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Why I think Disney Springs Is the BEST {and most affordable!} Disney Property to Stay At: Plus Our Favorites Places to Eat + Play

Piggybacking today on my previous post on Universal Studios + Islands of Adventure – today I wanted to share with you all the reasons why I think Disney Springs is the BEST {and most affordable!} Disney property to stay at!

We travelled to Disney for a few days in August and this was my second time {in the past year} staying in the Disney Springs section of the Disney property.

You can check out my first experience in this post: Adults Do Disney – Where We Stayed, Disney Springs Favorites

During my first visit we stayed at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Disney Springs Area. It was beautiful and a 7 minute walk to downtown Disney {Disney Springs}. This time we stayed at the Wyndam Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs – a 5 minute walk to the Disney Springs area – we picked this hotel because we got an incredible rate and it had a pretty sweet pool area for the kiddos, see below.

That few minute walk is also awesome because right at the front of the Disney Springs property is the bus depot which is where all of the Disney Springs busses come to and from various properties and hotels all day long. So you can walk over there and then quickly have access to anywhere in Disney, which I think is a great perk too!

The Disney Springs properties are my favorite because if you have points or a favorite hotel brand, there are lots to choose from. They are all Disney properties within the Disney Springs resort area – so they all have access to Extra Magic Hours, Character Breakfasts, busses/shuttles to and from the parks – which is awesome.

It’s also a great location for things OTHER than Disney – like a 10 minute ride to SeaWorld, 15 minutes to Universal/Islands of Adventure or a 45 minute drive to LEGOLand. We used Ubers/Lifts and it was so easy from the location of the hotels.

I just love this area because Disney Springs is where I always love to go to spend any and all downtime walking around the Disney Springs area. So many restaurants – most way better than the hotel dining options on properties – great shops, entertainment for the kids all around, plus it’s just nice to be out and about seeing the sights.

We have a few favorite places we ALWAYS go, because they are so fun for the kids and adults – everyone has a great time.

Our first stop: Raglan Road Irish Pub

The food here is always super yummy and you can’t beat the live music and Celtic dancers. They always put on a fantastic show, plus the beer selection is top notch. This is always one of our favorite places to hit up! They have great indoor and outdoor dining options too.

Next up – T-Rex Cafe.

It’s a fan favorite for the kiddos. They have great meal choices for the littles and you can’t beat the scene. It’s a little crazy with everything prehistoric going on, but the boys love the meteor shower show and when all the dinosaurs come to life. It’s fun, I must admit.

Their favorite reason to go to T-Rex cafe, aside from all.the.dinosaurs. would have to be the dig site. They would spend FOREVER here if I let them. It usually rains whenever we go, which is fine because this is totally covered, so its a great spot to hide from the rain, or crazy sun – depending on the season.

Next up – the LEGO Store.

Sure, we frequent LEGO stores at home and go to LEGOLAND in Philadelphia fairly regularly, but the boys LOVE the LEGO store in Disney Springs. So many fun Disney lego creations and they always have special builds going on in store, which is fun. Another great way to avoid any outside elements and enjoy a little free play!

Like I mentioned before, there are SO MANY great places to stop for sips and eats while you are walking around, shopping, enjoying everything Disney Springs. Most places have Happy Hour specials during specific times for great deals on food and drink, which is awesome. And all of them have outside seating which is perfect for people watching.

This beverage from the Polite Pig was delicious on a hot summer day.

Another perk that I quickly mentioned above, but wanted to share again is that most {if not all!} of the Disney Springs properties have character dining options. This wasn’t super high on my list of things to do with the boys this trip, but it ended up working perfectly in our schedule on our last day before heading to the airport and it was a super nice ending to our trip.

Bonus – Kids 3 and under were FREE – so Graham was zero dollars, which is amazing at Disney.

The boys met Goofy and Pluto and loved every minute of it. Both characters spent actual quality time with the boys, playing with them and their toys on the floor – which they really enjoyed and it was super sweet.

Another crazy bonus perk of staying at Disney Springs – you can request, or get lucky – with a room that faces Disney Springs and THEN you can see all the fireworks at various parks at night. We were able to see THREE different fireworks displays, which was super cool. So much better being able to see the fireworks from your hotel room with kiddos about the fall asleep from a busy day! It was a nice little addition to the room for sure!

So there you have it – a few reasons why I love the Disney Springs resort area in Walt Disney World. We didn’t even do any Disney Parks at our recent visit and still had such an incredible time at the hotel pool and Disney Springs itself!

If you are a Disney Springs lover like me, let me know your favorite place to stay, eat and play when you are there – I’d love to hear it!

A Holiday Weekend in Atlantic City – The Water Club at The Borgata, Izakaya + Immersion Spa

This weekend the husband and I enjoyed a little pre-Christmas treat!

His work threw at holiday party on Friday night at The Water Club in The Borgata hotel – and since we had the grandparents standing by for babysitting, we decided to make a weekend out of it!

I’m always the kinda gal where I would love to go somewhere, see or do something special, than get a present. And two peaceful night sleeps away from my two favorite little monsters – that’s the gift that keeps on giving!

//  dress {on sale!} / heels / Bowie Fringe Earrings / Personalized Clutch

I was so excited for this party because it was the perfect excuse to get a new dress! {Insert salsa dancer emoji here!} I wanted something conservative {because, work function} but with a little sparkle and flare {because, holiday party in AC!} and this little number fit the bill. Bonus was that when I went to buy it, it was on sale!

Winning.

I shared a bit of the part on my Instagram, but it was super cool. There were dancers, food from all the amazing Borgata restaurants and the party itself was over The Water Club pool. You looked down from the main stage area and you were over the pool. So crazy!

A little look at some of the sushi spread, from Izakaya and Double Knot {in Philadelphia}. The lights were pretty dark {as is the norm in most casino settings} so it was hard to get too many photos – but all the food was delicious. Most items came with cute little mini drink pairings too! It was a lovely holiday party and I’m so glad we were able to be a part of it!

Some other trips we’ve gone on together with my husbands work:

// Atlantis, Bahamas / Walt Disney World {with Brooks at 3 months old!} – for a blast from the past, check out those posts!

After all the holiday fun, Saturday was made to rest and relax. This was my third visit to The Borgata {and The Water Club} in the past year. We were here in March, celebrating Charles’ birthday – and then again in July, for Britney Spears! So I knew that during our weekend visit I HAD to visit the Immersion Spa in the Water Club.

I always end up having the hot tub and steam room to myself, it’s fabulous. This time I treated myself to The Borgata Buster – which is a half Swedish/ half Deep Tissue.

It was pretty magical.

Then we got ready for night #2 out – we started off with drinks at Angeline by Michael Symon. I had the GRONICELLO NEGRONI –  lemony riff on Italy’s most famous cocktail: The Negroni. Strong but a nice balance between bitter grapefruit and sweet lemon.

Watershed Four Peel Gin, Limoncello, Campari, Cinzano Rosso.

Delicious. Obviously.

// clutch 

Then we made our way over to our dinner reservation spot – Izakaya. When we were here in March I put up a IG poll to go to Izakaya or Bobby Flay. Steaks won that time, but this visit I was pumped for the husband to experience Izakaya. We had just had a bunch of their sushi on Friday night at the holiday party, but its such an amazing restaurant to sit down and enjoy. We did the chefs tasting menu and it was out of this world.

Sushi, Soup Dumplings, Spicy Tuna Crackers, Mahi Mahi Tacos, BBQ Short Ribs Robatayaki and so much more. Like the amazing S’mores dessert tart. AH! Such a fabulous meal as always. This was my second time here for dinner and it will not be my last!

It was a chill, relaxing and super fun two nights away. I think it’s super important for a couple to sneak away from the kiddos and have some adult time every now and then – plus its so good for the kids to be without the parents too! A great weekend away for sure – I hope we can come back again in the Spring!

Fingers Crossed!

// top / 2 in 1 earrings / jeans /  clutch / heels

What’s your favorite place to sneak away with your significant other?!

Please share – I’d love to hear it!

Adults Do Disney: Animal Kingdom Favorites – Pandora Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Hawkes’ Grog Ale and More!

Day 2 of Adults Do Disney starts at Animal Kingdom!

If you missed Day 1 of where we stayed, Disney Springs Favorites and Around the World Showcase at Epcot, check out this post!

Once we booked our hotel and knew we would be staying at a Disney Resort property I was totally excited to stalk down the Extra Magic Hours that resort guests get to take advantage of! It’s different every day what parks open early and which stay open late – only for guests staying at Disney hotels.

My mom and I were able to take advantage of getting into Animal Kingdom at 8am {before the park officially opened at 9am!}

And you know what that means….

Pandora!

I have walked through Pandora before with the boys – on one of our previous visits – but wasn’t able to ever go on any of the rides there because of the long wait times. But with no kids in tow, we were able to put in the time!

I guess everyone had the same plan we did, because we made a bee line straight for Avatar Flight of Passage and still ended up waiting 1.5 hours to go on the 5 minute long ride.

But it was totally worth it.

Pandora is beyond beautiful. Disney did an exceptional job with this part of the park, it’s amazing to be in. While we waited in the line, we were able to really enjoy the scenery – and take lots of photos too!

And the 90 minute wait went by super quick because the line kept moving the entire time and there were so many cool things to see – like this floating avatar.

In real life, it’s moving in the water – So cool.

On the Flight of Passage, you get to fly on the back of a mountain banshee for a thrilling 3D ride exploring Pandora.

Thrilling is exactly what it is – and so much fun! I would ride it again in a heartbeat and I hope to bring the boys back again soon so they can enjoy it too!

After Avatar Flight of Passage, the sun, moon and stars all aligned and I was able to score FastPass tickets to the Na’vi River Journey, which is also in Pandora.

This we were able to walk right on because of the FastPasses, which was amazing. It’s a slow boat ride through the bioluminescent rainforest of Pandora. So it was awesome to be able to see a different part of it – after just seeing it from the sky in Flight of Passage. This is a family friendly ride that anyone would enjoy – highly recommend, especially if you don’t have to wait too long!

Next we got to meet a Pandora Conservation Initiative scientist —operating the towering Pandora Utility Suit, an awe-inspiring piece of research equipment. He was like a real life transformer! If you’ve seen Pandora, the movie – you will appreciate this!

Then it was time to check out some of the cool beverages in Pandora that I had seen all over Instagram! My mom got the Night Blossom: Layers of apple and desert pair limeade topped with passion fruit boba balls. She loved it and I loved taking pictures of it because it was so pretty!

I tried a Hawkes’ Grog Ale, which is a fruity hop with notes of apricot and peach. This was DELICIOUS. The perfect beer to enjoy on a warm day, walking around the park.

I think it was also about 10am when I got this but hey #vacation!

After seeing and doing everything in Pandora, we decided to explore the rest of Animal Kingdom. Aside from Pandora there are  five other sections of the park – Dinoland USA, Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa and Asia.

With the Tree of Life right smack dab in the middle.

We made our way over to Africa to check out the Festival of the Lion King. My mom had never seen this before so I was excited to share it with her – its such an amazing show! This show has singers, dancers, aerialists, fire eaters and more. It’s super entertaining and I’m convinced there’s not a bad seat in the house!

Next we used another Fast Pass and hit up the Kilimanjaro Safari – I love this ride because its very well done and you get to see so many animals and the scenery of the African savanna is breathtaking!

This trip was fun because we got to see a Baby Hippo..

And a baby giraffe!

So beautiful.

I was keeping an eye on the wait time for the Dinosaur ride, but it didn’t make sense for us to wait too long for it, so we ended up saying farewell to Animal Kingdom after a great morning!

Off to Toy Story Land, stay tuned !

What’s your favorite thing to see or do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?! I’d love to hear it!

Britney Spears “Piece of Me” in Las Vegas

I shared with you my Weekend in Vegas experience yesterday but I figured since the whole point of our trip was all about Britney, that her concert experience deserved it’s very own post!

When I stepped off the plane on Thursday in Vegas I was welcomed into this new city with a fun surprise on my email. Apparently, Britney was going to be giving a special private show before the concert with a surprise guest – if I was one of the first 500 people to response, I could go. So obviously, I dropped everything in the middle of the airport to respond to this email!

When Michelle & I booked our trip, I took care of the concert tickets & she booked the hotel. We are lucky that we coordinated it that way because when I got the email, Michelle was still on her flight in the air & when she touched down it would have likely been too late for us to get on the list!

bump

So I got a confirmation email later in the day on Thursday telling me when & where we had to be to get into the preview show before the concert. The concert was at 9:00pm and we were told to be in line at 5:00pm to get into the special show – we arrived at 4:30pm and were about the 25/30th people in line – which worked out great for us because we were able to get front row standing spots for the show.

When we were eventually let in, after waiting a while, we got our spots and got to waiting some more. The folks running the show told us that we were there to see a “dress rehearsal” for the Britney Spears + Iggy Azalea “Pretty Girls” video which would be shown live during the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. They said that they would run through the song a few times and we would get to check it out. I was pretty excited just to be able to see everything up close and personal!

After the producers got the lighting and staging right we were told that they were going to bring out LUDACRIS who would be announcing the show {he was a co-host for the BBMA’s on Sunday}. I was pretty surprised when we got to see him, he’s really funny and was cracking jokes the whole time. Then they brought out the dancers and started the song & Britney + Iggy came out and did their thing! They ran through the song 3 times which was awesome, but my favorite part was seeing the singers in between the sets – Britney was so nervous and everyone was cheering her on, but she was totally awkward when handling the love from the fans. You can totally tell she has a performing side & a regular person side {which apparently is super shy}.

And the absolute BEST part about the preview show was that it was the actual version that was shown during the BBMA’s on Sunday, which you can see by my screenshot of me in the crowd at the show:

famous

#famous

I was totally on TV and it was really cool to be a part of the Britney Spears experience. But it does go to show you that even though they say it’s “live” – it’s totally not! Haha!

lights

After the pre-show and all the excitement of seeing Britney, Iggy + Ludacris, we still had an entire concert to see! So we excited the concert hall & got back in line to re-enter once they started letting people in for the actual show.

When it was all said and done, we were standing from 4:30pm – 11:30pm – since our seats for both the concert + pre-show were standing room only. Needless to say, my feet were KILLING me at the end of the day.

#pregnancyproblems

stage1

After getting out of the pre-show and getting back in line for the concert so quickly, we were able to score the same standing room spots right in the front row, which was totally worth it for the actual show because Britney was RIGHTTHERE the entire time.

front row

I’ve been a fan of Britney for a long time – Michelle + I have been to pretty much every concert together, it’s sort of our thing – but this concert was, I think, her best one yet! It was all her best songs, the dancing and entertainment was off the charts and she even sang! Yes, I know I’m crazy for paying money to go to a singing concert where I don’t even expect the singer to sing, but to each his own! Ha!

looking good

I think because Britney had the BBMA’s this weekend she was really on top of her game. She looked amazing and was a seriously awesome show. Here are a few pictures from the show:

girl chairssongtwirl floor

Check out the stage behind us! AH! We were so close!

stage thiscloseboss booty move
finalebutt

We had an awesome time at the show and the fact that we got to see a little mini show beforehand was just the icing in the cake! If you are in Vegas I would totally recommend seeing Piece of Me {if you are a Britney fan!} – it was fun, high energy and entertaining!

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