Tag Archives: disney

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

EXTRA PIN-ABLE:

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

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ MOANA Trailer Released

Exciting news MBMoms! Walt Disney Animations Studios’ has released a NEW MOANA trailer! The film, starring Auli‘i Cravalho (voice of “Moana”) and Dwayne Johnson (voice of “Maui”), opens in theatres in 3D this Thanksgiving!

MOANA trailer Final Poster

Watch the NEW MOANA trailer below:

Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific. They discovered the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people.

During her journey, she meets the once-mighty demigod Maui. He guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage. They encounter enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, she fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.


FUN FILM FACTS:

MOANA trailer
October 12, 2015 – Producer Osnat Shurer, Directors John Musker and Ron Clements and the voice of Moana, Auli’i Cravalho present at the MOANA Press Conference at the Aulani Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. Photo by Hugh E. Gentry. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
  • Filmmakers auditioned hundreds of talented young women throughout the Pacific Islands before finding the gifted Native Hawaiian Auli‘i Cravalho. She did not initially pursue the coveted role. The film’s Hawai‘i-based casting director recalled her singing performance from a video submission for a fundraiser/talent showcase. They asked Auli‘i to come in and try out. Three auditions later, including her first trip to Burbank, Calif., she earned the title role.
  • The diverse and dynamic team behind the film’s inspired music includes Tony®- and Grammy®-winning lyricist/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. You might know him from Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and multiple Tony-winning “Hamilton” and the Tony-winning “In the Heights.” He is also a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient.
  • Three-time Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina created memorable scores for films like “Speed,” “Tarzan” and the Oscar®-winning “Training Day.” He also co-wrote songs, produced and arranged the score for Broadway’s musical production of “The Lion King.”
  • Opetaia Foa‘i, the founder and lead singer of Te Vaka, is a winner of numerous world music awards, including the Senior Pacific Artist award for his contribution to Pacific music.
  • Directors Ron Clements and John Musker made their writing-directing debut on the 1986 feature “The Great Mouse Detective.” They went on to write and direct some of Disney’s most beloved animated classics. These include “The Little Mermaid” in 1989, “Aladdin” in 1992, 1997’s “Hercules” and, most recently, 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog.”
  • Producer Osnat Shurer served as the executive producer of the shorts group at Pixar Animation Studios. While at Pixar, Shurer produced or executive produced a host of hit shorts, including the Oscar®-nominated “Lifted” (2006), “One Man Band” (2005) and “Boundin’” (2003).

For more information on the movie and MOANA trailer, visit: http://disney.com/moanaLIKE MOANA on Facebook; Follow on Twitter; Follow on Instagram.

Have a Wonder-FALL Season at Walt Disney World

It’s the second most wonderful time of the year: FALL! Even though I’m digging the (slightly) lower temps down in Boca Raton, there’s nothing like experiencing the fall season at Disney World.

There are festive Halloween decorations, new attractions for the whole family and a farewell celebration for an old favorite departing on October 9th: Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. We said our proper goodbyes to the classic parade earlier this month at the Magic Kingdom. I encourage you to experience it with your kids before it’s too late! It’s truly magical.

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Tag your Main Street Electrical Parade photos with #DisneyMainStreetElectricalParadeFarewell

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Waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade to begin, I looked around in awe at all of the gorgeous harvest decor. It made me want a pumpkin spice latte real bad. 😉 Good thing there’s a Starbucks right there.

Fall Season at Disney World

Fall Season at Disney World

Fall Season at Disney WorldFall Season at Disney World

During this fall season at Disney World visit, we were also invited to experience several of the new attractions that just opened at the parks.


Fall Season at Disney World 2016

Frozen Ever After at Epcot

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This is the ride with the fabled (yet actually true) 3 hour wait time.

MBMom Tip: Get to Epcot EARLY! We went on the ride twice and waited less than 30 minutes each time.

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Waiting in line…in Arendelle

Frozen Ever After is the most high tech ride at Disney to date. Olaf WALKS, all of the characters from the movie sing with custom projections on their faces (and new music) and the effects are spectacular, especially during the “Let it Go” sequence with Elsa.

Do not miss Frozen Ever After at Epcot! Our daughter wouldn’t let us anyway…

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Meet Anna & Elsa at Epcot’s Royal Sommerhus

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Anna and Elsa have moved from the Magic Kingdom into brand-new digs at Norway in Epcot’s World Showcase. I personally love their decorating style.

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But the best part? Meeting Queen Elsa and Princess Anna in person!

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This is a FastPass-enabled attraction conveniently located next to Frozen Ever After. Plan your day out so you arrive at Epcot early and get your Frozen fix!


Soarin’ Around the World

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Soarin’ Around the World, located at The Land in Epcot, is an updated version of the original which kept your glider flying firmly in the great state of California.

Now, you can see the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India, the Eiffel Tower in France, all from the comfort of a safe, air conditioned attraction. The new scents are awesome.

MBMom Tip: Try to sit in the second row of Soarin’ Around the World. That vantage point has a perfect view of the projection.

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Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at Hollywood Studios

Fall Season at Disney World

And a spectacle it is! Star Wars: A Galactic spectacular did not disappoint my die hard, Star Wars-loving family. We snagged a viewing spot in front of the Chinese Theater about an hour before showtime and ate a pizza picnic-style while we waited.

MBMom Tip: Pizza Planet is now CLOSED! 🙁 The only place we could find to get pizza takeout was on Sunset Blvd. at Catalina Eddie’s.

I thought the show was a little heavy on the Star Wars movie clips, but the effects and projections have definitely been upgraded since the previous Star Wars fireworks show. As long as the movie score from John Williams is playing, I’m a happy girl.

Okay fine, I’ll be honest. As long as I’m at Disney, I’m a happy girl. 🙂

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Tell me, are you and your family planning a wonder-FALL season at Disney World this year? Comment below!


Hosted: This post was hosted by Walt Disney World. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the host.  Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was given 4 complimentary Disney Park Hopper passes, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon Soared Into Theaters 8/12/16

A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon!

I can’t wait to check out this adventure with my family…

Disney's Pete's Dragon 04 Poster

“Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”), Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (“Cedar Rapids”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”).

Bryce Dallas Howard is Grace and Robert Redford is Mr. Meacham in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON, the adventure of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.
Bryce Dallas Howard is Grace and Robert Redford is Mr. Meacham in Disney’s PETE’S DRAGON, the adventure of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley).

Oakes Fegley is Pete in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON, the story of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.
Oakes Fegley is Pete in Disney’s PETE’S DRAGON, the story of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.

Oakes Fegley is Pete in Disney's PETE'S DRAGON, the story of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.
Oakes Fegley is Pete in Disney’s PETE’S DRAGON, the story of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.


Download these Awesome Pete’s Dragon Activity Sheets!

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Follow Disney’s Pete’s Dragon on Social Media:

Website: www.disney.com/petesdragon

Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/disneypetesdragon

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/disneypetes

Instagram: http://instagram.com/disneypetesdragon

Can’t Wait for Disney’s Live-Action Beauty and the Beast?

Then you’ll appreciate what just popped into my inbox…the new teaser poster from Walt Disney Studios for the movie, the live action version Beauty and the Beast! How gorgeous is this??

Beauty And The Beast

I love this film.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the “tale as old as time” for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs.

“Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.

And the Beauty and the Beast cast is AMAZING

The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice.

“Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017. Let the countdown begin!


Like the movie on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/DisneyBeautyAndTheBeast

Disney’s The BFG Stomped Into Theaters

The talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg – finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic, Disney’s The BFG, to life and it opens in theaters nationwide TODAY (7/1/16)!

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Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s The BFG tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part.

Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions.

The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.  

“The BFG” opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birthday. Will you go see Disney’s The BFG this weekend? 

Celebrate Disney’s The BFG opening by downloading these fun activities below!

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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

How to Survive Your First Orlando Trip as New Parents

Becoming a parent is a life-changing transformation. You’re learning to care for this precious new life and learning new things every day about yourself, your partner and being parents — all on little to no sleep. But becoming a parent doesn’t mean your life stops; it just means starting a new adventure. While traveling with an infant or toddler may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. All that’s required is a little planning. Here are the essential tips to help you survive and have fun on your first Orlando trip as new parents:

Take an Orlando trip during the theme park’s off-season.

First Orlando Trip as New Parents
Michael Liu — Flickr

Nothing is worse than attempting to pacify a cranky child while being closely surrounded by tons of other people with cranky children. The obvious way to avoid major crowds and obscene lines is taking an Orlando trip during the off-season. The typical theme park off-season months and best times to visit are:

  • January
  • April
  • September
  • October
  • The first two weeks of November
  • The first two weeks of December

Avoid the summer because it’s so hot and crowded since kids are out of school. Do your best to avoid holidays and other times kids are on breaks from school. The off-season not only brings fewer people, it also brings nicer weather and generally better deals on flights, hotels and sometimes park tickets.

Buy tickets and plan your day out in advance.

First Orlando Trip as New Parents
Dan Harrelson — Flickr

As was mentioned previously, planning beforehand is going to be a major life and headache saver. Planning includes buying your theme park tickets in advance.

That’s one less thing you have to do once you get to Orlando, and we all know the least amount of things you have to do on vacation (that aren’t fun) the better. There are hundreds of sites that claim to offer discount tickets, so make sure you’re purchasing from an official source. A great source is Visit Orlando, it’s an official seller of discounted theme park and attraction tickets.

Planning also means deciding how long you’re going to be on vacation and what you’re going to do each day. Depending on how much you want to see and do determines how long you’re going to stay, but for new parents it’s best to only visit one or two theme parks during that first Orlando trip and give yourself a couple of days at each park so you can see and do as much as you want without feeling rushed.

Trying to cram everything you want to see and experience at Walt Disney World is going to make for a miserable kid and miserable parents. As you plan each day out in advance, make sure to note what your family’s priorities are and sample selectively. Do enough so that everyone is happy but isn’t cranky or exhausted by the time you’re ready to call it a day.

Remember — kids live in the moment. It’s the simplest things that entertain young children, so if your child wants to play in a fountain for a while, let them! Have a plan but be ok with adjusting it if you need to so you can accommodate a happy kid.

Pack the Orlando trip essentials.

First Orlando Trip as New Parents
Janine — Flickr

Bring what you can and need with you to the park. Yes, younger kids require a lot, so fit what you can in your diaper bag or backpack and double check that you have everything you need — or might need since accidents happen — before heading out on your fun-filled day of adventure.

Here’s a basic checklist of things to pack:

  • Stroller
  • Change of clothes
  • Rain ponchos
  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby food or formula
  • Snacks
  • Recyclable empty water bottle
  • Small toys
  • Camera

Be sure to check each theme park’s website to find out what they do and don’t allow people to bring inside their park before your next Orlando trip. And don’t fret if you do forget something! Most parks have shops for you to buy any needed items you may have left in your hotel room.

Take advantage of the park’s kid perks.

First Orlando Trip as New Parents
Joe Shlabotnik — Flickr

Since Orlando theme parks are family-friendly, they have many kid perks you can and should take advantage of. One perk is baby care centers. These areas allow parents to privately feed and change their kids and are usually complete with various child amenities you might need. Most of Disney’s parks have their own baby care centers, including facilities in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Another perk is a child swap or rider switch program. These programs allow you and your partner to each enjoy all the rides you want to without having to wait in line twice or not get to ride at all because your kid doesn’t reach the height requirement. You just have to let an employee at the ride line know you want to do this program or ask them for the needed pass, and then you can ride the ride and then switch off parenting duties so your partner can ride the ride after you, bypassing waiting in line again.

It’s not just the theme parks that are family-friendly, hotels in the Orlando area are more than accommodating for parents and kids. Many hotels in the area provide free scheduled transportation to almost every theme park. Some hotels around Orlando even have “Kids Eat Free” programs. All kids under 10 years of age are treated to free meals! Be sure to research your hotel ahead of time so you can take advantage of these money-saving perks.

Besides these tips, below is more know-before-you-go information on Orlando’s theme parks that as new parents you should have on your radar before planning your Orlando trip or vacation. 

Walt Disney World
  • Children younger than 3 don’t need a ticket.
  • Has Baby Care Centers, complete with amenities for infants and toddlers, a feeding area, private nursing room and changing room with tables.
  • Can rent strollers daily or multi-day.
  • Has a Rider Switch service.
  • Can take snacks and baby food inside the park.
SeaWorld Orlando
  • Can only bring food or drinks in if you have a special diet or if you have baby formula and baby food.
  • Can rent strollers.
  • Take your younger kids to Shamu’s Happy Harbor, where they can play, burn off energy, ride a few rides and parents can sit in the shade.
LEGOLAND Florida
  • Ideal for families with children ages 2-12.
  • Can bring your own stroller in or rent a single or double seat stroller.
  • Has plenty of fun attractions for toddlers, most of which don’t have a minimum height requirement.
Universal Studios Florida
  • Can rent strollers there or bring your own.
  • Snacks for young kids are allowed inside.
  • Children 3 and under are free admission!
  • Have a “child swap” program.

So don’t stay at home stuck on your couch this year just because you have a pint-sized addition to your household. Pack up your little family and set out to Orlando.

Follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to survive your first Orlando trip as new parents while having fun and making lifelong memories!

Beat the Crowds, Beat the Heat! Top 5 Walt Disney World Resort Pools

From Modern Boca Disney Mom…

Disney's Art of Animation Splash Pad
Disney’s Art of Animation Splash Pad

Spring = Summer here in South Florida, and Summer equals, well….you should probably just stay inside.

But, kids do need fresh air, so a trip to Disney World (or two) should be in the cards between April and October. Here is how #ModernBocaDisneyMom and family beat the heat and the crowds, and maximize our fun at Disney, even when it’s a scorcher outside!

Top 5 Walt Disney World Resort Pools

Strategy:

Get to the Parks when the gates OPEN. If you have never seen the Opening Ceremony at Magic Kingdom, get there a few minutes early for some song and dance, as Mickey arrives on the Steam Train. The show is short but sweet, and then you can zoom through the park for shorter lines at your favorite rides.

Tip: All parks do an Opening Ceremony show, so get to the parks 30 minutes earlier than gates open.

By lunchtime, the sun is high in the sky and everyone is at the park. This is when we head back to the hotel for some lunch, pool time, and maybe even a nap.

We make our way back to the parks around 4 p.m. (well rested and cooled off) and then to our dinner reservation sometime around 5:30 p.m. While everyone else is hitting dinner at 6-8 p.m., we might get lucky with another lull in the lines at the more popular rides.

If taking a break might seem like a waste of money, avoiding heat exhaustion, some of the crowds, and taking it easy will make for a much more enjoyable family trip. Plus, we find that our little ones are more likely to stay up for the night time festivities like the parade and fireworks with the little extra downtime. It’s a win-win for us all!

So what hotels have the best pools for that mid-afternoon break? Here are #ModernBocaDisneyMom’s top picks…


Best Hotel Pools at Disney World:

Art of Animation's Radiator Springs at Walt Disney World
Art of Animation’s Radiator Springs at Walt Disney World

5. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a great hotel with fun pool options, and is in the moderate price range!

“Hold the fort at this old Spanish citadel with a zero-entry pool, 2 slides and water cannons. Climb a spiral staircase to the top of a turret for an 82-foot trip down the larger slide, which penetrates the fortress wall! Two relaxing spas with the capacity for 12 allow for sweet surrender. Kids under 48 inches tall will love being marooned at the nearby shipwreck play area, where a barrel periodically dumps a deluge and 3 small slides delight little scalawags.”

4. Animal Kingdom Kidani Village could possibly be my favorite pool, but it is also my favorite resort that we have stayed at to date. Disney describes it as a “tropical oasis” and it really is. The kids area is both a water playground and splash pad, so they spent a lot of time there. Then you move on to a gorgeous zero depth entry, heated pool with a 128-foot-long waterside. It is kind of awesome!

3. Art of Animation has the the largest pool at Disney World which is the focal point of Art of Animation. The coolest features of this pool is the underwater music and Finding Nemo splash pad for the little ones. We could have probably skipped seeing Mickey with the fun my daughter had at 18 months. 

There are 2 other pools at Art of Animation for cooling off. The Little Mermaid pool and adorable Cozy Cone Pool from the movie Cars.

2. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort‘s Nanea Volcano Pool just had its soft opening and will be in full effect by the end of April 2015. Considered Disney’s newest pool with brand new refurbishment, the upgrades will be worth the wait. The lava pool and slide have been redone. There is a new kids aquatic area that hosts playground and slide, 2 hot tubs, and a lay out area. Don’t forget to head over to the Pineapple Lanai for a DOLE WHIP – the ultimate in Disney cool-off treats!

Note: The East Pool will be closed for upgrades, as well as other areas under construction at The Polynesian.

1. Disney’s Beach Club Resort has the ultimate beach resort pool! Of course it is, it only has The Beach Club in the name! Stormalong Bay located near The Boardwalk, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot has something for everyone. Climb high upon a shipwrecked boat and ride down one of the highest hotel waterslides to see views of the Lighthouse, Boardwalk, and Crescent Lake. Even though you are an hour from the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf, enjoy a sandy beach that dips down into the pool. The Beach Club also is equipped with a relaxing lazy river, a sun-bathing deck and kiddie pool with its own slide.


Do you have great tips for cooling off at Disney? Let Modern Boca Mom know about  your favorite cold treats, rides with A/C, or ride/water attractions in the comments below!

 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