Orlando fun + Polar Express

Hi! Happy humpday! Hope you’re enjoying the morning. Sorry I’m a little later blogging than usual today! We went to a get-together last night and I’m moving in sloowwwww motion. I also woke up with a gnarly head cold (WHYYYYYY) so lots of wellness shots happening. 

As an appetizer for last night’s girls’ night, I made two loaves of homemade sourdough bread, and broiled it with butter and a little salt:

Bread and dip

(along with this legendary spinach and artichoke dip)

+ a dairy-free spinach-artichoke dip. (One of the girls can’t have dairy at all, so I wanted to make something she could have, too!)

We had rosé and cocktails, appetizers, and a “favorite things”-style gift exchange. The idea was to bring a gift that was around $30 and something that you LOVE. I picked a couple of my can’t-live-without beauty items: this tarte mascara primer and a small bottle of Moroccan oil. The primer makes a huge difference for long lashes – I think it conditions them too, because my lashes always seem longer and healthier after I’ve been using it – and the girls and I all use the Moroccan oil on our hair. It smells lovely and helps to keep it shiny/healthy. I came home with a gorgeous Magnolia pitcher and can’t wait to use it for next week’s cookie exchange.

Some more fun things from lately:

we took a weekend trip to Orlando!

Disney girls

Friday morning, we got up fairly early and headed straight to the hotel. This way, we could check into our room, unload the luggage, and venture to the park. We were on our first Fast Pass ride by 1pm! Not too shabby. We found out that going to the park on a weekday is the key. On Friday, the weather was cool and cloudy, and the park felt nearly empty compared to the last time we were there. (During our last trip, it was packed and scorching hot.) It didn’t seem to get busy until early evening, and we got to ride a lot of rides!

MY OTHER VIDEOS

Disney carousel with the girls

P even went on the Barnstormer roller coaster. She was well-above the height minimum, so we asked if she wanted to try it out. She was enthusiastic because Liv loves it, but afterwards, she was speechless for about 20 seconds, until she said, “I no like it. It’s scary.” Poor girl. 🙁 

Liv had her least favorite ride experience to date. She really wanted to go on Splash Mountain, so I told her I would take her. I could tell she was nervous, but she really wanted to do it. I explained that there was a big dip, but other than that, it wasn’t really anything scary. I hadn’t been on the ride for years, and I forgot that the dip is LONG. It goes a few seconds past the “I think I’m done with this” point. When we got to the bottom, I was like, “WAHOO! You did it!” and went to give her a high five. She said, “I think I want to cry now.” 🙁

Splash mountain with Liv

We went on all of their favorite rides (like Small World, Peter Pan, the Little Mermaid and the carousel). I think that the cotton candy and seeing their beloved characters took the sting of the ride misadventures away.

Tom and the girls at disney

After a full day at Magic Kingdom, we took the bus to Disney Springs for dinner at Frontera Cocina (a Rick Bayless restaurant).

Christmas at Disney World

Even though I’ve been scaling back a lot on the ol’ alcohol – it makes me so tired and the girls had been waking up a lot during the night – the Pilot and I were both ready for a margarita.

I tried the vegan enchiladas (with potato, mushrooms and squash) and they were FANTASTIC.

Vegan enchiladas

The next day was cool and rainy. We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel:

Paleo oatmeal

(the hotel had Paleo oatmeal!! I can’t wait to recreate it at home)

and went shopping at Millennia mall. When you live in a shopping wasteland (thank goodness for online shopping), it can be oddly thrilling to go to a *real* mall. 

We grabbed an awesome lunch at Greens and Grille:

Greens and grille

and then started the drive to Tavares for the Polar Express.

Polar express

Crown car

I’d ordered the tickets for Polar Express a few months ago, and had no idea what to expect. I’ve heard so many awesome things about it, so when my friend let me know tickets were on sale, we decided to give it a try. It’s an interactive train ride, which includes Christmas carols, a reading of the Polar Express book, visit to the “North Pole” and Santa stops through each cabin to give each kiddo a small bell. It was super cute.

Polar express

They gave us hot cocoa and cookies, and the girls loved interacting with all of the different characters.

Liv with the Polar Express conductor

I think that P was still a little young for it – it’s an hour train ride, and while she loves trains, it felt a little long – but Liv is the perfect age. Even though we enjoyed it, I don’t think it will be one of our must-do holiday adventures. 

Gorgeous view (but not the North Pole haha):

Not the north pole

I hope you’re enjoying the afternoon!

What’s one of your all-time favorite holiday traditions? I love going to Winterhaven in Tucson to look at the lights. (Blast from the past post from the best trip to Winterhaven, and now I’m crying softly into my tea.)

Happy Wednesday, friends.

xo

Gina

Don’t forget to get in today’s workout challenge here!

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14 Comments

  1. Charlsie N on December 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I’ll go cry into my water bottle now about Winterhaven. We’ll be there for Christmas so hopefully we can go the week between Christmas and New Years. Gosh I miss living in Tucson so much!

  2. Meagan on December 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Seems like we barely missed you! My husband I were there Tue-Sat night last week but we had bern to the MK Christmas party the night before and spent Friday between AK and Epcot. If you haven’t tried out the new Avatar ride yet you have to soon. It was amazing!

  3. Molly Petsch on December 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    We’re taking our boys (3 and 5) on the Polar Express ride Christmas Eve in the mountains of North Carolina- fingers crossed for cold and maybe a little dusting of snow?!

  4. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on December 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    What a cute weekend adventure! I’m sure the girls loved it sans the whole rollercoaster dislikes. lol

  5. Melissa Caulfield on December 13, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Looks like a beautiful time! We started a tradition with our boys years ago. We have 18 8 Christmas movies..so every night in December we watch one until we go thru all of them. Or we watch a t.v Christmas special if its on. Nice fun way to end the evenings – vino for hubby and I and hot cocoa for them!

  6. priya on December 13, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    the polar express looks so fun! i didn’t know that was a thing!
    side note- Penelope looks so big now! 🙂 (from what i can see- ) it really looks like Live looks like more the Pilot, and P looks more like you! They’re both so cute 🙂

  7. Mari on December 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Aww that was so sad to read how scared your daughters were after the rides! They’re braver than me though! At least they were brave enough to try the rides : ) I’m such a wimp when it comes to rides like that. I had a scary experience at Disney World when I went last year – it was some Dinosaur ride. I asked the employee if the ride was scary and she was like no, it just jerks around a little. So I was like ok, no big deal. I got on the ride and I was sooooo terrified during the ride!!! I was closing my eyes and covering my ears the whole time. At the end I was like how is that not scary!!!????!?! How does anyone find that ride fun?!??! Anyways, hope the rest of your trip at Disney World was fun!

  8. Nicole @ Bento Momentos on December 14, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Looks like a great little holiday getaway trip! Going to Disney around the holiday season sounds like a dream 🙂

  9. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups on December 14, 2017 at 9:22 am

    We are taking the babes to Winterhaven for the first time tomorrow, I am looking forward to it. Hope you are feeling better ASAP.

  10. Sara S on December 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    The one tradition we have is going to the Brandywine River museum as a family. They have a huge train display set up with Christmas as well as an extensive doll and dollhouse collection. I’ve been going since I was little and it’s magical to be able to take my kids now!

  11. Stacy on December 18, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Have you ever ventured into Mount Dora? Adorable little downtown with a handful of yummy restaurants. They have an amazing craft fair in the fall and an art fair late winter (I think).

  12. Jennifer on December 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Winter is the best time for Disney World! I always went during February when my school had their winter break. My parents shipped us over to my Grandparents and during the week we would go to disney for a few days. This was before fast pass, and I don’t think we would wait TOO long. I do remember going one year to the water parks and it was winter and an hour before closing. There was no lines. I think we went down one water slide like 5 times before closing. XD

    BTW- I love the look on P’s face with the shot of Liv and The Pilot. She has a crazed look in her eyes probably saying “help me- my parents keep taking me on scary rides” XD Hopefully she’s find those rides fun before you guys move out of the area lol

    • Fitnessista on December 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      that is so amazing! yes, the lines were much smaller. off-season is the way to go!
      the silly about P is that she ASKS to go on the crazy rides. she begged and screamed to go on the small roller coaster at wild adventures and then she was terrified afterwards.

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