Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Happens When You Disney Bound

A few years ago, I discovered "Disney Bounding" on Pinterest and immediately wanted to try it. For those who don't know, "Disney Bounding" is dressing like a Disney character without going into full replica costume. This could range anywhere from dressing in the character's iconic colors to closely matching the character's wardrobe style.

In 2012, I decided to attempt Disney Bounding on a trip to Disney World with my family. I searched local stores for the right clothing pieces to recreate some iconic Disney Princess looks. I found a pink dress for Aurora and a green dress with a purple cardigan for Ariel, both of which were subtle Disney Bounding outfits. However, my most recognizable outfit was a yellow skirt, blue tank top, and red short-sleeve cardigan. No longer being a teenager, I was a little embarrassed to so closely resemble the iconic ensemble of Snow White at my age. But once I stepped out of the hotel room, I knew there was no turning back.

We ate breakfast at the Grand Floridian CafĂ©, and as soon as we approached the hostess' stand, she immediately asked if I was dressed like Snow White. I hesitated, assuming that she must have thought I was weird for wearing that outfit at my age, but to my surprise, she thought it was awesome. The hostess' opinion seemed to be shared by most of the other Cast Members I encountered that day. While other guests didn't take notice of my clothes, the Cast Members certainly did and made sure to tell me how much they liked my outfit.

One of the best benefits of Disney Bounding was the reaction I received from the Disney face characters, especially the other princesses. We spent the day at Epcot and met Princess Aurora, Belle & Beast, Aladdin & Jasmine, Mary Poppins, Mulan, Snow White, and several others. Each Disney Princess told my I looked just like their good friend, Snow White, and asked if I knew her. Snow White herself enjoyed pointing out the fact that we matched. I learned that Disney Bounding, especially when your outfit closely resembles an iconic character, can add to the interactions you have with characters, even for adults.

So if you're thinking about Disney Bounding, go for it. You might find that it's not for you, or you might find that you love the extra attention from Cast Members and characters. Plus, it makes for great photos!

Friday, April 1, 2016

What to Pack in Your Bag for the Walt Disney World Parks

(Image credit (bags): ebay.com and disneystore.com)

When spending the day at the parks at Walt Disney World, the last thing you want to do is tote around a huge, heavy bag. While Disney has made some progress in lightening your load by virtually eliminating the need for a wallet with the Magic Band, there are still several items essential to having a pleasant day at the parks (especially during the summer time). If you're traveling with other adults, consider splitting the items between smaller bags and sharing the load to help prevent one person from having an aching back and sore shoulders by the end of the day.

1. Magic Bands
EVERYTHING is connected to your Magic Bands, including your park tickets, credit card, Fast Passes, dining meal credits, etc. DO NOT leave these behind--EVERYONE in your group will need their Magic Band at ALL times. If your little ones won't wear them, keep them in your bag where they are easily accessible throughout the day.
(Image credit: micechat.com)

2. Photo ID
I would advise never traveling anywhere without a photo ID. At Disney World, it can serve as a back-up to the fingerprint scanners, and anyone wishing to purchase an adult beverage will obviously need to show their ID to prove they are over 21.

(Image credit: verifiedvoting.org)

3. Smartphone
You probably already bring your phone everywhere, but just in case you were thinking about going off the grid while at Disney World--DON'T. Yes, please refrain from checking your work email or taking selfies every 15 seconds for Snapchat; instead, spend time with your family/friend group that came with you to Disney World! However, you might want to download the My Disney Experience app and keep it with you in the parks to check on wait times, view the parade and event schedule, map out character greetings, update Fast Passes, keep track of dining reservations, etc.

(Image credit: readersdigest.co.uk)

4. Camera
I know you can always use your phone as your camera. But if you're using the My Disney Experience app all day and relying on it as your sole source for picture-taking all over the park, your phone battery will inevitably die right as you are walking up to meet Mickey Mouse or run out of storage halfway through the castle projection show (trust me, I know from experience). That's why it is always a good idea to have an actual camera, at least as a back-up. Whether it's a fancy professional camera or a little point-and-shoot, you won't regret having it with you.

(Image credit: amazon.com)

5. Sunscreen
Bring it with you in the summer. Bring it with you in the winter. ALWAYS bring sunscreen with you. You can still burn in 55 degree weather, and trust me, in Florida, you WILL burn. Make sure it is water-proof, sweat-proof, and a high enough SPF to effectively protect you. You really don't want to spend the rest of your trip to Disney World with painful, bright-red sunburn.

(Image credit: walgreens.com)

6. Chapstick/Blistex
Make sure it has at least SPF 15 in it. Just like your skin, your lips can burn, and it's painful. Protect your lips from the sun just as you would the rest of your face.

 (Image credit: painawayshop.com)

7. Sunglasses & Case
When it's sunny, it's really bright in Florida. When it's cloudy, it can still be really bright in Florida. Glare from the clouds and all the concrete in the parks can hurt your eyes too, so protect them. Without sunglasses, it can sometimes be so bright that it makes it difficult to see, especially in Epcot. And don't forget to bring a case for your sunglasses so they don't get scratched or broken when you put them in your bag to go on a ride.

(Image credit: sunglassesforsport.com)

8. Water Bottle
Always stay hydrated, or you're in for a difficult day. Bring along a water battle that you can continue to fill up throughout the day. You definitely don't want to pay for an expensive bottled water in the parks. For those who are not overly fond of the taste of Florida water, you might even want to consider purchasing a filtered water bottle.

(Image credit: walmart.com)

9. Ponchos
When you visit Disney World, it will rain. Not maybe, not possibly--it WILL rain (yes, I know there's still a chance it won't, but it's best to be prepared). Getting caught in the rain and soaked through at Disney World can leave you feeling miserable the rest of the day (again, I know from experience). Keep yourself dry with ponchos, and avoid paying an exorbitant amount for them in the parks by stocking up at Walmart or the dollar store for $1 each before your trip.

(Image credit: amazon.com)

10. Flip-Flops
One of the worst feelings is walking around all day in sopping wet tennis shoes. Your socks and feet are soaked inside your shoes, and you make a terrible squishing sound with every step. I have personally learned that keeping a pair of rubber flip-flops in your bag can be a lifesaver for those days when you get caught in a downpour at the parks. I'd rather let my feet dry out in the open air as I walk around than let them stay wet all day in soaked canvas and mesh shoes.

(Image credit: pinterest.com)

11. Ziplock Bags
Pack several gallon-sized Ziplock bags. They are great for storing wet clothes, bathing suits, shoes, etc. in your bag. They can also serve as an extra protective layer for phones, cameras, IDs, etc. when you're on water rides or get caught in the rain.

(Image credit: linguagarden.com)

12. Antibacterial Hand Wipes
Pack a small container of baby wipes in your bag. You'll find that you're not always near a bathroom to wash your hands before you eat, so cleaning up with an antibacterial wipe serves as a quick alternative (and makes you feel a little cleaner than simply applying hand sanitizer). They are also great for removing the inevitable stickiness that comes with eating ice cream or cotton candy.

(Image credit: pinterest.com)

13. Mini First Aid Kit
Great for treating small scrapes and big headaches. Yes, you can always find a Cast Member who will direct you to a real First Aid station if you really need it. But sometimes it's easier just to whip out some Neosporin and a Band-Aid and fix the problem right then and there without taking any more time out of your day (or leaving the hour-long line you've been standing in). Don't forget to include the Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Advil!

(Image credit: amazon.com)

14. Pennies and Quarters
One of the cheapest and most fun souvenirs at Walt Disney World is the pressed penny/quarter. There are stations everywhere with tons of different designs, and it can be fun to try to collect them all. Make sure you have plenty of shiny pennies and quarters with you to take advantage of this great souvenir.

(Image credit: pinterest.com)

15. Pins and Lanyard
Collecting and trading pins can be another fun activity at Disney World. Many Cast Members have their own lanyards with pins that they will gladly trade with kids. Lanyards are available in all different colors and patterns in the gift shops for keeping track of your pins.

(Image credit: pinterest.com)

16. Autograph Book and Sharpie
If you plan on meeting any of the Disney characters at the park, make sure you bring along an autograph book and a Sharpie (this makes it easier for the characters to write--in fact, some will not sign autographs with a regular-sized pen). Kids love collecting autographs from their favorite characters, and an autograph book is something they can look back at long after you've returned home. Autograph books can be purchased in the parks, but you can purchase cheaper alternatives elsewhere before your trip or get creative and make your own.

(Image credit: pinterest.com)

Have any other can't-do-without items for your park bag? Let us know in the comments below!