5 Ways to the Beat the Heat in Walt Disney World

Crusing Main Street, U.S.A.
July 2013
Walt Disney World in the summertime often gets a bad reputation for being full of heat, humidity, and the frequent afternoon thunderstorms.  Well. . .this is kind of true.  While your Disney trip in the summer does feature some intense weather from time to time, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat and humidity to have fun with your family.  Here are some of my favorite tips:

1.  Order a case (or cases) of water from an online grocer and have them delivered to your hotel.  You can get a case of water for a few dollars instead of paying $2.50 a bottle or using one snack credit in the parks.  Disney lets you bring in soft side coolers, food, and drink.  This is a great way to make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated and cool while also not breaking the bank.  Remember that the online grocers have order minimums, but if you're traveling with kids for at least a few day trip, you can certainly fill up on snacks, fresh fruit, and other drinks to keep everyone happy.  I've used Garden Grocer in the past and have been really happy!

Enjoying the water slide at
Port Orleans Riverside
2.  Avoid the parks in the middle of the day by taking a break back at your hotel.  Whether you decide to take a nap in your air conditioned room or cool off in one of the amazing pools, the break will be sure to refresh you so you can stay up for the nighttime activities in the park without tiring out.  I recommend getting to the park at rope drop, head back to your resort after lunch and then return to the parks around dinner.

3.  Indoor rides and shows can be a great way to quickly cool off in the parks when you need a break and don't want to head all the way back to your room.  If you're in Epcot, check out Ellen's Energy Adventure - the total ride takes about 45 minutes where you are seated watching a video and riding through time.  Over in Hollywood Studios, The Great Movie Ride is one where you have a fun ride queue that is inside featuring scenes from some Turner Classic Movie favorites.  And in the Magic Kingdom, shows like Mickey's PhilarMagic and The Country Bears provide both music and a respite from the heat.

Taking a break with Mickey
Ice Cream at Hollywood Studios
4.  What would a trip to any amusement park be without ice cream?  And in Walt Disney World, you can find lots of cool, frozen treats.  If the classic ice cream sandwich or ice cream bar are your favorites, you can find Mickey shaped ice cream throughout the parks.  But perhaps the most famous cool treat in Walt Disney World is the Dole Whip.  If you haven't tried one, you're missing out!  This is a soft serve pineapple creation that can be served simply in a cup or as a float.  Dole Whips are more elusive in the parks than the typical ice cream.  My favorite spot to pick one up is in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.

5.  Don't forget to pack up some ways to keep cool and stay safe in the sun from home.  Sunscreen is available throughout all of the Disney parks, but you're going to pay a premium for buying it on vacation compared to what you'll pay at home.  Also, remember to pack spray bottles or personal fans - or better yet the spray bottle with a fan on it!  Again, you can buy one with a picture of Mickey and friends in the parks, but you'll save significantly by buying a generic one at Wal-Mart or Target before heading out on your vacation.  If you have kids using strollers, I also recommend purchasing a stroller fan to help them stay cool.  We bought one on Amazon for less than $15 before our trip with a 5 month old and it was some of the best money I ever spent.  Remember that a cool baby is less likely to be a cranky baby!

And as a bonus tip - if you are traveling with infants or toddlers, don't forget to make use of the baby care centers in each park.  They are perfect for a little rest and relaxation in the middle of the park day and can be a mom and dad's best friend!

Just remember that with a good strategy and some advanced planning, you can make Disney in July not only bearable, but an all around magical vacation!  

Motivational Monday from Finding Dory

Dory and friends returned to the big screen on June 17 to a resounding welcome from kids and adults alike - and it's no wonder why.  The story provides opportunities for viewers to draw motivational lessons from Dory that they can apply to their own lives.  Runners find motivation in lots of places and runDisney runners can find motivation in all things Disney.  So let's take a look at what runners can learn from Finding Dory to inspire your training.



Just Keep Swimming
The movie begins with Dory having a memory from her childhood, a rare occurrence for a fish suffering from short term memory loss.  The memory of her parents encourages Dory to begin an adventure across the ocean to find her parents.  No matter how insurmountable the odds may seem, Dory never gives up.  I love the shirts that say "just keep running."  As someone who runs for fun, certainly not for speed, I use the "just keep running" motto to push me through long runs to train for half-marathons.  Dory doesn't always get places fast, but she has fun getting there. . .kind of like me!

Support of Family and Friends is Priceless
Throughout the trials and tribulations of life, we rely on the support of family and friends.  That support can help motivate us to push ourselves beyond what we believe our potential may be.  In the movie, Dory relies on both old and new friends as well as family that she is just starting to remember in order to find her way home.  In my own life, the support of my family and friends has meant the world to me in all of my endeavors, especially running.  Whether it's giving me the time to run by keeping the kids or standing at a finish line cheering me on, I couldn't be a runner without family and friends supporting me.

Dreams Come True Through Years of Training
As a society we are always looking for instant gratification.  Dory didn't get that.  In fact, without spoiling to much about the movie for those who haven't seen it yet, the little things she begins to remember about her parents ultimately teaches her how to find her way back to them.  As runners, the same is often true for us too.  Training for a race isn't something that happens overnight.  In fact, it's not even something that starts in the weeks or months ahead of a race.  Each training run and each race that we've had over the years has taught us something we can learn to improve ourselves and has made our mark on our running biography.

There are so many powerful messages that you can discover in Finding Dory.  Whether or not you're a runner, these life lessons can inspire everyone to achieve your fullest potential.

If you enjoy Finding Dory and want to learn more fun ways to celebrate the release - check out some other amazing bloggers with lots to offer from Disneybounding, to crafts, to food!  Visit the linkup here!  

Baltimore 10 Miler Recap

I can basically sum up the 2016 Baltimore 10 miler in three words - hills, heat, and humidity.  Leg 2 of the King Crab Challenge proved to be much tougher than the Frederick Half Marathon that took place just 4 short weeks earlier.  While the run was certainly not one of my best, it was a great course and took you through some beautiful parks in downtown Baltimore.  Runners should be prepared with an early June race that Maryland weather can be brutal this time of year.  Humidity at the 7:30AM start time was already 84% - I think I was sweating while I was waiting to start.

This was the first time that I've run the Baltimore 10 so I didn't know much going into the race.  The race begins at Druid Hill Lake Park which is also home to the Maryland Zoo.  There was plenty of parking for the race, even if traffic was backed up for quite a distance as parking is not the easily accessible large lots that you'll find by M & T Bank Stadium for the Baltimore Running Festival.  The race begins with a steady downhill as you wind down the park and towards 28th Street.  I was hoping that some part of the race would take us through the zoo, but that didn't happen.  The run through downtown didn't offer much scenery, but it was well supported with ample water stations and plenty of locals out to cheer us on.  

The race is an out and back course.  Runners enter Lake Montebello around mile 4 and exit near mile 5.  Adding to the excitement of passing the halfway point, there was a DJ blasting fun music to keep you motivated as you enter the mostly uphill second half of the race.  

Then comes mile 8.  

Oh, mile 8.  

The brutality of mile 8.  

Mile 8 is a tough uphill battle when your legs are burning and your chest is about to explode and the humidity is suffocating you.  Luckily, mile 9 flattens out and you finish back at the start line where a cold towel, fruit, and a few beers await all finishers.  This race is also well known throughout the area as having one of the best premiums around.  Between the nice jacket, fun medal, and challenging course, runners will walk away feeling a great sense of accomplishment.  


Next up in the King Crab Challenge is the Baltimore Running Festival in October.  I only need to complete the Baltimore Half that day to achieve my King Crab status, but I've decided to go for Balti-moron status and run the 5K and the Half in the same day.  Time to crank up my training!!

Wordless Wednesday - Character Encounters

Who says taking a baby to Walt Disney World isn't enjoyable?  I loved every minute of our trip with our 5 month old and his big brother.  The youngest mouseketeer in our clubhouse was a big hit with characters throughout the parks - especially the princesses!  If you're planning to travel with an infant or toddler to Disney, check out some of my tips here.



And don't forget to visit other great character encounter posts on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop!

Focused on the Magic

Go Green with Chick-Fil-A Salads

Fast food and I are good friends.  I always seem to be rushing off somewhere and when I'm on the go, I often find myself in line a Chick-Fil-A.  As part of the Chick-Fil-A Mom Panel, I occasionally get coupons for some free products.  This Mother's Day, they surprised us with two free coupons - one of which was to try the new Spicy Southwest Salad.  And as luck would have it, the calendar card offer for May was also a free salad.  I hadn't previously tried any of the salads at Chick-Fil-A, but these two coupons gave me the perfect reason to try them out.

Both salads are I tried were delicious!  The Cobb Salad is delicious featuring Chick-fil-A's famous chicken that we all know and love.  If you're looking for something with more of kick, check out the Spicy Southwest Salad.  The Spicy Southwest Salad saves some calories as it features grilled chicken.  Whichever one you choose, both come in at 500 calories or less before you add dressing - which is a much better choice than many fast food options out there.

And now Chick-fil-A has launched the new Chick-fil-A One app.  You can earn rewards, save your favorite menu items, and pre-order before arriving at the restaurant.  All of this combines to make your dining experience not only delicious, but quick and easy.  If you download the new app by June 11, you'll also receive a free menu item!  For those of you looking to make healthier choices when eating on the go, they are offering their grilled chicken sandwich as one of those free item options.  Be sure to check it out!

As a member of the Chick-fil-A Moms Panel, I occasionally receive coupons for free items and promotional products.  Opinions expressed are always my own!


Wordless Wednesday - June Calendar Shot



Nothing matches the majestic beauty of a Disney Cruise Line ship!  The classic silhouette of the cruise ships from yesteryear and the Mickey Mouse colors of black, white, red, and yellow make this combine to make this a beautiful vessel on the outside that packs a ton of family fun on the inside.  If you want to read more about all the Disney Cruise Line has to offer, check out my thoughts from previous DCL vacations!  And don't forget to visit the rest of the Wordless Wednesday blog hop as we feature some of our favorite calendar shots for the month of June.

Focused on the Magic

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