EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

Let’s talk about EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival! It is my absolute favorite festival at EPCOT! This year’s festival runs through November 19 so there’s still time to plan your trip! Eat and drink your way around the world at 31 marketplaces throughout World Showcase. Save room because there will be so much you want to try!

The food and drinks are obviously the star of this show but there are so many other things to enjoy at the festival! Our family’s personal favorite is Remy’s “Ratatouille” Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt! EPCOT usually has some sort of scavenger hunt with every festival and this year’s features Remy hiding in World Showcase. Remy is a really good hider so don’t be afraid to ask Cast Members for a clue! For $9.99, you’ll receive a map with stickers and a souvenir cup of your choice (while supplies last). Pro tip – go ahead and pick up your prize when you pay for the map so you don’t have to go back later to get it. You can pick up your map and prize from Port of Entry, Creations Shop, or World Traveler at International Gateway.

Another favorite highlight is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series in American Gardens Theatre! This concert series is included in your admission ticket so feel free to take a seat and enjoy the music or come and go as you please! There are still 22 performers this season, my personal favorite being Hanson! I got to see them at the Eat to the Beat Series in 2013 and it was amazing – all my 90’s kid dreams came true! Concerts happen nightly at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. For a full list of who’s performing during your trip, click here!

Finally, my Pro Tip for the Festival is to pick up a Festival Disney Gift Card that you can conveniently wear on your wrist! They’re reloadable and make for easy checkout around the World Showcase! Also, if you swipe your debit/credit card too many times in the same location, your bank might think its fraud and turn your card off! Its always easier to just grab a Festival Gift Card!

Some of my favorites from the Festival this year!

Not Pictured Favorites:

-Kālua Pork Slider from Hawaii | 5 ⭐️

-“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Foley Mignon | 5 ⭐️ — truly one of the best food options at the festival!

-Belgian Waffle from Belgium | 5 ⭐️ for either option

-Cowboy Macaroni & Cheese from Mac & Eats | 5 ⭐️

Full Foodie Guide can be found here!

Must Haves When Flying with Kids

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made on this website. This blog post contains paid links.

If you’re new here, I’m Rachel! I’m a military spouse and travel agent so traveling with little ones has been a big part of our life since we became parents. My husband and I are from opposite sides of the country and will always have to fly to visit family no matter where the military sends us! That being said, we’ve flown a lot so I have put together my tried and true products I will always recommend when flying with kids! These are all products I own and have used for multiple flights.

The first question I always get is “Do we need to fly with car seats?” If your child is under 2, they can be a lap infant or in a car seat in their own seat. Once they turn 2, its up to you as car seats aren’t required. However, they do have to be in their own seats once they turn 2. Personally, this depends on a lot of things for me. Am I flying alone? Will I have help? Do I have car seats where I’m going (to see family for example)? All of these play a role in my decision. We always travel with Cosco car seats! Our first flight, I flew with our big convertible car seat and 0/10 do NOT recommend! They’re so heavy to lug through the airport. Cosco seats on the other hand are so lightweight (12 lbs), affordable, and meet the requirements of the airlines!

After that, I always get “but how do you carry it through the airport?” I’m so glad you asked! We love the Gorilla Grip Bag! The car seat fits inside and I can wear it like a backpack so my hands are free! Again, since the Cosco seats are only 12 lbs, wearing this on my back is super easy!

Pictured – both my husband and I with our Gorilla Grip Bags on as backpacks to get through the airport.

If traveling with kids under 2, I highly recommend the Lillebaby All Seasons Carrier! We’ve had this carrier since my oldest was born and it’s still amazing as we prepare for our third! I always recommend wearing baby through security so your hands are free and the Lillebaby Carrier helps so much! You will see me travel everywhere with our carrier!

What about strollers? We also don’t travel without strollers. I like to know I can move through the airport with the kids in a stroller so we can move quickly and keep everyone accounted for! Especially if you have a layover or need to prepare for any delays, having a stroller is so crucial! Pro tip, make sure you read the stroller policy for your airline! I learned the hard way that American Airlines caps their gate-checked stroller weight at 20 pounds. Make sure your stroller is under 20 pounds if you’re hoping to gate check with American. We decided to buy a double umbrella stroller for traveling and it’s under 20 pounds so we know we won’t have issues gate checking it! Even if you fly with a different stroller, just check how much it weighs so you’re prepared!

Other Must Haves When Flying:

  • Birth Certificates/Passports – I’ll be honest, we’ve only been asked to prove a child’s age once in all of our trips and it was the ONE time I didn’t fly with copies of birth certificates so just keep one of these in your bag just in case
  • Wipes
    We can never have enough Wet Ones when traveling!
    If you’re traveling with babies, these pacifier & bottle wipes are amazing to have on hand too!
  • Chargers – you never know when you’ll need to charge while traveling
  • Battery Pack
  • Headphones – don’t forget the kids’ headphones if you’re bringing a tablet!
  • Change of clothes for everyone – Trust me, you don’t want to have to go buy a new shirt at the airport gift shop because you didn’t pack an extra!
  • Reusable water bottles – We go through security with them empty and then we can fill up afterward. We love the Simple Modern water bottles for the whole family!
  • Snacks – you can never have enough snacks when traveling with kids! Here are some of my favorite snack storage for traveling!
    GoBe Snack Spinner
    Munchkin Snack Catchers
    Simple Modern Reusable Snack Bags
    Bumkins Snack Bags
    Reusable Bento Boxes
  • Toys and games for the flight

I hope you found this post helpful when preparing for your next flight with kids! Stay tuned for more travel trips!

Walt Disney World Activities for Non-Park Days

Whether you have an extra rest day built in to your Disney vacation or you arrived early on check-in day and you want something to do, there are lots of options around the Disney resort without needing a park ticket! Some are free, others have a small cost! If you’d like to add any of these on to your vacation, I’d love to help!

Disney Springs
Disney Springs is probably the #1 place to go on non-park days and for great reasons! There are 103 shops, 65 places to dine, and 25 attractions, shows, or events. Let’s break it down!
-My favorite store at Disney Springs is definitely World of Disney, the world’s largest Disney collection! Whether you want to shop for Disney merchandise, trading pins, or enjoy a trip to Lilly Pulitzer, you will find so many great stores here!
-From food trucks to table service restaurants, you’ll find it all at Disney Springs. Amorette’s Patisserie, Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew, Gideon’s Bakehouse, Sprinkles, The Ganachery, Ghiradelli, and Vivoli il Gelato are my favorite stops for a sweet treat! Standouts for table service restaurants are Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Frontera Cocina, Jaleo, Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, The Boathouse, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. They are all amazing! My favorite quick service (and always first stop at Disney Springs) is Earl of Sandwich!
-For experiences, Disney Springs doesn’t disappoint. You can ride in the Aerophile, a hot air balloon, watch a move at AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatre, watch Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney, enjoy riverdancing at Raglan Road Patio Stage, bowl at Splitsville Luxury Lanes, ride in the Vintage Amphicar, or let your little ones ride the Marketplace Carousel or Train Express.
-My favorite kid-approved stores to mention is the LEGO Store or Build-a-Dino by Build-a-Bear Workshop.
-The Star Wars Trading Post will have all the amazing Star Wars merchandise without being in the parks.
-Be sure to check if Disney Springs is offering any seasonal activities or special food!
-Visit the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar!
Personalize your own M&M’s at the M&M Store.

-Many resorts have their own playground and arcade. This is huge for me as a mom and makes for an easy resort activity.
Rent a bike at Caribbean Beach Resort.
Rent a surrey bike at Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge, Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Port Orleans Riverside, and Caribbean Beach Resorts.
-Enjoy a campfire at Wilderness Lodge.
-Rent a canoe at Wilderness Lodge.
-Take a carriage ride at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness or Port Orleans Riverside.
-Play golf at the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, Oak Trail Golf Course, or Palm Golf Course.
-Play Mini Golf at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland.
-Go fishing at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Fort Wilderness Archery Experience at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
-Take a horse drawn excursion – wagon ride at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Horseback riding at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Rent a kayak at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Rent a boat at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Watch a movie under the stars at the Art of Animation Resort.
-Go on a pony ride at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
-Enjoy a pool day at your resort! All pools are heated.
-Go for a run on the running trails at All-Star Resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Coronado Springs, BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Caribbean Beach, Fort Wilderness/Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Art of Animation, Pop Century, Port Orleans, Old Key West, or Saratoga Springs Resort.
-Play tennis at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness, Saratoga Springs, Yacht Club, Contemporary, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk, and Old Key West Resorts.
-Play beach volleyball at Caribbean Beach Resort.
-Rent a golf cart at Fort Wilderness.

-Check your resort for daily activities by the Recreation Cast Members!
-Book a fireworks cruise for up to 10 people.
-Ride the Skyliner!
-Ride the monorail and explore the Monorail Resorts – Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary Resorts!
-Get a Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian Resort and enjoy it on the beach.
-Enjoy a Character Dining meal at Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace, or Story Book Dining. These are all located at resorts so you can drive right up or take transportation there.
-Explore the Boardwalk!
-Have a karaoke night at Kimonos at the Swan Resort.
-Play pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Villages, Beach Club, Caribbean Beach, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs Resorts.
-Watch the Electrical Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
-Get into pin trading and trade at resorts or Disney Springs!
Hunt for hidden Mickeys!
Seasonal activities will be available as well depending on when you’re visiting Walt Disney World!

To subscribe to my newsletter, enter your email below!

When Should I Visit Walt Disney World?

My number 1 question when clients are asking for advice is “When is the best time to visit?” and if your schedule is flexible, it’s a great question to ask! Crowds fluctuate throughout the year but also Disney’s prices change based on the season and crowds. So let’s break down the best and worst times to be at Walt Disney World.

The times I’d avoid the parks are:
-MLK Weekend
-Presidents Day Weekend
-Spring Break
-Memorial Day Weekend
-July 4th
-Disney race weekends (these vary throughout the year)
I know those times might seem more convenient with school schedules but everyone has those times off and had the same thought. Also since they’re more crowded, the prices are the highest. If we can tweak your travel time a little, you’ll see fewer crowds and lower prices!

Better times to go to Walt Disney World:
January: after New Years – before MLK Weekend OR after MLK weekend through the end of January
February: first two weeks
May: first two weeks
August: last two weeks
September: all of September
October: first two weeks
November: first two weeks
December: first two weeks

This is just a vague outline of when I would and wouldn’t recommend going to Disney! I would love to talk further and help you find the right time to visit for your family’s schedule! You can always request a free quote or send me an email and let’s talk!

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Disney Trip with Toddlers

You want to go to Disney with your sweet kiddos but also the sound of that sounds a bit intimidating, right? You’re a mom so you’re already thinking about strollers and snacks and meltdowns. Let me tell you my tips on making the most of your Disney trip with toddlers and I’ll cover all the not-as-fun stuff later!

Plan your Meals Ahead of Time!

Knowing which restaurant has food options your little one will eat is so important. I promise you don’t want to be searching the park for chicken nuggets at peak dinner time with a hangry family in tow. Head to https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/ for Walt Disney World or https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/ for Disneyland Dining. From here, you can explore every restaurant and its menu. Narrow down by dining experience, price, or cuisine – I promise this is a page you will be glad you explored. I highly recommend doing this as soon as you book your trip so by the 60-day mark, you’ll be ready to book dining reservations. If you have a family member with an allergy, please know Disney does an amazing job working with allergies! Upon arriving at the restaurant, speak to a Cast Member about your allergies. They’ll bring out either a special diets-trained Cast Member or Chef to speak with you directly and handle your meal!

Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water!

Did you know you can bring your own snacks and water into the parks? You can and please do! Bring your little one’s favorite snacks and a reusable water bottle to fill during the day. We even bring our own bottled water but you can get free ice water from Quick Service restaurants, just ask! Disney snacks can add up quickly and if your kiddos are anything like mine, they like to snack a lot! Save that snack bill and just bring your favorite snacks from home. If you’re flying, there are many grocery stores/Instacart that will deliver to Disney resorts so you can stock up on your favorites!

Build in a Rest or Nap Time Each Day

I know you’re tempted to stay in the parks all day to get your money’s worth but I promise everyone will be happier if you build in a rest/nap time in the middle of the day. And pro-tip — the parks are busiest in the middle of the day so you’ll be glad you took that break! Here’s what I recommend for a daily schedule. Be at the parks at opening, get as much done in the morning as you can, eat lunch in the park, then head back to your hotel for a rest. After that time, head back to the park as long as your family can hang.

Add Memory Maker to your Package

Okay moms, tell me! How many trips have you been on only to get home and realize you’re not in the pictures? Or the ones you’re actually in are a selfie to try to get everyone in the same picture? Just me? Disney’s Memory Maker can be purchased for $169 (Advance Purchase), or $199 (once your vacation has begun). Memory Maker includes all your photos and videos taken during your vacation by the Photo Pass photographers throughout the park. Want a picture in front of the castle? Find the closest Photo Pass Photographer and they’ll make the magic happen. You can save all your attraction photos, Magic Shots (with your favorite characters magically added in), and photos with characters. When you get home, you have unlimited downloads to remember your vacation forever and Mom was in the picture every time! I promise this $169 add-on is so worth it!

Always use a Stroller!

When a mom tells me she’s going to conquer Disney without a stroller, I have heart palpitations. For us, the stroller is life at Disney! It’s somewhere my kids can always sit, it holds my backpack, and I can move faster with my kids inside. I honestly can’t imagine my 4-year-old being able to handle the 20,000 step days at Disney. Be sure to go over the stroller guidelines. Strollers larger than 31” (79 cm) in width and 52” (132cm) in length are not permitted. If you’d like to rent a stroller at Disney instead of bringing your own, you absolutely can. I recommend Kingdom Strollers* when renting at Walt Disney World. You can pick up at the airport or they’ll deliver it directly to your hotel. They have a great variety of inventory, all Disney-approved strollers! And my last stroller tip – make sure you take a stroller that easily folds up when you’re on the bus!

Take time to soak up the magic!

This is why you’re on this trip after all. Nothing is more magical than seeing the magic through your child’s eyes. I thought I loved Disney before kids, I can’t even count how many trips I went on before I was a mom. But I promise you, my trips with my kids are a million times better because I get to witness them experiencing the magic! Its so easy to get caught up in “we didn’t get to ride _______” or maybe you survived 3 tantrums before lunch, I get it. Take a deep breath, meet your child where they are and enjoy the magic!

Jack’s first time seeing a Disney parade!

Stay tuned for more travel tips and tricks with toddlers! If you’re ready to book your trip, fill out my quote request form! I can’t wait to help you plan your trip!

*This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using this link.