Chef Mickey’s All-You-Can-Eat FAMILY STYLE COST

OUT OF POCKET: NO DINING PLAN OFFERINGS Summer 2021

Planning on heading to Chef Mickey’s soon? Here’s a few things to know.

With still no Dining Plan Offerings in near-sight, you will have to account for the full cost of paying out of pocket pricing for some pretty hefty pricing for dining in Walt Disney World. Chef Mickey’s being one of them.

$240.00 was our bill with tip* for our family of 4 EVEN WITH MY ANNUAL PASS DISCOUNT which only takes off about 10%. At what used to be an excellent buffet (especially in recent years, until covid hit) and is now a family-style ALL YOU CAN EAT, which we did enjoy a nice dinner on a stormy June night. – ** THIS was one of the only times we got to see the main man, Mickey Mouse during our vacation. The other time was a Hollywood Studios Cavalcade. My two children were ages 13 and 10 at the time with my husband and I – which is a typical family of 4.

The waitress did bring out some yummy food starting with delicious types of salad as starters. Some entrees offered were salmon, turkey, beef and more. My kids also asked for chicken fingers. Deserts like their signature mousse over Oreos, apple tart, strawberry cake, and chocolate chip cookies etc were brought out. You were allowed to ask for as much as you wanted and the waitress would bring it to you.

I always purchase Discounted DISNEY GIFT CARDS from either Target or BJs to save as much as possible. This is how I paid for all of our dining on this past trip – tips included.

We did not have a reservation so since we had some really awful rained-out STORMY nights, we decided to head to the Contemporary Resort and figured if we couldn’t get into Chef Mickey’s we would just eat at their quick service. Since we were resort guests of Fort Wilderness, and happened to have our own car – we didn’t have any issues upon entering the Contemporary especially since the resort was not crowded. We only had to wait 30 minutes so we did some shopping in the gift shops while waiting. We did get to see some other characters in addition to Mickey, like Pluto, Donald and Minnie. The characters come out individually, dancing around and posing for your pictures – not getting too close.

It was definitely nice that this was an option since there were heavy downpours, thunder and lightening that lasted most of the night and Magic Kingdom was at a point where it was still closing at 9pm which was disappointing.

We are so excited for the Disney Dining Plan to return! (hoping and praying it won’t be worse or any more expensive than it already was!)

Pics from Chef Mickeyโ€™s

Do you think Chef Mickey’s is worth the expense?

When is your next Disney World Trip?

Want to know what our Disney Trip was like with no dining plan? CLICK HERE!

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 itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ’“

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!

Frank Sinatra Waterfront Park in Hoboken NJ

Beautiful Clean Waterfront Park Walkway in Hoboken, NJ with Sleek, Modern Playground

Lets face it – we all can’t be in Disney all the time can we?! Here are some travel exploration ideas I have come up with, to keep my family busy exploring and learning between Disney Trips!

As summer came to an end here in North Jersey, the weather (following in it’s same pattern for all of 2021 was not the greatest). So in following our summer adventures in searching for waterfront park’s, I came across the Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken NJ.

This waterfront walkway provides gorgeous grounds and a paved walkway with a modish playground design. With ample places to wine and dine this could also double as a whimsical date night as the skyline of NYC is lite up at night.

This was a great place for the family to visit and walk for exercise and exploration.

If youโ€™re into Photo Ops – this is the perfect place!

We finished up our evening dining at the waterfront Blue Eyes Restaurant- a nice Italian Restaurant including a childrenโ€™s menu.

What adventures have you been on lately?

How to Squeeze in a Last-Minute Getaway Before Summer ENDS On a Budget!

Looking to get away but don’t have a lot of cash? Here is how to do it:

RESEARCH TOWNS SURROUNDING YOUR POINT OF INTEREST DESTINATION

We were interested in a quick beach trip last week as a quick little getaway. After all, being at Disney World the end of June put us in a bit of a money pinch lol – so we had to go cheap! We usually go to Wildwood Crest, NJ but the hotels are currently outrageously overpriced especially since they were having a huge Country Music Concert at the Wildwood Convention Center.

We decided to look about 30 minutes away from there and we found Ocean City, NJ and Somers Point, NJ. Somer’s Point was more than half the cost per night – of staying in Wildwood Crest, NJ. So we booked an Econolodge in Somers Point – through http://www.expedia.com and it was great! This little motel is conveniently located 8 minutes from the Ocean City Beach and about 30 minutes from Cape May, NJ and around 25 minutes from Wildwood.

When we travel to Hershey Park, PA – we do not typically stay inside of Hershey. We stay about 15 minutes outside in Grantville, PA and save a ton on hotel. When we visit Hershey Park we are never in our hotel room. So we only need a clean room for showering and sleeping. Why pay a lot for a room if you’re not going to be in it?!

THE POINT: a little travel distance can save a lot!

Here are some sites to price out motels and hotels but be sure to clear your history and cookies because I have noticed they like to bump up prices the more you are looking! Sneaky!

Expedia

Priceline

Hotwire

Booking.com

Do you have a tent for camping? This is a surefire way to save – if you can do it!

RESEARCH FREE THINGS TO DO

There are so many state parks located all over and near destinations that you wouldn’t even think of. The All Trails App also gives you a lot of free options for walks, scenic outlooks and more. I always enjoy researching Waterfront Trails.

Research free beaches if you live along the coastline. NJ has Wildwood which is a free beach.

If you are vaccinated and live in the State of NJ – you are able to access ALL State Parks for FREE by registering online and showing your ID with vaccination card.

CAPE MAY, NJ State Park is always FREE, as well as visiting Sunset Beach and just walking around the town of Cape May.

The Cape May Zoo is FREE – just a small donation. Research free zoo’s in the area to check out.

PACK BREAKFAST AND LUNCH

This here can save a lot just by doing a little. This way you can go out and enjoy a nice dinner. I know a lot of theme parks do not allow you to bring lunch inside, but you could leave some beach chairs in the trunk and picnic by your car taking a much needed break and rest. Some theme parks offer picnic areas.

It is super easy to pack sandwiches to bring to the beach!

I probably don’t even have to say this, if you’re a parent but PACK SNACKS and your own waters and drinks. Most theme parks let you bring in 1 drink per person and you can even store some in the car.

So far when we have visited LEGOLAND NY we were not told I couldn’t bring in food – not sure if that will change.

LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS

Make sure the company you work for doesn’t offer any type of ticket discounts like say “Plum Benefits”. I work for an elementary school and with the union I get all sorts of discounts on hotels and theme park tickets. Sometimes the actual site of the theme park can be cheaper – so it is always good to compare. I get discounts on purchasing a car by showing my union card, discounts on zoos, plays, etc.

Try looking on Rakuten before you book a hotel through a site like expedia for cash back!

You could also just look for discount codes for sites like expedia, hotwire, booking etc.

HOW DO YOU SAVE MONEY ON TRIPS?! I would love to hear in the comments.

Click here to learn how to save for Disney World!

LEGO NINJAGO CITY GARDENS

5,685 pieces of fun… Possibly the biggest set Mikey has built to date (after Diagon Alley) Age 14+

Mikey was given this beautiful set back in March for his 13th birthday. It took him approximately 2 days to build and put together. This intricate set has lovely details of landscaping and gardens – as per the name.

Layers

Layer 1

The bottom layer contains a House For Tea, pond in the back as well as a thrift store. Above the tea house is an apartment of a Ninjago Fan. Trees located on layers 1 and 2.

Layer 2

This contains Chen’s Noodle House (best villain in the show). There is also an ice cream parlor. The tree has a sign that has “10 years of Ninjago” on it.

Layer 3

This is the most interesting layer, as per Mikey. It has an artist’s apartment, and a Ninjago History Museum.

Layer 4

This top / last layer has a roof for the museum which is located on layer 3. The layer contains a house, and an apartment for the Ninja as well as a space needle type object – it has security cameras inside of it.

If you’re a Ninjago fan and love building uniquely intricately delicate sets, then this is the set for you!

Minifigures Included

All 6 of the Main Ninja (from the show) are included, as well as Clutch Powers, The Mechanic, with Lloyd’s Mom named Misako, Ronin and more! It also contains Golden Wu – which is simply amazing – because Golden Wu only comes in this particular set!

What is the newest set you have built?! Let me know in the comments below.

Have you visited the LEGO Store in Disney Springs?!

LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley

LEGOLAND NY TIPS!

Chef Mickey’s All-You-Can-Eat FAMILY STYLE COST

OUT OF POCKET: NO DINING PLAN OFFERINGS Summer 2021

Planning on heading to Chef Mickey’s soon? Here’s a few things to know.

With still no Dining Plan Offerings in near-sight, you will have to account for the full cost of paying out of pocket pricing for some pretty hefty pricing for dining in Walt Disney World. Chef Mickey’s being one of them.

$240.00 was our bill with tip* for our family of 4 EVEN WITH MY ANNUAL PASS DISCOUNT which only takes off about 10%. At what used to be an excellent buffet (especially in recent years, until covid hit) and is now a family-style ALL YOU CAN EAT, which we did enjoy a nice dinner on a stormy June night. – ** THIS was one of the only times we got to see the main man, Mickey Mouse during our vacation. The other time was a Hollywood Studios Cavalcade. My two children were ages 13 and 10 at the time with my husband and I – which is a typical family of 4.

The waitress did bring out some yummy food starting with delicious types of salad as starters. Some entrees offered were salmon, turkey, beef and more. My kids also asked for chicken fingers. Deserts like their signature mousse over Oreos, apple tart, strawberry cake, and chocolate chip cookies etc were brought out. You were allowed to ask for as much as you wanted and the waitress would bring it to you.

I always purchase Discounted DISNEY GIFT CARDS from either Target or BJs to save as much as possible. This is how I paid for all of our dining on this past trip – tips included.

We did not have a reservation so since we had some really awful rained-out STORMY nights, we decided to head to the Contemporary Resort and figured if we couldn’t get into Chef Mickey’s we would just eat at their quick service. Since we were resort guests of Fort Wilderness, and happened to have our own car – we didn’t have any issues upon entering the Contemporary especially since the resort was not crowded. We only had to wait 30 minutes so we did some shopping in the gift shops while waiting. We did get to see some other characters in addition to Mickey, like Pluto, Donald and Minnie. The characters come out individually, dancing around and posing for your pictures – not getting too close.

It was definitely nice that this was an option since there were heavy downpours, thunder and lightening that lasted most of the night and Magic Kingdom was at a point where it was still closing at 9pm which was disappointing.

We are so excited for the Disney Dining Plan to return! (hoping and praying it won’t be worse or any more expensive than it already was!)

Pics from Chef Mickeyโ€™s

Do you think Chef Mickey’s is worth the expense?

When is your next Disney World Trip?

Want to know what our Disney Trip was like with no dining plan? CLICK HERE!

LEGOLAND NY – HOT TIP AUGUST 2021

Heading to Legoland NY for the day? Read this first.

It is SO exciting we finally have a super cool theme park destination (aside from Great Adventure or Dorney Park) just minutes from the house! This theme park isn’t as strongly expensive as other theme park destinations and won’t really break the bank. Preparing is always a MUST when planning to hit out any theme park for the day.

Legoland NEW YORK has been slowly opening all of their attractions and it seems they are all finally running smoothly – I think. Still some kinks to iron out but it is fun and looking good.

YOU ARE GOING TO GET WET

Legoland has a pirate boat ride that is so enticing and so much fun for the kiddos as well as your ENTIRE FAMILY! On this attraction you get to spray and soak every person you ride past, as well as Life-Sized LEGO MINIFIGURES along the attraction. The kicker is, the people standing along side of the ride get to shoot spray you as well – out of water cannons – and you are going to get SOAKED depending on where you are sitting!

So definitely prep yourself for that. I do not think you need to wear a bathing suit as there is no waterpark. But maybe if you do this ride first you will dry as you walk around.

This is an excellent ride to start out a super hot summer day at LEGOLAND NY!

What is your favorite theme park attraction? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Click here for makeup tips that ensure your makeup to not sweat off in the summer heat and humidity!

CLICK HERE for 5 Summer Vacation Must-Have’s – especially in this crazy rainy summer 2021!!!

Want to know what vacationing in Disney this summer with NO DINING PLAN was like – click here!

5 Sweat-Proof FACE Products to Ensure Your Makeup Won’t Budge in Disney During the Heat!

Worried about your makeup sweating off while traveling to Disney during the hot temperature humid months? No Sweat! Here is what I have used the past several Disney August Trips where my makeup hasn’t budged!

PRIMER

Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Primer Makeup, Blur and Defend SPF 30

I do not just wear this to our summer vacations in Disney but I wear it under my makeup all summer long for extra protection from the sun’s strong rays! This formula won’t break the bank and will prevent your foundation from budging. Use after applying moisturizer.

Foundation

MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation – I love the color and how it smooths my skin – this foundation is stay-proof! Apply after your primer.

Foundation Powder Studio Fix

MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix is a powder plus foundation that does not let oil or sweat creep in! It sure helps with shine as well so a lot of times I wear it just over a CC cream or alone. For over foundation simply brush over face with a large brush. This can be used as a foundation or brushed on top.

Setting Powder

After you’re done applying the previous steps make sure you set your makeup setting powder. I have been using this powder for years. DERMABLEND LOOSE SETTING POWDER – for summer I usually get the beige color and winter translucent.

Setting SPAY! Last but not least use a good Setting SPRAY like Milani

For hot Disney World in August heat and humidity I like Milani Make it Last Matte! This last step should ensure that those sweat beads rolling down your face won’t leave any white lines!

I sweat a lot when we visit Disney World in the heat of August and these steps ensure that the beads running down my face will not leave any white lines!

Let me know what you try for yourself?

Do you have any other go-to products that you use? – I would love to hear in the comments below!

5 MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR VACATIONING IN DISNEY THIS SUMMER

Or vacationing anywhere really

Here are the 5 MUST-HAVE ITEMS for your park bag:

Cooling Rechargeable Neck Fans Necklace Battery Operated Fans

If you’re heading to Walt Disney World this summer, it is going to be hot and you will need help. I carry two different types of neck fans for each of my family members. The first kind are the new fun white bladeless ones (from amazon) that gently sit around your neck and blow air up into your face/ head.

Necklace Battery Operated Fans

You can use these in addition to your bladeless neck fans – because TRUST ME – you will want both. Especially when you’re standing outside in the burning sun and unbreathable humidity, these will be your saving grace.

Cooling Towels / Spray Fans

Yes these are a must – these can help lower your body temperature instantly to a comfortable point. My kids like to get the free ice water at Disney and fill the spray fans with the ice to make the spray nice and icy cold. I also will keep the cooling towels in a zip lock bag, so when we arrive to the Disney Parks, again we can grab from free ice water and put some of the ice into the zip locks making the towels cold. (Not to mention chewing on the ice is fun as well.)

Umbrellas

One for each member of your party – inside of your backpack. Umbrellas will really help you for those unexpected daily rainstorms that come out of nowhere! Sometimes wearing a poncho is so hot and makes you feel even more humid inside of the plastic. ***These also double for sun shade! When the sweat is dripping down your back among other places, you will appreciate some portable shade. I prefer to buy SPF Umbrella’s to block the hot sun’s rays and then also keep us dry!***

Ponchos

You’re going to need to need something to cover up that backpack full of things you’re carrying around and an umbrella alone won’t cut it. Also if you’re planning on riding Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, or maybe a water ride at another park and you don’t feel like being soaked this will come in handy!

Electrolyte Beverages

When the sun is so powerful and it’s so humid, you have to be careful to not dehydrate which will happen very easily walking so many miles each day of your trip. We save money by brining our own Gatorades, Powerades and Electrolyte Waters to keep everyone in your party hydrated and feeling good. Being dehydrated can put a huge damper on your trip! It can cause you to have fevers, nausea, become lethargic – who needs that when you’ve sacrificed so much, spent a significant amount of money and are trying to make the most magical memories.

What are your must-have items for your theme park bag? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Want to know what Disney is like with NO dining plan? CLICK HERE!

Reservations for Oga’s Cantina? Then you need to read this now! Click here!

Here are my 5 Pros and Cons of Staying at a Cabin in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – read here!

What Disney Was Like With NO DINING PLAN

For those of you that travel to Disney World Often and LOVE having a Dining Plan OR maybe you have been booking a first time trip but wanted a dining plan: Here is our experience with how we handled not having our beloved pre-paid dining plan.

Deluxe Dining Plan – (This was fantastic because ALL of our food was paid off prior to our vacation, excluding tips)

Pre-Covid – in recent years, when we would travel to WDW we always preferred to have the Deluxe Dining Plan. This gives us 3 table sit-down services per day ( for each member of your party) – which can be used at any of the Disney Dining locations – buffets, quick services etc. It also gives each person 2 snacks per day – to use on any snack from ice cream, cupcakes to beverages. We normally love character buffets and fine dining. At each sit down meal you get: 1 appetizer per person, 1 main course and 1 desert per person including beverages and the adults were allowed 1 alcoholic drink per adult. I mean can you say SPOILED!? For a family of 4 which has been 3 adults and 1 child (according to their age range), it usually costs us close to/ roughly $2,000 for roughly a 7 or 8 day vacation; ****that we can pay off before we go*** – always using discounted Disney Gift Cards. It is a great feeling when you know the food part of your vacation is already paid off, before you even arrive. They do offer other options of dining plans, but this is the one we always choose because we get the most value for our money out of this one. We have 2 growing boys and a type 1 juvenile diabetic husband – so we need to eat so his sugar does not drop. Plus we love our air conditioned breaks and being waited on when you’re hot and tired from all the hustle and bustle of the vacation.

June 2021 Vacation NO Dining Plan

FAST FORWARD

So after dealing with the pandemic for over a year, as things started to get better we couldn’t wait to get back to our happy place. We knew going in that we were already spoiled and we wouldn’t be eating nearly as much, or as GOOD as we usually do. So I have to tell you that we did a LOT of mobile-ordering to quick services. We had to budget since I hadn’t worked all year and we didn’t have our precious dining plan. The quick services seemed to be the cheapest option coming to anywhere between $60-$70 for the 4 of us… There were a few sit-down restaurants that actually did not come to much more – but not including tip – for instance Mama Melrose and 50’s Prime Time both in Hollywood Studios were pretty reasonable and delicious. I did use discounted Disney Gift Cards to save as much as we could. We did NOT dine at finer signature restaurants like Le Cellier or Chefs de France in Epcot, or Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom, or even Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

All in all, we spent around $2,000 out of pocket, not being able to dine at the lovely select Disney Signature Restaurants, and mostly quick services. My kids do love those mickey bars; but at $6.00 a pop we were feeling it. Chef Mickeys and the Crystal Palace were the most expensive costing well over $200 plus tip.

Keep in mind during this late June 2021 trip a lot was still not opened, character meals were scarce and not like they used to be. So many options still closed. Part of what used to make our Disney Vacations so magical was the character dining – that made it much more affordable with the dining plan! They actually just started fireworks at Magic Kingdom a few days after we checked out.

Ways To Save Money

Annual Pass Discounts

Already being annual passholders, we were only able to afford to renew my annual pass. This way with the annual pass we got a decent room discount. The Annual Pass Discounts also get you 20% off merchandise and about 10% off of dining. I had hoped the AP Discount would have been higher for food but unfortunately it was not. Your annual pass is connected to your My Disney Experience so when you mobile order your AP Discount will automatically be taken off, as long as the restaurant takes it. We were sad to learn that Cosmic Rays in Magic Kingdom DID NOT give any Annual Pass Discounts. I am not sure renewing my AP was actually worth it in the long run – unless we are able to make it back this fall. There are currently NO AP room discounts for the fall yet – and WHO KNOWS IF THEY WILL EVEN RELEASE ANY. Disney World is booking up fast for their 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Discounted Disney Gift Cards

I always purchase Disney Gift cards through Target or BJ’s. At Target you save 5% and BJ’s is around the same, but can be slightly lower as the pricing fluctuates there. This is something I always do – because I use them to pay for our entire Disney Vacation. When it’s all said and done I end up saving around $300 which is worth the effort to me. I also like not having to pull out a credit card every where we go. So while there we were able to use the Disney Gift card for mobile order, merchandise, drinks and cocktails, snacks, and the table service restaurants. You can combine Disney Gift cards onto 1, holding up to $1,000 on each gift card. In Disney World $1,000 goes quickly!

We are so EXCITED for the return of the Disney Dining Plan!

We really hope that when the Disney Dining plan returns, it will be the same or better – and not worse. We will not be returning to WDW until it does return because a big part of what we love about Disney is eating!

We are keeping all eyes and ears on the lookout for the return date!

Here is my video on our recent June 2011 Disney World Trip without the dining plan!

Need help convincing a family member to travel to Disney?! CLICK HERE FOR HELP!

Considering Staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort in a Cabin?! CLICK HERE!

Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer That Won’t Break The Bank

After a year of a world pandemic everyone seems to be hurting financially but this doesn’t mean you can’t do anything with your family! The summer is a great time for the kids to experience nature – being in the great outdoors is so good for the growing brain, not to mention for great mental health.

Inexpensive Family Fun Ideas:

Are you vaccinated or partially vaccinated? If you live in the state of NJ you can get into all state parks in NJ for FREE. Here is the link: https://www.nj.gov/dep/vaxandvisit/ Just make sure you travel with your vaccination card and drivers license.

  • Pack lunches and explore the state parks in your area – especially if you have any near the beach! Some have lakes and some have the ocean! My favorite State Park in NJ is Island Beach by Seaside!
  • High Point State Park has plenty of picnic tables as well as a fantastic lake with beach.

DOWNLOAD THE ALL TRAILS APP

  • Research a “Waterfront Park” in your area for a beautiful water view for a family picnic and walk
  • Hiking
  • Geocaching

REASEARCH YOUR LOCAL ARBORETUMS AND BOTANICALS GARDEN

  • Some have a picnic table for enjoying the weather while enjoying an inexpensive lunch with your family.
  • Right now the Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, NJ has sculptures along the path!

ONCE A WEEK, TRAVEL TO AN ICE CREAM PALOR/ DAIRY CREAMERY THAT YOU HAVE NEVER VISITED BEFORE!

  • Because who doesn’t like ice cream???!

RESEARCH AND TRAVEL TO DIFFERENT BOOK SHOPS AND COMIC BOOK SHOPS

How are you spending time with your family this summer? I would love to hear your ideas!

OGA’S CANTINA: HOT TIP

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VISIT OGA’S CANTINA AT HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD!

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!

We learned the hard way that when you make a reservation for Oga’s Cantina at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Galaxy’s Edge located in Orlando, Florida you might just have to STAND for your drink! YEP – YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE TO STAND. When you make your reservations try calling Disney to let them know you would prefer a table, but you still might not get a table. It is very much a bar.

When you’re legs are sore and tired after walking so many steps while having a fabulous day at the park you might really be looking forward to sitting at this fully-immersive Star Wars Attraction.

While this is super neat to experience also know that you will need to pay for your drinks, they prefer you to keep your visit to 45 minutes and there is not much for kids. My husband and I really enjoyed our drinks but our kids were slightly underwhelmed and annoyed we didn’t have a table to sit and relax with not much available on the menu for them.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in any way responsible for anything negative that may happen on your vacation – you may not even get a table! I am just informing everyone that you may just have to stand.

HOWEVER, we do recommend this experience to any Star Wars fans out there. DJ R3X plays fantastic music, the bar is hopping and we made fantastic memories!

Need to convince a loved one to visit Walt Disney World?! Click here to read on for help!

Which Walt Disney World Resort I recommend for Summer 2021

Thinking of heading to Walt Disney World in the next few months? This is the hotel I recommend for Summer 2021.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that could happen or go wrong on your vacation; these are just my opinions after years and years of vacationing at Walt Disney World.

While we are still coming out of the pandemic and Disney World is still slowly opening up resorts, attractions and dining locations, I would suggest the best possible hotel to stay at currently would be (assuming you’re a party of no bigger than 4):

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

EVERYTHING IS CONDENSED INTO ONE BUILDING

Florida can be terribly hot and humid and there is nothing like getting off a Disney bus, all hot and sweaty from a super fantastic day at the parks and walking into ONE wonderfully airconditioned building providing not just your cool room, but gift shop, quick service and restaurants all inside. It is so super convenient to have all of this inside the same building for extra AC and to avoid the constant rain showers that Summer 2021 is bringing us! Not to mention the lobby is stunning and the rooms are gorgeous!

BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM

Having the easy 10 minute boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom really does make your vacation feel extra magical!

FIREWORKS VIEWS FROM SOME LOCATIONS AT THE RESORT

Summer 2019 was the first time we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and we were surprised with a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle as well as fireworks from our balcony! Now that the fireworks are back you are sure to enjoy!

WITH MANY DINING LOCATIONS CURRENTLY CLOSED, MORE DINING OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Whispering Canyon Cafรฉ has been open which is a delicious table-service restaurant if you need a change from quick service. Wilderness Lodge also has Geyser Point Bar and Grill which is an outdoor, water-view restaurant which is another great option to have. You can’t go wrong at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

AS A DISNEY WORLD DELUXE HOTEL ACCOMODATION, THE RATES AREN’T AWFUL AND WORTH IT

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge falls into the deluxe hotel categories because of it’s many amenities and for being one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, but it isn’t nearly priced as high as the Contemporary, Grand Floridian or especially right now the Polynesian – if you ask for a standard view room. It is one of more affordable deluxe accommodations with many comforting habituations. Also this deluxe resort offers a slide at the main pool and there is a splash pad for the younger kids which gives you a little more to do at the resort.

Planning a summer vacation? Where are you headed this summer?! I would love to hear your plans and thoughts!

Need assistance convincing a loved one to try Disney World?! CLICK HERE!

Ice Cream Hopping Tri-State Area

Summer can be so amazing with your kids off from school but aren’t we always looking for ideas to keep them busy!? (and off of video games)

Riverside Creamery 5 Water St. Port Jervis, New York

We have decided to try out as many ice cream shops in the tri-state area that we can, and we will let you know how they are!

The first hit of our journey is the Riverside Creamery in Port Jervis New York. Not only do they have quite the extensive ice cream menu, but they have a delicious lunch/dinner menu as well. Our kids ranging from ages 6 – 13 all loved the pretzel bites appetizer. The menu options for ice cream are endless and so delicious as well.

Not only do you get great food in this old fashioned, 50’s style ice cream parlor, you get a view of the Delaware River. You might see some visitors kayaking down the Delaware as you delight in some tasty treats. Nearby the Riverside Creamery are swimming beaches in Milford PA – as well as a very touristy area with lots of shops, horseback riding and dining. You also are close to some beautiful hikes in Dingman’s Ferry with breath-taking waterfalls and spectacular views. You have the option to go rafting on the Delaware as well! Many adventures available!

Here are some pictures of their intense menu of countless ice cream options:

5 Pros and Cons of Staying in a Cabin at Disneyโ€™s Fort Wilderness Camprground

PROS

CABINS SLEEP 6 PEOPLE

Would I stay in a Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabin with 6 adults, no but a family of 4 – 5 absolutely! There is a bedroom with 1 queen size bed and a bunk bed that sleeps 2. Then the living room has a pull out couch that sleeps 2. The bathroom is big and spacious, with an eat-in kitchen and eating area directly outside. The kitchen is just about a full-kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, a stove top, convection oven, sink, cabinets stocked with dinnerware, a dishwasher and lots of counter space. The air conditioning in the cabin was amazing – best AC out of all the resorts we have stayed in!!!! Lots of options at the resort like hiking, horseback riding, archery etc.

NO HOTEL HALLWAYS OR ELEVATORS DURING PANDEMIC TIMES

In the cabin you are much more secluded and there is less interaction between you and strangers staying at this resort. The mobile ordering is a breeze and I sure hope it is here to stay since it makes it so easy to order and run down to P&J’s to pick up your food.

YOU GET TO DRIVE AROUND A GOLF CART!

Who doesn’t love driving around a golf cart in a campground?! This resort is so gigantic that if you do not have a golf cart to drive to Disney Transportation to the parks or even to the pool or to P&J’s, you will need to use the internal busing to get there. Golf carts are an extra fee and book up fast but you are allowed to bring your own or rent from elsewhere!

PARKING SPACE AVAILABLE AT THE CABIN

For those who prefer to drive to Disney, how fabulous is it to park your car directly outside of your room for easy unloading and packing back up!

YOU GET TO TAKE THE BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM

One of my favorite perks about staying at the Magic Kingdom Resorts is taking the boat as method of transportation for back and forth to Magic Kingdom. We love taking the boat – it is a fun ride in itself and makes it all the more magical!

CONS

NO MORNING WALK FOR COFFEE

If you’re like me and you love your morning walk with your refillable mug to grab some coffee before you hit the parks – you can forget the walk here. It took us about 10 min each way via golf cart.

QUICK SERVICE, GIFT SHOPS SPREAD TOO FAR APART

Usually in a Disney Resort the restaurants, gift shops and quick service are located centrally together in one building, or normally super close – for the most part but not at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. Everything is spread pretty far apart and you will need to drive the golf cart to get to each of these.

NOT TROPICAL / OR OVER-THE-TOP-DISNEY-THEMED

Typically Disney Resorts are very themed – from Tropical, to Polynesian, Victorian style, to Orleans’ style – you name it, you got it. Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a campground so if you want some wild theming you really won’t find it here. We come from North Jersey so it reminded us all of home, instead of being on vacation! LOL The cabin felt a little dark and dreary at times. It was also disappointing that the gift shop hours were shortened due to the pandemic and the restaurant was closed along with the dinner shows that weren’t running during our June 2021 stay.

IT GETS OLD HAVING TO DRIVE THE GOLF CART EVERYWHERE PLUS YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT

Our family has been to Disney World 10 plus times, staying a different resort each time and this unfortunately has made the bottom of the list. This was the first vacation where we had a LOT of rainy weather – where it was thunder storming night after night and we would return to a soaking wet golf cart which was not fun. We started leaving a bathroom towel in there to dry it off when we would return – I’m not sure what other people do – some people have covers. But when we came back wet, cold and tired we just wanted to walk into our building and up to our room. Even at Pop Century you have a minimal 5 minute walk to your room, even if it is outside.

THE COST OF A CABIN IS SIMILAR TO A MODERATE RESORT

All magic comes at a price! The cabin is fantastic but it is not cheap by any means… it is comparable to the cost of a moderate resort and the pricing of the golf cart around $67 per night makes the price go up to like staying at a deluxe resort! We were also not thrilled with having the bunk either – our children are a little older now and as tall as we are so the bunk bed was not really feasible for us – we would have preferred another queen sized bed (aside from the pullout couch).

NEVER BEEN TO DISNEY WORLD?! CLICK HERE TO READ WHY VACATIONING IN DW IS NOT LIKE YOUR TYPICAL THEME PARK EXPERIENCES…. NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!

Here is my YouTube Video on the Pros and Cons of Staying in a Cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness:

New Lego Harry Potter Fawkeโ€™s, Dumbledoreโ€™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

Which Walt Disney World Resort I recommend for Summer 2021

Thinking of heading to Walt Disney World in the next few months? This is the hotel I recommend for Summer 2021.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that could happen or go wrong on your vacation; these are just my opinions after years and years of vacationing at Walt Disney World.

While we are still coming out of the pandemic and Disney World is still slowly opening up resorts, attractions and dining locations, I would suggest the best possible hotel to stay at currently would be (assuming you’re a party of no bigger than 4):

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

EVERYTHING IS CONDENSED INTO ONE BUILDING

Florida can be terribly hot and humid and there is nothing like getting off a Disney bus, all hot and sweaty from a super fantastic day at the parks and walking into ONE wonderfully airconditioned building providing not just your cool room, but gift shop, quick service and restaurants all inside. It is so super convenient to have all of this inside the same building for extra AC and to avoid the constant rain showers that Summer 2021 is bringing us! Not to mention the lobby is stunning and the rooms are gorgeous!

BOAT TO MAGIC KINGDOM

Having the easy 10 minute boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom really does make your vacation feel extra magical!

FIREWORKS VIEWS FROM SOME LOCATIONS AT THE RESORT

Summer 2019 was the first time we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and we were surprised with a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle as well as fireworks from our balcony! Now that the fireworks are back you are sure to enjoy!

WITH MANY DINING LOCATIONS CURRENTLY CLOSED, MORE DINING OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Whispering Canyon Cafรฉ has been open which is a delicious table-service restaurant if you need a change from quick service. Wilderness Lodge also has Geyser Point Bar and Grill which is an outdoor, water-view restaurant which is another great option to have. You can’t go wrong at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

AS A DISNEY WORLD DELUXE HOTEL ACCOMODATION, THE RATES AREN’T AWFUL AND WORTH IT

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge falls into the deluxe hotel categories because of it’s many amenities and for being one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, but it isn’t nearly priced as high as the Contemporary, Grand Floridian or especially right now the Polynesian – if you ask for a standard view room. It is one of more affordable deluxe accommodations with many comforting habituations. Also this deluxe resort offers a slide at the main pool and there is a splash pad for the younger kids which gives you a little more to do at the resort.

Planning a summer vacation? Where are you headed this summer?! I would love to hear your plans and thoughts!

Need assistance convincing a loved one to try Disney World?! CLICK HERE!

Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer That Won’t Break The Bank

After a year of a world pandemic everyone seems to be hurting financially but this doesn’t mean you can’t do anything with your family! The summer is a great time for the kids to experience nature – being in the great outdoors is so good for the growing brain, not to mention for great mental health.

Inexpensive Family Fun Ideas:

Are you vaccinated or partially vaccinated? If you live in the state of NJ you can get into all state parks in NJ for FREE. Here is the link: https://www.nj.gov/dep/vaxandvisit/ Just make sure you travel with your vaccination card and drivers license.

  • Pack lunches and explore the state parks in your area – especially if you have any near the beach! Some have lakes and some have the ocean! My favorite State Park in NJ is Island Beach by Seaside!
  • High Point State Park has plenty of picnic tables as well as a fantastic lake with beach.

DOWNLOAD THE ALL TRAILS APP

  • Research a “Waterfront Park” in your area for a beautiful water view for a family picnic and walk
  • Hiking
  • Geocaching

REASEARCH YOUR LOCAL ARBORETUMS AND BOTANICALS GARDEN

  • Some have a picnic table for enjoying the weather while enjoying an inexpensive lunch with your family.
  • Right now the Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, NJ has sculptures along the path!

ONCE A WEEK, TRAVEL TO AN ICE CREAM PALOR/ DAIRY CREAMERY THAT YOU HAVE NEVER VISITED BEFORE!

  • Because who doesn’t like ice cream???!

RESEARCH AND TRAVEL TO DIFFERENT BOOK SHOPS AND COMIC BOOK SHOPS

How are you spending time with your family this summer? I would love to hear your ideas!

Chef Mickey’s All-You-Can-Eat FAMILY STYLE COST

OUT OF POCKET: NO DINING PLAN OFFERINGS Summer 2021

Planning on heading to Chef Mickey’s soon? Here’s a few things to know.

With still no Dining Plan Offerings in near-sight, you will have to account for the full cost of paying out of pocket pricing for some pretty hefty pricing for dining in Walt Disney World. Chef Mickey’s being one of them.

$240.00 was our bill with tip* for our family of 4 EVEN WITH MY ANNUAL PASS DISCOUNT which only takes off about 10%. At what used to be an excellent buffet (especially in recent years, until covid hit) and is now a family-style ALL YOU CAN EAT, which we did enjoy a nice dinner on a stormy June night. – ** THIS was one of the only times we got to see the main man, Mickey Mouse during our vacation. The other time was a Hollywood Studios Cavalcade. My two children were ages 13 and 10 at the time with my husband and I – which is a typical family of 4.

The waitress did bring out some yummy food starting with delicious types of salad as starters. Some entrees offered were salmon, turkey, beef and more. My kids also asked for chicken fingers. Deserts like their signature mousse over Oreos, apple tart, strawberry cake, and chocolate chip cookies etc were brought out. You were allowed to ask for as much as you wanted and the waitress would bring it to you.

I always purchase Discounted DISNEY GIFT CARDS from either Target or BJs to save as much as possible. This is how I paid for all of our dining on this past trip – tips included.

We did not have a reservation so since we had some really awful rained-out STORMY nights, we decided to head to the Contemporary Resort and figured if we couldn’t get into Chef Mickey’s we would just eat at their quick service. Since we were resort guests of Fort Wilderness, and happened to have our own car – we didn’t have any issues upon entering the Contemporary especially since the resort was not crowded. We only had to wait 30 minutes so we did some shopping in the gift shops while waiting. We did get to see some other characters in addition to Mickey, like Pluto, Donald and Minnie. The characters come out individually, dancing around and posing for your pictures – not getting too close.

It was definitely nice that this was an option since there were heavy downpours, thunder and lightening that lasted most of the night and Magic Kingdom was at a point where it was still closing at 9pm which was disappointing.

We are so excited for the Disney Dining Plan to return! (hoping and praying it won’t be worse or any more expensive than it already was!)

Pics from Chef Mickeyโ€™s

Do you think Chef Mickey’s is worth the expense?

When is your next Disney World Trip?

Want to know what our Disney Trip was like with no dining plan? CLICK HERE!

LEGOLAND NY – HOT TIP AUGUST 2021

Heading to Legoland NY for the day? Read this first.

It is SO exciting we finally have a super cool theme park destination (aside from Great Adventure or Dorney Park) just minutes from the house! This theme park isn’t as strongly expensive as other theme park destinations and won’t really break the bank. Preparing is always a MUST when planning to hit out any theme park for the day.

Legoland NEW YORK has been slowly opening all of their attractions and it seems they are all finally running smoothly – I think. Still some kinks to iron out but it is fun and looking good.

YOU ARE GOING TO GET WET

Legoland has a pirate boat ride that is so enticing and so much fun for the kiddos as well as your ENTIRE FAMILY! On this attraction you get to spray and soak every person you ride past, as well as Life-Sized LEGO MINIFIGURES along the attraction. The kicker is, the people standing along side of the ride get to shoot spray you as well – out of water cannons – and you are going to get SOAKED depending on where you are sitting!

So definitely prep yourself for that. I do not think you need to wear a bathing suit as there is no waterpark. But maybe if you do this ride first you will dry as you walk around.

This is an excellent ride to start out a super hot summer day at LEGOLAND NY!

What is your favorite theme park attraction? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Click here for makeup tips that ensure your makeup to not sweat off in the summer heat and humidity!

CLICK HERE for 5 Summer Vacation Must-Have’s – especially in this crazy rainy summer 2021!!!

Want to know what vacationing in Disney this summer with NO DINING PLAN was like – click here!

LEGO NINJAGO CITY GARDENS

5,685 pieces of fun… Possibly the biggest set Mikey has built to date (after Diagon Alley) Age 14+

Mikey was given this beautiful set back in March for his 13th birthday. It took him approximately 2 days to build and put together. This intricate set has lovely details of landscaping and gardens – as per the name.

Layers

Layer 1

The bottom layer contains a House For Tea, pond in the back as well as a thrift store. Above the tea house is an apartment of a Ninjago Fan. Trees located on layers 1 and 2.

Layer 2

This contains Chen’s Noodle House (best villain in the show). There is also an ice cream parlor. The tree has a sign that has “10 years of Ninjago” on it.

Layer 3

This is the most interesting layer, as per Mikey. It has an artist’s apartment, and a Ninjago History Museum.

Layer 4

This top / last layer has a roof for the museum which is located on layer 3. The layer contains a house, and an apartment for the Ninja as well as a space needle type object – it has security cameras inside of it.

If you’re a Ninjago fan and love building uniquely intricately delicate sets, then this is the set for you!

Minifigures Included

All 6 of the Main Ninja (from the show) are included, as well as Clutch Powers, The Mechanic, with Lloyd’s Mom named Misako, Ronin and more! It also contains Golden Wu – which is simply amazing – because Golden Wu only comes in this particular set!

What is the newest set you have built?! Let me know in the comments below.

Have you visited the LEGO Store in Disney Springs?!

LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley

LEGOLAND NY TIPS!

Why Disney World is NOT Your Typical Theme Park Experience:

Luxury

Oh NO – Disney is not just about rides! You have your offerings from Deluxe Resort Accommodations that offer spa treatments along with upscale dining options not found in typical theme parks; as well as dinner shows and more – during normal non-Covid times. Disney World is not just about just riding rides – it encompasses a cluster of full blown experiences to fulfill all your senses. You can take a full Disney World Vacation WITHOUT EVEN HITTING UP THE PARKS if you didn’t want to. In fact, a lot of adult-only vacationers spend the majority of their time at the resorts. Even vacationers with children like to make sure they include a lot of resort time. All Disney deluxe resort accommodations offer several restaurants, pool side grills and bars as well as inside lounges located on premises, where some Deluxe Resorts will offer you alternate modes of transportation like the monorail, skyliner or boat to the parks. Disney’s Moderate Resort accommodations will offer you a restaurant, possibly 1 or 2 lounges and always pool side bars; Caribbean Beach now offers the skyliner and Port Orleans French Resort has always had a river boat to Disney Springs as well as busing to the parks. Value Resort accommodations will offer a quick service cafeteria located inside, with outside pool bars; Art of Animation and Pop Century now offer the skyliner and busing.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Fact: A $120 bottle of water? Yes… The restaurant Victoria and Alberts, a AAA five diamond star restaurant located inside the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa sell a $120 bottle of water that contains water from a 15,000 year old glacier water from icebergs located in the remote polar region of the North Pole.

Interested in night life? Disney Springs has it all plus more. Disney Springsโ€™ endless choice of restaurants will keep you full with countless shopping options to keep you busy all week long. Ever been in a car that doubles as a boat and drives right into the water? Springs has it! Want to take a ride in a hot air balloon? Springs has it! Rumor has it that Cirque du Soleil will be returning some time in Fall 2021.

Disney Springs at night

Sights

Oh my goodness, ๐Ÿคฉ everywhere you turn is a sight to be seen when you are walking around Walt Disney World! Each resort is unique themed to the extreme from the ground up with some outstanding architectural work. Whether you want to feel as though you are staying in Africa at the Savanah watching zebras and giraffes from your room’s balcony, or, maybe you want to feel like you’re in the middle of the wilderness or maybe the Caribbean, perhaps the Big Easy, to your choice of modern, or Hawaiian, to the most luxurious Victorian style elegance.

Take a tour of Disney Worldโ€™s most themed resorts. Inside the parks you are encompassed with beautiful grounds, gardens, flowers, decorative architectural theming and magical sights to be seen everywhere you look.

Smells

Disney World has iconic scents and smells. Yes SMELLS.. Smells so divine! Each theme park, guest shop, resort lobbies and even RIDES and attractions have their very own unique smells. Disney World fragrances do something to your mind where you associate each smell with a memory and excitement. These smells are so wonderful that people actually buy them to smell while at home, from candles to hand sanitizers and now essential oils!

Disney even has their own line of bath products such as shampoo, conditioner, lotions and body butter. You can purchase them in the Disney Resort Gift Shops and online at ShopDisney.com.

Experiences

These just aren’t JUST rides – they are full blown experiences and shows to blow your mind! Some are shows mixed into rides! Even just talking to some of the Cast Members can make an experience. Having a boat ride back from your resort to Magic Kingdom is an experience in itself – or maybe taking the friendship boat from Yacht and Beach Club to Hollywood Studios! Inside of Disney World you will find attractions like no other in the world. You must see it to believe it.

Theatrical Themed Bars and Lounges

Disney Signature Cocktails. Where else are you going to find a bar that is themed to Indiana Jones or an elegant lounge that is Beauty and Beast Fairy-Tale themed? How about “a tropical paradise with tiki cocktails, good food and island ambiance”? That’s right – only in Walt Disney World!

List of exotic lounges to try (when things are back to normal past COVID times) while visiting WDW most located outside of the parks:

  • Jellyrolls
  • Trader Sams
  • The Enchanted Rose
  • California Grill Lounge
  • Top of the World Lounge
  • Dahlia Lounge
  • River Roost (Hopefully Disney hires back the amazing cabaret performer Yehaa Bob)
  • Oga’s Cantina at Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios (by reservation only available 60 days in advance)
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar – theming from the motion picture Indiana Jones

*Always check back on availability, hours, and what may be opening or closed during your stay even while visiting because things seem to be changing overnight these days!*

Disney Signature Dining

Some are theatrical themed and some have amazing entertainment. So much is cultural themed with dishes for the most adventurous pallet. Some restaurants are located inside the parks, some located at Disney Springs and some located at the Resorts. Yes – you don’t have to eat “theme park” food during your stay at all, or as little as you wish. You have plenty of choices. Maybe you want German cuisine and performers; or perhaps enjoy traditional Irish food while watching some amazing Riverdancing. There is just so much more.

Sounds

Everywhere you go inside of Disney World you are always hearing Disney-made and owned music themed uniquely to the very spot you happen to be standing in. If you are in a resort lobby – there is specific music for that. Walking into any of the parks you will hear music themed specifically to the type of park you are in. Each ride and attraction has it’s very own music that when you hear, will bring many memories for years to come. Stepping into a Disney bus – yep there will be Disney music played in there too and I am not talking about only Disney Movie Music but some music played by orchestras. The resorts even have their own unique music themed specifically to that type of resort. There is even music for Halloween and Christmas time only played during these times!

Back in 2017 Hollywood Studios had a live orchestra play Pixar music. It was simply fantastic

Disney World has customer service magic like no other!

Grand Floridian Society Orchestra

*Do you want culture and authentic architecture with cuisine to match? Try Epcot! Let’s not forget about Epcot’s Food and Wine Festivals where you can “eat and drink around the world”.

If youโ€™re unsure about Disney World being just like any old typical theme park please know youโ€™re mistaken and please go try it out- choose between more than 25 hotels to stay at. Do a little research before you go!

There are so many interesting and unique little hidden gems inside of Disney World that make it so unique and special.

Have anyone youโ€™re trying to convince to visit Disney World?

Read about Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Review Here

Heading to Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Ideas for Star Wars Inspired Looks

Planning a trip to visit Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon? Here are some EASY non-over-the-top Star Wars Inspired Looks you can create for cute photo ops.

If you’re already a Star Wars Fan you probably already have some cute clothing to represent. Need some makeup ideas to match? Not to worry. There are plenty of easy looks you can create without having to spend a fortune or go over the top.

Use the makeup you’ve already got! No one wants to pack anything extra than needed when visiting Walt Disney World anyway. I know that from all the years we have been visiting we love taking cute photo ops whenever available and hoping that character meet and greets return sooner than later!

R2-D2 INSPIRED MAKE UP

This isn’t too hard as R2-D2 are basic colors of blue and white -which anyone that wears makeup already has in their stock.

Always remember to prep and prime your face prior to makeup application – especially necessary now when visiting WDW in the heat and with masks!

Always make sure to stay on top of washing your brushes for the most optimal outcome

Current Prep and Prime:

  • Oil of Olay Regenerating Lotion with SPF 15
  • IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream
  • ELF Poreless Putty Primer

As we head into summer I will make sure to add a primer that includes an SPF of 30 like Mabelline’s Master Prime Octinoxate Sunscreen SPF 30.

I also just ordered some ***Oil of Olay REGENERIST Mineral Sunscreen Face Moisturizer Zinc Oxide SPF 30****for defense against the summer sun and also ***Olay Regenerist Retinol Max Night Face Moisturizer***.

(Links to items listed below)

The foundation I used for these particular looks are Loreal’s Infallible 24 Hour Freshware Foundation which is an awesome foundation – smells so refreshing.

Foundation that I really recommend for Disney World heat anyway would be MAC Cosmetics Prolongwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation followed by Dermablend Setting Powder.

Eye Shadow Pallets and Foundation Used in Looks Below

  • Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay
  • L’Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation Lightweight
  • ELF Eyeshadow Pallet Rose Gold – Nude
  • Mabelline Nudes of New York
  • Hard Candy Navy Blue Shimmer Shadow
  • MAC Cosmetics Silver Pigment

Darth Vader Inspired Look

I definitely like myself in the R2-D2 look with the blues or the Ahsoka tans over the black Vader coloring… Personal preference โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜„

Makeup I recommend for Hot Sunny Disney World / Universal Orlando Etc

  • MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
  • Dermablend Loose Setting Powder
  • Too Faced Cosmetics Better than Sex Mascara
  • Too Faced Cosmetics Better than Sex Mascara WATERPROOF to seal in your mascara
  • Revlon Color Stay Liquid Eyeliner

You Don’t Have To Spend A Lot of Money!

For Sith Look, I used the darker blue ELF shadow all the way to the right on the pallet listed above. I didn’t want to go with completely black because that would not look good with my skin tone. I think grey’s and dark blues are perfect for that.

As you can see I do not currently own any pallets that have grey – because typically I do not like the way I look / my skin tone with grey.

I will have more pictures / ideas and looks after our upcoming trip! Stay tuned!

Links for Makeup!

Maybelline Eyeshadow – https://amzn.to/3xT8QEN

ELF Eye Shadow – https://amzn.to/33C14l7

MAC Longwear Foundation – https://amzn.to/2RwNUmr

Dermablend Setting Powder – https://amzn.to/3ut0Lo9

Loreal Infallible Freshwear Foundation – https://amzn.to/3nUOHK9

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – https://amzn.to/3nYokDe

ELF Poreless Putty Primer – https://amzn.to/33lnDKF

Here is the link for the Ahsoka inspired look!

Are you planning a trip to Disney World this summer? Read my resort recommendation here!

NEED TIPS FOR SAVING FOR DISNEY!? CLICK HERE!

Here are my packing necessities for travel in the summer heat!

In Honor Of May the Fourth: Celebrate With Me! Star Wars Day Inspired Clothing, Looks and Collections

Star Wars Day: May the Force Be With You

Who else is celebrating today? Wishing we were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Galaxy’s Edge Today! Maybe next year!

Star Wars Inspired Makeup For May the Fourth

Don’t have any fancy makeup to work with? Don’t worry about it – use what you’ve got!

It is time to put our Star Wars Style to the test! This week is a fun and exciting week with the most fantastic day to celebrate Star Wars “May the Fourth”. Whether you have an actual event or party to attend to or you’re simply participating online you can really use your own makeup to manipulate any looks you want to create.

Ahsoka

The first inspired look that I wanted to try to manipulate is Ahsoka who is a Jedi since my first Instagram post tomorrow will be Jedi – Inspired. The first thing I did was venture into Pinterest researching Ahsoka inspired makeup looks. You could also search for Jedi inspired makeup looks.

No filter here

Plans to roam the Disney Parks on May the 4th? Work with what you’ve got!

We all try not to overpack when we are hitting up the Disney Parks but one of my priorities is not to forget my makeup. I am sure Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios will be filled with all sorts of fascinating Star Wars characters on May the 4th and will maybe hold some interesting surprises. We will have to wait and find out. If you are going to be there and want to join in on the fun, try to work with whatever makeup you packed. Think of which character you would like to look like and search Pinterest for ideas – I like to type in “Star Wars Inspired Makeup” in the search.

First

I used a slightly tanner foundation (that I have for when I use self-tan or for the summer months) since Ahsoka is so tan herself which is the Loreal Infallible 24 hour Fresh Wear foundation number 475. Then I used my Derma Blend Setting Powder color Cool Beige to set the makeup. I did not utilize my concealer like I normally do.

Next

For the Ahsoka face decorations I did not have any white paint… so the only thing I thought of to try using was my Revlon Photoready Candid Concealer. The tip of it actually worked pretty well. I don’t consider it perfect or even close to being professional but for some fun photos – why not? I was not able to apply any white eyeshadow either because it just wasn’t working.

Last

Using my Sephora Pro Pigment Pallet in Warm, I used a mix of the Burnt Umber color and Cocoa for under my eyes, down the sides of my nose and above the funky cheek design since these colors are a little darker than your typical bronze. Then of course some eyeliner and mascara and don’t forget to deepen those eyebrows a touch. My upper lid eyeliner is Revlon Color Stay Brown Liquid Eyeliner. The lipstick I have on is a combination of Loreal Colour Riche Nudes For Life lip-liner and the MAC Cosmetics Lipstick color Fast Play Amplified Lipstick.

Sephora Pro Pigment Pallet – Cocoa

Check back in later for more Star Wars inspired makeup looks later this week!

Check out when we went on the Rise of the Resistance ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Galaxy’s Edge! SO AMAZING!

GIFT IDEAS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

My most recent DIY inexpensive idea for myself as the Mom (it was was a gorgeous day) so we drove down to the beach to take pics. Unfortunately I forgot my tripod – ugh – but the pics still came out gorgeous. Pick a day leading up to Mother’s Day so you can have some pictures printed as gifts.

We also had dinner with an ocean view and made a beautiful afternoon out of it!

Some ideas for beautiful family shots:

  • Waterfall – research on the All Trails App for waterfalls in your area
  • Lake (go late afternoon when the sun is about to set for less squinting)
  • Ocean
  • Scenic Outlook (can find in trip advisor)
  • Places similar to Grounds For Sculpture NJ
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle or Animal Kingdom Park
  • Bridge with a scenic overlook
  • Marina makes a great place for a photo op
  • Grand staircases at historical mansions
  • Grounds at historical mansions
  • Colored wall
  • Secret Gardens
  • In Front of a great Water Fountain
  • Nature Park / Wildlife Refuge
  • Vineyard
  • Open Field
  • The Bronx Zoo has some amazing photo ops if you live near by

Lasts Minute Trip To Disney? As of today almost all of May is booked up for theme park reservations. Get with a travel agent ASAP to see if they can help.

Disney photographers take some amazing Motherโ€™s Day Photos!

With having to make theme park reservations, it is really a good idea to book your Disney World 2 months in advance right now. Dining Reservations open up 60 days in advance and they are limited due to limited capacity so it would beneficial to book prior to that so you have open availability. However if you can only book at close proximity using a travel agent – at no extra cost to you – might have some extra tips for snagging those park reservations that can be hard to get.

If you are heading to Disney for Mother’s Day usually the parks hand out flowers to the Moms on this glorious day. I have some of my most cherished photographs from our Mother’s Day Trip in 2015. We spent Mother’s Day at Animal Kingdom Park.

Other Mother’s Day Gift Ideas:

  • Picnic – with everything packed and ready by everyone BUT the Mother
  • DIY Essential Oils Room Spray – Lavender and Lemon with Witch Hazel or Distilled Water
  • New Watering Can
  • Surprise Weekend Getaway to places like Cape May, NJ or possibly like Hershey Park, PA
  • Caricature / Portrait of the kids
  • Birthstone Necklace of all the kids’ birthdays
  • Coach Purse
  • Dooney and Bourke Disney Bag
  • Outside dining at a restaurant with a water view

If anything a Mom could really use is to be able to sleep in, wake up to a clean home, not have to put up with any fighting or bad moods of any kind and to not have to cook once on Mother’s Day. Dad’s whip out the grill and get to work – especially if you are having company over – you can do it. Make the kids pitch in!

Here is a link to another Mother’s Day Gift idea – click here


What are your ideas for Mother’s Day?

Planning a summer vacation? Here is my latest video on Summer Packing Essentials

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 itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ’“