Yesterday morning my family and I found ourselves sifting through photos from our Disney trip this past December. We seriously miss it so much! I remember when Andrew and I had our second date the topic of Disney World came up over a bowl of pho and I shared my love for the place. ❤ Andrew, being a young, single man just couldn’t see the excitement of it unless you had kids. Over time though I was able to show him more and more and slowly I could see his eyes widen every time I brought it up. I constantly told him that I wanted to take a trip there, the three of us, but he was convinced it would cost a fortune. He’s not wrong. Disney can easily turn into an expensive vacation, but luckily I was able to convince him last year that going to Disney BEFORE Olive-Lynn turned 3 would be our cheapest option. If you have a little and want to satisfy your Disney itch or if you just love Disney keep reading 🙂Our flights: At this point Olive-Lynn was already passed the 2 year old mark to fly for free, but you could certainly save more money by making your trip before that age. In our case, she was a couple of months before turning 3. However, I was able to to use our points with Southwest Airlines to pay for our round trip flights which only cost us about $33! Don’t underestimate the power of a great travel credit card, but of course use it responsibility and you can really get a lot out of it. If you don’t have points search for the lowest fare. Our flight cost about $94 each way which isn’t bad at all.Our hotel: I was very fortunate at this time that I still worked in the hotel industry because we were able to find a hotel for $49/night with my employee discount. (Let me know if y’all would like to learn more about working in the hospitality industry.) That’s a good sign in general though, typically those discounts are only available because occupancy is low in the hotel, which means they are selling those rooms cheaper. Take advantage of that time. Also, book early!Our tickets: We decided to only visit two theme parks in order to minimize costs as much as possible. Magic Kingdom was a must for anyone’s first visit so that was on the list. Our second choice was a bit more difficult, but we landed on Hollywood Studios, because it had both Disney JR and Star Wars 🙂 Under 3 you get in free, so we just paid the price of our tickets which were just under $450. On top of that, our first day in we spent wandering Disney Springs which is FREE! Perfect way to get things started before taking on the parks.Our timing: The original plan was actually to go with my oldest brother and his family, on Christmas Day, but that didn’t happen. Having gone to Disney only in the summer I had dreamed about seeing the parks in both Halloween and Christmas time. To allow us more time to plan/save we shot for December and it worked out perfectly. I’m actually really happy we didn’t go on Christmas, as magical as it would’ve been, that would’ve been nuts! We went the second weekend in December and the weather was perfect, the crowds had not fully taken over yet, but you still got all the Christmas magic ❤ Here are a few other reasons.
- She napped! We arrived early to the parks and she thankfully took naps as she normally would which helped not have a cranky toddler.
- We could share food! On top of being able to bring your own food into the parks, yes they allow that. We could share our plates with her which helped at the restaurants we did eat at.
- There is actually A LOT they can do! Not many realize, but your kiddos can ride quite a bit as long as they have a parent with them. Like I really needed a reason to get on DUMBO though, haha. Plus, there are endless shows to cool down in, rest your feet, and make for a nice dark place to take that nap I mentioned before.
- You get to experience being a single rider! I don’t know about you all, but I’ve always had someone to get on rides with. This time around we signed up for FastPasses and took turns getting on a few rides she couldn’t. It was a fun experience and neat to talk about how it went for us once we were done.
- They don’t want EVERYTHING! lol Okay, maybe this one can vary on the child/parent relationship, but for us it worked out. She didn’t beg and cry for every item that had her favorite characters. She was content with just taking everything in. Don’t get me wrong we still snagged a couple of things, but I could only imagine that it is far more difficult to negotiate with a 5-10 year old than it is a toddler in this case.
- Meeting the characters! The only thing better than you meeting the characters you love is watching your kid(s) meet the characters they love ❤
Our first trip to Disney together was amazing and we can’t wait to do it again. We’re hoping to make several trips in the future to include one just for the adults. 🙂
Share any tips you have for doing Disney with a toddler and share any of your favorites in the park. One of mine is simply walking onto Main Street USA. I just get the best feeling ever and know that I’m going to have one of the best days ever!
Oh Colorado…what a beautiful state it is! Every time I think of great outdoor states two come to mind, Arizona and Colorado. In October 2016 Andrew and I made our first anniversary trip to the home of the Rockies. We had always wanted to go and though we originally had Boston or Philadelphia in mind for year one, we are not ones to pass up a sweet deal.
For this trip we actually brought along my parents and our daughter. She was just over one year old and I could not get myself to have her in Texas while we were away so I was able to convince my parents to come on an all expense paid trip. They too can’t pass up a good deal, haha.
As we do, we made an adventure of it and made a couple of stops while in the gorgeous state. This is going to be another mini-series + hotel review with details about where we went and what we did. Read about our accommodations here!
We landed in Denver and shortly after made the drive up north to Boulder. This had to be our first stop because we both badly wanted to see the Rockies and they did not disappoint.
The drive to RMNP was so breathtaking, especially once we came up to Estes Park. Unfortunately we were already on a tight schedule, but if we had more time I would’ve loved to walk around here more and go into the famous Stanley Hotel.
I wanted to jump on here to share a little from our weekend getaway to Corpus Christi recently. We were craving a trip somewhere and OL has been begging for the beach so we woke up early and hit the road by 6:30am. It was our first road trip since OL has been potty trained and it was an adjustment, but we survived. haha.
Before and while in Corpus Christi we received so many restaurant recommendations, but with our short trip there was no way we could visit them all. Only more reason to go back!
While there I had previously decided I wanted to vlog our trip on my iPhone because I am very much interested in starting to vlog more often. This was a perfect opportunity for me to capture our trip and get some practice in as far as speaking to a camera in public and editing. I went ahead and took the plunge and uploaded my vlog to YouTube Wednesday evening. I really had a blast editing and couldn’t help but smile as I rewatched my little families adventure. 🙂 I’ll link the video and share some photos below from our trip.
Hope you all enjoy!
Where we stayed: Aloft Corpus Christi
Where we ate:
Guys, we’ve reached the end of our Colorado trip. We couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to spend it than at the Garden of the Gods. This was a place we knew we HAD to see because seriously, how could you skip out on the gorgeous red rocks and views from up-top. We literally had a flight to catch at like 7pm that day, so we spent the better part of day here. I feel like there isn’t much to say except that if you go to Colorado you have to make the trip. You could spend all day here, but even just a few hours like we did, will give you your fill. Here are some photos from out visit!
Don’t forget to check out my Boulder and Denver blogs here for more on what we did and inspiration ❤
The Colorado adventure continues and our next stop was Denver. We spent two nights here in Denver, our pre-anniversary night at The Ritz-Carlton Denver and our second at the Hilton Denver City Center (previously the Marriott Denver City Center).
Let me just say WOW to the Ritz! Those ladies and gentlemen did not disappoint. On top of the constant assistance I received to set up a surprise gift for Andrew, we were then welcomed with anniversary treats and an upgrade to a suite. The view was gorgeous! ❤ Honestly, since we didn’t make it to Denver until mid afternoon, we just lounged around in our robes and rested up for our night out. Our concierge took care of making reservations for us at The Four Seasons Edge, where we had champagne waiting for us, ate delicious steak and desert, and were even given a tequila tasting straight from the barrel.
The next morning we met back up with our daughter and my parents for breakfast and some hangs. Once we split ways, they took OL to the aquarium and the 16th’s Street Mall, while we set out to do whatever came to mind. First thing we thought of was the gun range. We found a neat placed called the BluCore Shooting Center, everyone was extremely nice both staff and customers. However after 2 hours at the range it was time to eat!
We made our way to Union Station because anyone who has ever searched Denver on Pinterest knows that this place is a must. It’s a beauty! We were mostly in awe over the gorgeous and grand interior. We opted for desert first and then walked over to Stoic & Genuine for some lunch. The atmosphere was great and the decor was very dapper. We loved watching the cooks shuck the oyster right before our eyes. Always opt to sit at the bar, guys. I feel like you connect so much more with your surroundings and meeting new people is always fun! However, if there’s a window seat, don’t skip out on that either. 🙂
The area around here is filled with many shops and bars, but we were drawn to Tattered Covered Bookstore. There was no shortage of book options. We seriously could have spent all our money here, but we’d have no room in our carry on for our clothes. Haha.
The last thing we did this day was spontaneously purchase tickets to a Broncos vs. Texans game. We had stopped by earlier in the day to see the stadium and check out the store. Little did we know they would be playing the Houston Texans that night. We chose to take advantage of that and purchased pretty awesome seats for a great price. It was a blast and those Broncos fans do not mess around. Broncos Forever, that’s for sure. But we met some great people around us that were kind despite our support for the Texans. Hahah. It was definitely an experience, and I am not even a football fan. The weather was perfect, the energy was vibrant, and the view of the Rockies behind the stadium was the star.
If you would’ve asked me if we’d be spending our one-year wedding anniversary at the gun range or a NFL game I probably would’ve said not likely. However, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and experience all things around you, whether it’s “your thing” or not. Andrew and I still talk about this day because it was just so fun and random.
“Life is a journey best traveled together” – Unknown
And I never want the adventure to end ❤
For our stay in Boulder I opted out of booking a traditional hotel because I wanted us to stay in town. In my research I found a few hotels, but this one caught my eye because it was different from any hotel experience we had so far. The Foot of the Mountain Motel was in a desirable location, budget friendly and the name could not be more fitting.