If I had to use only one word to describe this past week, I’d have to use “Disney”. For the last week our entire lives have been focused on Disney and birthdays. Check out a quick recap of my Disneyfied week with the #DisneyKids Preschool Play Date and hosted #TMOMDisney retreat.
#DisneyKids Preschool Play Date
We kicked off our Disney week with a #DisneyKids preschool play date party last Tuesday. Disney Parks invited me to throw a Disney themed play date in exchange for blog and social media shares. It was perfect timing for two reasons: 1. the playdate could double as a birthday party for my boys and 2. it was a great send off for our trip to Disney World.
Instead of going all out and making the play date an official party, I kept it simple as a play date. We will celebrate the boys’ birthdays this upcoming weekend with family. It was really nice to just hang out with friends instead of stretching ourselves too thin between entertaining friends and family at a birthday party.
Get all the details on this super fun party here.
This was my first year to attend the Traveling Mom writer’s retreat in Disney World. The Traveling Mom writers get together every year for team building and professional development. It was an amazing opportunity for me to get to know some of the best family travel writers in the industry. I’m still in awe that I’m able to call travel writing a career. I’m extremely grateful to Traveling Mom for all the professional development.
We started off our visit to Disney by checking into the Wyndham Garden in Disney Springs. Get ready for a super informative post about the Wyndham coming up soon. I loved our stay there so much that I’ve already booked another room for our next Disney visit. Y’all- the rates and service are that good.
The pool and other amenities are the icing on the cake.
The quick walk to Disney Springs is what makes this hotel so unique. You can easily walk down to the restaurants in Disney Springs for a fun family dinner. I loved trying out the new Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs. Check out how delicious these Chinese BBQ pork bao’s look. OMG- they were amazing.
The fact that the Wyndham is an official Disney property makes it an easy place to stay with a family. As an official Disney property, the hotel has Disney transportation to the parks and they have character breakfasts (for less than you’d get them in the park). I’m so impressed with this hotel that I can’t wait to give you all the details in another post.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
We switched from the Wyndham to the Beach Club for the duration of the actual retreat. If you have the budget to stay in the park, I’d definitely recommend staying at The Beach Club Resort or any of the Epcot resorts. I love, love, love that you can walk into Epcot and Hollywood Studios from these resorts.
I’ve stayed at other Disney properties (The Grand Floridian just recently) and have been disappointed by the price and the fact that it is hard to get to the parks with kids and a stroller. We don’t usually have the budget to stay on property, but if we do, I’d definitely go back to The Beach Club Resort. The beach pool alone is worth it! No need to go to a water park!
In the Parks
I was only able to go to one park with this kids this time around since I was working during most of the trip. We let my mother in law pick the first park since she had never been to Disney. I was overjoyed when she said she wanted to go to Epcot because it’s my favorite park.
We ate in Mexico, my favorite restaurant in Epcot. I love that I can get an appetizer and chips in the sit down restaurant in the AC for about the same price as a quick service one outside. We saved money by letting the boys split a kids meal. My vegetarian tacos were a delight for my taste buds. I’m still trying to figure out how to recreate this goat cheese and corn combination.
I tried to bribe Robert into loving Epcot by giving him sweet treats. We especially enjoyed the dark chocolate sea salted caramel from Germany. If you’ve never eaten your way around Epcot, you need to go now. It’s a foodies dream.
The fun didn’t end in Disney! The day after we got back we celebrated Jackson’s second birthday.
A few days later we celebrated Robert’s fourth birthday.
We kept gifts simple this year, like we do every year. Each kid received one gift from us. Even though our Disney trip was hosted, we still spent money while we were there and felt like a trip to Disney was a pretty good birthday celebration.
I also bought the kids a year pass to our local children’s museum for their birthdays. Robert really wanted to go for his birthday and one trip would have cost us $30. For $125 I was able to get a year membership. It just made more sense. With me being pregnant this summer I’m going to need an indoor option for entertaining the kiddos. Also, it’s great if you travel because of reciprocity (learn more about that here).
Family members keep giving the boys money in their 529 College Savings account for birthday presents so they are doing pretty well. Robert actually has more money in savings than we do right now!
Date night at the #SWFLFirstBite for Naples Restaurant Week
Tom and I snuck away on Tuesday night to attend the First Bite Event for Naples Restaurant Week.
When I first moved to Naples I was underwhelmed by all the dining here. Most of the dining options are tourist traps designed to take advantage of the wealthy snow birds. It’s hard to figure out what restaurants are actually worth the money. During Restaurant Week, you can check out over 35 quality restaurants that offer pre-fix menus at affordable prices starting at $25.
This is amazing since most entrees in this region start at $35 and can easily go over $50. Restaurant Week is June 1st- 14th and takes place in Naples and Fort Myers. If you are local, make sure to go!
As you can see it’s been a great week. I’m looking forward to another great year with my two sweet boys. It’s hard to believe that this time next year they will have a new little brother to help celebrate their birthdays.
Cheers to the weekend, friends! Enjoy!