Disney Inspired Tees + Accessories

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Hi everyone!

I thought it would be fun to share some Disney-inspired pieces that I have found on Jane.com!

The thing that I love about Jane, is that you can find some really cute and unique pieces at a fraction of the cost! The only catch is that the sales don’t last long, so once you see something that you like, you have to grab it!

Below are some pieces that I found that would be perfect for your Disney vacation or just to have and wear on the regular! 🙂

Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

I cannot believe that Christmas is already less than a week away! And it’s even crazier to think that we were at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party about a month ago!

I thought I would share our experience at the party before Christmas gets here, hoping that this will still help someone who may be going to the party this year.

Arrive earlier than 7pm.
The party doesn’t actually start until 7pm however, guests who have purchased tickets for the event can get into the park starting at 4pm. We were able to make a couple of fast passes before the party started and walk around a bit. If you haven’t been to Magic Kingdom recently, and this is your first visit to the park the week of your vacation, go early! We weren’t planning on spending a full day at Magic Kingdom until later in our vacation, so we didn’t really know our way around. Because we arrived early, we were able to scope out where things were before it got dark. I love Disney and the ambiance at night, but it was so hard to see where things were or what direction we were going in the dark. hahaha, maybe it’s just me but I am so thankful we got there early! If you go to Magic Kingdom a lot, or have gone in the past year or so then this might not apply to you!


Be prepared for the crowds.

We went to Disney the week before Thanksgiving, which was supposed to be a “low-crowd” week. I thought that the Christmas party was still pretty packed for it being one of the earlier parties. I will say that everyone is pretty spread out throughout the park. Ride times are little to none and I feel like most people are on Main Street or waiting in line for characters. Either way, be prepared for Main Street traffic, especially around the times of the parades and fireworks.

 

If you want a photo with a specific character, plan ahead.
Do your research, and see if you can find what characters are going to be at the party and where. I made the mistake of not getting in line for the seven dwarves right away, and by the time the party started and we got to the line, it was already an hour and forty-five minutes long, so we decided to skip it so we could enjoy other parts of the party.

Make an itinerary.
It is impossible to do everything at the party, especially if this is your first time attending. Between meeting the characters, and seeing all of the shows, it’s a busy night.
We decided to see the first showing of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration at 7:40pm, which takes place right in front of the castle. Then we stayed put until 8:15pm to watch a Frozen Holiday Wish which also takes place in front of the castle. If you plan to follow our itinerary, make sure you try to book it out of the Main Street/Castle area right after the Frozen Holiday Wish. The first parade starts at 8:30pm and there are a ton of people who have camped out or are trying to find last-minute spots for viewing around that area. We went to the right of the castle and went over to Tomorrowland to see the Totally Tomorrowland Christmas that started at 8:35pm. After that, we decided to take it easy and enjoy the free snacks and short wait times for rides until the fireworks and second parade.

Stay for the second parade.
I had heard before going to the party that the second parade is always less crowded and I have to say I agree! I think most folks who have kids decide to go to the first parade before the fireworks, and then usually leave after the fireworks which begin at 10pm. We were pretty spent by the time the fireworks were over and the only thing left on our list was the parade. After the fireworks were over we headed over to Main Street to claim a seat on the curb and waited until the parade started. While we were sitting and waiting, we saw stroller after stroller leaving with sleeping kids in them. If you do plan on going to the second parade, I would suggest keeping an eye out for the forecast before the first parade starts. The last thing you want is to miss a parade due to weather. It would be better to see the first parade even though it may be more crowded than for no parade at all! I would also suggest getting a spot for one of the parades about an hour early, especially if you want a view of the castle in the background.

Ride times overall are super short, so if you can, take advantage of them!
I understand that there is a lot to do during the party, so the actual rides might become an afterthought. If you are going to the party during your Disney vacation, I would pick rides you have fast passes for later in the week, so you could potentially free those up and ride something else later. We rode Space Mountain the night of the party and only had to wait 5-10 minutes so we freed up a fast pass later that week since we already rode it. (We were trying to ride everything we could that week.) It’s also a fun time to ride things you normally wouldn’t ride over and over again.


Purchase party merchandise early on in the night.

When you see it, buy it. I made the mistake of thinking the Ugly Christmas Sweater spirit jerseys were going to be available at the end of the party but I was wrong. I also couldn’t find them the rest of my trip. Also, it’s not a bad idea to get into stores like the Emporium early on, since those tend to fill up later in the party. Fill up as in you have to waddle your way around the store! haha. I also tried to find party pins in the Emporium at the end of the party and there weren’t any left other than the annual pass holder pins. I ordered a pin off of eBay this week, but it still would have been nice to get one at the party. 🙂

That about sums up my tips for the party! Have you ever been before? I would love to hear your tips for the party since this was my first year attending! 🙂

Life Update

Hey there everyone!

This year has been an interesting one, and I have not been posting nearly as much as I thought I would be able to. Between having a full-time job, volunteering at church and trying to maintain a social life (and remain somewhat normal), blogging has sort of taken the back seat. My optimistic blogging schedule I set out to do may be getting a revision, but hopefully in the future I will be posting more regularly and consistently.

Not much has changed in our lives since my last post. We are going on vacation in a little over two weeks to none other than Disney World. 🙂 Some of you may know that last year we went to Orlando for a little over a week, but I couldn’t resist going back and spending more time at the parks. We had a blast going to Animal Kingdom last year so now we are doing 5 days this year. We had some amazing opportunities come our way that made a trip to Disney a no-brainer for us. I will explain all of that in a future post. 🙂

For those of you who are my TTC (trying to conceive) sisters, we are still in the same boat as we were earlier this year. We have not made any appointments to see any specialists or to run more tests, which is something I thought I wanted to do at the beginning of this year, but that sort of took a back seat to life and planning a vacation. I know that sounds strange, that planning a vacation has taken priority over TTC efforts. (And to some, a Disney vacation to a childless couple is sort of an oxymoron.) I noticed about a month ago that planning a vacation helped me stop stressing about expanding our family and allowed me to have fun and plan a getaway my husband and I haven’t been on since our honeymoon. That was 7 years ago this month. We have been on some vacations since then, but they have either been for weddings, or we have traveled with other people. Don’t get me wrong I have absolutely loved every trip we have taken, big or small, especially if it has been with my in-laws. We have a blast traveling with them because we have so much in common. BUT my husband and I haven’t been on a 7+ day vacation, out of the mid-west, by ourselves, for 7 years. I think it is long overdue. And yes we are bringing Maximus with us! 🙂

Although we wish we had a baby in our arms and a crib in that empty bedroom in our home, we aren’t going to stress ourselves out about it. (Remind me that I said that when I start stressing again, haha!) Life is short, and I like I have said before, I would rather enjoy the family I have now than always being stressed out about the family I wish I had. I would rather make memories with my husband, go on vacation, and have fun, than be thousands of dollars in debt, spending my weeks at the doctor’s office, hopped up on hormones and stressed about whether ‘this month’ it was going to work. Don’t get me wrong-we haven’t stopped trying, but we really are in the season of totally trusting and leaning on Him. I believe God has a plan for us, and this experience will not go in vain, but I’m going to have some fun in this season instead of focusing on what I don’t have. We may schedule a doctor visit at the beginning of next year after the holidays to get more answers and take it from there. We are continuing to pray about it every single day. One baby step at a time, no pun intended. 😉

I hope to post more before our trip in a couple of weeks, and I will definitely be posting more afterward! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for any updates until then!

Thanks for stopping by! Love you all! xoxo

Our Orlando Vacation

I can’t believe summer is almost over with! I cringe at the very thought of it. It has flown by so fast, and I’m so disappointed that I am just now posting about our vacation in July. I promise you’ll be hearing more from me in the upcoming weeks!
Now I’m sure almost every single person reading this post has probably been to Orlando at least once in their lifetime. I grew up going to Orlando practically every year because my grandparents and aunt live in New Smyrna Beach which is about an hour away from Orlando. We would stay with my family for a week and get to experience what it was like to be a local and then we would venture to the theme parks once or twice during our stay.
I was particularly excited to go to Florida this year because I hadn’t really been since 2008-2009 and it was not at a good time because my grandfather had just passed away. We went with Ryan’s parents this time and brought Max along with us. Aren’t you surprised?
We decided to make the hefty drive from Illinois to Florida rather tan fly, and we did it like champs. We took turns driving (excluding me) and we arrived late Friday evening. This was perfect because we practically had gained an extra day by leaving Thursday night.

We stayed in Orlando, which I was super excited about, because like I had stated before, I had always stayed about an hour out of the city so it was a new experience for me to be able to drive 5 minutes to a park and explore new areas of Orlando.

Day 1

We were able to sleep in the first morning and take a little adventure around our resort. There were plenty of things to do there and we didn’t even take full advantage of everything during our stay. It was beautiful to say the very least!

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We then decided to drive to Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney). We were only five minutes away from the Disney area so it was super convenient to come and go whenever we wanted. I had only been to Downtown Disney once or twice before and it has changed so much! I’m sure if I lived in Orlando I would visit Disney Springs all of the time! There is so much shopping and dining you could do there, it’s crazy! They also, of course, have a HUGE Disney store which is a must if you are there. The best part about Disney Springs? It’s free! It’s even free to park there in one of their easily accessible parking garages as well.

Disney Springs1Disney Springs2Disney Springs 5Disney Store Window Display Disney Store Window DisplayDisney Springs 4Disney Springs3

One of my favorite things about Disney Springs was the store Basin. My mother in law had told me about the store when they went for New Years this past year. They sell bath items such as bath bombs, bath salts, body scrubs, etc. Think Lush, but more spa-like and more sophisticated. I plan on writing a blog post dedicated to my trip there!

Disney Springs Basin

Another thing I loved about Disney Springs is all of the fun Disney related bakeries and such they have there. Ryan and I split this delicious apple pie flavored caramel apple from Goofy’s Candy Company.

Goofy's Candy Company

Day 2

Our second day we decided to go to the World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe. I am obsessed with chocolate, so this was definitely something I’m glad we did! We learned about the origins of cocoa and how it came about, and we also saw statues made out of chocolate. Talk about major drool-fest. It was fun to learn about cocoa and of course taste all of the different types from around the world.

World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe

After stuffing our faces at the museum and then having lunch at Loudmouth Burgers we decided to go to the pool back at our resort, which was perfect timing because for a whole five seconds we had the entire pool to ourselves.

Loudmouth BurgerOrlando Resort 4

After we went swimming we decided to go back to the Disney side of town and go to Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course. This is by far the best miniature golf course I have ever been to! There are two courses you can decide from.
We went at night closer to when the course closes and it was lit up beautifully and we could even watch the fireworks from one of the parks while we were playing. You could also see the Tower of Terror lit up over at Hollywood Studios. After we were finished we walked over to the Boardwalk which is just a short walk from the golf course, right next to the Swan and Dolphin hotel. This part of the Disney Resort is accessible even if you are not staying in one of their resorts, like us.

Fantasia GardensFantasia Gardens 2Fantasia Gardens Fantasia Gardens Swan Hotel Disney Boardwalk

Day 3

On the third day, we traveled to St. Augustine which was about two hours from Orlando. My in-laws have been there before and loved the small town charm and things to do there and told us it was a very dog-friendly place, which it was! We had planned a day out of our week to bring Max with us since we had been leaving him in our resort most of the time we were in Orlando. St. Augustine was beautiful! We went to the Lighthouse and gift shop, and you can have dogs there on the grounds except the actual lighthouse itself.

St. Augustine Lighthouse
After climbing a million stairs (ha) we went to one of St. Augustine’s dog-friendly beaches. This was Max’s first time at a beach and he didn’t seem too enthused about it. After the beach, we decided to walk around the older downtown area and have a late lunch/dinner. After dinner, we walked around for the rest of the evening until we stopped for ice cream. We went to a cute little shop right off the beach and walked down to a gorgeous secluded beach.
I plan on writing a separate blog post about all of our stops in St. Augustine in more detail in the next week.

St. Augustine St. Augustine

Day 4

We decided to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Day 4 of our stay. It was a lot of fun, but it was one of the hottest days of the week. One of the things I really liked about our visit was the “fast passes” you could reserve on your phone. I’m not even sure that most people even knew about it, so listen up! If you are going to Disney you automatically get free (keyword free) reservations to 3 attractions with the purchase of your admission ticket. All you have to do is download the My Disney Experience app and you can make three selections. Then, after you use the three you are able to make reservations, one at a time until the park closes. This is an amazing deal, considering if you go to a theme park like Six Flags, for example, you have to pay a ridiculous amount (in my opinion) on a fast pass.
We enjoyed our time at Disney even though I felt like the KFC extra crispy Colonel by the time the day was done. The only thing that made me sad was that we had exerted so much energy that day because of the heat that we left early with the hopes of coming back for the night shows but it ended up raining and lighting so that we decided it wasn’t worth it to go back to the park for the shows. Especially if they could potentially get canceled. This summer was the first season for Animal Kingdom to be open until 11pm. The Tree of Life lights up and there is a Jungle Book show, as well as the River of Lights show that wasn’t quite open the time we went.

Animal KingdomAnimal KingdomAnimal KingdomAnimal Kingdom

Day 5
Much needed day of rest by the pool! In the evening we went to a newly built up part of Orlando by the Orlando Eye ferris wheel. We went to the Madame Tussauds wax museum and to the Sea Life Aquarium. These smaller attractions were definitely worth it and I’m sure they get overlooked by most tourists in the area. We then had dinner at Yard House, which I have always been dying to try. Best fish tacos ever! I have been craving them so bad since we have been home. My birthday is next week and all I have been telling my husband I’ve been wanting to do is go and get fish tacos at a Yard House.

Madame Tussauds OrlandoMadame Tussauds OrlandoSea Life Orlando AquariumYard House Fish Tacos

Day 6
We had strategically planned a day of rest between two park days because we also planned on going to Universal Studios during our stay. The company I work for does a lot of work for them, and I actually work on a lot of stationary and gift items that are in the gift shops. I was able to go into the shops and look at things I’ve worked on, and of course, I had to take pictures like a nerd. We had tickets to go to the Islands of Adventure as well, and so we hustled our way through the park that day. The park was insanely busy, but the majority of the people were in the Harry Potter portion of the parks, as well as the Skull Island: Reign of Kong ride that had opened the day before we went. We were able to ride a ton of rides and go over to the other park, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go on Reign of Kong, bummer! We haven’t seen any of the Harry Potter movies so we were a bit in the dark when it came to that part of the park and the Hogwarts Express train, but everyone else seemed to be enjoying it. And by everyone else I mean like a million bajillion people.

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Day 7
Our last full day in Orlando! We spent the day relaxing and of course going back to our favorite spot: Disney Springs. We went back to the Disney store to buy the Chip mug I had been eyeing the first time we went, and of course to go back to Basin to buy everything we hadn’t bought the first time. We treated our former 9-year-old selves and ate at T-Rex which I would suggest for any of you who have kids who are into dinosaurs.

T Rex CafeT Rex Cafe

Day 8
We weren’t able to visit one of the things we wanted to do in St. Augustine earlier that week, so on our way back home we decided to make a pit stop and visit the Fountain of Youth which is another dog-friendly attraction in the city.

The Fountain of Youth The Fountain of Youth

Day 9
Pit stop in Nashville for a little bit of sight-seeing and lunch! Tennessee has alway been a favorite of mine.

Grand Ol Opry

I had a blast in Orlando, and I’ve been to the city a dozen times. It definitely was different going as an adult but it still has the same charm that I remember as a kid.