DIY Glow Ears

diy glow ears

diy glow ears

DIY Glow Ears

Today I’ve got a simple and easy DIY for you! Although this one’s great for the Mickey’s Halloween parties, they’ll also be great for trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood. What makes this DIY glow Ears project so fantastic you ask? This diy is super easy and is great for anyone going to the parks year-round! Save big bucks on glowing Mickey ears and make these simple, re-useable glow ears instead!diy glow ears

Gather Supplies

•Headband
•Glow Stick Bracelets (2)
•Glow Stick Bracelet Connectors (2)
•Glue Gun
•Glow-in-the-dark Glue Sticks
•Tulip Glow-in-the-dark Paint

Assemble

Start by cutting the little bracelet connector piece in two and gluing the piece to the headband with the glow-in-the-dark glue sticks. There’s no exact science to this so don’t stress about the precise location of each one. This is supposed to be fun!diy glow earsStart with the top piece and once it has cooled, place the glow stick into that connector and curl it down to decide where the bottom connector piece should go. Mark the spot with a little dab of glue. Then proceed to glue that piece down. Pro tip: make a ring of glue around the entire headband so that the glue holding the connector piece won’t be pulled off once you place the glowstick. Repeat with both on the other side.diy glow ears

Make It Really Glow

By now, the headband has two ears that can be replaced with new glow sticks nightly. No need to make multiple headbands!! Just toss them nightly and get a fresh glow stick the next evening.diy glow earsWho wants to stop at just glow sticks though?! Starting at the base of the headband, run a line of glow glue around the edges of the headband. Repeat on the opposite side. This is also where you can use the hot end of your glue gun to help shape the already-cooled glue on the headband both around the connector pieces as well as under the headband (where the headband will sit against your head). Smooth it to your liking and you’re done! Or not…

Add Hidden Mickeys

If you’re a true Disney parks fan, you’ll want to add some hidden Mickeys too! Using the fine tip of a tulip glow-in-the-dark fabric paint bottle, squirt one larger and two smaller circles in the shape of Mickey on the top of the headband. For the next Mickey, turn it in the opposite direction and continue the pattern across the entire top portion of the headband.diy glow ears

Show It Off

Now that you’ve got some spiffy new diy glow ears, be sure to get out and show them off!! Mickey’s Halloween party at Disneyland and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween parties would be fantastic for this! Here’s all our spooky fun!Don't buy your Mickey Ears, make them! We've got a simple tutorial that shows you how. These DIY Glow Ears are so easy to make, and they're cute. Make yours before your next Disney vacation!

These fun and simple ears will also look amazing in any park areas that feature black lights (think dark rides and Pandora) since the glow glue reacts really well with black lights! Be sure to share a photo of your diy glow ears on one of our socials if you decide to make some!  ~Meredith °o°

How to Combine Disney Gift Cards

gift card

Disney gift cards are incredible gifts for Disney fans. They can be used to pay for just about anything Disney you can think of! What happens when you get a ton of cards? If you’ve heard about the “Target Red Card” hack that allows you to save 5% off of the price of Disney gift cards, you’ve probably wondered how it works. Is it really advantageous? Does it really save money? We think it does! This hack is a great way to save, but how do you handle all those gift cards lying around? Read on for our best tips for how to combine Disney gift cards!Disney gift cards are great gifts! But what do you do when you have a ton of them? Read our best tips for combining Disney gift cards and help yourself stay organized!

How to Combine Disney Gift Cards

Remove cards from the packaging carefully and be sure to leave the sticky part still attached to the plastic gift card. This will allow you to attach all the cards together and keep them from getting mixed up.gift card

Number the Cards

Number each card with a sharpie. This is crucial because it will help you keep track of which card is which once you enter them into your account online. If you don’t, you could get very confused later about which cards you have and haven’t entered yet. This is especially helpful when entering enough cards for thousands of dollars since many people choose to use gift cards for vacation payments.gift card

Don’t Scratch Them!

Don’t scratch to reveal the security code on the back!! The little area that’s meant to be scratched is actually a little sticker and can be pulled up altogether. Removing the sticker will save you loads of time and will keep you nice and clean. Nobody likes the mess left from lots of scratch-off cards!

Arrange Together

Use the sticky part to arrange the cards on top of each other with the bottom of the top card aligned directly above the bottom card’s number info. This will help you when glancing down to enter the numbers because the bottom of the card above will always be there to guide your eye. You can just barely see the sticky glue left on the card in the “don’t scratch” photo above. It naturally lines up perfectly to stick the cards to each other.

Login

Direct your browser to www.disneygiftcard.com and login with your existing account. No need to make a separate Disney account for this! Simply login using the same credentials you use for you My Disney Experience account.gift card

Enter the Information

Enter each card in separately and in number order. The website requires you to give each card a nickname. Use the number of the card as the card nickname so that you can always keep them organized.

Designate Primary Card

Designate one of your cards as the primary card. KEEP THIS CARD SAFE! This is the card that you’ll use to transfer funds to and make payments with. It’s good to keep in mind that each card will only hold up to $1000 and your account is only allowed 5 cards at any given time. This means that if you’re planning on using them to pay for your Disney vacation, you will likely have to designate more than one card as a primary card, so be sure to label them the same both on the physical card as well as the website nickname for that card.

Transfer Funds to Primary Card

Transfer funds from each card you enter over to your primary card. Don’t delete the empty card until you have entered in the next numbered card so that if you need to stop unexpectedly and finish later, you’ll know exactly where you left off. Example: I enter card #1 and designate it as primary. Then I’ll enter #2 and #3 and transfer their funds to the primary card. Now I can delete card #2 and leave the empty card #3 in the account until I’ve entered in card #4’s info. That way I’ll always know what number to start with if I have to come back to it.

gift card

Don’t Throw Cards Away

Retain all your primary cards you use to pay for things until after your trip! I can’t stress this one enough. Any time Disney has to issue a refund, the funds will always go back to the original payment method. That means if you pay with Disney gift cards, you’ll be refunded on those same Disney gift cards. Recently, guests who had to reschedule or had cruise sailings canceled because of hurricane Irma learned first-hand how refunds work. Though a hurricane is an extreme case for a possible refund example, you just don’t know what can happen and it’s better to keep your primary cards safe.gift card

Make Life Easier

Use a travel agent and have them do all this work for you, for free!!! Along with free vacation planning when you book with a travel agent, you’ll also get extra perks like this! Most travel agents will be happy to combine your cards for you. Save yourself the trouble and support one of your favorite Disney travel planners!

Thats all for today’s gift card tips. Have you got a great gift card tip? Please share with us!  ~Meredith °o°

Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland

With fall just around the corner, there are some things you can always count on. Leaves are changing color, pumpkin spice flavored EVERYTHING is hitting the stores, Halloween costumes are starting to appear, and, of course, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland! Believe it or not, kids are not the only ones who can enjoy this event! I’ve attended the Halloween Party for the past few years with just my friends, no kids, and had a great time! Let me tell you about the party and why adult-only trips are definitely an option!

Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland

Each year I’ve attended Mickey’s Halloween Party something new is added to make the experience even better! Dressing up, trick-or-treating, themed food, fireworks, parades, character meet and greets, what more do I need to say?? Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is available for select nights starting September 20 to October 31. Click here for a full list of dates and prices! While there are many great perks about the Halloween Party, these are my best tips to help you maximize you experience.Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland

Costumes & Candy

What better way to feel like a kid again than trick-or-treating!? Not only are you already in a costume but you can have bountiful amounts of candy too! Even if you aren’t a big candy person, each treat trail includes a healthy alternative such as apple slices, carrots, goldfish, yogurt covered fruit, etc. It’s fun to coordinate costumes with friends or do something solo. Whether you buy a costume or Disney bound and make your own, just remember to have fun with it! Make sure you follow the costume guidelines so you don’t waste precious park time having to change!Mickey's Halloween Party in DisneylandPro Tip: Bring your own bag for candy! Disneyland provides you a small bag for free, but you WILL fill it up! I suggest buying a larger bag to hold all your candy!

Character Greetings

Remember as a kid when you’d wait in line to get Mickey’s autograph?? Who am I kidding I still do that! Mickey’s Halloween Party gives you the opportunity to meet so many characters in their Halloween inspired costumes! What’s even better is the chance to meet a variety of villains! Admission to this event gives you access to meet and greet some of the best villains including ones you may not see in the park throughout the day! If you’re dressed as your favorite character, what a great memory to have a picture with them!Mickey's Halloween Party in DisneylandPro Tip: If you arrive at the party when it begins, I would suggest meeting the villains that are in front of the Railroad station first before lines get too long later in the evening!

Fireworks/Parade

What I love most about the fireworks and parade is that they are exclusive to Mickey’s Halloween Party! I think it’s an added bonus to everything else that comes with your admission. This will be the second year that the Frightfully Fun Parade will premiere at the Halloween Party. I was able to see it last year and thought it was one of the best parades I’ve seen at Disneyland! It was so unique to see a parade dedicated to villains!Mickey's Halloween Party in DisneylandPro Tip: If you want to have a good seat for the fireworks and/or parade, you may want to plan that ahead of time so you can save a seat for a good view!

What’s new?

For the first time ever your ticket to Mickey’s Halloween Party grants you admission into Disney’s California Adventure 3 hours before the start of the party! This will also be the first year DCA is decorating for Halloween so if you arrive a little early to the parks, go check out the new decorations!Halloween at Disneyland is a frightfully good time! Read our best tips for attending Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland before you go! We'll tell you what to expect and whether or not it's worth it to attend.

I hope reading this has made you just as excited for Mickey’s Halloween Party as I am!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor, Amanda, for this post and photos!

Fantasmic Dining Package at Disneyland

I recently saw the newly re-imagined Fantasmic! as a part of my River Belle Terrace dining package. As promised in my last post, I want to give my thoughts on my experience. Read on for what to expect from a Fantasmic dining package at Disneyland.

Fantasmic Disney Package at Disneyland

First, it’s important to note that Disneyland is currently offering two Dinner packages. One package exists for River Belle Terrace and Blue Bayou, and one is an On-The-Go package at Hungry Bear Restaurant. Packages vary from $29.99 to $65.00 for adults and $19.99 to $25.00 for children. Each package includes a special menu and admission to a reserved viewing area for Fantasmic! Because I have never eaten at River Belle Terrace, I decided to choose their dining package. Reservations are encouraged and can be made 60 days in advance!Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining Package

Dining Experience

Dining is an experience unto itself. Each guest receives a 3-course dinner which includes a starter, entrée and dessert. Seating is available inside and outside. For an additional $15, guests can upgrade to premium 8:00 p.m. seating and watch the first performance of Fantasmic! from your seat on the outside patio! For guests who may not want to stand or sit on the ground during the show, this option may be good for you! Pro tip: Make upgrades to a dining reservations by calling ahead or by upgrading at the restaurant. Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining Package

The Food

Next, the River Belle Terrace offers a variety of BBQ inspired entrees. Starters include either a soup or salad. Entrees varied from Fried Chicken Sandwich, BBQ Pork Spareribs, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Beef Brisket Sandwich, and more! I went with the Pork Spareribs which comes with their signature baked beans and a choice of side. Sides include Tangy Coleslaw, Seasoned Tater Bites, Potato Salad, or Seasonal Vegetables!Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining PackageFor dessert, I chose the Maleficent Dragon. It was a Crunchy Milk Chocolate Base and a Spiced Dark Chocolate-Blackberry Ganache Center with Caramel Mousse and Orange-Vanilla Sauce! The other dessert option was fresh Strawberry Shortcake. When the guests are finished, cast members hand out tickets for reserved seating for the show. Overall, I am glad I tried this dining experience. It may not be my favorite restaurant in the park, but the food is definitely worth trying!

Fantasmic! 2.0

Furthermore, if you don’t do a dining package you still have the opportunity to watch Fantasmic! FastPass distributions are located at the FastPass machines along the Rivers of America adjacent to Frontier Landing. FastPass tickets reflect show time, return time, and where to return for show seating. Show times are at 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The entire show lasts 27 minutes! Fantasmic! is back at Disneyland, and it's better than ever! Find out why we think you should book at Fantasmic! dining package on your next trip.

What’s New

Fantasmic! is my favorite show at the Disneyland Resort, and I was very eager to see it return with some new enhancements! First of all, the most notable change to the show included new costumes for the dancing monkeys and a Lion King overlay! Rapunzel and Flynn Rider now appear in the Princess sequence. Another important change is to the Columbia. Peter Pan is now Captain Jack Sparrow and a Pirates themed sequence! The new enhancements also included more water projections, more pyrotechnics, and a new soundtrack!Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining PackageI was pleasantly surprised with the new changes. Visitors to the Disneyland resort will definitely want to add this show to their must-see list!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor, Amanda, for this great post and accompanying photos!

Blue Bayou Disneyland Restaurant Review

One of my all-time favorite restaurants at the Disneyland Resort is the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square! There’s so much to love about this restaurant! Blue Bayou is a Table Service restaurant with Cajun/Creole-inspired food. Both lunch and dinner are offered and reservations, which can be made 60 days in advance, are highly recommended. On occasion, walk ins are accepted, but I would not rely on that.

Blue Bayou Disneyland Restaurant Review

I have tried both the lunch and dinner menus and personally enjoy the dinner menu more! The lunch menu is a little cheaper and does include their well-known Monte Cristo sandwich! For my Blue Bayou Disneyland restaurant review, I’m going to speak specifically to the dinner menu.Wondering where to eat in Disneyland? Give Blue Bayou a try. Read our restaurant review to know what to expect and what to eat. We make great recommendations, but the fun you have is all up to you!

Location

First of all, where is the Blue Bayou? For those of you who may not know, it is located within the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction! The location of the restaurant is a big appeal to those who dine there. When you check in for your reservation, you can request a table by the water. You’ll be provided with an additional wait time to be seated at those tables, usually 15-30 minutes depending on how busy the restaurant is that day. The water side tables allow you to watch riders go by on their boats and have a closer look at the attraction. The restaurant gives its guests the feel of an evening in New Orleans with colorful lanterns strewn overhead and candle lights at each table! After you’ve taken in the beautiful decorations around you, it’s time to decide what to eat!Disneyland Restaurant Review Blue Bayou

Appetizers

Whether you’re in the mood for steak, chicken, seafood or a vegetarian option, Blue Bayou has it all for you! Before you begin eating, you’re provided with a complimentary basket of bread and butter. Each entree comes with a choice of Blue Bayou House Salad with your choice of Ranch or Sherry vinaigrette, or a cup of their signature New Orleans Gumbo. For an additional charge, you can upgrade to their Louisiana-spiced Shrimp. I would highly recommend the Gumbo! You don’t have to eat at the Blue Bayou to try it. Visit the Royal Street Veranda, a Quick Service location, to try the Gumbo in a delicious sourdough bread bowl!

Entrees and Desserts

My usual choice is the Surf & Turf, which my friend ordered, so I decided to go with the Pan-seared Salmon. The Surf & Turf includes a petite Lobster Tail and Broiled Filet Mignon served with Blue Bayou Au Gratin Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables and Béarnaise sauce. The Pan-seared Salmon is served with Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Arugula, crispy Onions, Sautéed Spinach, and Blood Orange Beurre Blanc.Blue Bayou Disneyland Restaurant ReviewAdditionally, other entrees include Bone-In Rib-Eye, Citrus-marinated Chicken Breast, Royal Street Seafood Jambalaya, and Portobello Mushroom and Louisiana Popcorn Rice. There are also options for kids, so don’t think this restaurant is limited to just adults! Hopefully after your meal you’ve saved room for dessert! We decided to try the Crème Brulee which was to die for! Overall, the Blue Bayou has yet to disappoint. The wait staff is amazing and friendly, the experience is as unforgettable as the food!

Dining Packages

Finally, with the reopening of “Fantasmic!” this summer, the Disneyland Resort brought back its dining packages to both the Blue Bayou and River Belle Terrace. As mentioned in a previous post, The Main Street Electrical Parade offered a dining package through the Blue Bayou. The same package is being offered for Fantasmic! The package includes a 3-course meal for a flat price of $65.00 per adult and $25.00 per child (ages 3-9) and admission to a reserved viewing area for one of the two Fantasmic! shows that evening. I plan on trying to dining package at the River Belle Terrace later in the summer. Come back to hear how my Fantasmic! dining package experience was!

Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Disney’s summer celebrations kicked off Memorial Day weekend, and Disney’s California Adventure got quite the treat with the grand opening of a brand new ride! On January 2, 2017, Tower of Terror had its final checkout in order to make way for Disney’s newest attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Many fans had mixed emotions about the loss of TOT. I had the pleasure of experiencing this new attraction on opening weekend and will tell you all about it!Ready to ride the newest rides at Disney's California Adventure? Read our best tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout before you go!

Out With the Old, In With the New

After 5 long months, the highly anticipated ride was ready for the public! During the long wait, the hotel began to take the shape of the Collector’s fortress from Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s definitely an eye catching design! While you wait for this thrilling attraction, the ride queue comes to life with all sorts of different, unique plants and designs that’ll surely leave you in high expectations for the ride! As you approach the entry way to what used to be a hotel lobby, you are blown away by the transformation that has taken place! From the moment you walk in, you’re surrounded by glass cases with various items The Collector has collected. As you walk through the line, you enter the Collector’s private office where a very realistic animatronic Rocket explains what to expect on the ride.Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Mission: BREAKOUT!

Without giving too much away, the premise of the ride is to help Rocket as he tries to free the Guardians who were captured by Taneleer Tivan a.k.a. The Collector. Riders enter a gantry lift that takes them up and drops them down Tivan’s fortress. If you think you know what’s going to happen next, you’re wrong! The ride includes 6 different variations so each time you ride could be different from the last! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be determined to ride all 6 variations! Let me give you some tips if you’re planning to visit this ride in the coming months!Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Due to the popularity of Guardians of the Galaxy, the opening of this ride definitely meant LARGE crowds. I would highly suggest arriving at least an hour before the park even opens. Once my friend and I entered the park, we divided and conquered. I stayed in the standby line while my friend went to the FastPass line. Because the park hadn’t opened yet, the standby line was queued in the Hyperion Theater courtyard while the FastPass line was queued backstage. Once the park opened at 9:00 a.m., lines started moving and boy did the wait time increase! By the time my friend and I made it to the actual ride to stand in the outside queue, the wait time hit 300 minutes. After about an hour we finally made it on the ride.Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

My Reaction

We had no idea what to expect, aside from lots of drops. From start to finish the ride keeps you on the edge of your seat! You truly don’t know what you’ll see or when you’ll drop next! So, which did I like better? TOT or Guardians? Well, Guardians did a great job with both the interior and exterior décor, as well as creating a completely different experience for this ride. But, I am a die hard Tower of Terror fan and that ride will always hold a special place in my heart.Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Summer of Heroes

Now if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “this ride isn’t for me.” That’s okay! The opening of this ride coincides with California Adventure’s “Summer of Heroes” where you can meet some of your favorite Marvel characters such as Black Widow or Captain American or even have a dance party with Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy! Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BreakoutDon’t forget to check out all the new food and merchandise options available in the Hollywood Backlot in DCA! Where will you go first this summer?

Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for this photos and accompanying photos!

Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland

Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland Resort

Planning a visit to the Disneyland Resort this summer? Brace yourself for the Southern California heat! What better to cool you down on a hot summer day than with a big scoop of ice cream! Between Disneyland and California Adventure, there are a number of places you can get this tasty treat! These locations are some of my favorites, and I hope they’ll be yours too!Need a cool down treat while visiting Disneyland? Check out our post for the top 5 must try ice cream locations in Disneyland. Enjoy your next sweet treat armed with the knowledge from our list!

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop

Is your inner chocolate lover calling? Here at Ghirardelli’s, you can get more than just a free chocolate sample when you walk in! When I first visited, I thought I would be entering a chocolate shop. Little did I know the amazing ice cream options that awaited me! If you have time to sit and relax I would suggest one of their banana splits or sundaes! I had their World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae which just looks too beautiful to eat, but nonetheless, it was gone in minutes! Feel free to take a milkshake or even just a scoop of ice cream on the go! Portion sizes are huge so you can definitely share, and you can substitute any of the ice creams if the one listed isn’t quite what you wanted!Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland Resort

Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream

Whether you’re just walking into California Adventure or about to head out, make sure you stop at Clarabelle’s on Buena Vista Street! Here is where you can get the beloved “Kitchen Sink!” At first glance, you may think it doesn’t look like a lot of ice cream, but it is more than enough and is great to share with your friends and family! There’s a variety of sundaes, such as, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Mocha Almond Fudge, and more which you can have in a “Kitchen Sink” or not! I tried my first “Kitchen Sink” and went with the Strawberry Sundae! To my friend’s dismay I ended up eating most of it, but I highly recommend trying one! In addition to these amazing sundaes you can get hand-dipped ice cream bars, just choose your flavor, chocolate coating, and topping!Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland Resort

Cozy Cone Motel

In a previous post about Cars Land, I mentioned the Cozy Cone Motel which has a variety of different on the go snacks. My personal favorite is the soft-serve cone at Cozy Cone 2! As much as I love a good sundae or a big scoop of ice cream, a simple chocolate and vanilla swirl soft-serve is the way to go sometimes! Perfect when you need to get to your FastPass return or to have with you when you stand in line!Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland Resort

Tiki Juice Bar

Making your way over to Disneyland? No trip is complete without a Dole Whip soft-serve at the Tiki Juice Bar! Has the heat got you down? Just need a few minutes to rest? Grab yourself a Dole Whip and head inside the Tiki Room! Nothing beats a great show, air conditioning, and a delicious treat to cool you down!Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland Resort

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar

Last, but certainly not least, is the iconic Mickey Ice Cream Bar! Must Try Ice Cream Locations at Disneyland ResortWhether you’re in California Adventure or Disneyland, make sure you stop at any ice cream cart and grab yourself one! Although there are many other tasty ice cream treats in the Disneyland Resort, these are my recommendations! What’s your favorite ice cream treat?

Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for this delicious post and photos!

Buying Shoes for Disney

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Guide to Buying Shoes for Disney

Buying shoes for a Disney vacation

One of the biggest, and oftentimes overlooked, aspects to planning your Disney vacation is what shoes should you wear? From my own experience, there’s too many options and it can be overwhelming. And what’s more, is that the chances are high that the shoe that best works for you won’t work for someone else. We all have our reasons for why we choose the shoes we do and I’m here to help you nail down the shoe that will best work for you.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Decide what shoe style you already like best

This one is the biggest tip and most important. For me personally, I prefer sandals because I can’t stand having hot feet, especially Florida heat hot! But you may not like sandals and prefer tennis shoes instead. Others may swear by flip flops, and so on… My point being here that you should start your search by knowing, and keeping in mind, your favorite shoe style. Don’t abandon what you know works well for just you just because you read somewhere that “this shoe is the only shoe you should wear at Disney”! It’s also good to point out that you should keep any health concerns you may have on your mind when considering shoe options.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Explore new options

Keeping in mind what style you tend to prefer, check out blog posts etc about that shoe type. If you’re a sandal gal, then explore new shoe styles like a recent fan favorite, the Sanuk Sandals. If you’re only into tennis shoes, then maybe explore some sandal/tennis shoe hybrids like Keens. In any case, and this is important, be sure to go to an actual store and try them on to ensure both fit and comfort level. I had a pair of Chacos I was convinced I wanted but once I got them on, I was not about to drop over $100. They just didn’t feel “right.”

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Budget for new shoes in your vacation fund

If your family is anything like ours, by the time school let out for the summer and we were ready to embark on our vacation, our school shoes had definitely seen better days. Not to mention they barely fit the kids! Knowing that I’d spend $$$ for ours shoes helped us better realize and prepare how much all aspects of our trip would realistically cost. It also ensured that we wouldn’t be spending top dollar on cheaper shoes while at Disney because “the strap broke” or whatever conundrum that may happen. Murphy’s law and all…

 Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Consider which parks (or cruise) you’ll be attending

If you’ll only be visiting the four main theme parks and don’t plan on riding the wet rides, you’ll probably be just fine wearing tennis shoes. On my family’s most recent trip, we knew we’d be visiting both water parks as well as the major theme parks and took this into consideration when purchasing our shoes. This special consideration led us to a shoe that functions mostly as a tennis shoe but feels like a sandal, is completely waterproof, and slides on and off easily. With the water parks a consideration for us, I wanted to ensure I could purchase something that would work no matter which park we were at.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

If you’ll be cruising, your needs will be different than that of a park-goer. You may opt for sandals and slip-ons the majority of the time and save your sneakers for any adventurous excursions you may take. Always keep your destination, and it’s terrain, in mind when shopping for your shoes.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Consider how long you plan to wear them

If you’re going for multiple days as a parks vacation, then you’ll want to go for long-lasting comfort. It’s also good to take two styles of shoe and rotate your shoes each day. This way you won’t have excessive rubbing in the same areas from extended waking times and those spots will get a break every other day.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Additionally, consider the amount of time you’ll be spending in that particular park. If you’re an annual pass holder and won’t be in the parks all day, you may opt for a more stylish shoe since long-lasting comfort wouldn’t be a consideration. Amanda loves her 101 Dalmations Vans for her leisurely trips to Disneyland (ah, the passholder life). They’re comfy and she’s stylish! The best of both worlds if you ask me!

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

And if you’re attending a special event, you may even want to bring along a super cute pair to wear only for photo ops! Doesn’t Sarah look fabulous as Daisy for Dapper Day at Epcot? Those shoes make it! But we all know that walking around the park, especially Epcot, in those shoes aren’t a real option. She opted for cute sandals the rest of the day and saved the pumps for the photopass stops.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Don’t forget to break them in!

Don’t forget to purchase them early enough so that you and your family time to break them in well. Nothing’s worse than getting to Disney with a super comfy pair of shoes only to find wearing for them hours on end has rubbed a righteous blister. I purchased our shoes at least two weeks before our trip and had us all wear them several hours a day before we left so that they were broken in well. Good thing too, because mine did rub my heel a bit the first few days. But once I got to Disney?! No blisters whatsoever for the entirety of our trip (and we were there 8 days y’all!)

Now that you’ve got those tips in your shoe-buying arsenal you’re probably wondering what our favorites are here at the Mouse and the Monorail.

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Keen

My new favorites are Keen. Not only are they completely waterproof, come in sizes that fit my 2yo as well as myself, but they act like a sneaker yet feel like a sandal. I can’t ask for anything better! They’re super comfy and it’s no exaggeration when I say that I wore these multiple days from rope drop to kiss goodnight. And not only did I have NO blisters, but I didn’t even have the classic Disney foot ache those nights! That’s amazing considering I know all too well the Disney foot ache that comes after multiple days in the parks! Don’t we all?

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

And when I say they’re waterproof I don’t just mean you can wear them on Splash Mountain. Oh no! I wore them everywhere throughout all of the parks, including the water parks. And I didn’t just leave them in the lockers at the water parks either! They swam wonderfully in the wave pools (the sandal-like holes help water move through them easier than traditional swim shoes) and lazy rivers as well as all of the tube slides! The only times I had to take them off was for Humunga Cowabunga at Typhoon Lagoon and Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach! Everything else was fair game with these kicks!!

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney tripSanuk Yoga Slings

I also really enjoyed my Sanuk Yoga Slings for our Magic Kingdom day and 4 night cruise aboard the Disney Dream. I wore them for our girls trip to Universal too! And Amy really enjoyed these shoes too! She recently wore them for Magic Kingdom day and Disney Dream cruise as well! They’re super squishy and unlike regular thong flip flops, these slings stay on no problem. You can even stop by the Sanuk store at Disney Springs to check them out! Jennifer is all about comfort and opts for her classic Nike and Saucony Tennis shoes. Go with with you know works well and if it ain’t broke, right?

 

We hope these tips have helped you and would love to know what your favorite park shoes are! Comment below or tag us in a social post on your favorite social site! We’d love to hear from you! ~Meredith ºoº

Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure

Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure

Have you ever found yourself watching “Cars” and wanting to visit Radiator Springs? Wouldn’t it be great if there was such a place as the Cozy Cone Motel or Flo’s V8 Café? Would you want to race other cars like Lightning McQueen or, better yet, meet Lightning McQueen? You’re in luck! In Disney’s California Adventure you can do all this and more in Cars Land! With amazingly themed food, rides, character meets, and a realistic atmosphere you’re going to feel like you’re in the movie itself!Planning a trip to Disney's California Adventure? Read our best tips for visiting Cars Land to help your prepare. We've got great tips to make the most of your stay.

Making a Pit Stop

In Cars Land, there are a ton of places to feed your appetite! If you’re looking for a sit down 50’s style restaurant, I’d suggest trying Flo’s V8 Café located directly across from The Cozy Cone Motel. Flo’s V8 Café offers Rotisserie Specialties such as Roast Beef or Turkey sandwiches, a Citrus Turkey Salad, chicken, ribs, and more. Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California AdventureNot in the mood for a full meal? Is that sweet tooth getting to you? Grab a milkshake! Flo’s has those too! If you’re looking for something lighter than a full meal, The Cozy Cone Motel will be your place to go! Each cone at one of the Cozy Cones has a different snack that you can munch on! They have everything from Ice Cream to Churro bites and Popcorn Chili in a Bread Cone!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure

Ready, Set, Race!

If you’re looking to enjoy your time in Cars Land with some rides, I’d suggest starting with riding Radiator Springs Racers! To put into perspective for you Walt Disney World folks, Racers is much like Test Track in Epcot. Radiator Springs Racers puts you in the driver’s seat and submerges you into the movie itself! Take on the adventures alongside Mater and McQueen while racing to the finish line at the end!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure I’d HIGHLY suggest getting a FastPass right away, the wait always exceeds an hour at any time of the day! Across the way from Flo’s V8 Café is where Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters lives. When riding, you take part in the dancing of the cars while riding in Luigi’s dancing cousins, mini fiats. When you’re either leaving Cars Land or just coming in, you’ll come across Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree! This high-speed attraction whips you around like no tomorrow while riding in one of Mater’s good old friends, a tractor!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure

Now Leaving Radiator Springs

Whenever you visit Cars Land, it’s an unforgettable experience every time! The realistic atmosphere transports you right to the center of Radiator Springs. Cars Land offers unique opportunities to meet your favorite characters like Lightning McQueen or Mater! Every night when the sun goes down, just like the movie, Cars Land comes alive with the sounds of 50’s music and spectacular lighting effects!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California AdventureBefore you know it, Cars Land looks completely different than it did in the day time! There’s so much to do, so, next time you plan your visit to Disney’s California Adventure, make sure you take a trip down Route 66!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for this post and photos!

Disneyland Gumball Rally

Have you ever wondered how many attractions you could get on in a single day? Think you can do them all? Well, thanks to Micechat’s Annual Gumball Rally, I was able to find out! What is the Disneyland Gumball Rally you might ask? It’s a competition for teams of 2, 3, or 4 to see how many attractions they can ride in Disneyland and DCA within the allotted event time. Hear all about Amanda's experience with Micechat Podcast's Disneyland Gumball Rally! It's a one day extravaganza of rides and fun. Read her first hand experience before you decide to participate in the Gumball Rally for yourself.This year marked the 11th Annual Gumball Rally, and in honor of Pirates of the Caribbean’s 50th Anniversary, the theme was Pirates! This was my first year competing in the Rally, and I would like to share my experience with you!Disneyland Gumball Rally

Disneyland Gumball Rally

On the day of the rally, my friend and I made our way to The Anaheim Hotel where the opening ceremonies would begin. Teams have the option of basic registration or VIP registration. Because it was our first year, we opted for VIP registration! This royal treatment included priority seating for the opening ceremony and awards ceremony, full breakfast and dinner, a rally t-shirt, commemorative rally pin, and access to compete in the rally!Disneyland Gumball Rally

Choosing Teams

Each team also comes up with a team name and logo. Our team name was the Bitter Bellhops in honor of our favorite ride, Tower of Terror! After breakfast and a quick run-down of the rules, everyone made their way to the parks to begin the rally! At this point, you might be asking, “How do you prove you went on the ride?” Great question! Every team is given a question booklet pertaining to the attractions they must visit. This year there were three booklets, two for Disneyland (Disneyland East/Disneyland West) and one for DCA, totaling 39 attractions.Disneyland Gumball Rally

Starting Line

Once all the teams received their booklets, we were dismissed, and the rally officially began! We chose to start our race with Disneyland East. Within the first two hours, we had already completed five attractions including Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Peter Pan. We kept this momentum going, completing 11 of the 14 rides in Book One. There comes the point where lines are just too long, and you and your team have to decide that it’s okay to not go on a ride.Disneyland Gumball Rally

Working Our Way Through the Parks

We decided to move on to Book Two, Disneyland West. Did I happen to mention the weather? Oh yes, it was in the 60s with off and on rain. You bet we embraced those water rides! By 3:30, we decided to call it quits with Book Two and make our way to DCA since we only had until 7:00 p.m. to complete the rally. At this point, we had completed 17 attractions.

Fight to the Finish Line

Toward the end, the crowds had settled in, and the lines were outrageous. We received Book Three and quickly scanned the rides we needed to go on. Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin’, Soarin’ over the World, Midway Mania were just a few we needed to ride. Lines exceeded an hour for each of them. Time was slowly running out, exhaustion was setting in, and to say I was hangry was an understatement! Of the 11 attractions in this book, we made it through 5 bringing our grand total of attractions to 22 in 11 hours. Although we did not make the Top 10, we did make so many memories, added new friends, and made strategies to carry into the rally next year!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for this post and photos!

Stroller Tips for Disney Vacations

Best tips for strollers on a Disney vacation.

The great stroller debate is a very common issue facing people planning a trip to Walt Disney World with small kids. We have been to Disney World with and without a stroller. We didn’t take the stroller on our first trip, because our oldest son, Tigger (not his real name in case you are new around here!) was old enough to walk. I had budgeted to rent a stroller from Disney if we needed to. With the exception of one night where he flat out fell asleep in the middle of the street during Wishes, he kept up like a champ.

Best Stroller Tips for Disney Vacations

For the first trip with our youngest, we took our then 2 year old son Roo (also, not his real name), and our full size stroller. I had done tons of stroller research. Options included renting from Disney, renting from an outside company, or just bringing our own. We usually fly to Disney so that was also a factor when making our decision. Keep reading for a few thoughts you need to consider when deciding on what stroller situation works for your family.

A Few Things to Consider

Stroller Comfort

The Disney strollers are hard plastic and don’t recline at all. I knew that if we had any prayers of Roo taking a nap in the stroller, that we had to make it comfy for him. His personal stroller reclined, was soft and very comfortable for him.

Flexibility of the Child

Roo was very used to his stroller, so I didn’t want to rock the boat and throw a hitch in my touring plans by renting a stroller.

Travel Considerations

Is your stroller easy to travel with? Will you be riding Disney transportation? If you take a stroller on the Disney bus system, you have to collapse the stroller down completely to allow more people on the bus. Is this easy to do with your stroller? We test drove my sister’s jogging stroller to see if we would like it for our Disney trip. We decided against it because of how long the stroller system felt to me. When space is limited, such as in crowds at WDW, I didn’t want to feel like I was driving a limousine down Main Street when navigating the stroller. If you are flying to/from Disney, you can gate check your stroller right before you board the airplane, and it will make it much easier to get to your terminal with a child strapped in as opposed to them running like a wildebeest stampede through the airport.

Stroller Value

In case you didn’t know, thousands upon thousands of people visit Disney parks daily. Most are honorable and honest however there are always the bad apples that enjoy ruining other people’s days. Theft can happen at Disney, even under the best circumstances.  We have been hearing about a Florida mom that has been charged with felony theft for stealing a $1800 Bugaboo stroller from Hollywood Studios, leaving a family stranded at the parks. Under that stroller was the families keys, wallets and even an Epipen. The woman that has been charged has been accused of several thefts of high end strollers from the parks. If you park a $500 stroller outside Space Mountain and you come back and it is gone, you are going to be devastated and very, very angry. Keep that in mind when deciding your stroller plans.

Storage Space 

You can take food and drink into Disney. Make sure your stroller has a basket underneath for storing your diaper bag or backpacks, cup holders, and anything else you deem worthy of taking into the park.

Use of the Stroller

Only you can determine the answer to this question. The average person walks 7-10 miles per day at Disney. That’s a whole lot of steps for little legs. Unless you plan on carrying your child around the parks in the blazing heat, I highly recommend bringing a stroller. Otherwise you are going to be moving at a snails pace through the parks. And also, sometimes even older kids just get worn slap out from all the walking. Just keep that in mind.

After you determine which stroller works best for your family, here are a few stroller recommendations to make your life easier in the parks.Planning a Disney vacation? Read our best stroller tips for Disney vacations before you go! We've got tips on how to keep your stroller safe and make it fun for kids.

Make Stroller Life Easier

Easily Identifiable

Disney has designated stroller parking areas, generally indicated by a roped off area or signage around the park. Cast Members (CMs frequently moves the strollers around within the parking area to make room for new strollers. Imagine walking up to a stroller area and there are 50 strollers that look exactly like yours! We attach a personalized stroller sign to our stroller handle bar with zip ties.  You can either use a plastic sheet protector or laminate your sign to protect it from water. This way, even if our stroller has been moved by a CM, we can glance around and easily spot the “Wade Family” sign. You can also attach bright colored balloons, fabric, etc. Basically, anything to make your stroller stand out in a sea of strollers.

Make it Difficult to Take

99% of the time, this won’t be a problem. However, there is always that 1% that could really ruin a vacation. I bought a cheap, flexible combination bike lock and loosely locked the wheels together. If a CM needed to move my stroller, it could still be moved. However, had someone tried to steal our stroller it would have looked ridiculous to wheel outside the park. PLEASE don’t leave valuables in your stroller at any time. Cameras, souvenirs, wallets, money, cellphones….just don’t do it. They will disappear and you will be very sad at your misfortune. And who wants to be sad on a Disney vacation? I can’t count the times I’ve walked past unattended strollers and spotted $$$$ cameras just hanging from the handlebar or purses tucked in the storage bin. Just don’t do it.

Easy to Transport

Keep things in a backpack or soft sided cooler in the basket under your stroller so you can just grab and go when it is time to collapse your stroller before loading onto a bus. The last thing you need is to be frantically trying to hold everything (and your kids) as you are boarding the bus.

Rainproofing

Before your trip buy a $2.00 clear plastic shower curtain to keep in your stroller. Before leaving the stroller parking areas, if there is even a hint of a dark rain cloud, throw the shower curtain over the stroller and tuck it into the crevices. If a pop up shower occurs, and they do a lot in Florida, your stroller will stay nice and dry. If it keeps raining, you can even keep the shower curtain over the stroller as you wheel through the park, and your kiddo will stay nice and dry. Consider it a stroller sized poncho. You kid will be happy and will feel like Super Mom. Trust me on this. Even a CM commented to me about what a genius idea it was. Let’s just say, I’m a Mama that does her research!

Make it Fun and Relaxing

You don’t want your child kicking and screaming when it is time to ride. Have snacks and drinks handy, and recline the seat back when it is nap time. A sleepy child is much easier to push through the parks than to tote. Trust me on this!

I hope these best stroller tips help you on your next Disney vacation. Leave us a comment if you have any other tips that could help other parents as they plan their trips!

Spotlight: Main Street Electrical Parade and AP Days

Meredith

Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland

Do you remember where you were the first time you saw the Main Street Electrical Parade? Chances are you were a small child fascinated by the sights and sounds of the illuminated parade floats passing in front of your eyes. Since its inception in 1972, Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade has been warming the hearts of children and adults alike. I can’t remember the first time I saw the parade, but I have many fond memories from my childhood. I can recall my great-grandma saving our seats along the wall across the Matterhorn while eagerly awaiting the parade to begin. Lights are dimmed, music is playing, the parade is introduced, and around the corner comes the first float. I am mesmerized.Meredith

Main Street Electrical Parade Returns Home

Fast forward to 2017, Disneyland announces the Main Street Electrical Parade is coming home! You can imagine the excitement that came over us die-hard Disneyland fanatics. Not only was the parade coming, but other exciting perks like limited time treats, dining packages, merchandise, and AP Days.

 AP DaysMeredith

What are AP Days you may ask? Great question! For a whole month, Annual Passholders receive a variety of perks within the park. A different button designed with a unique float or character is released just for Passholders each week. In addition to limited edition buttons, Passholders have a place within the park to call their own. Whether you want to cool off from the heat or hide away from a torrential downpour, the exclusive lounge just for Passholders is a perfect place to do that!Amanda- Main Street Electrical Parade Within the lounge, Passholders can purchase a variety of Electrical Parade or AP Days merchandise. Additionally, special photo-ops and crafts /activities for kids are available and all themed for the parade. Also for a limited time, Passholders are able to purchase special themed popcorn buckets and could get $1 refills until a specific date! What perfect snack to have as you watch the parade!

Amanda

Other Perks

Passholders are not the only ones who can benefit from the return of the Electrical Parade! Throughout the park, special “parade-inspired” treats and merchandise can be found. Anyone can take part in the two parade dining packages available! If you have the time to spare and would like a more relaxed sit-down meal, I suggest the dining option with the Blue Bayou. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended 60 days in advance. If you want something more on-the-go, I would recommend going the route of Aladdin’s Oasis. Both dining options provide you a voucher to enjoy the parade from a reserved viewing area.

Meredith

The Return of the Parade

It had been nearly 20 years since I had last seen the parade, so you can imagine my excitement as I stood along the parade route waiting for everything to begin! I anxiously checked the time and each announcement counting down the minutes brought me closer to the moment I had been waiting for. As lights dimmed, synthesized music began playing, and then I hear it, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Disneyland proudly presents “The Main Street Electrical Parade!” Suddenly, I’m a kid again, and all the memories and emotions came flooding back. In my opinion, no parade can every replace it. It’s a one-of-a-kind show that has crossed multiple generations. MeredithThe Main Street Electrical Parade will extend its run through August 20, 2017. Don’t miss out on this experience!


Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for all the great info about Disneyland’s MainStreet Electrical Parade and AP Days! 

Red Rose Taverne Restaurant Review

Red Rose Taverne Restaurant Review

The recent release of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast brought some very welcomed changes to Disneyland! The Village Haus in Fantasyland has received a complete makeover and now is home to the Red Rose Taverne, a Beauty and the Beast inspired dining experience.Try the new Red Rose Taverne at Disneyland! This limited engagement restaurant is sure to please Disneyland and Beauty and the Beast fans alike. Find out why we think you should visit!

Be Our Guest

From the moment you walk inside, you feel like you’ve stepped into the movie. The interior of the dining area is beautifully decorated with images of the classic animated film, but there are also characters from the new film represetned. When you step up to place your order, you feel as though you’re transported to the little village where Belle resides. The attention to detail is truly mind-blowing. I’m sure you are not reading this because you are oh so curious about the décor, so let’s get to the good stuff; the food!Red Rose Taverne Restaurant Review

Crowd Pleasing Entrees

Between the burgers, sandwiches, poutine, salad, flatbreads, and of course desserts, how could one decide what to eat?? Since this was our first visit, my friend and I made sure to divide and conquer. Altogether we tried the Beast’s Burger with Pommes Frites, Pulled Pork Flatbread, Gaston’s Famous Brew, Lemon Rose Cake and the Grey Stuff. The food is reasonably priced and being an Annual Passholder absolutely helps. I was pleasantly surprised with how delicious everything was. The burger was definitely fit for a beast as were the amount of fries you’re given. The flatbread was just enough to “hit the spot,” but still leave room for dessert. My favorite part about it was the sweet spicy BBQ sauce. I was able to wash down that slight kick with Gaston’s Famous Brew, apple-mango punch topped with passion fruit foam which can also be purchased in a souvenir mug.Red Rose Taverne Restaurant Review

Try the Grey Stuff, it’s Delicious!

I made sure to leave room for dessert, even though both desserts looked too beautiful to eat. The lemon rose cake was very light, lemon mousse with strawberry rose filling. I would certainly recommend if you’ve just eaten the Beast’s burger. Red Rose Taverne Restaurant ReviewNow I’ve saved the best for last, the grey stuff! The Disneyland version consists of white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a raspberry center. I have also had the grey stuff from Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom which is a Chocolate Shell, Cookie Crème topped with Lumière’s special “Grey Stuff.” At the end of the day, due to my partial bias towards Disneyland, I have to say the Red Rose Taverne knocked this one out of the park.Red Rose Taverne Restaurant Review

Food for Thought

Overall, I would highly recommend going to the Red Rose Taverne! I know I will without a doubt be returning and trying out the rest of their menu. The food and the ambiance are definitely worth your time! Next time you and your family are asking yourselves where to eat, consider the Red Rose Taverne! If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, in theaters now!

Thanks to our Disneyland contributor, Amanda, for this review and accompanying photos!