Where to Go When Your Mousekatot has to Go in the Magic Kingdom

Taking a toddler to Walt Disney World really challenges your perception of how prepared you are for life.

Before our little Mousekatot I thought I had it together pretty well. I was always on time, I remembered a lot of things and I was queen of the color coded checklists.

Now, I am lucky if I arrive to my destination only 30 minutes late, remember to pack extra diapers in the diaper bag and the only coloring that gets done is in our toddler’s Mickey Mouse coloring book.

Times sure have changed.

Luckily, if you are like me and should run out or your toddler’s toiletry item, need a place to change your tot’s diaper or just need a respite from the heat and crowds Disney has you covered.

Located in each of the parks is a baby care center.

In the Magic Kingdom the center is located just off of Main Street USA next to the Crystal Palace restaurant.

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Photo courtesy of WDWinfo.com

Inside of this center is a cool and clean place that can seem like a haven to weary parents and children.

One area features several clean changing tables for diaper duty. What I like about these tables is that they are supported underneath instead of the kind that you pull down from the wall and hope that they just don’t snap in half.

In another private area there are rocking chairs and dim lighting for mothers who want to feed their child in private.

There is also a sitting room  with chairs of all sizes, toys and a television so older siblings have a place to go, or if you just need a break from the stimulation from the park.

In an area that resembles a small kitchen there is a microwave and a sink and a miniature store that carries everything from baby food and diapers to sunscreen and some medications. A cast member will be there to help you if you need any of these items.

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Photo courtesy of Couponing to Disney

No one likes to think about having to change diapers while you are on vacation, but it is nice to know that Disney offers a wonderful place, with beautiful theming, if you need to do so.

For more about the baby centers and other tips on how to have a magical and memorable vacation with your Mousekatot (like the secret to making packing a breeze or how to tame character anxiety) check out my book “Mousekatots” available through Theme Park Press or Amazon.

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Tot Five: Best Spots to Grab a Quick and Healthy Lunch

A lot of people seem to think that if you are on vacation you have to face the dreaded “vacation weight gain” when you return home.

However, if you do a little planning before you go you can make smart choices when it comes to dining at Disney.

So here are the tot five places to grab a quick and healthy lunch in Walt Disney World.

1. Columbia Harbor House

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Tucked away in Liberty Square is a really great quick service restaurant called Columbia Harbor House.

While the restaurant caters mostly to typical New England fare like fried shrimp and clam chowder, it is also surprisingly has some great lighter options including the Lighthouse Sandwich (hummus tomato, broccoli slaw on toasted multigrain bread), grilled salmon with couscous and corn cobbette,  and broccoli peppercorn salad.

2. Tangierine Café

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Tangerine Café, located in the Morocco pavilion in EPCOT, offers a lot of different Mediterranean foods which are usually very healthy and contain a lot of fresh ingredients, healthy fats and savory spices.

Healthy choices here include the vegetarian platter( hummus, tabbouleh, lentils, falafel and marinated olives with fresh Moroccan Bread), Shawarma Chicken Platter (served with a side of Hummus, Tabbouleh, and Tangerine Couscous Salad with fresh Moroccan Bread) and Tabbouleh.

3. Sunshine Seasons

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

 

Inside of The Land pavilion in EPCOT’s Future World is Sunshine Seasons, a quick service restaurant that is known for providing quick, tasty and healthy food.

Offering selections for all three major meals, some healthy options include Bircher Muesli for breakfast, Power Salad with Oak-fired Chicken, Quinoa, Almonds and Honey Vinaigrette for lunch and Sesame Crusted Tuna with Asian Vegetable Noodle Salad.

4. Harambe Market

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

 

Animal Kingdom Park is home to some of the most flavorful and unique dining experiences in the entire resort. Luckily, these places also offer many healthy options including Harambe Market located in the Africa section of the park.

Yummy and healthy options include Grilled Vegetable Stack served with Green Papya Slaw and Black-Eyed Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad, Grilled Chicken Skewer (with the same sides) and Green Papaya-Carrot Slaw Side.

5. Anaheim Produce

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Sometimes when it is so hot outside, like Orlando is often, I really don’t feel like eating a big meal.

Luckily, Anaheim Produce, in Hollywood Studios, offers a wide variety of lighter and healthy fare including a variety of fresh fruit, Hayden Valley Raw Energy Mix, carrot and celery sticks and whole pickles.

While eating healthy is definitely an option while you are on vacation, you need to also find that right balance between treating yourself on occasion and eating healthy. You are on vacation after all and don’t want to feel too deprived.

What is your favorite healthy lunch at Walt Disney World? Leave your answer in the comments below.


Making Healthy Choices Easier

Walt Disney World has started displaying the calorie information of foods at some quick service restaurants on property.

So far it has only been the Backlot Express and Columbia Harbor House that has been displaying the information according to WDWinfo.com.

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Photo courtesy of WDWinfo.com

The information is within parenthesis at the end of the menu listing.

It is unclear if this will be rolled out to be on all the quick service properties or not.

If you want information about ingredients for dietary restrictions or allergies, or want to know the nutrition information, you can ask a cast member and they have all the information in a binder at the location.

What are your thoughts about this new addition? Will you use it to help you eat healthier while you are on vacation? Leave your comments below.


Crazy Weekend for the Mousekatot Family

It has been a long and crazy weekend for the Mousekatot family, that is why you haven’t seen much here.

Having a nice long weekend, with both Friday and Monday off from work, lead to a four day weekend full of fun and also some unfortunate stuff too.

Friday

On Friday we were able to spend a wonderful evening with family at our annual Cousin Reunion.

We were able to visit with cousins from all over the country and our kiddos were able to spend time together, too.

There was a lot of laughing, playing and eating of Slovak foods.

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Third and first generation cousins.

 

Saturday

Saturdays are always super important to the three of us so we always try and do something fun and exciting. We refer to it as “Adventure Saturday.”

This past Saturday we decided to check out this huge book sale that a chain of used bookstores was having.

It was awesome! There were audio books, paperbacks, records, DVDs, CDs and anything you could think of.

The best part was nothing was over $2.

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The huge turnout at the book sale.

There were a lot of different books and we were able to get a bunch of books for our Mousekatot, a few DVDs including seasons one and three (couldn’t find season two) of “Arrested Development” and some other books for us.

We also went to Gander Mountain to check out and see what they had for sale. We lucked out because we found Columbia sandals for $21 that were originally $61! We are now ready to tackle Walt Disney World this year with super comfortable shoes. Once we get back I will do a review and let you know how thy worked out.

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Lily loved riding in the car at Gander Mountain. (Excuse the blurriness. My iPhone is struggling.)

Since both Kev and I are vegetarians (I try to eat vegan when I can) one of our favorite places to eat is called Mad Mex.

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Coloring our cat picture.

 

Mad Mex is part of a local restaurant chain that has a lot of Tex-Mex food options for both omnivores and veggies. All of their options can be made vegetarian with either all veggies or swap in tofu. They also offer vegan cheese and sour cream to make the meal completely vegan.

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Tofu taco with vegan sour cream.

I concluded our wonderful Saturday by starting to read one of the books that I picked up at the book sale. I am only a few chapters in and it seems like it is going to be a pretty good book.

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Sunday

Sunday was a nice lazy day that included swimming at our in-laws, eating pizza and getting ready to take on the new week.

Monday

This is the day our hot water heater rusted and the bottom fell out and water was all over. We tried to get a hot water heater from a big box store and they miscommunicated and we wouldn’t be able to get it installed that day. Luckily, we found someone that could that day and it ended up working out. I am so thankful for having hot water.

So that was pretty much how the weekend shook out. Despite the hot water heater and also the fact that it looks like my iPhone is losing battery power like crazy, I had a great weekend.

 

Do you did anything exciting this weekend? Leave your comments below.


Tot Five: (Mom & Dad Edition) Food and Wine Fest

While Walt Disney World caters a lot to children and families, it also doesn’t forget about the adults.

One such example of this is the annual Food and Wine Festival that is offered at EPCOT in the fall each year.

This year the festival will run longer than it has ever before starting Sept. 14 through Nov. 14.

If parents have the opportunity to sneak away for a few moments to check out the festival, or if adults are able to travel without children, here are our tot five (mom & dad edition) tips for the Food and Wine Festival.

1. Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

There is no denying the fact that enjoying the Food and Wine Festival could cost a pretty penny. Instead of opening your wallet each time to take out money or a credit card, you can purchase a Disney gift card that comes with a stretchable bracelet. This way you can keep it on your wrist while the cast member scans it and not risk spilling your wine. Also, this will keep you on a budget because once the card runs out you might not be as tempted to keep shelling out cash.

2. Watch a Demonstration

 

Each year in addition to the various food booths and special merchandise, the festival also offers various cooking demonstrations often featuring celebrity chefs like Graham Elliot and Robert Irvine.

While there are some demonstrations that are free, there are some that require an additional fee. (Usually the ones with the celebrity chefs are an additional fee.)

For a complete schedule of the various demonstrations that will be offered at this year’s festival, click the link below.

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3. Food and Wine Festival Cookbook

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Each year the Food and Wine Festival complies their favorite recipes into a cookbook that is available throughout EPCOT.

Each year that we have gone to the festival, we have purchased the cookbook. It has become our favorite souviner to pick up.

4. Drink Around the World

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Photo courtesy of CrystalsCreativeShop

If you can hold your liquor you can opt to drink around the world, and wear this shirt while doing so to keep track of your countries.

The most important thing to remember is to not get overly drunk. You could hurt yourself or end up like the idiot that tried the climb the pyramid at Mexico.

Also, please plan to utilize Disney’s transportation system. Don’t drive. You might think you are ok, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

5. RunDisney Wine and Dine

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

For those of you who are runners, RunDisney offers many different races throughout the year. Luckily, the organization has organized a few races during the weekend of Nov. 5 and 6.

Traditionally the race was a half marathon that was held at night. However, for 2016 the race has been moved to take place early in the morning like all of the other RunDisney races.

In addition to the half marathon, there will be  new 10K and 5K race. If runners compete all three events they can sign up for Lumiere’s Challenge to receive an additional medal.

Which of these tips are you most excited about? Leave your comments below.

 


Making Celebrations Magical

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Celebrating your birthday, anniversary or special accomplishment at Walt Disney World is really special. You can take this celebration to the next level by including a little extra pixie dust magic.

Disney offers a wide variety of options to plus your celebration, including free buttons.

When you make your reservations, for either your hotel or dining reservations, you have a chance to indicate if you are celebrating anything. Let them know because you might receive a special surprise with your meals. Also, don’t forget to ask for your celebration button when you check in at your hotel.

Another way of providing something extra for a celebration is to purchase an in room celebration.

If you order an in room celebration your room will be decorated for you when you arrive.

There are a lot of different celebration options to choose from ranging from special holiday celebrations, to celebration specific, to age groups.

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Another way is to order a special cake to arrive at your meal.

There are a bunch of options that will suit everyone even including those with allergies or special diet restrictions.

For example, if you are looking for a gluten free or vegan cake, Erin McKenna bakery located in Disney Springs would be the place for you to go.

All other cakes can be ordered through Disney. However, make sure you let either bakery know which restaurant you are wanting to have your cake delivered to before you start the ordering process. Not all restaurants are owned by Disney and will not accept outside desserts.

While any celebration at Walt Disney World is memorable and magical, there are some additional ways to make it extra special.

Which way sounds the most appealing to you? Leave your comments below.


Dory’s Fish Food

I don’t know about you, but Dory and crew from “Finding Dory” are a big hit in our house since we saw the movie at the drive-in this summer.

When I was on Pinterest, pinning things that I am sure I will never make, I came across this really cute recipe from Raising Little Superheroes.

It combines non-buttered popcorn, Funfetti cake mix, white chocolate, sprinkles and the “Finding Dory” goldfish crackers.

It is really simple to make and even the kiddos can get in the fun by helping to mix it all together.

You start the recipe by making the popcorn while melting the white chocolate. Then you mix the popcorn, white chocolate, cake mix, sprinkles and goldfish crackers together, spread it out on a cookie sheet and let it dry for about 30 minutes, then you break it into pieces and enjoy.

Just a word of caution for little ones, check the popcorn for lose popcorn kernels so they don’t choke.

It turned out really good and was tasty and a fun recipe for families to make together.

For the full recipe and instructions, please click here.

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Our finished product before we broke it apart.