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Modern Boca Mom’s *Best Disney Trip Ever* Guide

Want to take the best Disney trip EVER? Here are Modern Boca Mom’s top tips and tricks for conquering Walt Disney World with your family…

Modern Boca Mom's 'Best Disney Trip Ever' Guide

10 Tips for the Best Disney Trip Ever:
  1. Take Comfortable Shoes  – This is likely my most important tip. From your personal walking-wear to your little one’s shoe of choice, making sure you have comfortable shoes is ESSENTIAL.  Be sure to choose a pair you have worn many times before without blisters or discomfort and that provide awesome support. Disney = lots of walking!
  2. Bring Snacks
    *PRO TIP* You can bring your own food and drinks into the park! 

    Bringing snacks can help keep your costs down and allow more time for play – instead of having to stand in long food lines with high prices.

  3. Bring H20 – Whether visiting in winter or in the dead of summer, I promise you and your family will get thirsty! Bringing your own water will save you big bucks in the park.
  4. Bring it all in a cute backpack – You’ll want to come prepared; snacks, water, sunscreen, Mickey ears – the works. But, you don’t want to lug it all around in a big, awkward bag! Splurge on a backpack. We also recommend bringing a stroller, especially if you have a baby or toddler who will inevitably get tired.
  5. Plan FastPasses in Advance – Plan your FastPasses well in advance and use them to organize the rest of your trek around the park. This will ensure you get on the rides you are dying to ride and see the characters you are dying to see! Modern Boca Mom's 'Best Disney Trip Ever' Guide
  6. Bring a Camera – Or, clear your phone so you have plenty of memory to snap pics! There are so many Instagram-able *and just downright cute* memories you’ll want to record when you are at the park.
  7. Don’t forget to put down your phone and your stress – You don’t want to miss any memorable family moments! Don’t be glued to your camera or your to do list– enjoy every second!
  8. If you are able, stay at a Disney resort– With so many amazing options, the confusion surrounding where to stay is oftentimes overwhelming. But, staying in a Disney hotel makes the experience all that much more amazing. Eat, breathe, sleep, Disney.

    *PRO TIP* Make sure your hotel (if it’s not Disney) has a shuttle. Parking can be expensive and oftentimes far from the park entrance.

  9. If you have little ones, make sure they have a segmented day. –  No one wants to spend 14 hours straight with kids under ten at “the happiest place on earth.” It can become not very happy at all! Go for a few hours at a time and don’t be afraid to break for your hotel pool.
  10. Use My Disney Experience – If planning isn’t your thing, this site/app can help you make an efficient and easy plan. It will help you to effortlessly manage the whole trip. Find it here: My Disney Experience.

Now that you have these tips for having the Best Disney Trip Ever, start planning your magical memories!

Here are some other Modern Boca Mom Disney Tips + Tricks!

Make a Day of it at the Newly Expanded Disney Springs

Best Places to Eat at Disney World- 2016 Update

My New Favorite Restaurant at Disney Springs

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Modern Boca Mom's 'Best Disney Trip Ever' Guide

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.

Epcot: 

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!

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Snow on Main Street U.S.A. 2013

Hotels

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

MBMtravel: Why Disney Hollywood Studios is One of My Favorite Parks

From our newest contributor, Modern Boca DISNEY Mom!

Disney Hollywood Studios WM


When I was a young girl, and Disney Hollywood Studios was still MGM, it was my favorite park at Walt Disney World.

I know, weird, right?

It wasn’t the most exciting park, although The Tower of Terror will surely knock your socks off. But, there was something about the glamour and nostalgia of Old Hollywood, the magic of filmmaking, and the homage to a time when my grandparents were still youthful that appealed so much to me. The old black & white movies, 1920’s fashions, and fantasizing about what Sunset Blvd. was like during the Classic Hollywood era are the reasons why I moved to Hollywood after college to work in the Movies. Disney Hollywood Studios made that tangible, even if it was made of the same facade as the New York City Streets on any backlot.

There is something that happens when you work in the movie industry though. After a while, the sparkle goes away. You can’t help but think about the process, the behind the scenes, and the reality of the illusion, rather than get captured up in the bright lights and shimmer that makes the Magic. And, Disney is all about the Magic!

I guess you can say that I came home from California a little bit jaded.

And even years after leaving Hollywood, the dimmer was still on in those first few trips back to now, Hollywood Studios. It went from being my favorite of all the parks to my least favorite at Disney World. I didn’t think that way about the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom. It was only Hollywood Studios that I found boring.

This was probably because we weren’t watching a ton of Disney Junior quite yet, and Sophia The First had just premiered (truth be told, I probably like Sophia as much as my daughter). The Tower of Terror and Rock’n’Roll Rollercoaster were too old for my infant and toddler. American Idol was not a draw for me. The kids didn’t have the attention span for MuppetVision. There just didn’t seem to be a lot of age-appropriate activities or interests for us to explore. And, walking down Sunset Blvd. or being on the backlot wasn’t exciting for me in the least, when the real thing was my reality every day for years.

Now, you might be inclined (or not) to say “Let It Go”, and I am happy to report that I have!

I am singing a different tune (just not the one above)! My kids are a bit older (ages 2 and 3) and it’s been many years since I lived in Los Angeles, and I might even go as far as to say I am nostalgic for the City of Angels from time to time. So, my eyes are opening up to the amount of sites that there are to see, for all ages, at Hollywood Studios.

Disney is making some really smart changes, capitalizing on the popularity of Frozen and Star Wars, ditching the American Idol attraction and Indiana Jones (for the record, I was always a fan of “Indie”). They are obviously making room for some new permanent attractions, and by next year I wouldn’t be surprised if MGM…I mean, Hollywood Studios, competes with being one of my favorites!

Family with Lighting and Mater

Our Current Favorite Attractions at Hollywood Studios:

  • New Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Snowground – Get all your Frozen needs at the Trading Post and then build a snow castle at the Snowground. For my Floridian children, playing in the snow is a super treat!
  • Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure – Classic! Kids can run around the play area as if they are the size of a bug. Run through giant blades of grass, slide on a film strip (would they even know what that is?), sit on a bumble bee and ant bigger than they are, and go through huge root tunnels. Awesome!
  • Beauty and The Beast – I just love the costumes and dancing of the live version from Belle and Beast in the faux Hollywood Bowl.
  • Disney Junior – Any little fans of Disney Junior will love seeing Mickey and the Gang up on stage with Jake and The Neverland PiratesSophia the First, and Doc McStuffins.
  • Hollywood & Vine Character Breakfast and Lunch with Disney Junior – Good food, and you get to dance with Jake, Doc, and Sophia.
  • Star Tours – A little too rough for the kids, but the galaxy fighting simulation is great fun for me and my husband.
  • Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights – If you are at Disney during the holidays, don’t miss the coordinating Holiday lights on the New York City streets of Hollywood Studios.

DSC_0184

Attractions We Look Forward To:

  • Toy Story Mania – This 4D shooting game is probably the most popular ride at the park. You need to get to the park at opening and make a beeline for this ride or get a FastPass. I am going to prioritize this one the next time we go.
  • Fantasmic! – This firework and light show  are supposed to be…well…fantastic! We never stay at the park late enough to attend, but its on our list next trip. I think we will do a FastPass for this one. There is a Dining Package that you can book for priority seating options as well.

Rumor Has It:

  • Cars Land – My Kids would flip! They have seen video of Cars Land in Disneyland’s California Adventure and ask to go all the time. Too bad we live not the opposite Coast. There is a lot of inventory with the closing to The Backlot Tour, so it would just make sense to bring a Cars ride, let alone Land to Disney World.
  • More Star Wars – You know Star Wars fans would flock to Hollywood Studios with more Star Wars attractions, so why wouldn’t they expand the already popular Star Tours and Jedi Training Academy?
  • Frozen – I think it is safe to say that this summer’s Frozen themed ice skating rink and sing-along was a big draw for Hollywood Studios. I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney creates another Frozen attraction with all the changes being made at Hollywood Studios.

Regardless of what Disney has in the blueprints for Hollywood Studios, they are on point with the changes being made, and I am excited to see what they are building. With fresh rides and shows, we look forward to visiting Hollywood Studios a lot more in the future!


Casey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins, 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 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram