Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel

Are You Backing Up Your Smart Phone Photos?

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that may happen to your photos, your iPhone or anything associated. These are my opinions and my suggestions on ways to help.

So with the news of being able to reserve a park pass for passholders only for the soft opening of Legoland NY I became really excited this morning! With thoughts of this and summer approaching, it has been a while since I backed up the photos on my iPhone and decided now is the time to save them and clear up my phone’s capacity for even more photos! I am so excited for all the photos to come this summer!! We all know how many photos we can capture while visiting WDW and I automatically get Memory Maker being an Annual Passholder! Follow me on Instagram – familypixiedust429 for our upcoming Legoland and Disney World Adventures and Content! https://www.instagram.com/familypixiedust429/?hl=en

I decided to attack this project this morning in the midst of my daily chores. I need to vacuum every day since getting a black lab/boxer puppy mix. I love her to pieces but the amount of hair is just overwhelming. I try to brush her every day – but it is just ALL over all the time – plus it is so fine it blows around so easily. Not to mention working on the laundry, folding towels, dishes, breakfast for my kids, drop off / pick-up for my younger son who went back to in-person school and his lunch etc – being at home is much harder than being at work! I should be going back to work this fall….

A few years ago I learned a hard lesson not to just save my iPhone photos to my WD External Hard Drive because I was also using it to work inside of Photoshop and I blew its brains out – losing all of my photos along with the work I created. Luckily I had some photos saved to the computer we were using at the time but I knew from then on I needed multiple places for storing my precious photos.

Google Photos

Google Photos easily automatically backs up all of your iPhone photos just by opening the app. I believe the phone needs to stay on and the app opened to save all. I just go into the phone’s settings to Display & Brightness, then change “Auto-Lock” to NEVER. Then you can create albums to organize the photos. It also lets you share as well. Don’t forget to go back in and change the auto-lock back after you are finished. You can also upload any photos saved from your computer to Google Photos as well.

Shutterfly

Although this app is a touch more difficult because it takes much longer to upload the photos – I like to have them in more than one place. To upload to Shutterfly I recommend doing this one night when going to bed. Make sure you are fully connected to the wi-fi. I would again change my iPhone’s Auto-Lock in the settings to never and then proceed into Shutterfly keeping it open. Here you can also create albums as well. This app seems to take several hours, so face your iPhone face down for the evening and let it upload from there. I also like having my pictures printed and mailed through Shutterfly as well.

WD External Hard Drive

This would be where you connect your iPhone and WD Drive to your computer. You would create files inside your WD Drive through your computer, and then access your iPhone photos (also through your computer). You highlight which photos you want to save and drag/drop to the file of your choice. I usually name the files by month and year. The problem I have been having with this method lately is that my computer loses my iPhone, or isn’t reading it correctly or does not obtain all of the photos. If anyone has any suggestions for this by all means please let me know!

Here is a link to a WD Drive on amazon – https://amzn.to/3f3tuLa

Uploading to Facebook is nice because your memories pop up – and you can make your albums viewable to you only, or specified people if you prefer. Instagram is also nice for saving photos as well.

With the thousands of pictures we are taking daily we have to make sure to keep up on saving them! I often wonder what will happen to all of the digital pictures when we are gone! AHH What a thought!

What are some ways you save your photos???

A Vacation is an Investment in Your Family

Trying to decide on whether to take the vacation? Here are some things to keep in mind.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for any decisions you may make, any vacation that you could take that could go downhill – what is stated below are all of m opinions.

I recently heard by a person that I absolutely love listening to, talk about Disney DVC and she said no matter what you’re doing for vacation, that a VACATION IS AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR FAMILY and I thought wow how true is this. This has been my life motto, something that I have been living by since having babies.

Got little kids? Big Kids? Afraid of making the plunge? DO IT. This is precious time you will never get back. It doesn’t have to be perfect or expensive – you’re family won’t remember the imperfections they will remember the adventure taken with you. It is a way to easily CONNECT and bond with your family.

Issues financially? Frugal family? Wanting to save for future? It all comes down to how much vacations mean to you also… there are ways to save for it and budget for it. If it’s that important to either spouse then it should be something that is alotted for.

With all the hustle and bustle of the normal day-to-day work and school, the best thing you can do is take time for plain family fun making memories. Everyone needs time to JUST HAVE FUN WITH THEIR FAMILIES. Your children need time with you, just you for enjoyment, having fun together, making memories together which you can provide each and every single day but vacation is unique and it helps us rest, recover and grow inside – together.

MY MOST CHERISHED MEMORIES AS A CHILD

I am someone who grew up with a family who had a camper in-tow; my Dad was so fortunate and lucky enough to take all of his vacation time at once – 3 weeks every July. We could take our time venturing off into many of the United States and saw places like Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Bay of Fundy in Canada, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, Myrtle Beach SC, Outer Banks NC, some parts of Maine. We always went to Lake George in NY every summer because my Dad had an aunt that lived in Ticonderoga NY. We even ventured down to Disney World when I was in second grade. THESE TRAVELS ARE MY MOST CHERISHED MEMORIES AS A CHILD.

My Grandmother used to travel the world with her twin sister and other sisters and growing up I didn’t think I would be one to enjoy traveling but when I had a family of my own I learned how really special it is and how exciting.

PASSING THIS ONTO MY CHILDREN

With everything that happened in the world during 2020 and how we went into shutdown / lockdown I felt so fortunate, thankful and blessed that I was able to have taken my children on as many vacations as they have been on. Yes we are truly a Disney World family – we enjoy it ever so much. My husband and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon and the year after, and I just could not wait to get our children there. We did not start taking them there until my youngest Nicky was 2 years old.

We did however vacation down in Wildwood Crest every summer – we live in North NJ. There are times where I wish we had branched out but we had some bigger financial struggles when our children were so small so that was all we could afford and I am grateful for the wonderful memories we made down there. My children love the water, the ocean and swimming – we are all fish.

We started taking our children to Disney in Spring 2013 when Mikey just turned 5 and Nicky was 2 heading towards 3. Since my husband and I were married late April we experienced the amazing weather Florida has in April. Since then we have taken our children in 2015, 2016, 2017, and three times in 2019 – well the last time in 2019 was New Year’s Eve so we were technically there in 2020.

DAY TRIPS COUNT TOO – CREATING WELL CULTURED CHILDREN

WE were also fortunate enough to have visited several zoos, aquariums, museums, water parks, theme parks like Sesame Place and Dorney Park. We were even lucky enough to have had short vacations to Hershey Park.

Day trips into NYC to see the Broadway plays Aladdin and the Rockettes were absolutely incredible day trips. We got to explore parts of NYC it was incredible. So much fun and so many amazing memories!

During the time of the quarantine I felt so lucky and grateful that we were fortunate enough to have taken our kids so many wonderful places and had the experiences we had. Especially since we lost a year of traveling with them. Nicky was 9 going on 10 and Mikey had just turned 12 when the Corona Virus hit the US.

LIST OF PLACES I HAVE TRAVELED TO / VACATION IDEAS

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Mount Rushmore / Crazy Horse
  • Myrtle Beach South Carolina
  • Dollywood – TN
  • Nashville – TN
  • Outer Banks North Carolina
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg / Historic Jamestown
  • Lake George / Ticonderoga NY
  • Chincoteague Island Virginia
  • Disney World – stayed in Jelly Stone Campground
  • Bay of Fundy Canada
  • Maine Beaches
  • Howe Caverns NY

PLACES WE HAVE TAKEN OUR CHILDREN BOTH DAY TRIPS and VACATION IDEAS

  • Disney World
  • Legoland Florida
  • Wildwood Crest, and Boardwalk
  • Cape May NJ
  • Sunset Beach Cape May NJ
  • Cape May Lighthouse NJ
  • Hershey Park PA
  • Dorney Park PA
  • Busch Kill Falls PA
  • Land of Make Believe NJ
  • Sesame Place PA
  • Morris Museum NJ
  • The Museum of Natural History NY
  • Liberty State Park NJ
  • Aladdin NYC (Broadway) for when that opens back up
  • The Rockettes NYC (Broadway)
  • Legoland Discovery Center Yonkers NY
  • Adventure Aquarium NJ
  • Maritime Aquarium CT
  • Cape May Zoo
  • Bronx Zoo
  • Turtle Back Zoo
  • Space Farms Zoo
  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • Liberty Science Center NJ
  • Van Saun Zoo and Park in Bergen County NJ
  • Brook Hallow Barnyard in Boonton NJ
  • Point Pleasant Boardwalk, NJ
  • Jenkinson’s Aquarium Point Pleasant Boardwalk, NJ
  • Seaside Heights Boardwalk, NJ
  • Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area, NJ
  • Knoebels Amusement Park, PA

AM I JEALOUS OF EVERYONE’S UPDATED KITCHEN AND BATHROOMS?

Well heck yes I would love to have a beautiful home updated with the newest appliances, gorgeous flooring, kitchens and bathrooms but would I ever take back our travels instead – NO, NEVER!

To the people who can afford both GOD BLESS THEM. Can we afford to both? NO. Do I regret it? Absolutely without a doubt NO. We can always update the house and have a beautiful home when our children are grown but will I care about it then, probably not because I enjoy adventuring too much.

YOU DON’T JUST HAVE TO GO TO DISNEY WORLD

As much as we love Disney World it is a small fortune every time we go. There are so many other places to vacation with your family that is more than half the cost.

We just all LOVE going to Disney – there is nothing so magical and nothing like it in the world. My husband also does not like the beach and cannot swim so Disney is a place where we are ALL happy. We also love the dining aspect of Disney World.

Disney World is not just your typical theme park. It is not just rides, but Disney World is encompassed of SMELLS, SIGHTS, SOUNDS, TASTES, EXPERIENCES, EDUCATION, – really a full body experiences. This is known as the “DISNEY BUBBLE” people speak of and you won’t really know what it is until you experience it for yourself, staying inside a Disney World Resort.

YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE THOSE TREASURED MEMORIES AND TIME SPENT TOGETHER 💓

This is time – now, right now. You are not going to get this time back. Money will always be ready to be made. Work will be there when you get back. No matter where you choose to go, you are making the most cherished memories with precious time that you will treasure forever. I am a firm believer in experiences over things and I just love our family time spent together because our children are growing so fast – I cannot believe how fast time is going.

If you’re worried about distancing there are plenty of options to still vacation like for example maybe visiting the Smokey Mountains, or a beach vacation – so many adventures out there to explore!

What are your ideas for family trips this spring and summer?!

Check out my blog on Travel Necessities for Summer 2021 by clicking here!

Here is my vlog on Summer Travel Necessities:

It says for people who have POTS but this video is really for everyone since it will be a summer of wearing masks in the heat – we all need extra tips for keeping cool this summer!

New Lego Harry Potter Fawke’s, Dumbledore’s Phoenix

Mikey completed this 597 piece Lego in 1.5 hours

Thinking of going to Legoland NY? Click here for some hot tips!

Legoland NY June 2021 HOT TIP

Legoland NY is now open to everyone but by reservations only which you can access online through their website. Legoland NY officially opens to the public I believe June 4th or June 5th.

All but 2 rides are open at Legoland NY!

It is absolutely amazing – *but be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a sun umbrella, neck fans. spray bottle and lots of drinking water because there is no shade to be seen and it is hot! Even waiting online for the very popular Ninjago Ride was outside in the blazing sun for about 30 min. Needless to say we were all sunburned and very overheated (since I forgot to pack sunscreen).

Hopefully the long lines will calm down as they iron out their kinks but until they do definitely prepare!

For some pictures and video previews check my Instagram account at FamilyPixieDust429 and check back regularly on my YouTube Channel for a tour at Family Pixie Dust https://youtu.be/N_QAFau-jKw

https://www.youtube.com/user/vbraga429/videos

Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel

Are You Backing Up Your Smart Phone Photos?

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that may happen to your photos, your iPhone or anything associated. These are my opinions and my suggestions on ways to help.

So with the news of being able to reserve a park pass for passholders only for the soft opening of Legoland NY I became really excited this morning! With thoughts of this and summer approaching, it has been a while since I backed up the photos on my iPhone and decided now is the time to save them and clear up my phone’s capacity for even more photos! I am so excited for all the photos to come this summer!! We all know how many photos we can capture while visiting WDW and I automatically get Memory Maker being an Annual Passholder! Follow me on Instagram – familypixiedust429 for our upcoming Legoland and Disney World Adventures and Content! https://www.instagram.com/familypixiedust429/?hl=en

I decided to attack this project this morning in the midst of my daily chores. I need to vacuum every day since getting a black lab/boxer puppy mix. I love her to pieces but the amount of hair is just overwhelming. I try to brush her every day – but it is just ALL over all the time – plus it is so fine it blows around so easily. Not to mention working on the laundry, folding towels, dishes, breakfast for my kids, drop off / pick-up for my younger son who went back to in-person school and his lunch etc – being at home is much harder than being at work! I should be going back to work this fall….

A few years ago I learned a hard lesson not to just save my iPhone photos to my WD External Hard Drive because I was also using it to work inside of Photoshop and I blew its brains out – losing all of my photos along with the work I created. Luckily I had some photos saved to the computer we were using at the time but I knew from then on I needed multiple places for storing my precious photos.

Google Photos

Google Photos easily automatically backs up all of your iPhone photos just by opening the app. I believe the phone needs to stay on and the app opened to save all. I just go into the phone’s settings to Display & Brightness, then change “Auto-Lock” to NEVER. Then you can create albums to organize the photos. It also lets you share as well. Don’t forget to go back in and change the auto-lock back after you are finished. You can also upload any photos saved from your computer to Google Photos as well.

Shutterfly

Although this app is a touch more difficult because it takes much longer to upload the photos – I like to have them in more than one place. To upload to Shutterfly I recommend doing this one night when going to bed. Make sure you are fully connected to the wi-fi. I would again change my iPhone’s Auto-Lock in the settings to never and then proceed into Shutterfly keeping it open. Here you can also create albums as well. This app seems to take several hours, so face your iPhone face down for the evening and let it upload from there. I also like having my pictures printed and mailed through Shutterfly as well.

WD External Hard Drive

This would be where you connect your iPhone and WD Drive to your computer. You would create files inside your WD Drive through your computer, and then access your iPhone photos (also through your computer). You highlight which photos you want to save and drag/drop to the file of your choice. I usually name the files by month and year. The problem I have been having with this method lately is that my computer loses my iPhone, or isn’t reading it correctly or does not obtain all of the photos. If anyone has any suggestions for this by all means please let me know!

Here is a link to a WD Drive on amazon – https://amzn.to/3f3tuLa

Uploading to Facebook is nice because your memories pop up – and you can make your albums viewable to you only, or specified people if you prefer. Instagram is also nice for saving photos as well.

With the thousands of pictures we are taking daily we have to make sure to keep up on saving them! I often wonder what will happen to all of the digital pictures when we are gone! AHH What a thought!

What are some ways you save your photos???

Legoland NY June 2021 HOT TIP

Legoland NY is now open to everyone but by reservations only which you can access online through their website. Legoland NY officially opens to the public I believe June 4th or June 5th.

All but 2 rides are open at Legoland NY!

It is absolutely amazing – *but be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a sun umbrella, neck fans. spray bottle and lots of drinking water because there is no shade to be seen and it is hot! Even waiting online for the very popular Ninjago Ride was outside in the blazing sun for about 30 min. Needless to say we were all sunburned and very overheated (since I forgot to pack sunscreen).

Hopefully the long lines will calm down as they iron out their kinks but until they do definitely prepare!

For some pictures and video previews check my Instagram account at FamilyPixieDust429 and check back regularly on my YouTube Channel for a tour at Family Pixie Dust https://youtu.be/N_QAFau-jKw

https://www.youtube.com/user/vbraga429/videos

Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel

Last Minute DIY Easter Pics

With Covid rules and regulations a lot of people might be skipping out on visiting the Easter Bunny this year but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on Easter 🐣 Pics 📸 of your kids!

IDEA 1:

Gather up your kids and head up to your nearest State Park. If you are working they are staying open later now, and it is better to go towards the late afternoon anyway – so the sun won’t be shining in their eyes!

The state park idea is fun because the kids can go exploring around the area while you’re doing it or even have a picnic. Throw some quick dresses 👗 on your girls and cute shirts on your boys and let nature do the rest. Try out Portrait Mode on your iPhone!

It was very windy when we went up last week!

IDEA 2:

Take whatever Easter decorations and props you have and head into your own yard for some pretty pics.

*Have a tripod?! Set up your iPhone to take 10 seconds for an automatic pic of you with your family!

IDEA 3:

Have an early Easter Egg hunt and take ACTION pics of your kiddos hunting for eggs – in their nicest attire.

Also if you have Easter Pics from the year prior that never got sent to anyone? We were in Disney World for Easter 2019 and had pics with Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny that never went to anyone only because they were taken on Easter while there 🤷‍♀️

Check out my last post on What Is Going In My Kids’ Easter Baskets HERE!

Last Minute Easter Shopping

Home Goods!

Mikey and I ran to Home Goods yesterday afternoon… we were surprised to find LEGO storage boxes that are actual LEGO themselves!

We also spotted 2 MICKEY Mouse plushies!

We spotted 2 Baby Yoda / The Child / Grogu Banks in the children’s section

For some other last minute gifts I am adding to my kids Easter Baskets I am waiting on a few LEGO to come and also waiting on some LED lights for Nicky’s bedroom. Plus they still love to play with Star Wars Light Sabers – so waiting on that as well!

I just need to finish a basket for my parents and my inlaws as well as my nephews!

Happy Easter 🐣🐇🐰 Shopping Everyone!

Continue reading “Last Minute Easter Shopping”

What’s Coming UP…

Planning True Support For Seasonal/Covid Dysthymia

Overcoming Pandemic Depression: Prepping For The Upcoming Spring/Summer

So normally just to get through typical, non-pandemic years and daily struggles I like to plan vacations. I am a planner! When I first had babies I enjoyed planning their giant first birthday parties! I planned beach vacations. I am just the type of person who needs activities, vacations and occasions to look forward to. Since 2020 hit, this has become rather difficult for everyone.

This is an exciting year ahead (as exciting as it can be) in that my older son is turning 13 next week! My husband and I are celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary, my Dad and Mother-In-Law both turn 75 and I turn 40 this coming Fall. I feel the need to celebrate at least with our own little immediate family by vacationing. Vacationing you keep to yourselves, you can social distance, sanitize, Clorox surfaces and wear masks. Any type of a party would be too hard and too risky at this point.

In the past few months I have driven my husband absolutely crazy trying to figure out when and where our next vacation will be…. I thought we had decided on an early May vacation but my older son being in all advanced classes isn’t up to missing and having the extra workload. I think after this year my kids want summer to come and just be done, and be free of the virtual, remote learning. (Although he has no desire to go back into school at all physically.) It is definitely easier to go away when it is Summer and there is no stress of work waiting for him, hanging over his head.

We have all been feeling somewhat of a depression and feeling of being repressed, haven’t we all? In by no means would I ever want to risk causing someone else to get sick, so we take it very seriously to wear masks, stay home, sanitize etc. But it has been a hard year! The back and forth of vacation planning has really given me a sort of manic-depression. In my strong desire to plan a vacation, to have somewhere to go with my family was giving me so much excitement that I haven’t felt maybe since the night before our wedding and before that since I was a little kid. But then the major let down of discussing finances (I haven’t been working and funds just aren’t the same since the pandemic hit) its almost devastating; as selfish as that is. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to anyone that has lost someone due to COVID-19 or that has had a super difficult time with it themselves – my children and I pray every night for anyone that might have it and for the world to heal. But WOW, I have never had this much trouble getting through a winter funk, every before. Every time we had to reschedule, I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces. I know things can be much worse, and I realize that I am blessed and lucky, but I supposed I have been fighting a depression. With the snow refusing to melt, and the endless cold it has been super hard trying to get outside which always help heal my soul.

So now the idea is to go away after school ends. Which means Summer. Which means heat and humidity and masks. I am in the middle of researching breathable masks, so that we can still go and enjoy as much as we can. My Type 1 Diabetic husband and my younger son who suffers with POTS and a hypermobility disorder both struggle walking through the heat and humidity, never mind wearing a mask. Who wants anyone to feel miserable while on vacation? I am in the midst of purchasing better neck fans and cooling clothing, as well as a sun umbrella to help. But since everyone in my family is just plain sick and tired of a lot of nothing, maybe their excitement to be away from home will overcome the added heat and sweat of a wearing a mask. Can you tell how much this means to me?

So in the short-term this week we are having temps in the low 60’s which is super exciting to be able to be outside and feel pleasant! It will melt the snow! We can plan hikes and find new trails. There is nothing like a good hike in nature to help calm your brain and feed your senses! This will surely help my mind, my heart and my emotions. Easter Sunday is only a few weeks away and that always brings renewal and happiness. I have some surprises for my kids in their Easter Baskets this year. We also have a Legoland in New York, just 4o minutes from our home opening up this spring! We will be there vlogging and we will surely be posting on my YouTube channel. There are some other day trips that I am interested in trying before it gets too hot and humid. Just the thought of all these ventures brings me such joy.

One thing that I have ALWAYS done to keep moving forward is working out daily. It is one thing that I always do for ME. I am not skinny by any means but I do enjoy exercise, it is a therapy just for me. Since the pandemic hit and my kids are a little bigger now, I have added walking with my kids to part of my exercise regimen. I really enjoy the walks and hikes I have had with my kids this past year. I am really looking forward to the snow to melt and enjoying the warmer weather with my kids as we move into Spring. Plus with the all virtual remote learning it has been the only exercise they have been getting since we closed the pool in September for the season. One fabulous thing to look forward to is opening the pool the beginning of May.

My husband and I were walking every night after dinner until the Fall time change and then it became too dark to walk. With the time change in less than a week, and the snow melting I am super excited to be able to walk with him again in the evenings. I will have to change my weight lifting routine to maybe mornings or early afternoons while the kids are still in school.

I am currently in the midst of making a giant lawn sign for my son’s 13 birthday next week. Since it is not yet safe to celebrate with family and friends we need to go all out making it special, somehow, don’t we?! I did purchase the “Happy Birthday” part of it from Walmart, but for his name and the number 13, I purchased a foam board along with some other tools for decorating and installation. I will post a list of the the supplies I used and how it was done. Last August while we were lucky enough to have the pool to celebrate my younger son’s birthday, I purchased 20 balloons from the dollar store and decorated the entire deck and pool area. I used some tablecloths to drape over parts of the deck and hung a bunch of birthday decorations.

Every March I like to start an early spring cleaning, just in time for Mikey’s birthday. Over the weekend I scrubbed down the kitchen cabinets with polish. I was on my hands and knees cleaning the edges of the floors to where they meet the cabinets with a mixture of water, Dawn dish detergent and vinegar. We have a new black lab puppy so if I don’t vacuum every 2 days the hair just gets out of control. I feel like all I do is clean. But so begins the deep cleaning and wiping down of everything. I wish I could just hose off everything inside my house.

Not really sure what the current plan is for our 15th wedding anniversary at the end of April. If the weather behaves and permits I would really love a dinner that overlooks the ocean – but April is generally super chilly in April – so only time will tell! I despise having to make plans around the weather. 😕

If you have any suggestions or ideas on most breathable masks to wear during the summer, and any suggestions on what we should do for our anniversary coming up, I would love to hear and see your comments below!

What have you been doing to fight the winter blues?

What are your spring plans?

I would love to hear from you.

My Seasonal Disney World Wardrobe

If you have a Disney World Trip coming up this summer then you’re going to want to check this out!

We have visited Disney World several times now in 3 different seasons. We have been a few times in May, a few times in the heat of August and once for Easter and once for New Year Eve!! You’re going to want to pay close attention to what type of clothing you need to bring depending on when your time of travel will be.

If you plan on traveling to Disney World this summer keep in mind it is going to be HOT! It’s going to be hot and humid from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed so just prepare. So your packing itinerary will need to include things like Neck Fans, Spray Fans, Sunscreen, Sun Shades, Sunglasses, Cooling Towels – and be prepared to do laundry because you will be changing your clothes at least once a day! You will need lightweight clothing options.

August 2019 Magic Kingdom

For traveling to WDW during the summer – for someone like me that is in my late 30’s with 2 beautiful boys, I like to wear SKORTS instead of shorts – especially since I have chubby annoying thighs no matter how much I workout. Shorts love to bunch up on me! I like to purchase my skorts from Macy’s but I would like to check out Athletica in the future. Also light long skirts and maxi dresses are also be perfect.

Vacationing during the summer, your tops will also need to be light and airy – I normally like to wear a lot of tank tops with skorts – this way I am the most comfortable. You also need to be prepared with umbrellas and ponchos because it can rain once a day in Florida during the summer! **Definitely bring more than 1 pair of shoes – no one wants to be walking around in soaked shoes the entire trip.** Sandals that have a strap are great if you get caught in a downpour, without a strap they can slide off – and that is not fun! I do NOT recommend flip flops because when you are in Disney you are walking several miles a day and flip flops just do not have enough support.

Even with the Florida summer heat, I find myself feeling chilly in restaurants so I always like to make sure I have a sweatshirt or sweater when dining.

Hollywood Studios August 2019. Felt like 105 degrees and 100% humidity.

When we visited WDW this past January, we had quite a different experience. First of all, we stayed at the Grand Floridain for the first time which was stunningly elegant and beautiful. (Vlog and blog to come). I was sorry I didn’t bring a light jacket! I was freezing in my sandals! We only had two 85 degree days and the rest were in the 50’s – so you’re going to need to bring more of a variety of clothing since the weather changes so often. We actually felt cold! 50 degree weather in Florida is cold. Most days I had on a shirt, a sweater and a sweatshirt on top. But, you never know when you will have a hot day – so you will need a pair of shorts or capris just in case. While there in January I wore my black leggings from Venus almost every day. Check out my vlog on my Disney Wardrobe!

Magic Kingdom Christmas Parade Dec. 30, 201
Check out my Vlog on my Disney World Wardrobe!

Click above for my vlog on my Disney World Wardrobe!

When we went to Disney for our first Easter Trip 2019 I found a lot of the days to be not incredibly warm – I wore a sweatshirt most of the trip. The pool felt chilly even at 77 degrees and heated. Maybe it was just an odd year? That is reason enough to always be prepared with layers. So I really wore my capri jeggings from Uniqlo or Kohls most days and maybe wore shorts and skorts 2 days out of a 9 day trip. I just bought some new capris at New York & Company that I was planning to wear this past Spring (Possibly summer if we make it there)! They feel so comfortable and lightweight! Riding Splash Mountain at night was interesting to say the least – Splash is our kids’ favorite ride and my husband and I knew we would be freezing but we did it anyway. LOL But the weather can vary year to year, so always check the weather before you leave while you are packing!

Our favorite weather time of the year was when we were in Disney World for Mother’s Day. The weather is gorgeous hot during the day and not horribly chilly at night. The Flower and Garden show is going on at Epcot and yes it is also going on during April but the begging of May is signifcantly less crowded than April and I really enjoyed the weather more this week. However, I enjoy hot weather more than cooler weather. Also while we were at Animal Kingdom on Mother’s Day 2015, I was handed a flower upon entering the park and we took some great photos that day as well. Great memories. For the beginning of May I would say you could still bring some capris but be sure to pack those shorts and skorts because there are still some days that may hit 90. I went over a lot of my wardrobe that I wore in the different months we attended Disney in my Vlog – so definitely check it out! Again always check the weather as you are packing prior to departing for your adventure!

No matter when we go, I prefer Birkenstock Arizona’s – they are the soft sandal, not the hard. I suffer with Plantar Faciitis so finding some Sketchers Go Walks, paired with super soft inserts and gel heel cups – all found on Amazon and I am good to go!

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When is your next Disney World Trip?

What month are you traveling to Disney World in?

Know Before You Go and Before You Plan Your Disney World Trip!

How to ride Disney’s Star Wars Rise of the Resistance Ride in Walt Disney World

How to JOIN the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance:

Recently before all the closures due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened their newest, highly anticipated ride of the century – Rise of the Resistance, back in December of 2019. Attempting to get on the ride is not the easiest thing to do, but completely worth it.

I think moving forward we will be seeing a lot more about Virtual Queues and how to use them as Disney World begins to re-open.

If you are a huge Star Wars fan then this is something not to be missed!

Here is your plan of action to get on the VIRTUAL QUEUE for this ride when Disney World reopends its parks (this information is subject to change via Disney World):

So ultimately you will need to have at least this part of your vacation planned out – if not for the rest of it. (We all know going to Disney World takes some planning) You need to know what day of your trip you will be going to Hollywood Studios and have other fast passes and dining reservations planned out with the ability to be open for flexiblity and changes.

For this morning of your trip, depending on how big your party is, and how quickly you can get ready you’re going to need to be at your bus stop by 5:30am depending on park opening. Set your alarms accordingly, and have food packed the night before – whatever you need to bring into the park for that day, have ready the night prior. We had stayed at the Grand Floridian so when I walked to the Gasparilla Island Grill, I was lucky to find one carafe of coffee hot and ready!

Things to have ready for the day: Your Smart Phone, Smart Phone Charger, Drinks & Snacks, Other Fast Passes, & Dining Reservations.

Make Note: For the new Skyliner Resorts, the Skyliner is not a good method of transportation that early in the morning because it only opens 30 minutes before park opening so this is not a good transportation method when you want to get on ROR. ****You might want to schedule an alternate route of transportation – either your own car, Uber, Lyft, or Disney’s alternate transportation of the Minnie Van (which starts at a flat rate of $20 but then costs more per mile – speak with the front desk) The bus stop was completely packed when we arrived and almost did not make it on the first bus. In this instance it is always good to be early than late!

Security lines are HUGE and LONG! Do not freak out – deep breaths. You will get through it. Just cooperate. From the stress and anxiety we witnessed other guests yelling and swearing at security for no good reason, other than stress – so keep yourself together. They will get you through as soon as possible and its for good reasons. Have a snack while you wait, talk about what rides you would like to go on for the day or snacks you might like to try.

While we were there in January park opened at 7:00am and even if the park isn’t opening until 9:00 I still recommending on arriving at Hollywood Studios by 6:30am to get through security and scanned into the park before the opening time. It is CRUCIAL you are scanned into Hollywood Studios and INSIDE the park before the park hour stikes opening time. Typically security opens an hour before park opening.

Keeping your My Disney Experience App closed, and checking the time for park opening, make sure as soon as the clock strikes whatever hour park opening is – let’s just say at 7:00am – you will open the app instantly at 7:00am ( your MDE app) and here you will see “Join a Boarding Group” (as soon as the app opens up) it was a picture of the AT-AT Walkers – uness that changes – and you will click on that and follow through with the directions as it leads you, step-by-step, on how many in your party etc. After that it will give you a boarding number. This is where it is crucial that your phone does not die and you are able to access the app on your other family members phones. I personally like a small charger. The app will eventually alert you when to return to the ride. So go about your day until you have the alert from the app. There is a possiblity it could be late at night or early – just keep an eye.

Now that you have your boarding number you will be WAITING patiently until you get the notifcation from the app for your boarding time. Once the app alerts you and it gives you a boarding time you will have a 2 hour window to get to the Rise of the Resistance Ride located in Galaxy’s Edge of Hollywood Studios. So do NOT panic if you are headed onto a Fast pass or you are currently eating. You do have 2 hours to get on! It will tell you please get here by whatever time is at the end of the 2 hours. It appeared right on my homescreen! We were boarding group number 54 so it gave us some ample time for a breakfast reservation at 8:20am and also we had a lunch reservation at 12:30.

Since you are inside the park so early it is the perfect opportunity to hop on those rides with normal long waits. We had a fast pass for Slinky so we hopped on Toy Story Mania with no wait. Some people run to Smugglers Run (Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run) which at the time had no Fast Pass but just before the closures started offering a FP. Aerosmith’s Rockin Roller Coaster is another good one to head to, or even Tower of Terror. Then don’t forget if you have a breakfast reservation! After breakfast we did Slinky, and headed to Star Tours, got on the ROR around 11:00, and we hopped on Smugglers Run and went to lunch. Then we did some pics with Darth Vader and Chewbacca.

Darth Vader

Keep in mind, there are instances where people are not able to board Rise of Resistance until the evening and sometimes disappointly not able to get on the ride that day – but I think they promise you the following day? Mark me if I am wrong. Your best bet is to plan your vacation during a lower crowd time…

It’s was definitely exhausting but worth it! We will do it again and won’t even think twice about it. We can’t wait!

If you don’t mind spoilers here is our video footage and vlog of Rise of the Resistance from this past January 2020.

When are you planning your next Disney World Trip?

Have you ridden Rise of the Resistance Yet? What was your experience?

Check out my other latest Travel Tip to Know Before You go by clicking here!

Rise of the Resistance Ride @ WDW!

Interested in watching the ride?! We put a video of us riding the ride while there in January.

Click to view!

May the 4th Be With You!

Happy National Star Wars Day Everyone!

I know most of us, including myself & my family are wishing we could be in Disney World on this extraordinary day! Years passed have proven to be so magical spending this day at Hollywood Studios! What a magnificent day it was the weather in Florida during the beginning of May is usually gorgeous and has been known to be usually a more low-crowd time. Plus you get all the beauty of Flower & Garden show.

Here are some ways to celebrate May the Fourth while distracting yourself about what is going on in the outside world, while easily maintaining your safety as well as others’:

Disney Plus is now streaming a new documentary called the Gallery which will show behind the scenes in the making of the new hit series The Mandalorian now streaming on Disney Plus. You can catch the entire Star Wars Saga on Disney Plus as well! You can also find Clone Wars and Rebels on Disney Plus.

Sorcerer Radio – I just heard a string of some Disney Park Star Wars Music! Nothing like hearing park themed music to get you in a better mood. Download the app or listen from the website Sorcerer Radio and you may just hear some cool Star Wars Tunes!

Shop Disney now has some new “The Child” (aka Baby Yoda Merchandise) – shirts for everyone, “The Child” funkpop, character action figures, as well as other Star Wars type merchandise.

Lego Store has a promotion going on where if you spend $75 on select Lego sets or more they will give you a free Death Star 2 Battle set. ENDS TODAY!

Get out your own Star Wars Legos and build something NEW! Put those creative juices together and make something fun and do it OUTSIDE because its another gorgeous day in the North East! Soak up every ounce of the sun you can get! No better way to do it than playing with Star Wars Toys or Legos!

Take any Star Wars toys or Legos you have and go outside and set up your own planet.

My kids recently whipped out their OLD Lego Stars Games on the Wii.

You can purchase a download of Lego Stars Wars Force Awakens for $20 on XBOX made in 2016.

Click here for an important TRAVEL TIP for planning you next Disney World Vacation!

What are you doing to pass the time during the quarantine?

CHECK OUT OUR VLOG on the Rise of The Resistance Ride in Walt Disney World!