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DIY Disney Stroller Tag

I think people underestimate the importance of strollers at Disneyworld.  Not only do they cart around your heavy little minions for you, but they can also house your packed lunch bags, keep your phone dry in the rain, and serve as a crutch when your feet feel like they are about to fall off.  So I, for one, love having a stroller at Disney.  But.  I am not the only one.  Thousands of other families also love to bring their strollers to Disneyworld.  And they are all on the same. ride. as. you.

Photo is courtesy of Tips from the Disney Divas, who wrote a whole post on stroller etiquette at Disney.

 And it’s amazing how most strollers look alike.  And if you happen to park in a non-stroller parking area, your stroller WILL be moved to the closest stroller parking area.  And even if you are parked in the correct place, the cast members are constantly shifting around to make aisles and room.  So the odds of finding your stroller quickly are pretty low.  My biggest stroller tip is to find a away to make your stroller stand out.  Some people use balloons or string on their stroller handles.  This year, we went the popular route of making a DIY Disney Stroller Tag.

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

This whole project took me about 5 minutes to do.  You just need a piece of lightweight wood {from any craft store}, a piece of scrapbook paper, some Modge Podge, some ribbon and stick-on Velcro, and some stickers {including letters if you want your name on it}.

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

Trace the shape of your wood plaque on the back of your scrapbook paper, cut it out and Modge Podge it onto the wood.

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

 Add your stickers, and then do another layer of Modge Podge across the entire front {this will help if it rains in the parks!}.  Cut two pieces of ribbon about 10 inches long each, use a lighter to seal the ends to prevent fray.  Staple them into the back of your wood sign {they will be the straps, so make sure they are long enough to go around your stroller handle}.

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

Attach one side of the Velcro to the wood directly under the ribbon, and the other side to the end of the ribbon.  I actually ended up putting a dot of hot glue on the ribbon to make sure the Velcro stuck really well.  I don’t think it was really necessary, but it may be a good idea.

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

And that’s it!  Your snazzy sign will be an eye-catcher and help you find your stroller amongst the sea of princess carriages!

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Tutorial #disney #tutorial #DIY #disneyside #disneycrafts

How do set your stroller apart from the others?  Do share!

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4 Must Have Items to Avoid Meltdowns at Disney

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #onestopshopforbaby #CollectiveBias

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad

Now that we’ve done Disney with a toddler three times, I consider myself a semi-expert in knowing what to pack to keep baby happy during those long, hot days at the parks.

And after a recent trip to Babies”R”Us for diapers, I realized that it’s really a one-stop-shop for all of the must haves for traveling with baby!  Really, there are just 4 things that you must take with you to avoid meltdowns at Disney:

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad#1.  A stroller.  Yes, I know you can rent one in the park {for ~$15 a day}.  But have you actually seen those plastic buckets they expect your kids to be comfy in?  Not to mention that you have to leave the Disney strollers in the park {and lug baby and gear through the parking lot without it!}. Nah….bring your own, or rent one in Orlando to be delivered to your hotel {a whopping ~$60 for a week for a DOUBLE!}.  And splurge for the jogger, for crying out loud!  Maybe you’ll be inspired {like us!} after having the treat of pushing a jogger for a week, to go ahead and purchase your own!

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad

#2. A stroller fan.  Get one that has the soft blades, or a good blade cage to keep those little curious fingers safe.  The air circulation inside the stroller will keep baby infinitely happier on those hot, sweaty days.  And you can always “borrow” it for yourself since it’s easy to clip onto various stroller surfaces, like the stroller handle.  Don’t forget to bring a small screwdriver and extra batteries!How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad#3.  A sippy cup/bottle leash.  These simple little straps are genius and absolutely one of the must haves for traveling with baby.  They attach easily to the stroller {or high chair, or carseat}, and then velcro around sippy cups, snack traps, lovies, etc.  It’s a great way to ensure that nothing is lost over the side of the stroller while you are trying to snap the perfect picture of your big kids high-fiving Mickey Mouse.  How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad#4.  Huggies Little Movers Diapers.  I know every mom has their diaper allegiances.  We are a Huggies family…always have been, and love that we can get ours quickly at Babies”R”Us {see photo above}.  And with the new Little Movers being the driest feeling diaper ever {and the Leak Lock protecting Baby for 12 hours}, this is for sure, another one of my must haves for traveling with Baby.  Disney does a great job with their air-conditioned and quiet Baby Centers, complete with a Disney movie and high chairs for multi-tasking with the older kids.  But let’s be honest, most of us aren’t willing to trek all the way to a baby center multiple times a day….which means that the new Huggies Little Movers’ ability to absorb on contact is essential for being able to enjoy multiple hours of Disney fun without stopping for a diaper change.

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad

And, if you’ll just let me brag on my boy for just a minute….we are almost walking.  Like, SO close. Like, by the time I publish this, he may be off!  Lincoln has officially turned into a toddler over the course of our vacation.  He climbs all over everything {from piles of pillows, to strollers, to luggage carts!} and crawls faster than I can chase him.  And now that he can walk plow across the room, he thinks he is HOT STUFF.  So after spending a day at the Disney Parks, then feeding him vacation food and getting him riled up down at the pool….I was naive enough to think I could actually get him settled down in his pajamas and ready for bed.  It was like herding cats. Don’t believe me?  I documented it for his future wife:

As you can see…our little guy is very active!  And you can see why the New Little Movers Diapers from Huggies are essential to all the rolling around….the elastic area around the legs keep everything “contained” while we have fun!

To find out more about Huggies’ New Little Movers Diapers, follow Huggies’ Facebook page or follow Huggies on Twitter.  Wanna try them out for yourself?  Here’s a coupon for ya…how will you play in your Huggies Little Movers?

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Disney Weekly Meal Plan

Many, many people have told me that I’m doing Disney wrong.  I’m not getting the full experience because we stay off property.  That it’s cheaper and easier to use the Disney meal plans.  Those are really great points, but for now, my family has found a very affordable way to vacation for a week in Disney.

We stay at Wyndham Bonnet Creek using Farrell’s Vacations…and have yet to spend more than $1000 for 7 days in their luxurious 3 bedroom condos.  We LOVE this place.  They’ve got 5 pools, mini golf, a kiddie splash pad, a pond and about a million other amenities, including full kitchens and washer and dryers in all the units.  Seriously.  Farrell should start paying me for how much I talk about this place.

Our favorite place to stay in Orlando....Wyndham Bonnet Creek using Farrell's Vacation Rentals

But the thing I love best is the kitchen.  Fully stocked kitchen with just about any cooking gadget you’d need.  So we save a ton of money by brown bagging it.  Literally.  We pack lunches and snacks for the parks, and eat at least 5 dinners at “home” in the condo.  And quick breakfasts before hitting the parks are no problem as we all roll out of bed.

So tonight I was working on our meal plan for our upcoming trip.  I’ve got 4 full dinner meals planned, plus a night of leftovers and one dinner out.  Do you want to see what’s on the menu?

Disney Weekly Meal Plan for Frugal Families-with a free printable

My meals are simple, don’t require a ton of bought ingredients and require very little assembly, and I know my family loves them!  Here’s what’s on our Disney Weekly Meal Plan:

King Ranch Macaroni and Cheese

Red Wine Vinegar Pasta Salad

Hamburgers/Hotdogs and Pasta Salad

Tacos

Leftovers

Disney Weekly Meal Plan for Frugal Families-with a free printable

Click here to see and download our actual meal planning page complete with the recipes and grocery list for my recipes.

OR

If you want to use my template to create your own Disney Weekly Meal Plan, download a blank template of it here and fill it out as you see fit.

 I find it helpful that the ingredients and instructions for each meal are all in one place, and the shopping list for all of the meals {with extra space for other items} is on a separate page to take to the grocery store.  We bring most of our spices and staples {you know, the stuff that it doesn’t make sense to buy new….like mayo}, and then hit the local grocery store for the fresh stuff once we get there.  I also buy all of the treats and snacks before hand to keep it under control…we get a little crazy at the store when we are on vacation and all together {Cheetos and 4 bags of Oreos?!?!}.

I was tempted to make my Disney Weekly Meal Plan Template all cute and Disney-ish…like this one. Or this one.  But then I decided that I was actually going to use it and print it…and I didn’t want to waste all that ink.  Plus, my templates can be used on any week-long vacation now, not just Disney!  You could even use it on a weekly basis at home if you aren’t already using my pretty Meal Planner from my House Manager.

So, we are a little bit closer to being ready for the trip.  Hope you can use this too!  Back to packing….

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{Walt Disney World} New Disney Tips and Ideas

As I continue to plan our upcoming trip to Disney, I’m still in awe of all the new Disney ideas out there.  I mean, there are thousands of bloggers out there who primarily write about Disney, they visit regularly and have wonderful tips and advice for newbies.  I thought I had read just about all of those posts and knew everything there was to know the last time we went to Disney.  But in two short years, so much has changed and there are so many “new” ideas out there.  Thanks to Pinterest, this has taken up quite a bit of my time lately!  So here’s a quick roundup of some new Disney tips and ideas that I recently found.

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

For example, now that the girls are a bit older, they are more interested in meeting all of the characters!  I love this list of creative things to ask the characters from Sahlin Studio.  Like, ask to see Cinderella’s shoes!  Do her feet hurt?!?! This blog also has ideas for creative picture poses with characters.

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

Here’s some more poses to do for fun character pictures, with a cute info graphic for reference!

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

I haven’t had time to try these, but this step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own mouse ear headbands from Suburban Mom is so clever.  And they will keep your girls’ hair in check too!

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

Considering that Downtown Disney is taking up the majority of our “rest day,” I was really interested in this post on things to do in Downtown Disney from Can’t Google Everything.  I love that there are so many free ideas!! But bring a towel or a change of clothes so you can play in the fountains….

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

One of these days, I’m gonna convince Dave to take me on one of the Behind the Scenes tours at Disney.  I’m just fascinated about the details of the park, and how Disney caters to the 1%.  For example, in the Tower of Terror hotel lobby {while you are in line}, there is a game of Mahjong that was being played when it’s players disappeared.  Not only was the game abandoned, but Disney got two experts in the game to actually play, and stop the game at a really interesting and pivotal point.  And only about 1% of Disney travelers would notice and appreciate that!  Find out some more Secrets and Fascinating Facts from Roadtrippers…be sure to read the comments for even more!

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

I love these ears just as much as the headbands…think I have enough time to make them?  DIY ears from Vermillion Rules

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

You know that I’m not a huge fan of character clothing…but I feel like at Disney, I can make an exception!  Since I have a Silhouette, I may actually try one of these painted tee-shirts from Scrap Inspired.

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

There are lots of paper editions of the stroller sign, but I love this one the best…on wood from Hobby Lobby!  Stroller Sign from 733 Blog

New Disney Tips and Fun Ideas for Disney 2015

Another reason to save those toilet paper rolls!  Cute 7 Dwarf Figurines from Vitamin HA

And last but not least…Best verified park ticket prices…$13 off average.  Undercover Tourist  I subscribed to their newsletter, and got the most up to date pricing and coupon codes in it.  And they will mail you your park tickets {actually plastic cards}, so you don’t have to go to Will Call.

We are ready!!

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{From the Archives} Disney Vacation Printables

Funny how this seems to be the season of Disney.  Here I thought I was being smart by planning our trip during the school year…better weather, less crowds.  But it seems as though I’m not the only one doing Disney this Fall!  I’ve gotten numerous download requests the past couple of weeks for my Disney Vacation Printables that I created last time we went.

Disney Vacation Printables-Everything you need to plan your trip!

Source for the Mickey Dollars {to be earned by the kids before the trip}

So today I thought I’d do a little Throwback Thursday and share all of my Disney Vacation Printables with you, all in one place.  Feel free to download and use them for your family, or pin them for a later trip!  Please show me some love by sharing this post so others might benefit too.  All of the sharing buttons are at the end of the post.

Disney Packing List

Free Printable Packing List for Disney!

The file has both a sample list {like the one on the left}, and a blank list.  I’ve updated the Excel document for a more printer friendly version, so be sure to click on the link and download the file to print.

Disney Itinerary

Free Editable Disney Itinerary, Day by Day

I’ve made this into an editable Excel file, so you can enter your schedule in, and manipulate times as needed.  Above was our itinerary back in 2013 when we went, I’m still tweaking for this year!

Mickey Tickets

Give out Mickey Tickets every 30 minutes that the kids can trade for treats....to make the drive to Disney AWESOME!

This year we’ll be breaking out the Mickey Tickets during the 6 hour drive again.  We have a DVD player in the car, but I really hate using it.  So the kids read, play with their “car” toys and sing along with the radio, and then every hour and half hour, they get a ticket.  They can trade tickets in for treats: 1 ticket for a new book {they love Where’s Waldo!}, 2 tickets for a snack, 3 tickets for a new toy/activity, 4 tickets for a movie.  To print and use these tickets, save the photo above and print from your computer.

I’m working on our meal plans for the week now.  Although I love my usual meal planning worksheet, I’m hoping to get together a Disney inspired one in the next day or too…don’t worry, I’ll share!

Hope these free Disney Vacation Printables help your planning process!  Please share!

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{linking up here this week!}

{Walt Disney World} DIY Minnie Mouse Flip Flops

Now that our Countdown to Disney is in full swing, and the kids are in school full time, I’ve turned my attention to our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.  This week’s #GetPumpedforDisney activity was making our own Minnie Mouse Flip Flops.

Super Easy.  Super Cute!

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

I used the same technique that I used to make my Spider Corkscrew Bows that the girls wear at Halloween.  Click on the above link to see in more detail how I make the corkscrews.

For this tutorial {and one pair of flip flops} you’ll need:

  • a pair of plain plastic flip flops {I got mine at Walmart for 50 cents at the end of the summer!}
  • at least 5 different grosgrain ribbon spools, 1/4 inch wide works the best
  • several skinny dowel rods, each cut to 12″
  • two wooden clothespins per dowel rod that you have
  • jelly roll pan
  • glue gun
  • two pieces of elastic string cut to about 3″
  • two extra pieces of coordinating grosgrain ribbon {thinner than 1/4″ if possible}, cut to 4″
  • lighter
  • scissors
  • oven preheated to 325

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

Wrap your ribbon at a slight angle around the length of each dowel rod.  One dowel rod for each color {I have two of each color in the picture above because I was making two pairs of flip flops}.  Secure the ends of the ribbon to the dowel rods with the wooden clothes pins and place on a jelly roll pan.  Bake for 30 minutes at 325.  Let cool completely.

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

When they are completely cool, gently slide the ribbon off of the dowel rods.  Cut each 12″ length of ribbon into 4 equal pieces {about 3″ each}.  Two pieces of each color ribbon for each flip flop.  Use your lighter to gently melt the ends of each piece of ribbon to prevent fraying.

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

Line up your ribbon pieces {two of each color} on top of one of your elastic strings.  Make sure the string is in the middle of each ribbon and tie a tight double knot around the entire bundle of ribbon corkscrews. Trim the ends of the elastic.

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

You should be able to maneuver the ribbons around a bit to get the arrangement and level of “fluff” you desire!

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

Hot glue your bunch of ribbons to the center of the top of your flip flop.  **The hot glue will NOT adhere the ribbons to the plastic, this is just to help hold the bunch in place while you secure it!  Use your scraps of ribbon {about 4″ long} to secure.

Hot glue one end of the scrap ribbon to the top of the ribbon bundle, right on top of the elastic knot.  Wrap the ribbon around one side of the flip flop thong {the part that goes between your toes}.  As you bring it back up to the top of the ribbon bundle, hot glue it to the top {the end of the ribbon that you already secured} and then tightly wrap it down around the other side of the thong.  Secure the end with hot glue.  Fluff your ribbon bundle around the scrap ribbon as much as possible.

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

My girls {and their sensitive feet} did not like the way the ends of the ribbons {particularly the long skinny pink ones} tickled their toes.  So I ended up hot glueing the ends of some of the ribbons to the middle of the bundle to create loops.  But by doing that, I actually covered up a lot of the scrap ribbon from the top, creating a more cohesive look.

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

You can still see the scrap ribbon in the above picture, since I took it front the front of the flip flops.

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

But from the tops, you could barely see it!

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

The girls love their new Minnie Mouse flip flops, and after the ribbon baked for 30 minutes, they only took about 15 minutes to make!  They can’t wait to wear them to the pool at Disney!

Minnie Mouse Flip Flops Tutorial to get the kids pumped for Disney!

I’d love it if you’d share this post on FB or pin it!  You can find my sharing buttons at the end of the post, or hover over the photos to pin.  Thanks for reading!

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linking up here this week!

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

We are about a month away from our big Disney trip, and we are starting to really get excited.  We’ve been faithfully counting down the days and doing special Disney activities to get ready and even more excited for our trip.  You can follow along with our activities over on Instagram by following me {@palmsandpigs} and following our hashtag #GetPumpedforDisney.

This week’s activity was more for me and Betsy, than for the girls.  And no, Betsy can’t come with us this time…{insert sad face here}.  But she still loves Disney as much as I do, and loves painting too….so she was the perfect helper for my DIY Wooden Disney Princesses.  And it was a terrific late night project for us when we were in West Jefferson.

I found these adorable dolls and Wooden Disney Princesses tutorial over on Lil Blue Boo, and thought they would be the perfect addition to our collection of wooden blocks, as well as the wooden dollhouse that we borrowed from Wiggles & Whimsy.

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

Aren’t they adorable?  I’m so pleased at the way they came out.  And they look so much more complicated than they really were.

Obviously, I had Betsy, who is an artist, helping me out, so some of my girls’ dresses are quite ornate.  But even without all of the ruffles on Belle’s dress, you can still tell who she is!

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

I bought my wooden dolls from Casey’s Wood.  I needed a bunch of them since we were making a set for my kids, and a set for Betsy’s.  It was surprisingly difficult to find the larger wooden peg dolls wearing dresses….but in hindsight I wish I had just gotten regular peg figures.   I don’t think the the dress shape ended up mattering that much, and it would have been nice to be able to use extra ones to make some boy figures.  I mean, how cute are these?!?!

Boy Peg Figurines from Homemade by Jill

Anyway, back to my ladies.  I got 12 peg dolls, some acrylic paint and super small paintbrushes….you’ll need one wider one for painting the dresses on, and at least one teensy one for painting details and eyes and such.  I also used a pencil for sketching before painting.

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

The dresses were pretty simple {they were my job, while Betsy did the detail work!}.  We used images on Google to look at each princess.  We did V-necks, Scoop necks or Heart-shaped necklines on the fronts, and painted straight across the back neckline {but left a little space under the head to make it more realistic}.  Here’s the back:

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

And some of the princesses have long flowing hair that went down their backs.  Again, we just used simple shapes to create their hairstyles.  And don’t forget their headbands!

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

To draw belts and bustles and ruffles {and midriffs!}, I used whatever I could find to make little marks all the way around the curved doll.  Here, I used a little plastic tube that I found…that way Aurora’s belt was straight all the way around.

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

I also found some glitter acrylic paint that I used for Elsa’s cape, Tinkerbell, Ariel’s scales, and Jasmine’s neckline and waist.  A little sparkle adds a lot of detail!!

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

Some tips we found:

-A little wave to the hairline creates a whole different look for the princess {don’t you love Snow White’s hair?}.

-Smaller is better when it comes to the dots for eyes

-The glitter adds a nice dimension…I may go back and add some bedazzle jewels to Jasmine and Cinderella.  Later on, I also added pompoms with hot glue for the princesses with buns, and that also added some texture.

-Use a non-toxic sealant after painting….because little boys love kissing {or chewing on} Princesses

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

My favorites ended up being Ana, Belle and Pocahontas.

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

But the rest were lovely as well.

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

So my advice:

keep it simple with colors and shapes….

use Google images for different adaptations of each Princess’ look….

little details can make all the difference {look at Rapunzel’s lacey trim and X stitches}…

really, really, really don’t worry about the finished product….{especially if there is wine involved in the process}, because your girls will be just thrilled at the end result!

DIY Wooden Disney Princesses

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{From the Archives} Disney World Countdown Chain

Well, we are at it again!  We are headed back to Disney at the end of the summer for another week of family fun.  Today, Jayna and I made our Disney World Countdown Chain for us to keep track of how many days left until our trip.  We made it just like last time, but added a few new Countdown Activities to our bucket this time.  Stay tuned and I’ll tell you all about them.

But for today, I thought I’d revisit how we made the countdown chain two years ago when we went to Disney.  It’s amazing to look at the pictures and see how young Jayna looks!!!

Disney Countdown Chain

You might say there is a little Disney excitement going on inside our house lately.  And the kids are excited too! But, I finally grew tired of the “Is it  Disney World Day yet Mommy?” {Plus, I kind of wanted to know how many days left too!}.  And we all know that kids {and I} learn better with visual aides.  So I scoured my Disney Pinterest Board for ideas.By far, my favorite was the Disney World Countdown Chain by Get Away Today. Plus, it allowed me to control how many links were included {which was key since we had over 90 days left until D-Day}.  Several of the other countdown ideas were only for the last month.  Jayna and I had a great time making it too.  We did it in several parts….spreading out the “Disney Project” over several days.  Lately she is all about projects and having some quality {no-Millie} time with Mama.  I let her cut out the circles and 2 in ch strips.  Then we used glue sticks to add white hole-punched dots to the red strips to make them look like Mickey’s pants.Then DAYS later {when Jayna needed some more Mama time}, we connected the chains.  Jayna worked on her patterning skills while I attached the chains with tape.Because we kept spreading out this project, I had to keep modifying the number of chains used….we waited another couple of days to finish the project with a cute topper {with fun, sparkly scrapbooking stickers and paper}, and hang it up in our dining room.  I kind of underestimated how long the chain would be!To add to the excitement, on the white strips, I drew a little Mickey…and every time Jayna cuts a white strip, she gets to choose a fun-filled Disney Stick from our Bucket o’ Fun Disney ActivitiesMore Jayna and Mama time later that day with a special Disney activity!

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Check out my other Disney-related posts and plenty more to come!!

{From the Archives} Tips for Doing Disney While Pregnant

Doing Disney While Pregnant: Tips from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Good morning!  It’s hard to believe that it was exactly a year ago that we took our family vacation to Disney with our best friends, Betsy and Jay.  So in the spirit of all of you spring breakers headed to Mickey-Land in the next few weeks, and for all of you preggos out there, I thought I’d revisit Betsy’s guest post about traveling to Disney while pregnant.  There are some great general tips about some of the lesser known aspects of the parks, as well as some essential info about doing Disney while pregnant!

Without further ado….here’s Bets!

Tips for doing Disney pregnant from Palmettos and Pigtails

My Disney vacation may be atypical from most and certainly from Shara’s in that my awesome husband took the reins of planning!  We discussed everything we decided, but as you read my recap, know that I don’t take credit for the plans he came up with or our schedule.  We both tried to be flexible with plans and just have fun because that’s all you can do with a 2-year-old and your in-laws in tow!

We rode with my in-laws in their RV so we were able to save money on food and stay at a campground overnight on the way to and from Florida {4 days total of travel to/from Disney from Maryland, and 6 days of Florida}.

Accommodations

We chose to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground for a few key reasons.

We were making this trip with my in-laws and wanted to be near them to make plans to meet up and eat meals together as easy as possible.  We could have all squeezed in their RV all week, but Fort Wilderness has cabins, so the three of us opted for one of those for everyone’s sanity.  It was great!  We really liked everything about it.

Fort Wilderness is a really nicely laid out campground that has spoiled me for campgrounds everywhere.  Disney just knows how to do things right.  It is expansive, interspersed beautifully with trees and wildlife so you don’t see a million RVs everywhere you look, and there is bus transportation to help you get all around, though most everyone ends up splurging on renting golf carts for the week (including my father-in-law!  Even after we had planned not to splurge on renting one and sticking to the bus transport, he decided it would be well worth it for the ease of getting around, so we were fine with that!).  Two great pools, several playgrounds, two well-stocked shops with lots of food and drink essentials as well as gifty Disney stuff, pony rides, a delicious buffet, and easy free transportation to all of the parks plus Downtown Disney all made it a great choice for our family. Pool at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney WorldThey also had an awesome campfire sing-a-long featuring Chip and Dale every night with marshmallow roasting and a movie under the stars.

  • Note 1. Bring your own marshmallows/s’mores stuff.  They sell everything there, but its pricey!
  • Note 2. Go during the weekdays.  We went on Wednesday night and again on Friday night (though I think some people go every night, hey its free entertainment) and Wednesday was nice and calm and peaceful while Friday was packed and slightly chaotic!Fort Wilderness Campfire at Disney WorldFort Wilderness Campfire at Disney WorldCampfire at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney WorldThe cabins can sleep up to 6 people total, so our little family of 3 was able to spread out quite nicely.  The cabin had a full kitchen and one full bathroom, one bedroom with bunkbeds and a double bed, and a livingroom with a Murphy bed.  Jason and I chose to sleep out on the Murphy bed so we could put Lulabelle to bed at bedtime and stay up to watch TV for awhile without disturbing her.  It worked out really well.  Plus we had the luxury of housekeeping everyday… that’s my kind of camping!  We researched ahead of time and found that RV lots are not really intermixed with cabins in their layout, but you can call ahead to request specific areas if possible, so we so did that and got loops next to each other……ended up within walking distance to my in-law’s but not so close that we got on each others’ nerves.Fort Wilderness Cabins at Disney WorldParks

We also opted for the 4 tickets and got the 5th day free, but to save money we forewent the park hopper option and just did straight days.  The hopper would have been beneficial to some extent, but we didn’t really miss it.

Magic Kingdom notes:

-Be Our Guest restaurant

  • Ridiculous line just to get inside to eat, but I’ve decided it was worth it!  Disney made the Beast’s castle look so realistic and amazing, it was really a treat to get to sit there and eat!  A delicious feast for the tummy and for the eyes.
  • I was frustrated by the ordering process – touchscreen computers each party orders on themselves are a bad idea when a Disney staff person has to run from computer to computer helping all the people figure out how to take the accidental extra beverages off their total or swipe their credit card!  But my note to poor starving preggos or people with toddlers would be to just have a little snack while in line so you’re not dead or ready to kill someone by the time you get to the ordering screens.
  • The meals were pricey, but in reality quite comparable to the other restaurants in the parks – 4 adult meals with drinks and one kid’s meal with milk came to $55 – and the food was really quite good – I got a quiche that came with a good-sized spinach salad and champagne vinaigrette, mmm….
  • The other pretty cool thing to note was the servers bringing out your food using some method of GPS or tracking to figure out exactly where your party is seated.  It was done via a little red, circular rose that you take with you after ordering and set on the table you’ve chosen, and then within a few minutes a waiter comes wheeling out a fancy food cart directly to your table.  When my husband asked how he knew where we were, the waiter just said “magic,” we were in an enchanted castle after all.  Anyway, we sat in the main ballroom, in fancy chairs, under gorgeous chandeliers, with computer-generated snow falling outside beautiful windows – I absolutely loved it.Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom in Disney WorldEpcot notes:

-Nemo ride + big aquarium afterwards!

  • We knew about Turtle Talk with Crush after the Nemo ride, but I did not know there was a full-fledged aquarium to check out in there as well with manatees, dolphins, turtles, fish!  We ended up staying in that one building for close to 2 hours even with no line to get on the Nemo ride at all!
  • Note: bring a snack in if you’re pregnant and hungry every half an hour.Aquarium by the Finding Nemo Ride at Epcot at Disney WorldHollywood Studios notes:

-Disney Jr. show

  • This was pretty much the main thing we thought Lu would want to do so we got in line early on and excitedly got front row seats inside the theater.  Terrible idea.  We could not see anything from the front row because they have you sit on the floor (my other bone to pick with that show – I don’t get up and down all that easily these days!) and the characters are all puppets.  Most times we could see just the tops of characters’ heads, but sometimes we couldn’t see them at all when they were talking.
  • We also had a Disney staff member who kept making little Lu sit down when she tried to see a little better (even though in the middle rows all the kids were standing up and even though the only people she could have been blocking were her dad and grandpa).  SO, aim for the center of the theater, maybe even towards the back.
  • And warn the grandparents and preggos in your family they’ll be sitting on the floor.

Tips for doing Disney while Pregnant from Palmettos and Pigtails

And finally, a shout-out to my shoes!  I researched good, supportive sandals for walking before we left, and these are what I decided on.  They are Spencos http://www.zappos.com/spenco-kholo-straw-java~1 I ordered from zappos.com, and they did a great job supporting me in all of our walking.  According to the reviews, they run a little wide, which was great for me as I have slightly wide feet on a normal day and was very worried my pregnant lady feet might swell especially in the heat.  They have great arch support, and I never had a day of discomfort with extended walking every day we were there.  Yay!

How to do Disney while Pregnant from Palmettos and Pigtails

Overall, it was a magical Disney vacation!  In a nutshell, if you choose to do Disney while pregnant, make sure you wear good shoes, bring lots of water and snacks, and stay in the shade.  We can’t wait to go back, or at least go on vacation with Shara and Dave again soon!  Thanks for reading!

Betsy

Betsy is the cake creator over at Betsy’s Cakes, the Godmother of Jayna and Amelia, and the Mommy of Lullabelle.  She’s also the wife of Jay, and lover of all things Disney.  She’s also Shara’s best friend, and can be found in this post, this one, and this one.  Oh yeah, she also is the mastermind behind the Super Popular Dr. Suess Party post!

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial

We’ve been having a crazy February.  Between hubby traveling, sicknesses that just won’t quit, and numerous guests in town, we are just CRAZY around here.  But even though Jayna didn’t get a birthday party this year, didn’t mean we didn’t celebrate all. week. long.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Ever since seeing it in the theaters, Jayna {like every other little girl in America}, has been bitten by the Frozen bug.  Anything Elsa, she adores.  And that’s all she wanted for her birthday.  An Elsa dress-up dress.  But after scouring Amazon, Disney and Target, I couldn’t find a single Elsa dress-up dress {in our budget, that is!}.  So what choice did I have, but to make one!  So I figured I’d share with you my Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial.

I was amazed at how simple it really was to make.  I’ll tell you how, but pay attention to my asterisks, as there are some changes that I would recommend making {I would, if I made this dress again}.

Materials:

  • a yard of blue fabric for the bodice ****I do not recommend using the sequin fabric like I did….it gummed up my needles and took me forever to sew through.  Any other slightly stretchy fabric should be fine****
  • 6 yards of white tulle
  • 6 yards of blue tulle
  • about 18 inches of a thin elastic for the straps and headband/crown
  • measure around the chest {under armpits} for your 3/4 inch elastic length.  Jayna was 23 inches
  • measure around the waist for your 1 1/2 inch elastic length.  Jayna was 22 inches
  • two packs of glue-on sequins, sparkles or snowflakes
  • a yard of trim {I liked that mine looked like snowballs} or boa material for straps and crown
  • blue/coordinating ribbon in the same length as your child’s waist {mine was about 22 inches}

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Starting with the bodice.  Measure the length of your child’s torso, from armpits to hips.  Add 3 1/4 inches to account for your elastic.  As for the width, use the entire yard of fabric….it’s going to be bunched on the elastic.  Spread out your fabric and pin and sew your short sides together {right sides together}.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Then, fold the bottom and the top edges toward the middle of the bodice, leaving about 1/2 or so bigger than  the width of your elastic.  Pin around the entire bodice and sew a “sleeve” that you’ll slide your elastic into.  Be sure to leave an opening for elastic insertion!

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

When you are finished sewing your little tube, attach a safety-pin to one end of the elastic and slowly pull it through to the other side.  When both ends of the elastic are showing, carefully sew them together, and then sew the opening of the fabric around them closed.  The fabric will naturally bunch up, but feel free to work with it a little to make the bunches even.  Do this on both sides of the bodice, to create a tube top.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

****Now that I have seen this outfit on my daughter, she is always tugging at the bodice to keep it down over her belly.  I recommend possibly forgoing the bottom elastic and sewing the boric directly to the tulle skirt to create a dress instead!  No more belly button shows!****

Flip your bodice so that the thicker elastic is at the top.  Figure out where your straps are going to go and pin your strap elastic there.  Jayna’s straps are 9 inches long.  Since this project was a surprise for her, I used one of her tight-fitting pajama shirts to lay under the bodice to serve as a “model” for where the straps should fall on her shoulders.  Sew your straps to the inside of the bodice.  Secure well.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Then I attached the “snowball” trim to the elastic straps with a wide stitch.  I glued four of the larger snowflake “gems” just under the straps on the bodice, to cover up my stitching there {I was making sure the straps were really secure, so my stitches were pretty obvious on the outside}.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

And viola!  You are done the bodice.  On to the tulle skirt.  First, I took my blue ribbon and sewed it to about 3 inches of thin velcro.  My girls grow out of dress up clothes like it’s their business, so I wanted to make sure this dress fit for a while!

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Then, I folded the 6 yards of tulle in half, width wise, and used a straight stitch along the raw edges to create the ruffle.  For details on how to make a ruffle, click here.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

I did this to my blue tulle and the white, then made sure they each were “ruffled” to the waist measurement of my child {22 inches}.  Then I pulled just a little of the extra tulle from each of the ends out of the ruffled part.  I layered the two colored tulles on top of each other and pinned it to the ribbon.  The extra tulle that I pulled out of the ruffle got pinned to the middle of the elastic band on the ribbon.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Then I sewed all the way around the ribbon, making sure to get both layers of tulle in the stitch too. When I got to the elastic, I lengthened my stitch and tension a bit and sewed the thin layer of unruffled tulle to the elastic.  Just enough to provide coverage if the elastic was completely stretched out.  Then I folded both ends of the ribbon over the elastic and tacked.  As Jayna grows, I will be able to undo part of the elastic to give her a little more girth to the skirt.

Then I hot-glued all of the gems and snowflakes to the front of the tulle.

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

I used the leftover snowball trim and a tiny bit of skinny elastic to make the headband/crown.

And done!

Very easy, and a great project for beginner sewers…just don’t buy that sequin fabric.  That honestly made this project about three times longer than it should have taken!!

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

And Jayna loved it!  Wants to wear it everywhere {including to bed!}.  Now Jayna’s best friend AND Millie both want one for themselves…maybe I should see what other princess dresses I can make!

DIY Disney Frozen Elsa Dress Tutorial - Palmettos and Pigtails

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature