Posts Tagged ‘family vacation’

This blog post is sponsored by Shell, for which I was compensated. But the story, experiences and opinions are all my own.

I’m beginning to realize that traveling and vacationing with kids are two totally different things. I enjoy both for different reasons so it’s hard comparing one over the other. But today I’m going to share a recent road trip we took with our kids, and why it most definitely was not a vacation, yet it was rewarding all the same.

Family vacationing to Schlitterbahn

With my husband’s job he works four 10-hour shifts a week, then he gets three days off. Those days off rotate every month. This can make planning for things very difficult. The positive side however, is when he has weekdays off instead of weekends; we can escape for a quick getaway and usually experience less crowds.

We’re always saying we want to go places but sitting down and planning those trips is another thing. I had just gotten through a slew of deadlines for my blog, my husband had a weekend free of trainings and overtime and I had just received my first Fuel Rewards® card in the mail and I was itching to use it.

I sat down to my computer and booked a night at a waterpark and resort between Austin and San Antonio. We’ve gone together pre-children but had never taken the kids. They aren’t thrill seekers at all (I mean, my daughter cried on the People Mover at Disney World because it was dark) but I crossed my fingers I could persuade them to try something.

We told the kids we’d be heading to the water park the next morning and staying at a hotel (they love hotels). My daughter immediately started packing. My son had more questions.

As soon as the word “ride” came out of my mouth, both of them started gasping and asking for clarifications about what kind, how fast, and “do I have to go on it?”

As we hit the road down to the resort we stopped to fill up at a Shell station. I whipped out my new Fuel Rewards card and got excited when I saw the price drop by $.15/gallon. I’m not the best a couponing but when a discount is as simple as swiping a free card I’m all about it. Sign up for the Fuel Rewards program here and start saving with Instant Gold Status. It’s free, takes less than 60 seconds, and you can have your own Fuel Rewards card mailed straight to you!

My daughter on the other hand… Not feeling so excited, but a little anxious about what was ahead. The questions kept coming.

I told them we wouldn’t decide which rides we’d be doing or not doing until we were standing in front of them.

When we made it to the park my son surprised me when he saw a huge slide and immediately said “I want to go on that one!” And pointed way up at the top.

Yea, I’ll believe it when I see it. I thought.

My daughter was all “Nope… Nope… No… Not that one either…”

She went straight to the wave pool and was in her happy place. But I was hoping we could try something new as a family, not sit in a pool like the one in our neighborhood.

I bribed, begged and pleaded. I asked a lifeguard what slow water ride she’d recommend for non-thrill-seeking kids and she said the Congo ride. Great. We had a winner. Almost.

vacationing with kids

Problem was, that ride was full of mist, eerie music, and wildly obvious pretend animals that still had my over-imaginative daughter completely freaking out.

She hysterically asked to get off when we turned a corner and she saw a black tunnel. My husband exited with her and I kept going with our son.

After a semi-steep drop he was surprisingly giggly. So we kept going further down the ride into more drops and a river of sorts. He LOVED it. And I knew my daughter would too. Or at least I thought she would.

It took me a while but I realized that what she doesn’t enjoy about rides isn’t necessarily the thrill level, but the amount of thematic creepiness. She doesn’t like tunnels, non-happy music, dark spaces (hence her freak out on the People Mover when we go through Space Mountain).

I asked another lifeguard if we could enter the Congo ride AFTER the dark tunnel and he escorted us to where the little rapids started. She was extremely hesitant at first, but finally got on.

AND SHE LOVED IT!

vacationing with kids

She continued to surprise me as she’d get on more slides and rapids much more thrilling than the last. Hooting and hollering with delight the whole way down.

“Thank you for bringing us here mommy,” my daughter said, as we walked back from a slide.

Going on trips with kids may not be a relaxing vacation by any means. But the rewards come through in other ways. From watching them conquer a fear, witnessing their joy, and hearing their gratitude. I may be even more tired when I get home, but the time spent together makes it all worth it.

vacationing with kids

I’m teaming up with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® program this year and it’s inspiring us to fuel our fun. I signed up for a Fuel Rewards® card and got “Instant Gold Status” which basically means I can save at least $.05/gallon at the pump – up to 20 gallons/visit (we saved $.15/gallon this trip!) and additional savings other places when I used the card. It’s not a credit card and doesn’t cost anything to sign up!


*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards® member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period”. If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period”. The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period”. You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period”. During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to 3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see fuelrewards.com for complete Fuel Rewards® program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit fuelrewards.com/gold or call (888) 603-0473.

Spending quality time as a family is something I treasure, and so important to my happiness. Actually I can see how it affects my whole family’s mood when we’re giving each other our focused love and attention.

My babies are only going to be little for so long and I am obsessed with absorbing this stage. While cuddling them I’m taking more time to soak it in and be grateful. While playing, even if it’s doing something I don’t particularly like, I’m enjoying their joyful smiles. It’s also why I’m so immersed in photographing as much as I can. I love that we can flip through our family photo albums together and remember all of the fun we’ve had. I believe cherishing those moments and instilling the importance of family is invaluable.

So here’s a glimpse at some of what’s going in the photo book from our South Padre Vacation:

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

Family vacation photography tips.

I feel like I did a pretty good job this vacation of balancing the moments I wanted to pull my camera out and capture what was going on, and the times when I’d just enjoy my company. This pretty much involved me snapping some shots when we first got somewhere, or started an activity, then putting it away for a little bit and playing with my husband and kids. I was so proud of myself for passing my camera over to my husband and making sure I got in some of the shots too.

South Padre Family vacation and fun exploring the Texas coast. List of some things to do and where to stay.

Obviously at the beach I wanted to be extra careful not to get my camera wet or get sand on it. The sand part wasn’t incredibly easy to do but I found if I kept my hands clean I could keep my camera clean. Then I only set it down when it was safely tucked away in my camera bag and underneath a blanket.

I used my EOS 80D for most of my photos on this trip. It is lighter than my EOS 5D Mark II and convenient because I was able to easily switch between taking photographs and capturing video.

For me it’s so important I do something with my photos once I’m back home. I try to print some out to hang or make a photo books when I have a lot of photos. I like to keep my photo books out and within reach because my kids love flipping through them all the time.

Same goes for my videos. I try to turn them into something we can enjoy versus just clips of video one after another to scroll through and press play on. Here’s what I made from this trip:

When it comes to capturing vacation memories I like to try to remember a few things.

1. Get a variety of shots: Some may include people, some may just be the location, and don’t forget those tiny details, like the shells my kids collected on the beach.

2. Candids are great: It can be tempting to plop your family in front of a landmark, snap a photo and call it a day, but vacations are a great time to get candid photos and capture the emotion and fun around a trip. Look at taking photos of the action as well as reactions to things going on.

3. Get in the shot: I almost forgot this this trip. It wasn’t until I was looking at some of the photos I took of my husband with the kids that I realized I hadn’t been in any yet. I passed my camera off to him (after switching the camera to AV mode so he couldn’t mess it up) and played in the sand with my kids while he did the best he could (and it wasn’t bad!)

4. Switch to video now and then: I don’t need to keep rolling on every moment of the trip, but press record for 5-10 seconds every now and then and string the pieces together later to really capture the emotion from the moment.

5. Use a zoom lens: I love my primes, don’t get me wrong, but on vacations when you’re walking around and in a variety of situations, zoom lenses are so handy. I mostly used my Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens to take in more of the background, but I also loved my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens when I wanted to get closer.

For more of my vacation photography tips check out my article or my photography course on the Canon Digital Learning Center.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

In my reader survey quite a few of you mentioned you wanted more Disney posts because you love it and/or are planning your trips. A few others said you’d prefer to see a little less Disney posts. Between my love for Disney travel and the animated movies, I’m taking this all to heart and going to try to keep a balance. That means one Disney post every week or two. So those who love it like I do get their fix, and I won’t be overdoing it for those who could do with a little less Mickey (it’s hard to believe these people exist!).

Lately I’ve been feeling like baby fever was replaced by the travel bug. What started as a bucket-list goal to take my kids to Disney World before I turned 30 has turned into a dream to visit all of the worldwide Disney parks, and save for an annual family trip.

I have a growing list of other places I want to take my kids, but we’ll get more into that in another post.

5 secrets for doing disney world with preschoolers

I’ve had several people ask me what the best age to visit Disney World is. And if it’s worth taking young kids. “They won’t even remember it!” or “They can’t really enjoy it” are phrases I sometimes hear, but I beg to differ.

We took big T to Disney World last year when he was almost 2 and while he doesn’t remember that trip, he did have a blast. Most of the rides at the Disney Parks are for all heights and ages. And since he was 1 we didn’t have to pay for his flight or his park tickets (kids tickets are free up to 3). Now at almost 3, I kid you not, he talks about Disney World every day. He talks about “spin fast at Disney World” (the tea cups) Goofy’s airplane (the Barnstormer), Mickey Mouse choo choo (WDW Railroad), and more! He loves flipping through my phone looking at photos and videos (I’m still working on editing a video) and talking about our trips. Going to Disney World with preschoolers can be a lot of fun.

I’ve learned a lot over this last year and I’ve shared what I’ve learned and some of my Disney tips. Things like rider swap, stroller rentals and healthy kids meals with Mickey Checks–but this time, on our 4th Disney trip, I learned even more tips for doing Disney World with preschoolers. Things I didn’t know before. Hopefully you’ll find this helpful as you plan your trips with little ones, and I’d love it if the more experienced Disney travelers shared their tips in the comments as well!

1. There are fun playground areas in each of the parks

5 secrets for doing disney world with preschoolers: Disney World playgrounds

If you get tired of lines or the kids just need a break, I love heading out to the different play areas at each park. In Magic Kingdom we love to take a raft ride over to Tom Sawyer Island. Where there’s plenty of bridges to cross, stairs to climb and fun to be had. But this is just the beginning there are fun play areas and attractions at each park for preschoolers.

In Epcot we love the ImageWorks play area after the Journey into Imagination with Figment ride. It’s a fun and colorful interactive play area.

In Animal Kingdom there’s the boneyard that’s a huge playground the kids.

honey-I-shrunk-the-kids-playground-disney-world

And in Hollywood studios we LOVED playing at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground during both of our visits, but sadly it will be closing April 1st 2016. Don’t worry though, with Toy Story Land coming soon, I’m sure it will be replaced with something even cooler, and much more relevant for this generation.

2. Disney has childcare

Disney World Secrets: Child watch

You may have heard of Disney’s in-room childcare services, but you might not have known they have other childcare centers around the property. Centers like Lilo’s Playhouse at the Polynesian Resorts where kids can bake, do science, play games and interact with characters. Right now they’re open to local residents/visitors as well as Disney guests. And for $55 you can escape to the parks for some adult fun while your kids are having fun in safe hands.

3. Baby Care Centers

Disney World Secrets for Preschoolers: Baby Care Centers

Each Disney Park is equipped with a baby care center where you can find everything from a dimmed room to nurse to feeding areas with high chairs, comfortable changing stations, to extra diapers, wipes, and baby food. I wish I knew about this on our trip last year. There’s even a room older siblings can sit and play while they wait.

4. Strollers can roll on the monorail

Disney World Secrets for Preschoolers: Monorail

Disney World Secrets for Preschoolers: Monorail

Last time when we stayed off site we needed to fold the stroller, take the car, pay to park, unpack the stroller, and head into the parks. If you stay on site at a property that’s on the monorail system you can strap the kids in in your room and ride all the way there without needing to collapse the thing and squish your lunch (yes, you can bring your own food!).

5. Disney Jr. Pool Parties

Disney World Secrets for Preschoolers: Disney Jr. Pool Party

And other fun when you stay on property at a Disney Resort hotel. The pool party at the Nemo pool (at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort) was a highlight for my kids who love the water. Lil’ J danced and placed the trivia games. It was pretty cute and something I didn’t realize existed.

6. Magic Bands can be kid-sized

Disney World Secrets for Preschoolers: Magic Band Sizes

I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t know this before. So just in case I’m not the only one who didn’t know I’m sharing this tip! It wasn’t until the last day that I realized the Magic Bands had an outer layer that could be pulled off to fit the younger kids better (a nice cast member told us right before we left!). Big T didn’t want to wear his and Lil’ J found hers uncomfortable because we had double-backed the wristband. Once we took it off it fit much better. You’re welcome!

7. Disney Springs is another adventure

Disney World Secrets for Preschoolers: Disney Springs Car Boat Ride

If you arrive in Orlando the day before your park experience begins, you can still start enjoying Disney World at Disney Springs. What was formerly known as Downtown Disney has been transformed into a full-fledged attraction of its own. We ate at the Boathouse one night and my son pointed out the window and said “Car on the water!” I brushed him off but when I turned around I saw exactly that. Then we went for a ride on one of the Amphicars and it was one of our favorite parks of the entire trip.

In the coming weeks I’ll also be sharing: Top Disney World rides for scaredy cat preschoolers (Lil’ J’s review), what I learned staying on property vs off property, and Disney World photography tips. If there’s another topic you’re interested in let me know!

Secrets to doing walt disney world with preschoolers

Have you been to Disney with a preschooler? What other tips do you have or would you like to know?

If I’m being totally honest right now, I’m checked out. Mentally I’m off in la la land, planning our family Thanksgiving and Christmas, ready to get away and play with the kids and have our first-ever family vacation with just the four of us. I wish I could take the rest of the year off and soak up all of this holiday goodness.

My daughter is counting down to our Utah trip. She’s packed herself already. Every morning she exclaims how we’re one day closer, how she can’t wait to play in the snow, ride the train and sing Christmas carols.

I’m SO excited for my kids to see snow for the first time. I hope they freak out (in a good way), and that we can take some fun pictures in it. I’m excited to see family, and for the kids to be entertained by grandparents and my husband’s little cousins.

And then, after a week of bundling up against the cold winter temperatures my kids have never experienced in their little lifetimes, we’ll be heading to the Bahamas.

Lil’ J has been watching Disney Cruise videos on YouTube and begging to go.

“Maybe someday,” we tell her. Giggling underneath our breath.

Unable to contain a part of the surprise, I let her open a mermaid tail I ordered her. We’ve talked about her wearing it for Ariel pictures, but she doesn’t know we’ll be taking them on a beach near Goofy and friends, in a couple weeks.

Little Mermaid tail Ariel tail

“I’m finally a real mermaid!” she exclaimed as she wiggled her way into it.

That tail was the last thing she mentioned before bed and the first thing she talked about when she woke up.

“Can I wear my tail when I get home from school?” She asked. “Promise?!”

She was in disbelief for her Walt Disney World surprise. And though we were leaving just a couple hours after we told her, she asked non-stop when we were going.

Before Disneyland she had a birthday surprise and we had a countdown to our trip.

I’ve been doing back and forth trying to decide how to let the kiddos in on the surprise this time. A phone call from Mickey? A video message from Ariel? Ultimately we decided we’re gonna drive right up to the port in Galveston and yell SURPRISE as soon as she notices the Disney Cruise ship.

My husband won’t admit it, but he is starting to get excited too. I told him about the Castaway Cay 5k I want to run (ok walk) in for a metal and he said HE wants to do it, and even offered to let me have his metal.

Then when I mentioned I saw Disney music trivia on a sample schedule he said “Oh man, that could be fun! [Lil’ J] would love that. It’s on!” I can tell this will be fun for us all.

Disney Cruise Ship

Planning for this trip has been quite different than planning for our other Disney trips. Mostly because there aren’t a lot of decisions you can make beforehand. I have learned a lot already, but one thing I’ll share right now is to have an experienced Disney Cruise friend handy. Here are a few tips for finding one:

1. Facebook groups. I found a Facebook group with people sailing the same time as of and it’s been SO helpful. Around the clock people are asking and answering each other’s questions, and sharing tips and info about your sailing. Check out this page for a list of sailing groups.

2. Our Disney travel agent Matt from Wish Upon a Star is awesome as well and happily answers my plethora of emailed questions and gives recommendations. Travel agents don’t cost anything and can make seemingly overwhelming Disney Vacation planning a breeze.

3. Disney Moms Panelists. You can search the website for cruise questions, or make friends with an experienced applicant for their personal tips. Search using the hashtag #DisneyMP. I have a friend Lori, who is like my personal expert. She has been on 7 Disney Cruises and knows the answer to every single question I ask her. From ideas on what to wear for pirate night, if there are penny squishing machines at the port, how to use gift cards on board. She has been so sweet and generous in sharing her Disney love and wisdom. Follow her blog and check her out on Twitter and try to stump her! I bet you can’t.

In a few short weeks I’ll be free. Sans internet, emails, work. Away with my family on our first ever vacation as a family of four.

Until then there are a few more deadlines, fish extender gifts to make (more on that soon), packing to do, and more surprises to plan.

What was your first family vacation? Have you been on a family cruise before?

If you have a princess fan on your hands this post is for you. Tips for meeting all of the Disney princesses at Disney World.

Still on my Disney high. Bear with me. I’m officially in love, and documenting our family’s magical obsession is going to be a new addition to this blog in a section I’m calling “Making Magical Memories.” I’ll probably throw in other non-Disney adventures from time to time but for now, I’m continuing with the Disney World tips for the Princess Fans.

As I started planning our trip to Disney World I wondered what my daughter would enjoy more: The rides, or meeting the princesses. It was a surprise visit, so I couldn’t outright ask her, but I tried to in a roundabout way.

“So some day, if we go to Disney World, which would you rather do there, meet the princesses or ride the rides?”

Without hesitation she exclaimed “Meet the princesses!”

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.
I knew my son would be all about the rides. I worried he’d be afraid of any character in costume more than just a dress after discovering his fear of the Chick-fil-a cow.

One reason deciding where we’d spend a portion of our time beforehand is because you can choose “fastpasses” and bypass a big chunk of the line for three things a day. (You can actually choose more after you use those three but I’ll get into that in another post later).

I spent a lot of time researching which attractions had the longest lines and from that, deciding which ones I think my family would like most. Other things that didn’t have an extremely long line, I figured we could just wait and ride/ meet in the regular standby line.

I had heard that Anna and Elsa were the most difficult fastpasses to get. Because they’re the newest princesses (of an incredibly popular movie) people literally wait hours to meet them. I thought early February when crowds are relatively low, the line wouldn’t be so long but even still the wait was always over an hour.

Luckily I kept checking for fastpass availability and by the day before we left I had reserved three for for my daughter, my husband, and myself.

I also had reserved fastpasses for Cinderella and Rapunzel because as I frequently checked the MyDisneyApp (download that while you’re planning!) I’d check wait times and they’d get pretty long for them as well.

Ok so for meeting them and making that experience awesome. I think it’s important to really get into the magic of Disney. My daughter was SO excited to meet each princess and while we waited in line we talked about questions she could ask her. It helped her not be as nervous when she approached them because as much as she talks, she can be so bashful.

You can really ask them anything because they are trained to have the entire movie memorized and with great improv skills. Looking back I wish I had jumped in and interacted more with the actual princesses.

Tiana

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Tiana we met right out of the gate. She was coming towards us when Lil J yelled “MOM! It’s your favorite princess! LOOK! It’s Tiana!”

She’s set up at Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom. There’s no fastpass option for her, and she comes out for about 40 minutes each hour. We didn’t have to wait in line too long, and frankly we were all just excited to be meeting our first princess.

Lil’ J asked her what it was like being a frog and Tiana said in her beautiful southern accent “It was so slimy honey! Don’t ever go kissing frogs, or anyone for that matter!”

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

She also asked where we were from and when we said Texas she said “Oh I’m right next door to you!” And I thought really?! For a moment and she said “I’m from Louisiana!” Duh! It clicked with me.

Some other fun questions to ask Tiana could be:
When did you start to actually like Naveen?
Do you ever go see Mama Odie?
How’s the restaurant going?
Is Louis still playing his trumpet?

Ariel (in her grotto)

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Next we met Ariel. Lil’ J’s favorite princess and probably the one we waited the longest for. We could have used a fastpass for it, but it said the wait was 15 minutes and I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. It ended up being more like half an hour, but it wasn’t so bad. My husband went to play with our son while we waited.

There were fun shells and stuff to look at in Ariel’s grotto. She asked me if I thought she’d be swimming in her fins, and how she could breath outside of water while we waited. I reminded her mermaids can breath under and above water.

When it was our turn Lil’ J was SO excited and in so much shock she couldn’t remember her question. Ariel pointed to her shirt and said “Oh you’re a sister!” Do you have a sister or a brother? Lil’ J said a brother, and I said “Ariel has sisters” and Ariel said “Yes, I have lots of sisters, I have six!”

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Lil’ J was so happy and just in shock, so she pretty much sat and smiled the whole time, forgetting that she wanted to ask her if she preferred her legs or fins.

Some other fun questions to ask her might be:
What was your favorite item you collected in your trove?
Will you do a fish-face pose with me?
What do you think of people eating fish?
How do you get along with all of your sisters?

Next Lil’ J had her princess makeover at Bippity Boppity Boutique before meeting the Frozen sisters.

Anna

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

She met Anna first. And boy was she hilarious. She patted my daughter’s bun and said “Oh my goodness your hair feels completely frozen! Have you been playing with my sister?” It got a chuckle out of Lil’ J, and she still talks about that today.

I don’t think she remembered to ask them any questions. She meant to ask how Sven was, and what kind of chocolate was their favorite but forgot. The interaction was still so adorable and worth it. I think I got quite a bit on video, but I still need to edit it all together.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Other fun question to ask Anna:

Has Kristoff proposed yet?
What’s your favorite kind of sandwich?
Do you want to build a snowman?

Elsa

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

My daughter was so excited to meet Elsa, and I think a little more warmed up. I believe we asked her if Olaf was enjoying summer and she said he’s loving the beach. I just asked Lil’ J and she says she asked her what’s it like having ice powers and she says Elsa told her “It’s fun” but I’m not sure that’s really how it went down.

Elsa was very regal and sweet, just as I’d imagined her to be.

More questions for Elsa:
Are Olaf’s hugs really warm?
Did Marshmallow (the giant snowman) ever give her tiara back?
What does do you think of Kristoff?
Did you know Hans was bad all along?

Halftime Tip: Character Dining

The next day we went to Epcot, where we met five princesses at one meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Definitely worth the pretty penny if you ask me. If you want to make sure you meet all of the princesses during a short trip I highly recommend booking a character dining meal either here or Cinderella’s Royal Table. Cinderella’s was closed for our visit but I’ll definitely be booking there next time. Because the princesses you meet there rotate, if you can book a reservation early in your trip you can quickly figure out who else you need to meet during the remainder of your visit.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Make sure you book early. Six months out if you can. Also be sure you have your cameras ready! The princesses come around fast and you’ve gotta take your own photos at the table. Personally, these were some of my favorite photos since the lighting was so good.

Belle

When you walk in you’re greeted by Belle. Be sure to give her a hearty “Bonjour!” I can’t remember if we thought ahead about a question to ask her. But I’ve thought of some fun ones since then.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Questions like:
What’s your favorite book? Or do you have any book recommendations for me?
What book are you reading right now?
What’s your favorite invention by your father?
What’s your favorite dress? The gold one? Blue one? The red winter one?

Cinderella

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Cinderella came around to our table and hugged our daughter. She was SO excited to meet Cinderella it was so cute! She didn’t ask her any questions this time, but the second time we met her (at the same time we met Rapunzel) she asked her why her slipper fell off and Cinderella said: “Well, my fairy Godmother made it the wrong size to begin with, but she made me new ones in the right size, and with straps!” It seriously made her day. Cinderella autographed her book directly to my daughter when she saw her the second time. So sweet!

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Some other questions to ask her:
Show me your ballroom dance!
What’s it like riding in a pumpkin?
Has your fairy Godmother paid you any more visits?
How are your stepsisters doing?

Snow White

Snow White was so soft spoken and kind we didn’t ask her any questions because we were awestruck, and Lil’ J had food in her mouth.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Now we’d ask her something like this:
Which dwarf is your favorite?
Do you still like apples?
Did you ever thank the huntsman for saving your life?
Do wishing wells work?

Sleeping Beauty/ Princess Aurora

We were so impressed with Aurora’s beautiful pink dress I think that’s all Lil’ J got out “I love your dress!”

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

More questions we’d ask her next time are:
Do you still like to take naps?
Are you sleepy a lot?
Do you like your dress more pink or blue?
Do you prefer to go by Aurora? Briar Rose or Sleeping Beauty?
Which fairy is your favorite?

Ariel (on Land)

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Lil’ J was just as excited to meet Ariel in a dress as she was to meet her with fins. She was sure ready to ask her question this time. She asked her if she likes having her legs better or having her tail better and Ariel knelt down and had a long sweet answer for her that she told Lil’ J very softly.

I heard part of it, her telling my daughter that she loves having legs to walk with Eric, and being in the ocean with her family. When I asked Lil’ J what Ariel said she said she couldn’t understand because she was talking so fast and that Ariel didn’t know. Ha! So luckily I heard parts of it. It was really sweet seeing her interact with her favorite princess. I think she was too in shock to pay attention to much of the answer. But I’m glad she was brave enough to ask.

Later that day, continuing through Epcot, we met other Princesses in their “lands.”

Jasmine and Aladdin

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

We met these two lovebirds in Morocco. It was raining outside, so we met them inside a room with a bunch of lamps and tools. One of the Disney cast members told us we could touch them but that the Genie froze them in place.

They were so fun. Aladdin complimented me on my outfit, and told me I was beautiful *blushes*. It was raining and I was actually pretty gross. I told him I was inspired by Jasmine. She complimented me on my jewelry. Lil’ J asked them how Abu was and they said Abu didn’t smell very good right now because it was raining, and he had some more snacks to eat.

A couple of young women ahead of us spend a good several minutes with them taking photos in many different poses and really getting into it.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Some other questions we’d probably ask next time:
How’s the genie enjoying his freedom?
If you could have one more wish what would it be?
Can I go for a ride on your magic carpet?
Is Jafar still locked in that lamp?
Have you ever flown on an airplane?

Mulan

We met in China at Epcot. We went to meet her twice but just missed her meet and greet times. Luckily the cast member let us in at the end of the line to meet her right before her break.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

We wanted to ask her about Mushu and Captain Shane but I think we were just mesmerized by her beauty. I’d have a lot of questions for her as she’s tied as my favorite princess.

Questions like:
How’s Captain Shang? Did he stay “forever” like your grandma asked? Or just for dinner?
Do you like this matchmaker dress or prefer your army getup?
Has your lucky cricket brought you any more luck?
What was it like saving your country?

Pocahontas

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

We met her at Animal Kingdom. She was one of Lil’ J’s favorites to meet and talk to. By this time she had warmed up to meeting most people. Pocahontas was so kind and greeted us by saying “wingapo!”. Lil’ J asked her what her favorite animal was and Pocahontas said the sea otters, then said the falcons, and she named a few others and the reasons she liked them, and finally said she couldn’t decide.

More questions we’d ask her:

Did you end up getting married?
Have you ever ridden the Kali river rapids here? How does it compare to the rivers in your village?
How far have you paddled in your canoe?

Merida

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

We met when we went back to the Magic Kingdom. We had to wait quite a while to meet her too. But you can color or to archery while you wait, so that was nice, though we opted to do it after we met Merida.

Lil J asked her what it was like when her mom was a bear and Merida told her (in Lil’ J’s words) that it was kind of scary but then she got to be a nice bear. I also overheard her mention that her brothers were also bears, which we remember from the movie.

I got have a little of this on video, so I need to go back and re-watch it. Merida was super cute and funny. She noticed Big T on my back in the carrier and said hi to him, and complimented Lil’ J on all of her curls.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

More questions we’d ask:
Were your brothers more trouble as bears or little boys?
How did you learn to be so good at archery?
What’s your favorite part about being a princess?
Do you think you’ll ever find a prince you’d like to marry?

Rapunzel

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

She was the last princess we met, and we met her and Cinderella quickly using a fastpass. She was just as funny and spunky as I imagined and had a lot to say to Lil’ J but I couldn’t hear much. Rapunzel asked my daughter some questions before she could ask her but Lil’ J didn’t respond much. Rapunzel asked a question Lil’J wasn’t sure how to answer and Rapunzel said she must be like Pascal and could change a lot.

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Next time we meet Rapunzel we will probably ask her something like this:
What’s your favorite use of a frying pan? Do you always have one with you?
How long does it take you to wash your hair?
Where can we find Eugene?
Do Maximus and Eugene get along now?

Tips for meeting ALL of the Disney princesses at Disney World. Where to find them and when, plus questions you can ask them for more interactive fun, photos and magical memories that will last a lifetime.

Of course you can really ask them anything, and the characters like Mickey and Minnie, and other non-face characters are fun to interact with too, and will dance and respond to you in silly ways. These are just some ideas to get you started.

In 2017 Walt Disney Pictures will be releasing what should be their 14th Disney Princess movie: Moana. Right now it’s set to be released November 23rd 2016. It will feature a Polynesian princess on an epic voyage. I can’t wait to see it and hopefully meet her on our next trip to Disney World.

Have you ever asked a Disney Princess a question and gotten an interesting response?

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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