End Of Summer Getaway To Jackson Wyoming

End Of Summer Getaway To Jackson Wyoming

Warning…very long, photo heavy post ahead! Our family had decided awhile back that we really wanted to end our summer on a high note and take a vacation somewhere during our final week of break. We had thrown around a few different location ideas over the past few months, and ultimately decided a few weeks ago to take a trip to Jackson. We have heard so many amazing things about it, plus as it sits right on the Idaho border, it isn’t too far of a destination.

Dress // Sandals // Hat (Rag & Bone, old – similar) // Bracelet // Bag

For our first evening in Jackson, we went to dinner at Calico. I had heard that it was a great place to take kids as they have a huge field full of balls & toys right next to their outdoor patio, plus their kids meals are very affordable. What I hadn’t heard as much about was the food…and we were in for a real treat! I booked the restaurant thinking it would be a great place for the kids to be able to get their wiggles out after a long day of traveling, and thought the food would probably just be okay. This turned out to be our favorite meal from the entire trip. We shared a caprese salad and I had the shrimp linguine and everything was absolutely incredible. This restaurant is a must on a trip to Jackson – be sure to call early for reservations to get a patio seat.

After dinner, we headed downtown to see the famous elk antler arches in the town square and do a bit of shopping. Teton Toys is an incredible toy store and they have a huge selection. My kids settled on toy cap guns and stick on mustaches so they could feel like real Wyoming cowboys! After shopping we went to CocoLove for a nightcap dessert. I had the Mexican hot chocolate and a few chocolates (the lavender was incredible!), while the kids had gelato.

On the next day of our trip we headed to the Snow King Mountain Resort for a day of fun! I highly recommend purchasing a Big King Pass for all of the activities, and if you buy online in advance you get a 10% discount as well. My kids loved riding the Cowboy Coaster and the Alpine Slide over and over, and Cole’s favorite activity of the day was the Treetop Adventure.

My Tee // Shorts // Sneakers // Sunglasses

In the evening we headed back to the town square for the nightly shootout and dinner at the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse. The shootout is the longest running shootout in the country and is held nightly during the summer at 6:00 pm. It only takes about 15 minutes, and is definitely a must do at least once. My boys really loved it! Also make sure to stop at Moo’s for their amazing homemade ice cream.

My Top & Skirt (The Kooples, old – similar top, skirt) // Booties (Marc Fisher, old – similar) // Bag

The next day we hopped in the car and spent the day touring Grand Teton National Park. If you are going to drive yourself, I highly recommend purchasing the Gypsy Guide Grand Teton app which will tell you what you are seeing and all the history of the land as you drive – as well as the key places to stop. Our highlights were stopping in at Menors Ferry and shopping in the old general store, taking a boat ride across Jenny Lake to hike to Hidden Falls, stopping at Mormon Row, and of course spotting wildlife! I still can’t get over the awe inspiring beauty of this place and can’t wait to go back.

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For dinner we headed back into town for Sushi at King Sushi! You wouldn’t think Jackson would have great sushi and is more of a steak and potatoes kind of place…but the sushi here is some of the best I’ve had. It is also an old historical blacksmith building which makes the ambiance even cooler.

In the evening we put on our western finest and headed to the Jackson Hole Rodeo! Little known fact about me…I grew up in a small farming and ranch community in Oregon and grew up riding horses and competing in local riding clubs, horse shows & 4-H. I was also a rodeo princess of our local professional rodeo my senior year of high school! So it’s kind of fun taking my kids to rodeos and showing them a bit of how their mom grew up (they think it’s quite funny!). The kids even got to compete by joining all of the other kids to attempt to grab a bandanna off a sheep to win prizes. It was absolutely hysterical and just made the rodeo even more fun for them.

My Poncho (Shopbop, old – similar) // Jeans // Booties // Hat (Rag & Bone, old – similar)

The next day we decided to have a low key day with a trip to the National Wildlife Museum. While there is of course some incredible wildlife art – the museum is surprisingly a lot of fun for kids as they have a children’s gallery where kids can create their own art. I also highly recommend downloading the museum app as you can play animal noises that go along with the paintings you are viewing (which keeps it more interesting for kids). They also have a restaurant at the museum which is quite good – and they have a really fun “paint a cookie” dessert.

img_5229Dress // Sandals // Bag

In the afternoon we headed downtown to walk around a bit more and do some more shopping! Altitude is a really fun boutique and I also love the Pendleton store (I grew up near Pendleton so their famous wool is sentimental to me!). We also stopped at this fun art alley for a few silly selfies.

For our last dinner in Jackson we decided to do the Bar T 5 Chuckwagon Dinner Show. This kind of thing could easily veer into being cheesy…but this was far from it. The whole experience was easily a highlight of our trip. The people were so nice, enthusiastic and talented, the food was great, the scenery was beautiful, and it really made for an all around fun and memorable evening. The history and story about how this show came to be is also fascinating. If you visit Jackson this is a must do – and we will be doing this again on our next visit!

Our horse team Bob and Sherman!Jacket // Top // Jeans // Booties // Hat (Rag & Bone, old – similar)

On our last morning in Jackson we went to Persephone Bakery for brunch before heading home. A friend who had lived in Europe for a period of time and had eaten at Persephone told us we must go as it easily rivals any patisserie in France. It did not disappoint! We tried a variety of pastries including the huckleberry croissant and the lavender lemon loaf, as well as a lavender honey latte, and an egg sandwich. Every single thing was incredible.

This was somewhat of a spur of the moment trip, and also easily one of our favorite family vacations we’ve ever taken. Jackson is truly a gem, and we’ve already decided this needs to become an annual tradition for us. I can’t think of a better way for us to have ended our summer break!Signature

Summer Camping Trip at Redfish Lake

Summer Camping Trip at Redfish Lake

Today’s post is a very photo heavy one with lots of photos of the camping trip we took last week! Several months ago we reserved a campsite at Glacier View Campground at Redfish Lake just outside Stanley Idaho (a few hours from Boise). We had some friends join us, and the kids really had the time of their lives building forts, playing at the lake, roasting marshmallows, and staying up late to make wishes on shooting stars! I confess, although I love nature and being outside, I’m not really much of a camper. But I did love seeing how much fun the kids had and camping really is such a terrific experience for them. The campsite was really nice and clean with actual toilets (a real luxury when camping!) and they also had playgrounds for the kids. It was also walking distance to the Redfish Lake Lodge which was darling (I would love to stay there one day!) and they had tons of water activities to take advantage of. We also had lunch and ice cream at the lakeside restaurant one day, which was a real treat after several days of cooking at the campsite. I still can’t get over the beauty of Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains – it is truly an incredibly stunning place. We even had a group of deer come visit us at our site one night (and the camp hosts let us know to be cautious as bears had been sighted recently!).

The kids had so much fun, and they are already asking when we can go on our next camping trip! Being prepared and having good gear also made a big difference in making the camping trip a lot more enjoyable, and I wanted to share my gear recommendations and camping tips!

CAMPING GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS

Utensils // Stove // Tent

Roasting forks // Over fire grill // Air mattress

Cast iron cookware // Lantern // Percolator // Water Jug (perfect for a handwashing station)

CAMPING TIPS

  • Prep all food beforehand! I had burger patties formed & frozen with wax paper between them, pancake mix prepared and frozen, and also made an overnight breakfast casserole that was ready to throw on the stove the next morning! Having everything prepped ahead of time saves a lot of time and makes things a lot more simple.
  • Use disposable dishes. Yes I know it’s not the most eco friendly, but it sure is a lot easier to use as many disposable things as possible.
  • Bring bug spray and sunscreen. You definitely get exposed to the elements, and you are going to need these!
  • Make a foot washing station to keep the tent clean. I placed a door mat placed by the door of the tent and we made the kids take their shoes off before going in. I also had a plastic pan of water by the tent door to rinse off feet that were really dirty.
  • Rinse free bathing options. I packed along rinse free shampoo and lots of baby wipes to clean off a bit in-between showers.
  • Be prepared for temperature extremes. The temperature swings were pretty wild on our trip. The days were really hot (we wore tanks and shorts), but at night it got down into the low 30s. We were prepared with really warm sleepwear, as well as warm sleeping bags, multiple blankets, winter coats, and wool socks.
  • Bring first aid supplies. The mosquitos would often come out earlier than expected, and we would get a few bites before getting bug spray on. And despite being vigilant, Evan leaned up against the fire pit and got a small burn to his leg. I made sure to have lots of skin ointments as well as Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl.
  • Pack toys and camp decorations to keep kids busy. While I was busy cooking, I had several activities to keep the kids away from the fire and busy. We had balls, frisbees, sand toys, bubbles, bug catching kits, and glow sticks. I also brought along some solar lights and tasked the kids with making our campsite “homey.” They also were given camp chores to keep busy helping out as well!

Happy camping!

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Summer Getaway in Sun Valley

Summer Getaway in Sun Valley

My Trench (Burberry – old, similar) // Top (H&M – similar) // Jeans // Belt // Boots // Necklace // Sunglasses // Bag

Last week we decided to take a quick vacation to Sun Valley for a few days! It is one of our favorite places to visit and we are so fortunate that it’s so close! (And it is truly my dream to live there one day). The weather is typically quite warm this time of year here in Idaho, but we have been experiencing a lot of cooler weather and rain over the past month. It was a lot cooler & stormier than we had planned when we booked our trip, but we still had fun and were able to enjoy spending some time outside.

Once we made it to town we went for a quick stroll and then out to dinner at our favorite place in town – Pioneer Saloon. It really is a must if you ever visit Sun Valley! The food is amazing and the ambiance is classic Sun Valley.

After dinner we went for an evening swim! Although it was cool, the hotel pool is heated so the kids were able to swim to their hearts content. When visiting we almost always stay at the Limelight. It is such a fantastic hotel in a great location in town, and it is very family friendly.

We had the most incredible mountain views from our room.

After breakfast the next morning we spent some time playing in the kids playroom! We really feel like the Limelight is our home away from home – and the kids even like to wear their pajamas down the the buffet breakfast and to play! This kids room is one of our favorite features of the hotel, and we always spent a fair amount of time playing!

After breakfast we walked over to Atkinson Park where the kids played for hours. We love this park and always come to play when we visit in the summer! It’s such a big park with a great playground – and the kids can literally spend all day there. They even have a splash pad for hot days!

We finally pried them away from the park with a promise to visit their favorite toy store (aptly named The Toy Store) and grab a late lunch. I have to admit – it really is a great toy store with some really unique toys. (They have another location at the Sun Valley resort as well which we visited on this trip too!)

While Sun Valley is known for skiing, there is quite a bit to do in the summer months. You can ride the lift up Baldy and hike, you can rent bikes from the hotel (or at other rental shops in town), you can ice skate, and a bit later in the summer they even have ice skating performances by Olympic skaters! I’m had hoped to perhaps go hiking or ice skating on this trip – but the weather was stormy off and on so we decided to head to the pool again in the afternoon while it rained. The hotel even provides kids robes – which of course the kids absolutely loved!

For dinner we headed to an Idaho favorite – Smoky Mountain pizza! They have a location in Boise we eat at frequently and it is a favorite of my kids. Evan especially loves to make his own pizza!

On our last day we headed out to the Sun Valley resort for a bit of shopping and just walking around the grounds.

My Shirt (Kobi Halperin, old – similar style) // Jeans // Boots // Sunglasses

One last game of tic tac toe at the hotel!

No trip to Sun Valley is complete without a stop at Gold Mine Thrift Shop. This shop is legendary for finding incredible fashion steals – and while 9 times out of 10 I don’t get lucky…this time I hit the jackpot! Digging through the racks I found a vintage St John jacket for $7! And I also found a beautiful Waterford crystal vase. While checking out, the cashier whispered to me that I needed to run over to The Gold Mine Consignment store across the street because she had just bought a Chanel jacket there – and they had tons of other amazing goodies! I ended up snagging a tweed, jewel trimmed Escada skirt suit as well as a Burberry tweed coat.

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Spring Break in Sun Valley

Spring Break in Sun Valley

Sun Valley is one of our favorite places to visit, so we decided it would be a blast to spend part of the kids’ spring break there skiing and swimming! We arrived up there fairly early on Sunday (St. Patrick’s Day) and grabbed a quick lunch and did a bit of shopping. There is a toy store there that the kids absolutely love that we always visit, and I always love making a stop at Gold Mine Thrift Shop to check for treasures (they famously frequently have amazing designer donations!).

Coat // Sunglasses// Necklace // Bag // Bootsimg_2312

We spent the afternoon swimming in the heated outdoor pool!

Sunglasses

Headed out to dinner! We stayed at the Limelight hotel and decided to just eat dinner there that first night as they have really good food and they also have live music. It was really festive for St. Patrick’s day, and we enjoyed just relaxing in the lobby listening to music while the kids played in the kids play area. We splurged on their truffle fries (which are amazing), and I also had a delicious arugula salad.

img_2334Sweater // Jeans // Shoes // Coat (Zara – similar) // Necklace // Bagimg_2307

Monday morning we let the kids play in the kids play room at the hotel for a bit before we headed off for a day of skiing. After skiing we swam again, and took an evening stroll around town.

Coat (Zara – similar) // Sweater // Jeans // Boots

On Tuesday we had yet another full day of skiing! The hubs and I ended up trading off watching Evan on the beginner hill, so we were each able to get some one on one time with Cole taking some more challenging runs.

My Jacket // Pants // Boots // Skis img_2443

On our last night we went to eat at our favorite restaurant in town – Pioneer Saloon! It just has the coolest ambience (make sure to look for Ernest Hemmingway’s gun!), and the food is so good. I had salmon and a “Jim Spud.”

We had so much fun on our little getaway, and I always really appreciate vacations with my family. Life can get so busy, chaotic, and stressful – so getting away and just focusing on one another & having fun is just so important! Many of my favorite memories are our family adventures, and even small trips like this are such a treat for us.

Since getting back home from our trip, I’ve been trying to keep the kids occupied for the remainder of their spring break and come up with some “staycation” activities and fun for them. I’m planning on writing a post about the second half of our spring break with some staycation activities we’ve done in the next few days if you are looking for some ideas!Signature

Spring Break on the Slopes

Spring Break on the Slopes

Living in Idaho, we are really fortunate to have so many great options for skiing nearby. Bogus Basin is just 18 miles from Boise so it is super easy for us to pop up there anytime…but my absolute favorite place to ski (and one of my favorite places in the whole world!) is Sun Valley. It is only a 2 hour drive from Boise, and I always feel that I’ve been transported into this magical mountain village whenever we go. I love how it balances giving you a feeling of escape, yet they have so many amazing amenities like incredible restaurants, upscale shopping, and luxury resorts. And I’m so excited that we have decided to head up to Sun Valley little spring break getaway this year! I feel like a spring break ski trip is such a fun option for a family friendly and active vacation – and spring skiing (warm pleasant weather!) is a lot easier and more fun with small kids. Today I wanted to share a few tips and a packing list if you are thinking of hitting the slopes this spring break!

Look online for package deals: Many ski resorts will offer package deals including discounted or even free lift tickets which can help save you quite a bit of money. Also if you have ski resorts locally or in your state, check with the resort to see if they offer in-state residents discounts!

Sign up early for ski school/childcare: Ski school and childcare spots are typically very popular and fill up quickly, so I would book as early as possible. Although my husband and I have both been skiing for a number of years, I definitely prefer to leave the ski instruction to the professionals, and giving my kids lessons has taught them so much that I wouldn’t have been able to.

If renting equipment arrive early and fill forms out in advance: Renting equipment can be really time consuming, especially if there is a line. Get there early, and if you can have your forms done before you get there it will help make the process go a bit more smoothly. And if you do ski at least a few times a year, it’s absolutely worth the investment to purchase your own gear! Spring is a great time to buy as most ski shops are starting to clear out their inventory for the season. Also, many resorts replace their ski gear every year or two and have sales to clear out their rentals! We actually purchased both of our boys barely used, perfect condition Volkl skis from Sun Valley this past year for a great price!

Prepare for the sticker shock of lodge food prices (or pack a lunch!): The food at the ski lodges at Sun Valley is insanely priced. As in a hot dog is somewhere around $10 and a plain black coffee is around $4. A very simple lunch for our family is easily in the $60-$70 price range. Yes the ambiance of the lodge is nice, but I like to keep some extra snacks in the car should the kids want to eat…and eat…and eat all day.

Check out the other resort amenities: Even though we love to ski, there are also a lot of other amenities at the resort we like to take advantage of as well. Most resorts have pools, and we absolutely love spending an afternoon in the outdoor, heated pool. Some resorts may also offer ice skating, sledding, a sleigh ride, or other fun winter activities. And of course enjoying après ski appetizers by a fire at the resort is a must, especially if they are having live music!

Packing List:

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Poncho // Leggings // Toiletry Bag // Suitcase // Sunscreen // MoisturizerSpringBreakSlopes2019.2Ski Jacket // Ski Pants // Skis // Goggles // Mittens // Fleece // Vest // BaseSpringBreakSlopes2019.3Hat // Boots // Vest // Sunglasses // Sweater // Jeans // Swimsuit // Poncho // Fur Headband // BootsSpringBreakSlopes2019.4Ski Pants // Ski Jacket // Ski Trainer Harness // Edgie Wedgie // Gloves // Helmet // Boots // Sweater // Swim Trunks

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What To Wear To Disney World In January

What To Wear To Disney World In January

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten // Eleven // Twelve // Thirteen // Fourteen // Fifteen // Sixteen // Seventeen // Eighteen // Nineteen

When you plan a trip south during the winter months, I know there is always the assumption that the weather is going to be warm. However after living in Southern California for eight years, I am well aware this isn’t always the case. When we planned our trip to Disney World for January, I expected the weather to be cooler and unpredictable and packed accordingly…and am so thankful I did because we had a few days there where the temps were nearly the same as it was back home in Idaho! I met a few gals at our hotel who were visiting from South America and had only brought shorts, and were pretty much freezing and miserable. We had pretty wild temperature swings while we were there, and it could be anywhere from 40 degrees to 70 degrees, even on the same day! We dressed in layers, and carried backpacks to carry extra layers or shed them during the warmest parts of the day. I packed a mix of short & long sleeve tees, sweatshirts, and warm coats for morning & evening. We also made sure to wear comfortable shoes, because we averaged 7-10 miles a day walking through the parks! Our hotel had laundromats located throughout the property, so we washed & re-wore things several times to cut down on the amount of stuff we brought, and it also allowed us to dry wet coats & shoes. I also packed things all in the same color scheme, so I could easily mix & match – and it all coordinated with my red & black sequin Minnie ears! The day we took off from going to the parks was actually quite warm, and we were able to go swimming – so I would recommend bringing a swimsuit even during the winter months! I also packed gloves for the kids for the evenings when it was coldest. Even though the weather certainly wasn’t hot, we enjoyed the mild temperatures since we were so active, as well as the overall smaller crowds in January – and we would definitely go visit in January again!

img_1101img_0164My shirt // My jacket (I’m obsessed with this I.AM.GIA dupe and want more colors! Size up 1-2 sizes) // My jeans // My shoes (also love these, these, and these)  —  Evan’s sweatshirt // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (sold out, similar)  —  Cole’s shirt // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

facetune_27-01-2019-20-08-40img_1038Ponchos are an absolute must to have on hand! I packed some disposable emergency ponchos so we could just toss them & not have to worry about bringing them back home. Also this stroller is amazing – I even got stopped by a few fellow parents who asked about it! It’s super affordable and is very sturdy, plus it has great storage, a reclining seat, and a sunshade.

My coat // My hoodie is old but similar here & here // My tee // My leggings (these were great for a rainy day since they dried quickly!) // My shoes // My backpack  —  Evan’s sweatshirt // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)  —  Cole’s coat (similar) // Cole’s shirt //  Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

snapseedFor our day off from the parks I felt like dressing up a bit! This dress is a few months old from H&M, but this is similar. My belt is here, and my shoes are J Crew & a few seasons old but these are similar.

Cole’s tee // Cole’s jeans  —  Evan’s tee // Evan’s jeans

img_0446My shirt (and I layered this tee underneath) // My jeans // My shoes // My bag  —  Evan’s sweatshirt // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)  —  Cole’s tee // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

facetune_30-01-2019-23-42-36-1My tee // Not pictured but for evening I layered this cute Mickey sweatshirt on top (it runs small & cropped so size up!) // My jacket // My jeans // My shoes  —  Evan’s tee (not available online but similar) // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)  —  Cole’s coat (similar) // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

img_1103facetune_31-01-2019-22-46-24My shirt is last summer J Crew but similar options here, here & here // My jeans // My shoes // My bag  —  Cole’s tee // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes  —  Evan’s tee // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)

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Our Walt Disney World Vacation

Our Walt Disney World Vacation

Happy Monday! We are all still a bit jet-lagged and tired today as we just got back from our first family vacation to Disney World! When we lived in Southern California we didn’t live far from Disneyland, so we did take Cole a number of times, but we had been hearing from friends for ages that Disney World is a completely different experience & we really needed to go! Before I share a bit about specifics of our trip, I wanted to share a few tips and recommendations should you be considering a Disney World vacation.

The My Disney Experience App is really key in booking all of your restaurant reservations and Fast Passes so if you are planning a visit, as soon as you book your hotel, downloading the app should be your next step! We booked our trip about 4 months in advance, and we were able to get dining reservations for everything we wanted but I’m pretty sure we were only able to do so because January is the off season – and we still ended up with meals at off times (like 4pm & 7pm). I would highly recommend booking at minimum 6 months in advance, and making all of your dining reservations at that six month point! Extremely popular restaurants like Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Table are very difficult to get reservations for, so book as early as you possibly can! Fast Passes can be booked for guests staying on site 2 months in advance (only 1 month if you are staying off site), and popular rides get booked solid very quickly. We elected to stay on-site and it is definitely the way to go as they really do make things so simple for you. Disney sends you tags to place on your bags, and once you drop them off at the airport, Disney does the rest and delivers them right to your room! When you leave, they also check your bags into the airport right from the property & you can go straight to the gate without dealing with luggage! (Not dealing with bags was amazing and I’m now wondering why don’t all hotels do this?!) They also provide shuttle service to & from the airport, as well as to the parks from the hotels. You are given a magic band prior to your trip, which links to the app & you use it to scan in at rides for fast passes, link photos, make purchases with a linked card, and it also acts as your room key.

We chose to stay at Coronado Springs – which is a moderate resort at Disney. It is a convention hotel – which appealed to us since they have fewer park guests so the bus lines were very short and the pool wasn’t crowded. They also have a full service spa unlike most moderate resorts. Overall we were happy with our stay! The staff was super nice & friendly, the food was good, the beds were very comfortable, and the pool with water slide was a lot of fun for the kids. Housekeeping surprised us & spoiled the kids with balloons, birthday pins, and a stuffed Pluto & Goofy as we were celebrating Evan’s birthday while we were there! That said – if we go back I think we would choose a deluxe resort for a few reasons. One reason would be that several of the deluxe resorts have monorail access, which makes transportation to the parks even quicker & easier. The deluxe resorts also have bus stops closer to the park entrances, and more frequent busses for pickup so the wait is a bit shorter. Also the deluxe resorts have character experiences on site – which would be nice to enjoy a character meal right at your hotel & make for a bit more “Disney” experience without having to leave the resort every day. Also with two kids, a slightly larger room would be an added bonus as well. That said, there is a lot of value to be had at the moderate resorts with a pretty large savings, and you still do get the majority of the amenities found at the deluxe resorts.

We also opted for the Disney dining plan, which I highly recommend! We went to a number of character meals, and they are very pricey. A character meal for a family of four is in the $200 range, so having those included in your dining plan is fantastic. Also all of the cute snacks & drinks around the parks are included in the plan, so it really allowed us to feel free to indulge in the overpriced themed snacks as much as we wanted! With your dining plan you also get refillable mugs which you can fill with soda, coffee, juice, tea, and cocoa as many times as you want for free at any Disney resort throughout your stay. We also purchased Memory Maker, and with this, all of your photos taken by Disney photographers & on the rides are uploaded to your app for downloads. It is something I would absolutely recommend purchasing!

We spent our first day at Magic Kingdom, which in hindsight may have been a mistake. Our first day was a Saturday, and even though it was January, Magic Kingdom is always very crowded on weekends. We weren’t able to make it on as many rides as we wanted, and restaurants were pretty crowded. But we were able to snag breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest (which is a great value on the dining plan!) and this was our favorite restaurant from our entire visit! The Beast doesn’t appear at breakfast or lunch, but it’s such a neat place to dine with the whole Beauty and the Beast theme, and just the ambience alone makes it so enjoyable.

Magic photos are so fun and included with Memory Maker! And it’s always a fun surprise seeing what they added to the photo! This ride is an absolute blast, and also extremely popular! Early fast passes for this one is a must! The wait was consistently 2+ hours. The Mickey Ice cream bars are delicious!We ate dinner at Crystal Palace which is a character meal featuring the characters from Winnie the Pooh! The buffet was quite good, and the special friendship celebration parade with all the kids was just so cute! The characters at all of the character meals are just fantastic and make it so special for the kids.You can’t go to Disney and not take a ride on the Tea Cups! We also watched the evening firework show which was fantastic.

Our second day we went to Hollywood Studios…and we were not blessed with good weather. It absolutely poured. All day. I had been watching the weather, so I was prepared with ponchos for all of us. But it was pretty hard to completely avoid getting wet. Luckily many of the rides & experiences are indoors at this park, so we were able to dry off at each experience, before bundling up & heading to the next one! And the one big perk of toughing out the day was that there were virtually no lines at any of the rides and the park was pretty empty.

Our highlight of the day was meeting all of the Star Wars characters! The kids are still talking about this & saying it was one of their favorite things from the whole trip. The storm troopers were walking around questioning people, Kylo Ren was pretty scary, & Chewie was like a big teddy bear – and it just made for a super fun experience! We also stayed dry watching the Indiana Jones show which was a neat behind the scenes peek at how movies are made & they did some really neat stunts. My boys weren’t interested in seeing it, but if you have girls I heard the Frozen show was really neat! We also went on the Tower of Terror ride (it’s absolutely terrifying & I’m questioning my parenting that I took my kids on it), as well as Slinky Dog Dash which was an absolute blast! The Star Wars 3D ride was really neat & they change the graphics constantly so no two rides will be the same! We ate dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant & this was one of our favorite meals. You sit in a car and they show old sci-fi movies on a big screen. Unfortunately we missed the evening Fantasmic show which we had really wanted to see, because once the sun went down we were too wet and cold to stick it out at the park any longer. That’s something we definitely want to catch next time.

The next day we headed to Animal Kingdom! This park has a much different feel than the other parks and is more of a zoo than an amusement park. You definitely need to make sure to go on the Kilimanjaro Safari – it really is like going on a mini-safari and you get to see all of the animals in a more natural habitat.

The dinosaur ride was one of the kids favorites!

A few highlights of the day in addition to the safari were; Its Tough to Be a Bug (which is a super cute 3D show inside the Tree of Life), The Boneyard playground where they could dig up dinosaur bones, Dole Whips (it’s like a pineapple soft serve), and the evening water show was absolutely incredible. We ate dinner at Yak & Yeti, which was one of the more disappointing meals of our trip. We love Asian and Indian food so we were excited to try it – but the food was just very mediocre for the price, so I would try Tusker House next time!

On Tuesday we took a day off from the parks to rest a bit & we also booked brunch at Chef Mickey’s where we celebrated Evan’s recent birthday! The ambience at Chef Mickey’s was really fun. It’s really lively and the characters were absolutely fantastic! Mickey seemed a bit rushed, but all of the other characters were so playful and fun. I had pre-ordered a cake through Disney dining ahead of time so as we were finishing up our meal, they brought the cake out and sang for everyone celebrating birthdays! There was only one other person I saw celebrating, so it was kind of neat and felt really personalized! I had also pre-arranged to have balloons & a plush Mickey delivered to our table to be waiting for us which I purchased through Disney Floral & Gifts. Just a disclaimer on this – there is a $25 delivery charge (ouch!) to have them deliver a gift for you.

Chef Mickeys was really fun and I’m glad we did it. But you are paying for the characters and ambience. It is very pricey for what you get as the food is very mediocre and there weren’t as many options as I would expect from an expensive buffet. It is a part of the Disney dining plan, so it was a good value to use a dining credit towards. However I think if we went back, I would look into trying the dinner buffet instead as I felt that $60 per person for a somewhat limited breakfast menu was a bit steep.

After brunch, we spent the rest of our day swimming, and playing at our hotel playground and hotel arcade. For dinner we headed over to Disney Springs which is the shopping area on property. They have a lot of great shops including some of my favorites like Zara, Uniqlo, and Free People. My kids absolutely loved the LEGO store & they had a neat area where you could build LEGO cars and race them against other kids building them! We also grabbed some Sprinkles cupcakes for dessert!

On Wednesday we headed to Epcot! I am a total foodie, so Epcot was a lot of fun for me. We spent a fair amount of time just walking around World Showcase and sampling foods from around the world! We had breakfast in France at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, lunch in Mexico at La Cantina de San Angel, and dinner in Italy at Tutto Italia. Some of our highlights from Epcot; I absolutely loved the Soarin’ Around the World Ride while the kids loved the Test Track ride – in fact so much so that we skipped the evening firework show because they wanted to do that ride over and over! It was also just a lot of fun to walk around in all the countries and browse the shops where they had things from those countries available to buy! I ended up buying some Givenchy lipgloss in France as a little souvenir.

On our last day we went back to Magic Kingdom and after a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s, we had a marathon day of riding all the rides! Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train were our favorites and we did several of these more than once! We also caught the afternoon parade which was really cute.

For our last night, we went to Be Our Guest for dinner and this was one of our favorite experiences of the whole trip! The food is actually impressively good, and the Beauty and the Beast theming is really fantastic. There’s 3 dining rooms; the Ballroom where we were seated which is huge & grand – and there is always snow falling outside the windows, the West Wing where the enchanted rose is (our table was right near the doorway so we could see the rose from our table), and the Castle Gallery which has a large figurine of Beauty and the Beast dancing as well as a number of large paintings of them. The food is French with a 3 course price fixe menu. I opted for the French Onion Soup, the Seafood Bouillabaisse, and for dessert you get a trio with a raspberry Macaron, a white chocolate “Chip” filled with the gray stuff, and a chocolate truffle. The gray stuff is incredibly rich…but it is in fact delicious! The kids dessert trio came with sugar paint & they got to paint their Chip cups and eat them which was darling! The Beast periodically walks through the dining area & then greets guests in his study where there is a photographer to take your photo with him after dinner.

And there you have it…a summary of our week at Disney! We aren’t huge “Disney people” so we were a little unsure of how fun it would be, but we enjoyed it so much I do think we will go back in a few years. If you are thinking of taking a trip to Disney and have any questions, please leave them in the comments for me! And because the weather was quite temperamental during our stay, I’m planning on writing a follow up post this week about what to pack & wear during a January Disney trip!

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