Posted in Magic Kingdom, Travel Plans, WDW Dining

Gaston’s Tavern

Gaston’s Tavern is one of our new FAVORITE places to stop for a snack in the Magic Kingdom!

Check out the size of these cinnamon rolls… (Yes, that is a hat for size reference!) These snacks are as big as your head!

img_2090
Cinnamon Rolls at Gaston’s Tavern

These cinnamon rolls will cost you $4.49 (January 2017) or 1 snack credit. They are served warm and will easily fill up 2 (or 3) tummies. Gaston’s Tavern also serves fruit cups, veggies and dip, and hummus and chips. As parents of picky eaters, we often bribe our kids to eat their veggies with a sweet treat so if you’re in the same boat, you can make that happen at Gaston’s Tavern!

Lefou’s Brew is a delightful drink we love as well. The beverage itself is an icy apple drink topped with mango foam and can be used as 1 snack credit. The kids don’t love the mango foam as much as we do so we sip that off the top and share 2 brews for the 4 of us. It is a fabulous way to cool down on a hot day in the Magic Kingdom!

The souvenir goblet (sold separately) is a fun way to have your drink served, but it is only plastic and we’ve used it maybe 2 or 3 times since buying it the first time we visited in November of 2015.  We recommend skipping the goblet and enjoying Lefou’s Brew as a snack credit. Sip it while you wait in line for StoryTime with Belle!

But watch out for the brain freeze!

img_2088
Menu at Gaston’s Tavern

Make sure to check out the dining room on both sides of Gaston’s Tavern! The antler chandelier is pretty impressive and Gaston’s Man Cave Atmosphere is pretty fun place to enjoy your treats.

img_2089

Posted in Magic Kingdom, Recipe, WDW Dining

Disney World Homemade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich (better than a copycat recipe!)

20161016_143139One of our all-time favorite things to do at the Magic Kingdom in WDW is to get a Home-made Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor just off of Main Street to enjoy during the fireworks! This is truly one of the highlights of each trip! If you’re a Disney Long-timer, you know that these cookies used to be available at the Main Street Bakery….BUT….for Starbucks lovers everywhere…the Main Street Bakery has now turned into a pretty awesome Starbucks with yummy bakery items, too. At first, I was a little disappointed in this change because we loved that bakery…until I found out that 1 Snack Credit can get you a VENTI FRAPPUCCINO or Latte! SWEET! So, I for one, was happy to see Starbucks come to WDW!

Back to those amazing cookie sandwiches…

I believe planning a Disney trip is almost nearly as fun as enjoying one! As our family gets ready for our next trip to WDW, we plan fun activities to add to the anticipation. For example, every Friday in the months leading up to our next trip, we watch a Disney movie and sometimes plan fun desserts or dinner that have to do with whatever movie we’re watching. For example, if we’re watching Lady & the Tramp, we’ll eat spaghetti. If we’re watching Beauty & the Beast, we may eat some French cuisine. We just watched Disney’s The Shaggy Dog and while making homemade Dog Biscuits for our pooch is a fun idea, making Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches for us is even better! We’re making these this week in honor of our Grand Opening Celebration!

So…here’s my own version of the Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches specifically from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (although rumor has it, there are other places at WDW serving these now. Check out Disney’s food blog for more info!).

WDW Travel with Kids Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Full size coffee pot for size reference. These are HUGE cookie sandwiches!

1 cup sweet cream butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup pure sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups of flour (yes, 3! It’s what makes these the best!!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package of chocolate chips (I use ghiradelli or toll house)
1 container of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

(A few variations: You can increase the sugar to 1 cup each…but that is WAY too sweet for me with the added ice cream! The butter can be changed to 2/3 cup butter recipe shortening and 2/3 cup butter. This makes it a creamier/buttery tasting cookie. Also, I sometimes use 1 cup of whole grain flour along with 2 cups of all-purpose flour. This actually makes them look more like the Disney version and I think it tastes better + its just a bit healthier that way.)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix lightly. To make Disney sized cookies, use 2 ice cream scoops of dough for each cookie! (see photo below) I always line my cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent burning. Place the dough on your cookie sheet and  press until somewhat flat (remember, they need to make a sandwich).
Bake for 10 minutes but check them after 8. You want them to be only lightly browned. The cookies will actually continue baking on your cookie sheet once you bring them out of the oven so you don’t want them to look “completely done” while still in the oven.
Let cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then allow to cool completely on a plate. Put 2 or 3 scoops of ice cream between 2 cookies and enjoy!!

 

 

Posted in Disney with kids, Magic Kingdom, Travel Plans

Disney with Littles: Top Five Things You Can’t Leave Home Without!

Guest Post By Alexa W.classroomclipart.com

Traveling to Disney with a lot of littles can be both doable and fun! Just don’t leave home without these top 5 things!

(Right now we have kids ages 18mo, 3, 5, 7, 10,  & 11. We were at Disney World most recently in August.)

  1. Sippy cups leashes like these HERE:

I bought these exact ones at Walmart and they were close to $5 each. Right now my family doesn’t have a little one attached to a certain sippy cup, but we used them to tether lovies (which they are attached to) to the stroller. Can you imagine being in the park with a tired little one and you can’t find their special thing?? It would be a nightmare. My 18 month old is attached to a stuffed bear and my 3 year-old has a blanket. I attached both of these lovies with SippiGrips to the stroller. The leash is long enough for little ones to sit in the stroller and hold on to the special something all while still staying attached! Thank you, SippiGrips, for the peace of mind!

  1. Ok, maybe this is obvious, but BRING YOUR STROLLER.

Even older ones need to rest their legs sometimes. My family likes to go all day – show up when the park opens and stay until it closes. One way we are able do this is by having portable resting stations! J With six kids, we take two strollers, one double and one single. You can also rent them from places like kingdomstrollers.com. I have an ancient Graco DuoGlider that I just use for trips. I’ve thought about upgrading, but mine has 4 mesh cup holders built into the umbrellas, which is a feature that really comes in handy.

  1. Now, talking about cup holders, THIS is something I must have in the future:

img_4554I have never taken one to DisneyWorld before, but I saw one while at the park and had to snap a picture! You can bet I will never go to the park again without one! Pure Genius! Any family with littles knows that there will always be STUFF, so don’t waste the bottom storage of the stroller with cups and spray fans!  Easy access to water bottles and fans comes from using a shoe holder zip tied to the stroller. Maybe I will decide to upgrade my stroller after all.

  1. Of course you’ll want to bring Ponchos, Umbrellas, and Spray Fans.

You can buy these things in the park, but it will cost more money and use up some of your time.  You don’t want the weather to slow you down from having fun – hot or wet. Spray fans are easy to refill and it’s amazing what a little cool down can do for a cranky little one. My 18mo old loved to play with one and even spray it himself – easy entertainment, guys.  Two in One: Entertainment and cool down.

  1. Label Everything: Bring Masking Tape, a Sharpie and Liquid Band-aid.

Before we left this last time, I took time to label all the water bottles, spray bottles, lovies, and even the baby’s shoes. I just tried to think through anything that might fall out of the stroller or get dropped and I labeled it. Then of course, I brought the supplies along, because, as you might guess, I realized there were some things that I missed.  But what about the liquid Band-Aid? How about labeling your children? If there was any place to lose a child, it should be at a Disney park. They have better detectives than the Scotland Yard I think. So well trained and calm… how do I know? Maybe that’s a guest post for another time. 😉 However, should it happen that one of your littles wanders off, I have no doubt that they will be found. Finding their grown ups is what might be hard! It has been suggested that writing the adult’s phone number on their arm and covering with liquid Band-Aid is a wonderful option. It is sweat-proof, water-proof and ensures a quick reunion.

No matter what you decide to take with you, I know your family will have a magical time in the Happiest Place on Earth! Happy Traveling!

About the Author: Alexa is a Dance Instructor and Homeschooling mom of 6! Thanks for your great advice, Alexa!

Posted in Disney with kids, Magic Kingdom, Travel Plans

Kingdom Strollers vs. Disney Stroller Rental ….Kingdom Strollers for the Win!

logo

Let’s talk about strollers at Walt Disney World. Our kids needed a stroller at Disney up until they were five years old! It is just such a huge place and little legs can’t keep up sometimes. Plus, when we go to Disney World, we almost always plan on staying as late as possible and “closing down the parks!” This means at least one child is going to fall asleep during the fireworks. And when your child falls asleep in their stroller on the way to the buses, you’ll do just about anything to keep them sleeping.

At one point, I was willing to pay an extra thousand dollars to stay at a monorail resort (Polynesian, Grand Floridian & Contemporary) to be able to push my sleeping child onto the monorail at day’s end and push them right into their rooms without collapsing the stroller! I’m no longer in that crazy, over-stressed-mom stage of my life…but I remember it well!

It is such a great thing when the little ones settle down for their naps after lunch at a Disney Park and you can push them right onto the monorail and onto another adventure at Magic Kingdom or Epcot. The problem here is that if you’ve rented a park stroller, you cannot take it from park to park.

As I said previously, our five-year-old has needed a stroller at Disney in the past. He was too big to still have a stroller at home that we could bring along and we were using our other jogging stroller for our infant, so we had a problem. We didn’t want to buy a new stroller just for one week at Disney and the park rentals are expensive and uncomfortable.

Enter the solution: Companies like Kingdom Strollers to the rescue!

Kingdom Strollers delivers the stroller (and cribs/bedding, if needed) right to you at your resort or hotel. Kingdom Strollers is also a preferred Disney provider so they can even deliver right to the Disney parks if you need a last minute rental or realize your child won’t sleep well in a Disney rented stroller. You use the stroller just like if you had brought your own. No waking up exhausted children at the end of your day to carry them to the bus or the tram. The strollers are clean, comfortable, recline-able jogging strollers and they even offer doubles and strollers for children with special needs.

city-mini_01The City Mini Single™ is the lightest and most compact of all the singles making it the perfect park companion. 

      Features include:

  • Easy one-handed folding
  • Large clam shell canopy
  • Storage under seat and on seat back
  • Parent console included
  • Best for kids up to 44” in height
  • 50lb maximum capacity

Kingdom Strollers has some great info on their FAQ page including the answers to these common questions:

Why would I rent a stroller?

Can’t I just rent one from the parks?city-mini-double_01

(I loved their answer here so I’m reprinting it ) Yes….you can. They are $16 a day for a single and $31 for a double. They are made of hard plastic, don’t recline and you CANNOT take them out of the park. Sounds fantastic…..doesn’t it?

All strollers from Kingdom Strollers have padded seats, fully recline and you can take them ANYWHERE you want….and trust us, the last thing you want is to have to carry a sleeping child back to the car at 11:30 at night with 30,000 other people bee-lining for the same monorail you are.

Kingdom Stroller City Mini Single™ Prices  

1-3 Nights Rental $40.00 Total
4-7 Nights Rental $60.00 Total
8-10 Nights Rental $80.00 Total

Kingdom Stroller DOUBLES Prices

1-3 Nights Rental $50.00 Total
4-7 Nights Rental $70.00 Total
8-10 Nights Rental $90.00 Total

Disney Stroller Pricing

Single Stroller 

  • Daily: $15
  • Multi-Day (Length of Stay): $13

Double Stroller 

  • Daily: $31
  • Multi-Day (Length of Stay): $27

 

As you can see….If you need the stroller for more than a day or 2, you’re not going to want to rent a hard shell stroller that you can’t take out of the park with you…Kingdom Strollers is a WAY BETTER deal all the way around.

The cost savings is enough to give Kingdom Strollers your business, but when you find out more about this family…you’ll want to support them even more!

Kingdom Strollers is owned and operated by Matt and Angela Wilhite. I interviewed Matt for this article. Let’s get to know them a bit better.

Tell us about your company history

We are a small, family owned business started with the goal of being able to spend more time with my family. After 10 years as a restaurant General Manager, I wanted to find a way to be able to enjoy the early years of my son as he grew. We started our business in the fall of 2010 with the hope of making $500 that we could use to provide a little financial breathing room. We cleaned strollers in the kitchen of our condo and I would deliver them in our Corolla.

I quit my career just four months after starting this business. We thank the Lord for his guidance everyday and for the blessing that we have in being the stewards over what he has provided. Today we have an 8,000 square foot warehouse with 45 employees. Angela and myself run the company along with our manager Julio.

How did you become a featured Disney stroller provider?

We became a Disney Featured provider when Disney decided to whittle down the number of companies they would allow to continue to be able to make use of their luggage rooms. There were about 20 companies that were renting strollers and it had gotten chaotic for Disney to deal with. We were one of three companies chosen to continue to work with Disney. It’s a great honor.

Tell us what makes you different from the other Disney stroller providers and why should families with young children choose you?

We work hard to provide great guest service and I think our reputation shows that. We really care about the experience our guests have because they are just that….our guests. We also have what I believe to be the cleanest strollers out there. They are laundered between each rental….a tremendous amount of work, but one I think really creates a difference.

Is it necessary for an advance reservation or if families get to Disney and realize they need a stroller, is it likely you will have one available?

I always recommend reserving as far in advance as possible. Even with 1,600 strollers, we will book out completely during certain months

What is your favorite Disney Planning tip for families with young children?

When you visit Disney, take it slow. There are so many small things that can get passed over trying to rush from one Fastpass to another. Enjoy being together and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s like no other.

Thanks, Matt!

Make sure to check out all of the fantastic reviews Kingdom Strollers is getting on their site!

featured-stroller-provider

Posted in Disney in the fall, Holidays at The World, Magic Kingdom

Christmas Magic in the Fall!

We had no idea the magic we were in for!

We arrived at the Disney World Resort on November 1, 2015. After a super-late flight and a quick stop at the beach for the kids to pick up some shell souvenirs, we arrived at the Polynesian Resort ready to crash as soon as we were allowed to check-in!

The next day we started our Theme Park tour with the Magic Kingdom, just like we alwayscropped-20151102_121223.jpg do. The park was still decorated for fall on Monday November 2nd. We enjoyed the pumpkins and fall colors. It was a beautiful day!

Little did we know that Magic Fairies would be working all night to change the Magic Kingdom into a Winter Wonderland! The very next morning we arrived and all that fall décor had disappeared….the Magic Kingdom now looked like this:enhance1h4gg9bh

 

The only thing that made it believable was the fact that we were in the Magic Kingdom! Christmas had descended all over our favorite place in the Walt Disney World Resort!

So…if you’re planning a fall trip to WDW, remember that Christmas Magic begins early at Walt Disney World!

christmas01