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5 Disney World Tips With Children Under Five

Friday, December 2

Disclaimer - Sorry for the iPhone photos! We didn't want to carry around my DSLR in the parks all day!

1. Bring a Stroller for EVERY kid under 8
Yes, I know this is tips for parents under 5 but even if your oldest always walks around while you push the little around in the stroller, be prepared for him or her to ask to get in. My mom wears a fit bit and everyday we walked 8-9 miles. That was hard for us as adults, my feet were exhausted when we got back to the resort. 
If you do not have a stroller you can rent them from the parks before arriving or when you get there. I recommend reserving them before you get there. 

2. Get Fast Passes and Use them Wisely. 
My dad is the one who planned our trip so Ryan and I actually got out really easy when it came to planning and being prepared. My parents did it all for us. That being said. We got to have 3 active fast passes a day and once they were used we could get 3 new ones. We learned that it is best to book your fast passes in the morning use them up and then rebook three more around lunch time for the afternoon. Giving you 6 fast passes a day! You can book your fast passes 60 days in advance and I recommend that because the most popular rides will not have any fast passes available the days your at the park.
The Disney app lets you know wait times! Check the wait times on the rides you want to ride most and book the longest wait times for your fast passes. This keeps you from wasting your fast passes on something with a 15 minute wait!

3. Pack All of Your Disney Toys!
I say this and kind of laugh because I did this and we still ended up buying a few things at the parks. But you guys - you will spend hundreds of dollars in minutes if you aren't careful in one of those stores - we did and I still packed things! Pack all of your Mickeys, Plutos and Buzz Lightyears and let the kids pick one each day to take in the park with them. It will avoid the "Mom can I have that?" every time another child rides by in a stroller filled with light up toys and a huge stuffed Mickey! ((Disclaimer - we still caved in and bought the huge life size Mickey))

4. Stay on Property. 

I can NOT stress this enough!! We stayed at The Swan which is also attached to the Dolphin. This was the MOST convenient location ever! We could walk to both Epcot and MGM and the other parks were a very short boat ride or bus ride away! The ease of walking to and from is so crucial incase you run out of packed outfits, diapers, or one of the babes is in serious meltdown mode and needs to take a nap in silence instead of in the stroller. By staying on property, you normally will get the benefits of having Character Breakfasts and Dinners on your resort property which also is extremely convenient! If you are traveling with a large group ask for adjoining rooms. This was nice for the kids to be able to run back and forth as well as us to hang out with a few cocktails after long days at the park! We got two queen beds and it was plenty of room for the 4 of us. Ryan and I both took a kid in the bed. Also the rooms had two sinks which was great for getting ready, washing bottles, etc. 
If you forgot diapers or need a few minutes by yourself with the baby find a Baby Care Center. They have a kitchen, diapers, quiet room, and everything you may have forgotten from jar food, diapers, wipes, sunscreen etc. 

5. Make Dinner Reservations for Every Night.
Honestly, this tip should have probably been towards the top because I can NOT stress it enough! Unless you want to eat a funnel cake or hot dog standing against a rail make reservations! All of the sit down places fill up and are full until close! If you do not have reservations you are not eating there! And they do not have a bar you and your hubby can sit down at and grab a quick bite. So even if there are only two of you make reservations and make them 180 days in advance (as soon as they are available)If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can book an additional 10 days earlier. If you can not get reservations for one night make a late lunch reservation. This will help to not have you starving at dinner time and then you can go grab a quick bite to eat somewhere. In our opinion other than Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom - Epcot by far had the best food choices and we ate there every single night except the one night we didn't have reservations which we had to end up eating outside the parks at the boardwalk on the way back to the resort. The food was still good but you can't beat the entertainment at the different countries in Epcot! 
We loved the food in Morocco, France, Mexico and Italy! We ate in China one night but in my opinion it was nothing to write home about. 
Bring snacks into the park! They will let you bring just about any food or drink in! We brought chips, cookies, crackers, waters and milk!!! This will save you lots of time in food lines and will save you money on all the extras your kids may want so you are only buying lunch and dinner!

Royal Caribbean - Harmony of The Seas + Tips For Cruising

Wednesday, November 30

I recently went on a cruise with Royal Caribbean on their new Harmony of the Seas Ship. It was the inaugural cruise from their port in the U.S. but not the inaugural cruise for the actual ship. This boat was crazy big y'all. I have been on 3 cruises prior to this one and I have never experience a ship that at many times I actually forgot I was on a ship! There was no "island fever" on this baby! There was even a Starbucks on board!
The amount of restaurants to choose from were endless and not to mention the number of bars. Two of which included a floating bar (went from floor to floor) to the Bionic Bar which was so much fun to watch. The rooms on the boat were huge too! I shared my room with another blogger and we had plenty of room with our queen size bed, couch, desk, two closets and balcony.
Even with the two of us girls in there (imagine multiple outfits per day, shoes everywhere and makeup all over the counters) the staff kept our room extremely clean the entire time! We were extremely impressed!
So what else did I learn and experience on this cruise? Scroll below to see some of my suggestions for your next cruise below!

So what are my tips for cruising? This may be more geared towards women but could technically apply to all!!

1. Pack More Casual Clothes than Dressy.

This may be a no brainer to most people but to me it was an ah-ha moment I had while on the cruise. Most days are spent by the pool, exploring tropical islands and basically doing a lot of things you do not need any dressy for. I packed plenty of dresses, bathing suits and cover ups but I ended up running out of cutoff shorts and comfortable, casual tops!

2. Come Prepared for Motion Sickness.

I thankfully didn't end up needing anything for the sea sickness but so many of the girls I was with did! So better to be safe than sorry! They made behind the ear patches you can get from your doctor and the Sea Bands and here < these are what most of the girls used.  

3. Get to the Boat Early

The moment you are allowed to check in and get on, I recommend doing so. The boats get crowded fast and the earlier you are on the sooner you have to start exploring. Making a list of all the things you want to do as well as sign up for excursions, get a drink and even eat before the restaurants get packed! Leaving you more time to relax by the pool before you take off! Not to mention, the lines to check in are way shorter the earlier you get there.

4. When You Get to the Islands Get to the Furtherest Point You Want to Go and Work Your Way Back.

Longest tip ever I know, haha but I am serious. When you first get off the boat at ports, especially if other boats are there as well. It gets crazy. The islanders are all trying to sale things and greet you and everyone is trying to find a ride somewhere and get to whatever they are doing. Excursions or not. We found that if you start at the furthest point there are not only less crowds but also you get to experience more of the culture of the island before it gets over populated with tourist and then slowly work your way back to the boat. This also gets you back to the boat before everyone else gets back on (which means no lines!)

Coin Top | Window Pane Dress | Nude Clutch | White Peplum Top | Hello Sunshine Tote | Silver Flats | Nude Pumps | Cognac Open Toe Heels | Lariat | Statement Earrings | Drusy Cocktail Ring

Where to Relax Before and After Disney World Parks

Monday, November 28

As you guys know from all of my snapchats and instagram posts recently, my parents took our family, my brother and his girlfriend to Disney World for a week in November before Thanksgiving! My parents had a 10 hour drive down and we had a 6 hours (which really wasn't bad at all, thankfully!) We decided to head down two days early so that we wouldn't be getting into town, stocking up on milk for Walker and trying to get the boys wiggles out all while trying to keep them in strollers and get around the parks. We read up amazing things about The Fountains at Champions Gate location and Experience Kissimmee as an amazing resource to stop at before or after Disney. We also read a lot of reviews of people staying there while going to the Disney parks, Sea World and etc. 

We checked into a 3 bedroom, two story spacious townhouse with a garage (btw- huge for moms, they had a washer and dryer!!). Their amenities were gorgeous and we had a choice of the pool and amenities on our resort campus at The Fountains or also the resort campus next door. It was a little too chilly to swim but everyone enjoyed the hot tubs and the free movie rentals in the evenings! We were in very quick driving distance (under 3 minutes) to restaurants and shopping centers which were perfect for early morning coffee and doughnut runs as well as only about a 10 minute drive from Celebration Disney which also had super cute shops and some amazing restaurants we got to try! 

We booked our entire stay through Experience Kissimmee. Through them you can purchase park tickets, book resort stays, and also book excursions. I loved that we could plan and book our entire trip through one person. It was so much easier to stay organized and keep track of all of our plans. 

Stay tuned for my tips to concurring Disney World with kids under 5!!

Hayley Larue Design