Dylan's Designs Blog
Going to Disney with a ToddlerSo if you've read any of the blogs I've written about going to Disney with babies. Since my baby is now a two year old I wanted to share my experience going to Disney with a TODDLER (dun,dun,duuun) And let me tell you it's a whole different ball game! All of you mamas out there already know toddlerhood can be a little hectic. Who knew such a small person could have such a strong opinion..am I right?! Tantrums aside, bringing your little one to Disney World is amazing..but you have to be prepared. So let me tell you some things I've learned myself bringing my two year old to the most magical place on earth.
Some characters are scary!If you have been to Disney World with your little one before and they loved meeting all the characters be prepared for them to hate it this time. We first brought my son when he was 9 months old and then again at 17 months. He loved the princesses and Mickey and gave them great big hugs and kisses! The most recent trip he clung to me for dear life. Most characters are warm and sweet and know how to handle a skeptical child, but some ( I'm talking to you Kylo) are just too scary! They never break character so don't expect Darth Vader to try to tone it down because your mini me is screaming their guts out. And don't think that doesn't happen! So try to steer clear of meet and greets that might be intimidating for smaller guests. If all goes well and your small sweetheart gets to see their favorite princess or meet Mickey and their little faces light up and they run to them with pure excitement, it's the best feeling in the world! And some of the best memories are made!
They still need a scheduleJust because you're on vacation doesn't mean you should let certain things go. If your toddler still takes a nap at a certain time try to keep it that way. Or the next thing you know after waiting an hour to ride Winnie the Pooh, there will be a full blown, throw themselves on the floor meltdown and no amount of "pixie dust" can calm that storm. I always like to start the day early and go back to the resort mid day for a break and some quiet time. This helps especially if you plan on staying up late for the parade and fireworks. One of the best places to take a break AT the park are the new Hub grass areas. Grab a snack and sit and relax or let your small fry run out any extra energy they may have. Always remember that tired or overwhelmed babes are crabby babes.
Pack EssentialsI mean when packing for the day at the park. No one likes to lug a bunch of stuff around the parks but hey you have a toddler, and there's no such thing as packing light. Bring things that will make your life easier. Like a stroller fan! Disney can get hot and a small stroller fan will be the best thing you ever bought. The water fans at the parks are expensive and they don't clip on to your stroller. Oh and they leak, always. Bring extra clothes for your little one AND for you. There are water play areas at most parks and once they are spotted there's no getting out of playing in them. So make sure you have something dry to put on. While we are on extra clothing it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring an extra pair of shoes for your child. They get kicked off and left behind more times than you'd expect. I've ran around magic kingdom trying to find one little shoe on two separate occasions. And there are not many stores that sell shoes, if you can find one expect to be paying a lot. Don't be like me, bring the shoes.
Don't get caught up in seeing and doing everythingBefore I had my son, my husband and I treated Disney like a marathon. We were non stop from park open to park close. And if it's your first trip or a short trip you may want to do the same, see and do it all. Try not to, you don't want to wear out your toddler or yourself. Remember they are small and even if you want them to see everything it may be too much. Take the time to enjoy the moment. Don't rush from one place to the next. It will make the experience so much nicer and calmer. Doing Disney at a slower pace is possible and almost necessary if you have a small person with you. Watch the parades, use fast passes for the rides you go on, don't rush and you'll have a happy kid!!
Know where your going to eatMy Disney experience has a list of all the restaurants on property and their menus. So you can plan ahead and no what choices you have. If your little one doesn't like to try new things then don't plan on going to lunch or dinner at a restaurant that doesn't have special kids meals that are plain. Avoid a meal protest by choosing a restaurant that has food that you know your toddler will eat. I have a picky eater on my hands, hates breakfast unless it's Cheerios (and there are no Cheerios in Disney). So I had them shipped from home. We eat in the hotel and we do early lunch. It's not that you have to miss out on a place that you really want to try but make sure you know in advance what they have for everyone. Vacationing with small children is always a little harder, but can be so much fun. If you plan right. Disney is after all for kids of all ages.
June 07, 2016 by Danielle Cohen
Disney is not just for Princesses! ?I have been going to Disney World since I was a little girl. Since the first time I saw that castle I was hooked. I always said that when I got married and had a child of my own I would take them to Disney as much as possible. So far I've kept my promise. My son is 19 months old and has been to Disney World twice. Our third trip is in April. Right now he's at the age where EVERYTHING is exciting and he sure loves him some Disney princesses. But what about when he gets older? What is there for princes in Disney? Will Disney not be as fun? Will meeting the princesses and getting a hundred kisses not be so "cool" anymore? There is an overload of sparkle and tutus and bippity bopitty boutiques! What's for the miniature prince charmings and adventurers? The answer is: Disney has something for everyone! And so much for little boys!
The Pirate LeagueMake your way to Adventure Land in Magic Kingdom to have your little buccaneer transformed into a pirate Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud to call his matey. Next to Pirates of the Caribbean ride you will find The Pirate League which is the equivalent of bippity bopitty boutique. Your little one will be dressed head to toe in pirate gear including a beard, fake teeth, mustache, and medallion. A photo is also part of the package. This unique experience is for ages 3 and up. If you have a younger child inside the store at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean there are pirate costumes in smaller sizes. There are also eye patches, swords and buried treasure sold here.
Jedi training: Trials of templeChildren ages 4-12 can train in the ways of the force!! And what little boys (who am I kidding boys at any age ) don't love Star Wars! With this experience "younglings" are trained to fight the dark side. They will be given a Jedi robe and light saber and battle characters such as Darth Vader and Darth Maul. This experience requires you to sign up ahead of time. Hollywood Studios is the place to be for all Star Wars fans! Also check out the new Star Wars Launch Bay to meet Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. There are also a couple Jawas hanging around ready to make a trade!
Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square TheaterMagician Mickey is here to greet you and your little one with open arms! The best part is, he talks!! Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog! This is one of the most unique character meet and greets in Disney. Your little boy will love to meet the #1 guy in town and it's a great photo op!
Disney Junior character breakfast at Hollywood and VineMeet Jake, Handy Manny, Sophia and Doc McStuffins at this fun filled character breakfast. Jake and the never land pirates is my sons favorite right now and his eyes lit up when he got to meet him!! Each character comes to the table for a picture a a few hugs.There is singing and dancing that they encourage you to join in on! If a character breakfast isn't your thing you can head over to animation court yard where you can still meet all the Disney Junior characters one on one! (there are pretty long lines) You can find all of this at Hollywood Studios.
Water Parks and Resort PoolsDisney Water Parks are an adventure all in themselves. With water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers a day here is bound to be one of your little sweethearts favorite memories. At Typhoon Lagoon you can even swim, scuba dive and snorkel with SHARKS! Can't make it to the water park? Disney resort hotel pools are just as fun! The resort swimming pools are nothing short of amazing. Each pool is themed perfectly to the resorts motif. Many of them have water slides and waterfalls. On most days host a Disney Junior dance party filled with games and prizes and music.
Rides!Boys love big thrills! Some of the rides (with height requirements) are perfect for your little dare Devils!
- Splash Mountain
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Tower of Terror
- Rockin Rollercoaster
- Star Tours
- Mission Space
- Test Track
- Expedition Everest
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Jungle Cruise
- Stitches Great Escape
- Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- Tom Sawyer Island (a must see!!)
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- Toy Story Midway Mania
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
February 24, 2016 by Danielle Cohen
Things to do in Disney World on non-park days.If you are staying in Disney World for more than a couple days chances are you have planned a (few) non-park days. Whether you want to relax or explore, there is so much more to Disney World than theme parks!
Enjoy your resort!Each Disney World resort is beautifully themed. The scenic views are truly breathtaking. Going for a relaxing walk to take in the sights is one of my favorite things to do. The theming extends to the resort pools as well. Most pools on property have a water slide, hot tub and pool bar. All of which make for a fulfilled day without leaving the comfort of your hotel! Some deluxe resorts offer boating, and parasailing on Lake Buena Vista and Bay lake. Taking a small speed boat (formerly known as water mouses) on the water with magic kingdom as your backdrop is something you will never forget. If you aren't into water sports, try a fun bike ride! There are bike and surrey rentals at most hotels. At night you can find a campfire complete with a sing along and movies under the stars. Another wonderful perk about sucking around your hotel for the day is the food ! The deluxe resorts have more dining options than the moderate or value, but no matter where you call "home" there will be something for everyone.
Explore other hotelsWhile your own hotel has a lot to offer, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. I love to explore hotels I've never stayed at to see if I would like to stay there on future trip. As I mentioned before there is so much to do at each hotel the possibilities are endless. Go and grab a drink from the Tambu lounge in the Polynesian Village Resort, head out to the beach and watch Wishes. Have breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Resort, and meet some characters. Visit Port Orleans: French Quarter and have a beignet. The easiest way to hotel hop is to take a bus to one of the parks and transfer to a bus from the hotel of your choice. If you are staying on the monorail loop, make your way over to the ticket and transportation center and board a bus to your next destination.
ShopNewly renovated Disney Springs is a shoppers paradise! With 60 stores you are bound to find whatever you're looking for. The world of Disney is the largest Disney Store in the world. Inside you will find 12 rooms packed with apparel, toys, jewelry and home decor. It is truly something to be seen. Each store in Disney Springs in unique and offers things from soaps to specialty hats to personalized phone cases. Definitely dedicate one day of your trip to exploring Dinsey Springs.
Miniature GolfFantasia Gardens and Winter summer land are Disney World two miniature golf course. Each is themed so perfectly it's a magical way to spend a day outside the park. If you add the water park fun and more option to your magic your way ticket, a game of miniature golf is included. Truly fun for the whole family! No matter how you spend your non-park day in Disney World it will always be magical!!
February 23, 2016 by Danielle Cohen
Going to Disney World PregnantI've talked about going to Disney World with babies before, but what about the mama's to be? I went to Disney for my "babymoon" ( a trip for me and the hubby before baby came) and I at first thought I was just going to be doing a lot of sight seeing and floating in the pool. But, the thing is, Disney is for kids of all ages, even the future ones. Yeah, you can't ride Rockin Rollercoaster, or Space Mountain but, fortunately there is so much to do (and eat!)
You can still ride the rides!!There are many rides that are no height limit. These rides are perfectly safe for expecting mothers. Most of these rides have fast pass plus so you so t have to stand in line for an hour to enjoy the ride. Here were some of my faves!
- The Haunted Mansion
- Under the Sea Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Peter Pans flight
- It's a Small World
- Pirates of the Caribbean (small drop)
- The Many adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- The people mover
- Buzz Light Year space Ranger Spin
- The Great Movie Ride
- Toy Story Mania
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- The Seas with Nemo and friends
- Spaceship Earth
- Ellen's energy adventure
- Gran Fiesta Tour Featuring the Three caballeros
Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
- Cross Country Creek & Castaway Creek
Food Craving ParadiseIf you have ever been to Disney World you know that there is every option for food that you can name. If your going for the first time you are in for a treat!! When I was expecting my son that's all I wanted was pizza but some days I'd have to have Spicy everything. Being on vacation was no different. So we spent a lot of time at Epcot! But no matter what your craving (or hating) Disney has you covered.
Epcot CenterWith 11 Countries in the World Showcase (China, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, Morocco, Italy, France, Germany, Norway, United States and Canada) Epcot has so many choices for snacks or a full meal. There are also beautiful views to enjoy while sampling foods from all over the world. My personal favorites were crepes from France, the Curry Chicken Pockets and egg rolls in China, The PIZZA at Via Napoli in Italy, and the fish and chips from The United Kingdom.
Magic KingdomWhen you walk into Magic Kingdom the first thing you notice is the smell of popcorn! And there is no better popcorn than Magic Kingdom popcorn. Then you get hit with the sweet smells of the Main Street Confectionary. They have the best fudge you can find on property, not to mention the chocolate covered marshmallows, character cookies and cake pops (I'm convinced my husband only goes to Disney with me for the cake pops) Now most people love the turkey legs, for most pregnant women the poultry aversion is real and you might want to steer clear of Frontier land (I ran away fast from this area because of the smell of turkey legs). My favorite place in all of Magic Kingdom is Sleepy Hollow. They have funnel cakes and fruit covered waffles, and at certain times a day they serve specialty waffle sandwiches.
Hollywood StudiosHollywood studios has some great restaurants! 50's prime time cafe has all the food your grandma would cook you at home, if you are in the need for comfort food this place is it!! The Sifi Dine in Theater has some of the best fried pickles and buffalo chicken (yay for spicy) the Reuben sandwiches are excellent as well. If your in the mood for Italian Mama Melrose is where you need to go. All three restaurants require advance dining reservation but sometimes you can get lucky and get a table just going there. For a great and filling snack make a stop at Min and Bills dockside diner. Here you can enjoy some BBQ Mac and cheese. It's definitely something to be tried! For a sweet tooth stop at Starring Rolls Cafe.
Relax At All the Shows!!Disney World is a lot of walking and can be very hot at times. It can be very tiring for a mama to be (making a person over here!) So the more breaks you can take while still enjoying the Disney Magic the better. The stage shows in Disney World are incredible. Most of them are indoors and air conditioned and long enough to rest your feet.
- Mickey Philar Magic
- The enchanted Tiki Room
- Monsters Inc Laugh floor
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Beauty and the Beast live on stage
- Indiana Jones stunt spectacular
- For the first time in forever Frozen singalong
- Star Wars launch bay
- Disney Junior live on stage
- Voyage of the little Mermaid
- It's tough to be a bug
- The festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo the musical
- Flights of wonder
- Shows around world showcase
Meet the characters and take photosGoing to Disney World while pregnant is a perfect opportunity to take some unique maternity photos. While every Disney trips full of memories this vacation is one of the most special. I would recommend getting the memory maker. The memory maker is one set price for all of the pictures you get taken from a Walt Disney World photographer. You can get as many pictures taken that you would like and they are available to you on your My Disney Experience website. Most every character meet and greets have a cast member taking photos. If you let the cast member know characters will interact with you (and your growing belly) in the photo. You can also get photos taken around the park with beautiful backdrops (Cinderella Castle, the Tree of Life, Prince Eric's Castle, Rapunzel's tower, tower of terror, and the Main Street train station.) If you have the time Disney Fine Art Photography also offers private half hour and hour photo sessions. They do an amazing job, we have done photo sessions with them twice and the pictures are absolutely beautiful. Now go and book your "babymoon" and get an early start on raising a Disney fan ❤️
February 18, 2016 by Danielle Cohen
Port Orleans Riverside ResortThe Disney hotels are classified in three separate groups. The deluxe, which is the priciest. The moderate, which is slightly cheaper. And the value resorts which are least expensive. With so many choices of where to stay it's hard to make a decision. If it is your first time coming to Disney but don't want to spend too much money on a hotel, I would choose a moderate resort. It has all the amenities and beauty of a deluxe but much more affordable. An easy favorite Moderate Resort is Port Orleans Riverside. Port Orleans Riverside (once upon a time known as Dixie Landings) is really something to see. Sitting on the shores of Sassagoula river are large white plantation style mansions that remind me of Gone with the wind. This area of the resort is called Magnolia bend. Looking across the river to the opposite side of the resort is Alligator bayou where you will find large Cajun themed buildings and winding paths. Riverside is quiet and peaceful and the most picturesque of all the moderates. You can take a relaxing boat ride to Disney Springs and see some other resorts along the way. One of the best parts of Port Orleans is Ol' Man Island. The main pool of the resort has a water slide, hot tub, and bar to relax after a long day at the park. There are also private pools spaced all over the resort with adjacent laundry facilities. Riverside Mill is the quick service restaurant for the resort, and it has the most options of all the moderate resorts when it comes to food! There is also a sit down (Boat Rights Dining hall) and a bar with appetizers. At night there is even live entertainment in the bar! All in all with 2,048 rooms Port Orleans Riverside is one of the larger resorts and by far the most beautiful.
Going To Disney World on your Honeymoon ❤️My husband and I are huge Disney fans (as if you couldn't tell). We had Cinderella incorporated into our wedding shower and wedding. My bridesmaids wore light blue the cake topper was a sparkly castle, I had a glass slipper at the head table, you get the picture. So of course when choosing a destination for our honeymoon we both agreed on Disney. Most people choose and exotic location like Hawaii or Mexico and as beautiful as those places are, I couldn't think of more of a romantic place to be than Disney World. Because Disney is not just for kids!
Stay at a deluxe resortWhen going to Disney for such a special occasion you should stay where they have it all. When you book your trip and let them know you will be on your honeymoon, the hotel staff goes above and beyond to make you feel special. When we checked in we each were given a button that said Just Married. Then in the room on the bed there was a signed picture from Cinderella saying congratulations. On our room phone we had a message from Mickey and Minnie congratulating us also. Just little pieces of magic to start our honeymoon. Each hotel is themed differently and offers different experiences. The Grand Floridian Resort is absolutely breathtaking. It is one of the only resorts with a spa. Book a relaxing couples massage at the beginning or end of your trip to add to the romance. The Polynesian is like staying in a tropical paradise. Grab a Mai Tai and sit on the white sandy beach while watching the boats go by. If you are adventurous stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and wake up every morning over looking a Savannah. You'll see Giraffes and Zebras and it is definitely peaceful. The animal Kingdom Lodge is like no other resort you will ever stay at. If you plan on celebrating well into the night The Boardwalk Inn is located on the boardwalk that has many bars and restaurants open late. It is also walking Distance to Epcot. At the Contemporary Resort you can actually go parasailing! No matter which resort you chose you can opt for a night in and order room service complete with a bottle of Fairytale champagne. Disney floral and gifts does many honeymoon packages that can add something extra special.
Book a Photo sessionDisney Fine Art Photography offers half hour and hour session with your very own photographer. They take your photos at the deluxe resort of your choice and on the beaches. You'll get a view of Cinderella Castle in the background of some of the locations. The pictures come out beautifully, and you will have those happy memories captured forever.
Book a private fireworks cruiseNothing says romantic like a candle lit dinner on Lake Buena Vista while watching Wishes.
Make Dinner ReservationsDisney World has some of the best restaurants around. Make a reservation for dinner inside Cinderella Castle during the fireworks, it's truly amazing. Or grab a bite in France (Epcot). Have a Margarita in Mexico before you head to Italy for a pizza. The possibilities are endless. Disney has something for everyone. Disney Springs (downtown Disney) has just opened many new restaurants to try out. It's like traveling the world and dining in every country. Where else could you go on a honeymoon and experience that!!
Have Fun!!Magic Kingdom has so many fun things to buy for couples who just tied the knot. Buy Bride and Groom Mickey Ears or couples shirts from the Emporium. Or, before your trip purchase some fun shirts from Etsy that show off your new status as a married couple. Show off those "just married" buttons! All of the cast members will be sure to make you feel special. Ride the rides, laugh, make memories and enjoy each other. No one does honeymoons better than Disney!!
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