tips for visiting magic kingdom during a pandemic.

Thursday, March 25, 2021


...and "maximizing" may be different for everyone. For us, it was minimal melt-downs (ha!) and eating as much yummy food as possible > riding every. single. ride. Follow along if #same! (and hey, we still rode a TON of rides...)

1. Arriving to Magic Kingdom early is key (or getting to any park early is key). 

Try to get there as close to park opening as possible! "Do not pass go, do not collect $200" Seriously. Main Street will be filled with balloons and all the things to tempt the kiddos, but no worries bc they're still there with the same balloons/souvenirs at 8pm at night. We were just a few minutes past opening and zoomed straight through temperature check + the gates and headed down Main Street as quickly as possible towards the castle. 


Now if you make any stops, this is definitely the best time to stop at the Walt statue and/or in front of the castle for a pic since this is sure to be the least crowded you'll see it all day (aka less people in the background of your photos. PRO TIP: taking photos standing directly in front of the castle - especially close up - won't necessarily give you the best pics. I've got another post coming up with my best spots for castle photos!). 


Anyhoo, don't waste too much time taking those photos once you walk in. Seriously, you need to book it straight up through the castle until you see the carousel. If you have a stroller, walk to the left of the carousel and you'll see "stroller parking" towards the left back. Drop the stroller there and look over to your left - you'll see Peter Pan's Flight. That's your first ride! As tempting as the carousel may be ... no worries, it's never that crowded so you can come back to that later. Peter Pan's Flight almost always has a long wait and most trips, we would use a fast pass for this one. We walked on this ride back in November, then we went immediately across to It's a Small World.


**all rides I mention us riding during this day at Magic Kingdom, my four year old niece rode every single one (aka she was tall enough) and most my two year old nephew rode too!


After Peter Pan's Flight,  you can get a family member to grab your stroller while you and the kiddos walk down towards Adventureland (you go under almost a bridge and there's a bathroom there - good time for bathroom break) Once the family member meets ya with the strollers, hop in and book it over to Jungle Cruise! We did that next since the lines were known to be long. 


After Jungle Cruise - Pirate's of the Caribbean. We skipped Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad in Adventureland because we had little ones. After PofTC we hit up Aladdin's Magic Carpet with no wait and then we scooted over to Haunted Mansion. Our kid's ages were 9, 5, 4, and 2 and they all rode Haunted Mansion with no problem. It's really not that scary. A slow ride, not super dark. That's a good one to hit up next or one that's fine to skip too IMO.


After that we walked through Liberty Square. I wish the lines for the cheeseburger spring rolls had been shorter, because my mom wanted one so bad. I've heard they're delish! We still grabbed a soda and sat down to rest a bit + eat a snack since this was mid morning at this point. 


The bridge from Adventureland across the middle of Magic Kingdom back towards the castle is where this epic pic was taken...

my sister's cute tee is actually from my shop, Sugar. CLICK HERE to purchase and then she just paired it back with Lilly Pulitzer Ocean Trail shorts (great for theme parks because they're quick dry, like running shorts) .
I'll link up Macy's full "birthday outfit" at the end of the post too :) 


After our "rest" , we went straight across back in front of the castle (where we saw a few cavalcades - this is the "parades" they have now where the kids can see the characters) and we went to TomorrowLand. We actually stopped yet again in front of Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe which also has Chesire's Cafe directly in front of it. Ok, so here me out. Yes, I was boujee and wanted the Chesire Cat Tail snack BUT Chesire's Cafe is closed. SO I learned you could mobile order the Chesire Cat Tail from Starlight Cafe , which I did and got the kids some frozen smoothies too (and my sister a coffee too. ha! #momlife) 

It was definitely delish and tasted like a chocolate croissant pastry / chocolate eclair. Now that we were refueled we hit up The Many Adventures of Winnie & the Pooh ride then went over to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (because we were trying to let our food settle before the tea cups! HA). Buzz Lightyear is one of our favorite rides!!!! Do not miss this one. 

Linking Macy's outfit at the bottom of the post // Cade's Mickey Tee HERE and Charlie's set is older from Etsy, but similar HERE

and at this point at Buzz's ride we definitely had close to a 30 minute wait. It started to get super crowded, hence why early early morning is KEY


We skipped the Speedway in Tomorrowland because if you've been to Dollywood and rode their speedway ride, I mean basically the same thing. It smells like gas and it's just not my fav. I know I may be alone on this but yep, we had done it so we skipped! We didn't even wait at Astro Orbiter , we took another bathroom break and then waited in line for the tea cups and then the carousel. Ok so at this point it was almost 1 ? 1:30? and my mom, sister/bro in law and their kids had lunch reservations at The Plaza on Main Street. (since we booked this trip last minute, I couldn't even grab us a reservation for ALL of us to eat together....aaaand that's on 35% capacity so yeah, thanks covid. Usually if all restaurants were open and it was back to max capacity, you wouldn't have a problem).


The boys and I were still full off snacks so we kept trucking it over to FantasyLand. 

CLICK HERE for my exact "Gucci inspired" mask I purchased on Etsy :) My mickey ears are from DisneyStore, also similar lesser priced version HERE from Amazon.

We hit up Dumbo and then skipped Barnstormer so we could come back later with my sis and the kids, but we did walk down and walk right on to The Little Mermaid ride. This ride usually never has a long wait, or a wait at all so it's a good one to hit up multiple times. 


After all that we were getting pretty hungry for a legit meal so we walked back down to Starlight Cafe and I placed yet another mobile order for burgers, corn dogs and fries for me and the boys. We sat inside and it reminds me of Chuck E Cheese with this character playing a piano and singing as you eat. Certainly keeps younger kids entertained while you scroll your phone and catch up on the rest of the day's plans! 

I got the special "holiday chicken sandwich" and it was delish! 

I got the boys hot dogs and they were HUGE, as in they definitely could have split one!

We needed a break and after our yummy meal, we walked back around down to Main Street, watched more calvacades and met back up with my mom, sis and fam. This was mid-November and guys, it was HOT mid day around 3pm. The littlest were fading fast so we thought it may be best to take the bus back over to the hotel just to rest for a bit and then come back over around 5:30ish at sunset to spend the rest of the evening. 


So that's what we did and once we were back in the park , we rode Barnstormer, Dumbo again, and The Little Mermaid again and walked them around Beauty and the Beast castle so they could see (great place to eat but they only have lunch and dinner now + it's soooo expensive / hard to get reservations) . Next, while my Charlie + nephew Skip went to watch the light show (projections) on the castle with mama & sis ... me, my oldest Cade, bro-in-law and fearless birthday girl niece Macy got in the (what seemed like FOREVER) line for Seven Dwarf's Mine Train. This rollercoaster is THE most popular in Magic Kingdom and any other time we've visited we've always had a fast pass. The lines of course look extremely long because of social distancing but there's always a castmember at the end of the line to tell you an approximate wait time. It said close to 50 minutes , so we thought oh well what the heck surely it won't be that long. WELL it was almost every bit of that - even enough time for one of us to hop out of line and sneak a mickey ear ice cream. But y'all it is so worth it this coaster is SO fun - it just mostly sways back and forth -  and for any age, as long as they're 38 inches tall. 

these two didn't mind skipping Mine Train at all! Just give them aaall the snacks. The projections on the castle were so fun for the holiday season! 

So after all this, the park was close to closing and we chalked it up to a day.

 Did we ride every single ride? NO

Did we wait in long lines for every ride? NO

Really only one, maybe two if you count Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger spin. 

We breezed through the day and enjoyed it with as little meltdowns as possible, having four kids under the age of nine. As they get older, I know they won't even want to ride the "little rides" and they'll be all about the rollercoasters / bigger rides but this is where we're at now and it's definitely perfect for those traveling with kids ages six and under. 

So let's revisit our ride itinerary for the day: 

1. Peter Pan's Flight

2. It's a Small World

3. Jungle Cruise

4. Pirates of the Carribean

5. Magic Carpets of Aladdin

6. Haunted Mansion

7. Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

8. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin

9. Mad Tea Party Tea Cups

10. Carousel 

11. Dumbo

12. Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid 

**REST BREAK AT HOTEL**

13. Barnstormer

14. Dumbo (again) 

15. Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid

16. Seven Dwarf's Mine Train

we really did everything I really wanted the newbies (my sis's fam + mom) to experience except I would recommend Mickey's Philarmagic show which is over by the carousel , next to Peter Pan's flight. It's a SUPER cute 3d glasses show that our kids have always LOVED. Great way to rest in the a/c too and cool off! 

2. Mobile ordering is your best friend. 

Ya gotta download Disney's mobile app. It literally is your lifeline when at Disney! It can be your hotel key to your map, your mobile ordering system , etc... 


When mobile ordering , you can just type in the restaurant under "Dining" and then click mobile order, selecting your food for each family member. You submit and pay with the CC linked to your Disney account. Once it's ready , it will send you a notification I'm pretty sure and then you walk up to the # counter that it tells you too. Easy, peezy.


3. If you think you've packed enough snacks... pack more. 

While mobile ordering IS super easy, there's LESS restaurants open in Magic Kingdom right now. Less snack stands. Less everything, so therefore the lines for those can be long throughout the day. You can take all the snacks you want in Magic Kingdom. (Well a few restrictions of course : read HERE) The only thing you've got to remember is you have to be sitting in a rest area to remove your mask and eat snacks. AKA  : nope you can't just snack while in lines for the rides! 


*another random tip: make sure you put a big bow or marker (some bright string/a balloon/etc) to mark your stroller bc it will likely be sitting in a "sea of strollers" when you exit a ride and need to find where you parked it. 


4. Take multiple masks and different "types" of masks.

Skip's tee is from one of my favorite online t-shirt small biz, Happily Ever Tees! 

I say this just because if the cotton masks become too "hot" for you or suffocating, you may want a more breathable disposable one. Some styles may drive the kids crazy or hurt behind their ears too, so since they're small there's no reason why you can't stuff multiple mask options in a bag just to be prepared.

5.  While it's fun to have a plan, ya gotta be willing to "go with the flow" whenever you're at any Disney park because things change daily and it's all about the experience vs. the rigid "park schedule/plan". Have fun, let loose and soak up every sweet minute. Especially when you're taking little ones for the first time. Seeing the magic through their eyes is the most indescribable experience! You're sure to have a memorable time no matter how many rides you ride or what meals you eat. 


Hope everyone has a fabulous Spring Break trip and if you're visiting Disneyworld, be sure to comment below or let me know any other questions ya have :) 



Oh and the birthday girl's outfit! I styled every bit of this, except my sis did find the super cute Converse shoes. Here's a few links if you want to recreate...

Minnie Denim Jackets HERE and HERE

Best Birthday Ever Tee from this Etsy site Grey Little Arrows // you can customize what color tee you'd like

Her cute "Tulle Skort" (has stretchy shorts connected/built in underneath is the Jumping Beans brand from Kohls. Here's similar HERE and HERE.

Pink Converse Sneakers HERE and HERE.

Light pink sequin Minnie ears are from Disney store years ago. Here's similar on Etsy HERE !!



I'm baaaaack...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

yes, friends. I'm back!

back to blogging. 

back to LIFE

It sounds silly, but what a year (or more) it has been now. 

Mentally and emotionally draining. Truly draining of my time (hence why I never had time to post here) and yet now we're in a season where Spring is in bloom, we've had our covid vaccines and we are the most hopeful / optimistic we've been in a long time. I say "we" as in me and Chad , but also as a family in whole. 


I've had friends message me about this little ol' blog saying they've missed keeping up with us and trust me, I've MISSED IT TOO!!!!!! In the early years, when I blogged regularly it was crazy how many awesome women I'd meet over the internet. It's really like it's own little community. If you're new here, you know I started this blog in 2009 as an "online scrapbook" and that's what it's been ever since. 


While I know blogging has fallen by the wayside since Instagram came along, I still love the idea of an "online scrapbook" that I can look back on + as a journalism major, this is truly one of the best creative outlets for me. I really enjoy it or obviously I wouldn't be doing it! So, all that being said... WHAT have we been up to since my last post on Sept 12th? (well, besides my recent attempts to catch up on our Disney trips from last year...) 


Our boys are growing faster than ever and start baseball season this Saturday! Both so very excited since they didn't get to play any sports last year due to covid. That's the main reason I wanted to try to hop back on here and get back to blogging as my online scrapbook. I looked back on old posts the other night and could have just cried and cried. Not tears of sadness, but so much JOY at all of the fun memories we've had that have been documented here on the blog. Well, and maybe a few sad tears here and there at how much they've grown of course. Time flies!


Charlie will be six in July and Cade just turned nine last month..


Next up, God has truly blessed my business, Sugar, even during a pandemic and weeks of shut down. I think Covid required so many small businesses to "pivot" and form new ways of marketing and selling, which helped us all grow in ways we could have never imagined. 

Whether it was growing an audience from a simple viral TikTok video, to putting in 110% and working our tails off like never before... everything continues to pay off as we continue to grow and grow. I couldn't be more thankful, because there were certainly times last year I wasn't sure we would make it. I give all the praise to HIM and my supportive family + seriously amazing customers. We are truly blessed with the best! Chad continues to work, work, work more than ever as well at the post office since as you can imagine, online shopping has skyrocketed since the pandemic began and he's been working more hours lately than ever.

new Golden Chrysanthemum Dress // new for Spring 2021

Around the home, I love this photo so much. Chad surprised me with tulips for (our very low key) Valentine's Day and I thought this pic was a perfect reminder that there's always rainbows after the storm. Love these tulips so much and my super supportive husband who didn't divorce me when I had 897,234 meltdowns in 2020. HAAAAA!


We've definitely learned to love our home more, since we've been in it more the past year than ever. Chad actually had covid in January, right smack during the week of my 37th birthday. We were quarantined for weeks, so I organized every nook and cranny of the house (and am still doing so!) and then once V-Day was over, I quickly transitioned to Easter. 

Easter is one of my favorite holidays to decorate and I just love Spring so much!
This Easter bunny pic of the boys from years past makes me smile (and laugh) ...

this new Alese lamp from Lamps Plus was a 2020 lockdown addition and I LOVE it.

I've also grown to very much love Publix fresh flowers...


My "happy everything" vase from Fig here in Greenwood is one of my absolute favorite things. Gifted to me from some of the sweetest, dearest friends, I love adding new attachments (the bunny is velcro'd on there and you can get new attachments for all seasons/occasions) to switch it up. I think they're running a sale this week too.

Always love snagging fresh flowers when in Publix too. I swear if I weren't selling clothes, I would be selling flowers like my Grandma Hall who worked at Deason's Flower Shop in Abbeville for years and years, then eventually ran her own flower shop out of a small building in her front yard. So cool, right? I can still smell her cutting the styrofoam for funeral arrangements. Trust me, a smell you never forget. 


and I'm still loving my new breakfast dining set I spent all last year collecting.  No really, I saved up until I bought the new rug.... then later the table... then later two chairs... then later two more chairs... until it was finally complete. I do plan to recover the chairs in this fabulous fabric from Post House Designs I've already purchased (new year sale!). Will have to post pics when I do and do a full link up of sources.


more Easter decor, this little shelf in our kitchen makes me happy. 


The black/white dot dishes were a birthday present to myself (as if I need ANYMORE dishes. Chad swears I'm a hoarder, but I just knew I had to have these too). OB-SESSED. 


and my favorite Anthropologie Tiled Margot Mugs were on sale this past weekend! I think the Rise & Shine canister is sold out, but they have other similar fun products in this tiled collection.



The pink Waterfall Coupe Glass with gorgeous gold rim is also from Anthropologie. They no longer have the pink, but they have this gorgeous lilac and also a honey color too. So pretty! I call this my "fancy-mama-in-a-house-full-of-boys" glass. It's fun for special occasions or hey, just a random Wednesday that deserves to be special too.





I think some of the other juice glasses, gold bowls, bunny server and more are from HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and places like that. 

Peep that Venison Cookbook up there too.
Tell me you're married to an avid outdoorsman without telling me you're married to an avid outdoorsman....




cute small boxwood wreaths are from Zulilly years ago... They still have some on there too!


and you've probably notice some of these links look a little different, that's because they're affiliate links now that yes, I'm on LiketoKnow.It. How in the world I ended up there, I still don't know. In attempts to prove a point to my sweet co-worker, Emma, who is indeed trying to be a legit fashion influencer (and has great taste & style!) I applied and was approved myself. She was overthinking it and I told her "look Emma just apply, the worst they could tell you is no but I really don't think you have to wait that long or have that many credentials. Your content is awesome!" 

Then what do you know, we both were approved and so here I am. 

Am I trying to be an influencer? Absolutely not. Am I trying to make a few cents from sharing my favorite home/kid finds with the world? Yep. I mean, why not?

I have gained sooo much valuable knowledge, whether it's trip/vacation advice or recipes for my family, gift guides to buy for the kids/etc... from bloggers who devote hours after hours to dish out this content for us to absorb. I hope to really make this blog more of a space for not only our online scrapbook, but valuable content as well. Oh and let's face it, it really is just cents to the dollar - I will be pleased if it merely buys me a Starbucks coffee to sip on while I continue to blog :)


All that being said, up next (for instance) I have a Disney tips blog post coming up since I have so many friends/customers heading there next week (most for the very first time) that have asked for any tips/tricks/recs. 

While I am by NO means a Disney expert, if I can help anyone in the least little bit well then by gosh I'm going to try. I thought having a blog post to dump/organize all of that info my be the most beneficial for everyone!

Thanks to everyone who follows along and if there's ever something I can help with - whether it's upcoming vacays or small business tips/tricks/advice (I've also loved helping a few friends kick off new businesses so far this year), I'm always up to chat and love helping friends + future entrepreneurs!!!!!!! 

Disneyworld | JAN 2020 YOUTUBE VIDEO

Thursday, March 11, 2021

 finally...our YouTube video!!!!!!

now, I know I am so amateur but I love creating these to preserve our precious vacay memories. So often we just post to Instagram stories or Snapchat and they vanish within 24 hours. "Vlogging" helps give these videos life foreeeeever. Next up, I'll make our Nov 2020 Disney trip video! Can't wait...

Disneyworld 2020 | Hollywood Studios

Monday, March 1, 2021

 


finally finishing up our recap of Disneyworld Jan 2020 (yep, over one year later) .... 

our last day we spent at Hollywood Studios, followed by dinner in Epcot!

the boys loved Woody's Lunch Box for lunch. Safe to say that Toy Story Land is our favorite :)



Hey Howdy Hey tee is from Happily Ever Tees. Yellow is sold out but I love the new pink color way!

black shorts are sold out from my shop, Sugar but we do have these amazing Southern Tide Performance (quick dry!) shorts that would be awesome at any park 

my leopard Tretorn Sneakers are my favorite. 
Loved wearing at Animal Kingdom and it went well with my Hollywood Studios outfit too

The boys' tees are sold out too (from Disneystore.com) but here's a cute Toy Story Tee and Star Wars Tee

We didn't get in the queue for the Star Wars rides but we said aaaah next time. It was still fun to walk around and see the sights...


here's another shot of my fav leopard Tretorn sneaks.

The grilled cheese + tomato basil soup is seriously DELISH! 





Toy Story Mania was one of our favorite rides and y'all.... we waited 1.5 HOURS FOR THIS RIDE. We didn't realize it would take this long but once we were in, welp you're in. I swear it's so fun it was worth it...always a favorite.


We also waited for Alien Flying Saucers + had fast passes for Slinky Dog Dash, Star Wars Tour and the Frozen show which we love. It was so insanely crowded though being MLK weekend. I don't think I'd ever pick this weekend to go again just FYI! Long weekends seem to be quite crowded , whether covid or no covid



since Charlie wasn't tall enough for Slinky Dog, they had a blast meeting Buzz!



we went back to the hotel for a break, then got ready to walk over to Epcot to have a few drinks around world showcase before our dinner reservations...


strolling made Charlie sleepy, he was out like a light during our Epcot walk...


We had dinner at La Hacienda San Angel and it was soooo good with the best views of the Epcot fireworks!


perfect way to end the day and end the trip...

The next morning it was up and at em' to head back to SC! 


with so many priceless memories made with some of our favorite peeps!



until next time Disney! 

SEE YA REAL SOON


Disneyworld 2020 | Epcot + Animal Kingdom

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 

DAY 2 | Epcot + Animal Kingdom 

Since we had Park Hopper passes which means you could bounce around each park, back and forth as much as you'd like. They're currently not offering that at Disneyworld since they've reopened post civid-shut down and trying to limit capacity to a certain number of people in each park.

Now of course we could spend all day at each of these parks, but with limited days at Disney if you're going to squeeze in two parks it might as well be these two. Plus you'll see on our last day we ended up at Epcot after Hollywood Studios and were able to explore even more of Epcot. 

We didn't even visit Epcot when we took Cade when he was five, so this was a first for ALL of us! 

My best friend, Cameron, met us at Epcot mid morning too. We rode Soarin' (may have been my fav), the Nemo ride, Land of the Living...



(cute Mickey tees from Kohl's : shop similar here and here

oh and it was also Epcot's International Festival of the Arts. Lots of street carts with artwork for sale, sculptures, displays and even artists creating masterpieces right there throughout the park.


we then went over to Norway and waited in the very long line for Frozen Ever After!


definitely a better ride than I anticipated. our faces...LOL....


we scooted back to the hotel to regroup and have a bite of lunch , then it was off to our second adventure of the day : ANIMAL KINGDOM...


(Chad's Hakuna Matata Tee was a fav. Shop similar HERE)

Kilamanjaro Safari was up first...




then we grabbed a dole whip before Festival of the Lion King show and because the parks were SO packed, we didn't do much more. 


Dinosaur ride , we did do that! Our faces again..... #ded


Then the oldest crew (everyone minus me, Charlie and Cameron who didn't have fast passes) went to Pandora to ride Flight of Passage (sad I missed it, they said best ride of the entire trip). Me, Charlie and Cam went off to meet Micky and Minnie, so yes equally as thrilling ;) 

Even though Charlie had met them on our Disney Cruise two years ago, he was SO SO excited and it was still so very magical. Nothing like it.






we finished up with A Bug's Life and then dinner at Rainforest Cafe which is just outside of Animal Kingdom park...a large souvenir drink was necessary after that busy day, yes! HA




So fun having our "Auntie Cam" there with us that day. Next up, we all venture over to finish up the trip with our last day at Hollywood Studios!
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