Finding Dory at the Beach: What not to “Forget”

This is my third summer of having a kid at the beach (and now i have two kiddos)! I thought I’d give moms and dads some tips & tricks for beaching with kids – inspired by Finding Dory (I don’t want you to “forget” anything)!

I live at the beach.  Before I had kids I used to go most weekends with friends and cheap beer in a solo cup.  After I had my first kid, my occasional trip became the once in a blue moon because I was afraid about the amount of work it took to get everything you need for a 1-year-old and two adults.  Now that I’ve been beaching with kids for three summers, I’ve learned a couple of things.  It’s all about confidence, patience and better alcohol.  And some of things I’ve listed below:

  1. A tent.  With little ones a tent is a must.  One that blocks UV Rays is key.We got ours at Bed, Bath and Beyond (with a 20% off coupon!)ring sling
  2. Water ring sling.  I have an infant – but that doesn’t keep us from the beach.  We spend a lot of time around water and I need my hands free to be on 2-year-old watch.  This is key for a stress-free beach trip with a baby!  You can order one online at Beachfront Baby.
  3. Snacks.  We usually stock up on fruit and chips.  Finger foods that the kids can grab and go are best.  Our kids don’t have the patience for anything longer (they are too busy building the next sandcastle!).  Have a snack that is their favorite/special.  Ours is fruit snacks.  We use these as a bribe to get our 2-year-old to sit down to reapply sunscreen or drink some water to stay hydrated.  We got these Finding Dory fruit snacks in a jumbo box at Costco! finding dory fruit snacks
  4. Mommy & Daddy Juice.  We believe if you are spending the day at the beach, a cold drink is a must.  However, our local beaches are alcohol free.  So, we stick our drinks coffee mugin coffee tumblers!  They hide the drink and they keep them cool for longer! Win/win!
  5. Beach Cart.  How else are you supposed to carry everything?  I stick everything in the beach cart, I wear the baby in my water ring sling and its basically a hands free trip through the sand!  We ordered ours off of Amazon.
  6. Friends/Family.  I don’t do beach trips without at least one extra person that loves my kids almost as much as I do.  Beaching is fun, but it is hard with tiny ones.  The items listed above are great- but without an extra set of adult hands its near impossible for me!

Want to visit other fun Finding Dory inspired blog posts this month?  Check out this Month of Finding Dory !!

Today I’m Drinking: Natty Greene’s Lexington Spring IPA

Professional AND Parent

I just got back from my annual national convention. It’s an event I look forward to attending every year. (A lot of the time it’s in Orlando and I extend my trip so my family can go to Disney World after!!!) So this year, the convention was a week after I returned to work from maternity leave. I am still breastfeeding and I’m pumping at work. I did not build up ANY stash while I was on leave (tbh its because I’m lazy!) and I couldn’t leave the baby at home. So I took my 2.5 month old on a round trip across the country to develop myself professionally, while being a mom.

I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to turn on and off mom-mode/work-mode. But you know what happened when I got there? Exactly what happens every year when I don’t take my kids. I grew. Only this time – I grew in a way that showed other women you can do it all. Sure, I had to make more time for feeding the baby – but I used this time to reflect on the session I was just in, or the conversation I just completed with a colleague. In my sessions- I was fully focused on learning and when I left my sessions I spent the walk back to the baby networking with others in my field.

What I realized was that there wasn’t any time to turn on and off any sort of myself. I was doing it all at once. It seemed natural to me – weaving in and out of professional vs personal situations. By the end of the weekend the lines had blurred.IMG_0480But other men and women saw me – and they complimented me, they congratulated me, and they called me superwoman. I didn’t feel like superwoman, I felt normal. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything extra. I hope that more women feel like this. If they choose to work while starting a family, I hope that they are in an environment, and we are in a place in society, that makes it feel natural to do both. Work and be a mom- and sometimes at the same time.

I work in a field that welcomes family. I am lucky in this aspect and it is one of the reasons I chose my profession. But I hope that every working mom and dad have the same feelings at some point – that you don’t have to turn off being a parent to be a professional.

Today I’m drinking: Not Your Father’s Root Beer

How many Mickey’s are there at Disney?

I have the same conversation every time I tell someone I worked at Disney World:

Them: Wow that’s awesome! What character were you?

Me: I wasn’t (they are briefly disappointed, so I quickly move on) – I worked as a hostess at a restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. It was a lot of fun!

Them: I bet!  So how many Mickey’s are there really?

That’s the most popular question.  So simple.  It is asked with a wink and nod, as if to say, “I know you know, and since we are both adults you can tell me.”  So I’m finally going to answer it, once and for all.

There is only ONE Mickey Mouse. 

Do you know how I know this? The same way you do.  When was the last ti me you saw two Mickey’s at once? You haven’t.  When was the last time you noticed any difference in Mickey, besides his costume?  You haven’t.  So then, how does he get around to all of the parks and meet and greets? And how is he in the 3 o’clock parade, but your kid just saw him at Town Square Theater?  But really, how many Mickey’s are there?

There is only ONE Mickey Mouse.

The way Mickey gets around so quickly and meets so many kids each day is MAGIC.  There is a reason that Disney is the most magical place on earth.  It’s because Disney is full of magic!  As a former Cast Member and Disney-a-holic, asking how many Mickey’s are at WDW is the most idiotic question someone could ask me.  So let’s stop talking about how many Mickey’s you think there are in the parks.  Instead, let’s just focus on how magical it is when you see the one-and-only-Mickey.  Disney works because people believe in the magic.  I won’t be the person that ruins the magic for anyone.  Not even myself!

There is only ONE Mickey Mouse.

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Today I’m drinking: Port City Optimal Wit

Staying Flexible = More Magical Moments

Parenting Tip: Don’t get too caught up on planning every moment with toddlers at Disney. Be flexible and let the magical moments happen!

I’m a control freak and a planner.  Ask my husband, he can attest.  I like things done my way and by my rules.  I’ll admit I have relaxed a bit since having kids, but as far as most aspects of my life, I need to be the person directing traffic.  I like to be in charge at work, at home and even in our around town activities.  Most of the time this works out for me, except when it comes to Disney.

If you are planning a trip to Disney with toddlers, this post is for you.  You can plan, organize and feel 100% prepared heading into your vacation, but thinking you will actually get to stay in control is completely unrealistic.  And you know what? It’s okay.  It’s actually better because you never know what other kind of magic is in store for your family.  I know this because I just lived it…

We like to plan spontaneous trips to Disney (we live close enough to drive).  We do one day in the park and because we have two kids 2 and under, we choose Magic Kingdom.  MK is crowded, but it has the most opportunities for the kids.  I always choose our Fast Passes for the morning so we have time to pick another one later in the day.  Our plan this last time was to do our FastPass rides, then head back to the hotel for nap time and come back later in the  afternoon for the rest of the evening.  Obviously, because I planned this out, it did not happen.  My two-year-old fell asleep iFullSizeRendern the stroller two hours before normal nap time. Then we decided to stay a little longer in the parks since she had already napped and catch the 3 o’clock parade and then head back.  On the way to our spot for the parade, she fell asleep again.  We didn’t want to risk waking her up to get on a bus back to the hotel, so we decided to jump on the monorail and visit the Polynesian.  She slept for a full hour and half – in the meantime, we got a drink at the bar.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until dinner time.  We ordered pizza, relaxed on the beds, changed clothes and headed back to MK.  We arrived right as the Main Street Electrical Parade was beginning and we had front row seats.  This was my daughters first time seeing the parade.  It was amazing.  She was enthralled.  We then headed to Dumbo because before nap number one, my daughter had really wanted to ride.  The line was short and we got on within 20 minutes.  She giggled the entire ride.

We left Magic Kingdom at closing and our daughter was the hit of the bus ride on the way home.  She was polite and funny and the only kid not cranky, crying or sleeping (we lucked out).  But I thought about my plans I had for the beginning of the day, realized they didn’t happen, but we still had a great day.

Having kids has made me “go with the flow” more often than ever.  When I was younger, I planned out every minute of every vacation (I brought a binder to Vegas for my 21st birthday #nerdalert).  Now, the best things happen when I let things just go with the flow.  Like being able to catch happy hour with my husband while the kids slept or seeing the look on my daughter’s face the first time she rode Dumbo.  Both of which, would not have happened if I had made us follow our plans.

Today I’m Drinking: Coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

The Disney Magic-O-Meter: Kid vs. Adult vs. Parent?

I am a self-proclaimed Disney connoisseur.  Why do I feel qualified to make such a bold statement?  Simply because I have experienced Disney in four very important ways, three of which are the topic of this post.  I have been to Disney as a kid, an adult, a cast member, and a parent.  There is something special about each stage. So what’s the best way to experience Disney?  Let’s find out!

Being a Kid at Disney:  I went to Disneyland when I was one – so I obviously, don’t remember that.  The first time I went to Disney World I was nine.  It. was. Awesome.

  • Everything is magical. 
  • Meeting your idol is nothing short of spectacular (as a 9 year old I spent 2 hours waiting to meet Mickey – thank goodness for Fast Passes now-a-days!)
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Ultimate dress up day. This is amazing for your prince and princess!
  • You can eat everything and not worry about the calories (Dole Whips! Mickey Ice Cream! Turkey Legs!)

Being an Adult at Disney:  I worked at Magic Kingdom when I was 22 and went multiple times with family and my boyfriend/husband.

  • 29371_693422863272_4139836_nEverything is magical.  Everything is still magical because you want it to be, plus you understand and appreciate the lengths the Disney Company goes to make sure you have the best vacation.
  • Alcohol.  If you are 21, and anywhere but Magic Kingdom, you can enjoy a cold one as you stroll around the parks.  This is a game changer.
  • You have a new appreciation for EPCOT World Showcase.  If you parents didn’t let you buy the passport to get stamped as you traveled the world, you may have felt the World Showcase as a kid was less than exciting.  As an adult, you get to eat and drink from cultures all around the world, all in one day.  Winning.

Being a Parent at Disney:  I’ve taken my 2 year old Princess to Disney 3 times already, and planning for the new addition (my little Prince) to join us soon!

  • Everything is magical (notice a trend here?).  Something2014-06-09 19.59.50 inside you changes when you bring your kid to Disney for the first time.  Watching them react to the “magic” is something I can’t even put into words.
  • Starbucks Coffee in the parks. Moms and dads know – we can’t get through the days without this and now we can enjoy a hot cup of Sbux at every park!!
  • Belle’s Enchanting Tales.  This one is so much better as a parent.  To be able to see you kid interact with Belle is special.  To just visit this attraction without kids (and just your MIL) – it’s pretty awkward.

THE VERDICT: It’s a tie! All three of these stages get a 10 out of 10 on the Disney Magic-O-Meter! I really believe that Disney is the best at any age.  There is always something to enjoy at every park for every age.

 

Today I’m Drinking: Boxed Wine (don’t judge, you know you have some in your fridge too)

My daughter’s 1st word was Minnie…

Maybe.  Or it could have been shit. In all reality, we can’t remember what her first word was.  We know she said Mama and Dada, but I wanted to know what her first real word was.  By “we” I mean – no one.  My husband, my sister, our parents, our friends…I have asked everyone if they remember and no one does.  This is one of those things that I thought would be super important to me.  When she first started cooing and giggling, I wondered what her voice would sound like saying her first word.12191957_10102342740915632_727564419832500394_n

We know what the early words were; Minnie and shit were actually two of them, but we don’t have record of the first one.  And you know what? I don’t actually care.  It is kind of funny that my husband and I have millions of pictures and videos of every other “first” but knowing were this talk-o-holic, 2-year-old started her journey is something that I don’t worry about anymore.

In fact, my plan is to make up a different word and story each time she asks.  This could get fun.

Parenting Tip: You don’t have to capture every moment.

Today I’m drinking: Brooklyn Summer Ale

 

 

How I became the “Drunk Disney Mom”

I am constantly talking to my friends about Disney.  They know that my office is filled with Walt quotes, family vacation pictures, and a “happy box” decorated with hidden Mickey’s (another post about the importance of a happy box later to come).  My college friends know that after college, I spent 6 months working for the mouse as a seater at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Lady and Tramp themed):

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Hot. I know.  But the best part? Everyone you work with looks like this, so you get over it quickly (except when you have to stop and pump gas in your costume – then it’s awkward).

So, I love Disney.  And in February 2014 I became a mom (to a baby human, we have 2 dogs and cat which made me a fur-mommy early on).  My daughter’s first outfit? Snow White.  On the last day of March this year, I became a mom to my son.  His first outfit? A Mickey Mouse woven blanket and hat.  So now to that drunk part.  I think my husband summed it up best:

Parenting without alcohol is like taking a math class without a calculator.  Can you do it? Sure. But why the hell would you?

Knowing all of these things about me (the fact I love Disney, I’m a mom and I drink), led me to want to spread my knowledge, and sometimes humor of what my life is like – as well as offer real world advice to others headed to Disney (or to those that just want a little more magic in their dull lives).  I came to this conclusion after a recent conversation I had with one of my best college friends…

Her sister-in-law was taking her kids to Disney for the first time and needed some “insider tips.”  She had been searching online and was overwhelmed with information.  She just wanted some basic pointers.  On a lunch break, I sent a quick email back to her with some basics of each park and ideas tailored to the age of her kids.  Honestly, I don’t even remember the details of the email because most of the info was just general knowledge for me.  In our conversation, I asked my friend how her sister-in-law and the kids liked Disney.  She said they had a blast (of course!) and that she was so thankful for my information.  Then she told me a story that really hit home for me: She said the kids had waited a while in line for a ride (in between their FastPass+ reservations) and as they were getting off the ride, the cast member asked if they liked the ride and wanted to ride again.  They said,”yes! how?!” and the cast member led them directly back to the front of the line and put them right back on the ride.  We in “biz” call that a “Magical Moment,” and that’s exactly how the family felt.  What made it a “Magical Moment” for me?  The mom was sure that they got to do that because they were wearing their “First Timer” buttons that I told them to grab on their way into their first park and not take off the entire trip!

That was an awesome feeling.  I joking told my friend, someone should hand me a bottle of wine and tape me just talking about all the great things about Disney – then everyone would have the best “drunken” inside scoop.  And thus – this blog was born.

Follow me on Twitter: @DrunkDisneyMom

Today I’m drinking: Brooklyn Lager (in a coozie that reads Keep Your Friends Close and Your Drinks Closer)