One of the top campgrounds to stay at in the United States is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in Orlando, Florida. When I heard this my bags were packed. Mostly because we live in our RV and my bags are always packed but you know what I mean. 

We could’t wait to experience this with our Toddler. Both my husband and I have been to Disney a few times growing up, but never experienced Disney as new parents. This journey is a little intimidating, so here are seven tips we learned from our recent trip to the most magical place on earth! 

1. Consult a Disney Lover

Disney vacation planning is comparable to being a ninja. These Disney lovers are devoted, skilled, smart, and crafty. You only catch a glimpse of them as they sneak by you in the fast pass line (We will talk about that magical line a little later).

I consulted a few of these Disney lovers/ninjas I knew before we headed out and I recommend you do the same if you know any. I thought these Disney planners were just hard core and liked to be on top of things, but I discovered very quickly if you want to see as much as the parks as you can and avoid waiting in line most of your day this is why you become a “ninja” at Disney.

Also other members of my family used a Disney vacation planner. She helped them book rooms and park tickets at a discount all free of charge! 

2. If possible stay on a Disney resort

Before you think this is out of your budget and skip this step I would highly recommend looking into this option. Hear me out. They offer some affordable rooms that I found were comparable or even cheaper than staying off site as well as discounts on park tickets.

Dont make the mistake I made. We booked our housing reservations because they fill up fast and decided we would buy tickets closer to time. You can only save on park tickets if bought within 30 days of your room reservation according to the travel agent I contacted after the fact. Also included is free transportation to all the Disney parks and Downtown Disney for onsite guests.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, on-site guests are are allowed to set up those magical fast passes in advance before offsite guests and also receive “Magic Hours”. Magic Hours are extended hours for Disney Resort peeps. SCORE!

3. My Disney Experience app is essential!

This saved our app if you know what I mean:) You are able to navigate your whole Disney experience through this app including managing fast passes, reservations, park maps, ride wait times, plus a whole bunch more. Best tool to have for your vacation. Get it…. Like yesterday. 

4. Fast Passes

What is the fast pass line? Oh you learn that line real quick when you visit Disney. That is the line that gets you to the front of the lines to your favorite rides while all us “procrastinators” like myself line up and wait a crazy amount of time for 30 seconds of enjoyment because we didn’t set up our fast passes ahead of time.

This is a science that some people have perfected and I am not claiming to have this

super power but I will tell you what I learned about them. If you haven’t set up your fast passes (GASP) don’t panic like I did. The good news is people cancel their passes and good ones do come available to us procrastinators or people who work better under pressure as I like to call us.

We had to choose afternoon fast passes and this worked out best for us because we park hopped for that day. That meant we showed up at the opening of Magic Kingdom and hit up a lot the rides with little to no wait before the crowd built up. We had a little over an hour before lines started building so pick with strategy.

That afternoon we used our fast passes in Animal Kingdom and it worked out great for us. Hollywood studios had Magic hours that night so the park stayed open an extra 2 hours so we hit up those rides with limited riders. We avoided lines pretty well for the day while visiting 3 parks. Not bad for a Disney day with two toddlers. 

5. Rider Swap

If you have small children and you are planning on doing a parent swap or what Disney calls a rider switch that is equivalent to a fast pass. Parent swap is designed to help riders with small children be able to ride attractions while taking turns with children who are not tall enough for that ride without waiting in line twice.

How this works is once you enter the line of a ride you ask for a rider switch or a parent swap pass. They give you a card that is exchanged for a rider switch pass which is actually another fast pass. So technically if you set up your fast pass for the same ride you are kinda wasting a fast pass is what we discovered because they have you a fast pass card and you could use your other fast pass on another ride.

Do be aware rider switch is only available on rides with height limits. If your little one is able to ride there is no need to switch so you would need to set up for 2 fast passes in that situation. 

6. Bring plenty of snacks

Food can be expensive at the parks and the lines are extremely long. Reservations go fast so if there is a particularly restaurant you are wanting to try make those plenty in advance. Dining wasn’t a splurge of ours so we didn’t have any reservations and opted for quick dining. Food adds up quickly so we packed a few snacks to get us through the day and in between meals. 

7. Strollers

One of the questions we had was what kind of stroller is best for Disney? We debated on this one because we have a large BOB running stroller and it is bulky and heavy. This can be difficult getting on and off trams and maneuvering in busy parks but that’s what husbands are for right? Thanks Hubby.

We opted to use the stroller we had on hand because we didn’t want two strollers in our limited space in the RV, money saved not buying another stroller, and comfort for our picky 18 month old who thinks she is the Princess and the Pea.

Although it was a little annoying due to the size, it was not that bad and was a good option for us. We were happy with our decision. The couple who traveled with us opted the other route and bought a travel stroller. They loved this option because it was light and easy to collapse and it worked best for them. I think this is all about what is most important for you. 

So there you have it. Just a few tips and tricks to get you started. We had a blast at Disney World and it’s true when they say you want to start planning your next Disney trip as soon as it’s over. I hope this helps make your Disney vacation a little less stressful so you can enjoy making memories with your family.

One of my biggest fears before moving into an RV was whether or not our stuff would take over our space. Even in our 4 bedroom, 2 bath house it seemed tough at times to keep things out of the way. However, I’ve learned

It’s human nature to fill up the space we are in.

Many of our clothing drawers won’t shut they are so full. Pantries are Jenga’d with so many goods that stuff in the back expires before we realize its even there. How many of our garages can’t be used to park a car anymore?

Here’s a few tips that have helped us keep our stuff from taking over our space:

A place for everything and everything in its place. This old housekeeping saying definitely holds true in an RV or a small space. Every dish, shirt, toothbrush, or shoe, needs a place to call home. If something new is bought or brought into the house, right then is the time to gently tell it where it needs to go.

Once you’ve got a place for your keys, remotes, and incoming mail, stick to it. It’s much easier and enjoyable in the long run to put things away while it is in your hand.  If you are going to lay something down, why not lay it down where it goes? To me, it beats the alternative of finding it later (after looking for a while), having to pick it up, and then still having to lay it down where it goes.

Your stuff is going to it’s place at some point. Why not do it early so you can enjoy the open space?

Only keep what you use, not what you “could use”. This one has been a tough one for us in the past, but living in our motorhome has forced us to make more decisions when it comes to what we actually use.

The funny thing is, 99% of what we have reluctantly removed has not been missed one bit. If taking frequent trips to Goodwill freaks you out, designate a space (here’s that “a place for everything” coming into play) for things you “may” want to give away. If that pot, that toy, or that shirt lays there for a month or two without being missed one bit, maybe it’s time to put it in the car and get that donation write off.

Take a look at your closet. If there are clothes in there you haven’t worn in over a year, it’s time for them to go. One trick with clothes (which seem to be the king of this struggle), is to have all your hangers facing the same direction. As you wear clothes, turn the hanger around. After a few months, see what you haven’t touched by looking at the direction of the hangers. You may be amazed.

One hurdle when getting rid of stuff is the memories. What if that shirt brings back memories from a time in my life or that souvenir reminds me of somewhere I’ve been?

We’ve looked for creative ways to turn souvenirs and memorable items into something more portable. Physical pictures have been scanned into digital ones. T-shirts can be turned into a quilt. Videos and CDs have been ripped into digital copies that can be watched from any where at any time thanks to the cloud.

The beautiful part of this process is the end result. When we started we had a cluttered, stuffy, chaotic motorhome where we had to rush around cleaning if someone is coming over or clear off a spot if we want to sit something down.

We now have a clean, roomy (as roomy as it can be) home that can comfortably host 4-6 people. We can also quickly find what we need to find because it is where it needs to be and we don’t have to rush around like the place is on fire when someone tells us they are swinging by. Getting to this point has been tough, but it has been well worth it.

Plan grocery shopping a week at a time. All three of these tips have one thing in common: planning. This third one is no different.

Because our refrigerator is less than half the size of most people’s fridge, our old shopping methods had to be changed.

Before the RV, we would buy what looked good for dinner that night and maybe a couple of nights in advance. If we were hungry while shopping (which was pretty much any time we shopped for some reason), we would also grab  a few other snacks, possible sides, and meats for when the time came.

With the RV, we kept our old habits for the first couple of weeks. What we found was (a) we couldn’t fit everything in the fridge and (b) what we could shove into the fridge was often wasting before we got to it.

Food wasting before we ate it was also a problem in our house’s big fridge, but for some reason this reality didn’t hit us until we moved into the RV.

From that point on, we decided we needed to have a plan. We started planning out meals for the week and started shopping at the beginning of the week for the entire week.

By planning a week in advance, our filter for what we bought was totally changed. We only needed food for that week. No stocking up on cans, no stocking up on cereal, we only bought what was needed. And guess what?

  1. Our grocery bill went down

  2. Everything fit into our fridge and pantry

  3. We ate healthier because we planned out our meals

  4. We wasted less food

Why did we not think of this before? Oh yeah. Because it requires planning. Planning is tough. All of these tips require that moment of “Wait a minute, what is the plan here?”

Do I have a place for this?

Do I really use this or am I only keeping it because I “could” use it?

Are we going to eat that this week or am I only buying it because I’m hungry or it is on sale?

Living in a small space is not easy, but it helps you realize what is most important. Our stuff still tries to take over our lives if we don’t pull out the whip and tell it who is boss. These 3 tips are a great start.

0 views0 comments

Family is such a huge part of our lives. That is why when this new lifestyle opportunity to live and travel in our RV came up, my initial reaction was pure excitement to begin this journey, quickly followed by the thought, but I will miss my family!

We are very close and I didn’t want to jeopardize that relationship in any way, because that was the whole motive behind this change was to spend more time as a family.

The highlight of my week is Sunday. It’s one of my favorite days of the week for many reasons, but one of them being lunch after church with my family. All seven of us kids, our kids, spouses and fiancés, get together at my parents house and we eat together.

As our family grows something special happens. Aside from having to call dibs over seats, which have became prime real-estate these days, we have grown stronger as a family unit. So I knew that even though we would be traveling, I wanted to find a way to keep family a priority.

The solution came in three ways on our month long visit to Florida: taking immediate family with us, visiting long-distance family, and creating memories with my household rvhold. This month of being nomads, gave us new freedoms and was packed full of family fun time.

Taking Immediate Family with Us

During this adventure, we visited Orlando, as well as a family wedding that took place in Naples. We also ventured down to the Florida Keys to check that off our bucket list and visit a close friend.

Our first stop in Florida was to hit up Disney’s Halloween Party and campground. We have entire posts dedicated to the Campground and Disney, so I won’t go in to detail too much, but needless to say, we had a blast!

We had several family members on their fall break go to Disney the same time as us.

We were even able to experience my brother proposing to his fiancé during the fireworks at Disney. What a great experience!

After Disney, we headed south to the Florida Keys with my Mom and brother. They stayed with us in the RV and we had a great time experiencing a beautiful part of the country as a family. If you want the full scoop on the Keys, check out our post.

Once we came north a bit to Naples for a family wedding, my sister in law and niece stayed with us for the weekend. We enjoyed muffins and coffee together and it was like being a kid again having sleep overs. We always love hosting family and friends as we travel to new destinations.

Visiting Long-Distance Family

My Grandmother sold her farm this year and moved to Florida. She has been a huge part of our family’s lives. One of the great parts of traveling is reconnecting with relationships that have moved away.

[foogallery id=”1735″]

It was amazing getting to spend some time with her and my uncle. The traveling opportunity does offer some great ways to spend time with people in your lives that have moved locations, but still have a place in your heart.

I sat on the porch with her in the beautiful Florida weather listening as she told family stories just like we did when she lived just across the field from me growing up. She just recently turned 80, and I cherish all these moments forever.

What do I love as much as traveling? Weddings! Well wedding cake, but they are a package deal. Nothing is better than celebrating love with cake especially in the presence of the ones we love the most.

A Family Wedding in Naples made a great location for a stop in our Florida journey. That is a perk of living in your RV. We were able to hit the open road and take the convenience of our home to go celebrate with family.

You know we love us some sunsets. Especially sunsets with family! I think we sat and truly experienced more sunsets in the month of October than I have collectively over my lifetime.

We made a special trip to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park with our family that was also in town for the wedding to enjoy the sunset together. It was a beautiful view and a beautiful family moment.

In our everyday lives of rushing around and working sun up to sun down (literally I have worked days of not seeing the sun as a nurse) we don’t have time to admire a beautiful sunset anymore. Make time!

This journey for us is all about slowing down, admiring God’s creations, and spending more time with the ones we love.

New Experiences with Your Household Rvhold

Traveling has created so many opportunities for us as a family to make new memories…unforgettable memories. These memories might never have the chance to come about if it wasn’t for the freedom to spend more time together in new places.

Does your family have curses? Our seems to be cursed with it comes to the beach.

Does your family have curses? Our seems to be cursed with it comes to the beach.

With all the talk of how beautiful South Beach, Miami is, I needed to make this a stop on our journey. We made a day trip out of it and had the day all planned out. What we did not have planned out was the crazy amount of wind we would encounter. I must proclaim I carry some kind of beach curse because something crazy always happens that keeps us away from the beach.

My husband says that is silly, but I think he is starting to see a pattern due to the fact that we have made several beach trips of not being able to even set foot on the beach due to hurricanes, wind, high tides, crazy week long thunderstorms, you name it happens.

Maybe its coincidence, time shall tell. With that being said, the curse showed its ugly head once again and the beautiful day at South Beach turned into such high winds you were not even able to get near the beach due to wind causing the sand to hit you all over and feel as if you had ticked off a nest of bees. Needless to say the beach did not happen, but we made the best of our trip.

We at least made it to the pier which is amazing even in high winds and the playground near by was a hit by the kiddo. She loved playing and it was a beautiful view of the water and the skyscrapers to admire.

The Miami Children’s Museum has so much to do and is not affected by the wind thankfully, so we enjoyed hours there as a family.

Want a ride of your life? Take an airboat ride on your way through the Everglades. We traveled this area from the Florida Keys to Naples, Florida. We almost didn’t even stop, but I am so glad we did.

I have done swamp tours before, and that is a lot of fun, but let me tell you what made this boat ride special. We stopped at Buffalo Tigers FL Everglades Airboat Rides, a Miccosukee family owned and operated airboat tours. It was on an Indian reservation and they are allowed by law to perform live demonstrations with the alligators in it’s natural habitat.

It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. These tours get you unbelievably close to live alligators in the wild. These guides get the gators to come up to the boat, open their mouths, and they even touch them!

It’s a thrill for sure. The closest I have ever been to a gator, and the closest I hope I ever get to another.

Taking family with you, visiting long-distance family, and strengthening bonds of your current household, are three great reasons traveling long-term is actually a great way to bring family together.

My early fears of being away from family too much have been calmed by knowing these options exist. I don’t regret stepping out of my comfort zone and traveling one bit and if you make that step, I don’t think you will either.

Are there other ways to involve family when traveling? What does having less junk, but more family look like for your family? Share in the comments below!

0 views0 comments