Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 6

In case you missed part 5, go back and read it here.

We woke up on Thursday morning and my dad had left at about 5:00 that morning to drive back to Tampa for work. We loaded up the cars and then met a friend of mine for breakfast. This was the only day I broke my fast early for a delicious breakfast. The weather was amazing so we sat outside of the quick service restaurant at the hotel. I had bananas foster french toast and an iced smores latte. Amazing!

After saying our goodbyes to my friend, we hit up the pool for one more swim before hitting the road to my parent’s house in Tampa. We had some guests in the pool. Mama and baby ducks!

The weather was so perfect, we stayed until about 11:30 and soaked up the last few moments of vacation.

We said sad goodbyes to Disney, and got to my parent’s in the early afternoon. We just hung out and then my dad grilled burgers that night. The next day, we took Emma Kate to the pool (like we hadn’t had enough pool time!)

Bobby and I also hit up the gym which felt great after all the food we ate in Disney.

EK and my mom made bunny cupcakes, and we grilled again for dinner.

I think my mom also took Emma Kate to the library somewhere in that day. Our plan for Saturday was to stay until lunch, then get on the road and drive halfway again, then the second half Sunday morning. But, we knew we had to wear Emma Kate out before getting in the car, so Saturday morning they took her to Bob Evan’s (tradition) and we went to the pool again.

I was so proud of my plan, because homegirl was passed out before we even got to the interstate.

The drive was pretty uneventful for 6 hours, and we enjoyed a dinner at Cracker Barrel and an early bedtime before getting up and driving back home Sunday morning.

That’s it my friends! Our wild and crazy week in Florida has come to an end. We had an amazing time and I loved staying in new places and trying new things. I’m ready to plan my next trip so I can go back.

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your next trip! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote!

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 5

If you missed part 4, you can check it out here first!

We left off last time with our day at Hollywood Studios and a fun evening at Splitsville. The next day was our last full day (HOW does it go by so fast?!?) and we headed to EPCOT that morning. We actually arrived before it opened and had to wait for a bit to get in, but we headed straight for Anna and Elsa and only waited about ten minutes!

Look at the concentration in her face below haha!

After the meet and greet, we roda Frozen Ever After. I needed coffee, so Bobby took EK to the play area and we all met up after getting coffee.

It was so nice to sit in the shade while she played. I love the Flower and Garden festival!

We were getting pretty hungry, and decided to see if we could walk up at Via Napoli. We stopped and looked at pretty topiaries along the way.

Trying to entertain a four year old while you wait for a table is fun.

The restaurant was able to take us, and we split a huge pizza which was delicious.

We headed back towards Future World after this, but stopped for some photos.

We then rode Soarin, and then decided to head back to the hotel to hit the pool.

This is blurry because it’s a screen grab from a video, but yes I went down the slide!

Mom and dad had dinner reservations at Citrico’s, so we decided to take Emma Kate back to Epcot. Why not? It was our last night.

We walked around World Showcase and Bobby got some snacks from some of the booths. We got to America and grabbed food. Just as we sat down outside to eat, John Michael Montgomery took the stage! So we got to listen to his concert while we ate. How fun!

We decided to go ride Soarin’ again, and then did the Nemo ride.

We were pretty wiped from all the walking and decided to head back to the hotel. I was glad we went back to EPCOT one last time though!

I would love to help you book your next Disney adventure! It costs you nothing extra for my help. Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details.

Emma Kate: 4.5 Years Old

We now have a four and a half year old on our hands!

It just amazes me how fast time is flying. I saw pictures on Timehop from her 3.5 birthday cake and it seems like we were just making and eating it. Also didn’t we just celebrate her fourth birthday in Disney? A lot has changed in 6 months, as our family has been in a bit of an upheaval with moving schools and houses! There is more change coming as we are moving houses (from our rental) into one we are buying this weekend, and then this summer she will go to summer camp at a new school and then start there full time in the fall in the K4 class. We are excited!

I am not sure how tall she is or how much she weighs, but based on how her clothes and shoes fit she is definitely growing! We are in a size 12 shoe, and wear 5T and 6. She is head and shoulders above everyone in her class (she is in a K3 class because she misses the cutoff by 3 weeks in September.)

She says the funniest things, and I keep a note in my phone of her funny sayings so I can always look back on them. She is SUPER clever, way too smart for her own good, and I could tell you some stories! She uses really big words that I didn’t know she knew like “disrespectful” and despicable” and “neosporin” (we have a lot of boo boos in our house!)

Her mind is a steel trap and she forgets nothing. Last April when she went to the ER she got a purple popsicle and a Jasmine sticker and to this day remembers those details.

She never ever meets a stranger and talks to and hugs everyone, and I mean EVERYONE. So if you come up to us be prepared for a hug and to hear her entire life story. We say she is going to be a politician or a Walmart greeter when she grows up because she loves and chats with anyone, no matter how old, young, etc. She just loves people. There has been a huge learning curve for this mama who was the most shy child ever and never talked to anyone, especially not strangers. Meanwhile, Emma Kate was inviting the old ladies she met at a restaurant over for a sleepover.

Emma Kate hasn’t napped consistently since she was 3, and I can count on one hand the number of times she has napped in the last 6 months. Homegirl just does. not. get. tired. She goes to bed at 7:45/8:00 and sleeps until 6:15. Thankfully, our ok to wake alarm clock has worked well for her and she will get up and go into the living room on her own and play or play games etc. on her iPad.

Emma Kate loves her family, especially all the cousins that are here now that she gets to play with. She also loves her “sister” (Bella the dog) even though the feeling usually isn’t mutual. We let EK feed Bella and give her treats and Bella is coming around and does much better with her than she used to.

Emma Kate still loves princesses, wearing bows and dresses, and being a girly girl. However she can climb trees and play in the mud with the boys too.

She hates injustice, and does NOT like to lose. Playing board games with her or any games really is difficult because she gets very angry when she loses. We definitely have a future competitor on our hands. When another child is crying she always wants to make sure they are ok, and she loves to mother and help smaller kids on the playground and at school. She REALLY loves babies.

She still loves food, and it’s a good bribery tool. She loves cupcakes and candy of course, and also fruit, ham, pork, cheese, fruit snacks, yogurt, larabars, mac and cheese, and more candy.

Some memorable moments from the past 6 months would be seeing “snow”, going on her first Disney cruise, moving to a new school, and getting her first bike.

We love our super sweet, smart, funny, Disney loving 4.5 year old, and can’t believe in 6 months she will be FIVE! She says she will take care of me when I am old and it seems like that is happening way quicker than I ever imagined!

Disney Wonder Cruise 2018: Part 2

In case you missed part 1, catch up here before reading below!

We woke up the next morning ready for an awesome day at sea. First up, we had the Disney Jr. character breakfast.

Pro tip: Spots for this free but ticketed event fill up fast. However, they hold back some spots, so go to guest services as soon as you get on board to try to snag tickets.

Breakfast was in Animator’s, and we were seated right away and promptly given napkin hats.

I will say the breakfast portions were on the smaller side, so if you like a big breakfast I suggest ordering multiple items like Bobby did. However, the characters were fun! This was the first time we let Emma Kate use an autograph book, and she had a blast with it.

She was so excited to see Vamparina!

After breakfast, we saw Minnie Mouse was taking photos so we did that. The line was really short!

We also took a few pictures in the lobby and Emma Kate and I danced on “stage”.

Emma Kate was asking to go to the kids club, so off she went and Bobby and I walked around the ship taking some photos. The sun is deceptive, it was windy and pretty chilly!

The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy. We got EK out of the club for lunch (we knew she wouldn’t eat enough or at all if we didn’t make her) and then brought her back. Bobby and I went to the gym and i’m pretty sure we all took a nap that day (the ONLY day she napped!) and then it was off to dinner for formal night. Emma Kate wore her Rapunzel dress, and we stopped for a quick dance party at Preludes before heading to Tiana’s Place.

I LOVED Tiana’s place. I know I am biased being a New Orleans native and all, but it was so fun with the music and dancing and had such an adorable atmosphere. Kudos on this one Disney!

We got to get up and dance, watch awesome musicians, and eat delicious food!

After dinner, Emma Kate was begging to go play in the club again (ok ok if you twist my arm, kid) so we dropped her off and Bobby and I walked around on the pool deck and started what would be our nightly tradition of hanging out in Cove Cafe and getting a snack.

Pro tip: In the evenings they had delicious cheese and crackers (like the kind from Palo) for free. So we would get a snack and sit in the quiet and relax.

They also had some seasonal coffee drinks for an extra charge.

We picked Emma Kate up around 9:00, watched Elf on TV for the 14th time so far, and went to sleep. More coming up soon!

If you would like help booking your next Disney cruise, let me know! heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas from the Montgomery Family! I pray your holiday is merry and bright, and 2019 is everything you want it to be. Never forget the reason for the season. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Weekend Happenings November 2018

Good morning! I haven’t really done a weekend wrap up in a while, so I thought it would be fun to do for a post. I don’t have a ton of photos, but will still tell you all about it!

Friday afternoon, Emma Kate was watching TV and I was in the other room working. I hear a BOOM and then crying. She had walked into the corner of a wall watching TV and walking at the same time. Bless it. It turned into a bruise and of course, I had to document it.

But seriously, how does my just turned 4-year-old look about 7 here? I got her this adorable unicorn football outfit from Snotty Tots (facebook group) they have the cutest cheap kids clothes, be sure to check them out! She was obsessed with the scarf.

Saturday morning was a gorgeous cool day, so we watched College Gameday since they were in Baton Rouge for the LSU/Bama game, then we headed to lunch at McAlister’s. It was national sandwich day so they have $4 clubs plus a free 32 oz drink. Score! (anyone who knows me well knows that the way to my heart is through McAlister’s.)

How cute is my little cheerleader?

Bella, on the other hand, did not appreciate the cold weather. I also managed to pull the right side of my back picking up my 42 pound four-year-old. So no workout for me. We came back home and watched football all day. (Sadly, LSU decided not to show up for the game and got spanked.)

The next day I could hardly move my back hurt so bad, and I slept horribly, thanks so much daylight savings time! Emma Kate was with Bobby’s mom for the day, so Bobby and I hung out and made chili for lunch. It was cold and rainy so perfect chili weather!

The Saints played the late afternoon game and beat the undefeated Rams in a nail-biter. At least one of my teams showed up to play this weekend. We had more chili for dinner and watched more football (anyone seeing a weekend trend here?)

It was great to have a weekend with nothing we HAD to do, I just wish I hadn’t hurt my back! Two days of no exercise made me stir crazy, and I was only able to walk Monday. Hopefully today I can run again.

Now to get used to it looking like midnight at 5:20 in the afternoon. Who else is ready to get rid of this stupid time change? (EK was up at 4:40 Sunday morning). Happy Tuesday all! Drink lots of coffee!

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.

Real Life Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Disclosure: Disney provided me with park tickets and meal cards for the day, however, all opinions and tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach are my own.

I see a lot of Disney tips posts floating around that have great information, but it’s either things that everyone already knows, or it’s not practical tips to help you make the best of your day at the water park. As a real-life mom with a very real life diva three-year-old, I need the “good stuff” when it comes to tips. With that being said, let’s get down to business:

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

1.) Wear water shoes: Florida is hot (and water is wet, I know I know). While Disney does an amazing (seriously, amazing) job of having water sprayers spraying down the sidewalks in a lot of places at the water park, it’s impractical for every square inch of the sidewalk to be wet. This creates very hot pavement for a large portion of the year. Solution: water shoes. Not only will you be thankful for them when you see others frantically running from wet spot to wet spot, but they really come in handy if you or your kids prefer to “walk” in the lazy river.

For instance, my darling three-year-old did not want an intertube in the giant river MADE FOR INTERTUBES, no no, she just wanted to wear her puddle jumper and run along the bottom. Even when her smart mommy told her that she was going to make her feet raw, darling daughter paid no mind and well, you can guess who was crying on the way home (ok, so maybe that was both of us, because her screaming plus traffic on I-4 tends to make me a bit teary.)

Real Life Tip: When you have a 3-year-old, the lazy river isn’t super relaxing, so set the bar low. It IS a ton of fun though, but relaxing…not so much.

2.) Tikes Peak for small kids = a parents dream: When you come into the main area of the park, be sure to hang a right and head into Tike’s Peak if you have a toddler or preschool-aged child. You will thank me later. This adorable area is a scaled-down version of Mt. Gushmore, and not only is this space mostly contained (re: once they go up the top of the “mountain” the only way down is the way they just came walking up, or to go down a slide), but it’s also super adorably themed and has PLENTY for the little Mouseketeers to do. We honestly could have stayed in this area the entire day and never gone to any other parts of the park and my child would have been happy.

Real life tip #2: Keep an eye out for photopass photographers in this area. They tend to hang out in the wading pool area and will snap pics of your kids for you. They can link to your magic band or give you a card to link later. There are usually a lot people vying for these action shot pics, so you may have to wait a minute to grab the photographers attention, but it’s well worth it!

3.) Check all the food options: It’s tempting to think that Blizzard Beach will have standard water park fare on the menu, and while you will find your favorite comfort foods, there is also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. I had the hot dog with bacon and mac and cheese, and check out some of these other options in my photos below. Doesn’t exactly look like your typical quick service meal, right?

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real Life Tip #3: There are several food locations scattered through the park so be sure to check out all the menus beforehand. The lines can get a little long at high noon so eat a little earlier or a later to avoid the rush.

4.) Refillable drinks: If you are familiar with Disney resorts, you may know about rapid refillable mugs. Blizzard Beach has their own version that is good for the entire day for $11.99 on sodas and the like. (Sadly no alcohol.) You can also hang on to it and bring it back another day for a discounted price on your next day of refills. If you plan to stay all day I think this is a great deal. Best to stay hydrated in the sun!

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real life tip #4: For those that like adult beverages, there are plenty of places to get them. My favorite is the bar right in front of Melt Away Bay (the wave pool) because it’s a great spot for people watching and has a nice view.

Related: Beyond the Parks Part 1

5.) Arrive before park opening or mid-afternoon: I know I know, this sounds contradictory. Allow me to explain. If you plan to stay all day or prefer the morning hours like we do, arrive early. Every time we have gone we have been allowed in the gates before the advertised opening. While there are PLENTY of chairs at the park, some of the more coveted areas and areas in the shade go more quickly, especially areas along the wave pool and in Tike’s Peak.

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real Life Tip #5: Tike’s Peak chairs go super quickly because all the parents want to lounge in them and sit fruity drinks while they “watch” their children play. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, head there first to put down your stuff if you are wanting to have a seat.

A lot of people leave after lunch or in the early afternoon after there wee ones have had enough (hand raise) so this opens up chairs and spots in line for those willing to come in the afternoon after the initial crowd has gone home.

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach is an amazing place to visit while at the Walt Disney World resort. The lines are usually never super long, it boasts an almost mile long lazy river, and most of the slides are family friendly. In fact, only 3 slides have height requirements! Whether you are a local coming in for the day or in the middle of a week-long vacation, be sure not to skip out on this fun opportunity to make some “real life” memories with your family. Be sure to check out my recap video below of our fun-filled day in our happy place and thanks for reading my tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

Cool Down This Summer at Adventure Island

Disclosure: I was provided free tickets to Adventure Island and Busch Gardens as well as attendance at a VIP party, however all opinions are my own.

Recently Bobby and I attended a special VIP party at Tampa’s Adventure Island water park. We had never been to the water park before, so were super excited to check it out before we bring Emma Kate on her first visit.

There were storm clouds all around, and it did pour on and off, but we still had a blast and got to see some of the awesome attractions and even make a few animal friends.

Did I mention they had delicious cocktails served out of pineapples? I may have had more than one, and was able to cross off a bucket list item!

As we were walking to our destination I immediately saw this fun kids area and can’t wait to bring EK back here. There is another splash area as well but we didn’t get to visit that part of the park.

Hello lazy river! This is where I will be spending my time friends.

We did get to see some awesome, tall, cool looking slides including the park’s newest attraction, Vanish Point. It is a drop straight down, yes the floor literally falls out from under your feet!

adventure island

Say hello to my friends that came to greet us. The flamingos were just walking around saying hey to everyone.

There was music and delicious island fare, and everyone was so nice and friendly. I give the food and drinks two thumbs up!

I had no idea you could rent cabanas here. This looks so relaxing and nice on a hot summer day. Rental is for the whole day and includes four lounge chairs, a mini fridge with water, meal vouchers, and all day locker rental.

Another shot of these awesome slides. We got to see someone go down the big yellow and green one in a family sized raft and it looked awesome. There is plenty to do here, and tons of dining options!

There are so many other slides, pools, and activities to explore at Adventure Island, and for a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card for FREE*. Hurry! Offer ends on July 1.

adventure island

Be sure to Follow Adventure Island on Twitter and Facebook.

Emma Kate: 3.5 Years

Well we now have a child halfway to four years old, which blows my mind! on March 24th, Emma Kate turned three and a half and we baked a cake to celebrate and she LOVED it. I just wanted to take a moment to catch you up on our little girl.

Eating: Girlfriend LOVES to eat. She can still be pretty picky, but she loves large quantities of food, and I have grown to hate the word “snack”. She loves fruit like peaches and blueberries and strawberries, and also is a big yogurt fan. She even likes broccoli which is shocking to me. She eats a lot of turkey and chicken, and tries to get us to let her have candy whenever she can (all these holidays are killing me.) She still drinks a lot of water, and isn’t a huge fan of ice cream/cold stuff, but LOVES cupcakes!

Sleeping: We moved her to her “big girl bed” a couple weeks ago and she has been doing great and she loves it. She sleeps great and hasn’t fallen out (yet) and stays in her bed until we come get her in the mornings. Nap is hit or miss, if I let her sleep too long in the morning she won’t nap at school, but I would venture to say she sleeps for an hour 3-4 days a week at school and 85% of the time on the weekends. She goes to bed at 7:45 and usually lays there until about 8:00, and is up anywhere between 6-7 in the morning, but on school days I make sure she’s up at 6:30 so she will nap!

Clothing: She wears 4T and 5T now exclusively, and is quickly outgrowing several 4T things, which makes me so sad. She’s in a size 9 shoe but I feel that will be changing very soon as well.

Potty: She hasn’t had an accident in FOREVER, and has been dry for a week straight at night, and is always dry after nap. I think we are super close to not needing a pull up at night. She is doing awesome in this category!

Emma Kate says the funniest things and cracks us up on a daily basis. She loves to sing and dance, and has been watching movies like Aladdin, Trolls, Moana, The Incredibles, and Monsters Inc. She still loves big bows and lets me pick out her clothes most of the time (thankfully!)

She has been doing this thing where she doesn’t like when Bobby and I talk to each other so she will interrupt us and then she has nothing to say. it’s pretty annoying, any tips for breaking this habit?

She loves to have us sing with her at night int he rocking chair and she says her own little prayers which is so cute.

I don’t have an official height and weight but I’m thinking close to 40 pounds and 39 inches tall? I will have to measure her later!

We had our first trip to the ER on Easter Sunday, she jumped off the bed at Grammy and Papa’s house and hit her head on the rocking chair corner and there was blood everywhere and she had a deep gash, so she ended up with three staples. I nearly had a heart attack. She is fearless and independent and brave.

We switched schools at the end of 2017 and she is doing SO well at the new school because they have a pretty strict curriculum and I feel like she is learning so much. She recognizes most letters, counts to 20 something, and is writing with her little left hand.

She loves her “sister” Bella, wrestling with daddy, and putting together puzzles (shes REALLY good at puzzles!) We love you sweet bug and this has been such a fun half year!