Tag Archives: unconventional adventures

Preparing for Disney with Toddlers: Tips and Tricks from Real Moms and Bloggers

Preparing for Disney with Toddlers

We are headed to Florida soon for a much needed family vacation! With my work, I get the privilege of traveling here and there, and Dusty joins me a few times a year as well; however, it has been over a year since we have taken a full family vacation including baby Ollie. If you have been around for awhile, you know that the Bahorich clan loves everything Disney and we cannot be more excited to take Ollie on his first Disney adventure. We are also extremely blessed to have planned this at the perfect time before we were too far along in our pregnancy. This will be a great trip for us before turning into a family of four in the spring. It is going to be so much fun!

Since we frequent Disney World and the Orlando area a lot, I have a good idea about what spending a day at the parks looks like but this will be my first trip with a toddler on board. My husband, Dusty, and I was able to have this trip in the back of our minds when we spent a week there back in May for my birthday and we were able to take lots of mental notes as we observed families.

However, being that we have not necessarily traveled with a toddler on our own, I reached out to some of my favorite bloggers and friends to gather their tips, tricks, insights, and everything else in between.

Some of the top things that I heard:

  • Start out early. If your child is an earlier riser anyways, leverage that with being at the parks at rope drop. Then head back to the hotel around lunchtime for a break at the pool or nap time. Round out your day back in the parks. This will assure there are no mid-afternoon meltdowns and a more enjoyable time overall.
  • Download the Disney Parks App. It will be your lifeline through your planning and during your trip. It has all your reservations, ride wait times, hotel information, and more. You can now order at some restaurants through this app as well as preview menus and make dining reservations. It is a must.
  • Pack your own snacks. You can take in your own snacks into the parks! Of course, you do not necessarily want some chocolate in your bag that may melt; however, granola bars, food pouches, Cheerios, and other grain-based foods are great for snacks along the way and help keep your daily food cost down for not only your little ones but also the whole entire family!
  • Thorough packing lists. Research a few packing lists out there. They are easily found on Pinterest throughout (and one that I made below). They are helpful for me to collect items that I would have never thought of and even forgotten from trip to trip!
    Because I found so many good resources on this topic, I have broken down some of my favorite posts that I discovered while researching for our trip to help make planning for Disney with a toddler easier! Enjoy!

Tips for doing Disney with a Baby or Toddler

“I would recommend going to Disney World during the Winter rather than the Summer but if you do go during the Summer avoid 4th of July weekend. It is so packed that lines for even baby rides are ridiculously long and it won’t be enjoyable to wait 2+ hours for a 5 minute ride.” – Sandra’s Studio in Disney World with a Toddler | Must-Haves & Tips

“This is a lovely relaxed whimsical indoor boat ride [It’s a Small World] that takes you past a collection of singing children from around the globe – there’s so much for the little ones to see on this one!” – Bump to Baby in What toddlers love at Walt Disney World

“Most people don’t know, but the Mickey at Town Square talks. It was really awesome and he even sang the Hot Dog song to Ricki. (If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, you soon will.) I would 100% recommend doing this, it is more personal than breakfast and also free! One of the less crowded spots to meet Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Goofy is at Pete’s Sideshow Circus. I have never seen a wait longer than 20-30 minutes (you can get fast passes for this also, if needed).” – The Crispy Mama in How To Take Your Toddler To Disney World (And Not Go Insane!)

“Any ride that a toddler can go on a baby can go on as well. You just can’t bring a stroller onto any ride or have one while standing in line. That’s where you’ll want to wear the baby. This will make your life at Disney World so much easier and free up some hands for toddler wrangling.” – Casual Claire in Disney with a Baby and a Toddler

“Basically everything in Magic Kingdom is toddler friendly, so your tiny human will have a blast no matter what.” – A Monkey and His Momma in Disney with Toddlers, What Not to Miss.

“If you are going to be using a stroller, find a way to make it your own because if you have a common stroller (especially Baby Jogger or BOB), it might be difficult to find yours in the sea of strollers after rides and shows.” – Simply Darring in Prepping for Disney

Park Secrets & Helpful Information on the Go

If you don’t have loads of time to weed through blog post after blog post, I highly suggest checking out a few of these resources to help you along your way!

Disney Every Week with the PassPorter Moms! is one of my favorite podcasts! They provide tips and tricks for all types of Disney trips. I love hearing their opinions on hotels, food options, transportation and more! They have episodes specifically on special events, must see’s and do’s at each park, traveling with kids with special needs, and so much more! Each episode is around 30 minutes and so easy to listen to while cooking dinner or on your commute!

The Bucket List Family is one of my newest obsessions. They are the most adorable family that sold everything (plus an app for a huge profit) and now is adventuring the world. They most recently spent 30 nights at 30 different resorts are Walt Disney World. Each resort has such unique and magical features and they really did a great job at capturing them all! I linked to their first video but make sure you watch them all to get the full recap of their adventures!

Disney Parks Moms Panel is the ultimate digital resource for you provided by Disney to receive helpful tips and heartfelt advice about Disney vacation destinations from real moms, dads and in the know family members. They have a search each year for new contributors and it is really hard to be accepted and approved to the group. This is a great place to go if you have a question about a theme park, restaurant, service, shop, hotel or activity!

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

We just arrived home from San Antonio last week and boy, was it amazing! San Antonio has to be Texas’ best kept secret. It was beautiful and there were so many things to do. I cannot wait to return there for a family vacation one day as it has definitely made it on as a great places to visit.

There are obviously many ways to see the city but I wanted to provided to you a little bit of what we did over our stay. I feel like we got to see a good portion of the historic and “must-do’s” without wearing ourselves down. We spent the weekend adventuring but we did a great job at relaxing as well. That’s how all vacations should be, right?!

Friday

We took an early flight into the city and arrive to our hotel around 1pm, just in time for lunch. Staying on the Riverwalk is a must. You are smack dab in the middle of everything. We dropped off our luggage in the room and quickly found a bit to eat!

Rio Rio or Casa Rio would be my top two recommendations. Casa Rio is one of the original eateries to the Riverwalk and looked amazing; however, they had a bit of a wait to we opted for Rio Rio. It was delicious and their Tex-Mex was top notch. Both venues are right on the river and the view from your seat inside or outside of the restaurant is quite adorable.

After our bellies were full, we hopped onto the boat tour of the Riverwalk. I am so glad that we did this earlier in our trip. It really gave us a lay of the land early. We had a good idea of what was and was not on the Riverwalk itself as well as we learned a ton of history about the city. Our tour guide was funny, charming, and super informative. We typically try to steer ourselves away from super touristy things like this in cities… but this is something you do not want to miss. You just can’t find these history facts out by exploring yourself. It is definitely worth the 30 minutes of your time and the $10 out of your pocketbook.

Because we knew we had a late night ahead of us… and we had already had an early flight, we opted for a late afternoon nap each day. So after our boat tour, we headed back to our room for a nap and shower before our dinner.

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

Friday Night

Dusty and I went to San Antonio for a little bit of work and a little bit of play. I am so grateful to work for a company that helps us do this — a holiday party each and every year! This is how we ended up in Sant Antonio in the first place, so our Friday night itinerary was a bit pre-planned for us. We headed down the Riverwalk to Acenar, a bit more upscale restaurant, for some great food and drinks, followed by a social hour with work folks.

I would highly suggest the restaurant and then exploring some of the Riverwalk in all its vibrancy. It is beautiful at night and if you arrive a bit later in the afternoon, take the boat tour that night after dinner! I have heard that it was even prettier of a ride in the nighttime.

Because it was vacation, we finished up our evening at one of the local ice cream depots on the Riverwalk before bed, but there was a Ghiradelli’s nearby as well. Our hotel was attached to the Rivercenter Mall which also had a pretty typical mall atmosphere. The shops were open late and hot spots like Dave & Busters, Improv Comedy Club, Margaritaville, and others were super close by.

72 Hours in San Antonio

Saturday

After our morning coffee and workout, we headed straight over to the Pearl Brewery complex. Do not be confused by the name… there is no brewery, just the building from the old beer crafting facilities; however, they have remade this cute little area into a must-visit. One of a kind shops and restaurants flooded the three to four block area. With residential housing above, this area is filled with a flea market on the weekends. We were able to eat some amazing local Mexican street food from some of the booths for breakfast and completed a walking tour of the grounds by an adorable older man filling in for his wife, the normal tour guide.

We finished out our stay at the Pearl Brewery area with a late lunch at La Gloria, owned and operated by a famous local chef Johnny Hernandez. Definitely some great tacos, margaritas, and salsa!

After the our time at the Pearl, we stopped by the Alamo. We weren’t even going to go, because again, touristy; however, the Alamo was just a few blocks away off of the Riverwalk and was so close to our hotel, it was hard to pass up. If you are a history buff, I would definitely suggest it and the rest of the stops on the Missions Trail. The trail starts at the Alamo and continues down the river walk for quite a few miles. I know a few coworkers that biked to the closest few, but if it is in the middle of summer for your visit… or you are just not that into biking, there are guided bus tours that will drive you to each one and tell you all the history you need to know about them.

Just visiting the Alamo, accompanied by the historical information 17 minute video, helped us appreciate the grounds and Texas history overall. I am not sure this sort of stuff was in the Illinois grade school text books and I really enjoyed learning about some of the roots of the city and culture before we walked around the complex. Followed by a nap, our day was pretty full. It was off to our company’s evening event for dinner and dancing.

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

Saturday Night

Obviously, your Saturday night may look a bit different than ours did; however, there are still tons of things to do that we just did not have time for. San Antonio is home to the NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs, which would be awesome if they are in town. You can also look up local events that may fit your fancy a bit more than NBA basketball. While we were in town, Monster Jam was going on at the Alamo Dome, or for a short drive up to the north of downtown, there are some great upper-end outdoor shopping areas called …. which also includes a trampoline park, indoor skydiving, and a Top Golf. If you are not wanting to adventure much out of the city core, the Alamo is suppose to have an amazing video/light show around 9 pm that we didn’t even get to see. Our boat tour guide told us that it was really popular.

Sunday

On Sunday morning, we headed straight to the Historic Market Square for our brunch. Being the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico, this place was just filled with culture and great food and such a perfect breakfast spot in San Antonio! We were able to snag a table pretty early at …. but this place fills up fast. At minimum, grab an item from their bakery to hold you over until the street vendors get up and running because everything we had from there was delicious!!

We spent a few hours at the Market Square shopping at the indoor and outdoor vendors that the market had to offer and I was able to snag the most adorable traditional Mexican blanket for Oliver’s room. How cute, right?!

And because it was vacation… we took another amazing afternoon nap!

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

Sunday Night

We spent our last night in San Antonio back on the Riverwalk. We did not spend hardly enough time down here, to be quite honest. There are so many great looking restaurants for dining and drinks. We opted for some dinner at The Republic of Texas for something a bit more hardy and little Tex-Mex. The Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes were simply delicious. Of course, we had some more great margaritas and chips and salsa to accompany them. We finished out our evening at the Agave Bar for some more local brews and some football.

72 Hours in San Antonio

Monday

We had the luxury of not flying out of San Antonio until later in the day on Monday, so we were able to rent a car after checking out of our hotel and heading to D&B Ice Bar, a local and uber delicious BBQ joint for an early lunch. After a weekend full of amazing Tex-Mex, I am so glad that we did not miss out on some good ol’ Texan BBQ. Coming from St. Louis and having a pretty high standard for BBQ, I wouldn’t say that D&B had the best ever; however, their favor was super good. It was peppery and sweet and nothing like I have had before. I would definitely make it back when we return and the locals rate the place pretty high. Plus they have a huge list of local brews for $4 a can before 4 pm and great outdoor seating that allowed us to soak in all that last-minute sunshine.

We finished our afternoon pre-flight by walking around The Shops at La Cantera that I mentioned earlier.

Overall, San Antonio is a great weekend trip! Even though we did things a bit unconventional with some work activities in the middle of our trip, I think that a typical couple could explore the highlights of the city in a three day weekend.

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio