Today we are chatting about our recent trip to Disney to celebrate Collins’ third birthday! We went on this trip just the three of us, and we truly had a magical experience. I am sharing where we stayed, the details about the VIP tour guide and tricks for making your time at Disney the absolute best!
In this episode you’ll hear:
• All about our travel agent, Lia, who you can find on Instagram @onthebrinkofadventure
• Where we ate and tips for meals/snacks
• About the amazing Disney app, Genie Plus
• A new tradition that we will be doing with the girls from now on
• An absolute must-have if you are going to Disney with a little one
We stayed in the 2 Bedroom Villa.
Grab your iced coffee and let’s continue the chat on Instagram @lifewithloverly!
This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.
Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to Life with Loverly. I'm your host, Brittany Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram, grab an iced coffee and let's do life together.
Hello. Hello. How are you guys? Hope y'all had a great weekend. I feel like it's such a busy weekend.
We had a gala, the super bowl by the time you're listening to this yesterday will have been Valentine's day. So I hope you had a lovely Valentine's day.
Nichelle: All the things this weekend.
Brittany: I know. So usually the super bowl is closer to the first week of February. I paid attention to that AF when I was pregnant with Collins, because she was due on the Monday after the super bowl and the super bowl was in Atlanta that year. And we lived in Atlanta and so we were, I remember being so worried about driving cause we lived in Alpharetta. If you're familiar with the Atlanta area, it's north of Atlanta. And we were giving birth at Northside Hospital, which is perimeter area.
Without traffic, it was a 20 minute drive. But with traffic that could very quickly become over an hour. I was just so worried that whole week, leading up, thankfully she ended up being a week early and we were home with her watching the super bowl. It was in Atlanta and I forget who was playing except for the Patriots were playing in Atlanta.
Chris really wanted to go because he's from Massachusetts. And then he was like, okay, I guess maybe that's not a good idea. We have a one week old. But he was like pacing the entire game. The Patriots ended up winning. And so he was like, over the minute excited. And he was like, Collins is a good luck charm, and anyway, I don't even know why we just started the super bowl is we did.
Nichelle: Yeah, I actually. Off subject for a minute. I don't know a ton about football but I do feel like the Patriots are always at the super bowl.
Brittany: I think like mostly thanks to Tom Brady, who is actually retiring?
Nichelle: I did hear that.
Brittany: So he's gonna be no more tom Brady and football, which Chris it's funny. Once he announce his retirement, a few of my followers on Instagram who know Chris is a die hard Tom Brady, lifelong Patriots fan. They messaged me and they were like, is Chris doing okay?
So I thought that was kind of funny, but yeah, we're a big Tom Brady fans in our house and they were always in the super bowl.
Nichelle: I know that they've been great just from hearing I think people talk about football. That's it's the one thing I do realize I'm like, they've been the last several years, right? I don't even know who's going.
Brittany: This year?
Brittany: The Rams. Okay. LA and who's the other team? lain, do you know?
Nichelle: You're looking at the wrong person. I don't know.
Brittany: Bengals. Yeah.
Nichelle: Never heard of them.
Brittany: Literally, that's what I told Chris. I was like, I feel like I wouldn't have ever put them as an option to go into it.
However I personally am gonna be rooting for the Rams.
Nichelle: I guess that's who I'll root for too, since I don't even know who the Bengals are.
Brittany: So Matt Stafford is the quarterback of the Rams and he and his wife, Kelly. They both went to Georgia. And they were here like they're I think the same age as I am, like when I was in college, Matt Stafford was a quarterback here at Georgia.
Okay. And she was a cheerleader. And I feel like there that's a cool thing. Georgia, like hometown, Go Dawgs!
Nichelle: That's really cool.
Brittany: Kelly is so amazing. I follow her on Instagram and she is just unbelievable human. She's constantly giving back, for one of the playoff games, she bought a ton of tickets to the game and was giving them a way to service workers and service men and women who, maybe wouldn't have had the opportunity to buy tickets to the game, but then they were able to go watch the Rams play.
Nichelle: That's awesome.
Brittany: So she constantly does really cool stuff like that, and so she's an inspiration. So part of me is I hope that they win because I just like her. Yeah. I don't know. I feel like we'll see what happens cause I'm pretty sure this is his first season at the Rams. I can't remember where he was before, but it was somewhere in like the Midwest I think.
And Lain is over here, shaking her head. So I'm feeling that she's probably.
Nichelle: She's dying right now because we don't know what we're talking about.
Brittany: Where did they come from? The lions Detroit. Yes. Are you a lions fan? You're just shaking your head.
Nichelle: She just knows.
Brittany: Lain is our podcast editor. So that's, what's going on this weekend. By the time you listen to that, the super bowl will have been won and we'll see who it is. Whatever, but we wanted to come on today and talk about Disney World. So Chris and I took Collins to Disney World for her birthday and it was so much fun.
So it's been two weeks now, last weekend, I did a workout class with some of my mom friends in the morning on Saturday morning. One of them was like, are you gonna talk on the podcast about Disney World because we're going in April and I don't really have time to read a lot about it, but I would love to pop out a podcast and hear your experience.
So I just didn't know if you're gonna do that. And I text Lain, as soon as I get out of the workout class, I was like, Hey so let's talk about Disney world because I feel like that might be helpful.
Nichelle: I think so too. Since you've gone the amount of questions that have come in emails, Life with Loverly, people stopping you. You saying in your DMS, tell me the things, how did you get that? Where did you get that? How did you know, how did you plan? Where do you go to eat? The amount of questions. I think I took for granted how many people just don't know where to even begin.
Brittany: And I didn't really know where to begin either because we didn't grow up being like Disney people. Orlando is about seven hours from Athens. So that's quite a drive. When I was growing up, we never really went. I think the first time I went, I was maybe seventh or eighth grade and maybe a little bit younger. I don't remember. Anyway it wasn't like young. And then Chris, the only other time he's been to Disney besides when we just took Collins was when he was four years old. So he had the memories that his parents told him about and what he saw in photographs. So for us, we didn't really know where to start, but I have a friend who is a travel guide and a travel agent. She loves going to Disney like herself and her family.
They've always gone to Disney. She started this Instagram account and travel agent. So she does a lot more than just Disney, but she's very knowledgeable because of how much time she goes and like spends at Disney, but her name's Lia and her Instagram account is on the brink of adventure.
So we'll put a link for that in the show notes and everything, so you can check her out. She planned everything for us, which I guess I thought that travel agents, that was an expensive, luxurious thing. If you're working with a travel agent, but it was a free service.
Nichelle: It's crazy. I had no idea either. The resort pays them.
Brittany: Yeah. So it's very similar to how when somebody clicks on one of my links and makes a purchase and then the brand is paying me for that link, and it doesn't cost the consumer anything to use, like one of my shoppable links, but I get a kickback.
It's the same thing with the travel agent. And then she has all these different perks and tips and that's what I think is so cool about it. A friend of ours, recently took their son back in October to Disney for a four day vacation. It was for his birthday, and she planned their trip.
When Theresa got back from the trip and she was just telling me all about it, and I was like, that sounds like such like a fun, one on one birthday present for your son. Then I was like wait a second, why don't we do that for Collins for her birthday? At Disney kids under the age of three get in for free. And so Collins, we planned it so that she would be two. She got in for free. That's awesome. So Lia, we got on a call with her and basically, here's what we think we wanna do. We don't really know a ton. What do you recommend? So she can help you figure out what type of trip you're wanting to have.
If you're wanting to have more of a resort vacation style, or if you're wanting to hit all the parks hard and do all the main things every single day, she can walk you through that and plan it all out. Again, Chris and I really had no idea of really where to start so it was awesome to work with her so she could give us some guidance.
So we ended up staying on property at the Riviera, which is I felt like it was a good location. It was very close to Epcot. So you can just take the Skyliner over from like the outside of the resort. You can take the Skyliner right over into Epcot. So that was convenient. We did that on the first night that we got there and then the Skyliner actually was shut down for the rest. They were doing maintenance on it for the rest of this time that we were there, but we mostly just took the bus. They have a bus system and that was free for resort guests. And we took the bus to all of the other parks or anything that we did for the most part and to make the experience easier, they have this Disney app that you can download and literally everything you need while you're there can be found in this app. You can make dinner reservations. That's how you can enter a ride. If you don't have a wristband, you can check the bus schedule check, like what ride? You book all your rides. This app was life while we were there. You can open your room with the app. It was crazy.
Nichelle: That is awesome.
Brittany: Yeah. It was nice to be close at the resort at the Riviera. I felt it was a good distance from everything, and it was really nice. I think it's one of their newer resorts maybe we thoroughly enjoyed it. We ended up doing a two bedroom suite and that was really nice because Collins was able to have her own room, and then we were able to have our own room and then there was a common area that had a full kitchen.
We brought breakfast food, which a lot of people do Shipt or grocery deliveries when you get down there. Cause most of the time, I think it's most common for people to be flying into Orlando, and then driving to their resort. Then they're at the resort the rest of the time.
So they do a grocery delivery of water bottles, snacks, cuz you can bring all of that stuff into the park with you each day. We drove. We just brought groceries and snacks and stuff. So we had a stocked kitchen for breakfast and snacks or whatever. If we were there for probably longer, I probably would've packed lunches for us every day.
That would've been another way to save money within the park, but we really weren't there for that long. Having that common space was nice too, because then in the mornings we would wake up and she could hang out and we'd get changed and everything, and then start our day. I feel like depending on the time of year going to Disney can be such a different experience.
Nichelle: Oh, I am sure.
Brittany: Price wise.
Brittany: The fact that this two bedroom option was even available was because we went at kind of an odd time of the year, the end of January, which it was still fairly busy. But it wasn't anything like in the summer or Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of that.
So I think that's why we were able to get some of these things, which was great, but I would definitely recommend That and the hotel had like cribs and everything that you could like order if you, they had like packing plays or cribs or all this different stuff that you could get out as an add on for free, which was really nice.
So I would absolutely stay at the Riviera again.
Nichelle: It looked like there was so much room in there. Specifically, if you guys are looking at the room that she was staying, it's the two bedroom Villa, just cuz I know there were a lot of people that were really confused if it was what it was called. It looked like it was just a perfect setup. Yes. Especially when you have a little one that goes to bed so early.
Brittany: Yeah. And that was another like Collins is very much on a schedule. She likes a routine and we even though we stayed out a lot past her bedtime for those few nights that we were there.
But then when we did, get back and put her to sleep at seven 30 or eight, some of the nights, it was a little bit later, we didn't wanna just go to sleep right then. So that's just what worked best for us. However, in the living area of room. There were two, trundle pull down beds, one was like in the cabinets underneath the TV. Oh yeah. Which was really cool. It pulled out to be a twin bed and then there was another, the couch pulled out. So you could definitely fit a larger family. It slept a lot of people.
Nichelle: That's great to know.
Brittany: Yeah. So I don't know. Definitely consider that again.
Nichelle: Yeah. One of the things that we, and this has been a few years, but when we were there, a lot of people asked if you should get the food packages within the parks and everything. There's a food snack package from what I'm seeing from what you guys experienced, and then what we experienced, we bought that package, not knowing. There were many restaurants you could go to, and it'd be included in this total price. We had so many snacks and a couple of meals left over. I feel do that on your own, like you're suggesting like go to the grocery store and get those groceries because it can tend to be a waste of money because you're you're not thinking and your kids, aren't thinking that much about eating all day. That's something that we experienced when we were there.
Brittany: We ended up packing a big Ziploc bag of snacks for her. Then instead of getting a snack popcorn or whatever was at some of these stops, which also had pretty long lines. It was just like, we brought all of our favorite snacks and it was like, oh, here's a snack. And then we reserved the special treat of the Minnie Mouse ice cream or something for a later time. She's also two. So I guess there are different expectations, depending on how old your kids are, but I think going in with setting the expectation, like here, we're gonna bring our own snacks.
If we get a special treat is gonna be at this point, but there were people in there with bento boxes of their lunch. They had packed lunch for the whole family. You could tell some of these people had been doing this. They knew how to smartly do it. There's all these picnic tables and just different seating all over the park.
They would just be eating a full on lunch and then pack it all up put it in the bag and keep on going. So I thought that was great. It was very smart cuz we did the grab and go lunches where a few days where you can order lunch and then. I think they've changed some of their ways they do it because of COVID, but you order it all through the app. It was mostly like sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dog, chicken fingers, that type of thing. They had different restaurants with different grab and go stations, but then you just go up, literally grab it and go sit out somewhere else.
So we did that a few times, which was nice. That was more of a fast paced option. They have several restaurants where you can go do more of a sit down depending on really what you want to experience. We ended up booking a few. We ate lunch at the Rainforest Cafe one day. because I feel like we needed a break with her. We would do rides or do something and then it was the lunchtime was a little bit of okay let's rest for a second. Let's sit down. So I think she liked having a little bit more time there, but I, I think with older kids, you wouldn't have to necessarily do that.
Nichelle: I think it really depends on the kids. I know mine liked the slow pace of being able to sit down cuz it's a lot, it's a lot of steps. It's a lot going on. It's like system overload I think for kids.
Brittany: I checked my phone one of one nights and we had done like 17,000 steps. Just walking all over the place, which felt like a lot. Oh yeah. Another thing I would say was like a definite must have, was having a stroller.
Nichelle: Oh yeah.
Brittany: Highly recommend. We just took our stroller because we drove, but we used the upper baby Vista and I loved that because it has a good pouch underneath it for storage, which you really need to utilize. We thought about renting. Cause they have like several stroller, like rental companies. I think like a really popular one is called Kingdom Strollers. And basically if you fly, they will drop it off at your hotel room and it's just whatever stroller you rent.
We thought about doing that, but then we were like, we really like the Uppa Baby Vista the best. It has so much room for storing stuff, which makes that's what we need, and it rides really smooth, but like we have a baby jogger at home and the storage under it is not great, but it's a double stroller.
So it's great for the two of them, it rides really nicely, but the storage part is terrible. So I would say if you are going, and you have kids, definitely a stroller with storage, because she would get in, out in out the backpack would be underneath. I wanna snack, we brought in bottles of water. Anything that we bought could just be stored under there. And it was so easy.
Nichelle: You're not having to carry it in your backpack.
Brittany: Yes. We made the mistake of the first night we went to dinner in Epcot. We rode the skyline and then we like, didn't take the stroller cuz we were like we're just gonna walk right to dinner, and we were like, what were we thinking? This was terrible. We definitely needed the stroller. Cuz she was like, just hold me. She didn't wanna walk, she wanted to be held.
Nichelle: One of the things, one of the only things. No, I'm just kidding. One of the main things that I think people really wanna know about is that VIP tour that you guys took on that first day, what is it? How do they go about it and your thoughts on is it worth it?
Brittany: Yeah, so I really didn't even know this was an option until I polled my audience on Instagram and I did a question box and I was like, what are some must have Disney suggestions. We're going to Disney anything we must know, and an overwhelming amount of people said you have to do a VIP tour. You have to do the VIP tour and I was like, what does that mean? So I reached out to Lia and I was like, can you tell me more about what this guide is? Because so many people are telling me to do this. So she got the information for us.
Basically what it is, you pay an extra fee to have a guide who takes you around the parks and you pretty much get backdoor access to everything. For example, we started out, she picked us up at our hotel and we drove over. I think we did Magic Kingdom first. We drove over and we parked pretty much within the inside of magic kingdom, like the V I P tours parking is literally inside of the park for the most part. Then we were like backstage of where all the cast and stuff is, which was really nice. Cuz you don't have to worry about parking or the bus or any of that stuff.
Having the guide. I think the biggest benefit was like, just knowledge on tips and tricks, like within each of the parks, but we didn't really have to wait in line for any of these rides and we could do whatever ride any time we wanted to do. So basically for every ride, there's regular entry, and then there's the Genie plus I think it used to be called Lightning Lane with the Genie plus you schedule through the app, these rides and then you go within a certain timeframe and then you cut the longer line , but that Genie Plus part costs in addition to your ticket, so that's a gamble that you take, but you also can only get so many Genie Plus rides at a time.
There's a whole system to it that we had to figure out. So with this guide, you got to do every ride through the Genie Plus lane. So some rides, we were just walking straight up to the front and others we were maybe waiting like 10 minutes but we did so many things, which was awesome because with a little one, waiting in the lines, it can be a lot.
Nichelle: And I knew that was one thing that you were worried about too, cuz you were like, okay, we have this V I P tour on this first day, but what if Collins needs to take a nap or what? But they were very flexible if that were the case.
Brittany: Yeah. So you pay for it. It's like a minimum of seven hours. I think you can have them up to 10 hours.
Nichelle: I think I read 10. Yeah.
Brittany: And they can take anywhere from a size group of one person to 10 people. So it's not, you're not paying per person in your group. It's just an hourly rate, and they can max out at 10 people. Which I thought is really nice. Yeah. If you have a bigger family and you're all wanting to waiting in line with everybody or, you just all skip to the front every single time.
Yeah. Which is very convenient. So that was really awesome. So we did seven hours. We at first were like, I think we're gonna have to stop and let her nap, but you pay consecutively. We would've been paying while Collins was sleeping. And so we were like, we're just gonna push through. It was also great that we did it on the first day, because I think she was so oh, we're at Disney world.
So she was not even tired until she crashed later so that was great. We did Magic Kingdom and then we did Hollywood Studios, and then we did Epcot. We did like the frozen ride at Epcot. It was awesome because we got to do all of that in one day.
Nichelle: So did you get to pick beforehand Hey, these are the rides that we really wanna go on. Can we make sure that we do these today or did she did she plan it out? How did that work?
Brittany: Yeah, so we did some research at what rides would make sense for Collins and her age and how tall she was. We made a list before we went down there. Then when we met with the guide, here's what we wanna ride on, but you tell us the best route to go.
We want you to guide us, but we just wanna make sure we get on all these. She basically planned the day around this list that we gave her, which, we just Googled best Disney rides for toddlers. There's several things out there. It was really nice because she would be like, okay on this side of the park we can hit this ride, and then we'll pop over here and we'll hit this.
Let's actually leave Magic Kingdom and we will go down to Hollywood Studios and she can ride this. She planned out the day as a whole. It was so nice. If you ever book a guide, ask for Lauren, she was amazing. There was a little bit of sticker shock. As far as the pricing goes, oh yeah, cuz the per hour. But afterwards I was like, this was so incredibly worth it. So it can cost anywhere from 300 to $900 an hour, which is crazy. But if you think about it, you're riding so many more rides than what you would be riding. If you didn't have the guide, even if you have Genie Plus, you can't do everything the way that we were doing it.
It also depends on the day of the week and the time of year, there's a price range there, but also if you have more people in your group, then it can cut that cost lower per person, even though you're just paying a one time fee and you can book all of that through the Disney app.
It was awesome. Especially for, we haven't been to Disney in so long. We wanted to make sure that Collins could ride all these really great rides. And it would be a really fun time for her. For us we're not crazy, huge Disney people go several times a year. This is a great thing that we'll get to experience.
You'll get the best experience, and then we can like, wait and go back in a few years.
Nichelle: And I feel like if you're not somebody who frequents Disney and you don't know the ropes, you don't know you're the best way around the park, invest in this one time, you'll probably get the best route that you can take as a learning for visits to come. I think also what we heard from a lot of people before you left that were saying that you absolutely have to do this. Cuz at first we were like how are all these people doing this? It's because they're paying for the experience. , it's all that you've talked about. Mostly since you've been back is how great that experience was to be able to do all of that in one day.
Brittany: Yes. It's so true. One person messaged me and she was like we go to Disney once a year with our family, and we do the guide every single time sometimes for even a few days. And she was like, the way that we make it work is we make breakfast and lunch, so we're not like buying food, which adds up.
We stay at a Marriott property, off of like the resort. We don't stay on the resort. We stay off on a Marriott property and use like our points that we've saved over the years. And she was like, so there are a lot of ways that you can twist and turn and make it. So if you're paying for the experience, you're getting the absolute best experience.
So I was like, okay. That is great to know that there's just a lot of different ways you can go about making Disney, the best. We only have the guide one day and then we did parks two other days. It was totally fine. But we kept being like, oh my gosh, this is, it was so nice getting knowledge about it.
And again, we haven't been in so long we weren't super familiar with a lot of things. Maybe if we went a lot more, who knows, but I would say, if you can swing it, definitely give it a shot because it was so worth it. And I think Collins she loved it. And then we knew what rides we could go back and ride later and that type of thing.
So highly recommend.
Nichelle: So you touched on taking Collins alone. It was for her birthday and that you really enjoyed that one on one time.
Brittany: It was so sweet.
Nichelle: Yes. So is that something that you look forward to continuing to do with the girls as they get older?
Brittany: Yes. I think we will definitely try to do something special for each of them and maybe like at the birthday is a great time to do it. And maybe not an extravagant Disney trip every single time, but spending that one on one with them. I think it's really important. We hadn't really had that opportunity to do with Collins since Hazel was born. You could tell that she felt that sense of I'm the only one here. I've got all the attention, she loved it as well. So I think we'll definitely do the same with Hazel when she gets a little bit older and start that tradition of just really spending time with just each of them separately. Also, it was crazy because I was like, Chris and I kept being like, man with one it's so easy.
Another thing that I felt was so nice was cons is potty trained. Not having to change diapers in the park was a game changer. So if you're trying to figure out the perfect time to go with your kids, I would maybe wait until they're potty trained because the line to change the diapers was so long. There's only so many diaper changing stations. It was just such a special time for her to be with mommy and daddy and for us to really get to spoil her for her birthday. I think she just felt like love in so many different like ways.
Nichelle: And guys, don't worry. Hazel was here living best life. By herself as well.
Brittany: Hazel thrived. She loves some one on one time with Nana and Papa. So my parents live right down the street from us and they kept Hazel while we were away. I honestly think she would've just been fine to continue with Nana and Papa. We are actually putting together a blog post that has a lot more information.
You guys can check it out as well with some pictures and rides that we did and the restaurants that we ate at, so if you are planning a trip and you want to reference that post, we will make that easy for you to find. Again, we're gonna also leave Lia's information, who is our travel agent.
Feel free to reach out to her. She's amazing. She's like I actually personally know her and have traveled on trips with her before and think she does a great job. Highly recommend. And then, yeah, I guess we'll see who wins the super bowl.
Nichelle: Go Rams.
Brittany: Go Rams.
All right friends. We will talk to you next week on Life with Loverly. Thanks for listening to today's episode. I can't wait to continue these conversations with you over on Instagram at Life with Loverly. Until next time.
Nichelle: That was perfect.