Category Archives: Disney
I ran into a friend today who asked about Legoland, and I realized I had not even blogged our trip! When our dear friends invited us to Disney, we decided to fly in first and go to Legoland. We had talked about/tried to go to Legoland several times before when at Disney, and once we got to Disney, we just couldn’t leave. We wanted to spend every second with Mickey, Buzz, and the crew so leaving just sounded not so much fun. When planning this trip, we knew would have to go there first because we wouldn’t want to leave Disney if we had a choice once we got there. Owen had been asking for weeks, months? maybe a year? to go to Legoland, and this was our chance, so we decided to make it happen. We woke up at 4 am for our flight, dressed the boys in Lego shirts, and headed to RDU. Owen had no idea about this trip beforehand and no idea where in the world we were going the day of. (I don’t know if I can ever keep a trip a secret again. I was WAYYYYY tooo excited!) Oh, and Owen was 5, and Harrison was around 20 months when we went. When we landed in Orlando, we somehow kept Owen from seeing the gigantic Walt Disney World signs and Mickey and Minnies everywhere. He’s a big reader so we were like no way he’s not going to notice.We rented a car and headed to Legoland, which is about an hour drive.
Most of the time I’ve spent at an amusement park with my kids has been at Disney. Legoland is very different so it’s good to do your research before you go and see what rides your kids can ride. I really think five was a great age for Owen to go. Some of the differences are that at Disney, Harrison could ride almost every single ride that Owen could. (and we just did baby swap for the few like Mine Rain that he couldn’t ride) Legoland is a lot of rollercoasters and single person (different than Disney…are there any single person rides at Disney?) rides. Legoland was definitely not the place for Harrison. He also fell asleep as soon as we got there, so he spent most of Legoland asleep in the stroller, which was probably good, since there wasn’t much he could do. (or that they could both do, so we’d be pulled in different directions) Also, at 20 months, he wasn’t screaming/asking to ride things and was pretty content anyway.
I think we ended up staying until 5, and we probably didn’t ride every ride in the park, but we saw most of it. During the less crowded months, you could probably do both the park and the water park in one day. The first ride we rode was the Duplo Tractor, which Harrison loved. (And then immediately fell asleep) The Quest for Chi was fun – you definitely get a little wet on that ride, but it was sooooo hot in Florida (you can see in these photos just how sweaty Owen is. I’m not sure how many water bottles we all drank that day. It was HOT!) in September, we did not even care. People on the sidelines can also squirt you with water, too. Owen’s favorite ride was the Royal Joust because he got to ride the Lego horse all by himself. It also made horse noises and was super cute. The Coastersaurus was also a big hit! Because of all the commercials in the lego movie, the driving school was also on his list. They also have a section with tons and tons of lego cities and all kinds of things they’ve built like Star Wars that were so super cool. That was Michael’s favorite part of Legoland, and we definitely spent a lot of time there. We didn’t stay at the Lego Hotel because we were going to hit the ground running at Disney the next morning, so we drove back to Orlando. It did look super cute, and was right at the entrance of the park. There are some super cool Lego gift shops there and all kinds of things to buy and build. We did get the boys a super cool lego picture frame that they could build when they got home and put a picture from their trip. Owen loooooved Legoland, and is already asking to go back!
P.S. We are huge fans of the Lego Movie.We watched it 3000 times last summer, and may have sang, “Everything is Awesome,” the entire day at Legoland.
Legoland Family Photography | Rebecca Keller Photography
Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Lifestyle and Commercial Photographer featured in People Magazine and on several blogs including Let the Kids Dress Themselves. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about Legoland Family Photography.
Our Disney Adventure…
Disney World Family Photographer | Rebecca Keller Photography
It’s kind of fun to do the impossible
– Walt Disney
You may have heard my name popping up in Becky’s posts lately. My name is Ericka, and I am the person behind Little Apple Styles. When Becky asked me to guest blog on her page, I was so super excited, then scared, but VERY excited none the less.
Becky had a major problem. Like all major problems, she went to the emergency hotline that is Facebook Messenger! Owen needed Glasshouse Mickey Mouse balloons (Technical name for Mickey Mouse ears balloons enclosed in clear ones) for his birthday photoshoot. We could not find them locally or as deflated contraband from Mickey Mouse Land. Apparently these balloons are park exclusives, and you can see we were in serious trouble! I asked friends, posted in facebook groups, I searched the internet…nada. My next message to Becky was “I can’t find them. What about we go to Disney?” I was obviously half way joking. Five minutes later I was jumping up and down when she said, “SURE, Let’s do it!” I was also day dreaming the perfect picture of Eva and her dad in front of the castle. All the angels in heaven just started singing “Alleluia” when they heard my most favorite photographer and my family were going to be in the same castle – at the same time. Eeeeeek! With faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust, I started our reservations and outfits planning. This time not only for the kids, but also for the adult – the one that did not know he was going to dress up like Prince Charming in the middle of Main Street. Now that I think about it, my poor husband did not find out until the morning of – he is such a trooper! I managed to find an outfit two or three sizes too big that fit perfectly in my luggage.
I was still in charge of those silly balloons. Based on our schedule, the ideal time to get them was soon as we arrived at Disney. Like any other responsible adult, I managed to be too busy getting settled to go to Magic Kingdom – and sent my husband instead. Our conversation may have gone something like this: Sure Honey, I will help you out and pick up the balloons for you. How many do you need? TWELVE? TEN WOULD BE OK? You will be lucky if you I can bring two! Two hours later he was back with three balloons – mostly because it was impossible for him to fit more inside the bus by himself (scene: grown man walking with balloons by himself in Disney, awkward).
Since our vision included more balloons: Becky, two strollers, 4 kids and I walked, your read it right, WALKED to Magic Kingdom to get 7 more balloons. Surprisingly, walking ended up being faster than waiting for the monorail. I have to add the looks that we got when trying to fit into the elevator were priceless! haha
The next day four adults and four kids managed to wake up at the crack of dawn and get ready in record time. It may have been because of the promised Mickey Waffles. We were sleepy, sweaty and full of blisters.. but we did it! Pixie Dust and many prayers for sure! Those balloons were the perfect addition for Becky’s little ones who were dress up in 1920s outfits. Hubby also managed to change clothes and look exactly like Princess Charming. He was actually stopped by a cast member that thought he was the real deal and got concerned his jacket pins were showing! LOL I can still hear us cracking up about that! His little princess was patiently waiting for him – They danced and giggled in front of their castle. It was picture perfect…literally! *insert tears*
My bucket list also included a Belle/Gaston picture. I found out where and when to find him and brought Miss Eva dress up like Belle – in her provincial dress of course! As soon as we walked by Gaston’s Tavern we saw him. Gaston was giving his autograph to a group of young ladies and showing off his muscles. As soon as he saw Eva, he stopped what he was doing and screamed at the top of his lungs: “Belle, they mean nothing to me. I love you!” Eva got scared and started crying! CRYING… in the HAPPIEST place on earth! She did not want to be nearby (or within the same zipcode) as Gaston. My dreams of the perfect Belle picture were shattered. Many promises of unlimited Mickey Mouse Ice Cream later she agreed to stand by him. Becky managed to get an ah-mazing picture. They were not happily hugging each other like I had originally imagined. It was better, my Belle was ignoring Gaston, who was looking at her in awe. How fitting!
Becky is not only the best Seven Dwarfs Mine Train companion, but also the best Disney photographer. As I look through my pictures, I see so many emotions, so many details, so many memories. LOVE them all!
IF WE CAN DREAM IT, WE CAN DO IT! – Walt Disney
Thanks for reading my blog post. I hope I still have your attention and you did not give up on me already. As a token of appreciation, I leave you with my Top Five Tips from this Disney trip.
1. If people are not staring at you – you are doing it wrong! Have fun …adults are only kids grown up anyways ( I love Walt Disney quotes!)
2. Balloons bring smiles – one or ten of them , from kids to adults. If you buy one, be sure to keep your receipt . If you lose a balloon in the Park, just bring the receipt to any vendor and they will give you a new one.
3. If you have problems finding your stroller, tie several balloons to it. You will be able to quickly spot it in the sea of strollers! Worth the investment. Make sure you do not tie ten though, or you will look like Carl from Up.
4. If your little one is scared of characters – warm them up by bringing them to see princesses first. My 3 year old little playa’ loves him some princesses… and got used to the whole autograph/picture scenario in record time. By the end of the trip was high fiving Mickey and Co. phew!
5. Do not give up on those restaurants reservations. People make reservation changes all the time. I set up a reminder in my phone and checked for reservations wanted at the same time every day until got the ones I was hoping for.
Ericka Jimmerson is a busy mom of two who runs Little Apple Styles, photography + event styling. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help making your event picture perfect!
Rebecca Keller is a Disney World Family Photographer featured in People Magazine who spends her time sipping iced coffee, chasing after her two little ones, reading, running, and editing.
This is the time of year where I catch up on blogging. The second half of the year gets just so busy and a lot of times blogging gets put to the side so I can just focus on photographing families and editing. I just blogged Harrison’s second birthday, and realized I didn’t have a post all about my sweet Owen’s fifth birthday.
One thing my parents did growing up was that you only had a birthday party on the even years and on the odd years, you had a family birthday. We started that this year and five was going to be just a family celebration. I still wanted to get him a nice cake and balloon, and so I asked him what kind of birthday he wanted, and he instantly said a monorail birthday. His birthday gift was a monorail, he had a super cute monorail cake, a monorail birthday shirt from Swanky Shank, and a few months later I took his five year portraits at Disney. His favorites at 5 include all things Disney, legos, a huge Miles from tomorrowland fan, Star Wars, and is also a huge fan of his little brother. The two of them just love each other, and are such a blessing to Michael and I. (If your little one is a huge Disney fan like Owen, one thing we did do on his actual birthday was go to the Disney store. They put his name on the screen and then play Happy Birthday in the store, sung by the characters. Owen absolutely LOVED it. Harrison however, did not like being the center of attention when we took him a few days after his December 25 birthday)
If you’ve been to Disney, you know that the pixie dust just gets you when you go down there. It was hard to even squeeze in these portraits of him because I was just so excited about all the things we could be doing, right? Plus we kind of had some hiccups that day with our luggage and our dinner reservation so our timeline got a little messed up. It all ended up working out, and we were able to squeeze these in. Ericka from Little Apple Styles was such a big help and more to come later on the big ordeal it was to get these balloons and get them in and out of the park. I think it was a little windy when we photogaphed Owen, and you know, you have to wait for a monorail to come by so that took a little bit of time. It was so much fun celebrating and documenting his year of being five. I’m so thankful for this sweet boy and the joy he brings to us everyday – it’s hard to believe he’s already five and a half.
I love all the details to this session – his Mickey magic band, his happy birthday button, all of his sweet facial expressions..it’s so him at five, and I love it.
Styled with Little Apple Styles
Vest and Shorts from Janie and Jack
Shoes from Target
Disney Family Photographer | Rebecca Keller Photography
Rebecca Keller is a Disney Family Photographer featured in People Magazine who is often found chasing her two boys, sipping iced coffee, reading tons of books or running. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about family photography and travel sessions.
I finally had time to sit down and go through our Disney photos. (We went in early January) I will be honest – I really did not take many photos this trip. Our last trip – which you can see here, I took a million…like really should have put the camera down more. This time I took a lot more cell phone photos, carried my camera with the lightest, smallest lens and only carried my camera (no other bags) Another thing that we have found that makes our trips easier is using the city mini stroller instead of an umbrella stroller. We used an umbrella stroller the first time we went to Disney and discovered that it just wasn’t for us. It was so wonderful to use the City Mini the last two times, especially this time having a baby. We could unstrap the basket underneath and put the diaper bag completely under the basket and the bottles didn’t spill. (We waited until after Disney to go from bottles to sippy cups/milk) We also didn’t leave anything in the diaper bag that we cared if it was stolen. (I didn’t think we had to worry about this but just so we didn’t worry, etc.) I just carried my tiny camera bag (just holds the camera) with an extra flash card. Any baby items/snacks went under the stroller.And Michael didn’t have to carry anything, which was awesome, because one of us had to hold Harrison or make sure Owen wasn’t going too far. Like Nemo, we all had an “Exit buddy.”
Owen got his first hair cut around 11 months at Disney. Harrison has a lot more hair than Owen had so he was long overdue by the time of our trip right after he turned one. He was surprisingly happy during his haircut and only got upset at the very end, but thankfully the Dapper Dans provided some music since it started raining outside. Owen also got a hair cut while we were there since they had a spot for him. (We had made a reservation for Harrison) We drove to Jacksonville and spent the night and then drove up just in time for Harrison’s hair cut. Then we checked into our hotel and went shopping at Target to have enough snacks, breakfast food, water, etc for the week. Images like the one of them in the Target cart are just my favorite – everyday life. My Mama, brother and fam arrived that afternoon, too, and we all headed back to the Magic Kingdom. The Christmas decorations were still out and Christmas music was still playing. (It was the last day) and we also got to see the Frozen show and the castle turn to ice. They had a crane out the rest of our trip taking down the Christmas decor.
We did go to the Disney Starbucks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot this time. (Be prepared to wait!) A few new places we tried this time – the Whispering Canyon Cafe. was just so super cute. We did get into this place last minute but I would recommend making dinner reservations six months out for any places you really want to eat while at Disney.(see our faves here) At Whispering Canyon, you have to ask for ketchup while you are there, and then the kids ride stick horses around the restaurant. (Adorable. Owen lovvvved it) At Epcot, we also tried the Les Halles Bakery in France, and it was delicious! We also ran into friends at Epcot, which was super fun – you never know who you’ll see at Disney!
Owen loves his Duffy bear, and reallly wanted to get one for Harrison. He also picked out a Jake costume for him – so super cute. Oh, and this was our first trip since the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened, and wow, it is my favorite Disney ride for sure. We just happened to ride it at night during the fireworks. (And if you are going to attempt to take a baby into the park anywhere around fireworks time, parking the stroller and babywearing makes this soooooo much easier) We hopped off the monorail at Magic Kingdom after eating at Ohana (our favorite place to eat at Disney – YUM!) and headed to the Mine Train. It just happened to be at fireworks time, we barely waited for the ride (usually during the day it was around 60-90 min) and were able to ride during the fireworks. AMAZING! I highly recommend riding this at night, and if you can, plan to go during fireworks. (Have I said ride this ride at night during the fireworks enough??!?)
Probably one’s favorite part of Disney this trip was Ride Switch (you can read more about this here) Owen got to ride all of the roller coasters twice, and he just loved it! It made a trip with a baby a lot easier, too.
So if you look at the previous trip, there is a spot where Owen’s looking at all the fish. We’ve been here twice and never knew that you could sometimes see a hippo here – just the coolest thing ever. One of the highlights of our trip.
We like to end our trip with the breakfast at the Contemporary resort – The Wave buffet. (love the Mickey waffles) but I also recommend Chef Mickeys for breakfast (or dinner) We ate at Chef Mickey’s for dinner this trip, and there was some yummy food on the menu. We also tried the Ghiradelli shop at Downtown Disney while we were visiting the Lego Store and oh my, I so wish we had one of these – I would totally be in trouble. The chocolate milkshakes were incredible! Of course, we always get Dole Whip in the Magic Kingdom (we may have gotten it twice..the first time didn’t go so well and we dropped some. Oops!)
The new fastpass system didn’t work that great for us so if you are planning a trip, as far in advance that you can get fast passes, I’d definitely pick the ones that have the longest lines. (Mine train, Toy Story Mania, Meeting the Princesses, etc) The photos at night in front of the castle were like a five second thing on our way to the mine train..I’m so glad we stopped and my brother also snapped a photo of us. It was a super fun trip, Owen said his favorite rides were the Mine Train and the monorail, looking forward to another trip in a few years!
Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Family Lifestyle Photographer in Raleigh, N.C. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about Family Portraits and Newborn Photography in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and Wake Forest, N.C.