Copycat Dole Whip!

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Let’s celebrate with one of my favorite treats! And while it’s technically not ice cream, it’s cold, creamy and refreshing. And a fairly decent replica of my absolute FAVORITE Disney Park treat. And lord knows I like a lot of Disney treats.

Now, for those who aren’t familiar, a Dole Whip is a pineapple soft serve treat. You can get them at Adventureland in Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom, as well as several other spots in Disney World. Some places you can get it swirled with vanilla ice cream, some places you can get it with a shot of coconut rum. My favorite way to have it is as a float. Pineapple soft serve with pineapple juice. It is sooooo refreshing after a hot day riding rollercoasters and getting your picture taken with Mickey.

And, as it turns out, it’s really easy to replicate it at home! So if getting to one of the parks isn’t in your foreseeable future, don’t be too sad, at least you can snack as if you were there.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind, I use almond)

Instructions

All you need to do is put your frozen pineapple chunks and milk into your food processor and turn it on. The hardest part is being patient while your food processor turns those frozen chunks into the perfect soft serve consistency, which usually takes me about five minutes and several breaks where I smush it down to get rid of all the chunks.

The only problem with these is that they don’t photograph well, but believe me, they taste yummy! And it’s a fairly healthy treat since it’s nothing but pineapple and milk. Let me know what you think!

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My Favorite Quick Service Restaurants at Disney World

I love Disney World. I love food. So, naturally I have a lot of thoughts on food at Disney World. I decided to share some of those thoughts with you. Below I highlight my favorite quick service (aka counter service) restaurants in each of the main theme parks.

Backlot Express – Hollywood Studios

Backlot Express is, fine. I chose it because right now, before the opening of Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land) there aren’t a whole lot of interesting quick service options at Hollywood Studios. It beats out the other options solely because of the Star Wars theming to the food. I’m a sucker for Darth Vader waffles, what can I say?

It serves pretty standard theme park food, chicken nuggets, burgers, fries, with a Star Wars twist. So those chicken nuggets become Dark Side Chicken and Waffles (Vader waffles, yum), the burger has a black bun, etc. The food is good, but basic, and there are decent lighter options as well. My favorite things about this place are the super cute themed cupcakes and the Star Wars glow cubes in my drink.

Columbia Harbour House – Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom has lots of really good quick service restaurants, so what makes this one my favorite? Two words; Upstairs. Seating. I know, what’s the big deal about upstairs seating? In my personal experience, no matter how crazy busy the park is, the upstairs at  Columbia Harbour House is always relatively quiet. This is the restaurant I go to after using all my Fast Passes, riding all the mountains, meeting Mickey and the princesses, and the kids (and adults) have melt down. I get my good food and I head upstairs to find a table by the window.

Harbour House sits in between Liberty Square and Fantasyland, so depending on where you sit you have some fun views of Haunted Mansion or Rapunzel’s Tower. I like the food too! They have great Mac and cheese (my daughter’s go to), a huge meal with fried fish, shrimp, and chicken nuggets (my husband’s go to), and lots of other options that have a tendency to change so that I get the variety that I like in a restaurant.

Tangierine Cafe – Epcot

Okay, this was a hard choice. I loooooove eating at Epcot. Picking just one restaurant from there is almost as hard as picking which of my kids I love most. And honestly, I hardly ever have a full meal at a quick service at Epcot because I’m usually enjoying all the small plates that are offered at one of their many food-centric festivals.

But if I had to pick, Tangierine Cafe would be my favorite. It’s located in the Morocco pavilion in World Showcase and offers up huge, delicious portions of Mediterranean food. Shawarma, couscous, hummus, so much yum! They also offer up great vegetarian options and less adventurous options for the kids. The shawarma chicken and lamb platter is full to the brim with deliciousness and also enough to split between two people who aren’t huge eaters.

Flame Tree Barbecue – Animal Kingdom

Going from the hardest choice to the easiest. Here’s the thing. Animal Kingdom has really good food. The stuff at Harambe Market looks mouthwatering. I’ve heard great things about the quick service food in the new Pandora land. But somehow, even when I have every intention of expanding my horizons, and trying something new, I always end up at Flame Tree Barbecue.

Why? Well it probably has something to do with the smell. As soon as you enter Discovery Island you can smell the smoked meat, and once that happens all intentions of eating somewhere else disappear. The food tastes as good as it smells, and thank goodness that barbecue sauce is self serve so I can drown everything in it. And I can’t not talk about their French fries with pulled pork and cheese. Because it is my everything. I tried this late at night with Animal Kingdom’s signature beer, the Safari Amber, and all the stress of the day just melted away. And it had been a stressful day. We were visiting Pandora the second day it was open and I had Fast Passes for Flight of Passage for 8:15am. But none of that mattered when I bit into those fries.

I love the seating here as well. It’s all outdoors, but covered, and a lot of it has very nice views of the water. It can be very tranquil, however, my favorite place to sit is where I can see Expedition Everest and hear people screaming on the ride’s big drop.

So those are my personal favorites and why I like them. Agree? Disagree? Let me know. And if you go to Disney World soon, bring me some of those fries?

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

AKA: Why Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best hotel ever…. unless you’re my mom.

Sigh. Last year my family and I were at Disney World, celebrating my mom’s sixty-fifth birthday and having an awesome time. This year, my family and I are deep cleaning our house. Which is great, I love getting the house in shape, but I’d rather be at Disney World. But since I’m not, I’ll take a break from all the cleaning to reminisce and write about Disney World.

Today I thought I’d talk about Animal Kingdom Lodge and why it’s an awesome hotel for some, but not all. I was blown away by the hotel, and would gladly stay there any time. My mom, on the other hand was a little underwhelmed. Since I’d rather end this post on a happy note, I’ll start with why my was less enthusiastic than I was.

My Mom’s Cons:

Animals 😦 Sad but true, my mom was underwhelmed by the animals at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I chalk this one up to reality not meeting expectation. I’ve talked a bit about the importance of expectations before, and my mom is a good example of being disappointed when expectations aren’t met. To be fair, the promotional pictures for the hotel do quite a good job of upselling the animal experience. My mom was expecting it to be more naturalistic, like you are waking up in Africa and can see savannah for miles and miles. In reality, you see other hotel room balconies, a well worn road that the keepers use, and (if you’re looking close enough) feeders and barriers.

Crowds 😦 Okay, so usually when we stay at Disney World we stay at Old Key West Resort which is the largest resort at Disney World in terms of square footage, and has the least amount of rooms. Which means it’s a sprawling, spread out, very quiet resort. Animal Kingdom Lodge has much more of a bustling hotel feel to it. My mom prefers the quiet hotels.

Location 😦 Animal Kingdom Lodge is a tad further from the parks (besides Animal Kingdom), and the only form of transportation is bus which gets tiresome. Especially after staying at the Grand Californian Resort at Disneyland the year before last. Walking from your hotel directly into the park will spoil you pretty quick.

My Pros:

Animals! I was blown away with the animal encounters! I was expecting to see the occasional zebra, or oxen in the distance, but we saw so many animals throughout the day. There was one ostrich that would keep coming by our balcony, strutting her stuff, I loved starting the day, drinking my coffee, watching her do her thing. And the animals are all over the place. Tortoises and birds outside the window of the restaurant, flamingos by the pool, if you are an animal lover (or have an animal obsessed kid) the animals are a lot of fun.

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My favorite ostrich down on the right.

Food! Everyone in my family agreed that the food at Animal Kingdom Lodge was delicious. The hotel has a signature restaurant (i.e. fancy), a buffet, a more casual sit down restaurant, a quick service restaurant, a lounge, and two pool bars that also serve a limited menu of food. And the food was goooood. There is a great mix of safer options (hamburgers, chicken nuggets, etc) and more adventurous, African inspired dishes. The best dish I had there was also the simplest, the bread service at The Victoria Falls Lounge. The lounge is a fun place to grab a drink, located between two floors, and overlooking the buffet. It was a nice place to unwind after a busy day of traveling. Listening to the African drumming didn’t hurt either.

Activities! This right here is why I’d go back to Animal Kingdom Lodge over and over again. The resort offers a whole slew of activities. It’s great for people who want to do something besides the parks. Most of the activities are geared towards kids, but there are several for adults only, some of which include wine ;). A lot of the activities were educational as well which I appreciated. My daughter actually chose to hang out at the hotel over the parks an afternoon or two, so that she could take part in more of the activities. She helped make enrichments for the animals, learned about conservation, how to track animals in the wild, and about Africa itself, she got her face painted by two sweet women from Kenya, and got to decorate a cake. All of these were free activities that added an extra layer to our stay.

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Not pictured; the mountain of candy rocks and sprinkles she covered it in.

In my humble opinion, Animal Kingdom Lodge is a breathtaking resort that is great for families who don’t want to spend all of their time in the parks, and don’t mind the extra hustle and bustle. It would be a waste to stay there and not explore all that it has to offer. Gorgeous pools, artwork around every corner, rocking chairs in quiet nooks for watching the sunset over the savanna, it has so much to offer. I can’t wait to go back some day!

 

 

 

 

 

Five Tips For Taking Babies And Toddlers To Disney

Suffice it to say, I’m a big fan of the Disney Parks. For me, it is always a good time to visit. Holidays, summer vacation, rain, sun, if I’m there, I’m happy. So I’ve never really understood when people talk about the “right time” to take their kids to the parks. It’s always the right time! Of course, I don’t go to Disneyland or Disney World for my kids, I go for myself. My kids are just lucky to have a Disney crazed mom, haha. But I understand that if you aren’t Disney crazy, the idea of bringing a baby or a toddler can seem pretty daunting. Which is why I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks for doing just that.

1. Expectations

I think this is my number one tip for any Disney trip, know what you’re getting into before you are in it, and you’ll enjoy your vacation more. For example, if you are traveling with a little one, but you are planning on being in the parks from open to close and riding Space Mountain five times in a row, well, your expectations might be very different from your reality and you might end up disappointed.

Taking a little one to Disney can be SO MUCH FUN! And you appreciate what the parks have to offer on a whole new level. Character experiences, shows, slower rides, are all things I didn’t fully appreciate until I was with my babies.

2. Rider Swap

But don’t think that you have to miss out on thrill rides just because you’re with your little one. As long as you have another adult with you, you guys have lots of ways to ride Splash Mountain or Tower of Terror (my two favorites). Sure, there are single rider lines and Fast Passes, but a lot of people don’t know about another option specifically for grown ups with little ones, Rider Swap.

The way it works, go up to your favorite big kid ride with your whole family and tell the attendant that you’d like to do Rider Swap. Follow their instructions (my husband didn’t once and he said he feared for his life due to the look I gave him, I do not doubt this) which will be some variant of one of you goes on the ride then, and the other one gets to skip the line when the first one is done riding. The best thing about Rider Swap, and what sets it apart from the single rider lines, is that it’s good for at least two people! So if you are a family of four, no one has to ride alone and one of you gets to ride twice! Use this in conjunction with Fast Passes and barely spend any time in line!

3. Down Time

Happy baby means happy parents right? And well rested baby equals happy baby? If you are traveling with a baby or toddler, I would definitely recommend building in some down time into your day. Babies and toddlers need rest and even if they aren’t sleeping, the stimuli of the Disney Parks can be a bit much if they don’t have a break from it.

What works best for me and mine, is going to the park early in the morning. If you have a little one chances are you aren’t sleeping in anyways, so why not enjoy the parks in the morning when the sun isn’t as hot and lots of other visitors are still sleeping in? We stay in the park until just around lunch time and then we go back to the hotel for a few hours of relaxation, napping for our youngest. Then, we head back to the parks for the evening. This works great for us because we avoid the parks in the middle of the day, when they are the busiest and the hottest, and it gives us time to recharge and regroup, so we aren’t dragging and miserable when it’s time for fireworks.

If you can’t get back to the hotel, try to find some calm things to do inside the parks. Maybe a nice sit down lunch reservation, or just find a quiet corner to people watch. When she was tiny, my daughter would fall asleep in her stroller, so my husband and I took it as an opportunity to get margaritas and people watch.

Or you could always try…..

4. Baby Centers

I’ve professed my love for the Baby Centers before, and I’m sure I will again. I love them so much. These could be a great place take a breather and stay inside the park.

Seriously, if you are traveling to Disneyland or Disney World with a baby or toddler, make note of where the Baby Center is in the park, it could just save your life. Alright, that’s a little dramatic, but I’m guessing you’ll be glad you did. They are a great place to feed your little one, rock your little one, or buy that tube of diaper rash cream you forgot to pack. Sometimes I go there just to have a quiet, air conditioned breather with my kiddo.

5. Strollers, Leashes and Carriers, Oh My!

Carriers – If your little one isn’t walking, pack a good baby carrier. One that is easy to put on and take off, easy to get your baby in and out of, and doesn’t take up to much space. You can’t take a stroller in lines, and holding a baby for forty five minutes while waiting to get on Pirates gets old really fast.

Leashes – Okay, I never, ever wanted to put a leash on my kid. The idea horrified me. But, then I was planning on taking my eighteen month old to Disneyland and I changed my mind. She didn’t like being in her stroller that much, she liked to run, and I didn’t want to lose her, so, baby leash.

Word of advice, don’t wait until you get to the Disney to introduce it. The first time I put one on my daughter was at a bookstore. She laid flat on her stomach and refused to move. It was a fun experience. We ended up introducing it to her like a new snuggly friend, she started wanting to wear it around the house, holding it’s tail. By the time we went to Disneyland, a month later, it was smooth sailing.

Strollers – Bring a stroller. Last year I ended up renting one of the hard plastic Disney strollers…. for my seven year old. It was late, she was tired, but we both wanted to see the new Pandora land at night. Animal Kingdom is a big park so, I got her a stroller and speed walked to Pandora. She loved it, I loved it, and Pandora is not to be missed, especially at night. My point is, you are going to want a stroller.

I like to pack a decent umbrella stroller that’s easy to operate. Especially at Disney World, you spend a lot of time taking transportation to and from the parks, and it’s a lot easier with a stroller that folds easy.

**HOT TIP** There are a bajillion strollers in the parks at any given time. They all look alike, and the cast members will move them to make room for more. Decorate your stroller to make it easier to find. We tie curling ribbon around the handles and wrap Mardi Gras beads. Festive and easy to find.

**BONUS TIP**

Lines are boring. Babies and toddlers will probably let you know exactly how boring they think they are. Pack (or buy) something that will distract them in line. For my daughter, it was one of those light up spinning toys that we bought in desperation after we spent a miserable thirty minutes trying to keep her entertained in line for the Jungle Cruise. For my son we came prepared with one of those misting fans.

Five Unusual Things To Pack To Disney World

Hi! Planning a trip to Disney World this summer? First of all, congratulations! You’re going to have a great time! Second of all, I’m totally jealous, but it’s okay, I’ll get over it. Third of all, you are probably wondering about what to pack to make your vacation smooth and relaxing. Let me help!

There are tons of lists out there about what to pack on a Disney World vacation, honestly it can be a little overwhelming, and if you packed everything mentioned on every list out there you wouldn’t have room left in your hotel room to turn around. This is a list of things you might be wondering, “hmm, should I pack that?” that I think you should. Everything on this list has saved me money and headaches.

1. Water Misters

These things are awesome because they serve multiple functions. True, they keep you cool, which is their main function, but they also keep the kids entertained. Buying one at the parks will cost you almost $20. I picked up several at Walgreen’s for about $5 a piece. They’re also compact and don’t take up a lot of suitcase space. You can get them from Amazon here.

2. Rain Ponchos

It rains in Florida. A lot. And I’m not talking a gentle afternoon shower. When it rains, it pours. I have been caught in a fair share of downpours. When I didn’t pack ponchos it resulted in shivering kids, shelling out $15 for a single poncho and a grumpy me. Last time I packed a ten pack of ponchos and was so happy I did. The ponchos were super compact so I could keep several in my backpack at any given time. And if it started to rain, I wasn’t frantically having to find a vendor that was selling them. *Bonus item; water shoes are also VERY nice to have.

3. Groceries

Did you know you can have groceries delivered to your hotel? You can order them months in advance and have them waiting for you! If you are staying at a Disney hotel, there is a small service fee, but I still saved a lot of money going this route. I would suggest not going overboard, but getting some things that are quick and easy for breakfasts and lunches can be very convenient.

Things I order; cereal, granola bars, and bagels for breakfast, lunch meat (if your hotel room has a small fridge), peanut butter and jelly for lunches, fresh fruit, snacks and water. There are several different services you can use, I used Garden Grocer and was surprised at how easy it was. They even have an app so I could do the entire thing from my phone.

4. A Good Water Bottle

Look, you don’t want to get dehydrated on vacation, Disney doesn’t want you to get dehydrated on vacation. There are lots of options in the parks to keep you hydrated. Water fountains, bottled water, courtesy cups of water and even water stations during the busiest and hottest times. I like having a good, insulated water bottle with me at all times.

5. Ziploc Bags

Here are some things I used Ziploc bags for on my last Disney trip; snacks, coins for the pressed penny machines, wet ponchos, phones and wallets during water rides, park maps, things I didn’t want to leak like sunscreen and diaper cream. Seriously, so helpful.

So those are five things I always pack to Disney World. What are your must have items?

My Best Night At Disney World Wasn’t In The Parks

Out on the water. The sun was setting, turning the clouds into a watercolor painting. All you could hear were the birds, the water slapping the side of the boat. The Magic Kingdom, with its thousands of visitors, fast rides and colorful parades felt miles away. And yet, there was Cinderella Castle, right in front of us.

Last year my family celebrated my mom’s sixty-fifth birthday with a trip to Disney World. We usually visit Disney World every two years, but I wanted to make this trip extra special. So I set out to combine our favorite things to do at Disney World (favorite restaurants, fast passes for can’t miss rides, etc.) with brand new experiences.

In particular, I wanted to surprise my mom with one big experience as our present to her. So on the third night of our vacation, around dinner time, we left Magic Kingdom and headed over to The Polynesian Resort. This was our first time visiting the Polynesian, and oh my gosh, I want to stay there! The place is gorgeous! And I’m dying to spend a day at their pool! After getting a little twisted around, we found what we were looking for, Trade Sam’s Grog Grotto.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a tiki bar, but it’s soooo much more than that too. The whole bar, which is very small, leading to a wonderfully cozy feeling, is filled to the brim with treasures. You never know when a volcano might erupt, a tropical storm might arise, or a  giant squid might lend the bartenders a helping tentacle. I ordered an Uh-Oa, and well, just watch what happens. (Not my video) Seriously, Trader Sam’s is like being a part of a Disney ride, with booze. And those drinks? Delicious and strong! I love keeping the glasses as souvenirs too. 20140049_10210124440603810_2810944059850183707_n

After our drinks and a bite to eat, we headed to the pier. We waited by the little kiosk that listed prices for water equipment and activities. There was another family there too, they were also surprising someone for their birthday ;). The pier was full of small boats that would fit about 8-10 people. Some of the boats had banners that read “Happy Birthday!” and balloons. My mom looked confused.

Our skipper came to meet us, introductions were made, life vests were put on the kids, and we were led to one of the boats with a birthday banner. We said goodbye to the other family, who was getting on their own boat with a banner, and we told my mom what was going on. For her birthday we had gotten a private boat to take us around Seven Seas Lagoon. At the end, we would find a spot on the water to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.

My mom’s face lit up like a little kid’s. This was definitely not what she had expected. We got situated, and we were off. Our skipper (who was awesome, but whose name I can’t remember) told us to help ourselves to the provided snacks and drinks. There was a nice selection of bagged chips and cookies, and some Mickey shaped crisped rice treats (yay!). The drinks were sodas and water bottles. When I made the reservation I had mentioned that my mom was sensitive to gluten and soy, so I was happy to see two boxes of allergy friendly cookies and brownies for her.

Our skipper (let’s call him Tom) usually didn’t do the fireworks cruises, he usually stuck to fishing excursions. This meant that he was incredibly knowledgeable about the animal and plant life around and in the lake. Since we were a boat full of nature lovers, this was perfect. For about an hour, we made our way around the lake. Learning about which birds were native, and which were introduced. 20106840_10210124443843891_2121300574328517864_n

Tom told us about the different hotels we passed, and the unique architecture of The Contemporary Resort. He showed us the remaining remnants Discovery Island and River Country (Disney’s first waterpark) and the island where Walt Disney had planned to build his house. For a Disney nerd like myself it was heaven. For the non Disney nerds on the boat, it was a relaxing boat ride with family and a nice change of pace from the go go go of the first three days of vacation.

We watched the sunset and Tom found a good spot to watch the fireworks. I was a little nervous about the view when I made the reservation. The fireworks show had just been updated to include more projections on the castle, and I was worried we would be missing out on this part of the show watching from the water. There was no need to be worried. I was surprised at how well we could see the castle. The boat was equipped with speakers so we were able to hear the music that went with the show as well.

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Sunset. You can see the turrets of the castle on the right.

The fireworks was an amazing show. For twenty minutes we oohed and ahhed, my son slept through the whole thing. We clapped at the end, but Tom wasn’t done yet. He moved our boat closer to the Grand Floridian and stopped. There we got to watch the Electrical Water Pageant. Imagine parade floats mixed with Christmas light displays. Or, take a look at Disney’s website for a better description. When that was over, Tom made his way back to the Polynesian. Our private fireworks cruise had come to an end.

This really was one of the best nights I’ve ever had, at a Disney Park or otherwise. It might be cliche, but it was magical. There’s really no better word to describe it. There are so many different experiences at Disney World, it can be hard to pick and choose. I’m so glad we chose this one, and I would absolutely do it again for a special celebration. Here are a few reasons why it was such a good choice for me and my family.

Cost: A Lot of Bang for your Buck

I know, I know. A private cruise? At Disney? It must’ve cost an arm and a leg, right? It was actually one of the most cost effective experiences I looked at. When planning our trip I looked at behind the scenes tours, scuba diving, safaris, like I said, there’s a lot you can do at Disney World besides rides. Renting a private boat was one of the cheapest routes for one simple reason: it didn’t charge per person. I was traveling with a large party of four adults and two kids. At the time, it cost us about $350 for the fireworks cruise. Most tours, parties, even cruises, usually cost about $60-$80 a person.

Privacy and Quiet Time

I’ll never forget the time my brother took my mom to a Teppen restaurant. She was aghast at having to sit next to a stranger. At the same table! It’s not that she’s unfriendly, she just doesn’t enjoy forced mingling. At least, that’s what she says. 😉 Needless to say, when I was looking for something special to do, I knew she would appreciate something that was just family.

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Shoe Tree

Fun For All

I was traveling with, how should I put this, an eclectic group. Everyone was very different and had different interests. The fireworks cruise had something for everyone. There was the relaxing boat ride for my mom and brother, great photo ops for my husband (all the photos in this blog were taken by him, check out more of his photography here), Disney facts for me, the Disney nerd, and fireworks and snacks for the kids.

We All Like Boats

Yeah, don’t book a fireworks cruise if you don’t like boats. 😉 But if you do like boats, and you want more information, here’s the link to Disney’s page on specialty cruises.

How I Became A Breastfeeding Pro at Disney World

Public breastfeeding in theory and public breastfeeding in practice are two totally different things. While I am all about the normalize breastfeeding movement, and supporting my public breastfeeding sisters, when it actually came time to take my boob out in public, I kinda froze. So when it was time to go to Disney World with my breastfeeding, eight month old son, I was really nervous. Surprisingly, by the end of our trip I had totally conquered my fears and felt like a public breastfeeding champion! Disney World really is a magical place! 😉 Here are some tips from a mom who’s been through it.

  1. Plan Ahead

OK, I know, duh right? Pretty simple tip. But duuuuuuuuuude, it’s so important!!! Disney World is roughly the size of San Francisco and is so much more than just theme parks! If you don’t really think about it before hand you will probably miss out on some really cool things or end up feeling totally overwhelmed when you get there. Speaking from personal experience. And then you throw traveling with a baby in the mix and look out!

I started planning for breastfeeding at Disney World before my son was born. Ok, that is probably a little extreme, and I am probably a bit neurotic, but it helped me feel less anxious about the whole thing.

I started by researching online and reading all the tips and tricks I could find. Personal accounts from other moms were invaluable. Disney also has sites upon sites for planning your trip, and whole sections on traveling with little ones.

Think about what to pack as a breastfeeding mom. Do you have a carrier that you use to breastfeed? What kind of tops and nursing bras will you be most comfortable in? Do you like to use a coverup? Keep in mind that Florida can be hot and humid, and you will probably be on your feet a lot.

  1. Baby Centers

Each of the four theme parks has a Baby Center. Disney describes them as, “a convenient place to feed, change and nurse little ones” but believe me, they are soooo much more than that! They really have just about everything a parent of a little one in a crowded theme park could want. Want a quiet room to nurse or pump? They have it. Need to heat up formula? Yup. Need diaper rash cream because all that theme park food has made it so your toddler can’t stop pooping? This is the place to go. Want a soft Mickey plush that your son can grab off the shelf and immediately stick in his mouth so you feel obligated to purchase it? They have shelves full of them. While each center is different, they all provide a nice, quiet reprieve from the parks, which is nice, even if you aren’t a nursing mom. As a nursing mom, if you are a little less comfortable nursing in public, or if your little one is easily distracted during feedings, these centers are invaluable. I looooooooovvvveeee the Baby Centers!

  1. Quiet Rides and Shows

Yes! You can nurse on rides! I mean what nursing mom doesn’t want to nurse their little one while riding The Mad Teacups, am I right? No, don’t do that. Please. But for every Mad Teacups, there is a quiet ride or show that is suitable for nursing. Spaceship Earth at Epcot is fifteen minutes long, air conditioned and slow moving.

My personal favorite is the Country Bear Jamboree. It’s almost sixteen minutes long, usually pretty empty, and I’m a total sucker for those country singin’ animatronic bears. 100_0133

  1. Go With The Flow

I was really nervous about breastfeeding at Disney World. I was picturing prudish vacationers pelting me with stale churros, I was dreading being chained down to Baby Centers and quiet rides and missing out on fun. And then I got there. On my first day in Magic Kingdom I saw a mom squatting outside It’s A Small World. She was talking to her husband and older children, her right hand was rifling in a duffle bag, and her left arm was cradling her nursing baby. No one was throwing churros at her! My fears were lifted! Honestly, with breastfeeding on my mind, I started to see breastfeeding mothers everywhere I looked. Moms nursing babies, on the go, and no one cared. I was really, pleasantly surprised with just how breastfeeding friendly the parks were.

It gave me the confidence to be a little braver with my own public nursing. I also started to realize just how many quiet nooks and crannies there are throughout all the parks. No matter where I was, I was always able to find a quiet, semi secluded place, good for nervous moms and easily distracted babies alike.

My favorite places to nurse (besides those glorious Baby Centers) were next to the exit of the big thrill rides, ie Space Mountain. Most of them exit into long corridors that usually lead to gift shops. Those long corridors usually have benches and quiet little areas for people waiting for people on the ride. The one for Space Mountain was my personal favorite. Not only was it surprisingly quiet, they had comfy benches and tons of outlets. I could nurse AND charge my phone! It truly is a magical place! 100_0036

So that is the story of how Disney World helped me conquer my fear of public nursing. And honestly, no matter what kind of nursing mom you are, feel confident that there are options that will work for you.