Catie – Chip and Co http://www.chipandco.com Disney Theme Park & Disney Movie News, Disney World & Disneyland Planning Tips, Disney Dining, Reviews and More! Fri, 29 Apr 2016 23:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 http://i1.wp.com/www.chipandco.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/512-icon-54ced060v1_site_icon.png?fit=32%2C32 Catie – Chip and Co http://www.chipandco.com 32 32 Top 5 Random But Necessary Must Pack Items for Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/top-5-random-necessary-must-pack-items-disney-world-233143/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-5-random-necessary-must-pack-items-disney-world-233143/#respond Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:52:45 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=233143 Last week I wrote about packing for the ever-changing Disney weather – and I hope that advice was helpful to you as you plan for your next trip to Walt Disney World! When it comes to packing for Disney, I have a LOT of experience – and I have some seemingly random items that you […]

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Suitcases

Last week I wrote about packing for the ever-changing Disney weather – and I hope that advice was helpful to you as you plan for your next trip to Walt Disney World! When it comes to packing for Disney, I have a LOT of experience – and I have some seemingly random items that you will want to pack to help make your trip go more smoothly.

Read on for my Top 5 Random But Necessary Must-Pack Items for Disney World:

Bags – LOTS Of Them: I’m talking plastic bags here – shopping bags, and Ziploc baggies in assorted sizes too. They come in handy for a LOT of things – keeping your valuables safe during rain or wet rides is a big one, and they can also store half eaten snacks, or hang on to those pressed pennies, or keep your Disney pins and backings in one place. There are so many uses for bags while at Disney that you just need to trust me on this and make sure you bring some along to the Parks

Conditioner: Yes, the WDW Resorts provide toiletries – some of them have combined shampoo/conditioners and others have separate bottles of each, but I personally like to bring my own. Why? Well – mostly because the water in Florida tends to make my hair really dry and brittle – between the showers and the pool, Disney is not kind to my hair. So I like to bring my own conditioner from home so I can make sure I am not dealing with a tangled hot mess of hair on vacation. Good idea to have the kiddos use some too – since de-tangling a little one’s hair can be painful for both parent AND child!

Empty Water Bottles: I toss a few of these into my checked luggage (I keep them empty so they don’t weigh down the bag, plus no liquid = no chance that they can explode in the suitcase!) and I fill them with water/ice each morning before I head off to the Parks. Of course there are water fountains at WDW, or you can purchase (expensive) bottled water – but I prefer bringing my own, makes things a lot easier, and helps us all stay hydrated when that Florida sun comes out to shine!

Gum: Little known fact – they do not sell gum at ALL on WDW property – which may seem strange, but it makes sense when you see how clean they keep the Parks. They don’t want messy sticky gum everywhere, and who can blame them? If you’re big on gum, stock up and bring it along with you (it’s especially helpful to keep your ears from popping when on an airplane!)

A Portable Medicine Cabinet: Most people think to bring their daily prescriptions and vitamins/supplements, but what about other medications you might need while away? You can purchase some over the counter items at the Park stores, but they are expensive, and generally come in very small quantities, so should you find yourself with a migraine at the Magic Kingdom, it might cost a pretty penny for enough Excedrin to get you through the day and evening. Tylenol, ibuprofen, band aids/Neosporin, Tums/Pepto Bismol, Nyquil, DayQuil, and Sudafed – those are all things that I like to bring along with me “just in case”

I deem these items “necessary” not because you can’t get them while at WDW, but because bringing them from home has made mine and my family’s life much easier on several occasions. Toting along these little random “comforts of home” helps ensure I have the happiest vacation ever!

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5 Ways You Can Save For Your Next Disney World Vacation http://www.chipandco.com/5-ways-can-save-next-disney-world-vacation-234321/ http://www.chipandco.com/5-ways-can-save-next-disney-world-vacation-234321/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:50:39 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234321 If you’ve decided a Walt Disney World vacation is something you definitely see in your immediate (or even not so immediate) future, then one thing you’ll want to get started on right away is SAVING for it! Not sure where to begin or how you can save for a trip to The Happiest Place On […]

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If you’ve decided a Walt Disney World vacation is something you definitely see in your immediate (or even not so immediate) future, then one thing you’ll want to get started on right away is SAVING for it! Not sure where to begin or how you can save for a trip to The Happiest Place On Earth?

Then read on for 5 ways you can save for your Disney World Vacation:

Setup An Automatic Transfer: Get Savvy with your online banking by setting up an automatic transfer to a separate account that is just for your “vacation fund” – even just a small amount like $5 a week won’t be missed in your day to day budget, but will make a huge difference when it comes to paying off your vacation – that’s $260 a year alone! I set mine up to transfer each payday, and it goes right to a separate savings account from checking – and it’s the perfect way to start saving for Disney

Use Your Tax Refund: By now most of us have already filed our taxes, and some of us might be lucky enough to be getting money back. While there are plenty of ways to spend that money, one of the best ways is to use it to put down a deposit or pay off part (or all!) of your Disney vacation. My husband and I purposely have extra taken out so we can ensure we get at least SOME kind of refund each year, and that makes this the perfect time to book another Disney trip and put some of that tax money to good use

The Disney Gift Card: In case you didn’t know, you can pay off some (or all!) of your Disney trip using gift cards – so next time someone asks what you want for your Birthday or Christmas, instead of struggling to come up with an answer – simply tell them A DISNEY GIFT CARD! They can be purchased almost anywhere – including online or at most grocery stores with a gift card center (which is basically all of them), and they make a perfect gift for you or the Disney Lover in your life. They can be used to pay off the trip, or to pay for things while at Disney, too! They also make a great reward system – create a chore chart for your little ones with Disney gift cards as the prize and they will earn their own trip spending money in no time

Buy Disney Gift Cards At A Discount: Most people I know have a membership to a club store like BJ’s or Sam’s Club, and places like also have gift card centers, where you can get Disney gift cards at a discount. While the discount is usually no more than 5%, that’s still a $100 savings off $2000 worth of Disney fun – and that’s worth it to me! Another way to get discount gift cards is through Target’s Red Card program – I finally broke down and got myself a debit Red card last year, and while the 5% savings may not seem like much, it adds up when you’re constantly there buying diapers, formula, food, toys….the list goes on. Might as well grab some Disney gift cards while you’re at it – 5% makes a difference!

The Disney Chase Visa Card: This is a credit card that offers you $1 in “Disney Reward Dollars” for every $100 that you spend on the card. I use mine for all larger purchases, and also for gas and grocery shopping – and believe me – the reward dollars add up QUICKLY, and they can then be redeemed to a card that can be used like a gift card. I like to save my rewards dollars for Park souvenirs, and it has really been beneficial to me and my family. ALSO – they sometimes have bonuses for signing up/applying for the card, so keep your eye out for that if this is something you are considering

Now, I don’t want to make it seem like I am suggesting everyone run out and apply for credit or debit cards or go buy a BJ’s or Sam’s Club membership – but I will be honest with you – there are some BIG benefits to these for Disney Lovers! These happened to be things I already had/was already doing, so it really didn’t “cost” me anything up front to start saving for my next Disney trip

Once you’ve booked your next trip, I hope you are able to use these tips to your advantage! You should also hit up the dollar store for even more savings on Disney trip essentials – read more about that here. And be sure you check out my Disney Planning Do’s And Don’t’s for even more tips for ensuring your Disney trip is the best ever!

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Traveling With an Infant To Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/traveling-infant-walt-disney-world-229868/ http://www.chipandco.com/traveling-infant-walt-disney-world-229868/#respond Sat, 16 Apr 2016 15:00:20 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=229868 Whether you choose to travel to WDW with just your infant, or you’re heading there with multiple children, there’s no doubt that traveling anywhere with a little one presents some unique challenges for both parents and the child, too. Schedules are interrupted, sensory overload happens, regular diets are all screwed up – all the ingredients […]

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Whether you choose to travel to WDW with just your infant, or you’re heading there with multiple children, there’s no doubt that traveling anywhere with a little one presents some unique challenges for both parents and the child, too. Schedules are interrupted, sensory overload happens, regular diets are all screwed up – all the ingredients are there to make a recipe for disaster. But fear not – to help alleviate some of the stresses that come with infant travel, I have come up with some Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a little one to Disney World:

Don’t Overdo It: There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World that it’s almost instinctual to try and cram as much into a day at the Parks as possible – but RESIST THE URGE to overdo it, no matter how many awesome things you see that you want to do, just take it slow and do a few rides and take breaks often. Head back to your WDW Resort for your little one’s normal naptime – it may seem like a pain to leave the Parks just to return a few hours later, but your little one (and you!) will welcome the break, trust me. And trying to skip nap time is a BIG no no – that just will not work out well for anyone, so don’t even bother trying it

Pack Accordingly: You’ll obviously want to take a well-stocked diaper bag along with you when you head out to the Parks, and you’ll want to make sure it’s a bag that’s comfortable and easy to carry/wear – I suggest a backpack (leaves your hands free for kid-wrangling). Diapers, wipes, sunscreen, hats/sunglasses, extra changes of clothes (yes, multiple), sweatshirt/hoodie/blanket, some smaller toys, and PLENTY of snacks – seriously, if it seems like you’re overdoing it, then you still probably need more. Pouches, puffs/goldfish crackers, granola/cereal bars, pieces of fruit, water bottles/juice boxes – bring them ALL – as you will not want to have to pay for an adult sized snack every time your little one is hungry – as that would get costly in a hurry

Utilize The Baby Care Centers: All 4 WDW Theme Parks have one of these baby centers, which offer a quiet spot to change, feed and nurse your little ones. There are high chairs in the feeding area, a kitchen with a microwave, oven and sink, and an on-site shop where essentials like formula, diapers, and wipes can be purchased. It’s a great place to take one of your breaks, and offers a private place to nurse too. Plus it’s air conditioned – which can really be a huge plus on a hot Orlando day!

Bring A Baby Carrier: Strollers are great, and while they make it way easier to transport your little one, I personally prefer wearing my baby as much as possible when at WDW. For the littlest babies it keeps them close to mom or dad, and helps partly shield them from the sun and noise too. Toddler carriers are great too – they make ergonomic ones that reduce the strain on your back (we like this one!), and you wear them piggyback style, which leaves them able to check out their surroundings easily. Obviously even the littlest ones will feel heavy after a while – but take turns with your partner, and sit down often for breaks. A carrier may not totally replace a stroller, but I personally think it’s a great alternative and can really help out when you’re in big crowds (like there tend to be at Disney!)

Know Before You Go: Do your research on the various rides and shows to know the age/height restrictions – and make a list of ones that might work for you and your little one. Be aware that even the tamest of shows might scare them – so be prepared to get up and leave a show if need be, as the darkness or lights/sounds might be overwhelming to little eyes and ears

Above All – DON’T STRESS! There will be tantrums and meltdowns and crying – and that’s ok – it is normal, it happens, and it is best to just accept it now – it will make your trip much easier, trust me! Taking babies and toddlers to WDW can be a big undertaking – but it can have big rewards too – watching your baby smile at Mickey, or seeing their face light up as they see the castle for the first time – these are the moments that make it all worthwhile

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Top 4 Disney World Resort Activities http://www.chipandco.com/top-4-disney-world-resort-activities-227877/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-4-disney-world-resort-activities-227877/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2016 12:45:16 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=227877 When planning their Walt Disney World vacation, most people will tend to focus on the 4 Theme Parks and plan their days around their visits to these spots – and with good reason – the Theme Parks are FULL of amazing rides, shows, characters, food, parades, and more! But there’s also plenty to do outside […]

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When planning their Walt Disney World vacation, most people will tend to focus on the 4 Theme Parks and plan their days around their visits to these spots – and with good reason – the Theme Parks are FULL of amazing rides, shows, characters, food, parades, and more! But there’s also plenty to do outside the Parks too. Don’t believe me? Well, then I invite you to read on and learn more about all the great NON Theme Park things there are to do at WDW:

Shopping: You can definitely give your credit card a workout with all the amazing stores there are at Walt Disney World – and some of the very best ones are found outside the Theme Parks. Every WDW Resort has at least one souvenir shop that offers a wide variety of Disney gear – and most also offer some specialty shops as well. But the BEST place to shop at Disney, hands down, is Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney) – where a veritable mecca of shopping options awaits – and we aren’t talking just Disney themed stores either – there’s a Harley Davidson store, art stores, jewelry and clothing stores, and MUCH more

Swimming: If you happen to be staying at a WDW owned Resort, then you’ll have multiple options for taking a dip – you’ll find family friendly pools with waterfalls, slides, and toddler play areas; plus there’s quieter/more secluded pools tucked away in various places around the Resort grounds too. Even if you aren’t a big swimmer, you can relax in the sun and enjoy an adult beverage from the nearby pool bar. If you aren’t staying at a WDW Resort – fear not, as it’s likely that your Resort will have at least one pool for you to enjoy – after all, you’re in Florida (where pretty much everyone has a pool)

Explore Your Resort: The Disney Resorts offer TONS of fun on site things to do – most have movie nights, trivia, activities for kids, and more. Plus – there are some great things to see if you take some time to walk around the Resort – play areas, cool photo ops, gardens and other cool décor and landscaping that all adds to the theming. Personally I love to wander around whatever Resort I am staying at, and I recommend you take some time to do this too – you never know what you might find!

Dining: All WDW Resorts (and most offsite hotels too) offer at least one dining location – and they are usually pretty great places to grab a bite! All WDW Value Resorts have large “food court” style eateries – and the food is actually REALLY good at them! There’s your standards like burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza – but there’s also unique items like a Mongolian grill menu, create your own salads, gelato, and plenty of grab’n’go options as well. Most Moderate and Deluxe Resorts offer quick service dining as well as sit down restaurants too – and there are some pretty great places to eat – sushi, steak, seafood, 5 star fare – you name it, the WDW Resorts have got it! So don’t limit yourself to eating just at the Parks – make sure you check out your Resort and neighboring Resorts for dining too

While the Theme Parks are one of the best things about WDW, I think that getting to stay on site at one of the WDW Resorts is almost as good as the Parks – there’s so much to do and see and explore! I HIGHLY recommend you take some time out and check out your Resort – it may seem like just a place to sleep – but it’s got so much more in store for you!

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Packing For The Unpredictable Disney World Weather http://www.chipandco.com/packing-for-the-unpredictable-disney-world-weather-232899/ http://www.chipandco.com/packing-for-the-unpredictable-disney-world-weather-232899/#respond Sat, 26 Mar 2016 23:00:43 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=232899 Packing for your Disney World vacation can be a formidable task – especially if you’re packing for yourself AND your kids (and maybe even your significant other too?!). I recommend making a list and starting well in advance of your departure for WDW – but even if you aren’t into planning ahead, you’ll want to […]

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Packing for your Disney World vacation can be a formidable task – especially if you’re packing for yourself AND your kids (and maybe even your significant other too?!). I recommend making a list and starting well in advance of your departure for WDW – but even if you aren’t into planning ahead, you’ll want to read on and make sure you’re including these in your suitcase:

Rain Gear: Bringing your own ponchos is a MUST – I cannot stress this enough! It is pretty likely that it will rain sometime during your trip to Disney World – and you’ll want to be prepared for when it does! The Parks sell ponchos and umbrellas of course, but it’s much easier and cost effective to bring your own – local dollar stores sell thinner ones, and more durable versions can be purchased at stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Ziploc baggies and shopping bags in assorted sizes can also be a lifesaver to help protect valuables (wallets, cell phones, cameras, etc) from the rain. I like to also bring along a smaller hand towel, to help dry off exposed areas like arms/legs once the rain is done – not a necessity but certainly something that’s nice to have!

Keeping Comfortable In The Heat: Make sure you and your family are packing outfits that are loose, comfortable, and light colored as they will be the best at keeping you cool when the Florida sun makes its appearance. Sunscreen (multiple bottles) is also a must-have – I prefer the spray on kind – I find it more easily applied and absorbed, but whatever your family prefers, make sure to stock up ahead of time so you can bring it along to Disney. You’ll want to tuck a few empty water bottles in your suitcase alongside the sunscreen, as staying hydrated is really important, especially when it’s so hot out (bonus – you’ll save money by bringing your own water bottles and not having to buy bottled water at the Parks!)

It just might get cool at night: While it’s not likely that you’ll need a parka or mittens, you’ll want to make sure you’re packing at least a pair of jeans and a hoodie/sweatshirt in your bag. It can get cooler once the sun goes down, and you’ll be grateful for that hoodie, believe me!

Bag It: When heading to the Parks, stow all these items in a comfortable, easy to wear bag (since you’ll be carrying it around all day!) – I prefer a backpack with padded straps, and I like to choose one that’s gender neutral so that my husband and I can switch off carrying it and he doesn’t have to be embarrassed to tote around a pink glittery Minnie backpack (not that I own one of those…)

The weather in Orlando can change quickly – it can go from being hot and sunny to cold and rainy in a flash, so be prepared and pack for the WDW weather to save time, money, and frustration and help ensure your visit is the happiest it can be!

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6 Reasons Why Adults Will LOVE Disney World As Much As The Kids http://www.chipandco.com/heres-why-adults-will-love-disney-world-as-much-as-the-kids-228808/ http://www.chipandco.com/heres-why-adults-will-love-disney-world-as-much-as-the-kids-228808/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 12:30:58 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=228808 There’s no denying that Walt Disney World is a true kid’s paradise – kids beg and plead to go there, and with good reason – the characters, rides, shows – it’s a magical experience for the little ones. But, believe it or not – there’s a TON of stuff that the grown-ups will love too […]

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There’s no denying that Walt Disney World is a true kid’s paradise – kids beg and plead to go there, and with good reason – the characters, rides, shows – it’s a magical experience for the little ones. But, believe it or not – there’s a TON of stuff that the grown-ups will love too – don’t believe me? Then read on to learn about the Disney Magic For Adults:

The FOOD: Most people think “theme park food” and things like chicken nuggets, hamburgers, and all things deep fried come to mind – and if that’s your thing, WDW has you covered – but if you’re looking for something a bit more palette stimulating – you’re totally in luck. Disney World offers TONS of amazing restaurants – all different kinds of cuisine, and even some fine dining and 5 star restaurants too – Japanese, Moroccan, Italian, New American – plus many, many more. You won’t leave hungry – trust me

Quench Your Thirst: There may be sodas and juice boxes around every corner, but if you look just a teeny bit harder, you’ll find a wide selection of more “adult” beverages too! Most restaurants serve beer and wine, and many have an extensive list and offer advice on pairings as well. Specialty cocktails are on many menus too, and you can even “drink around the world” at Epcot and try different, exotic drinks from each country. No matter how much of a spirits aficionado you might be, you will surely find something new and different to try at Disney

Nightlife: A dueling piano bar on a real old school boardwalk, night clubs, live music, a bowling alley, a movie theater, an exclusive Cirque Du Soleil show, bars and restaurants galore – it all adds up to an amazing night out – and it’s all located on Disney property, so no worries about driving or needing to call a cab if you’re staying at a WDW Resort (which I HIGHLY recommend – for MANY reasons), as you have access to a whole network of WDW boats, buses, and monorails to get you from place to place – so feel free to get out there and explore it all!

Shop It Out: Your credit card can get a heck of a workout at Walt Disney World – as there are plenty of stores for you to browse. There are your typical souvenir shops with stuffed animals, t shirts, Mickey ear hats, etc – but there’s a lot of places that offer much more than that: fine jewelry, purses/bags/luggage, clothes and accessories, kitchenware, art, stationary – there’s something for everyone, and if you love to shop till you drop, then Disney World is the perfect place for you!

Relax In The Lap Of Luxury: I mentioned how great staying at a WDW Resort is – and one of the great things about it is the sheer volume of choices you have when it comes to places to stay. There are some truly world class resorts on the list too – the Disney Deluxe Resorts offer the largest, most sumptuous rooms and the most amenities too – room service, concierge level service, multiple restaurants and shopping options, plus they are the closest to the WDW Parks too. If catching some zzz’s in a gorgeous hotel room or suite doesn’t relax you, then you can check out WDW’s spas – where massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and more are available in a beautifully tranquil setting

Get Your Sport On: If you’re one of those crazy people (like me!) who like to workout while on vacation, then you’ll be good to go at WDW – between the Resorts that offer gyms, plus all the walking/running trails and places to rent bikes/paddleboats/canoes – you’ll surely find something to get your heart rate pumping! You can also go waterskiing or parasailing, learn to surf, rent a boat, go horseback riding, or check out one of Disney’s golf courses

Walt Disney World is a great place for those of ALL ages – and adults especially will be pleased to find all that the Parks and Resorts have to offer – there truly is something that everyone will enjoy!

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Why Booking Your Disney World Vacation far in advance is important http://www.chipandco.com/why-booking-your-disney-world-vacation-far-in-advance-is-important-230604/ Fri, 26 Feb 2016 14:30:44 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=230604 I am a planner – I like making lists, and I like having a lot of time to get ready and organized for things. I realize that not everyone is like me, but when it comes to certain things, like planning your Disney vacation – I HIGHLY recommend you plan as far in advance as […]

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I am a planner – I like making lists, and I like having a lot of time to get ready and organized for things. I realize that not everyone is like me, but when it comes to certain things, like planning your Disney vacation – I HIGHLY recommend you plan as far in advance as possible, and here’s why:

More Time To Pay It Off/Save Up: This one is first on the list for a reason – vacations are expensive, and a trip to Walt Disney World is no exception. Travel, hotel, park tickets, transportation, food, souvenirs, incidentals – the costs all add up – FAST! I like to book my Disney trip as early as possible so that I have some time to save up money for paying off the trip, and also for costs incurred while I am actually there on vacation. It might seem easy to throw it all on a credit card – both for the trip booking and then the on-site costs, but I personally don’t recommend that – and if you book the trip 10 months in advance for example, that gives you time to save up actual money for the trip – instead of racking up debt. Not sure how to start saving for Disney? Check out some tips here.

Research Time: There is SO MUCH information out there about Walt Disney World – and that’s because the place is HUGE and FULL of things to do/see/eat/experience. So if you’re headed to Disney for the first time, this tip is especially important for you – you gotta do your research. Figure out where your family might like to eat, what rides they might like or dislike or not be able to do (due to height/health restrictions, etc), where you might want to stay, and in doing all this, you will get an idea of how much there is at Disney (this will help you to not get overwhelmed upon your arrival!). Even if you’re a WDW veteran, you’ll want to check out the newest versions of the Disney guidebooks, and the newest updates on Chip And Co so that you know what changes to expect this time around.

Planning – Research’s Best Friend: Planning out your trip goes hand in hand with doing research – once you have done some reading and have an idea of what’s out there, you can start making an itinerary for your trip. It doesn’t have to be fancy or down to the minute – including what parks you want to visit on which days and what rides are on your “must do” list is enough to keep you on track. You’ll want to make Advance Dining Reservations 180 days before your trip, and you’ll want to make your fastpass+ selections in advance as well. You can get the kids involved in the planning too – let them help pick where to eat, and let them each pick a favorite ride to reserve a fastpass for.

Packing: I have a theory on why people hate packing so much – and it’s because they wait until the last minute to do it, inevitably forgetting something important, and cursing the whole packing system as they are stuck on vacation without their phone charger/pills/camera battery. One way to avoid all that headache is to plan ahead with your packing too – make a list a month or more ahead of time so that you can add to it as you remember those little things you need to pack, and start the actual packing process at least 2 weeks before your trip. Obviously there are some things that can’t be packed until last minute, but at least you’ll have your list handy before you leave to make sure you don’t forget anything! Check out more packing tips here.

It’s FUN: Ok, like I said, I know not everyone is as freakishly organized or into planning like I am – so you may be seriously doubting my claim that planning ahead is fun – but remember, you aren’t planning ahead for something boring – you’re getting ready for a trip to the happiest place on earth! All of these things – saving money, researching and planning, packing, making lists, making your ADR’s 180 days in advance, customizing your magic bands – it’s all part of the Disney vacation experience, and they are all things that will get you excited and pumped for your trip!

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Top 5 Things You Need To Know About Staying on Property at Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/top-5-things-you-need-to-know-about-staying-on-property-at-disney-world-227287/ Wed, 24 Feb 2016 13:30:14 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=227287 Choosing to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort for your Disney vacation is one of the smartest decisions you can make! The Resorts are great, there are a ton to choose from, and they give you the chance to be that much closer to the Magic! Once you’ve made this REALLY SMART decision – […]

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Choosing to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort for your Disney vacation is one of the smartest decisions you can make! The Resorts are great, there are a ton to choose from, and they give you the chance to be that much closer to the Magic! Once you’ve made this REALLY SMART decision – you’ll want to brush up on the ins and outs of WDW Resort life.

So read on for my Top 5 things to know about staying on property at WDW:

Cast Members Are There To Help You: The cast members at the WDW Parks are super helpful, kind, always willing to take a picture for you or answer questions, and the same goes for the Resort employees too! They are very knowledgeable, and if they don’t know the answer to a question, they will find you the person that does! Use the Resort concierge/guest services to help you with anything from dining to magic band questions to fastpass selections – that’s what they’re there for!

Take Advantage Of On-Site Dining: The WDW Theme Parks have TONS of amazing restaurant and dining options to choose from – but there’s a whole other world of Disney Dining happening right at all the Resorts! All WDW Resorts have at least one counter service dining spot, and many offer multiple restaurants that offer all types of cuisine and dining experiences – from casual family friendly buffets and character meals, to five star dining experiences – the dining at WDW resorts is truly something special, and you will definitely want to check out the options at your Resort

Extra Magic Hours: This is one of the best perks of staying at a WDW Resort, and something you will definitely want to know about well in advance! The Parks open an hour early or stay open an hour late on a rotating basis exclusively for guests of WDW Resorts – it’s a great chance to get to go on your favorite ride without any wait – and although getting up early on vacation isn’t for everyone – I personally LOVE the morning hours best – there’s nothing quite like an empty Park! Check out the official extra magic hours calendar here

Transportation Is Taken Care Of: WDW provides a shuttle service that will bring you, your family, and your luggage (no baggage claim needed!) straight from the Orlando airport to your WDW Resort – and best of all, it’s free (a win for everyone – because let’s face it – not many things at Disney are free!). The Magical Express is great – I’ve used it several times, and it’s just one less thing to have to worry about when it comes to trip planning! Once you’re at Disney, you have access to a huge network of WDW buses, boats and monorails that will get you from place to place within the Disney “World”

Ship Your Purchases To Your Room: If you go a little overboard at the Emporium and wind up with a *few* extra shopping bags full of souvenirs, then you will definitely want to take advantage of the fact that you can have your Park purchases shipped directly back to your WDW Resort room – which means no lugging around tons of bags all day! This is perfect for when you just can’t say no to buying GIANT stuffed Mickey Mouse (no judgment – I’ve been there too!) for your kid (or yourself – again – no judgment). Of course, you still will need to find space in your suitcase for them all – and if that becomes a problem, you can always buy a new Disney suitcase to bring your new loot back home in!

Hopefully these “insider” tips about WDW Resorts will help you make your WDW vacation easier, happier, and more magical!

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Send Your Tastebuds On An Adventure: Give Tusker House A Try! http://www.chipandco.com/send-your-tastebuds-on-an-adventure-give-tusker-house-a-try-228326/ Tue, 16 Feb 2016 22:00:35 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=228326 There are SO MANY places to eat at Disney World that it can be hard narrowing down how to plan out those Advance Dining Reservations (Or ADR’s). One place that I highly recommend you check out is Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Why” you might ask? Read on to find out: Great Atmosphere: The […]

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Tusker

There are SO MANY places to eat at Disney World that it can be hard narrowing down how to plan out those Advance Dining Reservations (Or ADR’s). One place that I highly recommend you check out is Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Why” you might ask? Read on to find out:

Great Atmosphere: The restaurant itself is styled after a “Harambe Marketplace” and is airy and open, with the food items arranged in multiple pods throughout the buffet area. It’s A safari-themed character meal where Donald Duck himself is your host, and once you’re seated and greeted by a cast member, you’re free to “roam the marketplace” and check out the food and décor – there’s so much detail here, and I loved seeing all the little safari items around the building – felt relaxed and exotic at the same time. The service here is great too – polite and quick but doesn’t feel like they’re rushing you (which sometimes happens at character meals!)

The FOOD: There is such a wide range of items offered on the buffet here – at breakfast you’ll find your standard pastries, eggs, meats and potatoes, but you’ll also find dishes like Beef Bobotie (a personal favorite of mine – it’s a spiced quiche dish that you MUST try), Basmati Rice, Mealie Pap, and more. Lunch and dinner offer Samosas, couscous, plantains, tofu, seafood stew and much more – along with some more traditional items like spit roasted meats, vegetable and vegetarian side dishes and salads, and plenty of desserts too (cookies, brownies, baklava, and much more). I can’t say enough good things about the food here – not only is everything fresh and perfectly executed, but the African inspired items are amazing – a perfect way to branch out and try something new (isn’t that what vacation is for, after all?)

Great Characters: Like I said, Donald is the host of breakfast and lunch here (dinner is a character free affair), and he greets you as you arrive and you get the chance to pose for pictures and get autographs and hugs (fun no matter how old you are!). Then you head inside and get to mingle with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Daisy – who all circulate amongst the dining rooms in their SAFARI OUTFITS – that’s right, I said safari outfits – and maybe I am alone on this, but I LOVE seeing characters in different outfits, so this is a real perk for me. The character interaction was great here – we got to see them all within an hour and get our pictures taken with all of them, too

Perfect for the WHOLE Family: Kids will love the characters and kid friendly buffet offerings (PB&J and Mac and Cheese at lunch, and assorted cereal options at breakfast just to name a few!), and adults will love the more exotic dishes, the décor/setting, and the “Adult” beverage menu (mimosas with breakfast or sugar cane mojitos with lunch perhaps?). And like I mentioned, there’s a really big food selection here – picky eaters will surely find something they can eat, and those with more adventurous palettes will be happy too!

Tusker House is a solid dining choice with consistently good food and service, and with something for everyone, you’ll want to be sure you plan to eat there on your next WDW trip (you won’t be disappointed – trust me!)

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Beat The Winter Blues – Plan A Trip To Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/beat-the-winter-blues-plan-a-trip-to-disney-world-229354/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:30:34 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=229354   I don’t know about you, but I personally am ready for a bit of warmer weather. It’s been a mild winter here in Upstate New York, but it’s still February, and I am still MORE than ready to ditch the gray skies and chilly temperatures for someplace warm and sunny – someplace like WALT […]

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I don’t know about you, but I personally am ready for a bit of warmer weather. It’s been a mild winter here in Upstate New York, but it’s still February, and I am still MORE than ready to ditch the gray skies and chilly temperatures for someplace warm and sunny – someplace like WALT DISNEY WORLD perhaps?

If you’re ready to beat the winter blues and plan your family’s next vacation, then check out my Top 5 reasons why you should be booking your next trip to Walt Disney World NOW:

 

Planning Is Half The Fun: From choosing your Resort to making your Dining ADR’s, to making your fastpass+ selections for each Park – you have plenty of planning to do to get you psyched for your trip. And if you have no idea what a fastpass or an ADR is – fear not, as there is TONS of information out there about the ins and outs of WDW – from guidebooks to amazing sites like Chip And Co – you will have plenty of help learning all about Disney before your trip. And speaking of ADR’s – that brings me to my next (delicious) point…

 

The Food. Seriously – the FOOD: Walt Disney World is a true foodie’s paradise – they have so much food there it’s almost unimaginable what is in store for you! If you haven’t been to WDW, you’re probably thinking “ok – theme park food – that means a week of burgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, and other assorted fried food” – and while you can find all of those at Disney, there is SO MUCH MORE. Not only do they use super fresh quality ingredients in everything, but they take pride in what they make – and there really is every type of food imaginable – Japanese, Moroccan, German, African, plus amazing fresh seafood, steak…and I could go on (seriously, I could go on for DAYS). The only way to really understand is to get to Disney and start tasting! Try something new, you’ll be glad you did – trust me! Plus they cater to special dietary needs too – read more about that here.

 

Always Something New To See: Disney is always changing things up – from new rides and shows to new foods and restaurants and plenty of everything in between – you’ll never have the exact same trip twice, that’s for sure! For those of you who are WDW veterans and have been there multiple times, you know this to be true more than anyone, and there are definitely some awesome new things coming in 2016 and beyond (new rides, restaurants, and more!). So if you think “seen it once, seen it all” about WDW – you couldn’t be more wrong – as you will discover something new around every corner!

 

It’s Truly A Vacation Destination: No need to rent a car or even leave WDW property when you stay on site at a WDW Resort for your trip – as they take care of everything! The Magical Express shuttles you from the airport to your Resort, and then Disney Transportation takes you anywhere and everywhere within Disney! And there are plenty of places to go/things to do: there’s the 4 theme parks, shopping, water parks and water sports (including boat and watercraft rentals), fishing expeditions, spas, walking/running/biking trails (and places to rent bikes), pools, restaurants, nightclubs…etc, etc – needless to say – there is really something for everyone to enjoy, and so much to do you could stay there a month and STILL not do it all.

 

The Magic Is REAL: For those of you who have never been to Walt Disney World, let me just say – there’s a reason they call it the Happiest and Most Magical Place On Earth – it really is that awesome. Disney really goes all out to create an amazing guest experience – from exceptional customer service, to the theming and décor in the Parks and Resorts, the character interactions, the food, and the fireworks, parades, and shows, the rides – it all adds up to create a place that transports you out of reality and into the best vacation ever.

 

I love having things to look forward to – things as simple as the weekend or a nice meal, and big things too – like my next WDW vacation! Hopefully getting into that WDW planning mode will get you out of your “winter funk” and get you excited for visiting Mickey and all his friends (hey, it works for me!)

 

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comment box below.

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A First Timer’s Guide To Walt Disney World – Packing For Disney http://www.chipandco.com/a-first-timers-guide-to-walt-disney-world-packing-for-disney-226291/ Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:30 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=226291 Ok – so you’ve chosen which Walt Disney World Resort to stay at, you’ve made your Advanced Dining Reservations, and you’ve made your trip itinerary – so now all that’s left to do before you head off on your Walt Disney World vacation is PACK! A daunting task, for sure – because who likes to […]

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Ok – so you’ve chosen which Walt Disney World Resort to stay at, you’ve made your Advanced Dining Reservations, and you’ve made your trip itinerary – so now all that’s left to do before you head off on your Walt Disney World vacation is PACK! A daunting task, for sure – because who likes to pack? It’s a pain, and there’s always stuff you can’t pack until the VERY last-minute, and then there’s the fear of forgetting something…eek!

While I can’t make sure you pack your contact lenses, I CAN help you with some important items/tips on what to bring along to Walt Disney World:

Don’t Overdress: Disney is NOT a fancy place. You can get away with shorts and t-shirts pretty much anywhere you go, and while it may seem tempting to pack cute dresses and strappy sandals for dinners or evenings out, trust me when I say it REALLY isn’t necessary. There are a few restaurants that require a fancier dress code, but for the most part, I stick with the “dress for comfort!” motto, and you should do the same!

Keep Your Feet Happy: Personally I only wear sneakers while touring the Parks – and not brand new ones either – comfortable, broken in (but not old and falling apart) sneakers, with nice breathable socks – and I HIGHLY recommend you do the same. Some people swear by crocs, but I haven’t had any luck with them myself, and as for flip-flops or other sandals – don’t even try it. Your feet will hate you. As much as it sucks putting on socks AND sneakers on a 90 degree day, it’s worth it – you will be doing a LOT of walking and you want your feet to be comfortable, and for me and my family – that means packing my trusty sneakers

Pack For The (Unpredictable) Florida Weather: One minute it’s raining, the next minute it’s sunny, then muggy, then raining, then sun again…needless to say, you’ll want to be prepared for ALL the possibilities when it comes to weather at Walt Disney World. Pack ponchos for everyone in your party (cheap disposable ones can be found at dollar stores, and nicer ones can be purchased at stores like Target/Wal-Mart), Ziploc baggies in assorted sizes (to protect your wallet/cell phone/camera etc when that rain hits), sunscreen – and LOTS of it, and a hat too (even if you put sunscreen on your head – that relentless Florida sun can still burn your scalp!)

Save Money On Snacks/Drinks: Bring your own refillable water bottles from home – because not only is it super important to stay hydrated in such a hot place where you’re doing a ton of walking, but also because no one wants to pay $3 for a bottle of water. Pack some snacks for the Parks and the plane rides/layovers too – granola bars, trail mix, nuts, fruit snacks – all of these are small and portable and will save you a ton of money – as the same thing at a Disney Park will cost 2-3 times as much!

Organize Your Suitcase: Resist the urge to just throw it all into the bag and jam it shut – because no one wants to wear wrinkly clothes all week, right? Fold your clothes. Organize the piles – shirts, shorts, pants, etc. This may seem like common sense (aka something you don’t need to do) – but trust me, it can really save you time when you’re getting ready for the Parks in the morning. For the kids, you can pack entire outfits in big Ziploc baggies: pants/top/hair accessories/socks/underwear – put it all together to avoid mis-matching and save time getting everyone out the door in time for the Extra Magic Hour!

Still not sure what should go in your suitcase? Then check out the items on my Disney Survival Kit for more “Must Pack” items

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Disney DIY – Host a fun Finding Nemo themed Movie Night! http://www.chipandco.com/disney-diy-host-a-fun-finding-nemo-themed-movie-night-226537/ Sun, 03 Jan 2016 16:00:28 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=226537 If you’re looking for the perfect Disney flick for family movie night, might I suggest you turn on Pixar’s Finding Nemo? It’s funny, heartwarming, and great for those of all ages! If you’re looking to make your movie night special, then check out some of my ideas for creating the perfect Finding Nemo Themed Movie […]

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If you’re looking for the perfect Disney flick for family movie night, might I suggest you turn on Pixar’s Finding Nemo? It’s funny, heartwarming, and great for those of all ages! If you’re looking to make your movie night special, then check out some of my ideas for creating the perfect Finding Nemo Themed Movie Night:

The Food: Everyone knows the most important part of any get together is the food – and movie night is no exception! Easy things to serve include a fish bowl full of goldfish crackers, Swedish fish gummies, or sandwiches shaped like fish/starfish (with the help of cookie cutters!). Cupcakes are always a good choice too –

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Use your favorite flavor cupcake/frosting recipe, and then decorate with the help of some gummies – and the result is some pretty darn cute Squirt Happy Turtlecakes! Or if you’re feeling crafty and want to work on your fondant skills – then you can make these Nemo cupcakes – which are sure to wow your movie night guests!

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For drinks, you can easily serve up some “Ocean Water” – mason jars of sprite/7-up with some blue food coloring, ice, and a Swedish fish “floating” at the top – add a cute straw and you’re done!

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Activities: While the move is the main attraction here, you might want to plan some fun pre-movie activities for your guests. Like maybe testing their origami skills with this fun Nemo papercraft

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Setup a fun Bobbing For Nemo station (outside would probably be the best place for this one!)

You’ll need:

Clean, new sponges in orange, blue and pink

Pen

Scissors

Templates (print them here)

Tub of water

Aquarium Net (for “fishing”)

How To Play

Print and cut out the templates.

Use templates to trace shapes onto clean, new sponges. This works best when sponges are still damp from their packaging. Note: Tracing is a good task for preschoolers working on their hand-eye coordination.

For Party Time: Drop sponges into a tub of water. Have kids take turns using aquarium nets to fish out their favorite sponges. Aquarium nets come in a variety of sizes; have kids try catching all of the sponges in a big net, or have them try to grab one sponge in a small net. After the party, guests can take sponges home as favors.

Other Uses For The Sponges:

Sponge Painting: Use sponges to re-create Finding Nemo art. Have kids dip sponges in paint and then press them onto blue construction paper, creating their own under-the-sea scene.

Bath Time: Have fun in the tub with your Nemo friends. Give kids clean, new aquarium nets and let them try to catch the floating sponges.

Décor: Check out these free Finding Nemo Printables, or order some party decorations here

I will be hosting my own Finding Nemo movie night in honor of the sequel Finding Dory that will be coming to theaters next June – check out more info on that here, and stay tuned for more movie news and Disney DIY right here on Chip and Co!

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What To Get Your Disney Lover For Christmas: The “Hers” List http://www.chipandco.com/what-to-get-your-disney-lover-for-christmas-the-hers-list-2-225911/ Mon, 21 Dec 2015 22:00:19 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=225911   Last week I wrote about some great Gift Ideas for the Disney Man in your life in hopes that it would inspire you all to get out there and stimulate the economy and get your Christmas shopping done early! Since I already talked about the men, today I want to focus on What to […]

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Last week I wrote about some great Gift Ideas for the Disney Man in your life in hopes that it would inspire you all to get out there and stimulate the economy and get your Christmas shopping done early! Since I already talked about the men, today I want to focus on What to get the Disney-Loving female in your life:

Jewelry: Always a good choice for women, no matter what their age – is something sparkly! There are plenty of affordable (and adorable!) options available at the Disney Parks or online – and they have it all – necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and charms for bracelets too. There’s even an exclusive Disney Alex & Ani Collection of bracelets (I have two of them and they are so pretty!), or if you want to branch out from the Disney branded offerings to something handmade, check out the Disney shops on Etsy (there’s a TON of them, and they have some pretty great stuff available, most of which can be customized!)

Framed Trip Photos: Most women I know LOVE receiving photo gifts (myself included!), a snapshot of a memory is a great present to give – not to mention an easy one! There are plenty of Disney Frames you can purchase, and then all you have to do is pop a photo in the frame and you’ve got an easy (and thoughtful!) gift

Something Cuddly: What better way to keep her warm when you aren’t around than with Disney blanket? They come in a variety of styles, and would look perfect artfully draped over the back of the couch, don’t you think? A nice Disney hoodie or maybe a Disney plush of her favorite character would be a great gift too!

Purses/Bags: What woman wouldn’t love to open up a Disney Dooney & Bourke or a Disney Vera Bradley on Christmas morning? They have some pretty awesome styles, and they come out with new designs a few times every year. The Vera and Dooney lines are amazing, but tend to run a little more on the expensive side – so consider a classic tote bag or maybe a makeup bag instead – there are plenty of options under $50 – check them out here.

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MAKE her something: If you’re on a tight Christmas gift budget, or if maybe you’re wanting something that much more special, then you should consider making her something this year! A scrapbook or photo album with all your best Disney trip photos is always a good idea, or if she collects Disney Pins then maybe she needs a way to display them, and this DIY Disney Pins Display Case is the perfect thing. Check out some other Disney DIY gift inspiration here

Christmas shopping can be difficult – but I’m betting that the Disney lover in your life would be super thrilled to get any of these great gifts! Hopefully this article helped give you some ideas, or maybe even inspired you to come up with someone even more awesome?

Let us knowwhat are you giving YOUR Disney lover this Christmas?

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A First Timer’s Guide To Walt Disney World – Making An Itinerary http://www.chipandco.com/a-first-timers-guide-to-walt-disney-world-making-an-itinerary-224959/ http://www.chipandco.com/a-first-timers-guide-to-walt-disney-world-making-an-itinerary-224959/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=224959 As a first time traveler to Walt Disney World, it can be tricky to navigate the world of Theme Parks, dining, rides, attractions, shows, resorts…etc, etc – there’s just SO much to do and see that planning your trip can seem really overwhelming! But fear not – we here at Chip and Co are here […]

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As a first time traveler to Walt Disney World, it can be tricky to navigate the world of Theme Parks, dining, rides, attractions, shows, resorts…etc, etc – there’s just SO much to do and see that planning your trip can seem really overwhelming! But fear not – we here at Chip and Co are here to help – with info about how to pick a Resort, where to eat, and how to plan your days too.

Read on for some first timer Itenerary Tips and Tricks:

Read Up: Make sure you know what you’re in for – there’s a LOT to do at Disney, so you’ll want to do some research/reading before your trip. There’s tons of information out there – so make sure you’re using trusted sources – places like chipandco.com, the official WDW website, and there’s some good guidebooks out there too. Don’t bother going too in depth or spending hours and hours researching – just do enough that you get an idea of what’s there and what your family might enjoy doing

Use Technology To Your Advantage: We live in an age of smartphones, smart watches, apps, tablets, drones….etc, etc – the world if technology has exploded over the past few years, and Disney has really been embracing it all – with advances like their photopass system, mobile app, online dining reservation booking, online fastpass selection – and all of it is tied together with one little bracelet – the MagicBand! It has a chip in it that stores your Park tickets, WDW Resort room key, Dining information, fastpass reservations, photopass photos – it is truly amazing, and while it may seem overwhelming to a first timer, I highly recommend you utilize all of these to their fullest capabilities. And if you can’t figure it out – you can always ask a Cast Member while at WDW, or call Disney before your vacation and they will gladly walk you through any of these amazing high-tech options

Take It Slow: The immediate reaction most people have when they go to WDW for the first time is that they want to see and do it ALL – and trust me – unless you’re taking a month long vacation, that is just NOT possible. Don’t tire yourself out by trying to ride all the rides and see all the shows and characters – it will just leave you needing a vacation from your vacation! Use your research to know what things would best suit your family (think about ages, fears, likes, dislikes, etc!) and pick just a few “must do” things to do at each Park. If you have more time then great! If not, at least you will have gotten to see your top picks!

One Park At A Time: Another thing people tend to do when they are at WDW is to think they can easily Park hop and see all the parks in one or two days – and while park hopping is absolutely possible and something I do often – It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t usually work out well for first time WDW vacationers. When you visit WDW for the first time, you really want to take some time to explore each park – the décor, the little hidden spots, the beauty and tiny details that make it truly amazing. Your instinct might be to rush over to a Park, ride your top 5 rides, then rush over to another Park and repeat the same process…but you will just wind up tired and cranky from all that (not to mention you’ll spend most of your day on – or waiting for – a Disney bus/boat/monorail which is not the most fun), so try and slow down and do one park a day if you can, you will have a much more relaxed vacation if you do!

Write It Down: Now that you’ve researched the rides, attractions, magic bands, food, and parks – it’s time to actually make a plan! When it comes to writing an itinerary, I like to stick to 1 park a day, and I will generally pick 1 “must do” ride/attraction for each person I am traveling with and use my fastpass selections for the day on those – and then have a list of backup items that I can do between the fastpass things – rides that might have shorter lines, or I will plan my fastpasses so that I can see fireworks or the parade. I NEVER plan more than 5 things to do in any given day – I might have other things I want to *try* and do – but I never over-plan – and to me that’s the key to a successful Disney vacation. My itinerary is very basic – it might look something like this:

Day 1 – Magic Kingdom

  • 9 am: ADR – breakfast at Crystal Palace
  • 11am: Fastpass – Seven Dwarves Mine Train
  • 12pm: Fastpass: Space Mountain
  • 2:30pm: Fastpass: Splash Mountain
  • Other “Must Do” Rides: Haunted Mansion, Pirates Of the Caribbean

Day 2 – Hollywood Studios

  • 12 pm: Fastpass – Tower of Terror
  • 1:15 pm: Fastpass – Rock’N Roller Coaster
  • 2:30pm: Fastpass – Star Tours
  • Other “Must Do’s”: The Great Movie Ride

The beauty of having only a few things planned each day is that you can be spontaneous – if you decide you want to Park hop, then go for it! Want to head to a different Disney Resort for a drink and dinner? No problem! For me, the key is keeping it simple, and being willing to be flexible if need be

Happy Planning!

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Disneyland vs Disney World – Which Is The Best Place For Me To Visit? http://www.chipandco.com/disneyland-vs-disney-world-which-is-the-best-place-for-me-to-visit-223288/ http://www.chipandco.com/disneyland-vs-disney-world-which-is-the-best-place-for-me-to-visit-223288/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=223288 There are always debates in my house on where we should go next – Walt Disney World in Florida, or Disneyland in California? There’s a lot to consider when choosing between the two, as they are VERY different, but both still offer that same brand of Disney Magic. Read on to learn about some of […]

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There are always debates in my house on where we should go next – Walt Disney World in Florida, or Disneyland in California? There’s a lot to consider when choosing between the two, as they are VERY different, but both still offer that same brand of Disney Magic. Read on to learn about some of the differences and to decide which one might be the right vacation spot for you:

Size: WDW is WAY bigger than Disneyland (43 square miles vs 160 acres), and that means Disneyland has fewer attractions, but it also could potentially mean less walking (not to sound lazy – but walking all day every day for 5 or more days straight at Walt Disney World can really tire a girl out!). Size might not matter a lot to most people, but if you’re looking to spend a whole week in Disneyland, you might find that you have to branch out to some activities outside of the two theme parks (as it might be a stretch to fill a whole week JUST at Disneyland). Which brings me to…

The Parks: Disneyland has 2 – Disneyland Park and the much newer California Adventure – which opened in 2001 and recently went through an overhaul – adding new attractions and the all new CarsLand (themed after the popular Cars movies). Disneyland Park is home to many classic attractions, and it has many similarities to WDW’s Magic Kingdom. Speaking of WDW – you’ll find 4 theme parks as well as 2 water parks there too – so if you’re looking to do a different park every day or like to mix it up and try new things every day, then WDW might be the better choice for you as it is more diverse in it’s offerings

Disneyland – the Original Disney Park: History and nostalgia are definitely a factor in choosing where to go – and Disneyland is the older of the two locations (it’s celebrating its 60th anniversary this year!). It’s also the only one that Walt himself was there to see on opening day, making Disneyland Park truly “the land that Walt built”. Many of the attractions there now were there when the park opened – and others have been carefully selected and added over the years to make this a truly magical place

Where To Stay: Disneyland offers 3 onsite Hotels, whereas Walt Disney World has 27 Resorts on Disney property. While some people might appreciate the LARGE variety of places to choose from – others might prefer choosing from a short list of 3 at Disneyland, plus the Hotels at Disneyland are a lot closer to the action too – walking distance from the Parks, whereas very few of the 27 WDW hotels are actually within walking distance to any of the 4 parks (meaning you will need to wait for a bus/monorail/boat to get you to the Parks). Speaking of transportation…

Transportation Options: Walt Disney World has multiple ways to get around – buses, monorails & boats are all available to shuttle guests to and from the Parks, Resorts, and Water Parks. WDW also offers a free shuttle service from the Orlando Airport called the Magical Express. Disneyland has a monorail, but no boats or buses – mainly because they don’t need them – as their hotels and 2 theme parks are all within walking distance of each other. Disneyland offers the Disneyland Resort Express service from local airports – but it’s not free like the magical express (BUT it doesn’t require reservations, whereas the magical express does)

Planning: Walt Disney World offers the relatively new Magic Band system – which is essentially a bracelet that does it all – it acts as your WDW Resort room key, your credit card, your fastpass + ticket, and it stores your meal reservations too. Disneyland currently doesn’t have a Magic Band system in place – but they are slowly catching up – they now offer the option to make ADR’s, and they have an official Disneyland App too – where you can purchase tickets and view ride wait times. Books about both locations are available as well as tons of online info to help you plan too

Hopefully reading about the differences between WDW and Disneyland will help you make a decision about which place is best for your and your family to vacation – I personally grew up going to WDW every year and have only been to Disneyland once, and would LOVE to have the chance to go back to Disneyland, as I love the idea of it being completely designed and overseen by Walt himself – it makes me feel like I’m experiencing an amazing part of Disney history!

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Top gift picks for the Disney Guy in your life http://www.chipandco.com/top-gift-picks-for-the-disney-guy-in-your-life-224010/ Fri, 04 Dec 2015 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=224010 Christmas is fast approaching (eek!) and I don’t know about you, but I like to get my shopping done and wrapped way before the holiday arrives. BUT – I know not everyone is as (freakishly) organized as me – so for the majority of you who probably haven’t started shopping, you might want to take […]

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Mickey

Christmas is fast approaching (eek!) and I don’t know about you, but I like to get my shopping done and wrapped way before the holiday arrives. BUT – I know not everyone is as (freakishly) organized as me – so for the majority of you who probably haven’t started shopping, you might want to take a look at my top gift picks for the Disney Guy in your life:

Tech Accessories: Most guys I know LOVE technology – tablets, Bluetooth, smartphones – they can’t get enough, and there are some really cute…I mean MANLY Disney ways to accessorize those devices they love so much. The Disney Parks have TONS of stuff available – plenty of phone cases, tablet cases/carriers, laptop bags, etc – and you can purchase some of them online through the Disney store – check out what D-Tech accessories are currently available for purchase online here (Some of them can even be customized!)

Office Gear: Offices tend to be pretty blah, and most people like to bring in their own personal touches to liven up their walls/desk – and there are some great Disney ones out there to help brighten up those gray surfaces! Customizable mouse pads, pens, padfolios, engraved memo holders, and more are available online, check them out here. Or, you can always pick out the perfect Disney Photo Frame for your guy and give it with his favorite Disney Trip picture in it for his desk.

Cooking – A la Disney: If your guy fancies himself at “at home chef”, then you’re in luck – as there are some great ways to celebrate his love for cooking (and eating!) with a Disney flair – maybe some cooking utensils – like spatulas, measuring cups/spoons, serving spoons, whisks, oven mitts, aprons – find it all here. Personalizable wine glasses and serving/dining ware (including plates, platters, silverware, mugs, cups, and more!) are also available too, from a subtle Mickey silhouetted plate, to a bright Enchanted Tiki Room mug and everything in between! There’s plenty of Disney Cookbooks out there too – so he can try his hand at some of his favorite dishes from Disney Park and Resort Restaurants.

FOOD: It’s the best way to a man’s heart, and even if your guy isn’t into cooking, chances are pretty good he is into EATING. Make him some Chocolate Mickey Sugar Cookies, or maybe he’s more into Barbeque, or maybe a slightly more holiday themed dish? Mickey Waffles are easy to make at home (with the aid of a Mickey Waffle Maker, of course!) – and who doesn’t love a Mickey waffle?

Keep Him Warm: If you’re like me and live in a place where winter is bitter cold and lasts for about half the year, then you’ll need some ways to keep warm – how about getting your guy a personalized Disney fleece? A Chewbacca Hoodie is perfect for all those Star Wars fans out there – or perhaps your man is more of a fan of the Dark Side?

Hopefully these ideas help get your Christmas shopping started (or finished!) – and be sure to stay tuned next week for what to get the Disney female in your life with the Disney Christmas List For Her!

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A First Timer’s Guide To FOOD at Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/a-first-timers-guide-to-food-at-walt-disney-world-223559/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=223559 Navigating all the ins and outs of Walt Disney World can be tricky – there’s a LOT that can go into planning a WDW vacation, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Luckily – us here at Chip and Co are ready to help you plan and prepare for the most amazing vacation […]

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Pizzaplanet

Navigating all the ins and outs of Walt Disney World can be tricky – there’s a LOT that can go into planning a WDW vacation, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Luckily – us here at Chip and Co are ready to help you plan and prepare for the most amazing vacation you’ll ever have!

There are a lot of parts to a Disney vacation, and I recently wrote about one of the tricky ones – choosing a Resort, and today I want to talk about another one that can be tricky but is VERY important – and that is FOOD! Ok, so you might be thinking, what’s tricky about food? You’re hungry, you eat, right? Well, if only it were that simple…read on to see how you can prepare for the feasts that await you at WDW:

Do Your Research: Part of the fun of going on a vacation is researching and planning it – reading all about the different things to do/see/eat – am I right?? Ok, well, maybe everyone doesn’t love planning as much as I do – but fellow foodies can agree with me on this one – food research can be really fun! Start here on Chip and Co’s Dining section, and check out all the amazing dining spots that WDW has to offer. Researching menus and restaurants and cuisine types is especially important for those families dealing with food allergies, intolerances, or picky eaters – there’s nothing worse than sitting down to a nice meal in a fancy restaurant only to find out you or your kids can’t (or won’t!) eat anything on the menu. Disney is great about dealing with allergies and other special requests – and you can always call before your trip to learn more about a specific dining location

Make Those ADR’s: Once you have done some research, you’ll want to pick which table service restaurants you want to eat at during your trip. Once you have that list ready, and if your trip is less than 6 months away, then you can go online and make your Advance Dining Reservations (or ADR’s) for your trip. An ADR is similar to a “call ahead” for a restaurant table – when you arrive at your allotted time, you are put on the list for the next available table. It might not seem like a big deal, but ADR spots for popular restaurants fill up FAST – like REALLY FAST. Learn more about the importance of ADR’s here

DDP Or Not To DDP: DDP stands for Disney Dining Plan, and in a nutshell, it’s a way to prepay for some or all of your Disney meals/snacks. It is a great option for a lot of people, and you will want to look at the different types and options to see if it might work for you. Learn more about the DDP here to determine if it’s something that you might want to add to your Disney trip. I have used it several times and LOVE it – it’s so easy to use, and not having to spend as much money while at Disney is always a good thing to me!

Try Something New: When most people think of “theme park food”, things like chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries (and other fried things!) come to mind – generic, not very good tasting or good for you food is what we have come to expect from your average amusement park. Disney is breaking that stereotype though – by offering fresh & unique meals and treats throughout WDW. From fresh salads to handcrafted sandwiches, 5 star dinners, and cuisines from around the world: French, Moroccan, Italian, Mexican, Irish – and many more – Disney has it all when it comes to food. So I encourage you to step out of your food comfort zone and try something new – after all, you ARE on vacation!

Plan To Eat At “Off” Times: If you’re willing/able to be more flexible with your meal schedule, you’ll have better luck getting ADR’s at popular restaurants, and you’ll also encounter shorter lines and not have to search for tables at counter service locations too. Generally, the noon hour is the busiest at most places – so try to avoid that, and if you can eat an early or late dinner (ie – before 5 or after 6), you’ll have a much easier time getting your food

Dining at Disney is truly an experience like none other – and you’ll definitely want to follow my tips and tricks in order to make the most of your vacation meals!

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Make Your Holiday Merry And Bright With These Disney DIY Wreath Ideas! http://www.chipandco.com/holiday-merry-bright-disney-diy-wreath-ideas-203096/ http://www.chipandco.com/holiday-merry-bright-disney-diy-wreath-ideas-203096/#comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 02:00:02 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=203096 Disney World at Christmastime is amazing – the music, the food, the entertainment, the snow (fake snow – but still counts in my book!), and the décor all add up to an experience that is not to be missed! Check out our Photo Tour of the Magic Kingdom from this year! I have to say – […]

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MK

Disney World at Christmastime is amazing – the music, the food, the entertainment, the snow (fake snow – but still counts in my book!), and the décor all add up to an experience that is not to be missed! Check out our Photo Tour of the Magic Kingdom from this year!

Wreath Disney

I have to say – the decorations are not only beautiful, but inspiring too – in fact, these wreaths have inspired me to do some research on how I can create my own Disney inspired wreath at home! Here’s some ideas I hope you can use this holiday season in your own house:

Wreath Olaf

Check out this easy project that your kids can help with – an Olaf wreath (Courtesy of You Brew My Tea). Frozen is so hot right now, that I’m pretty sure most any kid would jump at the chance to help make this adorable decoration!

SONY DSC

Looking for a use for all that construction paper you have lying around? Then how about you whip up a few of these adorable Mickey Paper Wreaths (Courtesy of Dolled Up Design). I especially love the use of the red pom poms shaped to look like Mickey’s head! The writer made one for each of her children, but you can do one for each family member, or just one to hang on the front door! I also think they would be adorable with little black construction paper Mickey hats with each person’s name on them, wouldn’t they?

Wreath Ornaments

Buy yourself a bunch of ornaments from the dollar store and make a wreath like this one, using this tutorial which is for a standard wreath but can be easily changed to include one large and two small wreaths that you can attach using wire to make that Mickey shape!

Or keep it easy and purchase one large and two small green wreaths from any craft store and attach them together using wire, and then use that same wire to “hang” your favorite Disney ornaments from it like a Christmas tree

For those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, but still want to craft yourself a Disney wreath – you can make a Disney Countdown Wreath (Courtesy of Willow Bee) so that you can keep track of just how many days away from your next magical Disney Trip you are (hopefully it’s not very many – it’s a hard thing to wait for, isn’t it?)

Or you can purchase tons of different premade Disney wreaths via etsy if you aren’t too crafty – and no matter how you do it, a Disney wreath is a great addition to any and every Disney lover’s door! It would also make a great homemade gift for that Disney lover in your life!

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Best Sharable Counter Service Meal At Each Disney World theme park http://www.chipandco.com/best-sharable-counter-service-meal-at-each-disney-world-theme-park-222772/ Mon, 23 Nov 2015 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=222772 To quote every preschool teacher in the world “Sharing is caring” – and this golden rule doesn’t just apply to 4 year olds and toy trains, it is really applicable everywhere – even at Walt Disney World! It’s no secret that a Walt Disney World vacation can be costly – and one of the money […]

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ShareMeals

To quote every preschool teacher in the world “Sharing is caring” – and this golden rule doesn’t just apply to 4 year olds and toy trains, it is really applicable everywhere – even at Walt Disney World! It’s no secret that a Walt Disney World vacation can be costly – and one of the money saving tips I have come to embrace over the years is sharing meals. Some WDW counter service locations tend to serve up rather large portions – and this can work to your advantage, as many can easily be split between two adults.

Read on to find out which meal is the best to split at each of the WDW Parks:

Animal Kingdom: After a morning full of checking out rides, attractions, and animals – you’ll probably be REALLY hungry, and what better to fill up on than some barbeque? Head over to Flame Tree Barbeque (if you can’t find it, just follow the mouth-watering scent of grilled meats!) and grab the Ribs and Chicken Combo – ½ a roasted chicken and a generous slab of St. Louis style ribs, served with sides of baked beans and coleslaw. This is a meal big enough to share for sure – and what I especially like about it is the “combo” part – getting to try both ribs and chicken sounds good to me!

Epcot: Sunshine Seasons is a great place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner – their rotisserie chicken, pork chops, and salads are among my top choices for later in the day, but at breakfast time, you will definitely want to check out the breakfast platter here – eggs, bacon, potatoes, and a biscuit – this is a lot of food, and it’s the perfect thing to share, so you can both fuel up and start the day right!

Magic Kingdom: There are a bunch of great counter service spots in MK – and they all serve up some delicious food. For me though, the best place to grab a meal to share is Tomorrowland Terrace – there’s tons of seating both inside and outside, and while it may get crowded at peak times, I have never had trouble finding a seat and the food lines tend to move pretty quickly. Both the turkey sandwich and the bacon cheeseburger are meals that are perfect to share – plus you can customize your burger at the toppings bar. Fries come with, and it’s easily enough for two people to share

Hollywood Studios: Fairfax Fare is the place to share here – chicken and ribs meal, ½ chicken meal, jumbo turkey leg meal, BBQ pulled pork sandwich – they are all hearty and perfect for two! The seating is all outdoors – but there’s a decent amount of shade and it’s a relatively quiet area, which makes it a great place to relax, unwind, and refuel

This tip can really save you some money on your Walt Disney World trip – and who isn’t looking to stretch their budget a little further? Check out more WDW money saving tips here!

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Disney DIY – Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes http://www.chipandco.com/disney-diy-thanksgiving-side-dish-recipes-221624/ http://www.chipandco.com/disney-diy-thanksgiving-side-dish-recipes-221624/#comments Sat, 14 Nov 2015 22:00:26 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=221624 Another holiday season is upon us! It’s already November, and that means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner – it’s a time to be thankful for friends and family, and it’s a time to come together and share a delicious meal too! Some of you may be lucky enough to be enjoying your Thanksgiving […]

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Another holiday season is upon us! It’s already November, and that means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner – it’s a time to be thankful for friends and family, and it’s a time to come together and share a delicious meal too! Some of you may be lucky enough to be enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner at Walt Disney World (turkey at Liberty Tree Tavern perhaps?), but for the rest of us who will be preparing some (or all) of our own turkey dinner, here are some great Walt Disney World Restaurant side dishes that would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal:

corn_bread_stuffing_on_a_red_plate

Stuffing is basically a necessity on my family’s table on Turkey day – check out this southern inspired stuffing recipe:

Corn Bread Stuffing (Recipe courtesy of WDW Recipes) – Served At Liberty Tree Tavern

Ingredients:

12 Cups Cornbread (cut into cubes)
1T Fresh Chopped Garlic
1 Cup Onion (chopped)
1 Cup Celery (chopped)
1t Rubbed Sage
1t Dried Thyme
1t Poultry Seasoning
1t Kosher Salt
1/2t Black Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Turkey Stock (chicken may be substituted)

Directions:

1. In a preheated 400° oven toasts bread cubes 5 to 7 minutes or until barely golden.

2. In a large skillet over medium/low heat cook the garlic, onions and celery for 3 minutes or until softened.

3. Transfer to a bowl and add the bread cubes, herbs, salt, pepper, and chicken broth.

4. Toss well and adjust seasoning as desired. Additional broth may be necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

RagRoad Bread

Some kind of bread or rolls are always present on Thanksgiving, and for those beer lovers out there, you will want to try this Guinness bread recipe

Guinness Brown Bread (Recipe courtesy of WDW Recipes) – Served at Raglan Road Irish Pub

Ingredients

½ Cup Guinness
¾lb Flour (whole wheat)
4lbs Flour
1T Salt
1T Baking soda
4 Cups Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Molasses
1/2 Gallon Buttermilk

Guinness Reduction

2 Cups Guinness
2 Cups Sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and add in the buttermilk in three batches as you mix and fold by hand lightly; the mixture should be quite sticky.

3. Portion in to greased or buttered muffin pans.

4. Bake in the oven until golden brown and it makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

5. Enjoy with Kerry gold butter or Guinness reduction and Olive oil.

Guinness Reduction

1. Combine the Guinness and sugar in a large stockpot.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until reduced by half (approx 1 hour).

3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature. Do not leave the pot unattended while it is coming to a boil as it may boil over.

 

Can’t have Thanksgiving without SOME kind of vegetable – my family is a big fan of green beans, and even if yours isn’t – these have bacon in them, so there’s that…

Ohana Green Beans (Recipe Courtesy of Magical Recipes) – Served at ‘Ohana

Ingredients

2 lb. fresh green beans

1 medium red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick

3 cloves fresh garlic (whole)

3 TBS canola or vegetable oil

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce

2 TBS granulated sugar

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

To Taste – fresh ground black pepper

1 lb. bacon, crispy, crumbled

Directions

1.Wash green beans in cold water.
2.Snip both ends and break in half.
3.Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.
4.Add beans and blanch for 1 minute.
5.Strain.
6.Heat a wok or fry pan over medium high heat.
7.Add oil, then add garlic and sliced onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
8.Add green beans and stir-fry for 2-4 minutes depending on how well done you prefer your beans cooked.
9.Add soy, seasonings and continue to stir-fry for 1 more minute.
10.Adjust seasonings if desired.
11.Garnish with crispy crumbled bacon pieces.

Hopefully these recipes have inspired you fellow Disney lovers out there to try something new and different this Thanksgiving! Check out More Disney DIY right here on Chip and Co

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