Tips for an Adults Only Disney Trip

Update: This post on tips for an adults only Disney trip originally appeared in 2016, but I have updated it for 2018. Thanks for reading!

It’s no secret I love Walt Disney World. When I tell some of my friends my husband and I are going alone to Walt Disney World for the weekend without Emma Kate, they look at like I’m crazy. Why would I want to spend my adults only time with a bunch of kids? That’s when I get to explain our “Disney style”, and how it’s very different than a trip would look with Emma Kate in tow. While trips with her are super special and so much fun, there are “other ways” to tour the world as well.

Tips for an adults only Disney trip

So, here are my top five tips for an adults-only Disney trip, and maybe you will then see why we find our time in Disney so relaxing and enjoyable.

1.) Go Deluxe: I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but if you can swing it (go at a cheaper time of year, use discounts, save up for a year etc.) I recommend staying at a deluxe resort, and if you save lots of pennies, splurge on a club level stay. I have stayed club level at all the Disney resorts, and it is truly a special treat. Honestly, it’s not worth it if you plan to jump up every morning, grab breakfast at the park, and stay gone until bedtime, but if you want to enjoy Disney at a leisurely pace, it’s the way to go. (Think: continental breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, wine and appetizers in the evenings, cordials and desserts at night.) Plus a lounge for you to sit in and read a book, chat with family members, or simply use it as a meeting spot. There are also dedicated cast members who help just club level guests with questions, dining reservations, and more. We love to eat and relax so it works for us!

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Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

2.) Less park days: Here is where you can actually save some money. If you are going for a week, only get 4-5 days of park tickets and spend your other days doing things around your resort,  or even visiting the other resorts on property. There is plenty to do, which leads me to the next tip…

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3.) Beyond the Theme Parks: Since you have a couple of “free days” with no park tickets, take time to explore some of the lesser-known Disney fun such as Disney Springs, miniature golf, water parks, going fishing or parasailing, or enjoy tea at the Grand Floridian. I actually wrote two blog posts a while back about things to do beyond the theme parks. You can check them out here and here. Check out the awesome cabanas you can rent pictured below if you are at the Contemporary!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

4.) Sit on a bench: I know this sounds silly, but to this day it is one of my favorite things to do in Disney. People watching. I love grabbing Starbucks and finding a bench or laying in the hub grass at Magic Kingdom, and just watching the crowds go by while soaking up the Disney atmosphere. I feel like so many people rush from one ride to the next, that they don’t always take the time to really just soak in the fact that they are in Disney World! Stop and take a break and just be for a little while on your next trip. Grab some popcorn or a drink and just savor the moment.

 Adults Only Disney Trip

5.) Eat. A lot: I know everyone eats more on vacation, but when you are traveling with small kids, you typically don’t eat at fancy table service restaurants enjoying four-course meals. It’s more of let’s stick some chicken nuggets in your mouth and move on before they have a meltdown. This is your chance to enjoy some of the nicer restaurants, just taking your time and enjoying your vacation and the atmosphere. Some of my favorites are: California Grill, Narcoossees, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Citricos, and Artist Point. Be sure to schedule in a lot of time to sit and eat nice dinners, or even nice breakfasts and lunches, too! Whatever you want, it’s your vacation!

This was on our honeymoon! Babies!

These are just some of my tips for planning an adults only WDW vacation. The key is to relax and enjoy without feeling like you need to be somewhere every five minutes. That doesn’t sound very relaxing and enjoyable to this girl. You earned those vacation days my friend, and you don’t have to have your kids with you to enjoy Walt Disney World. Have fun!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is your favorite tip for an adults only Disney trip?

#DisneyKids Media Event Video Recap

Disclosure: We attended a media event at Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own. 

In September, we had the privilege of attending a #DisneyKids media event at Walt Disney World centered around preschoolers and Toy Story Land. We also got to eat at Homecomin’, Hollywood and Vine, the Grand Floridian, and also enjoyed Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Check out this recap video we made of our amazing experience! Parents of preschoolers, these activities are a must with your kiddos! so much fun! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel after watching. 🙂

 

What is your favorite thing about Toy Story Land? Have you been to the Halloween party or any of the restaurants we dined at?

#disneykids

Related: Toy Story Land with a preschooler

Related again: Art of Animation Cars family suite

Toy Story Land Disney World with a Preschooler

Disclosure: We attended a #DisneyKids media event at Toy Story land Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

Disney's toy story land with a preschooler

When I first heard that Walt Disney World was creating Toy Story Land, I was pumped. Not only would I get to experience the nostalgia of a favorite movie series I grew up with, but I just couldn’t wait to see what Disney was going to DO with it. You know, how they always go above and beyond with every little detail? Well, I can tell you that it does not disappoint, and it was amazing getting to experience Toy Story land with a preschooler who loves the films as much as I do.

Pro tip: Go early before the crowds so you can see all the fun details!

Life-size characters, bright colors, and an amazing “backyard” to explore as one of Andy’s toys. It’s so exciting as you turn the corner and see Woody waiting to tip his hat and greet you as you enter the land. My four year old LOVED all the fun “toy”, details, and seeing her favorites everywhere she turned.

Toy Story Land with a Preschooler

Pro tip: The sun is blinding at this photopass spot, so maybe come back later in the day for a pic!

There are tons more “toy-sized” characters to discover, including meet and greets with some of the stars. Emma Kate even found fun characters to pose with as we waited for our breakfast at the new quick service dining location. This dining location, Woody’s Lunchbox, has some great food options not found at other locations.

Pro tip: Woody’s Lunchbox has breakfast! We had a delicious yogurt parfait that hit the spot!

Of course, We loved taking photos in front of several of the famous “walls.”

Related: The Walls of Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land with a Preschooler

Emma Kate was a little scared to ride Slinky Dog Dash (her mom and dad loved it!) But she ADORES Alien Swirling Saucers and it is her new favorite Disney ride. She also still has a huge love for Toy Story Mania. I can’t blame her, I do too! Even the exit queue of Toy Story Mania is a blast

Pro Tip: The exit queue is also where two of the fun walls are located as well.

Adding Toy Story Land  Disney World to Hollywood Studios is a huge plus in our book. We already love the fun and shows at this park, (not to mention character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine), so now it’s even more valuable to us as a family with a small child. One thing we have yet to do is go at night. I guess we need to make another trip back!

Toy Story Land Disney World

Emma Kate: Four Years Old

We have a four-year-old! Emma Kate had been asking and asking when her birthday was for the past three or four months, so you can imagine how pumped she was when it finally happened. Not to mention, she looks five and most people think she is five so it was nice for her to finally be four as to not confuse so many people!

We had a low key day since it was a Monday and I had to work, but we went to dinner that night with my parents to Applebees and then had cake, ice cream, and gifts at home. My mom made the cake and I decorated it, which is a feat considering I have terrible handwriting. She has been into Shimmer and Shine lately so that was our “theme.”

Let’s take a look at how our girl has changed since my last update 6 months ago. She is 43 inches tall and weighs 41 pounds. (85% weight and 96% height).

Our girl is super silly and I think is going to be a class clown. She has a very strong will but is also very sensitive especially when it comes to injustice.

She says the funniest things and it’s hilarious and frightening to never know what is going to come out of her mouth.

Eating: She is a pretty good eater, but it takes her FOREVER to eat a meal which drives me crazy. I’m constantly saying “please eat another bite” or starting a timer telling her she only has five minutes left. She gets so distracted! She still loves to eat things like yogurt, fruit (grapes, apples, bananas), cheese, and of course candy. For meals, she will usually always try something one time even if she hasn’t had it before which I’m thankful for. She still drinks a ton of water and loves milk.

Sleeping: Emma Kate has done great in her big girl bed but started getting up a lot so we had to start trying different tactics to get her to stay in bed. I bought an ok to wake clock (this one, we love it!) and she knows she has to stay in bed until the light turns green. At night she was getting up a lot before she fell asleep, so we started telling her she could have 4 M&M’s in the morning if she didn’t get out of bed, but every time she did we would take one away, and for the most part, it has worked well. Naps don’t really happen a whole lot anymore, maybe twice a week. She isn’t tired until after 2:00 despite waking up at 6:15 most mornings, and if we let her sleep too late in the afternoon she won’t go to bed at night so that means she is super cranky in the evenings a lot of times.

Clothing: She is in 5T and 6, and wears a size 11 shoe. I have been buying things a size big so she can wear it longer (the outfit above is a shirt and short set but I bought it big so it’s like a dress) and this tactic has been working well for us. She still loves wearing bows and likes me to do her hair in an “Elsa braid” or “Anna braids” most days.

Potty: EK hasn’t had an accident at naptime in over a year, but still wears pull ups at night as she occasionally has a wet one and I’m not really to let go of it yet and have middle of the night bed changes haha.

She still loves to watch movies and the iPad, and she will watch one movie then want to watch it 100 times before she gets hooked on another one. Right now she is loving Land Before Time, Aladdin, and the Toy Story movies. 

She loves to go swimming and recently started swimming under water by herself. She got to go to the ebach a couple of times this summer and loved jumping in the waves and building sand castles.

She thankfully loves Disney like her parents and dressed up as Belle for Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party. She loves riding Dumbo, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Alien Swirlinig Saucers, Toy Story Manina, and the Peoplemover. She loves meeting characters and and getting ehr picture taken with them. 

Emma Kate loves babies and puppies, and playing at the palyground.

She is the cutest little Saints and LSU fan, and will say “Go Tigers” and “Who Dat” on command (I’m so proud.)

She is really into watching other kids open toys on YouTube kids and was super happy to get her own blind bags for her birthday this year.

Some days we fight and struggle, but at the end of the day I love her tenacious spirit and know it will serve her well later in life. She is strong, brave, and independent. We love our sweet four year old and know this will be an awesome year!

You can see her other updates on this page.

PS: Emma Kate has her own Instagram account! Follow her here.

Disney’s Art of Animation: Cars Family Suite

Disclosure: I attended a #DisneyKids media event at Disney’s Art of Animation resort in a Cars family suite with most expenses paid, however, all opinions are my own.

Walt Disney World is all about kids and families, so it was no surprise to me a few years ago when the building of the family suites at Art of Animation was announced. Sleeping six, it was to be a more affordable way for larger families to all stay in one room, (or for smaller families like ours to just have some more space and privacy.)

Cars family suite at Disney's Art of Animation resort

The larger than life iconic characters situated throughout the resort, plus fun names like the “big blue (Nemo) pool” and a bar aptly named “The Drop Off,” all make for an adorable family-friendly resort option for those visiting the land of the mouse.

There are four distinct areas at the resort: The Little Mermaid standard rooms, and then three sets of family suites modeled after Finding Nemo, the Lion King, and Cars. We were given a Cars family suite in building one on the third floor, and I have to say, for someone who admittedly loves the deluxe resorts at Disney, I fell in love with this resort. All it took was seeing my daughter’s face light up as she recognized character after character for me to be sold.

cars family suite

We took photos with all the vehicles of cars fame, just like we were standing in line for characters at the theme parks. She ran down the streets of Radiator Springs, and took a dip in the Big Blue Pool. (Note: there is a pool at the Cars section but it wasn’t as ‘hoppin as the main/Nemo pool.)

We had our car, so we were able to park directly behind our building which was nice. We took the elevator up to the 3rd floor and immediately noticed so many fun themed touches such as colorful carpets and traffic cones as lights outside the doors.

We used our Magic Bands to open the door, and were greeted with a very spacious suite with so many fun Disney touches. There are two full bathrooms in the suite, one in the living/dining area, and then one in the master which makes getting ready in the morning a breeze.

The sofa in the living room folds out into a bed for two, and there is a TV as well as a kitchenette complete with refrigerator, coffee pot, and microwave. They even had paper bowls and plates stocked and ready for us.

The coolest part of the suite is the table. It has four chairs around it, and at night, you can pull it down and it turns into a bed that can sleep two. This is where Emma Kate slept and she loved having her own little space.

We admittedly pack way too much when we travel, so it was nice having wall space to put our stuff without constantly tripping over it. Also, Emma Kate goes to bed pretty early, so being able to put her to bed then go into the master and shut the door to give her more time to sleep was awesome. At nap time, we put her in our bed and we hung out in the living room, so everyone was able to get the rest they needed in the Cars family suite.

Our floor was very quiet, and it was just a quick walk over to the lobby to eat, grab a bus, or go to the pool and shops. We loved the location of the resort as well, as it was super close to Disney Springs and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I never thought I would say this, but when traveling with my four-year-old, I think I would prefer staying in an Art of Animation family suite over a regular room at a deluxe resort simply for the space and the fact that it seems the most “Disney” themed through the eyes of a child. When I’m in Disney World with my daughter, it’s all about her, and they are only little for so long, yall. I want to watch her fall in love with what I grew up with, over and over and over again. The thought and imagination put into the Art of Animation resort gives me just that, and I’m so grateful. We loved our stay in a Cars family suite and will definitely be back!

Check out this video room tour from our Cars family suite:

 

Related: 5 Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

5 Things Friday XXXIV

Hello my lovely friends! It’s September, fall is in the air…wait, no. I live in Florida. Fall is most definitely not in the air, but hurricanes are. More on that later. I wanted to play catch up with another 5 things Friday post for you all before we head into this weekend. I’m traveling all day today but I wanted to make sure I was able to say hello! You can still catch me over on IG stories and Twitter (@HeathersLG)

So here are 5 things for this Friday:

1.) Another cruise post: I’m still enjoying reminiscing about my time onboard the Carnival Horizon earlier in the summer. Bobby and I loved the new ship and had an amazing time in Bermuda. one thing I loved about the Horizon was all the places to sit and relax. This post talks about some of my favorites!

2.) Toy Story Land FAM: Coming up this time next week is a preschooler Toy Story Land media FAM, (as long as there are no hurricanes) and I was pumped to find out we will be staying at Art of Animation! I have toured this resort twice before on other media trips, but never have I actually called it home for a night, so we are pumped to test drive a family suite for two nights!

3.) MNSSHP: As part of the media trip mentioned above, we will be taking Emma Kate to the Halloween party! If there is anything, in particular, you want pictures of videos of, let me know!

4.) EK’s birthday month: September also means Emma Kate’s birthday month! I can’t believe in less than three weeks I will have a 4-year-old. She is SO ready and has been asking when her birthday is for months now. Poor baby just can’t wait to grow up, no matter how many times I tell her adulting is not fun. Wasn’t I just pregnant? Wasn’t she just learning to crawl? All the feels.

5.) Hurricane watch: As previously alluded to, it’s that special time of year (late August/September) when all the hurricanes come out to play. Almost to the date, we were evacuating hurricane Irma last year, and the tropics are getting all fired up once more. Praying we are able to dodge a bullet once again because after the stress of evacuating last year, I highly doubt we would do it again. Say a prayer these bad boys just stay out at sea and dissipate!

Sunset Inn & Cottages for Families of all Sizes

I recently wrote a post about our fabulous stay at Sunset Inn and Cottages in Treasure Island, Florida. We stayed in the Sunkissed cottage which was the perfect size for us. However, I wanted to make sure to also highlight other sizes of accommodations available at this property that may fit your family a little better. First off, The Inn. This is actually attached to the office and all of the rooms are in the same building. This is great if you are more on a budget or only need space for two people and want a more traditional hotel room set up. However, several of the rooms have connecting doors, so you could always rent side by side rooms to sleep more people.

These two rooms are inn rooms but are also connecting. They each have a queen bed as well as fridge and coffee maker. There is storage space in the little back hallway and a TV.

There is also a bathroom in each room, stocked with towels for your stay.

Another option for those with a bit of a larger family would be a cottage such as the MacDill. This cottage has a similar set up to the one we stayed in, except it has an extra bedroom, and sleeps six people. I am also in love with its cute little front porch!

The sofa folds out to a bed just like in our cottage.

The difference is off the master is the second bedroom, with two twin beds.

Just enough space to sleep, and then spend the day enjoying the beach!

How adorable is this little table? This cottage also has a full kitchen just like ours did. Side note, while the sofa bed technically sleeps two, I wouldn’t put two adults on it, as it would be a tight fit, but two kids would do just fine!

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to check out the other accommodations at Sunset Inn and Cottages. Great for families of all sizes and literally just steps from the beautiful beach. Check out the website for availability and pricing.

Relax on the Carnival Horizon

Disclosure: We sailed on a media cruise with Carnival, however, all opinions are my own.

When I think about vacation and cruising, in particular, I think about doing a lot of relaxing. Relaxing to me usually means sitting down, chatting with friends and family, and enjoying each others company. One of my favorite things that I noticed about the Carnival Horizon is that there are so many places to sit and relax throughout the ship. There are of course restaurants and bars, but then there are fun little nooks and places to hang out and enjoy a drink or two…or more. Below are 10 of my favorite places onboard:

  1. Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse bar: I love these adorable bar stools and the drinks here are super popular.

2. The Piano Bar: This space is open to the steakhouse until late at night then it gets a little more lively!

3. Alchemy Bar: Best drinks on the ship hands down. Also, a great spot to people watch.

4. Bonsai: Sushi lovers rejoice! This is another great people watching spot and has some awesome views out the windows as well.

5. Lobby atrium: This is where a lot of the action is happening! There are several places to sit amongst the shops and this area is also where you will find guest services as well as computers and printers.

6. Guy’s Pig and Anchor: Only open sometimes, this quick service place has sweeping ocean views and a fun atmosphere (and great food!) Feel free to hang out and take a seat even when they aren’t open for meals.

7. Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse seating area. This is next to the bar area and is a fun addition to the ship.

8. Havana pool area: During the day this area is only accessed by those staying in the Havana rooms, but after 7:00 anyone can come back and soak in a gorgeous sunset or a drink at the bar.

9. Havana bar area: This area is super fun and colorful with great music. So many cute little places to sit as well. Very popular spot at night!

10. Serenity adults-only area: This was my favorite. Grabbing one of these shaded couches with a good book and ocean views is where you could find me on sea days. Fair warning, they fill up in the morning so don’t miss out!

There are so many more fun spots not mentioned here, but this is just to show that there are way more places to sit and relax than your stateroom or directly by the pool. I think it’s really fun to find new hidden places on the ship as the cruise goes on. There is so much to explore on the Horizon! 

ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 4

Disclosure: I was invited to a 3-night media event by Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

(Check out day 123 and 3 part 2 before reading this one!)

On day 4 of our trip, the media FAM was over, but Disney was kind enough to give us park tickets so we could have one more day of fun before heading home. We decided to go to Toy Story Land for the very first time and I’m so glad we did!

We checked out of the Boardwalk and drove over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to make our way to the brand new area. It is SO adorable and has so many fun details. We were able to ride Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers (three times) and Toy Story Mania. We were not able to eat at Woody’s Lunchbox, but that just means we have to go back.

Related: The Walls of Toy Story Land

Emma Kate did NOT want to do Slinky Dog Dash, so Bobby and I took turns riding it and taking her on AlienSwillingg Saucers which she loved.

 

 

She screamed (happy scream) the whole time.

 

I adored all the little hidden nooks and areas with cute theming. Be sure to look for Andy’s footprint on the ground and the backyard fence off in the distance. The exit que of Toy Story Mania is really cute too, so even if you aren’t riding the ride be sure to go check it out (near the giant Pixar ball).

Slinky Dog Dash was a lot of fun and just the right amount of thrill for me. The que was really cute as well, but it was really warm as there isn’t much shade in the longer parts of the line.

A must for photo opps is the giant sign as you enter. There was a photopass photographer hanging around when we went by.

Also, the restroom was really cute, it’s in the back to the left of the land.

We ate lunch at Sci-Fi but I don’t have any pictures since it’s pretty dark in there. It was nice to sit in the air conditioning for a while before going back out again. Before we left we got pictures with Donald which was a great way to cap off the trip. Little miss slept the whole way back to Tampa, so I would say the trip was a success. Thanks so much, Disney!

 

Staycation at Sunset Inn and Cottages

Disclosure: We were provided with a 3 nights stay at Sunset Inn and Cottages, however, all opinions are my own.

One of the great things about living in Florida is being able to vacation in our own backyard. The Tampa Bay area is huge, so even though we only live less than an hour away, we had yet to venture to the Treasure Island area since we have lived here. Now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! We had an amazing staycation at a hidden gem of a property called Sunset Inn and Cottages.

Sunset Inn and Cottages

Sunset Inn and Cottages is located in a quiet residential area of Treasure Island, FL. There were hardly any cars, and we were just a couple hundred yards from the ocean which was amazing! Right across from the cottages and Inn at the beach access is a pavilion, bathrooms, and a playground (which we visited many times). It’s partially covered which was awesome considering it’s August! I knew I was immediately going to love this place when we walked up to check in and I saw this little free library. How fun and perfect for the beach.

Our home for the next few days was the Sunkissed cottage. It had a queen bedroom, pull out sofa sleeper, one bathroom, and a full kitchen. It was the perfect size for our little family! This particular cottage is also pet-friendly. Another huge bonus is that we had our own covered parking space next to our cottage. Beach parking can be dicey so knowing we always had a place was so nice.

Sunset Inn and Cottages

Our cottage had cozy wood floors, a full refrigerator and freezer, and plenty of lighting.

There were even books and games in the cottage! There was cable TV and free wifi as well.

The kitchen was fully stocked with plates, cups, utensils, and more.

The bathroom wasn’t huge and there was no sink space, but it was just fine for a few days. There was a counter right outside the bathroom in the hall that we used to put our toiletries on instead.

The bedroom had a place to hang and store clothing (not pictured) as well as a little chair.

There was also a dining table and four chairs which was great for lunches in the afternoons. You can see in the left corned of the photo below, the cottage will rent you out beach chairs and an umbrella so you don’t have to bring your own!

Below you can see the extra linens they left for Emma Kate’s pull out sofa sleeper.

We were also provided with towels and washcloths (in the green bin below) to use during our stay.

There are also two adorable courtyards on the property with chairs and tables for your enjoyment. 

Below is the second courtyard. You can see our little orange Sunkissed cottage in the background.

Related: Ultimate Beach packing List

Below you can see just how close we were to the beach. There is a stop sign in the photo, and the beach is just right on the other side of the road. It’s not a busy road at all, and we hardly saw any cars.

The Inn portion is connected to the office and has a courtyard in front of it as you can see below.

 

We had such a fabulous time, and the beach was VERY quiet. Sunday there were a few more people out since the weather wasn’t great on Saturday, but Monday was practically empty. I went for a run on the beach in the morning and it was so serene and just what I needed to start the day.

 

 

We did a lot of sand castle building and shell collecting as well.

 

 

One more thing, Sunset Inn and Cottages is very aptly named, as I was blown away by the amazing evening sunsets. We would take a quick 30-second stroll to the beach from our cottage around 8:15 and were treated to the most gorgeous sky. Emma Kate loved playing in the waves in the evening, and it was a spectacular way to end the day each night.

 

For availability and pricing, be sure to check out the Sunset Inn and Cottages website. There are several cottages to choose from as well as regular Inn rooms (more on those later). You can also host a wedding or event at this property. A huge thanks to them for hosting us and for the hospitality. We will be back!