back from the land of rice crispy treats

Hey hey! How are you? How’s the week going so far? Hope you had a great and relaxing weekend. We were transported from a magical land of entertainment, sweets and excitement, into a mountain of laundry. The best vacations usually go that way. 

We had an amaaaaaazing time in Orlando at Disney World this weekend.

The crew at disney

It was our first trip to Orlando as a family -the Pilot and I used to go often years ago, but haven’t brought the girls yet- and we were so thrilled when madre and nana made a trip out here to join us. I feel like I’ll never be *too old* for anything Disney, and it seems to get better with time. Being there with Liv and P makes the experience even more magical, especially seeing the parks from their little eyes. They’re enthralled with all of the activities and characters, and I definitely feel like we’ve reached the sweet spot for traveling as a family. 

the girls with minnie

We left Friday afternoon after Livi’s cheer camp wrapped up, and checked into the Disney Boardwalk. It was our first time staying on Disney property, and while there are pros and cons -I’ll work on a post with all of our tips and the things we learned- we really liked the hotel.

Disney Boardwalk

Boardwalk

The rooms were clean and cozy, and it was plenty of room for all of us. (We debated booking another room, but since we were only there to sleep, we decided to just roll with it camping-style. It ended up being way more fun that way, anyway. P slept in the crib, the Pilot and I were in one bed, madre and nana shared a bed, and Liv was on the pull-out couch daybed.) 

MY OTHER VIDEOS

We were greeted by a ton of rain -it rained all three days we were there- so we ended up chilling close to the hotel and grabbed a casual dinner at ESPN. After dinner, we caught the bus to Disney Springs.

Disney Springs

Last time we were in Orlando, Disney Springs was Downtown Disney. It was already massive, but has grown so much since the last time we were there. There are SO many new restaurants and an entire row of shops. It was awesome! You could totally spend half a day there enjoying a meal and exploring. We’d already had dinner, but I was scoping out Sprinkles Cupcakes (so good), Morimoto’s restaurant (the street food looked fantastic) and Homecoming for next time. We walked around for a couple of hours, checked out the Lego store,

Tom and Liv at the Lego shop

Tom and me with Lego Hulk

and saw the different shops, until the girls were ready to crash.

Breakfast at Ariel’s

Breakfast at Ariel's

Saturday morning, we got dressed and ready for the day before heading to breakfast at Ariel’s Yacht & Beach club hotel. They had something for everyone -lots of delicious egg dishes, pastries, and breakfast staples- and we were fueled for the day. We changed the girls into their matching Elena dresses,

Little Elenas

and made our way to Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

Tom and Liv Teacups

I have to admit that it was a little bit weird to be at Magic Kingdom, which is so similar to Disneyland, but different enough that I had no clue where anything was. It was packed, too! We have a pretty low-key way of exploring the parks and vacationing in general, so we just got a feel for the layout of the park and surprisingly, we ended up doing a lot! The rides we went on: Small World (P lost her mind; she loved it), Dumbo, teacups, and Buzz Lightyear. 

We ate lunch in Tomorrowland, but the food highlight of the day was hitting up the desserts on Main Street.

You know I finally got my rice crispy. 😉

Me with my Mickey rice crispy treat

(Shirt is here)

Hollywood Studios

We made our way to Hollywood Studios since we had reservations for character dinner. Reservations and Fast Passes fill up quickly, so if you’re planning a trip, it’s worth taking the time to think of must-dos and dining options. When I planned our trip, a lot of spots were already booked up!

We had a little bit of time before our dinner reservations, so we watched the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show. (Liv told me she wished it was longer; she really enjoyed it.) After the show, we walked over to Hollywood & Vine for character dinner.

Liv loves seeing all of the characters, but when she was P’s age, she was understandably apprehensive of people wearing huge heads and giant furry costumes. P had zero fear. She ran up to Mickey screaming and laughing, and wouldn’t stop hugging and kissing him. I actually ended up having to hold her back at the table until it was her turn for the characters to come around because she couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around them. It was hilarious and adorable.

P and mickey

The girls with Minnie

The food was surprisingly great, too. They had so many healthy options (I had salmon, salad, buffalo grilled chicken, and plantains), and sangria. 

Dinner

(I went back for more doubles of everything- so good)

There was also an entire kids’ station with chicken, veggies, mashed potatoes, little hot dogs, grilled cheese, and was just their height, too.

By the time we finished dinner, it was pouring, so we hopped on the boat back to the hotel. After we dried off and put the girls to sleep, the adults enjoyed relaxing in the room with some Moscow mules. 🙂

Animal Kingdom

Animal kingdom

Tree girl

Giraffe

Sunday morning, the Pilot and Liv grabbed some snacky foods from the hotel for everyone to share, and we rode the bus to Animal Kingdom. I haven’t been to Animal Kingdom in years -and spent the last time we were there sobbing on the dinosaur ride haha- and forgot how lush and green it is. I feel like it’s based more on experiences (shows, entertainment, animal sightings) than just rides, and it doesn’t feel as crazy and busy. We had Fast Passes for Killamanjaro Safari, so after grabbing coffee at Starbucks, we headed there first.

Rhino

I have no idea

We were able to see so many animals: crocodiles, giraffes, hippos, elephants, lions, rhinos, wild African dogs, and deer, within a close distance.  After the ride, we watched the Lion King show, which everyone LOVED. The performers were incredible, and “Circle of Life” gave me serious goosebumps. They called Livi up with a handful of kids for the finale, and she got to shake a shaker and do the parade around the room. 

After the show, we walked over to the new Pandora land, which was seriously mind-blowing.

W liv at Pandora Land

Pandora Land

The pics I took don’t really do it justice; it’s hard to tell how vast and vibrant it is until you’re there in person. We had Fast Passes for the new Na’vi River Journey ride, which is a gentle boat ride through the land of Na’Vi. This animatronic is supposed to be the most lifelike one in the world, and I believe it. She was gorgeous and moved just like a real living being. A very tall, blue, illuminated being. 

Na'Vi boat ride

We didn’t end up getting to use our later Fast Passes for the Flight of Passage ride -if you want a full spoiler, check out this YouTube video– but the girls were dangling by a thread. After full days of activities and stimulation, they were ready for some car naps, and it was time to hit the road before it started pouring. I know we’ll be back soon, though!

Highlights:

P’s obsession with the characters. 

P and donald

When Donald walked away, she ran after him, trying to hug him until I could catch her. 

This picture was taken after I had to hold her arms down because she kept trying to dive onto Daisy so she would hold her.

The fam with Daisy

(I wanted to get the Pilot a shirt that wasn’t too over the top and found this one on Etsy, too)

Lunch at the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. The food there was the best “quick” park food I’ve had. I could eat one of their bowls every day: you pick your protein (chicken, tofu or beef), your base (rice and grains, sweet potato + red potato, or kale and romaine salad) and your sauce (I think it was a herb yogurt dressing, a balsamic and a chimmichurri). The bowl is topped with a crunchy veggie slaw and SO delicious; very hearty and satisfying.

Lunch

Watching Livi giggling at breakfast with her nanas.

The fact that both Small World rides do indeed have a scary clown. Why did they need to put that in there? 

Creepy clown in Small World

This. I was like, “I’m not super hungry, so I’ll just have some and save the rest for later or tomorrow” and then I had a stick in my hand. 

Mickey rice crispy

Laughing in our ridiculous ponchos. A little rain didn’t stop the party. 

Poncho party

Having madre and nana there with us. It makes my heart happy any time we get to be together, and everything is just so much more fun when they’re around. 🙂

Have you been to Disney? What’s your absolute favorite part? If you’d like to share your top Disney tips below, I’ll include them in my post with tips and the things we’ve learned.

xoxo

Gina

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32 Comments

  1. Julia on June 5, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Looks so fun! P is too cute hugging all the characters. Can’t wait to read your tips, since we want to make a trip soon. How far in advance did you plan?

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      i planned like a month and a half in advance, which didn’t seem like enough time. so many things book out quickly!

    • Lindsay on June 6, 2017 at 8:05 am

      You can start making reservations 90 days in advance…do it!!! Things fill up SOO quickly!!

      • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:15 am

        YES. as soon as you can, plan and book!

  2. Ally on June 5, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Funny story…my family was at the MK on Saturday (we live just over an hour away so we have season passes) and I saw the pilot and Liv in front of it’s a small world . I didn’t want to be a creeper. Liv looked adorable in her Elena dressn

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      no way!! you wouldn’t have been a creeper haha 🙂 so cool you were there!

  3. Emily @ Pizza and Pull-ups on June 5, 2017 at 7:23 am

    That is just too cute about P, I’m glad you guys had a blast! We are starting to look into Disneyland trips for our littles, so I love to hear about Disney experiences.

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      <3 it's so much fun to plan!

  4. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on June 5, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Oh so sorry about the rain! I was in Disney World with my ex a few years ago. We stayed at the Boardwalk too. It was convenient for getting to a lot of places. Glad you had fun despite the boo weather!

  5. Kelsey Graf on June 5, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I’ve always thought that the Disney parks sounded so overwhelming with kids, but your trip (er… the rice krispy treat?) actually make it sound manageable down the road! Also… I feel like ALL those characters in Small World look creepy? 😉

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      i think it’s definitely more manageable if you don’t have super high expectations and just kinda go with the flow! and hahah YES. so many of them are totally creepy

  6. Ciara on June 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Just wondering how you deal with sharing a hotel room with young children? Did you get a suite style room that had a separate space you could be in after you put the little ones down until you were ready to go to bed too?

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      it depends on how late we plan on staying up! sometimes we’ll get a suite if we know we’ll want to spend more in the room. for adventures like disney, we will either have someone go back to the hotel to put P down for the night while the other parent stays up with liv, or just keep both kids out later depending on how they’re doing. for this situation, we all shared one large hotel room! i debated booking another one, but we all had a place to sleep, and the kids were so exhausted they crashed right away so we could enjoy cocktails and stay up a little later

  7. Tiffany on June 5, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    LOVE Disney World! My absolute favorite is walking around World Showcase in Epcot, exploring the different countries with a beer or cocktail in my hand. The kids love it, too — there’s a little passport they can have stamped at each country, and the Cast Members do a great job interacting with them.

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      i’m bummed we didn’t make it to epcot. we love it! definitely going back to that one

  8. Jamie @ madrediem.com on June 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I love Disney so much! The Lion King show is one of our favorites!

    Since we live in Orlando we’ve gone a ton of times and Jules has even gone a few times (the first time she was 6 months old and I swear she loved it). I think my top Disney tips are to be smart with your Fast Passes – don’t waste them on rides that don’t usually have long lines and book all of them for the morning so you can book more once you’ve used your 3. Also if you’re going to Disney with kids don’t try to plan out the day too much – we always have the most fun when we let things happen organically and just go with the flow. We avoid the parks like the plague in the summer and over any holidays since they’re so packed that it’s hard to enjoy yourself. Finally, always make time for the tequila cave in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. The margaritas are sooooo good and they have tequila flights!

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      the margaritas there are SO good. thank you so much for sharing your tips!!

  9. Jessica W on June 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Next time you go to Disney, make sure to get a FastPass for Enchanted Tales with Belle. Your girls will love it. It’s basically story time with Belle where the kids get to be part of the story and then take a photo with Belle. And the animatronic Lumiere and Wardrobe are amazing! And eating/drinking through all the countries in Epcot is the best!

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      we definitely have to do that next time! the girls would LOVE it

  10. Linda on June 5, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Oh, the rice krispie treats, how I love them. I like to go to Goofy’s at Disney Springs and customize. If you haven’t done that, I highly recommend it.

    • Fitnessista on June 5, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      they are so much better at disney!
      i will definitely check that out- thank you!

  11. Juliette | Namastay Traveling on June 6, 2017 at 5:11 am

    Ah what an amazing trip! I’ve wanted to go back here as an adult…but probably need to wait til I have kids first to really enjoy this magical place! And yum….those rice crispy treats look aammaazinngg!

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:17 am

      you don’t! you can go sans kids and drink around the world in epcot. it’s delightful

  12. Brittany Taylor @ The Gourmet Financier on June 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Hollywood and Vine was our favorite character meal! We went to the Nick Jr. breakfast our first trip and it was wonderful! We didn’t do it this last time and I so wish we had!
    And P’s love for the characters is precious! My oldest has always been TERRIFIED of characters except the princesses. She is 5 now and is just now getting close to Minnie and Daisy. I hope my youngest loves them!

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:14 am

      it was such a great character meal! i’ll check out that breakfast, too 🙂
      haha it is so cute and funny. liv was the same way- she just liked princesses for a long time. now she loves the characters! p has had zero fear

  13. Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That! on June 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I cannot wait to bring our little girl there…if only for the rice krispy treat!

  14. Amanda @ CheerstotheWeekends on June 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Oh my gosh! I haven’t been on it’s a small world in forever, but I just saw the scary clown at Disneyland! I thought it was freaky! HA

  15. Lisa @ Lisa 3D on June 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I can’t wait to go back to Disney this fall! My favorite area is Tomorrowland, though it has changed so much over the years. The first thing I always do when I get to Magic Kingdom is head for the Peoplemover – it’s a fun tour of the land and you also get to see inside Space Mountain (one time Space Mountain was down during our Peoplemover ride so the lights were on and you could see all the tracks – it was so cool!)

    I also can’t wait to see the new Pandora land. It looks amazing!

    Looks like you guys had a blast!

  16. Kayla on June 7, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Looks like such a great trip! I haven’t been to Disney World since they changed Downtown Disney and I’m SO curious about the new Pandora land.

    I grew up going to Disney World a lot (makes sense being from New York) but now go to Disneyland a few times a year because my friend is in LA. I get the two “Magic Kingdoms” SO confused!

  17. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on June 7, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I’m so jealous that you got to see Pandora! I love Animal Kingdom and I’m pumped that there is even more to enjoy. Magic Kingdom is awesome, but can definitely be overwhelming.

    Did you get to check out the new 3D Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios? It’s the best!!!

  18. Jen on June 7, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    If you go to the Boardwalk again, you *must* try Ample Hills ice cream! Their original stores are in Brooklyn and they have the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. I will wait an hour in line just to get a scoop!

  19. Meagan on June 8, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I LOVE Disney World! We did a week there only a month ago and it was so much fun! You didn’t go to Epcot :'( All the best food is there – I think we spent most of our food money in Epcot. We stayed off property but it was so close that it was less than a 5 minute drive from our hotel to the Animal Kingdom parking lot and we saved a ton of money. One tip that I think really works for making reservations is to keep checking back. I was able to nab a Be Our Guest res about a week ahead of our trip just because I kept checking back. And then for fastpasses: on the day of, use the app to “modify” an existing fastpass reservation and keep refreshing until you get an availability for the fastpass you want. I don’t know how to explain it quickly, but even if all reservations are gone, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get one at all.

    Disney planning could be a full time job but it helps a lot to make the vacay flow better. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun! I know I can’t wait to go back again.

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