Bon Voyage Breakfast: My New Favorite Character Meal

The Dole Whip Family loves Character Meals! It saves time and we can check many of our “must meets” in a few meals. So, when the Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno was announced I knew it was a must do. We were VERY excited about the possibility of meeting Flynn Rider! Now, I know you can meet Rapunzel, Ariel and Eric but if I am being honest, I was there for Flynn! I also liked the idea of having a real reason to head over to the Boardwalk and explore. It”s something I am always meaning to do but sometimes it is not priority.

We had a lovely trip over from Riverside, it sounds like a bit of a hassle but we hopped the bus to Hollywood Studios and then boarded a Friendship boat over to Boardwalk. The boat was pretty much empty on the way over to our 9:15 am reservation. We arrived about 10 minutes early and were promptly checked in. We waited about another 10 minutes to be seated and had a pleasant exchange with Prince Eric as he passed us on our way to the restrooms! I was not surprised that there was a souvenir set up right when you walk, there were dresses, crowns and toys available for purchase. It is right next to the waiting area so be sure to bring distraction toys. We did buy 2 light up Pascales. He does come as part of a special Bon Voyage Drink. I knew I needed more than one and it was cheaper to just buy him outright.



We got an awesome rounded booth, even with the high chair request. It was at the far end of the restaurant which was nice because we could see everything that was happening. The characters are introduced individually and they then make their entrance into the area where everyone is seated.  Flynn was first, he walked to a few tables and when they introduced Rapunzel, he politely said “Excuse me, I have to go get my wife” because we were not already swooning!

Once everyone is announced they start to make their way around the tables. There is a small moment where everyone says their dream out loud with Rapunzel and there is a Guppy Parade with Ariel. Everyone makes a jellyfish with their napkin and it’s as adorable as it sounds!

My Dole Whip could not even start eating because she was tracking Flynn the entire time. I, on the other hand was completely capable if stuffing my face and tracking! They give everyone a choice of fresh fruit or yogurt to start. There is an awesome assortment of pastries in a frying pan (of course) to share on the table. The Rapunzel Star cookie was amazing, it tasted like Christmas! We had actually had seconds of the pastries and fruit.



The breakfast entrees were plentiful and very good! Daddy Dole Whip had the “Royal Breakfast” which was steak and eggs. It got a raving review from him and he even said it may have been too much food. I got the “Tower of Pancakes” and they were fluffy and delicious. The blueberry compote was a bit sweet but it was very good as a combination. My little Dole Whips got the kids “Guppy Pancakes” they were very good but were oddly cut. I believe they were supposed to resemble fish. In any case, the breakfast was plentiful and very satisfying. It was our favorite breakfast of the trip! Everything was fresh and I found myself still wanting to eat more even though I was full!



The characters did not disappoint. Flynn Rider made his way over and was dashing and funny! We talked about our matching satchels and he loved that my littlest Dole Whip was dressed just like him. We even got to see and touch Punzie’s crown, he always keeps it safe! Rapunzel was as sweet and kind as you would expect and was awesome with my little guy who was clearly over taking pictures. Ariel and Eric made their way over (separately) and Eric was the sleeper hit! He was just as dashing as Flynn and was telling us the most adorable stories about Ariel’s collection rooms. Ariel added to the fun by letting us know that Eric hides everything all over again so she can “discover” it again. I felt like although they were not all meeting together, this character interaction had a lot of thought and heart to it.



I plan and doing this Character Meal again and again. We left full, happy and with Pixie Dust bursting from our eyes! Our server was adorable and made us laugh often. She was so on top of everything and was so accommodating with the kiddos. We enjoyed every part of the meal from coffee to pancakes and never once felt rushed. All of the characters were so loving and we did not feel rushed. It was definitely magical!

Hugs and Pixie Dust,

EJ 

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Have Fun, Save Money, Keep it Simple! Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Ahhh, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! The height of Disney Princess perfection and the most requested reservation I receive from my clients! It’s true, this experience is one that creates a memory for a lifetime. Who doesn’t want to be doted on by a Fairy Godmother and twirled around in a seat for the big reveal? But to quote our favorite hero/villain Rumple, from Once Upon a Time, “All magic comes at a price, dearie”! This price can come in cold hard cash or paid in a sum of sanity! I am here to tell you how I do this experience with my Dole Whip to save myself some money and stress.

  • First, there are 3 packages to choose from. The prices range from $59.95-$199.95. Each package includes at a minimum : hair-styling, makeup, princess sash, cinch bag and nail polish. You get to keep you makeup, comb and nail polish. There are photo pass photographers wandering and taking shots of your Dole Whip, so if you have memory maker, you are already coming out ahead!
  • These makeovers are available at the Castle in Magic Kingdom or at the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney Springs. We all know how beautiful and memorable it is to have this done at the castle but the Disney Springs location is stunning! You won’t be sacrificing any magic in the experience if you end up with a reservations there.

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  • Most people will want to schedule this experience right before a special meal like Cinderella’s Royal Table or a Meet and Greet. Allow yourself enough time to enjoy and not rush through the makeover and cover your bases if they are running behind. You will be sweating gravy and be stressed if you are cutting it close to that Be Our Guest Dinner!

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  • Bring your own dress and accessories to save money. The most basic package will still be magical and you will save a ton. Honestly, I have done the basic package and the full on bells and whistles package and they are both great. My family and I like to spend our Disney budget on experiences and food. When we are planning and budgeting we know that these are the things that are important to us and maybe we can save a bit on a resort category. Work within what is important to you, not within what other people are telling you, you must do!

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  • If you bring your own dress, I highly recommend getting a comfortable cotton Princess Dress! These dresses are breathable, not tight or scratchy or shiny and can be worn many, many times again! We have a trove of these dresses and we are never at a loss for a costume or something to wear to a theme party or to Target! I swear by dresses from* Lover Dovers and *Darling in Disguise on Etsy!

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  • Now this is my controversial tip, but hear me out! I always select the simple bun hairstyle and I ask that they don’t put all the glitter and gunk in it! Just hairspray. My reasoning is very simple, I am not dealing with a cranky, hot, itchy Dole Whip with a concrete rat’s nest on her head for 3 days! She will also not be interested in a full on deep conditioning treatment and de-tangling of snarls after a long day at the parks. I also prefer not to walk around with a Dole Whip hot mess doing the walk of shame at Epcot the next day! HA! I keep it simple and I keep everyone’s sanity in mind!
  • Last of all, have fun! Enjoy the moment, take tons of your own pictures and if you spring for the big package and she wants to take it off after 10 minutes…oh, well! I promise she will never forget it and neither will you!

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*Note that all of our Little Dole Whip clients receive an exclusive discount to these shops!

Hugs and Pixie Dust,

EJ

Tips for Flying with the Little Dole Whips

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Is there anything more terrifying than the thought of being caught in a confined space with a crying baby or toddler for a few hours? Now imagine adding in a group of strangers staring at your major parenting fail? There wasn’t another vacation detail that stressed me more than flying with the littles for the first time. Luckily, there are a few tips and ideas that can help you defend yourself (at least a little bit) from those tiny dictators while midair!

  • Book a flight either very early in the morning or late in the evening. Think 6 o’clock in the morning or 8 o’clock in the evening. This increases your chances of the Dole Whips falling asleep after the novelty of being on the plane wears off. I have found that these flights tend to be more inexpensive as well.
  • Give yourself extra time at the airport. We all know that it’s a gamble getting anywhere important and everything going perfectly. Give yourself time to deal with the little who only wants to jump on the red squares on the carpet, or the little one who has a new fascination with water fountains, or has to take that 5th bathroom break. Also, give yourself time to get it together. Sippy cups…lovies…snacks, give yourself time to think.
  • Dress everyone in layers, airports and airplanes can be freezing one moment and stifling the next. Make sure everyone has on shoes that are easy to take off and put on.
  • Don’t insist on the kids sitting down while waiting to board. Let them move around and explore a bit. An airport is exciting stuff and it will help with the fact that they will be confined for the next few hours.
  • Make everyone use the bathroom before boarding! NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Make sure you have extras of the serious stuff: diapers, wipes, pull ups, snacks and drinks. Any delays, re-routes or extended waits and you will be covered. Also bring extra Ziploc bags, they are perfect for anything stinky, wet or barfy!
  • Keep the littles occupied by offering them a busy bag filled with stuff they have never seen before! Inexpensive items like play-doh, stickers, crayons, notepads, small toys or puzzles. Be sure to be keep this busy bag and present a new magical item when you feel the need! Dazzle those little dictators!
  • Load a new movie or two on your tablet or phone. If you bring a portable DVD player, rent some or borrow some from the library. The trick is to make it something they have never seen before!
  • The greatest and most terrible tip I use in a jam…a naughty, usually not allowed snack. For my Dole Whips this would be Ring Pops, Lucky Charms and juice! Bribe them into submission! In our defense, lollipops and gum help with the ear pressure thing, so don’t be too hard on yourself!
  • Lastly, don’t lose your cool if your Little Dole Whip is just not a happy aviator. If you are headed to Disney, most of these flights are filled with littles and someone is bound to cry. It happens and it’s not the end of the world. Most people understand and sympathize as long as they see that you are attempting to calm your kiddo down.

Hugs and Pixie Dust!

EJ

Meltdown Proof Your Vacation

Meltdowns and toddlers seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Some people have asked me why I even bother taking my Dole Whips on vacations and why not wait until they are a little more agreeable! Well, I believe every stage has it’s issues, I am personally not looking forward to taking my know it all tweens and teenagers to the parks and I really think that with some preparation, the meltdown ratio can be minimized or completely eliminated. Here are some meltdown points to help everyone stay happy.

  • Too much walking! Some parents are convinced that a day at the parks with a walking 5 year old isn’t going to cause some kind of issue. They think that since they don’t need a stroller back home to walk around the mall, they should be fine at the parks. To that I say, “HA”, and “no”, they will be exhausted and they may even fall asleep! Be prepared, give them an option to take a break and you will easily be able to continue your day.
  • Hot Dole Whips are Unhappy Dole Whips! What happens to a real Dole Whip in the heat, it’s a hot, melting, sticky mess. Same goes for the kid version of a Dole Whip. Dress them comfortably, nothing heavy or constricting. Make sure their feet are cool. Stroller Fans and Misting Fans are a must!
  • Know your tribe! Waiting to have those table service meals at dinner time may be too much for some kiddos. They may have had a full day and will not be interested in sitting and waiting for Pooh Bear to make his way around to the table. Try and choose a time when you know your Dole Whips will be in the best mood.
  • Line Entertainment! Have some kind of activity you only do while waiting in line. This could be bubbles, a certain game on your phone, looking for hidden mickeys or bring a small toy that is only given during this time. I find that the bubbles keep all the kids in the vicinity pretty happy and parents are thankful!
  • Take Breaks! Explore the quieter places like Tom Sawyer Island or enjoy the Splash Pads. Give them time to get the running and climbing out of their systems. Have a small Hub Grass snack break and people watch. Be purposeful about break time and your entire tribe will be happier.
  • Budget! Older Dole Whips will be able to understand a souvenir budget. You have X amount of dollars to spend in total or X amount of dollars per day to spend. Talk with the older Dole Whips about how they would prefer to use their allotted funds. If smaller Dole Whips will melt down over not getting that toy in the shops, don’t bother bringing them in or have small trinkets that will keep them content from the dollar store with you.
  • Keep your cool! So you have prepped and your Dole Whip is still not having any of it! No biggie, don’t get upset! You are not the first parent, nor the last parent to have a cranky Dole Whip and people get it. Just take a breather, chances are you and the Dole Whip need it! 

Pixie Dust Hugs,

EJ

 

What Little Dole Whips Love! Rides! Magic Kingdom Edition

unnamed (1)When planning your Disney vacation with children, it’s pretty important to know and prioritize what’s important. Some families don’t have the luxury of being there for 7-10 days, so they have to fit a lot of magic in 3 or 4 day trips! Knowing what rides tend to be the favorites of the littlest dole whips will help you in your itinerary planning.

Most of the rides listed have no height restriction, that means the whole family can join in. These rides are also themed around characters that they know and love and are sure to delight them over and over.

  • Peter Pan’s Flight- Will I ever forget the first time I experienced  that boat take off to Neverland? Nope, and neither will your Dole Whips. Follow the Darling children on their adventure with Peter, Captain Hook and the gang. This is such a simple ride with nothing high-tech but it is magical and it is a favorite! The wait time for this ride can be major, snag that Fast Pass or get it done at Rope Drop! This ride has a beautiful queue that children will enjoy but I confess..I have never seen it in person because I always Fast Pass this ride.
  • It’s a Small World-This ride for so many families is a tradition. Whether you have a teenager who hates it or an uncle who says he has been on it too many times…YOU RIDE IT’S A SMALL WORLD. The Dole Whips will love this gentle boat ride around the world and the looping song! I seem to notice a new design element every single time I ride and I can’t get enough of the can can girls or the little hula dancers!
  • Dumbo-This is an iconic ride for those Little Dole Whips! It has a fantastic queue and awesome photo opportunities. Nothing causes more giggles and belly laughs than a ride on a flying elephant!
  • Mad Tea Party-This is another iconic ride that is sure to get lots of giggles! The wait is never really too long. Just be gentle on that spinning, the older I get, the harder it is to get off that ride after all the spinning!
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh– This is the sweetest ride, Pooh and the gang make the Dole Whips so happy. You go through a rainstorm, a blustery day, meet Heffalumps, and bounce with Tigger! That’s a win pretty much all the way around. Be mindful that this line can get a little long too.
  • Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid-Dole Whip Princesses both young and old will be rushing to ride a clam shell through The Little Mermaid story. It’s just a beautiful ride with so many beautiful effects! This line can get long but the queue is mostly indoors and cool! Keep in mind there is a Ursula scene, she isn’t super scary but prep your Dole Whips so she doesn’t scare them too much!
  • Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Rides-This ride is the same idea as Dumbo and so fun! There is also a camel spitting water at you, so you really can’t lose. The best part of this ride is that it’s next to the Dole Whip stand!
  • Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel– Like a regular carousel but BETTER because it’s at Disney! Dole Whips love carousel rides and this one is magical because it’s the first thing they see when they walk through the castle. Be sure to take lots of pictures!
  • Barnstormer-This a great starter roller coaster and most Dole Whips will be tall enough to ride. It’s fun and fast and makes them feel like they did a thrill ride

Disclaimer Ride-Pirates of the Caribbean– My Dole Whips literally ADORE this ride. My oldest one begs to ride it over and over. She has never had a problem with being easily scared so the skeletons and general creepiness of the beginning of the ride was never an issue. If your Dole Whip isn’t sensitive, go for it! They get such a kick out of the scenes and the music. If they have seen any of the Pirate movies, they will enjoy connecting the dots regarding who Captain Jack Sparrow is.

The Big Dole Whips in our tribe love all these rides as much as the littles do, so we are all pretty happy and content. We remember the magic of being little, believing so much and we get to experince it all over again with them.

With Hugs and Pixie Dust!

EJ

 

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The best age for Disney is..this age..the best time for Disney is…right now.

What age is the best age for Disney? It’s the kind of question that fills the Disney advice boards and gets the comments rolling. Everyone has an opinion and everyone knows best but I’m here to tell you, the best age for Disney is..this age..the best time for Disney is…right now.529291_334950243295071_950618467_n (2)

Every Disney trip I take with my Dole Whips is different. Every trip is filled with specific memories and moments that I can never duplicate or get back and it’s because I just want to be there with them at this age. How can I replicate the reaction my oldest Dole Whip had when she met Peter Pan for the first time and couldn’t wait to tell him that “Hook. was a codfish” ? She was insanely head over heels for Peter at that age and she met him, she hugged him tight and I’m pretty sure  I saw Pixie Dust burst from her eyes! How can I ever forget when, as an infant, my littlest Dole Whip would have happily left in the arms of Doc McStuffins! The child, who loves no other person but his mama, could not contain his excitement. She was real and in front of him!

I wanted to outline some reasons besides the obvious heartstrings tugging ones for taking those littlest Dole Whips to Disney.

  • The first reason to take a baby to Disney is that anyone under 3 is free! I don’t know about you but blowing the mind of my little for no cost sounds like a win/win to me.
  • When you have siblings of different ages, it is nearly impossible to find that perfect age for everyone. Someone will always be too old or too young for something. I promise it all works out at Disney.
  • Disney is made for family travel. You are not the first person or the last to go there with a little ones. They have splash pads, seating areas and Baby Centers stocked with every item you could need. Baby Centers have televisions, private nursing rooms, air conditioning, changing tables and a stock of any emergency item you may need available for purchase.
  • There are so many services available to make your trip so much easier while traveling with the family. There are stroller rental companies that will deliver a steamed cleaned stroller to you resort. These strollers recline for napping, have huge canopies for sun protection and ample storage for all your stuff. there are also grocery delivery services that deliver fresh groceries and necessities to your resort. I always have a case of water, some fruit, yogurt and a package of diapers and swim diapers waiting for me on arrival. It would be terrible to have to travel with all of that stuff. I always end up with enough to get me home and extra room in my luggage for all the stuff I “needed” to buy.
  • Strollers for me are not a hindrance. They are the place to stash my stuff, they enable me to strap my littles in and get to where I am going faster. My Dole Whips take awesome naps in their strollers at Disney and we take that time to enjoy the atmosphere, grab a snack or shop.
  • A majority of the rides throughout Disney have no height requirements. This means you can get on these rides with those babies and enjoy it with the family. If it is a ride that the baby cannot ride, there is a rider switch option available where parents can take turns riding.
  • With some planning and knowing the limits of your children, infants and toddlers can be pretty agreeable and really enchanted while at Disney. People watching, Tiki Birds and banjo playing bears may be just what is needed. Be willing to go a bit slower, take breaks and just be in the moment.
  • You can get the little ones in on the fun and dress them in fun Disney Bounds and outfits. Things thay they may give you a hard time with when they are bigger. I am sure my little guy won’t want to be Gus Gus with a mouse tail when he is bigger, so I am going to get those moments in now!
  • Remember, they will never be this age again. A Disney vacation with your family can be like capturing time in a bottle and you will have memories of them and who they are today.

Welcome to Little Dole Whips

Because we know even a trip to the beach with the littles can be a like packing for the apocalypse! Because we know that no one likes having a sticky, cranky, hot infant to wrestle! Because we know that the first steps in planning a WDW vacation can seem like you just landed on an alien planet! Follow us for bite sized information and tips to help make you and your tribe have the best trip ever!

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