All posts by Modern Boca Disney Mom

Florida Renaissance Festival 2017 is in Full Swing

Hosted by Florida Renaissance Festival


Between Myth, Magic and Mayhem (in the best way possible) the Florida Renaissance Festival 2017, more commonly referred to as Ren-Fest by enthusiasts (which I am, now), is at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach every weekend through March 26th (2017). Check out our story below!

South Florida Ren-fest
One of many colorful characters at the Florida Ren-fest

This was our first Ren-Fest and while it has been on my bucket list for a while, I wasn’t sure how my young kids would fair. Well, they fared awesome of course, because IT IS awesome!

This is an event for the entire family, no matter how spirited you are when it comes to dressing up or playing make-believe.

Costume South Florida Ren-Fest
Stunning and elaborate costuming from the Florida Ren-Fest

Every little one has a big imagination and what better way to encourage it than by surrounding them with people in elaborate costumes who are talented actors, musicians and dancers in a hands-on and immersive world of make-believe?

Princesses, Fairies, Kings and Queens, Lords and Ladies, Knights, Irishmen and the Swashbuckling kind are just a few of the characters you will find in this grand land of fascination.

The Renaissance Festival is about theatre. The talent that takes the stage and the streets creates a world that possibly once was, but they create a world that is now. You can’t help but be transported from a typical street fair, to The Faire.

Folkteller extraordinaire, guiding the Pub Crawl.
Folk-teller extraordinaire, guiding the Pub Crawl.

There is a tremendous amount to do that will interest the adult set and one event that I would participate in, if I was going without kids, would be the  Pub Crawl.

For an additional $25, you have your own character, guided tour and 5 stops along the Festival route to see the sites and cut the queue for an adult beverage.

We ran into the Pub Crawl at one of our last stops of the day, the joust. Our friends happened to be with them and in full costume. They raved about the day. Now, it could have been the alcohol talking, but based on my own experience, I think not.

For us, it was all about the kids:

Kids' Kingdom Florida Ren-fest
Kids’ Kingdom

Upon entrance, you arrive at the Kids’ Kingdom which consists of several bounce houses. They offer an all day pass, or for a few dollars you can have a go at it.

I somehow managed to sneak in for a quick photo, but kept my group moving for fear that we would not ever make it past bouncing. If you are content spending your day here, by all means. Or, bypass it on first round and plan to stop back on the way out. It does look fun though.

Kids' Kingdom at Florida Ren-fest
Bounce House Village in The Kids’ Kingdom

What impressed me the most were the Human-Powered rides. The Hurlinator is a medieval tilt-a-whirl/tea cups of sorts, where you pump a bar to spin yourself and 3 others around and around.

The Carousel, which were woven seats with leg-rests and two men turning a giant gear to make the apparatus spin. And not to mention the Dragon Joust, a roller-coaster type ride where you get into a wooden horse car atop a tower and ride the zip line down to the bottom, trying to slay a dragon. These rides are short and sweet and each cost about $3, so bring some cash, the little ones love them.

Giant Rocking Horse at Florida Ren-Fest
Giant Rocking Horse at Florida Ren-Fest

The Once Upon A Stage for children performances is worth checking out. See a crowd-participated play of Tales of Robin Hood, get Knighted, go to the Princess Academy or even a Flea Circus.

While my daughter did not get picked to be Maid Marion, I was shocked she raised her hand at 3.5 years old and “tried out”.

Could acting be in her blood?

Once Upon A Stage at Florida Ren-fest
Knighting Ceremony at the Once Upon a Stage

Across the way are free board games with bocce ball, giant blocks, and baccarat. We spent quite a bit of time here under the shade trees, building blocks and looking for treasure.


My stories do not not even begin to touch the magic of the Florida Renaissance Festival. There are many more stages with talented performances of comedy to storytelling, to dance and music.

Around every corner is a delicious treat or interested vendors, a booth of items from times of yore.

Blacksmith at the Ren-fest
Blacksmith at the Ren-fest

We danced, we sang, we were merry.

I encourage you to dress up, or at least have a little spirit. There are costumes and headpieces, jewelry and swords to buy (and sometimes rent). The internet is probably a good resource to find costumes if you plan in advance, but of course there are souvenirs of beauty for everyone to treasure.

Ren-Fest Modern Boca Mom Featured

There are more themed weekends at the Florida Renaissance Festival, open from 10am – Sunset, Saturday and Sunday until March 26, 2017.

Tickets are $21 a person, $9 for children ages 6-11, and children 5 and under are free.

The 2015 Florida Renaissance Festival Mappe
The 2015 Florida Renaissance Festival Map
Have you been to the Florida Renaissance Festival before? What are your favorite attractions? Comment below!

Casey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. She runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Best Places to Eat at Disney World- 2016 Update

There is a tremendous amount of choices when looking for the best places to eat at Disney World. What is the best character dining? Where should we grab a quick bite to eat? Which restaurant has the coolest atmosphere?

Modern Boca Disney Mom shares the best places to eat at Disney World!

Safari Donald at Tusker House- Best Places to Eat at Disney

Character Dining: 

Character dining is the best way for you and your family to get great interaction with your favorite Disney characters. There are a lot of options in park and at Disney resorts, but here are our picks for the best places to eat at Disney World:

  • Tusker House at Animal Kingdom – Hang out with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy at this colorful African inspired marketplace. The food is buffet style and includes Disney favorites along with the flavors of Africa. It is relatively easy to get into, character interaction is plentiful, and if you make reservations before the park opens, you can beat any crowds for popular rides.  MBMom Tip: Make a reservation for late morning and you can experience both breakfast and lunch.
  • Chef Mickey at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – This character dining experience is classic. Hang out with Mickey and the gang while the monorail passes above. It is typical Disney buffet food, but not bad for breakfast. Reservations can be hard to get, so book early. Since Chef Mickey can be busy, it often times take awhile for all the characters to get around to every table.  MBMom Tip: We have only experienced breakfast at Chef Mickey and from what I have heard, we will probably keep it that way.
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom – This might be one of my favorite character dining experiences yet. I am not particularly enamored by Princesses, but being in Cinderella’s Castle was magical. We enjoyed a breakfast of delicious pastries, Filet & Eggs, all while overlooking Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel and the park attendees from above. The dining experience includes a souvenir family picture with Cinderella herself, as well as a Wishing Star and Prince’s Sword for the children.  MBMom Tip: If dinner is sold out, check for a late breakfast or lunch.
  • Ohana at the Polynesian Resort – My family loves Lilo & Stitch, but beyond the two of them, there is Mickey and a few of his friends. The food is Hawaiian family style dining and kind of ‘stick to your ribs’ selections with Pineapple Breakfast Bread (you will want to eat the entire loaf), Potatoes, and Hawaiian Sausage.
Lilo &Stitch Disney's Ohana Best Places to Eat at Disney
Lilo & Stitch Disney’s Ohana

Magic Kingdom:

  • Liberty Tree Tavern –  Recently renovated in 2015, this gem is located in Frontier Land and is a family style restaurant serving American Classics such as carved turkey, pork, and steak, with sides of mashed potatoes, gravy, mac & cheese, green beans, and stuffing. The food is plentiful and scrumptious and prix fixe.  MBMom Tip: Save room for the dessert. Also, if your little girl is a fan of Ariel, they have a killer souvenir cup with light-up mermaid you can purchase for only $5.

Best Places to Dine at Disney Little Mermaid Cup

  • Be Our Guest – Located in the new Fantasyland, this Signature Dining is available as a table service meal for Dinner, but I prefer it as a quick service for lunch. You still get to experience the inside of Beast’s Castle, but don’t have to keep the kids at a sit-down dinner for an hour + when they are itching to get on some more rides. The food for lunch includes American and French classics like French Onion Soup, Quiche, and Croque  Monsieur – all really good.  MBMom Tip: The only way to get into Be Our Guest for lunch is to make a fast-pass reservations at this special link here.

Hollywood Studios:

  • The Brown Derby – This is a Los Angeles staple, going all the way back to the 1920s, and was popular with Film Industry elite until the 1970s. Fun fact: The Brown Derby restaurant also invented the Cobb Salad. The food is sublime, the food fancy, and the price tag high.  MBMom Tip: Make reservations for the Fantasmic! Dining Package and enjoy dinner and the VIP treatment at the nighttime firework and laser show.


There are as many options for food at Epcot than there are countries in the World Showcase. A few of our favorites among the best places to eat at Disney World include:

  • Teppan Edo in Japan – Hibachi style dining with options of Sushi.
  • Rose & Crown in England  – British Pub with great Fish & Chips and Shepherd’s Pie.  MBMom Tip: Try the beer flute.
  • Biergarten Restaurant in Germany – Food is okay, but atmosphere is fun and lively. Consider visiting Epcot during the International Flower & Garden or Food & Wine Festival and seek out the various outdoor kitchens for small bites and big flavors. No reservations necessary and exploring is the best part of the experience.  MBMom Tip: All these small bites really add up. If you are on the dining plan, you can reserve your snacks for the day you visit one of these shows and use them for single items at the various kiosks.
  • Cantina in Mexico – With (fancy) indoor and outdoor seating with a view and some of the tastiest fish tacos and margaritas MBMom has ever had, this stop is a must for happy hour or if you’re at Epcot in time to eat lunch.
Buffet at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom- Best Places to Eat at Disney
Beautiful Buffet and Atmosphere at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom:

  • Tusker House – The buffet is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They offer American classic dishes and then twist them up with African spices (see more in the Character Dining sections above).  MBMom Tip: If there is a wait or you feel like a mid-morning adult beverage, check out the numerous choices in Bloody Mary’s at the Dawa Bar just outside the Tusker House.
  • Yak & Yeti  – MBMom just dined here during her last visit and  the Chinese, Thai, American, Indian cuisine was delicious! Open for lunch and dinner. The Sweet & Sour Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are MUSTS. Trust.
Bloody Mary's Galore at Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom- Best Places to Eat at Disney
Bloody Mary’s Galore at Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom

Modern Boca Disney Mom’s Favorite Restaurant (still):

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village. This restaurant is off the beaten path, just like we like it. We stayed at the Villas in 2013 and it is by far our favorite resort and dining experience. Make reservations for a little before sundown and enjoy Indian and African food as you watch the animals roam the Savanna.

MBMom Tip: The Butter Chicken and the Indian Style Bread Service are must haves!

There are so many options for dining at Disney that we surely have not had the chance to try them all. The list above reflects some our favorites among the best places to eat at Disney World and there certainly are a lot more great ones out there including this one at Disney Springs. Have fun trying them out as you visit our favorite place in Florida (besides Boca Raton of course), Walt Disney World!

MBMoms- what are your favorite places to dine at Disney? Comment below! 

Casey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins Hunter and Ruby, she runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on FacebookTwitterand Instagram

How to Celebrate the Holidays at Walt Disney World

From contributor, Modern Boca DISNEY Mom

Disney at the Holidays WM

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” at “The Most Magical Place on Earth!”

Holidays at Walt Disney World
Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom
Cinderella’s Castle in Wintertime 2013

Disney swiftly transforms the Magic Kingdom from Halloween to Christmas overnight…literally.

From falling snow to twinkling lights, there are many ways to get into the holiday spirit at Disney World:
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey and Minnie at the "Oh-So Jolly Holiday Parade" 2013.
Mickey and Minnie at the “Oh-So Jolly Holiday Parade”.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is one of Disney’s hard ticketed events. From 7PM-Midnight, the Magic Kingdom turns into a Winter Wonderland and your favorite characters dress for the occasion. Ticket holders may enter the park as early as 4PM to enjoy the Magic Kingdom before the party begins. The Christmas Party is very similar to the Halloween Party, so my same tips apply.

Highlights at the Christmas Party are to see Mickey and Minnie in their fancy holiday party attire, get your picture taken with Santa Clause, see Sorceress Elsa as she transforms the Castle in “A Frozen Holiday Wish”, check out “Celebrate The Season” stage show with Mickey and the gang in front of Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and the falling snow on Main Street, U.S.A..

If you have plans on going to the party, I recommend reading the Undercover Tourist “Guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” for details of this year’s party. If you do want to go, buy your tickets today.

Oh, yes! Before I forget, make sure to eat and drink as many warm cookies and cups of hot cocoa as your heart desires, and have a cookie or two for me, please!

Snow on Main Street U.S.A. 2013


Right around Thanksgiving, the Deluxe Resorts at Disney World begin to put up exquisite Holiday decorations. It is very easy to jump on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom and go to the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Contemporary. Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village do an impressive holiday display too.

So if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the crowds in the park, or you find you have some extra time during your visit and want somewhere to grab  a meal, consider visiting one of the Deluxe hotels, in which most case have much better food than in the parks plus are very much in the holiday spirit too.

Osborne Family’s Spectacle of Dancing Lights- LAST YEAR TO SEE IT!

Osborne Family's Spectacle of Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I know our head Modern Boca Mom would feel at home on the backlot of Hollywood Studios during the Osborne Family’s Spectacle of Dancing Lights, a nightly show decorating the streets of “New York City” now and all the way through to January 3rd. One can’t help but feel like they are standing in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center and standing outside Macy’s in “Miracle on 34th Street” all at the same time.

I love this attraction so much and the best part is that it’s included in the price of admission to Hollywood Studios. But, it’s the last year to see, so expect it to be BUSY.

I say, enjoy a lot of the great things Hollywood Studios has to offer during the day, visit the “New York City” backlot to see The Osborne Family’s Spectacle of Dancing Lights, have dinner at the Brown Derby, and stay for Fantasmic!. Don’t forget to take the kiddies to experience a little snow at Wandering Oaken’s Snowground.

For me, a family tradition every year was to drive to Manhattan from Maryland, see a Broadway Show, have an excellent dinner in “The City”, and check out the tree at Rockefeller Center. Celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World feels close to that, and I love it. I’ll be sad when it’s gone.

Have you been to Disney during the Holidays? Leave us a comment and tell us what your families favorite part of the trip was!
And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to MBMom, so you never miss out on handy tips like these.

 huntingforrubies-stamp-2xCasey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins Hunter and Ruby, she runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Handy Tropical Storm or Florida Hurricane Prep

From Modern Boca Mom contributor, Casey of Hunting for Rubies: I am not going to panic about a tropical storm or hurricane, but I will be prepared…and go get some beer, wine and vodka in the event we are stuck inside for 24-36 hours with no power.

We are not native Floridians, but I have been through a few hurricanes in my time. I have been lucky to not be impacted more than losing power for a few days, but that was all pre-kids, so this season, I want to make sure we are well prepared for any kind of storm that comes our way. At the end of the day, I am not terribly worried about a Tropical Storm or a Category 1 Hurricane, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Continue reading Handy Tropical Storm or Florida Hurricane Prep