Disney: Cinderella’s Royal Table

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A few days before we were leaving for our Disney World trip, I heard that a company had been selling Disney dining reservations illegally and that Disney had stopped them. Because of this, there was now a chance that there were reservations available where there hadn’t been any before. I checked for dining reservations again and lo and behold, there was Cinderella’s Royal Table with several dinner slots open. We chose late reservations. We had arrived in Magic Kingdom later in the afternoon; but it was Extra Magic Hours night and the park was open until 1 a.m. We didn’t tell the children. We told them we were eating somewhere we had never eaten before. They guessed everywhere, but no one guessed inside the Castle! When we walked into the entrance of the Castle and went up to the desk for our reservation, all of the children were shocked and so excited!278

In the foyer, they got to meet Cinderella.

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No detail is overlooked, as is usual for all things Disney.

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photo credit: disneyworld.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/cinderella-royal-table

 

 

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It really is special eating inside the Castle.The food was good. The service was better. The experience was the BEST!

The children all get a wishing star. The girls get a wand and the boys get a special sword.

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All of the princesses come to your table. They are all so very sweet. They actually came by more than once.

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We really had a special time and loved being able to surprise the children with something they had never thought of doing.

If you get the chance to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table, I would highly recommend it!

A Disney World Surprise: Animal Kingdom

When we booked our trip to Disney World, we were first planning on using points and staying at the Hilton. For weeks, I worried about fitting that many people into the room. I looked up ways to keep things organized in small spaces with so many people. My husband wasn’t too worried. That was until he looked at the room again and began to realize that there wouldn’t be any privacy for anyone. He realized that we would be listening to our girls at all hours of the night talking and facetiming friends. He called Disney to see if they had any availability the week before our trip. (I had checked online for weeks and hadn’t found any rooms available for our size party).  They had two adjoining rooms available at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We kept it all a secret from the children. We kept telling them to get ready to be cramped for the next week. We told them that they needed to stay organized. When we drove up into the parking lot, they realized we were staying there. They were beyond excited.

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Animal Kingdom Lodge is truly remarkable. We loved all the African touches throughout. It was neat to see artifacts from the continent and to learn a little about some of the countries. Disney does the most fabulous job at fully immersing its guests into the theme.

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We ate at Boma one day for a late lunch. I loved the food there. The sweet potatoes were amazing.

I have to say that it is truly amazing to wake up to giraffes and zebras outside your window! Seeing the animals night and day was definitely the best part! The rooms were great as well. We had a room with bunk beds and a full bed and then a room with two queens. It was plenty of room for the seven of us.

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The only drawback to staying at this location is the transportation. We waited more than 30 minutes sometimes for a bus. The buses were also almost always full. I don’t feel safe riding on a bus while standing and holding my 2 year old or having my children pressed up against a stranger’s body. This is the only complaint I have at all about the experience.

Overall, I really enjoyed staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I’m glad we got to experience this hotel.

Good Eats on Hilton Head Island

Every time we travel we check Trip Advisor, Yelp, and ask around for the best places to eat. Sometimes the reviews are spot on and other times we are left wondering if the owners somehow coerced people to leave the positive reviews.

Here is an honest review of some of the places to find good food on Hilton Head Island.

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Alexander’s : The food here was really tasty. I had the stuffed shrimp and I would highly recommend it. Some of the other people in our party had the surf and turf and said it was some of the best they’d ever had.

The Old Oyster Factory: This had some of the most beautiful views of the marshes. The food was all outstanding. Everything that everyone ordered was perfectly prepared and outstanding. This is a place we’d visit again and again.

Coco’s on the Beach: I didn’t eat anything from here, but my children and the rest of the family did. They said the burgers were out of this world. They also loved the mozzarella sticks. The children loved ordering the virgin drinks there too.

Low Country Backyard: I had the best shrimp and grits of my life at this little restaurant. Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to eat there once. There are only a few cooks, very few tables, and no reservations. This helps keep the quality of the food high, which I appreciate. It just makes it extremely hard to get to eat there with a large family.

I hope that if anyone out there is headed there that this little review helps.

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Chicago

This southern girl loves warm weather. I don’t care for freezing temperatures or snow. Given these facts it seems crazy that I could love Chicago the way I do. I’ve been overseas and I’ve been lots of places in the U.S too. Chicago is my favorite place to visit without the children (so far). I must throw the disclaimer out there that I’ve never been there in the winter and honestly don’t plan on it.

There are so many things to love so I’ll just name a few.

The Art Institute. I could spend ALL day there. I have always loved art. I love learning about the artists and seeing these paintings or other pieces of art that I’ve seen in books. There is so much to see.

The Field Museum of Natural History. This is yet another place I could spend a full day. There are amazing things to see and learn while you’re there. It seems like I never have enough time. If you go, don’t forget to meet Sue. She’s hard to miss.

The Museum of Contemporary Art.  I wasn’t sure how much I would like this place, but surprisingly I really enjoyed it. I love art that I can understand even if it requires some explanation. My favorite things in this museum were the sculptures. It amazes me how creative some people can be.

Magnificent Mile. There are endless things to do here. I cannot lie and say I don’t love a little shopping. The stores are fabulous and this southern girl even thought most of the people working in them were friendly.

Also, the architecture on the buildings is incredible. There are so many amazing works of art that are part of the building themselves.

The John Hancock Center. The views are unbelievable! Truly amazing.

Chicago has an endless array of restaurants. My very favorite is  The Grill on the Alley. It has a lot of special memories for my husband and me. There used to be a server there named Manfred that we always requested. My sweet husband even got him to write me a birthday note one year when he went there on business. Manfred always had two jokes ready to tell…a clean one and a dirty one. We always had him tell us both.

On our last visit we ate at both RPM Italian and RPM Steak. These are Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s restaurants. The vibe was electric in both places. It was a little more “hot” at RPM Steak. With that said, I preferred everything about RPM Italian. The food was out of this world and I even was able to stay low carb there. Neither place felt stuffy. Both were really fun. The food was good at both, but RPM Italian is most certainly a place I want to visit again and again.

On my last visit, my niece and I walked over 30 miles in the few days we were there. Our husbands were at a conference and we had the days to ourselves. We had such a good time! We were on a hunt for consignment shops. Those stories deserve their own post.

Anyway, we had such a great time really exploring the city and we were so proud with how well we were able to use the Chicago skyline like the northern star. We went everywhere and never were lost!

I don’t know when my next trip to my favorite city will be, but it won’t be soon enough!

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