Saturday, January 28, 2023

Disney Tips from the Non-Disney Mom

Before I start, allow me to preface this with I am NOT a Disney mom. I don't dream of trips to Disney all the time, I don't go every year, it's just not a trip I do often or even plan to do often. Drop me and my family on a beach and we're gold. BUT my son is now 7 and loves the characters, the songs, the movies, and everything Disney and truly is at the perfect age to experience the "magic" of Disney. And that we did.

I recently shared in my Facebook group how we were going to Disney and while I received a lot of tips and tricks, I also have a ton of friends who are Disney gurus and planners so I pulled from them as well. Born and raised in Florida, Disney World was just over an hour from my home so if we didn't have something to do we'd just hop in the car and go for the day. But times surely have changed from the 1980s Disney to now. Here are some top tips and hope they help you on your trip to the happiest (and most expensive) place on Earth! 

Overall tips:

The App. Download it. The best part of the app is it shows you the live wait times at all of the rides in every park. So you can open and see how bad the lines are at any given time. You can also find where characters are and if there's a line.  

Magic Bands. Get them. It made everything so much easier. Even for my 7-year-old. You can scan into the parks each day but you can also link payment to them to buy food and drinks and souvenirs without needing to reach into your bag. 

GeniePlus. This was a thorn in my side because I said I wasn't going to do it. So we did not do it day one. But days 2, 3, and 4 we did. It ended up between $50-60 additional each day for our family to utilize but there were a few rides that we (the parents) wanted to be sure our son go to do and it was just easier to pay the extra money to skip a 2 hour line to do so. Here's the deal with GeniePlus. First, you cannot purchase it until day of. So, at 12:01am you can buy it. BUT you cannot book anything for the day until 7am. So, at 6:59am TONS of people are on the app trying to book their rides. You can only book ONE ride at a time and cannot book the next one until after you're scanned into your first booked ride. For example, at 7am I was able to get a Lightning Lane (what the GeniePlus gets you into) for the Test Track ride for 9:10am. That LL could be used between 9:10-10:10. Once I got to that ride and all of us were scanned into the ride, I could THEN go and book the next LL for another ride via the app. While it is annoying to have to pay additionally for this, it ended up being worth it in the end. 

Reusable Water Bottle. Bring one for everyone in your family, buying water there is $$$. There's places to fill your water bottle all throughout the park. You'll save a fortune. 

Popcorn Bucket. Buy a refillable popcorn bucket on day one, then refill it for two bucks the rest of your trip. Best affordable snack option we did. And, at Epcot, in Canada, they have maple butter popcorn! 

Park Hopper. Get at least one day of a park hopper pass and hit up Magic Kingdom a second time. This is my biggest and best tip: skip the fireworks the second time at MK and hit up allll the rides while people are prepping for the fireworks and watching them. We rode 14 rides in under 2 hours!! Every ride we missed the first day because lines were too long we got to ride when we skipped the fireworks, some twice! We walked directly onto Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Small World, Magic Carpets, Barnstormer, Buzz, and more without waiting even 30 seconds. It was phenomenal!

Celebration Pin. Whatever you're there to celebrate, a birthday, anniversary, first visit, whatever reason, get a free pin when you get there day one and rock it. Disney wants to celebrate you. Ness wore his birthday pin every day and it was so sweet to hear the birthday wishes (and songs) all week!  

Plans. Don't have them. Seriously. Make a few reservations for meals but don't rush to make it to this ride or that character. Just go, have fun, enjoy the time, and watch the magic light up your child's face and experience the true joy Disney can bring. 


Spring Roll Cart. Hands down our favorite snack in this park. It's at the entrance to AdventureLand and they have cheeseburger spring rolls. Get them, and the sauce to dip. There's always a line for a reason. 

Be Our Guest. We went for a 10:15am rez and it was very good but we heard dinner is fantastic. Beast is there and the decor is exceptional and the servers were the best of anywhere we ate! But definitely a one time thing, we won't do it again.  

Liberty Tree Tavern, next door is a Christmas shop, pop in and grab yourself a souvenir ornament. 

Sweets & Treats. We did not do this as we couldn't get a reservation for it, but it was highly recommended by a ton of people. It's pricey but worth it because you get a table to watch the fireworks from and unlimited desserts.

Character Parade. Definitely grab a spot to watch it. It's glorious!

Snacks: Cheshire Cat Tail (near tea cups). Lava You Float. Nutella & Fruit Waffle in Sleepy Hollow. Dole Whip. Mickey Ear Ice Cream. Mickey pretzel.    


Nomad's Lounge. Stop by before lunch and put your name on their list. It's usually a few hours of a wait but they text you when your table is ready. Ask to sit outside along the river. Characters go by on boats for the kids and their cocktails are exceptional for the parents. Plus, comfy chairs and overstuffed outdoor couches are fantastic for a break from 24,000 steps a day.

Tusker House. We did this as our only character meal because we couldn't get into Chef Mickey. I personally prefer Chef Mickey for food and characters, plus it's smaller than Tusker House, but this was a great option for a delicious buffet and not being rushed.

Dole Whip. Get it. Twice.

Safari tour. Go in the morning, animals are more active and awake. Afternoon you'll see less. We went around 11am and saw almost every single animal up and active! 

Playground. There is a MASSIVE playground (and I mean MASSIVE) at Animal Kingdom that kids of all ages will enjoy. It's near dinosaur world so definitely make it a point to go there, let the kids go wild, and sit back to rest your feet! 

Snacks: Mr. Kamals seasoned fries. Night Blossom at Pandora. Street corn in the marketplace.  


France. Hands down my favorite country, we could've stayed there all day. The food, the drinks, the shopping, the ambiance, everything. 

Coral Reef is a fun dining experience because you're practically inside of the aquarium tank but the menu is very limited, especially for kids so just check it before you book it.

Snacks: Norway Lefse's bakery. France macaron ice cream sandwich. Ratatouille nutella crepes. France Les Halles Patisere every single thing. Test track food cart with cinnamon bites topped with candy bacon.   


Oga's Cantina. Try your darndest to get in. You're only allowed 45 minutes for your reservation so maximize it. The drinks are fantastic but the Star Wars decor and ambiance is like nothing you'll ever experience.

Star Wars. Everything Star Wars. It's mind blowing. And I've never seen a movie but was still blown away. Also, make note, Star Wars fans take it VERY seriously so just soak it all in. We saw a grown man cry when he met Chewbaka. I'm not joking.

50s Diner. Cousin Perry. Our best meal with best server was Cousin Perry at the 50s Diner. He was a riot, hysterical, and we almost took him home to be our au pair!

Skyliner. Go for a ride on it just because. Goes between a few resorts but also between Hollywood Studios and Epcot (lets you in the back of Epcot with no lines and right by France too!)   

Snacks: Backlot Express wookie cookie. Galaxy's Edge black spire cold brew. Woody's Lunch Box pop tart (a fav of ours!!)  

I hope these tips help you in planning your Disney trip! Got any tips of your own? Please share with me!    


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Fashion Friday Revisited

Fashion Friday has been my favorite part of social media over the years. Each week on my Instagram page, I would take an item and style it 3 ways. Eventually, my friend Stacey joined me in the fun and our Fashion Fridays evolved from an item 3 ways to themes. Well, we recently took a little hiatus from it and are bringing it back, the old school way, in September! 

In honor of the return, I wanted to share a few of my favorites! 

Monochromatic looks all of the same colors always elevate a look. When we did white, I felt fancy! 

If you know me, you know I love a good stripe. This was when we styled our favorite stripe looks. I could wear stripes every day. 

Are we sensing a theme? It was stripes again! Actually, I think it was a red, white, and blue theme but obviously I had stripes on my mind. 

One of my favorite themes we did was brunch with my babes! These were what I would've worn for going out to brunch with my friends. Who doesn't love brunch?!

Another twist on brunch outfits was a girls night out outfit ideas. The faux leather leggings never fail as an option. 

Finally, a go to item in my closet that I have multiple colors of: joggers. They are an easy item to dress up or down and I turn to them often because, well, they have an elastic waist. Just... keeping it real folks. 

Are you excited to join us for Fashion Fridays again?! I hope so! 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

CT Hidden Gem: Townline Farm, Woodbridge

When we find a hidden gem, we can't help but shout it from the rooftops. Townline Farm in Woodbridge is just that, a pure hidden gem. 

We stumbled upon it this past weekend and not only were we in love, but also lucky we got them at a time in the day where they weren't crowded so we could find out so much about the farm. 

Cristian bought the 90-acre farm earlier this year. It is directly on the Woodbridge-Derby line. In fact, the line goes directly through his property. He even put up a cute little sign to let you know exactly where it is. 

They have a cute little spread of pumpkins. They're already picked so it's not a go-out-into-the-field-and-pick-your-own. Plus, a cute sign for the kids never hurt either. 

The corn maze was a HUGE hit for us. There are so many corn mazes out there these days and we find a lot of them are challenging with small kids. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is get lost in a corn maze with frustrated kids for over an hour. This one took us 25 minutes. There are 6 trivia questions in the maze and a map that is pretty easy to follow. 
Fair warning: if you give the map to your 5-year-old you'll likely get lost. Ha! 

There's also a cute hidden photo opportunity inside the corn maze!

Our favorite part was the tractor ride. Cristian takes you on a tractor ride and gives you a tour of the property, He tells you all about the plans of the property as well. So far this year they have had a fruit and vegetable garden, wildflower garden, the corn maze and pumpkins. His goal is to build up the farm to be a pork and beef supplier to the local community. This has been his lifelong dream. With his passion and drive, you'd never know he's in his early 20s! 

His property is stunning and it's being turned back into a fully functioning farm. He's cleared land to make an area for the cattle as well as pigs. He's also cleared land and started the plans for their barn. He also has trees prepped to make his own maple syrup! Be sure you and your family count the trees to see if you find them all on your ride! 

Be sure you bring your family to check it out. And definitely listen to Cristian tell the history of the property. It's incredibly fascinating. He's only the third owner in the 350 year history of the property. There's a path through his property where the soldiers came through on horseback during the revolution. It's educational yet also fascinating. Our 5-year-old actually enjoyed listening to him tell us all about it. THAT says a LOT! 

We can't wait to see all of his plans and dreams come to fruition. 

Did you really do a corn maze if you don't take a selfie in it?! 

Let me know what you think of Townline Farm after you visit. It truly is a hidden gem of Connecticut! 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Glamping In Maine

In early August, we took a family trip to go "glamping" in Maine. I stumbled upon Sandy Pines Campground in my searches for fun places to stay in Maine. And it for sure was a fun place to stay! 

My husband said it best that this was the first time that we saw pictures of somewhere online and when we showed up, it was EXACTLY the same as it showed online. Down to the sheets, decor, you name it! 

At Sandy Pines, they have different types of glamping. You can stay in a cabin or a tent or a unique retreat (which are couples only). We chose the Boho Nest site, not only because it met our needs as a family of 3 but also it was the only one available. Keepin' it real here folks. 

The family glamps have either a twin or trundle or bunk beds in the tent OR the have another smaller tent next to your larger tent. Our son is 5 so that was not an option for us! But the sites next to us were those style and those families loved the set up, especially the kids!

There is real furniture, sheets and towels, a comfortable space, electricity, and even air conditioning. The only thing is there's no plumbing so any sink needs, toilet needs, or shower needs, you had to hike it to the bathhouse. Which from our spot was a little bit of a walk.   

Now, if you know me, you might think no way is this gal going camping. And you might find it hard to believe but I went camping as a child. And while it wasn't my favorite, I did enjoy it. But THIS, this is MY kind of camping.  

Every individual site has a picnic table as well as a fire pit with adirondack chairs next to it. This was our favorite spot every night. 

The porches are all covered and also include additional furniture. It was nice because we could keep adirondack chairs on the deck as well as by the fire pit and not have to move furniture depending on where we wanted to hang out and sit. Having multiple sitting areas was a nice perk. 

The other big perk about the porch area was that it was large and covered so if it rained, you could still be outside while staying dry! Another fun part was the string lights on the porch were on a dimmer switch so you could adjust them easily. When Ness went to bed, we dimmed them so they weren't super bright and kept him up while we sat by the fire. 

You drive throughout the campgrounds and you can see other options to stay, like these cute little trailers with pop up beds on the roof. 

And a converted airstream too! Definitely check out their website to see all of the other options available. They really got creative and adventurous with some of them. We have a list of which ones we want to stay at the next times we come. 

There are also lots of pathways throughout the property to cut around walking on the main roads. This was the pathway to our tent from the main road. 

Now.... would I do it again? Yes. BUT... I would pay more attention to the property map when I choose our location because it was not a quick hop skip and jump to the bathhouse. It was a hike, especially with a 5 year old. 


- Absolutely adorable place to stay. Super unique and fun and different. 

- Campgrounds in general were clean. Staff was friendly and knowledgable about the area.  

- A fantastic location and easy to get just about anywhere in the Kennebunkport/Ogunquit/Southern Maine area. 

- Close to Goose Rocks Beach, the best beach we found! 

- Tents and cabins are spacious and roomy and are far enough apart to have your own space.

- Individual parking spots for each glamp site. 

- Activities for the kids, several playgrounds on site, and game areas for kids and families to play. Plus lots of room for bikes to ride around the property. 

- Marsh at the back of the property with a perfect spot to launch a kayak. Plus they have kayaks to use. 

- They have a pool! Due to Covid, you had to sign up for a specific 2 hour block, but it was nice to have that option and know it wouldn't be crazy crowded too.

- It's affordable. We stayed during summer, peak season, and paid a little over $300 a night. Not bad when all is said and done. Plus, during Covid and a time where everyone just wanted to get away and go somewhere, we were able to do something affordably, not be around crowds, and still have a great time!  


- Nowhere in your tent to lock anything up, including no lock on the entrance to the tent. No safe, no drawer that locked. So any valuables should be kept in your car and locked. (My husband is a New Yorker, this was a big issue for him. Me. not so much.)

- Not a fan of the bathhouses. While they were new, they weren't necessarily that clean and floors were often flooded from showers. I took a 2 hour shower when we got home! 

- No plumbing in the tent, but there's no plumbing at any tent or cabin. 

Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say a solid 9. Definitely worth the trip and we'd totally go back! 

I will share in another blog post about all of the places we went as well as what was recommended to us that we didn't get to! Stay tuned =)