Disney on Ice Road Trip Adventures Coming to Orlando!

Disney on Ice Road Trip Adventures Coming to Orlando!

Have you been to Disney on Ice? We went last year and LOVED it! Find tips on going with young children here: Six Tips for Disney on Ice with Young Children

This year, Disney on Ice just announced they will have a new show which sounds equally as amazing: Disney on Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Who doesn’t love a good road trip adventure?! Read on below for more information from Disney on Ice.

Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this a multi-generational experience visits Orlando from September 6-8, 2019 for six performances at Amway Center. Tickets go on sale May 21.

Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa. Discover a whole new world and be swept up in Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine that will render the audience “Speechless.” Mosey on over to a larger-than-life comedic carnival and team up with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky. Fans will hit a high note with Mickey and pals during the Disney edition of Road Trip Karaoke as they introduce Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana. Families should be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up-close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in Orlando!

For ticket information, visit DisneyOnIce.com.

Orlando Show Times: Friday, September 6, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 7, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, September 8, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Venue: Amway Center, 400 W. Church Street #200, Orlando, FL 32801

For group rates and information, reach out to 866-248-8740. Stay current on the latest developments through social media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #RoadTripAdventures
YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

*Note, some photos and information on this post have been provided by Feld Entertainment.

Check out this video of Mickey, Minnie and all of their friends from last year:

Babywearing at Walt Disney World – Updated Policy

Babywearing at Walt Disney World – Updated Policy

For our two family vacations in 2015 and 2016 (when we were foster parents) and since my daughter was born in 2017, we have been babywearing at Walt Disney World. A few months ago, we were stopped at Peter Pan’s Flight when we were in our Tula and told we could not have our 1.5 year old in the Tula baby carrier. We asked to speak to a manager and were told it was the policy that babywearing was not allowed.

Honestly, I was shocked. In 4 years and probably a thousand times riding rides while babywearing with the understanding that the policy was that we could babywear on any ride any ride without a height restriction, I expected the manager to say that the cast member was mistaken and we would be able to proceed. But the manager stated firmly it was the policy for several years.

After emailing Guest Services asking for an official policy and receiving an even more confusing answer at first, I spoke with a gentleman on the phone who the confirmed their policy by email:

The new policy is that generally, “boat rides” like Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World you can use “forward facing” carriers on the front. On all rides with a lap bar, the child must be sitting facing forward not in a carrier. I was told that Cast Members may have additional discretion at the rides and accommodations may be made for special needs, but this is not clear.

As far as I know, there is no official policy stated anywhere and when I’ve been by myself since then I haven’t been asked to take my daughter out of the carrier. We cannot use a forward facing carrier due to her age/size and do not actually even own one.

Have you experienced this babywearing policy at Walt Disney World? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts below.

Review of Ohana Breakfast – Vegan, Gluten Free, Food Allergies

Review of Ohana Breakfast – Vegan, Gluten Free, Food Allergies

Ohana is a restaurant that offers a Character Breakfast and a themed dinner. It is located in the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World.

The Polynesian is my favorite resort. The smells, the lush landscaping and excellent theming in addition to its close proximity to Magic Kingdom make it an excellent resort to stay at or to visit.

Tiki in the Lobby at the Polynesian Walt Disney World

Lobby of the Polynesian

When we arrived at the Polynesian for Ohana breakfast, we checked in about 20 minutes early. Check in is located near the restaurant on the 2nd floor usually by the stairs and elevator. During our wait, we met Pluto all dressed for the occasion!

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Pluto Outside Ohana at the Polynesian

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Elodie Loves Meeting Pluto

We received text notification that our table was ready right around our reservation time. For allergies, the cast member does not stop and get the coconut bread when seating you. They walk you through the back of the restaurant directly to your table. If you have dined at Walt Disney World previously, you will know that waiting for an allergy chef can sometimes be a long wait. We were pleasantly surprised that Chef Josh not only arrived immediately to our table but also was knowledgeable about their vegan offering and food allergies. He stated that the vegan offering was also all gluten free and was no/low oil (if you have allergies or concerns always consult with a cast member or chef.)

The first course was a fruit plate.

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Fruit Plate at Ohana Breakfast

Next they brought us an Erin McKenna’s cinnamon donut and coffee (Silk soy, almond or rice milk were offered.)

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Erin McKenna’s Donut at Ohana Breakfast

The main course was a vegan skillet that included Just Egg scramble, Beyond sausage, seasoned potato wedges, as well Mickey and stitch waffles with 100% maple syrup. Yes, this whole skillet is 100% plant based, vegan, gluten free!

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Vegan and Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet

I personally like my savory breakfast to have a little more flavor punch and fresh vegetables, however the flavor and content are very consistent with the traditionally offered breakfast here. The Just Egg scramble had a very good consistency and texture. The Beyond sausage always has a great flavor on its own. The potato wedges were well seasoned and cooked. The Mickey and Stitch waffles were done to perfection.  Mickey waffles are always one of my favorite Disney treats!

During our time there we were able to meet with Stitch, Lilo, and Mickey. All three were amazing and friendly. Lilo was really our family’s highlight as she had seen that our daughter was upset and cured the toddler woes by playing peekaboo. The characters also did a dance line where all three friends danced with musical instruments around the restaurant, perfect for the older kids.

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Mickey at Ohana Breakfast

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Stitch at Ohana Breakfast

Ohana Breakfast Vegan Gluten Free

Lilo at Ohana Breakfast

Overall I believe this was an excellent character dining experience for a family who eats vegan or has food allergies. The resort is breathtaking, the character experience was excellent, and the food option is prompt and offered a perfect selection for everyone in our party. Even (omnivore) Grandma and our toddler were happy! If you haven’t been to the Polynesian before, be sure to build in some time to walk around this beautiful resort to see the beach with a view of Cinderella’s castle

Beach at the Polynesian Walt Disney World

Beach at the Polynesian

Vegan Gluten Free Disney World Breakfast Ohana

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Strollers at Walt Disney World from a Babywearing Perspective

Strollers at Walt Disney World from a Babywearing Perspective

When I first planned a trip to Walt Disney World with young children in 2014 (I was a foster mom at the time), I wondered: Do I even need a stroller? We had a stroller but rarely used it. I thought it probably would just be a hindrance. However, I ended up bringing one and I am so thankful I did.

Now I go to Walt Disney World Parks about 8 times a month or more.  About a third of the time, it’s just me and my daughter that go.  I have learned a lot about strollers at Disney since I first asked myself if I needed a stroller four years ago. And now I’m here to offer you some thoughts and suggestions.  Here are some things to ask yourself and answers to help you make a decision.

Can I go to Disney stroller-free? If you have one child who can walk part time, travel lightly and/or go for short periods of time, you may be able to go stroller-free easily.  Also, there are moms I know who love to go stroller-free and don’t mind carrying all the babies and all the stuff which I totally respect.  I take my stroller into Disney about half the time. I do babywearing alone half the time. There are pros and cons to both having the stroller and not.

Pros for stroller:

  • Can carry stuff like diaper bags, etc.
  • Gives a place for the child to sit for breaks, longer walks
  • Safe and clean space for the child to eat a snack
  • Offers a cool, shady spot for a child on hot summer days using a fan and stroller cover
  • Some children love napping in strollers

Pros for stroller-free

  • There’s no navigating crowds with a stroller – which can be a serious pro, especially on a busy day.
  • You don’t have to run back to a different area to pick up your stroller where you left it.  You may leave your stroller several hundred feet from the ride and have to back track to get it.
  • On busy days, finding your stroller can be a task. Having an identifier like a large ribbon or sign helps. Sometimes cast members move them for different reasons like to consolidate them or to move to the stroller parking area.
  • There’s worrying about the stroller or items in it getting stolen.  Although a generally safe place, strollers and items in strollers do occasionally go missing. We do not leave anything irreplaceable or difficult to replace (whether in sentiment or value) in the stroller, ever, period. This is a good rule of thumb!

Will you have more than one child with you?  If you will, you may want to consider either two single strollers or one double stroller.  With a double stroller, you have just one stroller to worry about and both children can take a break at the same time.  With two single strollers, you will have to have at least two adults to push all the time.  This may be worth it if you have siblings who need space away from each other. Also with two single strollers, you can leave one in the hotel room if you know one of the children will be able to handle the walking for the time you are going.

Do you carry a lot of “stuff” with you?  If you don’t travel lightly, I highly recommend at least a small stroller to help carry the stuff.  It can be long, exhausting days without even the factor of feeling like a pack mule carrying a child and a heavy bag.

Does your child walk? If so, how much? Even older little kids can benefit from having a stroller.  Don’t let other people’s judgements deter you from doing what your family needs.  If your child gets tired easily and fits into a stroller and you want to use it, do! Do what’s best for your family. If your child has any medical conditions which prevent him or her from walking, you may also inquire at Guest Services about “using the stroller as a wheelchair” as well.

Can you carry your child? I can carry Elodie for pretty long times, but as she has been in the 99th percentile for height her whole life, I often find that navigating the stroller through crowds strongly outweighs me carrying her and our stuff 100% of the time, especially when we go for over four hours at a time. The breaks, even if they are short, are worth it! My husband can hold/wear her for very long periods of time and not get uncomfortable, so he often prefers just the carrier and a small backpack.

What kind of stroller might be best for you?  This is a very important question and is not a one-size fits all answer! I personally find my top priorities are: 1. a stroller that’s easy to push and 2. the child can face me.  These two are my top two priorities because 1. I do not want to be pinching my fingers or have added physical difficulties of a difficult stroller. 2. I like the child to be able to face me so that I can see if she is overwhelmed, staying cool,  and staying safe while snacking, etc. Other priorities to consider are: ease of breaking down for the tram and bus, under basket storage, sun coverage and recline ability for naps.

What about renting a stroller versus bringing one with you? There are pros and cons to both of these. Bringing a stroller with you means you have the comfort and ease of your own stroller and can choose which of the features are the most important to you.  Additionally, you have the use of a stroller while traveling like flying . We use it to hold car seats and luggage while wearing baby.  With renting a stroller, you don’t have the risk of loss or damage during flight which is a real risk and airlines carry little to no responsibility for damage even with gate checking it.  Some families also prefer not to manage the extra bulk of a stroller while flying or driving.

What about renting a stroller from Disney versus an outside company?  If you have decided to not bring your own stroller but want to have a stroller, you have the option of renting from Disney or an outside company.  There are Disney strollers available to rent in the parks.  They are mostly large, brown, hard strollers that can be single or double.  They do not recline and are probably not very comfortable overall.  They do have strollers for younger children but I believe they only have a few and I would not rely on this option for younger children.  In my opinion, if you have an older child/children and just want the ease of a stroller for a day, this could be a good option.  Otherwise, renting from an outside company makes much more sense.  When you rent from a local company, they will let you choose from a few options including brands and single/double. They deliver to and pick up from your resort so you have access to it your whole vacation.  You also have some of the extra features like they usually fold down well, have good storage and recline.  Additionally, you can add insurance so that you don’t have to worry about losing it!

What’s your favorite option for strollers at Disney? Tell me in the comments below!

 

Strollers at Walt Disney World

Elodie in a Stroller with Bubbles at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

Disclosure: Links contained in this post may give me a small financial benefit at no cost to you, which helps me keep this site running and support my family.  Thank you.  For full disclosure policy go here.

Some of my favorite strollers and favorite stroller products:

Favorite Strollers :

Uppababy Vista or Cruz (https://amzn.to/2B0r1gv)- both offer smooth rides and can face either direction (note: the newer models do use leather in at least one part which is not vegan but can be switched out for this tray )

Bob Flex Revolution (https://amzn.to/2AYRjQ9) – super smooth ride for baby is easy to use

Favorite Stroller Accessories:

Skip Hop Cool Touch Stroller Liner (https://amzn.to/2qDucEU) – it helps keep the child cooler and is machine washable!!

Guzzie & Gus Cup Holder (https://amzn.to/2qHD7oK) – absolutely worth the extra money to have drinks condensation and spills happen away from the stroller

Holidays at Hollywood Studios

Holidays at Hollywood Studios

This year at Hollywood Studios, the holiday cheer is in full gear! Literally! Even Buzz, Jessie and Woody are dressed for the occasion in the new Toy Story Land!

Throughout all of Hollywood Studios, you’ll find beautiful little holiday decor touches that will make you feel festive like a prancing reindeer on Christmas Eve!

I love Christmas and because we live just a few minutes from Disney, most people around us embrace that winter holiday season starts on November 1st or shortly after. I don’t see any reason not to have it be a late fall / winter holiday season that is filled with gratitude, family, cheer, goodwill and love. It seems like we should live this way all year anyway but adding some festive lights, nostalgic songs and cute decorations makes it all that more fun!

From the moment you walk up, you will see small details that really help you get in the festive mood.  Two of my favorites were Sorcerer Mickey and his mops at the entrance and the vintage Santa over the Darkroom shop.

 

 

Hollywood Studios Mickey

 

There are also decorations like large ornaments throughout the park and the giant tree overlooking the lake is breathtaking!

Be sure to check out the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam show nighttime fireworks show and the Flurry of Fun on Sunset Blvd.  Also, there are many fun holiday treats available as well as a Jingle Bell Jingle Bam Dessert Party that includes a dessert buffet and a special meet with holiday Goofy.

Check out these two videos below for a little glimpse into the festive world of Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World for Christmas!

 

 

 

Should I Use a Travel Agent?

Should I Use a Travel Agent?

Should you use a travel agent? Many people have asked us this question and I’d say the answer is amost always: yes! Read on to hear some top reasons why the answer is yes.

For Disney Vacations

The first Disney Vacation I planned as an adult was OVERWHELMING for me! So much had changed since the last time I had gone when I was around 18 years old with my parents. When I was a child, we went just about every year and I knew a lot about Disney Parks. Back then, you walked up and got paper fast passes when they started offering them and it was pretty easy to eat wherever you wanted to. Fast forward 10 years and there was SO much about Fast Passes, Dining Reservations, strollers and planning that I just didn’t know.  I didn’t remember much about the resorts or even the layouts of the parks.  Additionally, when we were on vacation, we had a problem arise with our reservation and we ended up losing a half day of park time trying to resolve it by being on the phone and having to return to our resort.  I learned a lot on that trip and one of the most valuable lessons was that you should almost always use a travel agent who will help you walk through all of those things.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent:

1. It’s free for you. You do not pay any extra money at all (True 100% of the time for Disney, other vacations it’s also true most of the time). Not sure I need to go on after that, but I will!

2. You may actually even get some financial benefit.  You may get a free credit or gift card for using the Travel Agent.

3. You get access to many additional tips, resources and personalized planning.  For example, they will make suggestions such as which resorts might be best for your family and they can schedule dining reservations for you.  A good Travel Agent will send you tips based on your family needs (ex. links to Disability Access, Stroller Rentals and more).

4. They will check to make sure you have the best price and deal available. If after you book with Disney, for example, free dining specials become available they will notify you and help you switch to a package that may be better for you or give you added benefits.

5. And probably the most valuable reason: you will be able to talk to someone (your Travel Agent) quickly if you come across an issue. There’s nothing worse than having an issue and then having to stay on hold for an hour while you should be riding the Tea Cups with your 3-year-old (even if it is the 5th time in a row!). Your time, especially family time, is invaluable. And a travel agent will help your trip go smoothly and keep your family time exactly that – fun family time together.

Are there any reasons not to use a Travel Agent when booking for Disney? Well, there may be one. If you call into Disney to try to change something with your resort stay, they may direct you to your Travel Agent instead. If this would bother you for any reason, then perhaps that would be a reason. But you can still alter your own Fast Pass and Dining Reservations, using the My Disney Experience App and more. So in my opinion, even an experienced traveler would still benefit from the use of a Travel Agent because you still have control to plan what you want and then get all the other added benefits as well.

For Other Vacations

I would still say yes, most of the time.  But there may be some additional considerations.

For cruises? For example, booking a cruise you may get onboard credit and no extra fees to book with an agent.  If you’ve never cruised or are not an experienced cruiser, a Travel Agent’s tips and information may be invaluable.  If you’ve been on many cruises, it may make sense to book it yourself.

For all inclusive resorts? Many all-inclusive resorts work with Travel Agents the same way.  You may be able to get specials or get some extra advice and tips on the locations from your agent all for free.  I personally would much prefer to speak directly with someone who knows a great deal about a location when trying to make decisions about my vacations.

For International trips? If you’ve never traveled Internationally before and are going with a young child, I would say having a Travel Agent or Guided Tour would make the most sense.  Traveling Internationally can bring so much joy and also can be fret with moments of frustration.  Unlike Disney vacations where Cast Members provide likely the best customer service you’ll ever receive in your life, traveling Internationally can be amazing and yet also confusing and things can change very quickly.  I have traveled in Europe regularly.  Several times I have been in the countryside of Italy and southern Germany and trains just didn’t show up any time near the schedule and the explanation was that they just didn’t that day and you may be told this in a language you do not understand. When traveling with a baby or young child, flexibility is key but so is being comfortable in your environment.  If sudden changes in plans would cause you to be uncomfortable, you may wish to look into a guided trip or something more likely to go very smoothly like a Disney World vacation.

My final thought: If you aren’t sure whether you will use a Travel Agent or not, request a free, no obligation quote! There’s no harm in getting more information from a Travel Agent and you may be pleasantly surprised how much you enjoy your interactions with them immediately.

Hope this helps make your vacation magical!
– Jess