Sunday, January 15, 2023

Our Trip to Disneyworld!

Happy New Year, friends! It feels like ages since I've actually written a blog post, and it has been (August '22 to be exact). It is one of my resolutions for 2023 to get back on here and utilize this space as a creative outlet and to also share more about what's going on.

Last month we spent the holidays vacationing in Siesta Key, Florida. We were there for the entire month of December, and if you count the three day drive to/from FL, we were gone for about five weeks. It was amazing. Can I go back? Once I knew we had firm plans to spend such a large chunk of time in Florida, I thought it would be fun to break up our trip with a little weekend getaway to Disneyworld.

When I mentioned to our family and friends that we were going to go, they thought we were crazy. Why on earth would we go with a toddler that wouldn't remember anything? Totally valid, but I knew we would remember and to me, that was worth it. Truth be told I am not a huge Disney fan and I hate crowds, but I was determined to make our trip fun an stress free. For that very reason, I only planned for us to visit Magic Kingdom on this visit. Magic Kingdom is the most iconic "Disney" park, but from what I've heard it also has the most for the little ones to do. Of course there's EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (which has a lot of height restrictions), but for this initial visit, we thought we'd keep it short and sweet and really enjoy this vacation from .... our vacation! ha!


After researching relentlessly like I do for every trip, we decided to stay at the Four Seasons Resort. I've stayed at their hotels since I was a kid, and have been lucky enough to partner with some of their properties in recent years. I knew that after a long day I would want somewhere to unwind and relax where I felt comfortable, and the Four Seasons was the right fit. Not only are they known for exceptional service and luxury, their resort in Orlando has everything you could want at your fingertips. They have a lazy river, waterslides, a kids club, adult only pool, spa, golf course, and several restaurants, including their Michelin starred steakhouse, Capa. Although they are not a Disney owned hotel, they do sit in the gated community of Golden Oaks, which still awards you beautiful views of the park while feeling like you're in your own little oasis. Due to the fact that they are on Disney property, you are able to get into the park 30 minutes before it opens (like you are with Disney affiliated hotels), which was a perk for us. They had free shuttles to/from all the parks, as well.

We stayed in one of their Park View Suites and it was wonderful. It had a huge patio that overlooked the resort. In the evenings we were able to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, which was incredible. The suite had two full baths, and when we arrived everything was outfitted for Wyatt. They had a full size crib, a Diaper Genie, child size hangers, and baby bath products and bathrobe. I can’t recommend the hotel enough, and can’t wait to go back  


Friday: After we got checked in we explored the hotel. There were so many places for Wyatt to run around, it was great. They had a basketball court, expansive kid's pool with a splash pad and tons of pathways around the property.  They also had their own playground - it was awesome! After we let him work out some energy, we got ready for dinner. We ate Ravello, the hotel's Italian restaurant - it was delicious. At 10pm that night we got to watch the gorgeous fireworks display from our balcony, all while Wyatt was fast asleep. It was certainly a treat. 

Saturday: Our day at Magic Kingdom. We started the morning with Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and Pals, a character breakfast at the hotel. I remember character meals fondly as a child, and I was elated when I saw that the hotel offered one. The breakfast included 'visits' by Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, of course. To be honest Wyatt didn't know what to think when they came around initially. We haven't really had him watch many Disney movies and don't really have any Disney toys. At first when Goofy and Micky came around he was really timid. The characters were so sweet and tried their best before moving on to the next table, but promised they'd be back. Low and behold, when Goofy returned 15 minutes later, you would have thought he and Wyatt were old friends. It was truly precious to see him light up and really interact. He even touched Minnie's nose and gave Micky a high-five. 

After we finished our delicious breakfast buffet with our Disney friends, we boarded the shuttle at 8am in order to get to the park by 8:30, 30 minutes prior to it's official opening. The shuttle drops you off at the main gates, and from there you can take the boat or the monorail over the the park. We took the monorail in the morning which was smooth and convenient. You also didn't need to collapse your stroller, which was convenient. The park was all decked out for Christmas, which was really fun, as were some of the rides. 

That morning we enjoyed leisurely strolling around the park and went on a few rides. We did Small World, Peter Pan Flight, Mickey's PhilarMagic, the Regal Carousel, Under the Sea - Little Mermaid, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Nap time was approaching and we also needed a break, so grabbed a hot dog and pretzel at Liberty Square Market, which was nothing to write home about. I didn't invest much time in booking meals at Disney because I didn't have high expectations. I stopped in the Emporium before we left to do a little shopping. I swear the store was a mile long and had everything you could think of.

After some R&R at the hotel, we did an outfit change (I had some many ears for myself and outfits for Wyatt it was a must) and headed back to Magic Kingdom. We really hadn't explored the storefronts at the beginning of the park, so we spent some time walking up and down Main Street. We then went over to Splash Mountain which we didn't ride because Wyatt wasn't tall enough, but enjoyed seeing the people get soaked. We saw a few of the parades, went on the Mad Tea Party (Teacups) ride, and then saw the fireworks display before we left right before 6pm.  

We took the Ferryboat when we departed and loved seeing Magic Kingdom all lit up. It was also fun to see the properties along the water, like the Grand Floridian (which I've heard great things about) and the Polynesian. Once we got back to the hotel we enjoyed gelato from Lickety Split and then had room service and watched the fireworks. We had walked nearly 10 miles that day. 

Sunday: The only plans for today were to rest and relax before going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party back at Magic Kingdom that evening. For Halloween and Christmas, they have special evenings dedicated to celebrating the holidays where only so many tickets are sold and the characters are dressed up in special clothes, a visit from Santa, etc. 

We started the day at Ravello and enjoyed their delicious breakfast buffet again. After that we headed outside and went to the playground, played with the water guns over at the teen club (which was so cool), and kicked the soccer ball by the volleyball court. When it was time for Wyatt's nap, I read my book out on our patio and enjoyed relaxing listening to the fountains beneath our room. They were also setting up and taking wedding photos! 

The day had started off chilly which was a little disappointing as we really wanted to enjoy the pools, but luckily it warmed up in the afternoon and we took a trip down the lazy river and ordered food to our lounge chair from PB&G (the Southwest salad was excellent). They had life vests for the little ones (another well thought through amenity), so we had Wyatt floating in the pool and had him go on the kiddie waterslide.


Pack lots of snacks. Wyatt is a picky eater, so I always have the things he likes on hand. Magic Kingdom has an abundance of places to grab a bite, but most everything was fried or honestly sounded unappetizing to us. There weren't a lot of healthy options (hence our hot dog and pretzel lunch) and the prices were high for what you got. Disney is pretty easy going about what you can bring in, so take advantage. 

Since you will be leaving stroller whenever you get on a ride, consider adding something to your stroller so it stands out. We got a cute little personalized tag for our stroller so that it was easy to spot when we got off rides. A lot of families had something similar or had some sort of decoration on their stroller. 

Use a crossbody bag. As mentioned above, you have to leave your stroller unattended often. For that reason, I highly suggest carrying anything of value in a crossbody bag. I'm sure you can take a larger bag on rides with you, but I think it would be a hassle. I did have a backpack that had our diaper bag, snacks, water and additional layers in it, but didn't mind leaving that behind. 

Under 3 is free at Disney! Take advantage as tickets are $$$. 

Download the app. I'm not sure this is exactly a tip because I think you have to download the app to access the park, but I found the app user friendly and incredibly helpful. You could pull up the park map, see current wait times for rides and you could order food ahead of time, among other things. 

Get Genie +. Genie+ is basically Disney's fast pass. For about $15-20 per person, per day you can get to the front of lines quicker and have less waiting time. You can also book things in advance, as well. It's very confusing to use, so definitely watch a YouTube video or some sort of tutorial for additional help. 


Yes, I definitely thought it was worth it. If we hadn't been vacationing in Florida would we have made the dedicated trip to Disney? No, but I truly feel like we accomplished more than enough and didn't put pressure on ourselves to see and do everything. We lowered our expectations, knew there would be a lot of people, knew there would be things we would miss and wouldn't get a chance to do but we were OK with that. I also wanted to be cognizant of Wyatt. Of course he's been out and about, but Disney was crowded, and overwhelming. Taking things at a slower pace and going back to the hotel for naps was the perfect 'speed' for a trip with a toddler. 

Overall I'd say the average age of the kids there was around five, which is probably when we'll be returning next. There certainly were a lot of children Wyatt's age (he was almost 23 months at the time), and of course older children. The rides we did were fun, and there were definitely more we could have done, even at this age, if we had wanted to.  

There you have it! Our first family trip to Disney!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Our Stay At the JW Marriott San Antonio

If you've been keeping up with me on Instagram, you know that we just finished our seven week long summer vacation. 

After being in Colorado for a month, we took the long way home and enjoyed stays in Santa Fe, Taos, Roswell, Marfa, and finally San Antonio. I'd been wanting to stay at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa for a while now, and knew the expansive property would be the perfect place to end our trip (and soak up some extra R&R before returning to real life). 

The resort has so much to offer, and is great for families. It's situated on 600 sprawling acres and has great views of Texas Hill Country, as well as it's two golf courses. They have a nine acre water park, which includes a lazy river, two body slides and a beach. We loved having a cabana rental at the sand beach pool. It gave us privacy and comfort, as well as a place to get some relief from the sun. The sand beach pool was a lot quieter than the other pools, and was perfect for an 18 month old. The beach was great for keeping Wyatt occupied when we wanted a break from the pool. They also have a dedicated children's pool, which we enjoyed too! 

The JW Marriott San Antonio has six different restaurants to choose from. We visited the Starbucks on-site each morning, enjoyed lunch in our cabana from the Rivertop Grill, and got to-go from 18 Oak two nights in a row. The gnocchi appetizer was phenomenal, and the steaks were delicious. We were happy we were in an executive suite and could enjoy dinner on 'our time' after Wyatt had been put to bed. Having the separated living room and bedroom was so convenient. Not to mention we had a balcony overlooking the pool, and at night we sat on our patio and looked and could watch as multicolor lights changed on the pool and lazy river.

Be sure to check out my video recap of our stay below! If you're interested in booking a stay at the resort, use discount code ZS7 to receive 10% off your stay and receive $50 in resort credit. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Wyatt's First Fiesta

We celebrated Wyatt's First Fiesta at the end of last month, and it was so great to be surrounded by friends and family for his birthday. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that we have a ONE YEAR OLD! Time has flown by and it's been a joy to see how much he's changed, especially in the last few months. His personality is really showing, and no one can argue that he's growing like a weed, 24lbs and 30.5in high, to be exact. 

Not only is a year a big milestone for baby, but it's a big deal for mom and dad too - we survived!!! Not to mention Wyatt and I have birthdays only four days apart, so I opted to look at his fiesta as a dual celebration for me too. 


We held the party at La Grange, a Tex-Mex bar and restaurant in Monrtose. Of course we couldn't have a fiesta and not have Mexican food and margaritas, so it was the perfect fit. We also knew we wanted to have the party outside given Covid concerns, and they have a great outdoor patio that spans two floors and is really spacious. Outside events are tricky, even in Houston this time of year, but we lucked out with a gorgeous 65 degree day. 

The menu for the party included tres salsas, queso, quesadillas, taquitos, and flautas. As far as drinks we had several options to choose from like margaritas (my favorite was the spicy jalapeƱo), sangria, beer and of course, Topo Chico. We really wanted to ensure that everyone attending was fed, considering the party was from 11am-1pm on a Saturday. 


Mariachi Tradicion de Jalisco

Of course no fiesta is complete without a Mariachi band. Hands down the #1 question I was asked at the party was "Where did you find them? They were incredible." My response, "Google!" Haha, and I'm so happy I did. 

They were an incredible ensemble that literally took the party up a notch. They were personable and professional, not to mention played an array of genres, which I was not expecting. My favorite, "Imagine," by John Lennon. I loved the fact that it was a family affair, as well, and the two younger children really added a unique, fun factor. If you're in the market for a mariachi band, I cannot recommend them enough!

Dessert Gallery

Yum, yum and yummmm. I knew as soon as I started party planning that I wanted to have Dessert Gallery make all the goodies, including Wyatt's smash cake, for the party. It's my second time working exclusively with them (the first being at my baby shower last year), and it's easy to see why. Not only are their desserts incredible and tasty, but they really go the extra mile to ensure that the costumer is happy. 

I knew I wanted to have Wyatt's face on the cupcakes for the guests, and they made it so easy by simply taking the image from the invitation. They also created the cutest thematic cookies for the party. The sombrero was my favorite! 

Over the Top Party Events 

I'm so excited to share this vendor with you. Rachel, the owner of Over the Top Party Events, clearly takes the name of her company very seriously because everything she did for Wyatt's Fiesta was OVER THE TOP. Every idea I had she took to another level. Anything I asked or suggested, she overdelivered on (a rarety these days). 

A few days before the event I asked if she happened to have any serapes we could use as tableclothes. But of course she did! She threw in so many extras that went the extra mile - maracas, mini sombreros & pinatas, guitars, and cacti. A true dream to work with. I mean did I mention the life-size donkey?!

Unique Touches

Party invitations

Welcome poster

First birthday "stats" sign

Cake topper

Pinata cake topper

 Personalized confetti

Milestone banner

First birthday high-chair banner

Mini UNO/1 sombrero 

Wyatt's outfit (comes in a girl version too!)

My flower headband

Photos by Kate Robinson Photography 


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