When I often think of Walt Disney World, I think of an indulgent vacation with a lot of relaxation.
However, just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean that you have to take a vacation away from your healthy lifestyle.
While Mickey ice cream bars, churros and giant turkey legs might sound good, if you take it to the extrememe you might regret it when you get home.
Here are my tot five tips on staying healthy while at Walt Disney World.
1. Eat Healthy
You are on vacation, and the last thing you want to do is worry about if you are eating healthy or not. It’s your vacation so you want to enjoy your food a little more than you would at home. This is fine as long as you work in a little healthy foods every now and again.
At Disney this is easy to do. All restaurnts, including quick service, offer healthy options like salads, rice dishes, lean sources of protein and more.
For the Mousekatots, you can look for the Mickey Check on menus throughout the resort. This will indicate the healthiest options for the little ones.
2. Portion Control
If you are going to grab a bite to eat for breakfast, lunch or a small dinner and you want to watch your calories, you can always purchase a child’s meal for yourself.
Even on the dining plan you can use a credit for a child’s meal (and if a child has a dining plan they can use the credit for an adult meal. They aren’t separated into adult and child catagories like they used to be.)
3. Swap out your dessert credit for a snack
If you are on the dining plan, you are entitled to dessert with your counter service restaurant.
Instead of getting a dessert, you can swap it in for anything that is considered a snack like a piece of fresh fruit.
If you go on a Walt Disney World vacation you are going to do a lot of walking.
But, if you are a runner or enjoy going for a morning walk to get some exercise or take in the sights and sounds of your resort, Disney has something for you.
In a partnership with new balance, the athletic shoe company, each of the resorts has a map that shows you the best and safest places to run or walk at your resort as well as the distance.
These maps are usually on sign posts around the resort. If you can’t find them, ask at the front desk and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
5. Balance is Key
While eating healthy and exercising is important while you are on vacation, you also want to cut yourself some slack. Treat yo self!
If you have been healthy all day, a nice little treat won’t undo all of it.
Also, if you do put a little weight on during your vacation, don’t stress. It is your vacation and you can always lose what you put on.
What are your tips for staying healthy while at Walt Disney World? Leave it in the comments below.
There have been a lot of announcements out of Walt Disney World this week including a new holiday show, new princess meet and greet, the return of favorite food items and more.
For this week’s Tot Five we will take a look all of this news so you can plan your upcoming holiday vacation.
1. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!”
Even thought Halloween isn’t here yet, Walt Disney World is looking to the holiday season and just made an exciting announcement concerning Hollywood Studios.
A new nighttime projection show, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” (JBJB) will start Nov. 14 at the studios.
According to the Disney Park’s Blog, “The show comes to life on, above and around the Chinese Theater with state-of-the-art projections, special effects, fireworks and a rousing seasonal musical score.”
The show will feature musical numbers from Disney favorite movies including “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more.
There will also be a Holiday Dessert Party that can be purchased for an additional fee.
2. Meet and Greet with Princess Elena of Avalor at the Magic Kingdom
Ever since the coronation of Princess Elena of Avalor it was only a matter of time before she started meeting guests in the kingdom.
Starting Nov. 24 Princess Elena will meet with guests at the Princess Fairytale Hall with her other princess friends
I am so bummed out that we are going to miss seeing her when we go down for our latest trip.
3. DINOSAUR down for a longer than planned Refurb
The Animal Kingdom attraction was closed this summer for a refurbishment and was scheduled to open next Thursday, is going to be closed for awhile longer.
There have been reports of people who made FastPass+ reservations for the high intensity attraction all the way out to the middle of November have had their passes switched out for Expedition Everest passes.
So far, there hasn’t been an official comment about what happened with the attraction. I just hope that it isn’t going extinct.
4. Culinary favorite makes a return
Fans of the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow can rejoice. The snack is back.
The sandwich, available at this eatery located at Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, retails for $10.29.
5. Magical Night Time Weddings
Wanna get married at the Magic Kingdom at Night? You can do that now.
Yep, you can have your own Cinderella dream wedding after 11 p.m. at the kingdom and can be custom made for whatever your heart desires.
The wedding can accommodate up to 300 guests in Fantasyland.
Watch the video below to see a snippet of what your dream wedding can be like.
What are you most excited about when it comes to these new announcements? Leave your comments below.
When people think of going to one of Disney’s many quick service restaurants, the thoughts of fatty burgers and fries might fill their head.
But, just like with everything else with Walt Disney World, you can set the bar higher and treat you and your family to better tasting food that is rich in flavor and nutrition and will help fuel you for the rest of your day.
Enter Epcot’s Tangerine Café, situated in the Morocco pavilion.
It offers a variety of options that help give guests a taste of Africa without compromising flavor and authenticity.
Open for both lunch and dinner it offers a variety of entrees, sides, kids meals and desserts.
Entrées include Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, Mediterranean Falafel Wrap, Shawarma Chicken Platter, Vegetarian Platter, Mediterranean Sliders Combo, Mediterranean Lamb Wrap, Shawarma Chicken and Lamb Platter, Shawarma Lamb Platter and Moroccan Kefta Sandwich. Sides include Hummus, Tangerine Couscous Salad, Lentil Salad, Tabouleh, Marinated Olives and French Fries. Kids’ Meals include a Hamburger and Chicken Tenders.
There are a variety of tasty desserts and beverages that can also be purchased at Tangerine Café.
The average cost of an Entrée is $10.
The café is included on the Disney Dining Plan and will count as a quick service credit.
Will you add Tangerine Café to your list of must try restaurants on your next trip? Leave your comments below.
For more tips and a complete list of menu items for the various restaurants in Walt Disney World, pick up your copy of Mousekatots.
You want to try and capture as many memories of your family’s visit to Walt Disney World.
Unfortunately, one person always ends up being the unofficial family vacation photographer.
When you look back at the photos many years from now, you will wonder if you actually went on that vacation because there isn’t a record of you talking with Mickey or eating a giant turkey leg.
Luckily, Disney found a solution that is the Memory Maker.
Memory Maker is an add on to your Walt Disney World package that allows you unlimited downloads of photos taken by Disney Photopass photographers, ride photos/videos and any restaurant photos.
There are hundreds of locations where you can have a photo taken with memory maker.
Some locations that you won’t want to miss include Main Street U.S.A. in front of Cinderella’s Castle, meeting Anna and Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall, the bridge near International Gateway with the France pavilion in the background at Epcot, Overlooking the Hollywood Hotel at Hollywood Studios and around the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You will also want to ask some photographers about magic shots.
These shots add a little bit of pixie dust to your photos.
For example, at Animal Kingdom you can have a photo of you holding a baby Simba. This is done by adding a cartoon image of Simba in post-production.
Or, if you are near Princess Tiana’s meet and greet you can ask about kissing a frog.
You also don’t want to forget to link your attraction photos to your Memory Maker package.
After you get off an attraction that takes your photo, you will see a bank of screens displaying the ride photos off to the side. You will want to go up to the sales center kiosk and link the photo to your MagicBand or card that is linked to your Memory Maker account.
In addition to photos, a lot of attractions include really cute videos. Check out the Tower of Terror’s and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train videos online.
You only have a 30 day window, that starts when the first photo is taken, to sign into your account and began to download pictures.
If you pre-purchase the package before you go, then the program is $149. If you wait until you get to Disney, the cost goes up about $20.
Also, there is a three day window if you purchase when you arrive at Walt Disney World. During this three day period you will have to pay for each photo individually.
You can also link the photos that are taken of other people in your party with the Memory Maker.
The number one tip is to always have your MagicBand, you would anyway, to easily add the photos on to your account.
The biggest thing for you to consider is would this be something that is important to your family given the hefty price tag that is attached.
Do you think this is something that would be beneficial to your family?
Being the parents of a toddler, the opportunity to go out on a date is really special.
This past week we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and had the opportunity to have dinner at one of our new favorite places, The Historic Summit Inn Resort.
The hotel was first open to the public in 1907 and was designed as a playground for the many millionaires that lived in the city only five minutes away (At one time, this city had one of the highest rates of millionaires per capita in all the world, according to the resort’s website.)
It used to be a ski resort, but unfortunately that part of the resort has long been closed.
However, the resort still has two swimming pools, several ballrooms, a beautiful veranda that overlooks the valley and city below and more.
Today the resort is still beautiful and has that retro and romantic feel.
When you walk into the resort, it is like you are stepping back in time. You are greeted by a beautiful split staircase.
Before our dinner, we went and looked around the resort and found the indoor swimming pool, bar, saw a high school reunion and a beautiful bride on her wedding day.
We were seated in the dining room near a gorgeous stone fireplace and our table had this beautiful Tiffany style lamp.
One of the things that I really liked about the menu was that it was seasonal. There were a variety of different dishes that were autumn themed including an elk stew, pumpkin cheesecake and more.
I kicked off the meal with an apple cider martini, Kevin had a glass of wine, and we split the most amazing appetizer, a baked Brie with crostini and strawberry compote with chunks of strawberries. It was AMAZING!
I was really excited when I saw that the menu had a butternut squash ravioli. Not only do I love this dish, but it was what I had for dinner at our wedding, so it made it extra special.
This ravioli also had a brown butter sauce (not the most healthy of options) with a drizzle of cream and two leaves of sage with butternut squash on top.
Kevin opted for the Eggplant Parmesan with pasta, which he said was delicious.
We also had dessert. I had the summit chocolate cake and Kevin had the flourless chocolate cake, which we both finished before I had the chance to take a photo, but it was both beautiful and delicious.
It was a wonderful night, that my hubby had arranged and surprised me with and I was so thankful we had the chance to enjoy dinner and connect with each other.
What is your idea of the perfect date night. Leave your comments below.
If you have visited Mousekatots.com before, thank you for coming back, or if you have read the bio in the back of “Mousekatots,” available through Theme Park Press, you will know that other than my family and Disney, other obsessions include “Murder She Wrote” and vintage camping trailers.
Another obsession that I really don’t talk about that often, but I am sure many can identify with is, HGTV (AKA Home and Garden TV AKA the shrine to Chip and Joanna Gaines.)
If the television is on it is most likely tuned to channel 229, (on Direct TV) HGTV. Even if I am watching something on the DVR, it is still on channel 229.
If they monitor what we watch at the satellite company or Nelson ratings, they must think that I flip houses constantly. (One can dream, right?)
But, this is where things can get dangerous/expensive.
I am convinced that the right “fixer upper” is out there for our family and I just need to find it.
We are steadily out growing (truth be told have outgrown) our starter house. What was the perfect size for two adults and two cats now feels like one of those PODS you can get to store all your extra junk, thanks to the toddler.
I am convinced that I can find this perfect home, in the perfect neighborhood that just needs a little TLC.
While you are thinking, “Tara, that doesn’t sound too crazy. That seems like a frugal and sensible way of getting a bigger home for maybe less money.”
Well, in here lies the problem: I am convinced I can do all the remodeling myself.
“Gee. This house would be great if it had an open floor plan from the kitchen to the family room. No problem! I can just knock down this wall, I’m sure it isn’t load bearing.”
“Hmmmmm….I wonder if this carpeting has the original hardwood underneath of it. No matter, I will just rip it up with my bare hands and find out. If it is there, I alone, can refinish it because I know all about that thanks to ‘Flip or Flop.'”
I also think every kitchen needs a farmhouse sink, some room must have a reclaimed wood feature and I am obsessively looking up the comps of the neighborhood.
Every time I tell my poor family, “This is it. I am done looking, I will just wait awhile and take a break.” I am turning around sending a link to a new house or bugging my poor husband with links over Facebook messenger with “this is THE house.”
Usually, things end up falling apart, but someday I swear that I will eventually have my dream home, even if I have to build it myself!
In our house, Halloween is a pretty big deal. We love to decorate with pumpkins, black cats and ghosts, enjoy all the pumpkin spice everywhere has to offer and trying our hand at corn mazes.
Another great family activity is watching Halloween Movies together. I’m not talking “Freddy Vs. Jason” or “Poltergeist,” but ones that are more silly and just slightly spooky.
Here are my tot five family Halloween movies.
1. “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
This is hands down, my favorite Halloween movie.
Every year it is always on ABC at least once and it always makes it feel like Halloween.
The timeless story follows Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the gang as they spend the holiday in their own special ways, which includes Linus hanging out in the most sincere pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin with Sally, Charlie Brown trick-or-treating and receiving nothing but rocks, and Snoopy’s attacks as the World War One Flying Ace.
2. “Spookly the Square Pumpkin”
Based on the children’s book of the same name, the film tells the story of a pumpkin that was of a different shape who wanted to be like everyone else.
Later when something happens, Spookly calls on his unique shape to save the day.
This is a wonderful story about loving who you are and using your unique abilities to help others.
3. “Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated”
While this isn’t a movie, but a series, the new incarnation of Scooby-Doo is really great. It is entertaining and even funny for parents. There is an underlying story that flows through all the episodes about a “Mister E” and what happened to the former Mystery Incorporated. Plus, the episodes feature all your favorite characters that you grew up watching.
The “monsters” and setting make this a perfect fit for Halloween season viewing.
4. “Hotel Transylvania”
I wasn’t sure how much I would like this movie, but it really made me laugh a lot.
The story is one that parents and children will like about a stranger that falls in love with a girl who in turn wants to go out and explore the world, but her father wants to keep her safe at his castle.
It features lots of different famous movie monsters and like I said lots of laughs. It is lighter on the scary and more on the laughs.
This classic from when I was growing up has become a cult hit over the past few years.
This film tells the story of a girl who finds out that she is a witch, a secret her mother has been keeping from her. She ends up following her grandmother to Halloweentown where it is always Halloween.
Do you have a favorite Halloween film that you and your family watch each year? Leave a comment below.
Lily has liked most of them, but none have quite hit a home run like the Elephant and Piggie series from Mo Williams.
The series contains 25 books that cover a variety of subjects that children can relate to including being invited to a party, jealousy when there is a new friend, naptime and more.
Elephant, AKA Gerald, takes life seriously and seems to always have a plan. He becomes easily rattled, but has his best friend there to help him see the bright side of life.
Piggie is always ready for adventure and loves surprising her best friend Gerald. She is very sensitive to his needs and often times helps him achieves his goals.
The books are easy to read and only a few words are on each page and are shown inside of a speech bubble.
The stories always feature some sort of issue that the two friends must overcome and teaches kids good problem solving skills.
But, the biggest reason why we like them is because the books are funny and super sweet. Every time we read one, Lily is laughing out loud and can’t wait to read the next one.
A lot of libraries seem to have a pretty good collection of the books because a few have been awarded a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award for being a most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English.
If you do a search on YouTube, there are different animated tellings of the books and there is also a musical that is currently touring.
Have you read any of the Elephant and Piggie books? If so, what is your favorite?