Ecuador Equator – What You’ll See At The Mitad Del Mundo

On a recent business trip to Ecuador I made time to visit the Mitad Del Mundo Ecuador Equator.

When I’m on business trips I usually have zero time for sightseeing, but when I have a few hours free I like to see the local famous monuments & sights.

In Ecuador a huge draw is the Mitad Del Mundo – aka “Half The World” – on the equator separating the northern & southern hemispheres.

The Ecuador Equator is home to the Mitad Del Mundo - aka "Half The World". Here are recent photos from the Mitad Del Mundo Ecuador Equator, so you know what to expect to see at the Ecuador Equator. #equator #traveldestinations #ecuador #traveldad #travelingdad

I got there just before sunset, so had to quickly have a look around & take some pictures before the sun set.

Here are a few pictures from the Ecuador Equator to give you an idea of what you’ll see there.

Ecuador Equator – Mitad Del Mundo

This is a popular picture on the Ecuador Equator right in front of the Mitad Del Mundo Monument.

ecuador mitad del mundo

Up close in front of the Mitad Del Mundo.

mitad del mundo 

In case you weren’t convinced, they want to make sure you know this really is the Ecuador Equator.

equator ecuador

The Mitad Del Mundo monument and the surrounding park – all very nicely kept.

ecuador equator

Yes another obligatory picture straddling the northern & southern hemispheres.

mitad del mundo ecuador

 

Heading out after the visit. Until next time.

 mitad del mundo equator ecuador

Do you have questions about the Mitad Del Mundo?

Leave a comment below & let me know.

Pictures of Greenland

Even though I’ve been to 68 countries, these pictures of Greenland are unlike anything I’ve seen before.

greenland in pictures

If you ever fly from London to Seattle, your route will probably take you over Greenland.

My wife recently took this flight while I stayed in London with the kids.

These aerial pictures of Greenland were taken from her Virgin Atlantic flight.

greenland

Approaching the coast of Greenland.

No beach towns here!

pictures of greenland

These frozen rivers and glaciers are fantastic.

The pictures were taken in June, so there’s a lot of melting happening.

greenland pictures

You can just make out a lake in the middle of these mountains and frozen rivers.

greenland in pictures

These glaciers remind me of our trip to Patagonia.

More about that trip coming soon!

This is more of what I expected Greenland to look like – white & snow.

It’s impossible to tell where the clouds end & the snow begins.

greenland in pictures

Who know pictures of Greenland from the air could be so interesting?

You can learn more about Greenland here.

My New Travel Plan For Better Omega-3s

This post is sponsored by iWi but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

As a business traveler, I am constantly on the go.

I have been in Miami, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Mexico & Brazil – just in the last 2 weeks!

With all this travel, it’s not always easy to stay healthy – airport fast food & dinner meetings don’t help.

I never eat fish anymore, so my wife worries about my Omega-3 levels.

She says better Omega 3s are important for my health because they prevent heart disease, stroke, cancers & all sorts of other terrible things.

Basically Omega-3s are important in keeping us healthy as we age.

When I think of Omega-3s I think of fish, but she told me I actually don’t have to eat fish at all now that there’s an easy way to get better Omega-3s.

All I need is this.

best omega3

Sounds good to me!

Better Omega-3s

I had no idea that it the FISH were NOT the source of the Omega-3s.

Omega-3s actually come from the algae eaten by the fish.

So, do we have to eat the fish to get the benefits of the Omega-3?

Nope. We can skip the fish & go right to the source thanks to iWi.

iWi offers the highest bioavailability in the Omega3 market (higher than fish and Krill…) source of Omega-3.

They have full traceability and control of the product.

omega3

AND they were born in the USA.

They use the sun as our main source of energy and are 100% Sustainable & Scalable.

iWi has 150 acres in production – that’s equal to 45,000 acres of peas in terms of production of essential amino acids.

They use non-arable land & brackish water.

Best of all they are socially sustainable because they create jobs in rural areas.

So there you go – an excellent way to get better Omega-3s into your diet even with the busiest schedule.

sams club

You can find the product at your local Sam’s Club – just look for a Freeosk!

omega 3

What do you do for a balanced, healthy lifestyle while you’re on the go?

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Havana Cuba – Everything You Need To Know

Looking to visit Havana Cuba?

Last year we traveled to Havana without doing much research ahead of time.

What a mistake!

When you think of Havana, you might only thing of retro cars and live music.

But visiting Cuba can be a culture shock.

Even though it’s only 106 miles from the US Coast, basic places & products we take for granted are impossible to find.

Why?

There are no supermarkets or pharmacies!

It’s safe to assume that if you don’t bring it, you won’t be able to get it.

Changing money isn’t easy either & it’s difficult to find internet access.

Before you travel to Havana Cuba, here is everything you need to know.

 

Havana Cuba - everything you need to know before you travel on vacation. Last year we traveled to Havana Cuba without doing much research ahead of time. What a mistake! Visiting Havana Cuba can be a culture shock. Basic places & products we take for granted are impossible to find. Before you travel to Havana Cuba, here is EVERYTHING you need to know.

Havana Cuba – Everything You Need To Know

Looking for something that isn’t here?

Leave a comment below & let me know what questions you have about Cuba & I’ll find answers for you.

Pictures of Havana Cuba

havana cuba pictures of cuba today

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Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami

Last week I had meetings in Miami & stayed at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami.

When traveling with work, I rarely get a chance to get outside during the day.

Luckily I’m solar-powered & my eyes pop open at dawn everyday.

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to walk around an empty city at sunrise.

It’s the best way to take in a city at my own pace, before the hectic workday begins.

I clear my head, get in some exercise & discover a new city, all at once.

We live about an hour away from Miami, so I rarely visit – probably only once or twice a year when friends are visiting.

Here are my pictures of the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami pool and room & nearby Brickell neighborhood.

Quiet morning walk around the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami Pool

 

Sun coming up at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami Pool

 

Outside view of the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami

 

View from my balcony at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami

 

Brickell neighborhood of Miami Florida

 

My suite at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami (checkout that view!)

 

Another view from my Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami suite.

 

Time for breakfast! Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami Brunch & Decor

 

Sun going down on Brickell

 

Brickell Miami photo at night.

 

A final fantastic view of Brickell in Miami Florida

 

Halloween Treat Ideas For School

 

Halloween is coming & who doesn’t love Halloween treat ideas for school lunch boxes??

My girls are still little, so I can’t go as SPOOKY as I would like.

Here’s a quick & easy lunch box or after school treat that is super easy to make.

It will make any dad look like a rock star.

I love that making it gives my girls the opinion of a healthy AND delicious treat.

Halloween Treat Ideas For School

Halloween Treat Ideas For School

I got this idea as I was headed to Target and saw that Babybel were on sale & all dressed up in their Halloween costumes!

Halloween Food Treat Ideas For School Snacks

Babybel is a MUST for my family & we always fight over the last one.

We love that they are 100% cheese & full of calcium and protein – just what growing kids need.

This quick lunch or after school snack doesn’t make much prep.

Here’s what you need:

  • Your choice of Babybel (I picked up both the original & light because both taste fantastic!)
  • Bagels – we had leftover pumpkin bagels and decided to use those for this recipe

Halloween Treat Ideas For School

All you do is spray your waffle maker, slice your bagel and use 2 of Babybel’s of your choice and place them on one bagel slice and cover and cover for 3-5 minutes (depending on your waffle maker)

Halloween Treat Ideas For School

Once you are done open and slice and pack your kids’ lunch! I took an orange and made it into a pumpkin. (I used an edible inked marker even though the orange will be peeled.)

Halloween Treat Ideas For School

To make the napkin ghost I just used a piece of washi tape and packed it in the lunch box. So easy to make!

You could also add additional fruit or cold cuts when making the Waffled Babybel sandwich for your older children or yourself.

This makes a great weekend breakfast or Halloween lunch too.

Healthy Halloween Treats

Of course Halloween Babybels also make great treats on their own.

My kids love this delicious healthy treat anytime they want a snack.

How do you enjoy your Babybel?

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Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It?

Recently we stayed at the Legoland Florida Hotel, which is immediately next to the Legoland Florida theme park.

If you’re wondering whether it was worth the cost to stay at the Legoland Florida Hotel, keep reading!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It?

Not only did we take the kids to Legoland… we took the grandparents too!

Legoland is not only a fun theme park for the whole family, but it’s much less crowded than many of the other major theme parks, making it a better overall experience!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

The Price Is Right

Believe it or not, the Legoland Florida Hotel is much less expensive than you might imagine.

We’ve looked many times into stay on property for other theme parks, but usually the cost is astronomical. Not so for Legoland Florida!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

And, if you get the Awesomer or Awesomest annual passes (also very reasonably priced – especially if you’re Florida residents like we are), you get a 10% DISCOUNT on your hotel stay too.

Location Location Location

Staying on property gives everyone the flexibility to enjoy the day.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

We like the idea of being able to go back & have a nap in the middle of the day… With grandparents & toddlers this can make or break the day.

Luckily our toddler managed to completely knock out in the stroller.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

 

Staying on property means we can enjoy the theme park even from our room!

We could see some of the rides & caught a huge fireworks show just before bedtime.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

Early Admission After Breakfast

Staying in the hotel comes with a full buffet breakfast and early admission to the park.

 

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

We get up EARLY with kids, so we definitely used this perk.

More Entertainment Inside!

The kids were obsessed with the Lego decor & activities inside the hotel lobby: bricks, bricks, bricks!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

I can’t believe we managed to get out of the hotel without taking any pictures of the rooms!

There was a treasure hunt inside the room with free lego toys for the kids to build & keep.

Plus, the bunk beds & kids lego movies playing in the room – it’s heaven for the kids & the adults.

Since we bought the annual passes, we will just have to go back again to get you those pictures – stay tuned!

7 Things NOT To Do When Visiting Havana Cuba

Planning a trip to Havana Cuba?

Wondering if it’s really possible to travel there from the USA?

At the beginning of this year my wife & I took a kid-free trip to Havana Cuba (thank you grandparents).

Below is what we learned during our time in Havana Cuba – specifically what NOT to do.

When you’re done with this, here is everything you need to know about Havana Cuba including:

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

You might be wondering HOW we were able to visit Havana Cuba from the USA.

Obama created 12 legal reasons US citizens can travel to Cuba.

Many of them are very abstract, such as “support for the Cuban people” (not sure how long these rules will apply under Trump.)

You just have to pick one and fill a form for the airline, but that’s it.

When you come back they may or may not ask in the airport where you just came from.

As bloggers, my wife & I simply visited as journalists.

We bought this travel guide & you want to buy it ahead of time (there are NO STORES there – more about that below).

This map is a life-saver too. 

You can view all our trip pictures are here: Havana Cuba pictures.

What NOT To Do When Visiting Havana Cuba

It’s easy enough to get there, but what we found when we arrived was TOTALLY different than we expected.

Here are 7 things you should NOT do when you visit Havana Cuba.

Don’t Check Your Luggage

I highly recommend NOT checking your luggage.

Why?

Our luggage didn’t arrive on our plane…

It arrived 36 hours later!

This is a BIG deal in Havana Cuba because there are NO shops – NONE.

Want to buy toothpaste? Sorry.

Forgot your deodorant? Too bad.

If you must check your luggage, at least pack a few toiletries & change of clothes in a backpack…

Whatever you can’t survive the trip without should be in your carryon.

Bring basics like these handiwipes and tissue packs.

You will thank me later!

Don’t Take Where You Stay For Granted

We stayed in an Airbnb in Havana Cuba – and Airbnb didn’t let us down at all.

They were fantastic actually.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

Here’s a picture of our street.

The reality of life in Cuba means you might need a little extra support & our Airbnb host gave us a cell phone to use to contact him during our stay.

Now, he wasn’t able to help us with the missing toothpaste or deodorant, but I’m sure he would have if they actually had stores.

Don’t Forget –  You’re In A Communist Country

The propaganda was ridiculous.

In a beautiful square they played COPS-style videos to the crowds.

Related: Travel Photo Album – Havana Cuba Pictures

Meanwhile, the public infrastructure has been sadly neglected leading to falling down buildings & insufficient sanitation.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

Some buildings being held up by sticks while families still live in them (notice the laundry!).

Others collapsing completely.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

How beautiful these buildings would be if they’d been properly maintained.

Here’s hoping one day they will be restored to their full glory.

Don’t Assume There Are Stores

OK I know I told you earlier that there are NO stores in Havana Cuba.

Actually, we saw 1 store.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

This is a picture of their version of a CVS pharmacy.

This strange shop (likely owned & operated by the Cuban government) had no essentials.

If you forget to pack your toothpaste, you’ll have to find someone willing to share (lucky for us, the family staying in the other room of our apartment had some to spare!).

There is no CSV or Walgreens or Cuban version of a convenience store.

The locals have to wait for their rations, so they don’t have any left to sell or share with you.

Don’t Skip A Classic Cars Tour

It’s a fun way to see Havana Cuba & if your driver/tour guide is half as friendly as ours, you’ll be all set.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

You can book them for short or long tours & have them drop you off somewhere convenient for you.

Don’t Pass Up A Drink In Each Famous Bar

Yes, they’re packed full of tourists, but they’re also full of great music & serious bartending.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

La Bodeguita Del Medio – Havana, Cuba

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.
 
 
The show & the prize!
 
Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.
 

El Floridita – Havana, Cuba

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

 

Crowds again, but so worth it!

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

This seems to be the motto of the people in Havana Cuba.

One good thing about visiting a communist country is that there is virtually no crime, so we felt very safe walking everywhere at night.

It’s a massive cultural shock to American consumers used to having “stuff”.

But WOW were we impressed with the resilient Cuban spirit.

More About Cuba

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Havana Cuba Pictures

Looking for recent Havana Cuba pictures?

I went to Havana Cuba in 2017 and all of the pictures below are from that trip.

Looking for Havana Cuba pictures? These are my unfiltered Havana Cuba pictures & travel photos from a trip to Cuba in 2017. Havana Cuba pictures show classic cars, military demonstrations, tanks, guns, architecture, and daily Cuban life in the streets.

Havana is just 106 miles from Key West in the USA, but it feels like suddenly we’ve gone back in time.

Some things I expected to see – like the beautiful classic cars & building that have been perfectly maintained.

Other views are less stunning – like crumbling buildings & dirty city streets.

There is a constant pull between feelings of nostalgia & realization of oppression.

The purposeful & visible government displays of weapons & tanks are a jarring reminder that a communist government still controls its people.

It’s hard to say whether it’s despite of all of this or because of all of this, but the Cuban people have a quiet strength & pride that rises above the oppression.

As a tourist in Havana Cuba, don’t let the pictures fool you.

There are things you need to know before visiting Cuba.

Such as, when our luggage didn’t arrive on the plane, we were 100% unable to buy basic necessities like deodorant & toothpaste because there are NO STORES!

Hint: don’t check your luggage when traveling to Cuba.

Here’s more about my trip to Havana Cuba in 2017.

Despite all of this, the people of Cuba are resilient & optimistic.

Havana Cuba Pictures

Havana, Cuba

 

Just click on the album above to see nearly 100 Havana Cuba pictures.

What else did I learn during my visit to Cuba?

Here are 7 things NOT to do when visiting Cuba.

Top 5 Zoo Miami Birthday Party Memories

When our littlest turned two we celebrated with a day at Zoo Miami.

We invited family friends to spend the day with us visiting all the animals & attractions at Zoo Miami & here are our Top 5 favorite memories of the day.

zoo miami

Top 5 Zoo Miami Birthday Party Memories

Zoo Miami is pretty spread out, but you can rent Safari Cycles to get around with.

They were a HUGE HIT with both the kids & the adults.

Walking through the zoo with all the kids & all our stuff would definitely wear us all out, but having these cycles made the day even more fun.

The kids happily got into the cycles & loved sitting next to each other while we rode through the zoo.

The cycles come in 2 different sizes: small accommodates up to 3 adults and 2 small children & large holds up to 6 adults and 2 small children.

Just make sure you grab your cycle early before they sell out for the day!

 

miami zoo prices

The animal are the star of the show at Zoo Miami.

They all look comfortable & well cared for.

The kids were VERY excited to see what was around each & every corner.

 

miami zoo animals

 

We had no idea we could actually FEED the animals at Zoo Miami until we spotted the giraffes.

You’ll get lots of great shots of your little ones up close encounter with the zoo animals!

They have lots of antibacterial hand wash at the exhibit too!

 

miami zoo attractions

 

And just when we thought feeding the giraffes was the highlight of our day, we spied the rhino!

I won’t lie – it was pretty awesome to be so close to such a big rhino.

 

zoo miami animals

We capped off the day with a few rides around the carousel.

The kids couldn’t be happier with this day out & despite the heat (in October!), it was an awesome birthday.

zoo miami attractions

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Fresh Pasta Recipes: How To Make

Fresh Pasta Recipes: How To Make

In Italy, eating fresh pasta is a true pleasure! People stop to enjoy the experience of a meal, from the cooking to the tasting.

Fresh pasta: looking for fresh pasta recipes? This homemade fresh pasta dough is so easy! With sauce or without sauce, fresh pasta makes delicious dishes! Storing fresh pasta is so easy too! http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/fresh-pasta-recipes-how-to-make

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Fresh Pasta

Without sounding completely cliché, I love pasta!

Although pasta is considered a main dish to us in the US, in Italy you’ll see it as a Primo, or “first course”.

Any country where its socially acceptable to follow a plate of pasta with a main course dish is definitely in my top three!

Making pasta from scratch is not only easy, but fun too.

It’s a great activity to do with your entire family on Sundays, then sit down to enjoy it together.

fresh-pasta-how-to-make

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups flour

 

Directions

Make a pile of flour on your clean countertop.

I suggest cleaning with vinegar since its natural and doesn’t involve chemicals.

Make a hole in the middle of the pile with your fingers and add your egg mixture.

fresh-pasta-recipes

Use your hands to knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes.

At this time, take the dough and cut in three pieces.

Make three balls and wrap them in saran wrap.

fresh-pasta-dough

Let them sit for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove the three balls from the saran wrap.

Using a pasta machine, roll dough out to desired thinness by gradually increasing the level on the roller.

fresh-pasta-drying

Use machine or knife to cut into strips of desired width.

Repeat this with all three balls of dough.

Lay out the cut pasta on floured trays.

Cook in boiling water (salt optional) for about 3-5 minutes.

Strain and toss in your favorite sauce.

Made too much? Storing fresh pasta is easy! Just take the cut pasta, toss it into a ziplock & freeze.

Then when you’re ready, remove from freezer & cook as usual!

Andiamo a mangiare!



10 Disney World Tips For Parents – The Perfect Day

We’ve been to Disney World with toddlers four times now, and these are our 10 best Disney World tips 2018 for parents.

We wish we knew these Disney World tips the first time around.

Honestly, we’re still figuring out how everything works.

But these are the Disney World tips you need to know to have the perfect day with your kids.

disney world tips and secrets

Click here to save this post now, so you can find it easily later!

10 Disney World Tips For The Perfect Day With Kids

If you’re bringing older kids to Disney World, you have much more flexibility.

These Disney World tips are meant for parents bringing toddlers and little ones.

Why?

Disney World really is the happiest place on Earth if you know these simple, insider tips!

1. Arrive Early

I don’t mean 9:00am or 10:00am early – I mean a few minutes BEFORE the park opens.

We only just figured out how important this is.

Not that our kids are a little older (ages 3 & 7) it’s finally easier to get up & out the door early.

In the past, we arrived around 10:00am or 11:00am, and here is what you can expect if you arrive at that time.

This makes a massive difference in your entire day – especially when going to Disney’s Magic Kingdom which takes extra effort to from the parking lot.

We breezed through security and straight onto the monorail – zero lines!

We arrived at Magic Kingdom & the park was nearly empty – zero lines!

While everyone else is stuck queueing up for the monorail, you have 1-2 hours of prime Disney World time.

2. Pre-Book Early Fast Passes

As soon as you buy your tickets, you’ll want to create & link your tickets on the Disney World website.

Then select 3 FastPasses, meaning you can skip the long line & get in the fast lane.

BUT, the real tip here is to select 3 MORNING FastPass tickets.

 

You want to use up your FastPasses as early in the day as possible.

Why?

Once you finish your 3 pre-booked FastPasses, you can keep rebooking FastPasses one at a time.

All. Day. Long.

You first have to finish your 3 initial FastPasses before you can start rebooking.

Make sure you don’t have a FastPass scheduled for later in the day or that’s it – you’ll be waiting in line all day for everything else.

Worst of all, don’t wait until the last minute to make your FastPass reservations.

Otherwise, there will be nothing left.

3. Keep Booking FastPass Tickets

This is the SECRET SAUCE to your magical day & a trick so many Disney World visitors don’t seem to know about yet.

Once you use up your 3 pre-booked FastPasses you can keep rebooking your FastPass one at a time.

Until recently, you had to walk around the park & then queue up for a FastPass Kiosk to rebook.

While these kiosks are still around, you can now book fast passes directly from your smart phone!

Literally, as soon as we enter a FastPass line, one of us is on the phone booking the next FastPass ride.

If the next ride is farther away or we have time to spare in between rides, we will line up to do something with a shorter wait time in between.

So, how do you book these FastPasses & check the most up-to-date wait times?

See #4 below – download the app!

4. Download the App

It’s 100% worth taking a minute to download the Disney app on your phone before going to Disney World.

Not only can you keep track of the FastPass tickets that you pre-booked (#2 above), you can book your next FastPass tickets directly from your phone too (#3 above).

You’ll get interactive park maps, and up-t0-date wait times on all the rides & attractions.

We still love using the Disney World paper maps, but the app is the perfect way to plan your day.

5. What To Do When You Need Break

You can & should be having breaks throughout the day – it will save your sanity.

There are plenty of easy ways to work this into your schedule… go to the shows!

Orlando is hot – shows offer air conditioning.

You’ll be on your feet most of the day – shows offer comfy seats.

If you time it right, you can eat & watch the parades go by.

There are SO MANY SHOWS.

6. Rider Swap

With a toddler and an older child, there will be rides your toddler won’t be tall enough to ride.

The first few times we went to Disney World, we thought one adult would have to sit out on every ride so the other adult could take the older child.

Yes & no.

Disney World makes it easy for adults to take turns riding while someone stays to watch the younger kid.

Here’s how you do it.

When the first adult goes to ride with the older child, have them tell the ride worker that you would like a Rider Swap.

This frees up the second adult to take the younger kid on a smaller ride.

 

Disney World Tips rider swap

Once the adult & older kid return, just take the Rider Swap pass back to the entrance.

The other adult can go right in again… and the older kid can ride again!

The Rider Swap option is a fantastic option for parents.

You can learn more about Rider Swap here.

7. Take Your Own Photos

If you’re on a “no expenses spared” trip to Disney World, I totally get that.

But you don’t have to spend $199 on the Disney Photo Pass if you don’t want to.

Whenever your kids are taking pictures with characters in the park, Disney World very kindly allows you to take your own photos too.

Disney World photo pass

They will step aside give you a chance to quickly take a few of your own pictures.

It’s a great way to capture the moment without spending a fortune.

And they’re really nice about it, so you don’t feel like a cheapskate. 

8. Dining In the Park – Pros & Cons

Here are my best Disney World tips about dining inside the park so far.

Believe it or not, there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to dining in Disney World.

Some restaurants are first-come, first-serve while others require reservations and get fully booked in advance. 

We’ve eaten in Liberty Tree Tavern & Mama Melrose’s with a reservation and Harbour House without reservations. 

Disney World restaurants

This past visit we booked a table at the Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace to have the character dining experience.

There was plenty of choice in the Crystal Palace buffet, and the kids loved having Winnie The Pooh and friends visit our table during the meal.

 

 

We’ve found only two possible problems with dining in Disney World:

  1. The price – make sure you review the menu before you book, so you realize what you will be spending.
  2. The commitment – you can cancel up until 24 hours ahead of time without a penalty, but if you cancel on the day they will charge you per person.

We ended up leaving the park one day & returning a few hours later for our dinner reservations because the weather was bad & the kids were tired.

Upside: you won’t need to pay for parking again & the park at night is a totally different place!

9. Bringing Your Stroller – Pros & Cons

If you have kids under 7 years old, a stroller in Disney World is a must-have.

You have a few options here.

1. Bring your current stroller. This is ONLY an option if you have a stroller that is BOTH very compact and easy to quickly collapse! There are a few times during the day that you will have to quickly break that stroller down in order to keep moving.

2. Rent a stroller in Disney World. This is a nice option if you want to rent a double stroller or avoid the hassle of dragging a stroller on & off the tram just to get into the park. The downside of course is the price – you will have to rent for each day you are in the park.

3. Bring an umbrella stroller. These are designed to break down fast & have a low profile.

Disney World stroller

For the price of just one day stroller rental in Disney World you can buy an umbrella stroller to use for your entire visit & then bring home!

10. Bring Your Own Water & Snacks

After a long day at Disney World we returned to our hotel & another dad asked me in the elevator how our day was because he was bringing his kids the next day for their first visit.

I told him to bring lots of water & he was shocked that we could bring our own into the park!

YES, Disney World allows you to bring your own water & snacks with you.

We always bring 2 bags – one packed with water & snacks that we can leave tied to the stroller using this clip (it doesn’t lock, but the clip just adds a little security – although the park always feels VERY safe).

The second bag is small & contains just a few valuables for the day – cash, phone, camera, etc.

We didn’t worry about the price of eating nice dinners in Disney World, because we bought a grand total of ZERO water bottles during the day.

We splurged on a few Mickey Mouse ice cream treats, but how can you not!

More Disney World Tips

Get more Disney World tips from Traveling Dads here:

3 Back To School Chores For Kids They’ll Enjoy

This post is sponsored by The Libman Company but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Our kids went back to school this week & with it comes the routine.

Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean the kids are completely off the hook with chores.

Here are a few chores for kids that our kids actually love to help with.

3 Back To School Chores For Kids

Between homework & extracurriculars, there isn’t much time for chores for kids in our house during the week.

The trick is to get them to enjoy the chore, so they don’t realize they’re doing chores.

Then you get the chores done without having to listen to complaining or excuses.

Mopping Spills

If your kids don’t love to mop as much as ours, you don’t have this mop.

They have to take turns because they argue over who gets to mop spills from the floor.

chores for kids

It’s not just any mop – it’s this exact mop (and you can save $3 here when you signup for the newsletter).

Sometimes I swear they spill on purpose just so they can use the mop again.

 

Lunchbox Prep

Assigning lunchbox prep as one of the chores for kids is a HUGE win in our house for a few reasons.

Of course it’s a great chore for kids. 

And yes, then I just have to supervise.

But, they’re much more likely to EAT what’s in their lunchbox (without complaints later) if they put it together on their own.

Have the kids pick from a list of options you approve of & let them have at it.

chores for kids by age

As long as you have that Libman mop nearby, they’ll be able to cleanup the floor afterwards too!

Organization Games

Getting organized is one thing but STAYING organized is the real problem.

My wife & 3 year-old came up with this solution to the girls’ hair accessories by hanging a shoe organizer inside a closet door.

chores for kids by age

Once a week the kids play a tidying up game where they run around the house collecting rogue hair bands & put everything away again.

This is the only way we’re able to get the kids out the door on time during the week – because they know exactly where to find what they’re looking for.

What are the chores for kids in your house?

Leave a comment below & let us know.

El Chalten Patagonia: TOP 12 Sites For Tourists

My wife & I recently spent a few kid-free days hiking & trekking around incredible El Chalten Patagonia.

We read a lot about El Chalten before we visited, but getting there left us with an entirely different perspective.

Patagonia is even more amazing that I expected, and I definitely plan to visit again.

el chalten argentina

From secluded picnics in front of glaciers to watching glacier calving to trekking around Fitz Roy, El Chalten is an awe-inspiring place.

If you’re thinking of one day visiting El Chalten Patagonia, pin & save this post to keep it handy.

El Chalten Patagonia is even more amazing in person than you think it will be. We bought the guide books, but these TOP 12 El Chalten sites were more helpful for trekking & touring than the travel guides.

El Chalten Patagonia: TOP 12 Sites For Tourists

Before & after we visited El Chalten we traveled to other parts of Argentina.

This guide book for Argentina is fantastic as is this guide to Patagonia, but for El Chalten specifically we found the best tips always came from other travel bloggers.

Here are the top X resources I found useful for our recent trip to El Chalten Patagonia in Argetina:

These are the websites we found most helpful when we visited El Chalten.

I’ll do my part to update you soon with a few more posted related not only to El Chalten but to other parts of Patagonia & Argentina.

If there is something specific you want to know, just leave me a comment below.

Until my new posts are ready, here are a few more pictures from our trip.

 

el chalten trekking

Even the drive to El Chalten had fantastic views… and lots of guanaco (wild llamas).

A glacier & lake view for our picnic lunch.

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Niagara Falls Video

We were in nearby Buffalo for a wedding earlier this year & couldn’t miss a few trips over to Niagara Falls.

niagara-falls-videos

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Niagara Falls Video

It was September, which is a perfect time of year to visit Niagara Falls.

First we saw it from the USA side.

niagara falls video usa side niagara-falls-video

Then we had to get down into the falls.

And get closer still!


It’s a terrific view even as the boat leaves Niagara Falls!

A few days later we passed back by from the Niagara Falls Canada side.

This is one fantastic waterfall!

It was cool to watch the boats try to approach the falls!