Creating themed cupcakes is easier (and less expensive) than you think!

There’s no need to break the bank if you want to create cupcakes that will fit your party’s theme–whatever it may be. It’s easy to find cupcake topper templates online; print them out on card stock and secure to a toothpick, and you’re done!

The Mickey Mouse cupcake toppers that I printed out worked perfectly for the old-fashioned birthday cupcakes I was recently working on.

Vintage Mickey cupcake

This cupcake topper adds a touch of vintage Mickey!

Don’t you love it?

DIY: Tangled golden sun flower pot

I saw an awesome craft idea on the Disney Family website–Tangled golden sun flower pots, complete with printable stencils.

DD6 loves Rapunzel, so naturally this project appealed to me as a great summer day activity.

You will need: terracotta pots from the dollar store; acrylic paint in bright yellow and lavender; sponge paint brushes; scissors; tape; and, paper or cardstock to use as a stencil.

Cutting out the stencil proved to be tougher than I thought it would be–it’s definitely an adult job. After that, I handed the paint brush over to the kids, and voila!

IMG_1810 IMG_1813

Can’t wait to plant some basil and thyme!

Summer gear for the travelling baby

This past spring, we took DD1 to Disney World. I have to admit, it was easier than I thought it would be! The following items are must-have for travelling with baby–whether you are going to Disney World, or heading out on a day trip!

Above: My top picks for summer gear for the travelling baby.

Above: My top picks for the travelling baby.

Baby bottles I love these Minnie-inspired 10 oz. bottles by Nuk.

Bibs This five-pack of bibs by Disney Baby is fairly inexpensive, and I love the princess theme. Let them eat cake in style!

Disposable placements These are lifesavers! When you’re at a restaurant and you’re looking for a nice (clean) place to let baby feed herself, these table toppers do the job.

Wipes Great for jobs big or small, Huggies Natural Care Wipes are handy to have in your day bag.

Swim Diapers I don’t go to far without a baby swim diaper in the summer–these Finding Nemo Little Swimmers are perfect for my DD1.

Hearing protection Whether you are checking out the fireworks at Disney World, or headed to the races, hearing protection for baby is a must. I found a great set of Em’s 4 Bubs Baby Earmuffs online.

So that’s my two cents, let me know what your must-have travel necessities are!

Review: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort ~ French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort is known as a hidden gem on Disney property. I heard many great things about French Quarter, and it’s sister resort Port Orleans Riverside, leading me to book an early spring stay at the resort.

The theming is colourful and evokes the feeling of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The resort’s lush landscaping, black wrought-iron fountains and lantern-lit pathways gives this Disney resort an adult feel that’s still fun for kids.

Mickey POFQ

Why, hello there Mickey.

PRICE AND VALUE

French Quarter is classified as a moderate Disney resort. You can easily book a night’s stay in the $175 to $200 per-night range, which I felt was reasonable considering you can to take advantage of Disney perks such as Disney’s Magical Express airport shuttle, transportation to and from the parks, and Extra Magic Hours at the parks.

So what makes French Quarter stand out from Disney’s other moderate resorts?

Although the parks were close to capacity during our post-Easter weekend visit, the 1,000-room French Quarter never felt like we were visiting during one of the busiest times of the year. French Quarter is definitely the smallest and easiest moderate resort to get around–walking from one end of the seven-building resort to the other took no longer than five minutes. After walking around at the parks all day, you will be thankful to reach your room in such a short time.

Building 5: Lovely view of the pool and lush gardens, and close to transportation and dining.

Building 5 provided us with a lovely view of the pool and lush gardens, and was also close to transportation and dining.

ROOMS

Our room in Building 5 faced the pool and had easy access to dining, the gift shop and transportation. We were nestled behind trees on the second floor, which was surprisingly private and quiet despite having exterior corridors (like other value and moderate resorts).

French Quarter’s rooms are a modest size and sleep four, with separate shower/toilet and sink areas. This division makes getting ready in the morning much easier. A curtain separates the double sinks from the main room, which provides more privacy if needed.

The beds and pillows were comfortable, and looked like they had recently been refurbished. As much as the room met our needs, I felt the resort’s theming didn’t transition as seamlessly into the room itself, but French Quarter’s beautiful exterior made up for it.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation at French Quarter was much more efficient than I had anticipated. Buses transported guests to all of the parks–and, luckily, we never had to wait longer than 20 minutes for one.

Gorgeous view of Downtown Disney from our riverboat.

Gorgeous view of Downtown Disney from our riverboat.

Our party of 12 was especially impressed with the time it took to get to Magic Kingdom–approximately 10 minutes. We never had to share a bus with sister resort Riverside to reach any of the parks. With smaller children, minimizing the amount of time spent in transit was definitely a priority for us.

In addition, French Quarter offers a boat to Downtown Disney. This was a beautiful (and fun) way to head to Disney’s dining and shopping district!

DINING AND RECREATION

With only one quick-service restaurant onsite, and no table-service options at French Quarter, I found that we often wanted to eat offsite.

Doubloon Lagoon features a sea serpent water slide--the kids loved it!

Doubloon Lagoon features a sea serpent water slide–the kids loved it!

While the food was good at French Quarter’s Sassagoula Floatworks Food Factory, we found a variety of delicious options at Downtown Disney.

Dining aside, we loved French Quarter’s themed pool area (“Doubloon Lagoon”) which is located in the centre of the resort. The sea serpent water slide was a hit with the kids, and the pool’s quieter corners were perfect for lounging adults. Daily afternoon pool parties, hosted by Disney’s excellent recreation staff, kept our kids entertained, giving us an opportunity to relax and enjoy the Florida sun!

If you’re seeking more onsite recreation opportunities, take a 10-minute walk up the river to Port Orleans Riverside, which includes amenities such as a full-service restaurant (Boatwright’s Dining Hall), a well-themed pool and recreation area, and numerous other quiet pools. Riverside also offers surrey bike rentals, cane-pole fishing and evening carriage rides.

Heading down to the pool for an evening swim, we were greeted by the French Quarter Gator Band :)

Heading down to the pool for an evening swim, we were greeted by the French Quarter Gator Band 🙂

LAST WORD

I’m confident that visitors to Disney World who are looking for a quieter resort option will enjoy Port Orleans French Quarter.

Whether you are a family of four, or a couple on a quick Disney getaway, Port Orleans French Quarter offers great value for a moderate resort.

Discovering Epcot

When we head down to Florida this spring, I plan on setting aside some time to check out some of the aspects of WDW that I overlooked on our last trip. At the top of my list–making sure I give Epcot the time it greatly deserves.

The great golf ball in the sky, also known as Spaceship Earth.

The great golf ball in the sky, also known as Spaceship Earth.

This year, we will be lucky to be able to catch Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival, which runs from March 4 to May 17.

This annual festival includes highlights such as the Garden Rocks Concert Series (formerly the Flower Power Concert Series), themed garden and topiary displays (rumour has it there will be a Frozen-themed collection), and spectacular outdoor kitchen kiosks across the World Showcase pavilions.

With all of these fun and themed diversions, I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time there!

Let me know–what is on your list of must-do Epcot attractions?