Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Disney Land and Sea Vacation Part 2...


I'm back with Part 2 of our EPIC Disney Land and Sea Vacation Recap.  If you missed the first post, you can read all about the fun we had at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.  To catch you up to speed, my family of six along with the Shull party of six just got back from a week's worth of fun combining Disney World WITH a Disney Cruise.  It was an absolutely magical trip!

On Saturday morning we headed to EPCOT!

Our first stop was Spaceship Earth with these two crazies.  :)

I wish you could see this picture better, but the picture they took in the little cart has me with my mouth open like I'm screaming!  What was I doing??

Right after that, we popped over to meet Mickey and his friends.  Most of the group was excited to see him...

I've NEVER seen Britt move faster IN MY LIFE!  She was SPEEDY getting away from Mickey!  We decided the characters just weren't her thing. #dontyouagree

*Sidenote-I've talked to a LOT of families who mention they have a kiddo who is scared of characters, or not into characters.  I'm here to tell you Britt was terrified, but it wasn't a big deal AT ALL.  I didn't force anything.  I just held her while the rest of the crew introduced themselves.  And if I wouldn't have had other kiddos, we would have just skipped this area.  Disney World is ALL THE THINGS...there are rides, characters, shows, parades, can easily steer clear of one entire aspect of the parks if it'd be better for your family.  Just wanted to add that. :)

This spot in Epcot is a great one to meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie.  They took plenty of time with our kiddos and we got some great pictures.

This picture reminded me so much of this one from years before....{where is Bowen?}

Then we let everyone run off some energy at this cute little playground.

Someone thought she was BIG STUFF hanging with those big kiddos.

I think I've shared before how my big kiddos are super helpful when it comes to Britt.  While I was watching them play, I saw this.  Ebby Lee is like a second mama to Britt.  She is so sweet with her.

And even more proof.  :)  

We stopped in Mexico for chips, guacamole, and salsa and it was DELICIOUS!!!

Then it was time for the Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride in Mexico.

My favorite thing about this ride was our entire crew all fit in a boat, which is rare when there are twelve in your party!  And #nowait.

Then we headed to Norway!  You guys!  I think every adult had a "moment" while we were on this trip about these sweet girls being here with us.  We don't take that for granted for a second.  We serve a BIG, BIG God who knew that crazy crew of ten needed them.  Do these cuties look pumped to be ready for the Frozen ride?


This Frozen ride did NOT disappoint!

I was a big fan, and please note...Britt is waving to Ana. 

We did a little shopping before moving on to the next country.

CHINA!!  I can't believe I don't have a single picture.  Shay and I tried to take different pictures and I think she has all of those.  :)

Next stop was Germany, where this group of guys was playing a random assortment of buckets, drums, and more.  We were feeling the beat and chilled for a bit to watch.

Nixon and Smith even got in on the action.

In Germany we had lunch reservations at the Biergarten Restaurant.  You can see the stage on the right of the picture.  There are shows scheduled from lunch to dinner time where someone performs.  It was GREAT and so cute!  We feasted on a buffet of ALL THE GERMAN food.  I LOVED it!  I'm a big fan of sauerkraut so anytime I can have that...I'm a happy girl.  :)

I'm telling you...super cute restaurant.

Miss Britt had enough fun and was wiped.  This is what Britt and Madeley did daily.  We didn't go back for naps.  They just fell asleep in the stroller or while being held and would nap.  Those fourth kiddos are so different.  Shay and I were laughing about how Ebby Lee and Kensington would have needed a sound machine, their special blanket, their favorite animal, and on and on.  Not those two.  

I should have taken a picture but we had the MOST delicious fish and chips in England.  The next time you head to Epcot, HAVE THESE.  Even if you're not hungry, get them anyway.  And you can thank me when you get back.  ;)

Then Shay and I hung with the littles while the rest of the crew waited in line for Soarin'.  While in line...
Bowen lost TWO TEETH!  Not one, friends.  TWO!  How does that even happen?  The guys texted us to let us know and the "tooth fairy" hit up a store to leave a Disney World toy on his pillow the next morning.  

Our dinner reservations were for one of my favorite places...Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
The big boys were too cool {I legit think they went to the bathroom while we were taking a picture with Belle.  GREAT planning on their part}.  Britt managed one picture, and toward the end Bowen was too tired to keep getting up and down out of his seat.  haha!

And at the end of the night, we made our way back to the bus stop.

Sunday, we woke up ready for our Disney Cruise!!

We wasted no time getting beach ready.  ;)

My cruise get-up for the day...cover-up, hat, and sandals.

Just look how much they've grown!

Same spot just two years later.

Welcome to our stateroom...we had a Deluxe Family Stateroom with a Verandah.  To save a little money, instead of Shay getting two rooms and us getting two rooms, we got three total.  We put an adult from each family and the big girls in the extra stateroom. {for booking purposes so we could split the room cost right down the middle}  This room happened to be right in between the other two.  The dads took turns staying with the big girls.  It worked perfectly!  For families out there with more than three kiddos, it was super easy!  We linked my credit card to my guests and Shay's card to her guests.  Super easy!

The view from the other side of the room.  Disney Cruise does an amazing job of accommodating guests.  At night our room attendant would come in and turn that couch into a bottom bunk and pull the top bunk out of the wall.  Then as soon as we left in the morning he'd come in and turn it back into a sitting area.

Someone slept through the entire lifeboat drill.  ;)

We headed back up to the main deck for the Sail Away Party!

Mickey and friends were all there!

We got cleaned up quickly for our first dinner.

I know you can hardly see my shoes, but I'm wearing those wedges everyone is talking about.  If you've been on the fence, you should try them.  They're comfy, cute, and under $80!  And Ebby Lee's shoes are pretty cute too.

Our first restaurant was Animator's Palate.  It was my favorite on our last cruise.  {We cruised on a different ship two years ago, but they had an Animator's Palate as well.}  They've changed it up a bit and instead of the entire restaurant going from black/white to color they showed a how-characters-are-created-video mid-dinner and had a little show.  Super cute!

Love this guy so much!

My dress is from meandmrsjonesboutique in downtown McKinney, but they do have a website.

This girlie was living her best life....macaroni and cheese every night!

This is how my night began.  HOLY YUM!!!  I can't remember the exact name but it was some sort of truffle pasta and it was DELICIOUS!

As soon as the kiddos were finished eating, one of us would take them to childcare.  Britt {because she was under 3} had to go to the nursery, but all the other kiddos got to go together.  They played in there for about an hour.  Then we'd pick them up to head to the show.

On the first night, we watched The Golden Mickeys.  The show was an award style show that brought out all different kinds of performances.  Super cute and a great way to spend the first night!

That's it for Part 2.  Remember, if you missed Part 1, be sure to read about all the fun we had at Disney World.  And if you'd like help planning your own Disney World, Disney Cruise or maybe a Disney Land and Sea Vacation, please reach out to us.  We'd love to help!  {We're also sending new clients to all-inclusives in Mexico and cruises all around the world.}  Shoot us an e-mail and we'll get some information to you ASAP.

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tuesday Talk

Hey There, Friends!

Happy Tuesday!  It's time for another TUESDAY TALK with Fancy Ashley.  On the third Tuesday of every month we host a link-up and would love for you to join us.  The idea is can chat about anything and everything.  

It's March 20th, which to me means SPRING is HERE!  The weather is warmer, the days are longer, lots of food made on the grill, and SHOWER SEASON!!  Wedding showers, baby showers, adoption name it.  I feel like this is the popular time for all those showers.  It got me thinking about best gifts to give for those occasions.  Sometimes a gift that's a bit different can stand out as the BEST EVER?  

Those are the ideas I'm looking for.  :)

 What was the BEST gift you received as a wedding present?  Does a special gift stand out to you?  If so, PLEASE share because we should be gifting it to others!

And I'm sure I got a TON of amazing things as a new bride, but I can't remember!  EEK!  I feel awful saying that!  I think the time has caused me to forget.  :)  Almost 13 years ago, friends. 

Please share your best wedding gift....if you can remember.  ;)

Or as a mom with a new baby, what gift really stood out to you??  Did you have one you just loved?

A few ideas I've experienced or heard from friends {these are more helpful things/not so much gifts}...

*I remember talking to my cousin right after she had her baby.  She was bragging on some sweet ladies in her town.  She had lots of amazing friends sign up for meals, but two of her friends brought her all kinds of goodies for breakfast.  Cut up fresh fruit, homemade cinnamon rolls, oatmeal, and on and on.  I think it stuck out to her because it was different AND super helpful!

*That same cousin {her tribe must be GOOD...haha!} mentioned a friend bringing her all kinds of paper products.  Paper plates, napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, and more...we all have to use that stuff and it made her life a little easier.

*Something I remember well after having Bowen was friends offering to take my big kiddos out of the house.  As a mom to a new baby, you want to just sit and snuggle that new baby and with older kiddos, you just don't have a lot of time for that.  It was so helpful to me when a friend would take my big kids so I could just stare at baby Bowen OR do some laundry.  ;)

*When we got home from China last summer, one friend dropped off a ton of lunch/snack goodies for the kiddos.  It was summer time, everyone was home, and if you're kiddos are like mine they want to eat 24/7 so it was so nice to instantly have this big batch of options.  

What about a baby gift?  I'd love to hear about your favorite baby gift!  Or something you do for new mamas in your town!  I'm hoping to "up" my gift giving game right after this post.  haha!

I cannot WAIT to read your suggestions!  Thank you in advance, ladies!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Disney Land and Sea Vacation Part 1...

Hey, Hey Friends!

It's so good to see you.  :)

To say we just had the BEST Spring Break with the Shull Family would be an huge understatement.  It was FABULOUS, AMAZING, and an EXCEPTIONALLY AWESOME vacation.  One we'll be talking about for years and years to come.  

If you guys remember, {I don't really know how you'd forget because I talked about it forever} two spring breaks ago, we went on a Disney Cruise with the Shull Family.  It was on that exact trip where we had a BLAST that Shay and I planned our FRAMILY TRIPS {you can read more about our FRAMILY FUN} for many, many years to come.  FOR REAL!  On that trip, we decided in 2018, we'd do a Disney Land and Sea vacation.  And the big day FINALLY came!

I have a couple random things for you before we get started with Part ONE...

*You can read all about our first Disney Cruise in 2016 here.

*I talk to a lot of women/moms who are pumped about the idea of a Disney Cruise, but there husbands aren't on board.  I think everyone {especially hubbies} have an idea in their head about a Disney Cruise being like 24/7 Mickey Mouse...Mickey breakfasts, Mickey in the room, just Mickey EVERYWHERE.  I'm gonna be honest and tell you Tab Slaughter was in that camp but after our cruise in 2016 he's now the President of the "You Should Go on a Disney Cruise Club".  When we discussed going back, he was ALL OVER IT!  Disney Cruise Line is an amazing cruise line that offers super clean staterooms, delicious food, and some magical Disney moments.  But the entire cruise isn't ALL MICKEY, ALL THE TIME.

*I must tell you-just because I know some of you will ask.  This trip was in no way paid, free, or sponsored.   I know lots of bloggers receive paid vacations, but this was not one of those.  Unfortunately, I've never been offered a free trip {but if you're reading and would like to offer one of those please e-mail me ASAP.  hahaha!}  Disney didn't pay us to go.  We booked it just like we book all our other Disney World trips.  The only difference is we got to keep the commission on the sale.  I'm telling you this because I want you to know this review and trip recap is 100% genuine.  We talk to so many people about Disney World trips and Disney Cruises that we got bit by the Disney bug and were stoked about making this trip happen for our families.

*A Disney Land and Sea vacation is when you combine the magic of a Disney World trip with the relaxation of a Disney Cruise.  It was everything we thought it would be and more.  Shay and I have both done Disney World and Disney Cruise trips separately but we wanted to experience the magic of doing the trips at the same time.

Okay, I think that's all my random info before we get started!  If you'd like help planning your next vacation, we are currently accepting new client vacations for Walt Disney World, Mexican all-inclusives and cruises all around the world that depart AFTER June 1, 2018.  (We plan trips for existing clients anywhere in the world outside the Continental US.)  Coming soon...we are going to be opening up a new area for new clients, so stay tuned for that!  You can reach us at . 

We set out late Wednesday afternoon to Orlando, Florida!  These two couldn't have been more excited!

I tend to forget to link clothes on trip recaps, but I'm gonna do my best.  If we're wearing anything current, I'll link it for you.  :)  Bowen's shirt is from Old Navy, jeans, and his favorite shoes.  Britt's clothes are all Matilda Jane and these are her little glitter tennis shoes.

My favorite jacket thanks to Sheaffer.  ;)

Three Slaughter girls ready to get our Spring Break on!

My dress, my sandals, and my bag {similar but different color options.}

Britt cracked me up.  She didn't want to be held on that plane.  She wanted her own seat, own headphones, and she wanted to watch her own thing.

The next morning we met up with the Shull Family {we'd taken different flights} to grab the Magical Express to Disney World.

Britty was DISNEY READY!  Check out her band.  ;)

Four of my favorites!

We quickly checked into our Disney World Resort...The Wilderness Lodge.  I cannot say enough great things about this resort.  The resort was beautiful.  It had a super cozy vibe and was just perfect.

The scenery around the resort was gorgeous!

This was the view from our room...this cute courtyard on one side.

And the pool/lake view on the other side.

A few reasons why we chose this resort...
*Location-we took the boat to Magic Kingdom and the bus to the other parks.
*The Amenities-there are several restaurants located on the property which made breakfast super easy, along with great rooms {more about our room in a second}.
*Deluxe Resort and Great Price-As a Deluxe Resort on Disney's property this one also comes with a smaller price tag.  Win-win!

Image courtesy of Walt Disney World.

I took pictures of the room but realized as I was working on this post that one kiddo wasn't wearing pants.  WHY'd I not notice that while I was taking them?  #momlife #boys

I wanted you to see the rooms though because they were SUPER cute!  We got the rooms with bunk beds so they had a queen bed and twin bunks.  If you do the math, that's not enough room for my family of six.  Right?  Instead of the Shulls getting two rooms and us getting two rooms, we got three rooms.  At the Wilderness Lodge, we let the extra room be the "big boys" room.  {On the cruise, we did the same thing, but the "big girls" got the extra room.}  The dads took turns staying in there with them. And the boys thought it was super cool to have their own space.  For large families traveling together, this worked SO WELL!

We dropped our bags off and headed straight to Hollywood Studios for the day!

I wish I would have captured Ebby Lee's entire face, but you can see part of the excitement she had about heading into the park.  We were ALL feeling this way!

We HAD to get a picture of all of our "THINGS" right inside the park.  Shay ordered these months ago.  {And yes, we know Dr. Seuss is not part of Disney but with eight little kiddos on a vacation together-we thought it was just cute.}  I absolutely LOVE the way this turned out.  In the order of arrival... :)

We were so excited to be here!!

Our first Hollywood Studios stop was Tower of Terror. 

It was at this point we couldn't decide if our kids were gonna be stoked to ride all the rides or if they'd refuse the rest of them due to being so scared.  haha!

My top {I sized up and knotted the front}, my jeans, and my tennis shoes...we knew it was gonna be a bit chilly this day but I underestimated the Florida cool!

Do these two look a bit nervous??
Because they totally were. :)

EEEK!  Here we go...

I got to sit beside these two brave souls and by brave I mean the two who's entire bodies were SHAKING when we got off the ride.  hahaha!

Next up was the Toy Story ride and it did not disappoint!

The babies were excited to get to participate in this one.

My riding partner :)

This ride was more Bowen's speed.

Please note...the army guy is wearing Bowen's green sunglasses.

Shay made holding these two at one time look easy.  Trust's not!

The magic that is the Frozen Sing Along.  It was snowing!  

Britt wasn't feeling the snow.

Star Wars' ride was up next!

Then we split up for a bit and Bowen and Ashby ended up being the stars of this little show...
When asked, "How long have you known each other?".  They responded, "A LOT".  hahaha!

And they got a little trophy for participating.  They were so proud!

We grabbed some front row seats to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show.  The kiddos were INTO this one!

Then we had dinner at 50's Prime Time, a diner restaurant, set in the 1950's that serves up comfort food.  I had the beef stroganoff and it was delicious!

These two littles hung like a big all day.  So so proud of these littles!

We CRASHED that night and were up early for MAGIC KINGDOM on Day 2!
The Wilderness Lodge has a boat taxi that takes you to Magic Kingdom.

We enjoyed our little boat ride over to the park.


There's just something about walking down Main Street U.S.A.  It's magical.  What can I say?

Our first stop was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

This makes me laugh.  Some of them look a little unsure.

Buzz Lightyear Ride Time!

My crew on the ride.

Part of the Shull crew

Then we split up and did a few girl things with the girlies and the guys took all the boys.

Enchanted Tales with Belle was fun and I got to see...

the CUTEST salt shaker I've ever seen.  ;)

Everyone took a quick pictures with Belle before we rode The Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

While the boys rode Dumbo and...

The Barnstormer.

All SMILES on this one!

We met up right before lunch and got to watch the show in front of the castle for a few minutes.  I'm telling you friends...MAGICAL!

At this point, Britt was HUNGRY!

But she was still trying to hang with the big kids.  ha!

Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Rapunzel, and Tiana all joined Mickey and Minnie for this one. 

We had lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern and I might have eaten EVERY SINGLE BITE of my fish and chips.  Apparently, Disney World makes me have an APPETITE!

Then I took a turn with the littles while the rest of the group rode Splash Mountain.  It just so happened the parade was about to roll through so we stopped to enjoy!

My crew being so patient.

We saw Belle...

and Rapunzel.

Dopey got CLOSE!  haha!

So sweet!

And we ended with Mickey and Minnie!

Then I grabbed us some popcorn, drinks, suckers, and some SHADE while we waited!

We joined the crew for the Seven Dwarfs' Mine Train...such a cute ride!

This little riding partner got BRAVER throughout the day.  So proud of him!

Our crew was hot, tired, and ready for a little break so we monorailed over to The Grand Floridian to enjoy some dinner.  They had a huge grassy area with toys for the kiddos so they played while we ate.  We decided to stay put and watch the fireworks' show from this spot.

In the mean time, we grabbed the kiddos' some dessert.  Check out my face...hahaha!

Britt kept us entertained.

And then we watched the fireworks.  It was absolutely perfect!  The Grand Floridian had speakers piping in the music AND IT WASN'T CROWDED!  I'm telling you...after a day full of the parks, it was perfect!

The dads decided to earn their badges for BEST DADS EVER and took the big kiddos back to Magic Kingdom for a few more rides.  Shay and I took the littles back for baths and bedtime.

After a few more rides...this was Bowen on the boat taxi back to the resort.  

I'd call Day TWO a HUGE SUCCESS.  :)

Did I take pictures of everything we did?  Absolutely not.  I tried my best to have a good balance of picture-taking AND being in the moment.  So there were lots of meals/shows/rides/etc. not pictured. 

 We get asked a lot about how many nights to stay at Disney World so that you can do everything?  My answer is always, "You'd have to stay at Disney for MONTHS in order to hit everything".  Our families tackled this trip with a-we'll hit our must-do's and then we'll be spontaneous and have time to catch some magic.  The clients I talk to that have the best time at Disney World are the clients who aren't stressed about seeing and doing everything.  {Secret...because it's impossible to see and do everything at Disney in one small vacation.}  When you have every minute of your stay scheduled, sometimes you can miss the magic.  And we didn't want to do that.  One of my favorite parts of our Magic Kingdom day was that parade with the littles.  And it totally wasn't planned.  ;)  Hope that makes sense!

Also, if you have questions about how we can plan a WDW vacation for your family, email us.  That is the best way to get the info you need about a Disney vacation. :)

Thanks for reading!  More recaps coming soon, friends!

I'm glad to be back here.