Day two of our trip started off with lots of anticipation and excitement. My brother, sister in law and their 3 boys had arrived from Boston and were right next door us in the hotel. The kids woke up early and played, while we got ready for breakfast. We had a reservation at Chef Mickey’s located in the beautiful Polynesian Resort. It is the only breakfast that has all the characters, and the kids had a blast taking pictures with and meeting all the different friends. The food was normal breakfast buffet food, nothing great but not terrible. For the high price ($50 per adult) you really are paying for the experience versus the food and it doesn’t fail to disappoint.
After breakfast, we milled around the Polynesian, browsing through the boutiques and wandering around the beautiful resort. We headed back to the hotel after a bit and spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool.
For dinner, we had a reservation at Sanaa, located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is our favorite restaurant in Disney World and we visit each time we come. Not only is the food amazing (you must order their famous Indian bread sampler), you get to watch wild safari animals roam the preserve while you enjoy your food. After dinner we roamed around the outdoor viewing area and then headed back to the hotel.
I took my exhausted boys back to the hotel room for bed while the family took a stroll through Disney Springs. When everyone returned, my husband and I headed down to the lobby. We relaxed at the lobby bar and had a cocktail, chatting with the bartenders and fellow patrons. There was a conference going on so the lobby was quite busy. We enjoyed ourselves for an hour or so before heading back to the room for the night.
We recently returned from our first trip with this blog, and no better place to kick it off than with a trip to one of the happiest places on Earth, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Action packed and full of fun, this vacation requires a vacation in itself. Courtesy of my parents, we spent 5 glorious days at the Hilton Palace in a one bedroom suite in the Disney Springs area. Five days was more than enough, as I think 3 or 4 days in Disney World is perfect. It was a lovely hotel and I enjoyed my stay, but I probably would not stay there again, as I believe I could get a better value somewhere else and I personally prefer to stay on property (see my review here for a more in depth read about the Hilton Palace and my post here about the benefits of staying on property.)
Follow along with us as I recount our incredible first journey as the mami traveler at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida!
Day One, Tuesday May 16th
We embark on our journey around 3pm. The drive from Cocoa Beach is short and painless. A little over an hour drive, it is a straight shot down the beachline expressway to I-4, which takes you to Disney World. Orlando is infamous for its numerous, annoying tolls so be prepared with plenty of cash.
We arrive at the Hilton Palace on Buena Vista Drive around 4pm and the kids and I wait in the car while the guys check in. We were staying in the suites and therefore had a short drive to the parking lot for the suites. The lot was not adjacent to the building but about a 5 minute walk atop a wooden boardwalk over a quaint man made lake.
Hotel lobby bar
Hilton Palace Disney Springs
The hotel is going through renovations, and unfortunately the suites had not been done yet. Overall the room was nice and spacious, with plenty of storage and two bathrooms, but there were many housekeeping issues. As former housekeeping supervisors, my husband and I know exactly what to look for when it comes to checking a hotel room for cleanliness. Hair in the bathtub, glow stick in dresser draw, old dirty carpet, dirt in draws, rag in tree, and dirt splatter on the wall are just some of the issues we encountered. The porch doors were old and sliding glass which were hard to open and close, and the pillows were uncomfortable. But I am not one to focus on the negative, so the issues did not affect the enjoyment of my stay. Always speak up if you feel there is something bothering you about your travel quarters.
We spent our first day chilling and relaxing in the pool area. The resort has a central area that has two pools, the main pool being spacious and large with a decent sized lazy river. The river is a consistent 3 feet which gave me peace of mind while my 42″ four year old played in the pool. They have a separate larger adult pool, with plenty of super comfy loungers and outdoor couches for ultimate relaxation. There is also private cabanas to rent for $150 per day, as well as a large hot tub that was just the right temperature. My husband and I enjoyed a beer by the pool using the free drink vouchers that came with the resort fee ($25 per day.)
We dined at the outdoor hotel restaurant, which was clean, updated and had a nice atmosphere and friendly employees. I ate sirloin and mushrooms with brussel sprouts and a baked potato and it was absolutely delicious. I was impressed with the unique presentation, the meat was cooked perfectly and the flavors were tasty.
Tired from the days activities, we called it a night and hit the hay early.
Getting ready for your trip with your little one? How cool. There’s nothing more exciting than creating memories and seeing a new world for your young one. But who knew such a tiny being would require so much stuff. I will try to simplify this as best as possible but the truth is, baby’s have tons of baggage. Below is a list of everyting you will need when traveling with your baby.
It is essential to have a well stocked diaper bag . You never know what you will need or where you will end up. Clean out, organize and stock your diaper bag well in preparation for your trip. I make sure my sons diaper bag has the following, neatly packed into the pockets inside the bag:
Diapering: Plenty of diapers and wipes (the more the better), diaper changing pad, diaper rash cream.
Clothing: Two extra outfits, sweater, hat, socks, shoes.
Health: Baby Tylenol, teething gel and lotion.
Other: Teething ring, toys, lovie or blankie.
Clothes, for me, are the most stressful part of packing. I never know how much to bring or what to pack. Here is a list of clothing items you should pack for your trip:
Two outfits per day.
A few sleepers.
A variety of socks, hats and shoes.
A jacket or sweater and a rain jacket.
Swim wear (two of each): bathing suit, rash guard, sun hat and sandals.
A couple of evening outfits.
It is critical to have all of babies required sleep gear before embarking on your travel. There is no worse feeling than stepping onto the plane and realizing you left your child’s blankie at home. With this list, you will never forget snuggles again:
Pack N Play: most hotels have one (or a crib) free of charge, but I like to bring mine for days at the pool.
A crib sheet and a couple blankets.
Your child’s favorite lovie or stuffed animal.
Lots and lots of pacifiers, if you use them.
Enough formula plus an extra can.
At least two bottles.
Eating utensils and bowl.
Bottled water and juice.
An assortment of rattles and baby toys.
A couple books.
Bon Voyage kit (see my post here).
Baby Health & Personal Care
For baby’s toiletries, I have a dedicated pouch in which I store all his things. I make sure I have the following:
Travel sized shampoo, wash and lotion.
Baby nail clippers and file.
Baby medicine, thermometer and teething gel.
First aid kit (band-aids, alcohol pads, q tips, gauze etc.)
What you will need to get around varies depending on your family size, but in general here is what you should bring when traveling with your baby:
Stroller: I would recommend a durable one with a sunshade, cup holder and large pocket underneath.
Baby carrier: Personally, I love my Ergo.
Car seat: If you’re planning on renting a car or using taxis, then a car seat is needed. If you utilize travel services, however, you may not need one. For example, if you stay on property on Disney and take the magical express to and from your hotel.
Items Specific to Location Destination
This is the funnest part about packing for me. Digging out your goods that are specific to the place you are visiting. It’s all about fashion with this one!
When I go to Disney, I get out all my Disney clothes, mickey mouse ears etc. If I am going to the beach in the Dominican Republic, I get out my swim suit cover ups, sarongs, wide brimmed hats. If I’m going on a hiking trip, I round up my tennis shoes, workout gear, fitbit and water backpack. See my post here for specific items to bring on specific vacation destinations.
I have a love hate relationship with packing. As fun and exciting as it is, it is also a time of stress and anxiety. I never know what to bring and I always over pack.
Vacations are awesome because you have an excuse to really go all out and dress in the best of the best. Get out all of your best– fanciest dresses, highest heels, sparkiest jewels. You can never be overdressed on a vacation.. only under dressed. And remember, *never* pay retail price for clothing!
Note: You are not required to pack everything on the list, this is a general guide, and it is up to you to pick and choose which items you feel are necessary to bring with you.
Drivers License/State ID
Contact numbers for lost or stolen cards
Book and magazine
Journal, notebook and pen
Business cards for new friends
Change of clothes
Guidebooks, travel information
Ziplock baggies, plastic laundry bags
Wine opener (checked luggage)
On the go coffee mug
Empty tote bag
Cell phone and charger
Digital camera with charger, memory card, batteries and accessories