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Showing posts with label Mother. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mother. Show all posts
We were in Rhode Island for the 4th of July and instead of going to a crazy crowded beach we decided to visit a lighthouse by our beach house for a short while and then headed to The Umbrella Factory in Charleston, Rhode Island.  The Umbrella Factory is a pretty unique place. It's like a mall because they have a bunch of different shops, but they also have a small eatery, sell Del's lemonade (YUM!) and have EMUS and chickens. Yes, Emus! While we were there one tried to steal my brother's lemonade because he got too close.

Originally I was going to wear this crop top with my Everlane high waisted jeans but the weather forecast for the week we were in Rhode Island was HOT so I opted for my white jeans instead. I don't wear them often because I'm a little weary of getting white dirty but I think they really make the top pop. Thank you weather for making me change my mind! I also normally wear this top with something high waisted since it's cropped and blowing wind can be quite revealing, but I like it with the lower rise as well.

Printed Crop Top: bought in Greece, White Jeans: Mother Denim 'The Rascal' Crop c/o Marshalls, Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Natural Selection Mini Messenger Bag' (Saks Fifth Avenue), Sunglasses: Ray Ban 'Erika', Eyeglasses chain: Tinksky (Amazon)

This outfit doesn't totally scream Spring but I think it has a small touch of it since I'm in "lighter" layers than I have been the past couple weeks. I won't complain too much though because this day was still pretty nice out and we had some sun! I wore this for a day of running errands - aka going to Stew Leonard's and Trader Joe's, two of my favorite places to splurge on groceries!

I haven't worn my Chanel on the blog in a while so enjoy some nice detail shots of it! I'll never get over how gorgeous it is. And the leather is just sooooo smooth. *drools*

Boyfriend Cardigan: 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target, Sweater: Madewell, Jeans: Mother (Marshalls), Boots: Vince Camuto 'Davilla' (Marshalls), Necklace: Azaggi Jewelry Round Crescent Moon, Sunglasses: Gucci, Eyeglasses chain: Tinksky (Amazon), Bag: Chanel Classic 2.55 Double Flap (Madison Avenue Couture)

Our last day was a crazy day! We had flights at 8 and 8:30 so we knew we had to leave Animal Kingdom by 4 and we had a lot to get through. We wanted to ride both of the new Pandora rides and knew we would probably have to wait in a super long lines; they are usually around 2 or 3 hours, OR MORE! We sort of cheated the system and got on both without waiting long at all. (I'll share that story below)

Apart from exploring Pandora, we also went on the safari, my favorite, and Expedition Everest. For lunch we tried out Satu'li Canteen, the new restaurant in Pandora. I had a kid's Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl, sooo good!

Please excuse the crowded backgrounds in these photos, I wanted the fun waterfall in the back and this isn't exactly the emptiest part of the park! Ha ha.

Sweatshirt: Uniqlo x Disney,  Jeans: Mother (Marshalls), Boots: Vince Camuto 'Davilla' (Marshalls), Bag: Disney x Coach 'Patricia' with Mickey ears, Sunglasses: Ray Ban 'Erika'

Navigating Pandora

Fast Passes

You can use fast passes on rides in Pandora BUT since the park is so new you are only allowed to use it on one ride in your first 3 fast passes. We kind of beat the system on our trip. Here's how. I bought my sister's tickets a couple months before our trip (I was still waiting to decide on an annual pass) and when I did that I booked fast passes with her tickets with the plan to add myself and my friend on once we got our tickets.

I was able to snag a 9:15am for Na'vi River Journey but not Flight of Passage. Once I got my ticket I tried to add myself and we were unable to do that because too many people had fast passes. We kept my sister on it just in case and on that morning we headed to the ride and explained that we were in a group and were supposed to ride together and the man running the fast pass line generously let us all go on. One ride down!

After that we had to do 2 more fast passes before we would be able to get one for Flight of Passage because you can't do both as part of your first 3. So we used them on a ride in Dino-Land and then for the Nemo show (but we didn't actually watch the show, we just tapped our magic bands to use the fast pass and left the line because we didn't have an hour to waste on the show. After that we miraculously got fast passes for Flight of Passage at 1:15! We must have gotten very lucky and caught them adding new ones at the right time.

Flight of Passage was AMAZING! I won't spoil it for those of you that want to be surprised when riding it but I will say there is no other ride like it. The experience is so cool and I would definitely wait in a long line to ride it again! Maybe not 3 hours, but I could do 2. (I have a bad back so standing in long lines is pretty grueling after a while.)

Day 3 was our big day! We got to Magic Kingdom at 9am and stayed until midnight. The park closed at 6pm for the general public and from 7-12 we enjoyed Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party with less crowds! Our first stop of the day was The Little Mermaid ride followed by breakfast at Be Our Guest. I was able to snag reservations for us there the day before thanks to people cancelling reservations. I had been checking almost every day to see if any popped up.

After breakfast we went from ride to ride until it was time for Mickey's Christmas Party. Before the party we had a much coveted reservation for dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table. I'll share more about that below! Then during the party we watched a couple shows, part of the parade and the Christmas fireworks show! We also made sure to go and get all the free cookies, hot chocolate and pretzels at different locations throughout the park! There were also character photograph spots throughout the park but we decided to focus more on enjoying tasty snacks.

Cardigan: Banana Republic, Mickey Reindeer Sweater: Etsy, Jeans: Mother (Marshalls), Boots: Vince Camuto 'Davilla' (Marshalls), Bag: Disney x Coach 'Patricia' with Mickey ears

And now on to my favorite part of the day! Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table. As I mentioned last week, reservations are really hard to come by so it was a Christmas miracle! Here's how it works:
  • Show up at your reservation time and check in
  • Head into a room in the castle to get a photo taken with Cinderella
  • Sit down and enjoy your surroundings until your name is called
  • Head upstairs to the beautiful dining room and take your seat
  • Order your dinner - you get a drink, first course, entree and dessert with your meal. I had the Castle Salad, Pan-Seared All Natural Chicken and "The Clock Strikes Twelve"
  • Take photos with various princesses - we had Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine and Ariel
  • Get your magic wand (or sword) and make a wish during the Wish Ceremony

A Disney Travel Guide

Today's post includes a few tips for a trip to Orlando. Feel free to skip most of the copy if you aren't interested.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I was in Florida earlier this week for a little vacation. I go to Florida a few times a year thanks to "free" flights with my Southwest credit card points (I pay $11.20 each round trip) and to make my Universal Orlando annual pass worth it.* Normally I stay at Universal because that's where my friends and I spend most of our time. Cabana Bay is our favorite place to stay, super fun!

Planning Our Trip

This trip, my friends and I decided to splurge and stay at Disney. We ended up booking a Royal Guest Room at Port Orleans - Riverside, and boy was it worth it! You're staying at Princess Tiana's palace and there are portraits of all the princesses on the walls. There are also tons of hidden touches like a faucet in the shape of Aladdin's magic lamp and fireworks on the headboards!

But What About Those Expensive Disney World Park Tickets?

Next on our list was Disney tickets. I won't lie to you. Disney tickets are PRICEY! My friends and I love Disney but don't go as often as we like because of that. Up until earlier this year we would get in free through friends who worked at Disney but most of them have left their jobs, so now it's up to us to get ourselves in.  Kristen and I knew at the point of booking this trip that we would be going at least one more time within the year so we decided to think about getting a Disney annual pass. They are far more expensive than our Universal ones so it was a big decision.

Basically, we had to figure out if we would go enough times in the 12 months to make the price per-day less than if we had bought tickets each time. After a lot of calculating, I figured out that the pass pays for itself after 8 (single-day) visits, 4 (2-day, 1 park) visits or 3 (2-day, any park) visits. Meaning if we took 3 trips in the year and went to Disney at least two days per trip, our passes are paid for! We already have a second trip planned during Universal's Celebration of Harry Potter so we'll only need one more.

How To Get Your Disney Annual Pass Cheaper

There are only deals on Annual Passes for Florida Residents or Disney Vacation Club Members. But there are other ways to get your Disney Annual Pass for less than retail. My route was to buy discounted gift cards. Here's how I did it for my Platinum Pass.

  1. Decide what pass you need. I bought the Disney Platinum Pass. It is $779 ($829.64 with tax)
  2. Buy $850 worth of gift cards from BJs for $816.92.
    • Costco also has gift cards for less than they're worth
    • Note: This is not the only way to get cheaper tickets. There is a way to do it with a Target Red Card but that's a bit more complicated so I didn't bother.
  3. Combine them on to a single gift card via Disney's official Gift Card website.
  4. Buy Annual Pass on Disney's website!
  5. Bring your gift card and use what's left during your trip!
  6. Don't forget to use your annual pass for discounts in stores and restaurants! Usually 10%
Throughout this year I will be keeping a spreadsheet to see how much money the pass ends up saving me in merchandise, dining and photos. My pass comes with Disney PhotoPass downloads which can be pretty pricey if you buy them for you trip. 30 days worth of downloads runs you $169 if you buy in advance and most people I know who vacation to Florida don't go twice in a month so it will add up.

What to Do

This trip we did a few super fun things that added to our experience (and price tag.) We visited Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios in only 3 days. Day one was spent between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. I'll share a bit more about each day when I post the corresponding outfits and will update this post with links to them as I'll include small guides to each park. But first, I'll share my 2 favorite parts of the trip:

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

To celebrate the Holidays and Christmas, Disney holds special evening events a few nights a week and closes down the park for only those with tickets. It is still crowded AND is a separately ticketed event (at around $100 a pop) but you're in the park without HOARDS of people from 7pm until midnight and get to enjoy free cookies, snacks and drinks! There are also special shows and parades specifically for the party. You can even get photos with some of your favorite characters. I attended the party last year so I already knew it would be a blast! This time we focused less on character photos and more on a fancy dinner (see below) and getting all those tasty snacks!

Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table

Ever since I heard you could have dinner in Cinderella's Castle I've been dying to go! The only problem is, reservations are almost impossible to come by! Disney lets you book dining reservations 180 days in advance so I attempted to get reservation for each of the days we were staying by getting up at 5am to be ready for the reservation drop. I struck out all 4 days. But by a happy accident I was reading a Disney blog one day and saw that they would be opening up reservations during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party later that day! I waited, my heart beating fast, for the tip of the reservation drop. I swooped in and snagged a 6:15 reservation for the day we'd be attending the party. While very pricey (about $79 per adult) the experience is totally worth it! I will share more next week when I post that outfit.

*Pro Universal Tip:

If you're going to Universal for more than 3 days, get a Seasonal Annual Pass, it's cheaper (make sure you check the blackout dates.) I have the Preferred Annual, which is a mid-range pass with no blackout dates. In addition to being good all year, you also get free parking AND 10% discounts at most stores and restaurants on property! Definitely worth it.

And now to my travel outfit! We arrived at the hotel around 8pm on Saturday so we didn't go anywhere that night. Mary Poppins was on TV so we lounged on our beds and relaxed.

Reindeer Sweater: J.Crew, Jeans: Mother (Marshalls), Boots: Vince Camuto 'Davilla' (Marshalls), Bag: Disney x Coach 'Patricia' with Mickey ears

And here are some photos of our room!

I wore this a couple weekends ago to see John Mayer in concert during his The Search for Everything tour! I rarely go to concerts but this was the second time I've seen John. The last time was 9 years ago, on August 24th actually. So it was almost exactly 9 years apart. I'm not really one for new music so John is one of the "newer" people I actually love, but even he is old school. The only other concerts I've been to have been the following: The Eagles, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, The Beach Boys and Huey Lewis and the News. Yes, I'm an old person. Here's a quick peek at the concert via my Instagram.

I'm off to Florida on Wednesday so I'm going to take a week off the blog, except for my monthly wardrobe update on Friday and a special "new in" post tomorrow! I'm attending, and working at, Mugglenet's Nineteen Years Later event to commemorate the actual day featured in the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which takes place on September 1, 2017. They're holding an event with some Potter cast members at Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida!

Floral Camisole: eight sixty, Jeans: Mother Demin c/o Marshalls, Espadrille Slides: Sam Edelman 'Lars' (net-a-porter), Sunglasses: Gucci, Earrings: Mejuri

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