,
And an expert cupcake maker, without spoiling your dinner!

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Our Magical Trip to Disney

21 May

Last week we went to Florida for my brother’s graduation at Embry Riddle in Daytona.  We knew flew into Orlando so we decided to take the girls to Disney for a couple of days.  I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure if they were old enough.  I always said I would take them at 5 or 6, but to my amazement it turned out to be a great age, even for my youngest-who won’t remember but while she was there it was heaven to her.  Some tips and suggestions for traveling that helped me survive our mini-vacation:

Packing: Never easy with two kids, especially for a 3 1/2 year-old who is very particular about what she wears and gets hot very easily (not ideal for the Florida temperatures).  Prior to going, I ordered Diapers.com to my brother’s house so he could have diapers and wipes ready for us to cut back on what we had to bring.  Call hotels to see if it is possible to ship them there.  It makes a big difference not to have to worry about packing diapers or buying them when you get there.

The Flight: It was a little stressful getting to the airport.  We almost missed our flight because the traffic was HORRIBLE leaving the city.  Thank goodness we gave ourself over 2 hours otherwise we would have definitely missed our flight.  The excitement of seeing my brother and the “princess” made the flight to Florida pretty easy.  It helped that we left around dinner time so we stopped for food. I hate to admit that I am that parent who gives McDonald’s but I have to say the happy meal really kept them “happy” during take-off and it was the closest place to our gate since we were about to miss the flight.  It wasn’t until after beverages were served that they wanted the IPAD’s. I had multiple Disney movies and a variety of applications downloaded for them on our IPAD’s, new is always better because it will keep them engaged a little longer and as a little gift for our trip I bought adorable iHome Minnie Mouse headphones to go with the Disney theme. My 2-year-old broke hers within the first 5 minutes of using them by pulling them out of the seat socket, she had used them to watch tv on that back of the seat in front of her…bummer.  The way back from Florida wasn’t as easy.  They both have difficulty saying goodbye so when they had to leave their grandfather, it was the beginning of many screaming episodes that we had no idea would be in store.  I tried doing dinner again but my youngest was so over-tired she screamed the entire time the fasten seatbelt sign was on.  After about 45 min she finally fell asleep and remained asleep the rest of the flight. My older daughter entertained herself by drawing pictures of princesses over and over.  I always carry a pen and crayons and blank paper because she loves art.  After 3 long hours on both flights, we survived and we weren’t thrown off, even with the temper tantrum.

Disney: It was very hard to do the parks in just 2 days, especially with little ones.  They loved it and it was a very magical experience for them but Disney is pretty expensive and you want to get your money’s worth and see it all.   We were with so many people, 11 total, that it was hard getting everyone up and out the door in the morning so both days we didn’t make it into the park until 12.  In the future we will get there when it first opens, stay for a little while, go back to the hotel to rest a bit and then hit the parks again in the afternoon.  I had no idea how exhausting it would be.

Animal Kingdom: The first park we visited was Animal Kingdom.  We got there late and of course there was the usual afternoon Florida Thunderstorm that wouldn’t let up so we had to leave.  Luckily, we were able to visit Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition, the highlight of the day because they saw giraffe, cheetahs, elephants, alligators, hippos, and more close up.  After we walked past the gorillas and chimpanzees which they loved because we had just seen the Chimpanzee movie in the theater.  We also visited the Finding Nemo musical but the girls and I had to leave early because one is sensitive to noise and on top of that got scared by the shark.  I was able to catch about 10 minutes and thought it was very cute.  Next time.  Just before the down pour and lightning, the girls were able to catch Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, if I could have only caught the girls expressions when their favorite Disney characters came around the bend.  It was unbelievable the excitement, smiles, and awes that came from them.  Maddie made a pit stop as we were dashing through the rain to get a unicorn painted on her face.  I should have done that earlier in the day because you can go back through out the day and get it touched up for free.  Overall, it was a great park for their age but I wish we had seen more of the attractions.

Magic Kingdom: The name says it all.  It is as magical going as a parent then as a child.  Seeing the joy, happiness, laughter and priceless expressions my girls had while we were there was a magical experience in itself.  When I went on It’s a Small World, I loved it just as much as I did as a kid.  Maddie was able to go to the Bippidy Boppidy Boutique, which made her think she really was a princess getting ready in Cinderella’s Castle (review to come), and their favorite attractions were the Mad Tea Party, It’s a Small World, the Parade’s and MEETING the princesses and Tinkerbell.  My two-year-old was so excited she was forcing her way past Maddie to get her autograph book signed first.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the fire works because we got such a late start in the morning, the girls weren’t able to get a nap in between.  We are definitely planning another trip back but next time we will prepare more and get out the door earlier.  We also will take advantage of the Fast Track passes.  We didn’t realize that you can get more than one until later in the day.  

Until next time, we have wonderful memories, 2 Minnie princess hats and an awesome popcorn set for when we watch our favorite Disney movies!  Can’t wait for our next Magical Adventure!