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6 Things to Know About Disney World in Summer 2021

6 Things to Know About Disney World in Summer 2021

It’s quite unlike me to take a Disney World trip with such little notice, but between the fact that I was about to start a brand new job Masks were (for the moment) no longer required After a few years of not caring, my daughter […]

DIY Sensory Bottle Ideas for Kids to Make

DIY Sensory Bottle Ideas for Kids to Make

If your child has sensory processing issues or ADD — or even if they don’t — they will love these simple sensory bottles. Also known as “calm down bottles,” these DIY sensory bottles are a tool for younger and older children alike that can help […]

Mini Aquarium in a Bottle (Ocean Sensory Play)

Mini Aquarium in a Bottle (Ocean Sensory Play)

These ocean sensory bottles — or, as I like to call them, “mini aquariums” — are ridiculously easy and are a great sensory activity for little hands.

There’s nothing wrong with making these bottles just for something fun and pretty to shake around, but they’re also a great way to learn about sea creatures and ocean life.

Just add a few books ….

Mister Seahorse by Eric CarleMister Seahorse by Eric CarleMister Seahorse by Eric CarleIn the Sea by David ElliottIn the Sea by David ElliottIn the Sea by David ElliottNational Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the OceanNational Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the OceanNational Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean

 

… and some videos …

 

Video – Ocean Animals for Kids

 

Ocean Animals for Preschool & Kindergarten

 

… throw in some ocean-themed snacks, and you’ve got a super-easy, hands-on unit study!

We used a Voss water bottle for this, but you can certainly be creative with the type and size of bottle that you use.

You can also add a nice touch to your bottle by adding a few small seashells.

Ocean sensory play bottle

Mini Aquarium in a Bottle

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Materials

  • 16.9 oz. sensory bottle
  • 1 (5oz.) bottle of Elmer’s clear glue
  • Plastic Ocean Animals
  • Clear Water
  • Blue food coloring
  • Tape or glue for securing the bottle shut (optional)

Instructions

1. Gather all materials.

2. Pour all of the clear glue into the bottle.

Glue in sensory bottle

3. Add the ocean animal toys.

Ocean animals added to bottle

4. Fill the remaining bottle with water.

5. Add one drop of blue food coloring to the bottle.

Add blue food coloring to bottle

6. Close the bottle. Use tape or glue to secure the lid if you like.

Shaking bottle with blue food coloring

7. Enjoy your bottle!

Ocean sensory bottle for kids

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

More Sensory Play for Kids

7 Dinosaur Arts & Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers

7 Dinosaur Arts & Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Do you know a little person who loves dinosaurs? Both both and girls tend to be fascinated by these prehistoric creatures. And why shouldn’t they be? They seem mythical, almost like unicorns … but they were real. How cool is that? Whether you’re looking for […]

Mickey Mouse Craft Ideas for Kids & Adults

Mickey Mouse Craft Ideas for Kids & Adults

There are all kinds of reasons for making a Mickey Mouse craft: An upcoming trip to Disney World A Mickey-themed birthday party A desire to bring a little Disney into your home or classroom Just to show off your love for the mouse! Whatever the […]

What’s the Perfect Age for Disney World?

What’s the Perfect Age for Disney World?

Are you considering a Walt Disney World vacation, but wondering if your kids are too young (or too old)?

Obviously there’s no magical answer to when to take you kids to Disney World. Some of the factors to take into consideration are how many kids you have, how spaced out they are, what your school schedule is like, how much money you have, and whether or not you’ll be able to take another Disney trip within the next 4-5 years.

After reading this post, you’ll know some of the pros and cons of a Disney vacation with each age group and what our experiences have been over the years.

 

Babies (age 0 – 18 months)

I have never taken a baby to Disney World, and frankly, would not really want to.

Between worrying about nursing and bottles and diapers and changing stations and the intense heat and naps (one of my babies would not sleep in a stroller at one point … it makes me tired just thinking about it.

Certainly many families have gone to Disney World with babies and survived had a great time. (And if you had, I’d love for you to leave a comment below.) So it most certainly can be done.

But if you’re considering going to Disney World with a baby, I would highly recommend waiting a couple years if at all possible.

 

Toddlers & Preschoolers (age 18 months – 5 years)

Preschool age kids at Disney World

On our very first Disney trip, my son didn’t exist yet and my daughters were two and a half and four and a half years old and both out of diapers.

If you can go when your youngest is two and a half and fully potty trained, I say do it.

Your youngest will get in completely free (because they’re under 3 years old), and your older kids will most likely still be at the “child” (ages 3-9) price.

The nice thing about going to Disney World at this age is that everything makes them happy.

White rabbit character at Disney World
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from the World of Disney

 

It wouldn’t have occurred to them to complain or feel disappointed because we were staying off-site. (They happily called the condo “The Disney House.”) They couldn’t care less that we ate sandwiches for lunch and had dinner at Perkins Pancake House near our condo instead of having any character meals. They weren’t the least bit disappointed that we skipped the parks altogether one day.

In fact, later I asked my four year old what her favorite part of the trip was, and she said it was going to the pool.

So going to Disney World can actually be fairly cheap at this age.

The downsides, of course, are:

  • They don’t remember many details from the trip (which never particularly bothered me; we have photos and our memories of the trip that we share with them)
  • The kids are more high-maintenance and wear out more quickly. (We were lucky to have my parents join us on the trip, which made it less exhausting.)
  • They can’t go on a lot of rides, so if you’re like me and into the thrill rides, you’re going to either forego them or use baby swap. (Again, having grandparents with us was helpful.)

 

 

Elementary age (6-9 years old)

Kids with Minnie Mouse in Disney World

This is probably the sweet spot, depending on how many kids your have and how spaced out they are.

The kids are old enough to know what’s going on and and be a bit more self-sufficient, but young enough to enjoy it in a child-like way. They’re less likely to be scared by things and more likely to be tall enough (and brave enough) to ride the roller coasters.

Plus they still get the child prices until they’re 9 years old.

So if you wanted me to give you the perfect age, I would say to go right before your oldest child turns 10.

Now one big issue that comes up at this age is:

Should we take our kids out of school for a Disney World vacation?

Fortunately, we never had to address this. My kids were homeschooled for many years, once the oldest started going to public school, we went to Disney during our district’s week long “fall break” in September.

If you’re debating whether or not to take a Disney vacation during the school year, the first thing you need to do is check the school’s policies on absences and make-up work.

I’ve heard of anything from family vacations automatically being excused absences, to having to write a letter to the principal explaining the educational value of the trip, to getting angry phone calls from the school threatening to report the parents for truancy.

So first make sure you know what you’re dealing with.

Personally (and I’m a teacher myself), I don’t really have a big problem with the idea of kids missing a few days of school, as long as the kid is a good student and is responsible in making up what they missed. Definitely let your teachers know well ahead of time and be very gracious and respectful about it, since them having to adjust for you adds a bit to their already-full plate.

It’s also a good idea to ask your kids how they fell about missing school. Believe it or not, this can be an issue for some kids, especially if the class is doing something special that week.

 

Tweens (ages 10-13 years old)

Farmer Mickey at Disney World

One of the best Disney trips I ever took was when I went with just my two girls when they were 12 and 14.

Part of it was because it was just the three of us, which made it easier than having to deal with five different people’s preferences.

But part of it was because that age was so easy compared to earlier years. They didn’t need me to go with them to the bathroom or the buffet. They weren’t sobbing on the Disney bus on the way back to the resort after a long day at the park. We didn’t have to deal with people being too scared for this or too short for that. And the girls were much more involved in planning the trip and researching and choosing the restaurants, which was a lot of fun.

It was a really good trip.

Now having that said that, this is an age where taking your kids out of school gets more tricky, not only because of missed work, but also because of extra-curricular activities, play rehearsals, sports practice, etc.

 

Teenager/High School Age

Teen girls at Disneys Grand Floridian resort

Unfortunately, our next trip was not so pleasant. In fact, I almost would go so far as to call it a “mistake.”

For this trip, our kids were 13, 15, and 17. We booked the trip several months in advance, thinking it had a been a while since the whole family had gone.

About a month before the trip we discovered that not only did one kid adamantly not want to go at all, but also the kid who used to be obsessed with Disney couldn’t care less anymore, said they’d rather stay home and hang out with their friends, and begrudgingly went along.

During the trip were texting their friends constantly and were more interested in finding a Starbucks (again) than going on a ride or, God forbid, getting a photo taken with me. Nobody wanted to see any characters. One kid made the comment that they didn’t understand why anyone over the age of 10 would like this place. Another kid chose to stay in the hotel and watch a movie one evening.

I was hurt and disappointed, and I reacted by getting mad at them.

Still, there were some bright moments. I caught the kid who really didn’t want to there saying, “I love this ride” when we were on Splash Mountain. We all had a fun dinner together at Wolfgang Puck in Disney Springs one evening. They really liked both Test Track and Dinosaur. Everyone loved the food at Ohana (although the kids all quickly left in embarrassment when I went to join in with the hula dancing lesson.)

I know that plenty of families go to Disney World with their teenagers and (at least appear to) have a good time, so don’t necessarily be scared off by our experience.

But unless your teens are specifically begging to go to Disney World, I would recommend that you find some new vacation destinations for a while.

 

What do you think is the best age for Disney World?

Now it’s your turn. Do you think there is a “best” age? Have you ever taken a baby to Disney World, and what was that like? Did you ever go to Disney World with teenagers, and was your experience better than mine?

Let us know below in the comments!

Best age to bring kids to Disney World

10 Ocean-Themed Under the Sea Snacks (Beach Party Food!)

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When Will Disney’s Cape May Cafe Reopen?

When Will Disney’s Cape May Cafe Reopen?

The good news is that Cape May Cafe, located in Disney’s Beach Club Resort, one of the “Epcot resorts,” re-opened on May 18,2021. (They were open for reservations beginning May 7, 2021.) More good news is that the prices are significantly lower — particularly for […]

The Best Socks for Disney World

The Best Socks for Disney World

Everyone wants to know about the best shoes to wear to Disney World — and they should — but they often forget that the right socks are also very important.

After reading this post, you’ll know what to look for in a sock, why you might want to avoid socks altogether, plus several specific pairs of socks that will keep your feet happy after hours of walking around the Disney parks.

4 Tips for Wearing Socks at Disney World

Before we get to specific sock recommendations, here are some general things to keep in mind.

Consider Skipping socks entirely.

For the last several years I’ve worn sandals, sans socks, to Disney World, and I honestly think that makes the whole thing easier. It’s one less thing to pack, and you don’t have to worry about soggy socks, washing and drying your socks, bringing extra socks, and so on.

If you want to consider the sock-less route, here are some great shoes to try:

Sanuk Yoga Sling SandalSanuk Yoga Sling SandalSanuk Yoga Sling SandalTeva Women's SandalTeva Women’s SandalTeva Women's SandalKeen Men's Newport H2 SandalKeen Men’s Newport H2 SandalKeen Men's Newport H2 SandalChaco Women's ZX2 Classic Athletic SandalChaco Women’s ZX2 Classic Athletic SandalChaco Women's ZX2 Classic Athletic Sandal

 

Stay away from cotton socks.

Here’s a quick lesson on why you never want to wear cotton socks to Disney World:

  1. Your feet are almost certain to get wet — if not from rain or Splash Mountain, then from sweat.
  2. Cotton socks stay wet for roughly forever.
  3. When cotton socks get wet, they also get heavy.
  4. Heavy, wet socks rubbing against your feet for hours is a sure recipe for blisters.

Class dismissed.

 

Be careful with no-show socks.

Avoid those cute little socks that barely come up to your ankle. There’s too much risk of them sliding around and/or leaving an uncovered spot on your heel that will rub against your shoe.

Now having said that, you’ll notice that several of the socks recommended below are no-show. That’s a little different because they have special tabs to protect your heels and are designed not to slip.

So some no-show socks work well, but in general, be aware of their potential problems.

 

Bring extra socks.

Always pack an extra pair of socks (or two) in your Disney park bag so you can switch them out if when they get wet.

 

Don’t forget the Body Glide.

This stuff is great. I rub it all over my feet every morning before we leave for the parks. (It’s like stick deodorant.) You can also use it on your thighs, arms, neck, whatever.

I’ve only used the original, but they make one specifically for feet as well.

BodyGlide Foot Anti Blister BalmBodyGlide Foot Anti Blister BalmBodyGlide Foot Anti Blister BalmBody Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm, 2-packBody Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm, 2-packBody Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm, 2-pack

 

 

The Best Socks for Disney World

I asked around, did some research, and found several pairs of socks that will keep your feet dry protected during all that walking around the parks.

Drymax Low Cut Running Socks for Men and Women

Drymax Low Cut Running Socks for Men and WomenDrymax Low Cut Running Socks for Men and WomenDrymax Low Cut Running Socks for Men and Women

 

These socks claim to be super breathable due to something called “DRYMAX technology,” which features dual-layer, moisture wicking knit fabric designed to move the moisture away from your feet and into an outer layer where it can evaporate.

Amazon reviewer hawaii says the become a Drymax “convert” after running a 100 mile race in them:

… this was the best equipment decision I made. The course was wet with ankle deep mud, it was hot and humid, super technical, and I had no moisture related issues with my feet. Zero. These things are magic. I did a few sock changes just for some fresh ones. When I sat down and saw other people feet who were wrinkled, wet, and blistered, I felt sort of guilty looking at my feet which were dry and in excellent shape! When it matters, definitely go for DryMax socks 100%. I was a skeptic, but now I’m converted.

 

Thorlos Low Cut Running Socks

Thorlos JMM Max Cushion Running Low Cut SocksThorlos JMM Max Cushion Running Low Cut SocksThorlos JMM Max Cushion Running Low Cut Socks

 

Thorlos socks claim to have a special padding that’s clinically shown to reduce blisters, moisture, pain, and pressure.

I noticed that several of the positive reviews were from people who had arthritis, high arches, or problems with the balls of their feet. So if you have an “unusually difficult foot” for whatever reason, this might be the pair of socks to try first.

Amazon reviewer Bruno Medina said he and his wife felt a huge difference after they switched to Thorlos:

… perfect fit, incredible comfort and great absorbing all the sweat from my feet. Far more than what I expected, I’ll recommend these socks to anyone.

I’m 66 y.o. and my wife is 67 y.o., we walk about 3 miles a day and waring these socks with our sneakers have made all the difference in the world to us. We use to have a lot of burning under and behind our feet before we try Thorlos socks, now with Thorns Socks the burning is gone and we are back enjoying our walk.

 

Balega Hidden Contour Socks for Men and Women

Balega Hidden Contour Socks For Men and WomenBalega Hidden Contour Socks For Men and WomenBalega Hidden Contour Socks For Men and Women

 

This socks come in 9 different color designs. (including pink!) They have a seamless toe closure, a heel tab helps prevent the sock from slipping, and mesh construction for ventilation.

Amazon reviewer E. Thierauf says these socks are totally worth the extra expense:

These socks may be expensive compared to others, but they are sooooo worth it! Support, padding, no slipping – still breathable. My husband even said he can’t go back to regular socks now. Bought some for the whole family prior to Disney World trip, ensuring we all had good foot care while walking 10-12 miles/day. They did make a difference in conjunction with good shoes.

 

Injinji Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks

Injinji 2.0 Men's Run Lightweight No Show ToesocksInjinji 2.0 Men’s Run Lightweight No Show ToesocksInjinji 2.0 Men's Run Lightweight No Show Toesocks

 

If you hate having moisture build up in-between your toes, check out “toe socks.” They fit your toes in the same way that a glove fits your fingers.

Amazon reviewer T. Candace Lillis explains why she loves Injinji toe socks:

… I am a woman and typically wear a 7.5 in athletic shoes. I wear a size small in these. I prefer the fit and feel of the mens version of this sock versus the womens version. They feel sturdier and the toes don’t seem as long (I have short toes so this is an issue). I have tried less expensive versions of athletic toe socks but keep returning to these. The first two pair seemed expensive, but they are wearing so well and feel so good that I would rather pay the price for the superior quality and fit.

If you have never worn separate toe socks-they are wonderful!

I am not an athlete. I live in Florida and walk 3 miles a day 6 days a week … I purchased these to help keep my toes separated-which they do. They also keep my toes from getting all sweaty in the heat and humidity so that my feet feel dry and comfortable for all three miles.

Yes, it does take a few extra seconds to get the socks on properly-but once they are on no additional adjusting is needed. The heels don’t slip down, there is no uncomfortable seam at the toes that needs to be moved a mile into a walk or run-they do not twist or bunch …

 

Smartwool Light Micro Socks

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro SocksSmartwool Light Micro SocksSmartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks

 

I wasn’t going to include SmartWool socks at first, because when I think “wool,” I think “warm.”

And I didn’t think that many people were concerned with keeping their feet warm at Disney World.

However, it turns out that these shoes are only 57% Merino Wool, with 40% Nylon and 3% Elastane. The fabric is not only moisture-wicking, and odor-neutralizing, but also thermoregulating — which means it keeps you warm when it’s cold, and and keeps you cool when it’s warm.

Reviewers just raved about these socks — there are over 1,190 5-star ratings on Amazon.

Amazon reviewer DKH says these socks are perfect for all kinds of weather:

I wear these 100% merino wool socks all year, every day … They keep me warm in the winter and breathe in the summer. They are not bulky. When walking, they don’t slip into my shoes. They don’t itch. My feet are kept the perfect temperature and do not feel clammy from sweat. They are very much worth the price compared to the performance of other socks I’ve tried … P.S. I hang them to dry rather than use the dryer.

 

Feetures Elite Light Cushion Socks

Feetures Elite Light No Show  SocksFeetures Elite Light No Show SocksFeetures Elite Light No Show  Socks

 

These socks come in black, white, and grey. They are lightly cushioned and boast a custom-like fit, a special tab in the back to protect your heel, and a seamless toe for less irritation.

Reviewers liked how these socks had cushioning but weren’t “squishy.” Also, despite being no-show socks, reviewers said that they never slip.

 

People walking in Disney World
Photo courtesy of Laurie at Pics from World of Disney
Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to Disney World

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to Disney World

As you know, taking your family to the Walt Disney World theme parks — especially if it’s your first trip — isn’t something you decide to do and then show up and wander in when the date comes. There’s a lot to learn. To quickly […]