Disney Bucket List

Our family has traveled all around the USA…and I do mean all over! We lived in an RV for over 9 months in 2011, driving coast to coast. We swam in lakes, dined in revolving buildings, hiked through gorgeous mountains, explored at science centers, and roasted marshmallows around open fires.

Even after all that, I maintain that Disney is one of our top vacation picks for families.

When I think of the Disney brand, I think of Walt Disney and his relentless pursuit of innovation. I think about excellence, happiness, and the magic of following “impossible” dreams.

Though this list isn’t as serious as my Life List, I do have a few Disney-related things that I’d love to do in the next 30 years.

1. Hire a photographer to follow our family around a Disney park to capture great memories.

2. Spend a day “solo” in the parks with my camera, taking photos of whatever sparks my interest.

3. Run in a Disney Half Marathon.

4. Enjoy a Dole Whip.

5. Go on an “Adventures by Disney” tour abroad.

6. Experience “Enchanted Tales with Belle.”

7. Ride Radiator Springs Racers.

8.  Sail on a Disney cruise ship with my family.

9. Stay in the Adventureland Suite at Disneyland Hotel.

10. Be hired by Disney to do Communications, PR, Writing, or Imagineering work.

Dream with me! What is on your Disney Bucket List?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Sheaffer is an entrepreneur, writer, runner, and the mother of three little girls. In 2011, she traveled 20,000 miles around the USA with her family in a 300sqft RV. At the end of the trip, her 5-year-old said Disney World was her favorite stop! She now resides in Arizona and blogs at Metropolitan Mama. Follow her on Twitter @stephsday.

7 Tips for Traveling With Small Children to Disneyland & Walt Disney World

Disneyland and Disney World are both ideal picks for vacations with small children.

The Disney magic extends to even the youngest of visitors. We’ve been to Disneyland three times and Disney World once with little ones under age two and it was delightful each time.

Our family at Disneyland - 2009

Although both places have their own charm, I prefer Disneyland and California Adventure for little ones. It’s MUCH smaller than WDW and wonderfully walkable (plus, the tickets are a little less). Oh, and did I mention the breezy, beachy California weather?

Either way though, you’re bound to have a magnificent time.

These seven tips will help ensure that your babies and toddlers stay happy at the Happiest Place on Earth:

1. Bring your own food (and water). We always think we’ll just swing by a grocery store when we arrive, but it usually ends up being more complicated than that. Try to shop ahead of time. Bring lots of snacks (fruit leathers, been jerky, granola bars, etc), plenty of water bottles, and at least 1 easy meal.

2. If you have a small child, bring a stroller. At the parks, single strollers cost $15/day or up to $31/day for a double stroller. Save by bringing your own $15 umbrella stroller. If you have two little ones and two parents, it might be worthwhile to bring 2 umbrella strollers as opposed to a massive double stroller. By the way, it’s wise to bring a stroller for kids in their early school years too. Big parks make for tired feet.

3. Pack toiletries, baby gear, & medical supplies. Here’s a basic list: feminine products, a razor, diapers, wipes, tylenol, sunscreen, hairbrush, etc. If you forget these necessities, you’ll end up in an overpriced gift shop or driving to the nearest [overpriced] Walgreens.

4. Pick up a complimentary “1st Visit” Button from Guest services. Disney cast members sometimes give perks and friendly advice to first-timers and your little ones will love wearing a button with all their favorite characters.

5. Make use of the Baby Care Centers. All Disney Parks offer baby care centers which feature a quiet (and private) curtained area for nursing your baby, changing tables, and miniature potties. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and other baby toiletries are available for purchase.

6. Book a hotel room with a suite or rent a house/condo. If you opt for a traditional style hotel room, you’ll likely find yourself whispering in the dark post baby’s bedtime. With an extra room, you’ll be able to shut the door and have some privacy…plus, it allows for greater flexibility if certain members of the family need/want to wake up early, sleep in, stay up late, etc. If you can find a place with a full kitchen or kitchenette, that’s even better. Check Vacation Rentals for options. You’ll be surprised at how affordable renting a home can be…especially if you split the cost with friends (see the next tip!).

7. Bring along grandparents or friends. For extra fun, bring along other adults so that YOU have an opportunity to go on rides (It’s not as thrilling to ride Space Mountain by yourself, after all). This “tactic” also allows you to extend your park visit because you’ll be able to go out to enjoy the park while baby naps at the hotel or post-bedtime.

Have you been to Disneyland and/or Disney World with little ones under age two? Share your top tips!

Stephanie Sheaffer is an entrepreneur, writer, runner, and the mother of three little girls. In 2011, she traveled 20,000 miles around the USA with her family in a 300sqft RV. At the end of the trip, her 5-year-old said Disney World was her favorite stop! She now resides in Arizona and blogs at Metropolitan Mama. Follow her on Twitter @stephsday.

8 Tips for Family Traveling to Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa

Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa opened in August of 2011. When we learned that Aulani was on the same lagoon that we honeymooned on twelve years ago, it simply was meant to be.

We became Disney Vacation Club members in December of 2011 and were thrilled to take our first trip to our home resort, Aulani, in March!

The entire trip to Aulani was amazing and we cherish that we were able to share a location with such special meaning to us as a couple with our children.

To enter and be greeted with “Welcome home, Barseghian family” brought tears to my eyes.

I wanted to share some of the “take aways” from our trip that can help families enjoy their trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa to their fullest.

1. Before your trip, order SPF swimsuits, hats, and cover ups for your children (and yourselves :) ) from Coolibar.  We have used Coolibar since our children were born and have never had either of them get sunburned. Even when the swimsuits are years old, they stay true to their protection.  We splurged and ordered the ZnO Hoodies for each of the kids and they wore them every day at Aulani.

2.  After you get settled at the resort, head to Target and get some sand toys for the kids. $20 will get you endless entertainment on the beach!  We had our children gift their toys to an incoming family when we departed, which felt so good.

 3.  Take advantage of the beach activities through Hawaii Ocean Adventures.  They have a stand right by the beach with tons of activities for the entire family.  We rented a paddle board and each of us took the children out on it. They felt safe in the calmer waters of the lagoon.  We also did a catamaran outing as a family, which was a total highlight of our trip.

 

 4.  Schedule a character breakfast at Makahiki.  The food is incredible and your children will get special time and photos with the characters.  Plus, Aunty will immerse them in the Hawaiian culture through song and activities.

5. Speaking of Aunty, be sure to visit Aunty’s Beach House early in your stay.  Your children can go here…alone…while you enjoy a nice dinner.  There are so many fun activities at Aunty’s each day for children of all ages.

6.  Talk with cast members at Aulani and learn about everything they did to honor the Hawaiian culture in the design of Aulani.  For example, all of the photos behind the check in desk were taken by children in Hawaii…love!

7.  Enjoy a meal at Ama Ama.  Aside from the fact that the food is amazing, you can customize dishes and the view is incredible.  We ate here most mornings and filled up so we could enjoy hours of uninterrupted bliss on the beach and by the pool.  The photo here shows the view from our table…

8.  Most importantly, spend time at the beach in the evening and watch the sun set with your little ones.  The beauty is breathtaking…and quiet. :)

Amy Barseghian, aka MommyMentor, is the owner of From One Mommy to Another.  She grew up going to Disney World during family trips to Daytona Beach.  Now, she enjoys trips to Disney World and Disneyland with her husband and two children.

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