Friday, October 18, 2013

Disney World: Awesome Military Vacation Experience!

The Conway's in Disney World!!

Stephen and I made a decision a couple of years ago to use our Army Leave days for a family vacation instead of visiting our extended family. Best Decision Ever!

With so many incredible Military Discounts, this year we decided to make our Disney Dreams come true!! Was it pricey? Compared to our other trips, yes, BUT, with a little planning we were able to cut even more costs to make this trip within our financial reach. Here's how we did it:

I began the planning by creating a Pinterest board, and collected all Disney tips, insider info and need to knows. I had a notepad just for Disney Trip notes, phone numbers, driving distances, and any other planning info. We loaded up on snacks from the Dollar Store, brought our own breakfast items, and decided to eat out only in the evenings. I saved any restaurant gift cards, and coupons that I had received through the year, and we've been eating at those places when we weren't dining at Disney.

To help keep the kids occupied during this 11 hour road trip, I created a 3 ring binder filled with age-appropriate activities, crayons, stickers, and marker boards, and implemented a ticket reward system. The kids each stared out with 11 tickets. Each hour they could exchange a ticket for a snack, treat, or another activity from a bag that was filled with about $20 of stuff from the Dollar Store. They could also earn tickets with good behavior, and lose them with bad behavior. My 8 year-old son LOVED the tickets, but my 3 year old ate them, lol. :)

What we learned:
*12 hours at Magic Kingdom was just too long to stay. We were dead the next day. If we could do it over, we would have done two days at Magic Kingdom.
*Epcot wasn't the best place for our 3 year old and 8 year old. Nemo was a cool exhibit, but that was about all the kids liked there. We could have went to Animal Kingdom in the morning, and ended the day with dinner at Epcot.
*Fast Passes are incredible! Get them for all the rides you want to ride. It's like having an appointment for that ride. Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios sold out in 20 minutes after the park opened, so we didn't get them. :( The wait time for that ride was over 2 to the park EARLY to get Toy Story Mania tickets.
*Get to any shows or parades you want to see 20-30 minutes early to get the best seats.  The parks will have brochures all around that will tell you Parade and Show Times. :)
*Bringing lots of snacks into the park is a good thing! :) They saved us a lot of money. We did get a few treats at the park, like popcorn and slushies.:)
*Be prepared to walk, so dress comfortable.
*Bring your own stroller. We forgot ours...go figure, lol. They have stroller rentals but you have to pay everyday. :( Boo.
*Reserve Dining Reservations 3:45ish. We did late dining for the first two days, and the kids were MISERABLE, and we went through A LOT of our snacks. The third and fourth days there, we were able to switch and get earlier dinner times. We were lucky to be able to switch, so plan ahead, and get those early spots. OH, and make sure you ask about pricing. We ended up with one restaurant that was excellent, but pricier than we expected, lol.
*Universal Studios, though not affiliated with Disney, is FANTASTIC and SOOOO family friendly. WE LOVED IT and will stay 2 days there next time!

ALL MILITARY families HAVE to take this trip! :) :) 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Turning 30!

I made it to the Big 3-0!

Strange. Thirty used to seem so old. I'm surprised at how young it really is, lol. :)

I woke up this morning feeling quite normal. Looked in the mirror, nothing had changed...yet I guess. I smiled, and thanked God for another day, and asked for 30 more years--not too much to ask for huh?

I couldn't help but wonder what those next 30 years would hold, and how could they be any better than the past 30 years? When I think about all those I've known, and loved...those that have impacted my life throughout the years...I can't
imagine things getting better, lol, but I'm totally ok if they do.

SO...hopes and dreams for the future. There's just 3...for now.

1) I'm praying for more wisdom. Wisdom to be the best wife, mother, and friend I can be.
2) I'm praying to keep my priorities in order: God, Family, Others
3) I'm going to keep chasing my dreams to become an author. I love to write. So I'm gonna keep doing what I love.