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

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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:

Gifts For A Dad Who Wants Nothing | Father’s Day 2018

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

This year Father’s Day 2018 is extra special for me because it’s the beginning of the 2018 World Cup!

There will be 11 matches on Father’s Day weekend, including Brazil vs. Switzerland on Father’s Day itself.

And best of all, I’ll be with my dad this Father’s Day, so we will watch the matches together.

After decades of celebrating Father’s Day & exhausting every possible option, here are 3 suggested gifts for dad who wants nothing.

Gifts For A Dad Who Wants Nothing

Here are a couple of gifts for the dad who wants nothing – whether you’re together or far apart on Father’s Day.

And these gifts make it easy to remember to honor your dad – whether it’s Father’s Day or not.

1. Call During Events

When you’re thinking about him, call him.

When you’re watching a big game or race that you know he’s watching too, call him.

gifts for dad who wants nothing

In our house this weekend we watched Formula One and the French Open – both of these I started watching with my dad as a kid.

Whatever sports you watch now you probably started watching with your dad as a kid.

When the sports you watched with your dad are on TV, use that time as a quick check-in to talk to your dad.

2. Send Him Something Different

If your dad has gone through decades of Father’s Days like mine, there is very little left that he really needs, so Father’s Day is a fun time to give him something fun that he wouldn’t buy himself.

Michelob ULTRA has a great online shop now where you can find some different & fun gift ideas for dad.

gifts for dad who wants nothing fathers day

You can shop beer gear all day long with Michelob ULTRA, which is a fun twist on the classic Father’s Day tie, BBQ apron or cup.

3. Do Something He Enjoys

The World Cup starts this week & lasts for a month. 

Even better, I’ll have some time off work & will be able to watch the matches with my dad.

There will be dozens of matches & I already have World Cup FEVER.

gifts for dad who wants nothing father's day

I dug out my Brazil shirt this weekend to get ready for the biggest matches – Brazil’s matches!

I can not wait to spend the next month watching as much football as possible.

Whether or not you are into the World Cup doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you spend time with your dad, doing what he loves or something you grew up enjoying together.

Father’s Day is a reminder to give your dad a gift.

But, make it easy on yourself to give gifts for dad who wants nothing by building it into your regular routine.

Cheers Dad!

gift ideas fathers day 2018

What do you enjoy doing with your dad?

What will you do for your dad this Father’s Day?

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Spring Break Backyard Fun

 

Spring Break is just around the corner & we have a steady stream of friends & family coming to visit us.

That’s what happens when you live in South Florida – the Spring Break capital!

We spend Spring Break outside enjoying the warm Spring weather.

Here are a few activities to keep your kids busy in the backyard during Spring Break.

And always stock up on Kleenex Wet Wipes from Target to wipe up messes & sticky hands.

Because Kleenex Wet Wipes are free from dyes, alcohol, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates we feel comfortable in using them for the kids.

To make things easier they have made the packing in 3 different colors to remember their specialty.

Blue is for gentle cleaning.

Orange is for germ removal.

Green is for sensitive cleansing.

They came in handy even BEFORE we left the Target parking lot.

Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Now we’re ready for Spring Break fun.

Show Me Your Imagination

Nothing is more fun than seeing a child using their imagination.

Have them grab some sidewalk chalk and draw in some props, a background, whatever they can think of and join in!

Cleanup is simple with Kleenex Wet Wipes for Germ Removal to clean up those little dirty hands & faces after a wonderful afternoon of creating adventures on the sidewalk.

Feast Outside

Spring Break is the perfect time to plan a picnic.

To make the picnic that more fun have them help you with the prep work and have your kids help pick what they want to eat.

They could even help making sandwiches and packing some snacks.

We kept it simple after an afternoon of swimming – pasta!

Those Kleenex Wet Wipes are perfect both before & after eating.

They are gentle enough to clean up kids hands and faces.

Feed The Wildlife

We love feeding our local ducks & birds.

The fun actually starts by making the ducks a special treat that’s super easy to make with the kids.

All you need is:

2 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats
1 cup brown rice
1 bag frozen assorted vegetables (peas, corn, carrots and green beans)

Mix it together, grab your Kleenex Wet Wipes & you’re ready to go!

What are your plans for Spring Break?

Leave a comment below & share.

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12 Epic & Easy Game Day Food Ideas & Snacks

Game day will be here before we know it, and if we’re all honest, isn’t game day FOOD one of the best things about the day?

Yes it’s an excuse to indulge in  snacks & treats that we never normally eat, but isn’t that what the big day is for, really?

This isn’t something you want to leave to chance, or you’ll be stuck with only celery sticks & popcorn – nice & all but not the main attraction.

No!!!!!

Game day food should be exciting & rewarding, so the food will be satisfying no matter whether the game is or not.

I’ve already started dreaming about the game day food we HAVE to have this year, so I’ve started a list of favorite game day food ideas & snacks.

Here are the top 12 EPIC yet EASY game day food ideas & snacks.

Let me know if you agree or if there’s something I’ve missed, so I can add it to the collection!

Crispy Chicken Strips

If you’re wondering how crispy chicken strips can be called “easy”, don’t worry – Tyson has us covered!

With a quick trip to my local Walmart, I load up on fantastic tasting Tyson® Crispy Chicken Strips that can be cooked in the oven & ready piping hot for game day.

Cripy chicken could NOT be any easier.

Your family will love this game day snack as much as mine does.

To make it even EASIER on you, here’s what you should look for.

This Slow Cooker Queso Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything looks amazing & perfectly simple to make.


If you don’t have a slow cooker, it can be done on the stove instead.

It’s literally just combining all the ingredients & cooking on low for a few hours – winner!

These delicious potato skins from Brown Eyed Baker are mandatory game day food.

Don’t be scared of making these – with just 15 minutes of prep time, these are a crowd favorite.

Sloppy joe’s are my wife’s nostalgic favorite, and these sloppy joe sliders from Jenn’s Bliss don’t disappoint.

Prepare dozens of sliders all at once in a baking dish – genius!

These sheet pan nachos from Damn Delicious take loaded nachos to a whole new level.

This is perfect game day food if you plan to feed more than 4 people.

To make things even easier on yourself, cook the meat the day before – it will taste even better!

With just 10 minutes of prep time, these 4-ingredient jalepeno poppers from Inspired Taste are a quick win for spice lovers.

These can also be completely prepared a day ahead & then cooked in the oven a few minutes before you’re ready to eat.

If your cravings aren’t in overdrive yet, we’re only halfway through the list.

Next we have another winner that takes only 15 minutes of prep – this hot Italian sub sandwich from Lemons for Lulu.

Don’t let the long list of ingredients worry you – if you don’t have one of two of the ingredient, you can always substitute or omit items to your own taste.

Hardcore Texas chili lovers will argue that chili can not be prepped in just 20 minutes, but just don’t tell them this easy Texas chili recipe from Genius Kitchen only took you 20 minutes!

I think chili tastes even better when it’s reheated a day or two later, so this can & should be prepared ahead of game day.

Once you have your chili ready, make sure you have fixings to make chili dogs as well.

This chili dog recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef shows you everything needed for the perfect chili dog.

With only 5 minutes of prep time needed, chili dogs couldn’t be easier – or tastier.

Ordering pizza during game day is risky since it’s such a popular idea, but this pepperoni pizza dip from Belle of the Kitchen will satisfy those pizza cravings.

If you want people to think you’re a genius in the kitchen, this insanely good artichoke dip from Live Craft Eat takes an entire 5 minutes to prepare – yes, I said 5 minutes!!!

With just 15 minutes of prep time, these chicken taquitos from Two Peas & Their Pod are as delicious as they are colorful.

Anything that can be topped with guacamole, sour cream, or salsa is a winner in our house.

What do you think? Are these recipes easier to prepare than you first though? Which will you make on your next game day?

If I’ve missed any of your easy favorites, let me know in your comment below.

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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