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

Get Ready: Cruise Planning and Early Packing

Get Ready: Cruise Planning and Early Packing

amys-dream

Hey howdy hey guys, guess what today is! Go ahead… If you guessed the anniversary of the Disney Dream’s maiden voyage, then you’d be absolutely right! And that couldn’t be more relevant for me because I am in full-on planning and packing mode. I’ve got just a few days before we head out for our whirlwind few days at WDW and MK and our much-anticipated Disney cruise aboard the Disney Dream. I can’t wait to share all the fun once we leave on our socials (facebook, instagram, twitter, & periscope) since I won’t be able to share here on the blog until I return. You can find us on periscope by searching for “mouse and monorail” in your app.

Join Me on My First Cruise

First things first. Come follow us on all our socials before I leave! I plan to do some fun periscopes around the Wilderness Lodge on Saturday night and may even broadcast some of the “peaceful serenity” that is Whispering Canyon. Haha!! (If you don’t know what I’m laughing at, go check out what the Whispering Canyon is all about here). I’ll be broadcasting via periscope as much as service will allow on Sunday in the Magic Kingdom so be sure to follow us ahead of time to get the notifications on your device! Additionally, I’m going to periscope as much as I can on the ship Monday and possibly our Castaway Cay day (Wednesday). SO don’t miss out!! Speaking of watching live, did you know that you can watch Port Canaveral live via their webcam? Yep, come watch me sail away!! Haha!

FE Sneak Peek!

Cruise Planning

Finally to cruise packing. Now, don’t go throwing your favorite swimsuit and sandals in the suitcase just yet! There are things that can and should be done well in advance of a few weeks (or less than a week in my case) of your sail date. And for me, this has been the most fun Disney trip I’ve ever planned. From meeting people who we’ll be cruising with online months in advance via fb, to creating unique gifts to exchange through the fish extenders, to planning the ultimate “best friends” day at the Magic Kingdom for my kids and their best friends (who just so happen to be going with us! Whoo hoo!!) I can hardly contain my excitement!!

Cruise Packing Preview

Early Packing

But planning and packing isn’t always easy and some things that need to be done can get overlooked until it’s too late. And with a Disney cruise specifically, there are certain things you’ll want to do well in advance of your sail date. After booking, you can decide if you’d like to participate in Fish Extenders, and if so find your sail date group on fb and sign up. Check out Sarah’s amazing post on 5 things to know before you go for help on familiarizing yourself on what you’ll need to do to be prepared. Other items like passports, car maintenance services (in case you’re driving), scheduling your flights and auto rentals, and making boarding/other arrangements for your pets should all be done earlier rather than later.

Don’t Forget Documentation

Passports can take several weeks to come back and if there’s a particular hold-up on getting yours, it could be delayed even longer. A car servicing can also be beneficial to get done earlier in case something needs repairing so that you’re not forking out a huge chunk of change on your car RIGHT before you head out on your trip. And if you haven’t researched a bit about keeping your devices charged while on vacation, earlier is definitely better! Check out my post all about that very topic here.

Organize Your Packing

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The photo above shows my own (insane, I know. There’s five of us now) list of stuff to pack and whether you use a crazy looking app like me (which totally works beautifully for me 🙂 ) or a good ‘ole pen and paper, keeping a list is a great way to ensure that you’re on track. And while making your own personal list is key, you’d be missing out if you didn’t check out Amy’s Cruise packing list and Sarah’s WDW packing list! Both of them are great place to start and are printable so you can print whenever and even have copies for family members so big kids can help pack too!

 

Hooked on DCL design by Mouse and Monorail

 

Fish Extenders

I’m now a week out and have begun to pack starting with our fish extender and gifts. They’re all done and packed in a small separate suitcase. (Eeek! So excited to give them out and even more excited to share about them after I get back!!) This serves the purpose of ensuring that they all stay together, can be easily checked, and the suitcase space will be available to bring home our own fish extender gifts we receive. I’m updating my Hooked on DCL decal to include a silhouette cameo cutter file as well as a printable for instructions on how to apply the decal should you decide to make and give them as gifts for your own fish extenders! So exciting! Right click on the image to below to download the decal application instructions and be sure to check out the original Hooked on DCL post that has been updated with the additional file.

Decal Application Instructions

And packing early isn’t all about fish extenders! There’s extra space in our suitcase, so I’m adding in items that I can easily pack early like suction cup hooks for hanging swimsuits (we won’t have a verandah), door magnets, and our dry-erase magnetic board where we can write and encourage fun messages to people onboard. Pretty much anything else that we can deal without having until our luggage is brought to our room will go in here as well.

It’s Almost Time!

I’ve printed and gathered our signed cruise docs/signature pages from our online check-in, and placed them in my carry-on (yeah, that totally rad Disney Dream Inaugural bag my brother got me for Christmas!) since I’ll need those items to board.  That’s all the time I have for now since I’ve got to get back to packing!! And don’t forget to stay tuned for my live posts from WDW and the Bahamas this coming weekend and next week! ~Meredith ºoº

How To Keep Your Devices Charged at Disney World

How to Keep Your Devices Charged at Disney World

Keeping devices charged at Disney World is no small feat. We want to capture the moments and share them, but we sometimes batteries run low. Don’t miss out on capturing that special moment because of a low battery! Follow these easy tips to save yourself time and headache.Portable Charging Device

Buy a Premium and Compact Portable Charging Device

Buy a premium and compact portable charging device! There are so many chargers out there to choose from, it’s hard to know what to go with. I’ve had a “solar” one in the past. Although I can still use it by charging it from the wall outlet, it doesn’t charge my device fast and the solar recharge feature was a bust. Maybe I never positioned it just perfectly angled to sun. Or maybe that feature just never worked. In any case, it’s time for an upgrade. My husband has a Galaxy Edge and I’ve got an iPhone 6 plus. There’s no way we’d make it a full day in the Magic Kingdom without recharging them. Add the GoPro to the mix and I’m pretty certain I’m gonna need a premium and large battery capacity to handle all of those devices!

Why Buy a Portable Charger?

It’s simple; time. When we’re on vacation, regardless if it’s at a Disney destination or not, I want to take pictures and videos with my phone. I’ll definitely have my Canon 5d out for photos, but my phone is always around and the easiest to snap with. And inevitably, it’s gonna die. Having the ability to charge my phone without having to seek out a charging place only to have to sit and wait a half hour or hour or however long it takes.

When I’m paying premium $$$ just to be inside the park itself, the last thing I want to do is sit and waste time. I’m willing to bet you’d say the same. Whenever I notice it’s getting low, I just pull out the charger, plug it up, and drop them both in my pocket. I can easily fit my (giant) phone and the charger in one pocket! I’ve used other portable chargers in the past and I won’t mention them here. In fact, I don’t want to mention them ever again!

I’ve heard many great things about Anker portable charging devices. After the solar charger flop, I was ready for a premium, high-capacity charger. Researching on Anker’s website I found that what suits my needs best is the Anker powercore. It’s loaded with both battery capacity and super fast charging speed. It’s also got a rugged exterior shell and although it’s certainly not light (let’s be honest it feels like a brick compared to a case-less iPhone) but it’s pretty compact!

My particular model is able to charge my iPhone 7.2 times before it needs recharging itself. That’s certainly enough to recharge our devices without having to worry about sitting somewhere in the parks and missing out on all the fun! And what made this particular model even more appealing is that it touts two usb ports. That means I can charge two devices simultaneously, all while waiting in line for Big Thunder Mountain!

Research Which Charger is Best for You

Browse the offerings for each charger as they all have different capabilities and if you’ve only got one device, you might not need quite as much as we do. There are loads of other great charger brands that people will swear by. So give yourself a little time to look through what’s out there and really pick what’s right for you.

The one thing you want to be sure to avoid is chargers that don’t contain premium battery cells.

The Anker devices have 8650 Panasonic 3400mAh lithium-ion batteries. They also have additional features, like surge protection, that cheaper and smaller charging devices like lipstick case and pocket chargers just don’t have. No matter which charger you decide to go with one thing’s for certain. You’ll definitely be having more fun than sitting around waiting on your device to charge!

Find Charging Stations within the Parks

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In case you are stuck and don’t have a portable charger, there are a limited number of charging outlets at the Rapunzel bathroom area and under the big top at Pete’s Silly Sideshow. The sideshow station is shaded and the Tangled station is outdoors and mostly in the sun. It can get brutal just sitting there waiting with the sun beating down on you. It also doesn’t bode well for charging as the devices really shouldn’t be in direct sunlight.

That said, Rapunzel’s charging station is the largest station in the MK, so it’s your best bet. Pete’s is smaller with fewer outlets. You can access the WDW map here. You can also find regular wall outlets in indoor eateries such as Cosmic Ray’s. There are outlets by the walls most table service locations. Like I said though, these are if you need to charge and can’t get by without it.

Update Your OS and Turn Off Background Apps

Finally, my last little tip comes from a friend who unfortunately had to learn the hard way while at the MK. He hadn’t updated his phone to the newest os and didn’t turn off the system preference that allows iPhones to auto update. Not only did he have battery drain from the phone trying to download the update, but he was also losing battery supply faster because of the spottier cellular service and slow/spotty wi-fi in the parks.

Seeing as he was unaware his phone was on a kamikaze mission, I’m sure it was a pretty awful moment when he unlocked the phone and realized what was going on. Don’t let this happen to you! Be sure to update all software including the latest OS. Also be sure to update apps like My Disney Experience (ios and playstore) and others that you know you’ll be using frequently while there. Additionally, turning off unneeded “auto refresh” apps that run in the background as well as features such as bluetooth and location services will help conserve your battery’s life.

Ultimate Disney Cruise Packing List

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We just got off our first Disney cruise on the Disney Dream and let me just say, it won’t be our last! It was fantastic! I’m still swimming just thinking about it, and I have so much to show and tell you! Because the trip is still so fresh in my mind, I wanted to go ahead and share a packing guide for Disney cruises.

First of all, if you are anything like me you will WAY over pack. I didn’t touch half of the clothes we brought! Live and learn, right? I’ll know better next time, and y’all can learn from my mistakes! The biggest thing that I felt like I needed and didn’t have (but later bought), was a lanyard to hold our Key to the World cards. You use that for everything from a room key to shopping. It literally is your key to the world on the ship! It’s amazing how easy it is to misplace those important little cards!

Just like with Sarah’s list to packing for Walt Disney World, I didn’t cover basics like underwear and socks. We’re all adults here, right? You can download the full list here.pic1pic2With our cruise being in September, the temperatures were very hot at times. I was never cold or uncomfortable on the ship, but cold-natured people might need a sweater at dinner or in the theaters. If you travel during winter months, even to tropical locals, you might be cool at night, so keep that in mind when planning.

As far as dining, we had the main dining seating at 5:45, and I noticed that people were dressed much more casually at the early dinner seating than the late dinner seating. For dinner we wore shorts and a nice top, and felt perfectly comfortable, but I also noticed people that were very dressed up. The kids (and some adults!) wore everything from princess dresses to pirate costumes. The important thing to remember is that this is your vacation. Don’t stress out about what you are wearing!

This list is by all means not one-size-fits-all! With variables of family size and ages, to cruise locations, only you can decide exactly what you need to bring on board with you. This list is just a jumping off point for you. And most importantly to remember when you are packing for a Disney cruise: if you didn’t pack it, chances are you can buy it on board! ~Amy ºoº

Pin Trading 101 by Guest Contributor Trish

 

Pin Trading 101

Pin trading is a really fun activity that my family has recently become obsessed with. It’s great for when you want or need to take a little break from lines and rides, and it’s fun to meet different Cast Members. You can trade with Cast Members or other guests (though we’ve never ventured up to another guest to attempt to trade).

Pin trading can be a pricey undertaking, but we’ve started out in a fairly affordable way. Starter sets of pins can be purchased almost anywhere in the parks and usually include a lanyard and 4-5 pins with a common theme. These sets usually start around $20, and additional pins can range from $6 or $7 up to $16, depending on the size or character.

Getting Started

Our starter set came from eBay. We purchased a lot of 25-30 random pins, all official and tradeable, for around $13. We had a great time sifting through those and deciding which ones were “keepers” and which ones were “traders.” We keep one lanyard for “trader” pins and just bring that one out when we see a Cast Member with a pin we’re interested in.

Zip Top Bags are Helpful

Also, we usually keep our lanyards/pins in a zip top bag instead of wearing them for long periods of time. I’m usually wearing a hot, sweaty toddler in a baby carrier, and the last thing I want around my neck is a heavy necklace with sticky pins! If you do decide to wear your lanyard, keep a close eye on your pins. The black Mickey-shaped backs have a tendency to come off. So much of our fun comes from looking back through and organizing our pins after we get home and then preparing our lanyards for our next trip.

Rules for Pin Trading

There are some “rules” to the game, though, or at least some etiquette guides to follow.

  • You can only trade metal pins that bear the official ©Disney on the back. Don’t try to trade a non-Disney pin for a Disney pin…it’s a no-go.
  • Make sure the pins you offer for trade are in good condition with no damage.
  • Trade one pin at a time, hand to hand, or replace your desired pin with your trading pin on a Cast Member’s display. (Sometimes Cast Members will be holding a display instead of wearing their pins on a lanyard; e.g., a CM was holding a fake popcorn bucket that was actually fabric-covered foam with pins for trading poked in them.)

  • Technically, you should trade no more than two pins per Cast Member. Some of them will stick by this “rule” pretty strictly, while others may be a little more lenient.
  • Never touch another person’s lanyard. If someone wants to trade with you, allow them to remove their pin(s).
  • Have fun! Collect pins of your favorite characters, special events or locations, or try to complete “sets.” Some pins are more valuable than others, but we just look for what we like.

Pin Trading 101: Fun for Everyone

Pin trading is quickly becoming a favorite for our whole family. My 3 year old is getting more and more into watching for pins at the parks. My husband is even claiming “dibs” on HIS pins. He even ordered his own lanyard and Grumpy pin behind my back! I think it won’t be long before my youngest kid is eyeing lanyards for pins of his favorite characters. If you haven’t tried pin trading yet, I highly recommend you plan on it for your next trip. It’s a lot of magical fun for the whole family!

Happy Trading! ~Trish

Walt Disney World Survival Kit

SpaceshipEarthIMG_9865-EditI’m a planner by nature. Ask anyone who has ever traveled with me! If I could take the kitchen sink, I probably would. That being said, no one likes to feel like a pack mule when you are traveling around the happiest place on Earth! So I got to thinking about my top 5 must-have’s for a day at Walt Disney World. Here we go!

1. Zip lock bags: I travel with lots of gallon sized zip lock bags in my backpack. Anyone who has been to the Orlando area knows about the pop up showers that occur almost daily. Usually in the afternoon, they pass over quickly, but they pour tons of water! So I carry zip lock bags to store all our valuables in during the rain. From wallets to cell phones, I can throw it in our backpack really quick, and carry on as usual. Definitely a must-have!

2. Ponchos: Head to the dollar store before your trip and stock up on cheap ponchos. I bought 1 per person, per day. Throw the ponchos in your backpack, and after the inevitable afternoon shower, throw the poncho away and the next day add your new ponchos. If you forget a poncho, they do sell them in the gift shops around the parks, but they are $$$. A little planning before you hit the parks can save you lots of money to spend on more Disney souvenirs!

3. Sunscreen: Please don’t be THAT parent that forgets sunscreen and ends up with sunburned kiddos. Disney World is about fun, not the misery that a sunburn brings. And don’t forget to reapply frequently, especially after Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids!

4. First Aid Kit: Head to the travel section at Wal-Mart, and they sell palm sized first aid kits for .97. Get one. Or two. It has bandaids, some neosporin, and a few other things in it. Yes, all the parks have first aid areas, but who wants to take the time to run all the way across the park for a bandaid because your kiddo tripped in Adventureland? Throw this in your backpack, and you will be on your way in no time after kissing that boo-boo! Also, grab a pack of moleskin from the foot care section, and throw in a small pair of cuticle scissors into the first aid kit. If you feel a blister coming up, cut out a small section of moleskin and apply over the blister. It will keep it from rubbing, and you can continue to walk miles and miles pain free! We have done this on our trips, and it was a lifesaver!

5. Baby wipes and hand sanitizer: Even if you have potty trained kids, you never know when a small pack of baby wipes could come in handy (like cleaning hands and faces after a Mickey Ice Cream bar, or a Dole Pineapple Whip!) and hand sanitizer because there are sometimes when you aren’t close to a bathroom, but those grimy hands need a good scrubbing.

So that’s my top 5 list of must-haves in Walt Disney World. Did I miss anything you always pack? Leave your thoughts in the comment section! ~A ºoº