Category Archives: Disney
When traveling to Disney, it can be overwhelming sometimes to think of what to pack, especially if you go during the winter months when temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit. (60’s one week, 90s the next) We travel to Disney quite a lot, so I wanted to include some of my favorite travel staples.
A good bookbag or diaper bag if you are bringing a stroller. When my kiddos were super small, we loaded up the stroller with snacks, and a good decent bag you can put in the bottom of the stroller. If you don’t have a stroller, a good bookbag to carry snacks, hand sanitizer wipes, and water is key. (You can bring refillable water bottles and refill them in the park) If you are bringing bottles, it’s nice to have a bag you can stow in the bottom of a stroller and keep the bottles upright.
Which, if you are bringing a stroller, I’m going to highly recommend this one or something similiar. We tried going the umbrella stroller route and it hurt our backs badly and it was just no fun for any of us. Also, there’s no storage in umbrella strollers. With all the walking you are doing, you will want a good decent stroller, that folds up easily (for parking trams) You can also rent strollers at Disney, and I’m going to recommend the same concept of a decent stroller. It will save your back. We also didn’t like bringing double strollers because it was easier to navigate the crowds with each of us pushing a stroller instead of trying to get a double stroller around fireworks crowds, etc. Just personal preference.
With a baby, I also loved having a carrier so that when we were standing in lines, it was just easier. Also, if we were going out to dinner to ride a couple of rides in magic kingdom, it was easier to baby wear around the fireworks crowds.
Comfortable shoes This is a must at Disney. If it’s your first trip, it’s kind of hard to believe just how much walking you do at Disney. Walking, walking and then more walking. A good pair of tennis shoes is a staple at Disney. I have worn Birkenstocks and Rainbows, but sneakers are always a favorite to keep aching feet at bay.
Cheap, super compact ponchos you can throw in your bookbag. We try to bring the least possible amount of things in the park. I would love if I could go bagless but with kids right now, it’s just not possible. (Standing in the bag line takes a while) So cramming raincoats into a bookbag we are trying to keep light just doesn’t work out that well. Cheap ponchos work great when it’s sunny one minute, rainy the next, and then back to sun.
Clothes. It’s usually hot and gross, so just like with shoes, make sure you bring comfortable clothes. I love workout clothes for Disney, because it is a big workout and who cares how nasty your workout clothes get. If you are not going to have a washer and dryer, make sure you pack enough clothes for one clothing change a day in case you come in from the parks and want to change clothes. Unless you are going to an upscale dining experience (it will say it has a dress code when booking) all of the Disney restaurants are casual.
You may want a light jacket or sweatshirt in the winter months. I’d always bring a coat/sweatshirt just in case during those months can that be iffy. You never know how the weather can change from one day to the next.
Disney shirtsIt is one of those things, that when you get down there, everyone just wears Disney everything at Disney. So stock up on cute cheap shirts before your trip and check etsy for a lot of personalized ones.
AnkerWe love, love our Anker on long park days. It’s something great to have in the bookbag to charge your phone whenever anyone needs more power. The constant fast pass checking, etc, can really drain your phone.
If you think your kids will be interested in pin trading. Our eight year old recently got interested in this, and it’s been a lot of fun trading with cast members, make sure to get some pins for trading before you go. These are pins your child isn’t attached to and wants to trade with cast members. You can check amazonfor pins – just make sure they have good reviews and you aren’t getting fake Disney pins. Pins in the park start around 9.99 so it’s good to get cheap ones to trade before you go.
To bring or not bring your camera. I obviously love taking pictures, so I always bring my camerawith me. My husband usually carries the light bookbag and I only bring a super small camera bag kind of like this one that will only hold my camera and like nothing else. I hate carrying a lot of stuff at Disney, and will sometimes use my phone, but love having my camera with me too. I do not bring a big camera bag or extra lenses. Don’t forget to pack all of your prescriptions, favorite toiletries and beauty products.
Don’t forget the sunscreen. You do not want to end up miserable and burnt in Florida. You can also pack cute Disney hats to help with the sun. Cooling Towels and small, portable fans are popular in the parks on sweltering days. Any light up toysare also fun in the parks at night.
Other travel supplies.
Love this suitcase. I also love how packing cubes can make your life so much easier. We have these(so many great reviews and inexpensive) in different colors for each family member. You can just get lost watching so many great packing cube/packing videos on you tube, too.
A great pair of headphones, especially if you’re flying.
My must and go to is my kindle. I love it so much for traveling, I don’t know how I lived without it!
I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this list and we go on so many trips. What are your favorites to pack for Disney?
Rebecca Keller is a family photographer featured in People Magazine who spends her time sipping iced coffee, chasing after her two little ones, reading, going to Disney and editing. Because we chat a lot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions on affiliate links in articles. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about Spring Mommy and Me Mini Sessions Raleigh and Raleigh family photography.
Disney Family Photos
We went to Disney for a week in January and during Owen’s winter break in February..I know, it sounds like alot..Our trip in January was with my family,too, and Harrison and I got the flu and had to miss out on a few days. Before we left in January, we upgraded to an annual pass. (If you are going to go back within a year, even if it’s the week before the next year, an annual pass will save you $$$) Our super sweet friends gave us their timeshare for our February trip (such a blessing) and we ate breakfast at our hotel + pb and j-ed it for lunch. I realllly liked packing our lunch. It saved a lot of park time + eating when waiting in a line kept the kids busy. Plus, it saves money. (We’ve been talking a lot about experiences over things at our house. Our kids really valued putting toys back in the store and saving money for Disney) January was a little busy with the marathon going on. We were there during the Princess one in February, but the crowds were really low and just amazing.
First let me start with 5 million pictures from Cars at the Art of Animation Resort…we did not stay here, but we had to stop here first, because we have a serious Lightning McQueen fan. Word on the street is now since our last trip in February, Disney is charging for parking, but we were able to just drive in, park, and look at all the fun Cars stuff. For Harrison, who loves all things race cars, it was a dream come true. The Cozy Cone pool was so super cute so I had to include a picture of that, too. We were there early in the morning, before we headed to Magic Kingdom, so no one was out swimming yet. In early January, the park still had some Christmas decorations and was blaring Christmas music. One of my favorite Disney pictures was taken in January at the Contemporary Resort, but I haven’t seen those Mickey lights in January since.
We always love seeing the Dapper Dans, and it was so fun that the piano player at Casey’s had Owen play the piano with him.
One of our favorite Disney snacks – Dole Whip. You can get either here or at the Polynesian Hotel. (We may have had it twice this trip….stopping after the Luau for a Dole Whip before we headed back.)
Animal Kingdom has become more of a favorite for me this year. In January, we only spent like 1/2 day there because then we had to head back for our family pictures but in February, we spent a lot of time here. Owen is a huge Flight of Passage, fan, so we went two days to ride it, and with buddy pass, Owen got to ride it four times. He is really going to miss Harrison being little enough for the buddy pass. I’m thinking by the fall or next year he will hit the height requirements. So, back to Animal Kingdom. It was really adorable how the cousins were so into the maps, so I had to take like 5 million pictures. Our January safari was the best safari we’ve had, and I still can’t believe how close the giraffes were. There is now a baby hippo at Disney, and one of the cast members had informed us in February, your best chance to see it is on the safari. So, what is the best way to ride Flight of Passage? Some people like to get there super early and run at rope drop. You are looking at waiting a long time before the park opens just to get in early. (And if you have extra magic hours because you are staying on property, still go at least 30 min before that starts to wait) This was not the way we did it…We didn’t stay on property in February but we reallllly wanted to ride Flight of Passage. Our first day, we got to Animal Kingdom around 3 or 4 pm. I had read somewhere online to try to get in line ten minutes before the park closes. So we stopped by Flight of Passage and asked the cast members out front. They confirmed that we could do this (woo-hoo!) We waited an hour both nights (This line can get crazy 3-5 hour waits) One night we were the last people heading out of Animal Kingdom (so fun!) How did our kids keep up? And us, too! HA! This trip we went to the parks at rope drop and stayed for about 5 hours. All of that was rides because we ate lunch in line. Then we’d go back to our hotel and nap for about 2 hours and then head back to a park until closing. The rides at night were just so great!
Star Wars Tour. On our January trip, we did something we had not done before – the Hollywood Studios Star Wars tour. It was really, really fun. You get to walk on all of the Star Wars rides/experiences plus the kids got to walk in the Star Wars parade. A front seat at the Star Wars show, enrolled in Jedi Training, Star Wars meet and greets, and a front row spot at the Star Wars fireworks show. We also got to see some behind the scenes of the Star Tours ride.The Star Wars lunch was also super cute. It was a really fun day, and I’d highly recommend it for a Star Wars fan. (So looking forward to Star Wars Land in 2019!
When planning a Disney trip…
If you want to do dinner reservations etc, you really need to book your trip a little over six months out. (You can book dinner reservations six months out and you need to do this on the first day you can. Also, fast passes can be booked 60 and 30 days out depending on if you are staying on property) Things to bring – a portable phone charger, lots of hand sanitizer, and the 1.00 ponchos from Target. My personal favorite ride is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and it’s really the best if you ride it at night. Our favorite restaurant is Ohana..it can be really hard to get a reservation for it, but it’s just so yummy! If you are going to eat quick service in the park, order on your phone in the app. It’s so much quicker and just make sure you already have your credit card saved in the app before you go in the park.If you are staying on property, you can have any merchandise you buy in the park sent to your hotel gift shop. If you aren’t staying on property, you can have them send it to the front of the park for pick up (It just takes 3-4 hours) In Magic Kingdom, the hat store on Main Street and in the Town Square Theater will embroider names on hats. For a special souvenir, there is someone that does silhouettes on main street. Also, the cast members selling balloons will let your kids hold the whole bunch for a picture. If you are a popcorn fan, you get buy refillable popcorn and it’s 1.50 to refill at any park. And like I mentioned above, any big ride you want to ride…by big ride, I mean long wait, go get in line ten minutes before the park closes.
Harrison’s face….I love him.
We tried three new restaurants – The Hollywood Brown Derby Diner. (where Lucas signed over Star Wars to Disney) It was so so yummy. We also tried the Biergarten buffet in Germany at Epcot. The buffets are a little bit more expensive, but it was really yummy, and there was a show with German music. Last, the Sci Fi Diner at Hollywood Studios. I have wanted to try this for a while, and oh my, the cuteness. SO CUTE. I think I loved it more than anyone – ha! We have done all the character dinners, and wanted to try some different places this trip.
Sci Fi Diner
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As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump
Raleigh Maternity + Newborn Photographer
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Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Newborn Photographer featured in My Little Peanut, Let The Kids Dress Themselves and several other blogs. Because we chat about our personal lives, we may receive commissions from affiliate links on the blog.
Image of my boys by Bethney Beckhaus Photography | Taken in Disney World
February was a super busy month for us, and I’m a little sad that it’s already over. I saw some Daffodils have already started blooming in the neighborhood this week, so yay! Super excited about Spring and all of the minis we have coming up – Mommy and Me, family minis, Coastal Minis…(contact us if you want more info ASAP, we only have a few spots left!)
Goals for March
1. March is going to be a super busy shooting and editing month, but I’d love to squeeze in some time for editing our personal Disney photos.
2.I need to start exercising again so March seems like a great time to do it!
3.Finish any last minute plans for our trip to New York. Michael surprised me with Hamilton tickets for Christmas, and so I’m praying it’s not freezing cold!
4.Continue to catch up on blogging
5.Spend as much time as possible outside with the boys when we have those rare beautiful North Carolina days.
6.Start planning what we are going to do for Spring Break.
7.Write a blog post with all my favorite Disney tips/tricks.
8.Figure out Easter outfits for the boys.
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.