WDW Day Four | Chef Mickey's & Goodbye

Day four was our travel day back home from Disney World. Ever the cheap frugal travelers, we opted not to get park tickets for this day since we'd only get a few hours in before we had to leave (and I prefer to get my money's worth, especially when park tickets for the three of us totaled over $300 for each day). Instead, we booked brunch at Chef Mickey's for our last morning - this gave us the opportunity to see all the characters one more time without actually having to purchase park tickets. It worked out perfectly for us, and I would highly recommend doing this if you're headed out mid-day like we were.

We were able to sleep in, then check our luggage right at the hotel with Disney's Magical Express. It's set up just like a curb side baggage check at the airport - so that was the last time we saw our suitcases until Huntsville! From there we headed to our 10:30AM reservation at Chef Mickey's, which was conveniently located right inside our hotel (The Contemporary). Chef Mickey's is a character meal buffet that charges one table service credit. Again, this is Disney World, and you are paying for the experience and not necessarily the quality of the food (which I'd classify as cafeteria/continental hotel breakfast quality). However, this was Parker's favorite meal of the trip because you get visits from the fab five: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck! Also, the restaurant entrance is inside the atrium of The Contemporary, which gives a neat view of the monorail that runs through the hotel. We checked in and had a fifteen minute wait before our table was ready (this was our consistent experience with table service restaurants - so budget this into your schedule when making reservations!). 

Once we were seated and put in our beverage orders, we hit up the buffet. Mickey waffles for the win!

Then over the course of the next hour or so, we were visited by the fab five, one at a time - starting with the head mouse!

After brunch we headed into the gift shop at The Contemporary (I'm guessing all the resort gift shops are pretty similar). We had several snack credits left on our meal plan, so we used them to stock up on bagged treats to take home. 

We also picked out a Christmas ornament as a souvenir. This is a tradition Max and I started as newlyweds. Wherever we travel, regardless of season, we can always find a Christmas ornament for sale somewhere. We add on the year with a paint pen, and come December we have so much fun remembering all our past trips.

We still had time before our Disney's Magical Express pick-up, so we took the monorail over to The Polynesian resort to look around. 

I'm so glad we had the chance to look around - The Polynesian was beautiful inside! 

And I had to squeeze in one more dole whip

Yes, please. 

Parker opted to stamp a penny. 

And then it was Magical Express time! Word of warning - the bus may not be labeled as Magical Express. It might say Disney Cruise Line or something else - this was how we missed out first bus. Oops. Luckily, Disney gives a big buffer for flight departure time, and we were able to still make our flight with the later bus. 

Waiting to board the bus to the airport - and sad to say good-bye!

That's a wrap on our Disney World days - read about Day One HERE, Day Two HERE, Day Three Here, and How We Prepped for Disney HERE. Also, come back tomorrow for: Why I Didn't Use a Free Disney Planner

Friday Faves

Happy March! We've been getting in the Easter spirit with all things bunny - including our pancakes! These were a hit - and super easy to make!

If you're looking for a spring dessert, look no further than my Mint Chocolate Treasures that I posted about earlier this week! The recipe makes 24, and they're already gone 🙈

Who uses their Apple watch to track their fitness classes? 🙋 

I love to check on heart rate and calories, and to compare classes. My PSA for the week - if you are using your tracker when you might be bumping your watch, there is a way to lock it so it stays only on the tracker. Simply swipe the screen after you start the tracker and you'll see this:

Press the blue water droplet and it will lock. Why is this important? Well, in Pure Barre Empower, you have wrist weights that wrap around your watch. With all the moving, they rub the watch screen making it do random things like almost make an Emergency call. Twice. Imagine a fire truck showing up and me having to say "No worries, just working out!" So anyway, the lock option has put an end to my constant worrying and checking my watch during class. The only way to unlock it is to manually turn the dial on the side. I love having peace of mind now that it will stay tracking (it does still allow phone calls and text messages to pop up, the other reason I like to have it on me while I'm working out when P is at school).

I'm totally a paper and pen gal - the calendar on my iPhone is pretty much empty, but my paper planner is used every single day. My mom turned me onto these Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens at Christmas, and I'm hooked (I'm already on my second set because I love them that much). Try them - I promise you won't want to use any other pens!

Confession - we still have a Christmas doormat out on our side entry. Shocking, I know. I'm hiding under a chair right now so I can't feel your judgement. Luckily I came across this doormat from Amazon this week and clicked the "buy it now" so come this weekend we should finally be without shame, ha!

Cheers to the weekend!


Mint Chocolate Treasures

Happy March! I'm not sure about your neck of the woods, but here in Alabama, everything is starting to bloom. As my little guy points out every time we see a bud, "It's a sign that spring is near!" This was no-doubt learned in pre-school, but he's so right - spring is just around the corner! And now that we're in a climate that gives us freezing temperatures and even snow, I appreciate spring so much more.

I got my spring baking on this past weekend, and tweaked a recipe for regular Chocolate Treasures, turning them into Mint Chocolate Treasures. The mint to me just screams spring, and I promise these will put a little pep in your step.

Mint Chocolate Treasures

2 cups (one 12 oz. bag) NestléⓇ TollhouseⓇ Semi-Sweet Morsels
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup flour
1 cup NestléⓇ TollhouseⓇ Dark Chocolate Morsels

Melt 12 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips, condensed milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, add peppermint extract and flour. Stir to combine, then add dark chocolate chips. Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for three minutes before removing to rack.

The best part about these cookies (besides the ooey gooey chocolaty chewiness) is the fact that they are a cinch to make, and take minimal dishes and utensils - in fact, the entire recipe is done in the same saucepan! Genius!

For further time saving hacks, I always stock up on my NestléⓇ TollhouseⓇ Morsels at Walmart since I can do double duty shopping at the same time (this trip I also purchased a bike lock, dishwasher detergent, and nail polish - winning!). Happy spring baking! 

Miscellany Monday

Happy Monday! We've had such a mix of weather over here lately - rainy one day, sunny the next, so we've been jumping at the chance every warm day to enjoy the moment and get outside.

Parker and I have also been soaking up all the Dada time we can when he's here. Max has already been on more than thirty flights this year, so needless to say he's been gone a lot (and it's even harder on him because he's the one doing the business travel and missing out on family time). This past week, he was out in California while Parker and I kept busy here in Alabama. 

I busted out my paintbrushes (I hadn't touched them in years) and painted this abstract piece with my free nights. 

And this is what Parker looks like when practicing piano... life with an almost five-year-old 😊

We signed this guy up for spring tee-ball this year with the city league instead of the YMCA - can you tell how stoked he is to be starting soon?

In the meantime he keeps busy with indoor faux hockey. Worst mom ever or best mom ever? 

If you're local, Frio's has introduced Girl Scout Cookie popsicles - with actual cookies in them. The Thin Mint flavor? Amaze.

Our other downtown walking destination? Honest Coffee Roasters for coffee for Mama! And update on the pink velvet bow TOMS I ordered a couple weeks ago - they are even more fabulous in person.

A little light reading in anticipation of P's birthday this month.

We spent one of our rainy mornings watching Peter Rabbit at the theatre - Parker and his friends laughed the whole time.

And since then, he's insisted on being called Peter Rabbit. Again, life with an almost five-year-old. 

Max returned home late Thursday night, then Friday morning I woke up and saw this email about Hunter partnering with Target! I'm having flashbacks to the Lilly for Target event and the chaos of the line, and I'm wondering if I'm brave enough to try again. Thoughts?

Friday we met Max for lunch because we weren't about to miss a meal with him now that he was back in the same state!

Our little family of three headed to a Huntsville Havoc hockey game that night - Parker loves to watch the teams practice before the game and he was super excited to be given one of their practice pucks.

I'm just there for the popcorn. #kiddingnotkidding

The Havoc won - wahoo 🎉 And we're just excited to have Dada back at home again.

Have a sweet week!

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