Our Summer Bucket List #2

The countdown until the end of school is on – with mere days left. The children are getting restless and excited and us parents are getting panicked and a smidge excited. I mean, what on earth are we to do to occupy our children ALL summer while the teachers get their much deserved break. Our kiddos have two full-time working parents which means there is no end to making lunches or morning rushes. They still need to get out the door to day camps with the exception of the days their teenage sitters come or the bit of time we take off work, but there is still plenty of time for us to check items off our new bucket list. This years bucket list is complete and it’s here for you below – add these items to your list too, or let me know of some of the items on yours, we are always looking for new adventures and experiences to take on as a family.

1.Play-A-Latte Cafe – Kitchener, ON

This cafe has been all the hype with Moms in the KW area and we need to make a trip back to our old stomping grounds to check it out. It’s a cafe with an indoor play structure – such a brilliant idea and a more likely way to enjoy a hot coffee with a friend or spouse.

2. Frankenmuth – Michigan, USA

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been to this town but the only time we took our children they were too young to remember. This quaint German town in Michigan keeps us coming back for more with it’s charm and character. This trip we are going with another family and are staying at Zehnder’s Splash Village. Can’t wait for our return!

3. Elora Quarry – Elora, ON

The Quarry draws thousands of tourists every year – and maybe that’s why we have yet to check out an attraction less than 10 minutes away but it is on our list this year. It’s about time we head to the place that everyone is talking about.

4. Park Crawl – Anywhere, ON

This summer I’ve decided we are going to do a Park Crawl (sorry, no alcohol involved). We will hit up several parks in a day and pack a picnic lunch. No idea where we will end up yet but I will post about it once we’ve done it. Such a fun, inexpensive summer activity – and our kids go bananas for any park so it should prove a good time.

5. Grand River Raceway – Elora, ON

If this looks familiar, it was on our list last year. We went on a date night last year and this year at the Raceway but didn’t bring the children. So, it’s back on our list so we can finally check it off with them. We are hoping to check out one of the Community Derby Nights but they have a children’s tent every Friday so they should be entertained regardless of when we make it here.

6. Ontario Science Centre – Toronto, ON

Also on our list from last summer, we became too busy to squeeze this one in. We can’t wait to finally make it to this Science themed Museum for a fun and secretly educational trip (shhh – don’t tell the kids).

7. Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games – Fergus, ON

The largest event in our town by far is the Fergus Scottish Festival. We went as a family a couple of years ago but the kids were a little too young to take it in and last longer than a couple hours. We are going to make a return this year with hopes of watching more of the actual games.

8. The Children’s Art Factory – Guelph, ON

The Art Factory is all things Art. Kids are able to explore their creative outlets in a fun environment. It’s a drop-in studio for children and a great activity for those rainy or too humid summer days.

9. Canada Day Soap Box Derby – Elora, ON

Last year, we went to Elora for a couple hours in the morning to celebrate Canada Day. When our children (and my husband) saw the Soap Box Derby they decided instantly we had to do it next year. Well, next year is here and they’ve been hard at work (only our daughter is racing since you have to be 6). This will be our summer kick off event and we can’t wait!

We wish you all a fun and safe summer!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways to Spread Kindness

If you had one chance, one opportunity to change someones day – would you take it? Would you give joy for no other reason then to brighten another’s day? It’s easy for us to answer yes, and most of us do – but it is often more difficult for us to act on it. Why? Some times we just don’t know what to do to spread kindness, some times we don’t know where to spread it or to who and some times we are just over thinking it. And some times we just need some one to show us the way. There are many ways to give joy that are simple and inexpensive, here are some to get you started:

  1. Let some one else go first – whether it’s in a grocery store line, at a drive thru or while driving – let someone go a head of you. You lose 10 seconds to 4 minutes of your day, it costs you nothing and it makes someone else smile – so why wouldn’t you do it.
  2. Buy a coffee for the person behind you. This act of kindness is quite common and it’s likely because it’s simple and not too expensive – also it takes no extra time out of your day. Often this act creates a ripple effect where the first recipient feels so much joy that they buy for the next person and so on and so on.
  3. Give a new or gently loved book away. There are many ways to do this one – we recently dropped off a gently loved book at our local library with a note attached asking them to gift the book to a child that came in that day. You can be as creative as you like.
  4. Bring in treats for your coworkers. Who doesn’t love a pick me up while at work? Bringing in something to share will help lift the spirits of the people you are surrounded by most of the day.
  5. Leave a quarter in your shopping cart. Most shopping carts at grocery stores require a deposit for use – leave your quarter in the cart for the next person – they will appreciate not having to dig through their purse or wallet for one.
  6. Write a nice note for a loved one or a stranger. Kind words can go a long way – share those words with someone else, verbally or in a note.
  7. Help a neighbour. If you see a neighbour carrying in a lot of groceries, struggling to move a large piece of furniture or appliance, or shoveling by themselves – take a few minutes to reach out and help.
  8. Flowers. Give the gift of flowers to someone unexpected – you can buy them or cut them from your own garden (when in bloom), leave them on a porch, hand them to a friend, a loved one, a stranger.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – be creative, have fun and keep giving joy – the world will be a better place because of it!

**Don’t forget to use  #beautymarked❤️ and follow me on Instagram to watch kindness spread**

Have a great day! And remember, in a World where you can be anything – Be Kind!

 

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Beauty Marked – The Kindness Experiment

It is so easy for us to share a post from a social media influencer or support a cause that a celebrity we admire does. It is so easy for us to share and come together in the face of tragedy and heart ache. But what about kindness? What if sharing kindness and spreading joy became just as easy?’ What if we didn’t have to wait for a tragedy to experience a magnitude of kindness? What if acting from a place of love, with no other reason than to be kind, spread like wildfire? What if a simple act made a stranger’s day? What if the stories of kindness outweighed the stories of negativity, of hate? What if together, we rippled kindness across the world?

Today –  my birthday, I’m launching a little experiment (or a big experiment if it grows as big as I dream). I want to see how far kindness can spread in 30 days – I want to see how many people can be infected with kindness and experience a moment of joy.

My birthday wish is that everyone that reads this is inspired to do one random act of kindness – it doesn’t have to be big, it can be very small, all I ask is that you take a moment from your day, just a moment, with no other purpose than to make some one else smile.

This experiment may not touch the world, it may not touch the country, but it may touch a town, or even just one person and one person is enough for me and maybe it’s enough for you too.

I’ve created a card – the PDF is linked below – you can leave this where you spread your random act of kindness, so that the recipient may continue the chain or share the joy they received. The hashtag is to follow along, to see the ways kindness is being spread, to see the joy and to see how far we can spread beauty.

Let’s mark the world with Beauty – together we can do this!

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PDF: BeautyMarked

Go Bananas

A few weeks ago, we ended our March Break with a bang. After a couple of us went down with the norovirus (which is running rampant in our area) and our daughter deemed it “the worst March Break ever” – we decided we had to do something fun when we were finally all on the mend. So, to help salvage the remaining two days of their school holiday we made our first trip to Go Bananas in Kitchener.

We booked our climb online the morning we were going. Climb passes are for 1 hour and were $16.95 each ($11.95 if under age 4). From time to time there may be a Groupon or promotion available but at the time of our visit it was regular price. We also signed all of our waivers online – which helped with less chaos once we arrived at Go Bananas.

The first step when we arrived was for the kiddos to get harnessed up. There are two different sizes of harnesses depending on the size of your child – this process is fairly fast and started about 10 minutes prior to our climb.

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Once all the children were harnessed they just had to wait for their climb time – there was a clock that they watched to help with the wait. Then they open the gates and the children flood in.

All of the walls were geared toward children and had the difficulty level posted. It was our kiddos first time climbing so we started off on some easier walls.

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They climbed for the entire hour and by the end of their climb time had attempted most of the walls/structures at Go Bananas. I would recommend comfy/active wear type clothes, decent running shoes and a water bottle (they will for sure break a sweat).

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The staff ensured the experience ran smoothly and safely and we were impressed with the service. Our kiddos had such a great time and keep asking when they can go back. If you’re close to the Kitchener area – give Go Bananas a try – your children will have a blast while being active and you’ll have a blast watching…with a coffee! .

Until next time….

 

 

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Disney – Magic Kingdom

At the risk of being unbelievably cheesy  – Magic Kingdom was nothing short of magical. Magic Kingdom is known as the “it” park – “it’s” the park you must visit if you only have one day, “it’s” the park with Cinderella’s castle, “it’s” the park that you can’t miss. Listen to our experience there and decide if you think it’s the “it” park too.

Our day started off with breakfast at Be Our Guest. The night before our first Magic Kingdom day, we were lucky enough to snag an earlier reservation then we had originally booked (check the night before because there are usually dining reservation times that open up due to cancellations). Our new dining reservation was for 8:00 am – which meant we were able to get into the park at about 7:50 am. The best thing about this was that the park wasn’t set to open until 9 am that day – meaning, the only people allowed to enter were the ones with dining reservations. The park was just about deserted, so it was a nice calm start to our day.

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Be Our Guest was everything I dreamed it would be! It looked just like the ballroom from the movie and the theming was done perfectly. One great thing to note is that Be Our Guest for breakfast is only a quick service dining credit. We had a standard bacon and egg breakfast with pastries and coffee, of course – it was decent and what you would expect from a standard breakfast. We were done eating with about 15 minutes to spare before the park opened for everyone else. Another great bonus of being in the park prior to opening is that we were able to go to 3 attractions before line ups even started. If you have little ones I would highly recommend trying to snag a dining reservation before park opening – it has way too many pros not to. We went on The Little Mermaid ride, met Ariel at her grotto and went to Belle’s Enchanted tales – all of these attractions were relatively close to the Be Our Guest Restaurant as well.  Belle’s Enchanted tales was very interactive – have your child volunteer if they aren’t too shy, it will make the experience even more special.

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Our next stop was MICKEY ICE CREAM BARS – I mean, you can’t go to Disney and not have these at least once! Since we were on holidays – ice cream in the morning was deemed more than acceptable and totally worth it. We then headed over to Pete’s Silly Slideshow where we met Donald Duck (who both children adored) and Goofy – as per our other character experiences these interactions were great as well. Next, it was time for some more rides – this brought us to the Mad Tea Party (a Disney Classic) and Tomorrowland Speedway. Our little speedsters loved Tomorrowland Speedway and driving the cars themselves – their parent passengers thought maybe they weren’t quite ready for their licenses yet but we all had fun regardless of their driving skills.

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At this point, it was time to head to Cinderella’s Royal Table for our lunch reservation. The children both got to meet Cinderella while we waited in line which helped pass the time until our table was ready. The food at Cinderella’s Royal Table was spectacular, definitely worth the two dining credits to eat there – and there were 5 princesses that day who came around to our table throughout the lunch. Dining reservations at The Royal Table can be hard to get – but try everything you can to get one(within reason) – this ranked really high on our dining and character experiences – and it’s the only way you can get inside of the castle.MK_CRTLOBBYCHAR_20181203_414808874162After we left the castle, we spotted Cinderella’s step sisters, Drizella and Anastasia, and were lucky enough to be the last ones in line to meet them before a character switch. They were by far the most “in character” Disney characters we met while we were at Disney. They were witty, evil, and didn’t stumble on a single question. If you see them while you’re there – get in line – you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

This wrapped up our first day at Magic Kingdom as we had an early start and we were all becoming quite exhausted. We didn’t want to push our luck so we headed back to our hotel for some down time and re-energized for our night-time plans. Sorry – you’ll have to wait until the next post to find out what we did later that day.

Magic Kingdom was everything any of us hoped it would be and lived up to all its hype. It most definitely deserves the “It” park status and we would love to return one day.

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All Friendships Have Purpose

Friends come into our lives for many reasons – some are there for the long haul, some are there to teach us, some are there just for a blink. No matter the type of friendship they all have an impact. They all aide in our growth, whether we can see it immediately or not.

It’s easy to see the purpose of the long-lasting loyal friendships – it’s the one’s that end painfully, abruptly, or for no real reason at all that are tough to process.

It took me a while to find the good in friendships that ended. It took me a while to not take it as a personal attack on my character. It took me a while to accept that all friendships have different purposes in our lives. It took me a while to digest that some times there is no explanation and no rekindling.

Some friendships end like a breakup with hurt and no closure. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to change that.  Sometimes it’s hard to not take it personally. Sometimes you take on all the blame when deep down you know you shouldn’t. Sometimes you continue to make excuses for someone that doesn’t deserve it. And sometimes you try to fix something that isn’t worth fixing.

Somewhere a long the way I found my worth. I found my courage. I found my voice. I spoke my mind. I stopped investing time in one-sided friendships. I no longer forced it. I reassessed my friendships. I reassessed myself.

For me, it became clear that the quality of friendships means significantly more than the quantity. Being popular or liked is not a priority. Being surrounded by exceptional friends is.

Just like you shouldn’t settle for a partner, you shouldn’t settle for a friend. Only you can decide what type of friends help you thrive. Only you can decide what type of friends you want in your life. Only you. Decide the qualities you need in a friend and don’t settle  –  be surrounded by people that complement you and lift you up. Time is too precious to spend it with anyone but.

I know now that all friends, at any stage of my life and for whatever length were there for a reason. Whether short or long – they all taught me something. Some taught me strength, some taught me self worth, some taught me confidence, some taught me trust.

All of my friendships up to this point, the good, the bad, the ugly, the short, the long – I wouldn’t change any of them. They all led me to where I am today, they all provided me with something in my life at that moment, they were all there for a purpose and for that I will always be grateful to them, each and every one.

 

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Road Trip Must Haves

So, you’re going to be stuck in a car for an extended period of time with your kiddos,  – who’s idea was that? Even though you may instantly regret the once brilliant idea of a family road trip – I’ve got you covered with some must-haves to save your sanity. In no particular order I give you:

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1. A portable dvd player : The cons of letting your children watch too much tv should be thrown out the window. This device will save your sanity. It may give you zoned out kids that don’t want to pay attention to the scenic views out their window (that was bound to happen anyway) but the silence will be heavenly. If you’re really concerned, find some educational dvds – but, don’t leave home without one.

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2. A Boogie Board: This was by far the hottest item during our road trip. Our children played with them just about non-stop and we may or may not have played with them too! The stencils add to the use of this drawing board and it was a big hit and still is post trip. Also your kids will get a real hoot out of saying “boogie” every time they are using or talking about it – enjoy!

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3. Snacks, a lot of snacks : You are asking for torture if you don’t pack a variety of snacks in a quantity large enough to feed a small horse for a week . Your children are bound to use the dreaded “S” word about every 10 minutes and if you don’t deliver, well, we all know what will happen. Just be prepared.

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4. A new toy : Keyword here is “new”. The novelty and interest of having something new to play with will last about 30 minutes longer than an “old” toy (if you’re lucky) and trust me – you need all the 30 minutes you can get. Pick something you’re confident your kids will enjoy and it should occupy them for a few minutes.

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5. Colouring : Pack a lot of colouring books and/or paper but do not –  I repeat, do not –  bring markers,  unless of course your favourite past-time is cleaning it off your children and everything in arms reach in your car. Stick with crayons or else add magic erasers to your packing list.

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6. Books: Bring your favourites and maybe a couple of new ones. Look and find books occupy them a little longer – so bring one if you can. Also, if you have a child that can read – bring books at their level so they can read to the younger children, leaving you to save your voice for yelling at your kids to look at the skyline to their left to have them look to the right way too late and say “what?!?” You know what I mean.

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7. Games: Travel games, travel bingo – if your kids are old enough to play these then pack away. If your kids are too little, stick  with games like I SPY. Your neck is going to be sore from turning around every time they say “Mom”, so you don’t need to strain it more by directing them in a game they aren’t old enough to play. Age appropriate is best.

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8. Magnets: Magnets are always fun – whether the classic letters or characters, this will occupy them for at least part of the trip. We brought metal tins for them to stick to and also to contain them when they were ready to move onto the next thing. Check out your local dollar store (or $40 store) for some great options.

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9. Medicine: And by “medicine” I mean your entire medicine cabinet. You might think I’m joking but you will thank me when you’re in the middle of nowhere and your child starts complaining their tummy hurts and you are able to save them from vomiting all over your car. Or when your head is pounding from a change in elevation or backseat bickering and you need some relief. Save yourself the headache and over pack.

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10. Ear Plugs or a Car Divider: This item is for the parents only. When you are at your wits end consider ear plugs or a privacy divider (like they have in limos), it could save the entire trip from disaster. Joking! Or am I? But seriously, if someone invents a privacy divider for everyday cars – I want shares!

There you have it! I hope at least a few of these items help you in preparing for your family road trip, save your children from boredom, and give you some sanity! Safe travels!

 

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*Note: This is not an ad and I am not sponsored in any way by any of these products. These opinions are my own and you should always use your own discretion and follow the directions, warnings, age suggestions, etc. on the product packaging.

 

 

That time I got shingles…

On my face. I know what you’re thinking – how old is she? I assure you I’m only 33 – not a spring chicken but definitely not over the hill either. Trust me I was as shocked as you – I mean shingles are meant to target “old” people – right? Wrong…very very wrong.

It all started on a cold and dreary day in October – I had what I only assumed was another miserable pressure induced migraine. One side of my face and scalp went numb and was sensitive to the touch. My normal trusty friend (good ol’ Motrin super strength) was not super that day and barely even touched the pain. This “migraine” continued into Sunday and then again into Monday.

Monday I could no longer take it and went to the hospital – the Dr gave me an IV of goodies to treat severe migraines and finally I had some relief. I mean relief until the Dr noticed what I had just accepted was adult acne – he said he had a hunch I had shingles and gave me a prescription for anti virals. Turns out his “hunch” was 100% accurate and I did in fact have shingles. For anyone that has had shingles – you know it gets worse before it gets better. And for all of you that haven’t, I’ll describe it the best way I can…

It’s like a bee is stinging you continuously and when that feeling subsides your face is on fire and when that eases a little the itchy feeling becomes unbearable – I think you get the idea – it’s not exactly a party. I feel like I could have handled it better if it was hiding on my back or blended in with the stretch marks on my stomach but alas that was not my reality. The nerve pain that lasted for weeks after was worse than the greasy hair or rashy face. Every time I would get the nerve pain I would panic and think the shingles were coming back and some times still do – I’m aware this is unrealistic and dramatic but to me it seems plausible. Shingles and anxiety definitely don’t mix and I wouldn’t wish it on any one.

The timing wasn’t horrible, a few weeks before Halloween, the Phantom of the Opera was a good back up costume idea. Many have reassured me it didn’t look “that” bad – just like they tell you you look great when everyone knows you look horrible and have gigantic bags under your eyes – but I do appreciate their efforts. Turns out – when your parents were told (back in the day) to ensure your kid gets infected with chicken pox so they won’t get it later in life was a downright lie – it means the virus lays dormant in your body until your body wants revenge on how you’re treating it and throws it back at you as a reminder to take better care of yourself. And what a reminder it was.

All exaggeration and joking aside, shingles reminded me of a lot of things. It reminded me to be grateful for the healthcare we have and the Dr for catching my shingles early enough so there wasn’t damage to my vision. It reminded me that no one notices your physical appearance as much as you do. It reminded me that wearing no make up can be freeing. It reminded me that so many people have it worse and aren’t fortunate enough to receive a pill that will make it all go away. I am grateful for a wake up call to take care of my body and keep my stress in control. Remember to take time for yourself and to cherish the body you were given.

Happy Wednesday!

Until next time….

 

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Disney – Epcot

Epcot or Apricot (as our daughter kept calling it) was the first park we visited on our Disney vacation. Epcot has a stereotype of being an “adult” park – and that is how I remembered it (from 25 years ago when I was there last – gosh, that makes me feel old). Our experience at this park with young kids somewhat still fit that label – I would love to enjoy food and wine from around the World and leisurely wander the park with no children – but Epcot has come a long way in 25 years and there is still plenty to fill your day with young kids.

We arrived at Epcot approximately 40 minutes before the park was to open at 9 am. There were a lot of people already there waiting and the line ups were long – but Disney runs like a well oiled machine and they moved everyone a long really quickly.

As Epcot was our first park, meeting Mickey was top on our list to start off our magical trip. Our first stop was the Epcot Character Spot – here we met Mickey, Goofy and Minnie. All of the characters were exceptional with their interactions and our kiddos were in complete awe. There are also restaurants in all of the parks and select hotels where you can meet characters while eating – regardless of how you choose to meet characters during your experience – if you have little ones this is a must!

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Next we headed to Norway to meet Anna and Elsa and go on Frozen Ever After. While waiting for the characters the kids enjoyed a Berry Cream Puff from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe – they enjoyed it so much that I had one upset kiddo when I took just one strawberry off the top – lesson learned. The characters were lovely and we had one completely mesmerized with Elsa. We had a fast pass for the Frozen ride and I would recommend snagging one if you can because the ride has extremely long wait times. The Frozen ride was well themed and a lot of fun – if the wait wasn’t so long we would have rode it again.

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After visiting Norway, we did a little exploring as we headed to Japan for our 12:00 lunch reservation. One thing I would like to point out – if you are hoping to explore tastes from Around the World at the kiosks in every country – most of them don’t open until 11 and some 11:30. We were a little disappointed and wish we knew this sooner as our lunch dining didn’t leave our bellies much room to try other things in Epcot.
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For lunch we had reservations at Teppan Edo, a Japanese table service restaurant where the chef cooks on the grill right in front of you (Teppanyaki style). The kids loved that they could watch the chef cook and were amazed by the onion volcano. I ordered the Julienne Beef (we all tried a different type of protein) it was so tender and flavorful – I would highly recommend it. The kids used chopsticks and were very entertained while waiting for their food. The portions were large (especially for the children) we left with very full bellies and food still on our plates. I would definitely eat here again but not before I try a few other places at Epcot first – I hear there are many that are out of this world!

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After lunch, we picked up some caramel corn at Karamell Kuche for a snack for later and explored other countries in Epcot as well. Our daughter picked a pearl from Japan for her souvenir – a really neat (and a little pricey) experience – but a souvenir that she will cherish for a long time. In China, they had their names written in Chinese at the Kidcot Fun Stop. Our next stop was Test Track. We knew this was one we couldn’t miss for the sake of our 4 year old, so we all embraced the 70 min  wait. The line (like most in Disney) was very interactive so they weren’t too bored. My son is still talking about that ride and that he loves Epcot the most because of Test Track – so I would endure the long wait again if we ever return.

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At this point the kids were pretty tired (remember, we drove for two whole days prior and this was our first day there) – so we started to head out around 4 and met Pluto close to the exit (one of the highlights of their day).  One of the Cast Member’s informed us that Epcot is the biggest park (size wise) so it made sense that we were all exhausted from the walking. There is so much to do in Epcot and I know we didn’t even see a quarter of it but we adored it nonetheless. It was a lovely, yet not overwhelming, first park day at Disney to ease them into the rides and the magic and we have memories that will last for years to come.

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Disney – Port Orleans Riverside

So, you’ve decided to spend a fortune and go to Disney instead of buying a small car. We did too, at the beginning of December with our two kiddos. It was a trip I had dreamed about and planned for several years – and a trip I’m still dreaming about since we’ve returned.  It took a lot of saving because I’m not a millionaire…yet – but it was worth every penny. I’m hopeful that some of our experiences will help you dream, plan and have an unforgettable vacation. Keep in mind – I am by no means a travel agent. And yet still – prepare yourself to be bombarded with Disney posts over the next couple weeks – starting with accommodations.

The accommodations were a tough one for us. We debated renting a house for a week – but that meant more work while on vacation – pass. We debated staying at a hotel off of Disney property to save a few dollars – but that meant less conveniences – pass.  We decided staying on Disney property was best so we could take advantage of Disney transportation, the dining plan, earlier dining reservations and fast passes and it ended up being a great decision for us. Disney has over 25 hotels – the competition was fierce but the winner was Port Orleans Riverside. We knew a few friends who had stayed at Port Orleans and it also came highly recommended by our travel agent and online reviews…and I read a lot of reviews.

The property for Port Orleans Riverside is very large – Disney spares no detail when trying to immerse you into an experience. Although I’ve never been to New Orleans – it sure felt like I was transported there for a week. We chose an upgraded Royal Room and our room was located in the Magnolia Bend section of the resort. Our location was pretty ideal, we were one building down from the “quiet pool” and the main building (front desk, dining etc.) and main pool was just across the bridge.

Here is what our building looked like – we were on the second floor – it felt like we were in a room inside of a mansion.

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Our room itself was a traditional hotel room – with some fun added royal theming. The picture on the headboard had a button that when pushed would light up fireworks on the scene. Our kids gave that button a workout – I don’t blame them though – it was really neat. The kids also both received letters from Princess Tiana – a nice extra touch. The room was clean, comfortable and really all the space we needed for our stay.

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There really aren’t words to describe the grounds, I could try but I wouldn’t do it justice, so I will just share some pictures instead and let you add the words.

One of our favourite features was the boat transportation that you could take via the river to Disney Springs – we used the boat quite a few times and it never once disappointed – it was also a nice alternative to always taking the bus. If you stay here – make sure you take advantage of the boat!

The river really added to the ambiance of Riverside and we enjoyed many walks along it. The quiet pool and main pool were never too busy during our stay – we were told by some Americans that it was because it was too cold to swim – but I promise you it felt like a Canadian summer most days and we were most definitely not doing a polar bear dip. I suspect that most people spend the majority of their time at the parks which is why the pools were mostly deserted but that was okay by us. The main pool had a great water slide which our children enjoyed non stop and the quiet pool had laundry facilities which also came in handy.

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The quick service dining location at our resort was the Riverside Mill Food Court. We had dinner here twice and also grabbed breakfast once and some snacks here and there. The food is pretty standard but we had no complaints. The children enjoyed the pizza and my husband loved the pasta. My favourite was the gluten free mickey waffles they made for me (I will have an entire post about food coming soon). This is also where we were able to get our refillable Disney resort cups (which I filled with coffee every single day – a necessity).

The cast members at our resort were truly exceptional. They went above and beyond with their customer service and ensured that every thing ran smoothly and if it wasn’t they would correct it immediately. The Disney staff blew us away wherever we went and I thank them for their part in making our vacation so magical.

Lastly….Christmas! We went to Disney during their Christmas season – the decorations were gorgeous and have set my expectations extremely high for how I would like my house to look next year – think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and then some.

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I would definitely recommend this moderate resort to anyone planning a Disney vacation and would love to stay there again one day….one can always dream, right?

Port Orleans Riverside was more than just a resort – it was our home for a week that we will always remember.