Disney · Faith · Travel

4 Things I Should Have Done Differently at Disney

We have been to Disney World several times in the past twenty-one years that my in-laws have been Disney Vacation Club members. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m definitely not a novice either. However, I made some mistakes this year. Here are the 4 things I should have done differently at Disney this year:

  1. I didn’t plan ANYTHING in advance–I went in pretty confident, but really unorganized. With the hustle and bustle of school, sports, Vacation Bible School, and church camp, I just didn’t make planning a priority. I didn’t even buy my tickets until we got there. So…we didn’t have much choice when it came to FastPass or dining reservations. Luckily, we can be pretty flexible and we still made it work for us, but I’ll know better next time.  Really, I knew better this time, but I still didn’t do it.  Oops.
  2. I didn’t show up with a customized tee–there were so many cute tshirts when we went to Magic Kingdom! Families had matching ones made to commemorate their trip, there were monogrammed tees, and lots of funny ones.  You can find some cute ones here, here, and here, but there are also a ton on etsy.  If you need something fast, try the men’s section at Target–they have many cute tshirts as well.
  3. I didn’t pack enough snacks. You may know from previous posts that I’m frugal, but feel like living it up (sort of) on vacation. It seemed to me that food prices went up quite a bit since we were there last and we ended up spending way more than I wanted to on meals and snacks. Disney allows backpacks, so make sure you pack lots of snacks for your family, preferably things that won’t be squished in your bag (granola bars, fruit snacks, peanut butter or cheese crackers, etc).  You can also take in bottled water and refill at the water fountains.
  4. I didn’t take enough pictures.  Don’t get me wrong…I took several, but I was so intent on getting my kids to rides that I didn’t pause and get any great photos.  We didn’t take one picture with a character.  Not one.  Luckily, my kids don’t really care about that, but it would have been nice just to have one or two for the photo book I like to make after our trips.IMG_4027

BUT….here are 4 things I did RIGHT at Disney.

  1. I relaxed and let the kids (and the app) guide us.  I’ve mentioned before that I know we can’t fit every single thing in at Magic Kingdom so I make sure my kids each get to ride the one thing they’ve been waiting for all year.  One chose the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, one chose Splash Mountain, and one chose Space Mountain.  We did all of those (and many more) so I call that a success!IMG_3811
  2. I got a Dole Whip!  I almost didn’t.  It was late and the kids wanted to ride Buzz Lightyear.  My husband knew I was torn (haha) so he sent me for the treat while they all rode the ride and I met up with them after.  If you have never had one of these, you have got to try one.  It was perfect.IMG_4061
  3. I took a long mid-day break.  We left the park around 3 and didn’t go back until around 6, so we got a good rest period in there before we returned to shut it down.  If you are staying on-property, I highly encourage you to stop in the middle of the day and let your kids nap or swim for a bit.
  4. I counted my blessings.  Every time we go to Disney, I remind my kids how lucky we are to get to be on these trips.  Not every family gets the opportunity to go as often as we do or even ever.  The only reason we are able to go is because my in-laws are members of DVC. I want my kids to be grateful for our experiences at Disney and they truly are.

Have any advice for Disney newbies?  Have any weird Disney experiences you want to share?  Post in the comments!

Faith

Daily Vitamins: My Current Favorite Devotionals

Strengthening my faith is very important to me and always something at which I work.  We attend church as a family and are fairly involved there, but I find that my faith and my relationship with God is strongest when I spend some one-on-one time with Him.

This Spring, we had a great speaker at our church for a Visionary Family weekend.  He put several things in perspective for us, but my favorite is when he likened our faith to food.  He pointed out what our three meals should be (attending church, reading the Bible, and having family worship time) and that everything else is a vitamin (youth group, FCA, etc).  One cannot survive on vitamins alone, but they make us healthier and we need them as well.  One of my daily “vitamins” is reading a devotional so I thought I’d share my three current favorites.  In all honesty, I do not read all three of these every day, but have read much of each of them throughout the year.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

img_3772-e1496845208252.jpgI’m pretty late to the game on this one as it has been popular for the last few years, but I hadn’t read it until a beautiful friend gave me this for Christmas.  There is something about this devotional that just speaks to me.  I had a pretty rough year personally and much of this book encourages trust in God.  I needed this devotional this year and I read it daily, usually at night because I’m not a morning person.

 

I love that the passages are short and that they include verses that relate to the message for each day.  The passages are dated so if you are particular about starting things “on time,” you may want to wait until January to begin this one.  This devotional is really uplifting and would be a great way to start (or end!) your day.  This would also make a great gift and if you are an early Christmas shopper or have a friend who is in need of something like this, the original title can be purchased here.

First5 app

IMG_3775

The First5 app has also been a favorite of mine this year.  This is a free app (available in an Android and iOS version) developed by Proverbs 31 ministry in order to “greet you with a short teaching first thing in the morning, so you can exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.”  Each day, there is a lesson with clickable links to Bible verses, a suggested reading, a prayer, and an opportunity to delve deeper in a “More Moments” section.

You can check off your progress at the end of each passage and participate in the First5 community by posting in the “My Moment” section.  I love reading through this part because the positive comments and support offered to the women on here is amazing. The devotionals are written by many women who are well-known Christian authors, including Lysa TerKeurst and Leah DiPascal.  If unable to get the app, you can also access the readings online here.

Just Ask: Devotions for the Coach’s Wife by Sarah Roberts

IMG_3396

I really don’t even know where to start with this one because I love it so much.  Although it is written with a coach’s wife in mind, this devotional would be appropriate for ANY wife as the lessons relate to what most women experience in marriage (the lesson on not keeping score in your marriage is a particular favorite of mine and one I desperately needed to read).

There are just over twenty teachings that are each split into three sections: Just Ask (a person or people from the Bible), Just Ask (a specific coach’s wife), and Just Ask Me (a section you can fill out about your own experiences).  For example, there is a lesson about God asking us to trust Him with our children and the sections are: Just Ask Mary and Joseph (with suggested readings), Just Ask Christine Donovan (wife of Billy Donovan of OKC Thunder basketball), and Just Ask Me.

This newly published book is not necessarily something to read daily, but something to read when you need some inspiration or support as a wife.  It is written so well that I feel like I can sit and read several sections at once.  I will definitely be referencing this book often next football season and gifting this to several friends this year.  You can find Just Ask here.

If you are looking for a new devotional, I hope this post helped you in some way.

Have any favorite devotionals to share with me?  Comment below and let me know!