How We Are Team No Electronics With 4 Kids

I know what you’re thinking, that’s her kid in the picture watching tv, but she said they don’t do electronics? Keep reading down to my international flights section 😉

Before I had kids there were a lot of things I swore I would never do as a parent. A lot of those things went out the window when the twins were born, but one thing I have really put my foot down with is that we don’t do electronics in this house. My biggest pet peeve is trying to talk to someone while they are casually scrolling their phone at the same time! Or even worse having a meal while other people at your table have their phones out. Because of Andrew’s job his phone is basically glued to his ear. It rings nonstop at all hours of the day, but even he doesn’t answer his phone while we are eating or if he and I are having a conversation.

With 4 kids in a hugely technology oriented world, it’s hard to get by with no electronics. Research shows that kids under 2 should have no screen time and kids under 5 should have less than an hour a day with the least amount possible being the best. Considering we don’t have a generation of adults yet who grew up with lots of electronics options, my uneducated guess is that the jury is definitely still out on how much is too much. Here’s a few simple things we have done to help eliminate screen time for our kids. For reference my kiddos are 4,4,3, & just shy of 2.

1. Phones are off limits. My 4 year olds know how to use the emergency call feature on my iPhone to call my husband and my parents but otherwise they aren’t allowed to use our phones and never have been. My kids don’t even know games exist on phones, they think all you can do is call people and buy things for the UPS man to bring haha!

2. No access to TVs. We have 2 TVs in our entire house; one in the living room and one in the master bedroom. The kids do not have access to either. The remotes are kept out of reach and the living room tv actually stays unplugged. Really no one in our house watches tv, we don’t even have cable/satellite. I would really love to ditch the tv in our living room but it’s really nice to have during the winter when it’s nasty outside and we can all watch a movie on the couch together.

3. No tablets. Our kids actually do have the kids Amazon Fire tablets. We got them last year for some international flights. They have been with us to Portugal, Germany, and France and those are the only 3 times my kids have used them. All of those flights were over 9 hours long and they were definitely useful! Even with a few kids movie selections on the plane seat back tv that’s not enough for a 12 hour flight in the middle of the day. I did not let them have free reign of their tablets though. I downloaded movies from Disney+ onto them and that’s all they had to watch. We do not take them on domestic flights, even long-ish domestic flights. For domestic flights I bring books, dry erase activity/school books and magnetic blocks.

4. No computers. We have several computers in our house, a desktop and 2 laptops, but our kids have never used them. I cannot even imagine my toddlers trying to navigate using a computer but I know many do. I was quite shocked when I first began exploring homeschool curriculums how many of them were computer based even at the preschool level.

We started these practices from day 1 so it’s really all our kids know. I do think it has helped tremendously though because they play really hard and they know how to wait patiently at restaurants, doctors offices, church, etc without the help of electronics to occupy them. I do not bring toys with us when we are out places, but I do bring a quiet snack to church because we don’t send them to children’s church, they go to the main service with us and it’s right before lunch when they’re getting hungry and it helps them to sit and listen if they can also munch on something.

Don’t fret if you want to go electronics free with your kids, but they’re already accustomed to it though; it can be done! I know several people who have removed electronics from their lives and I promise their kids survived it! Much like taking a pacifier away from a baby, after a few days of an upset child it will subside.

May 2020 Wrap Up

Finally in May we started to see some return to normalcy. Not a perfect normal, but at least able to leave the house again!

On May 1st we finally had our first ultrasound to see baby #5. My OB always does a dating ultrasound as soon as you get a positive pregnancy test, then a heartbeat check ultrasound a few weeks later. Because of COVID I didn’t even get to go in for my first appointment until I was 10 weeks! It was so hard to wait that long not knowing if the pregnancy was even viable. Typically I would have had 2 ultrasounds already. Thankfully everything was going perfect and the baby was measuring perfect and had a strong heartbeat!

May 3 was the first Sunday in May which is always Andrew’s family reunion at his Dad’s farm. This year was obviously quite different. Instead of tons of people from all over the country it was just our family, Andrew’s Dad, and his 3 siblings and their families. It was still a lot of people, about 18, considering we all have kids, but definitely different. We still had our usual church service, sang worship songs, and fried fish for lunch.

May 8th was our little Magnolia Mae’s 3rd birthday! I cannot believe it’s been 3 years since she came into this world screaming. She’s still just as dramatic now as she was the day she was born. We bought her a big slide and had a small family party for her. The Magnolia tree we planted for her in our yard is 3 years old now too and it has finally surpassed her in height this spring.

Around the middle of May we got quite a bit of rain so we decided to head to the beach for a quick trip since Florida beaches and restaurants are finally back open! We had a great trip and it was so nice to be away from home for a few days!

Once we got back from the beach we finally got to start back to swim lessons! The twins also got to go to their first music lesson! Lorelei is learning the violin and Rhett is learning the guitar! They both really loved it and can’t wait to go back next week!

Since Andrew wasn’t allowed to go to my ultrasound with me at my OB’s office at the beginning of the month we decided to go to a privet ultrasound clinic to see baby #5 so he could be there too! This is our 5th baby and that’s the first time he hasn’t been at an ultrasound with me so he was really disappointed. Our private ultrasound was wonderful though! We were able to confirm that baby #5 is most definitely still a boy (we did an early blood dna test back around 8 weeks to find out the gender). He is growing like a weed and looks perfect! He was waving his arms around, sucking his thumb, and kicking his little feet!

Destin Florida May 2020

As soon as the farm got a big rain and Florida reopened their beaches and restaurants, we were outta here! Even though it was just a quick 4 day trip, it was a much needed break from being cooped up in the house for 2 months! Especially with our travel obsessed family!

Several years ago we had a really bad vacation experience in Destin so we have avoided it like the plague. We much prefer Panama City Beach, FL (the Holiday Inn Resort there has an awesome kids splash pad) or Gulf Shores, AL. This trip did bring a little light back to Destin for us but I still don’t think we would go back.

We drove down to the coast on a Friday and arrived in Destin just in time for dinner. Our first stop was the Back Porch restaurant. It was a pretty typical beach chain restaurant. The food and service was mediocre but the outdoor beach side seating offered a great breeze and views!

(These outfits are from Busy Bees Smocks)

We stayed at the Hilton Sandestin Resort which is actually in Miramar Beach, a few minutes outside Destin. This is a Hilton beachfront Resort inside a gated golf course community. The resort was very nice. We had a room with 1 king bed, 1 full sofa bed, and twin bunk beds. There was plenty of room for our family of 6. The resort offers 2 outdoor pools and 1 indoor pool. There is no kids splash pad. Sandcastles restaurant opens daily at 7am and offers a great breakfast selection. The poolside grill opens at 11am and has excellent lunch options and snacks. My main complaint with this resort is the beach area. The resorts designated beach area is relatively small and they fill the entire space of it with their rental chairs and umbrellas 3 rows deep. We always rent the chairs and umbrellas so that isn’t my issue, the worst part was that they were always full! You can rent them for a week at a time when you arrive so if on your first day there’s none available you’re just out of luck and there’s no other beach space for you to set up your own umbrella and chairs. Even with us out on the beach before 8am and the first people at the rental stand we were still stuck with the second row of chairs instead of the first which obviously didn’t kill us but wasn’t ideal.

(These swimsuits are from Little Britches Boutique)

We had dinner at the Crab Trap our second night. Once again the food was just mediocre but our service was good. The worst part was the parking! The parking lot is tiny and it’s shared with the public beach access so it’s basically nonexistent. My disdain for that situation was also exacerbated by the fact that I had a 3 year old who really needed to potty while we were trying to find somewhere to park!

(These outfits are from Sweet LaRose Boutique)

The next day was once again filled with beach and pool time. We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant Sandcastles and lunch at the poolside grill. That night for dinner we decided to try Dewey Destin’s Harborside. This was the best pick of our trip. The service was top notch and the food was the best we had the entire time!

(These swimsuits are from Classic Southern Smocks, the girls yellow dresses are from Sweet LaRose Boutique, Rhett’s shirt is from Walmart and his shorts are Carters)

Unfortunately we had to leave after 3 nights. We could have stayed an extra night because it was still raining at home but it was raining in Destin also and supposed to rain for the next few days so we decided to just come back. Overall it was a nice break and a nice return to some normalcy for us! We hope our Disney trips this summer don’t get cancelled!

(The girls dresses and Rhett’s shirt are Wildflowers. Rhett’s shorts are from Carters)

April 2020

Well we really didn’t do much this month… This is probably, and hopefully, the only time I will start one of these monthly updates with that sentence!

COVID-19 continued to throw our plans off. Swim lessons and dance lessons are still cancelled. The twins were supposed to start music lessons but that too has been postponed. We are really missing our weekly Walmart trips and going out to eat. I know it sounds crazy to most people with small children, I hear it all the time, but we go out to eat multiple times a week. We’ve been taking our kids out to restaurants since they were all tiny babies. They behave very well in public and are great at restaurants so it’s something we really enjoy doing.

April is never a big travel month for us because it’s the heart of spring planting season. With so much rain this month though it didn’t seem like much of that happened either.

Easter was definitely a lot different than anticipated. We still dyed eggs and the Easter bunny still came but we definitely missed being at church. Our church as been doing online services only since the beginning of March so we were able to watch the Easter Sunday service but it just wasn’t the same. We are really missing church overall and can’t wait to get back!

Our 2 youngest girls (2 & 1) both came down with a mysterious illness. Fever, sore throat, and body aches (The 2yo was complaining her head and legs hurt). I pulled a tick off both of them about 2 days before their symptoms started so I assumed it was a some tick borne illness and we took them to their pediatrician. She said their throats were pretty red so she did throat cultures and flu test but they were negative for everything. They never developed any of the classic rashes that accompany tick diseases and a tick fever wouldn’t justify the red sore throat. They were not tested for COVID -19 but looking back now I’m not sure that wasn’t what it was. We haven’t been anywhere but Andrew is still around a lot of people at work, he still goes to the grocery store and brings stuff home, and we still get food to go. So to me it makes sense that the 2 youngest who still stick their hands in their mouth and lick everything they see would be more susceptible to that. It was over pretty quick though. The fever only lasted a couple days and the body aches a few days longer. We will never know for sure but I’m not sure what else it could have been

We finally got a break in all the rain and were able to get our garden planted! I told Andrew it HAD to be smaller this year! He loves a big garden but he’s not home during this time of the year to deal with it so I’m the one that actually has to take care of it and I’m just not up to it right now. Or ever really but at least I have pregnancy and 4 kids as an excuse! Ha!

Really all this COVID-19 stuff has been kind of a blessing in disguise for me. We found out we are expecting baby #5 at the beginning of March and I’ve been incredibly sick! It has been kind of nice to be forced to stay home and not doing anything the last few months. I’ve had all day “morning sickness” during all of my pregnancies and this one has been no different! Thankfully I’m not actually throwing up much, just feeling incredibly miserable and nauseous all day long and it’s especially worse in the late afternoon and evenings. It makes our dinner and bedtime routine a real struggle. Getting everyone dinner, baths, and into bed is the busiest/most work involved part of my day. Andrew usually doesn’t come home until after the kids are already asleep so I’m all on my own for that and for some reason thats the time of the day when I feel the worst. Here’s to hoping this part is over soon!

Twisted Chicken Spaghetti

This meal started out as regular chicken spaghetti. I was following a recipe I found on Pinterest and then realized I didn’t have half the ingredients but I had already started. I blame the mom brain? So I decided to chug right on along and make this recipe up as I went. It turned out SO GOOD! I’m so happy with it I’m adding it to my regular arsenal! It was super easy too!

*Disclaimer: I’m feeding 7 people. You would have more than enough food for a family of 4 if you halved this recipe!

Ingredients:

– 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

– 4 cans cream of chicken soup

– 2 cans Rotel

– 1lb of Velveeta cheese (that’s half of a standard 2lb block). Cut this into small cubes.

– 1 packet of taco seasoning

– 3 cups sour cream

– 2 packages (12oz pkg) of spaghetti noodles (I used 1 package of thin noodles & 1 package of regular noodles because that’s what I had.

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

-Cut chicken breasts into small cubes or slices.

-Add the chicken breast pieces to a small skillet and cover with some of the taco seasoning. Cook over medium high heat until done.

-Cook spaghetti noodles in a LARGE pot. Drain noodles & leave in pot.

-Add cooked chicken, cubed Velveeta, sour cream, soup, & Rotel to the pot. Sprinkle in some more of the taco seasoning and mix really well.

-Transfer the entire mixture to the 9×13 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Baby Rowlett #5

Humans are curious creatures by nature and I’ve already had questions so I figured I should head them off with an explanation for those of you who know us personally and were a little surprised by the news of #5!

After the birth of Belle, our baby #4, we were overwhelmed. When she was born we had 2yo twins, a freshly turned 1 year old and a newborn. She was also born right at the beginning of harvest so Andrew immediately went back to work and was basically gone the first few months of her life. So we did what any rational human being would do and decided that we were done having children. We had 4 kids under 3 and I was struggling with postpartum anxiety on top of that. We made that decision permanent and Andrew had a quick in office vasectomy.

We both instantly regretted it. Neither of us admitted it, but we both were crushed. I kept my feelings to myself because I thought it’s what was right for us and my anxiety was through the roof so I also assumed it was still my postpartum rollercoaster hormonal emotions. Andrew kept his feelings to himself because he though it’s what I needed.

After a vasectomy you’re supposed to provide 2 sperm samples 4 weeks apart that are both semen free before they will “clear” you as sterile and good to go. We took Andrew’s first sample in late at 9 weeks post op because we were just busy with life. We figured it was a little later so it should definitely be clear. Most people we knew were clear after the first sample anyway. Until it wasn’t. The doctor told us to bring another sample back in 4 weeks….also not clear. So another 4 weeks and another sample. Still not clear. So the cycle continues. At this point it had been many months since the actual procedure and he definitely should have been cleared.

(Just a side note, the doctor did nothing wrong during the procedure. As a former OR RN he was happy to let me stand next to him and watch the whole thing. He cut both tubes, tied them off, and burned the ends. What ended up happening is one side healed with a ton of scar tissue and that scar tissue created a bridge between the two ends to reconnect and form a small tunnel back together that sperm could still pass through)

I don’t know why it took us so long to bring it up to each other; but at that point we realized his vasectomy was unsuccessful and he finally admitted to me that he regretted it in the first place and we had this “oh my gosh me too thank you for saying that!” moment! We decided to put our fertility and family size back in the hands of God and we haven’t looked back since.

Exactly a year and a day after Andrew’s vasectomy we found out Baby Rowlett #5 would be joining us! We are over the moon excited about this baby and we have so much faith that God has such an amazing plan for his life! The kids are also REALLY excited! The twins have been asking for another baby for quite some time now. They are so excited to have another baby to love on and play with! Rhett is also extra happy to be having a brother!

Honey Oat Bread

About a month ago Andrew bought me a bread maker machine off Amazon. I originally scoffed at his purchase and left it sitting in the box in my laundry room for the past month. Finally a couple days ago I decided to search bread recipes on Pinterest and realized how easy it would be to make bread at home with my new bread maker.

I’m pretty much obsessed with banana nut bread and since my great-grandma is no longer here to make it for me I might as well make it myself. That was my plan until I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients for that recipe and since a quick trip to the store isn’t exactly an option right now I had to go with something I did have all the ingredients to. I ended up choosing this honey oat bread and it was sooo good! We ate the entire loaf in one sitting. It was amazingly easy too. I just threw all the ingredients in my bread maker and pressed start! That was seriously it!

Ingredients:

-8oz water

-1tsp salt

-1.5Tbsp honey

-1Tbsp softened butter

-1/2 cup oats

-2.5cups flour (I used self rising flour and cut my salt content in half. You can use all purpose flour or bread flour and leave the salt content the same)

-1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast

Directions

-All your ingredients should be room temperature and your water should be warm

-Add water, honey, and bitter to your bread maker pan

-Add salt, oats, flour to wet ingredients. Do not stir, just dump them in the bread pan.

-Last add the yeast to the top, making sure it’s not mixed with the salt

-Every machine will have different settings. For mine I used the 750g setting with the medium color setting. This setting time was a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes.

-When your bread is done remove it from the pan and let it cook slightly before cutting.

March 2020 Wrap Up

With March behind us now, I have to say it was one of the craziest months I can remember. It started out normal enough, but with COVID-19 hitting the US mid month it definitely took a different turn.

March 1st started out with Andrew’s 31st birthday! It was a Sunday so we went to church and really didn’t do much of anything else. We stayed around the house the rest of the day. The kids were quick to tell the servers at our local Mexican restaurant that it was his birthday so he got ice cream and the happy birthday song with a sombrero.

This month the twins started a new language arts program called Logic of English. We chose the cursive curriculum, if you have questions about LOE I’d be happy to help. Their website also has a wealth of knowledge. The twins have been doing really well with it so far. It’s not as pretty as The Good & The Beautiful, but I do feel like it’s fundamentally sound and ultimately that’s what I care about.

We had a slight reprieve from the endless rain for a little bit which enabled our new shop construction to finally make some progress only to be halted again by endless rain.

The slight break in the rain also meant the farm life picked up and at the end of the month we got one field of corn planted before the rains began again.

All 4 kids started back to swim lessons at the beginning of the month but we were only able to go for 2 weeks before COVID-19 put a stop to it. Lorelei’s dance classes were also cancelled but she really doesn’t know or care. I’m the most bummed about no swim lessons because that’s a life and safety skill I want the kids to have sooner rather than later!

Our new corgi puppy is about 13 weeks old now and is starting to find his place in our family. He has been through a series of names but we have finally stuck with Harry and it fits him so well! If you’ve read any of the children’s books about Harry the dog, he is the spitting image of that Harry and the name fits him perfectly! Our German Shepard, Thor, really loves him and has truly enjoyed having someone to play with. Thor even lets Harry snuggle on his bed with him.

We managed to get in a quick weekend trip to Gaston’s White River Resort at the beginning of the month and of course had a wonderful time.

Mostly this month we have done a lot of playing! COVID-19 has shut down the world but it’s pretty much business as usual around here. Farming is in full swing so our travel was already halted for a while and Andrew still has to go to work to feed with world. It’s been a bummer to not be able to get away from the house much. We enjoy our Walmart trips, dance, swim lessons etc and those have been stopped. Thankfully we have plenty of space for the kids to run and explore and a lot to take care of with all the animals and our 5 honeybee hives are out and hard at work now that it’s spring! We are looking forward to a better April and praying the world calms down!

Walt Disney World February 2020

Considering we’ve been confined to our homes for over a week now due to COVID-19 and social distancing you would think I would be caught up on my travel posts by now, but I am not, of course. This is the last post in our winter travel adventures though so I wasn’t too far behind!

We’ve been going to WDW the second week of February for the last 4 years now. We started going in February because it’s down time for us farmers, the weather is usually perfect, and crowds are low because most kids are in school. With that being said February has now become one of the busiest months for WDW! In the last 4 years we have seen our usual week go from almost empty to crazy packed. It steadily increases every year! We always avoid Presidents Day weekend and Mardis Gras because lots of schools are out during those times, but even avoiding those the crowds have taken over our peaceful week. I’ve actually noticed that our middle of the summer Disney trips have become the least crowded because most people want to avoid the heat and rain.

For this trip we decided to stay at Disney’s new Riviera Resort. It had just opened about 2 months prior and we got a great 40% off passholder discount! I was really excited to stay at this resort because it’s a new deluxe resort and it’s connected to the new Skyliner system. We stayed at Caribbean Beach resort back in November that is connected to the Skyliner system also and we really loved the convenience of it. I’m sorry to say though that our experience at the Riviera resort was a major disappointment. I would never stay there again. The resort itself was beautiful, the rooms are spacious and gorgeous. Our main complaint was transportation. If the Skyliner was even running at all it didn’t open until late in the mornings well past park opening which made it useless to use. This leaves the Riviera with bus transportation only. If you’ve been to Disney before you know that Disney bus transportation is a huge hassle. The main reason we stay at deluxe resorts is to avoid buses because the other deluxe resorts are in better locations and have better park transportation like monorail or walking distance to some parks. You definitely pay more for better amenities. Because the Riviera is bus transportation only in the mornings this makes it no better than a value resort and with the rooms being $500+ a night it’s absolutely not worth the price to stay there! We were really upset with the Skyliner situation and even spoke with the resort manager about it. He told us that they were getting so many complaints from guests about the same thing that he’s been working with upper Disney management to get the Skyliner on better operating hours. So hopefully in the future this issue will be resolved!

Disney’s Magical Express picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at our resort on our arrival day around 11am. We decided to stop by Primo Piatto for a quick service lunch before heading to Epcot.

We usually do Disney by ourselves but for this trip we took 2 of our employees with us. They’re more like family and our kids love them. It was really nice to have extra bodies to watch the 2 little girls while Andrew & I were able to ride the big rides together with the twins.

We tried out Teppan Edo for dinner at Epcot our first night. It’s a Japanese steak house in the Japan pavilion. We sat at a grill in the very back room and had a great time. There was 8 of us so we had our entire grill to ourselves, but like most Japanese steakhouses, you will be seated with other parties to fill up each grill.

The next morning we had breakfast at our resort at the new Topolino’s Terrace. This is a character meal (breakfast only) that includes Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Daisy. I had sour cream waffles which I did not care for, but Andrew had a sausage hash that was wonderful!

After breakfast we took the bus to Magic Kingdom. Nothing out of the ordinary on our first MK day. We had dinner at Crystal Palace with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore & Tigger.

The next morning we had breakfast at probably our favorite character breakfast, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. Characters are there all day including Mickey, Goofy, Donald & Daisy. It might sound odd for breakfast but get the curry chicken and rice, it’s the best!

After breakfast the park was just opening to guests and we had fastpasses for Expedition Everest so we headed across the park. When we arrived at EE there was no one there! We ended up riding a total of 6 times! Andrew & I rode 3 times and Tyler & Landen rode 3 times while we switched out waiting with the kids. The line was so short we had all rode that many times by 9:30!

We had dinner at Yak n Yeti which is one of our favorite AK dinner spots, but this was probably our worst experience there. Our food was good, as usual, but our service was horrible. I have really noticed if you have a large party where the server is guaranteed their gratuity the service usually stinks.

The next morning we had breakfast at Hollywood & Vine inside Hollywood Studios. This is a Disney Junior character breakfast (breakfast only) that includes Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina & Roadster Goofy. The food is a typical breakfast buffet that you can’t really mess up and has something for everyone.

I was able to snag a boarding group right at park opening for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance but all o could get was a standby group for later in the day. I kept it in hopes we would get called sooner, but we never did. Our boarding group did eventually get called at 5:15pm but we were heading to dinner at the Yachtsman at the Yacht Club Resort and all the kids couldn’t ride it anyway so we decided to go on to dinner but Landen & Tyler stayed behind to go check out the ride and they loved it! I can’t wait to ride it on our next trip! Our dinner at the Yachtsman was amazing! The food and service were so good! We loved it so much we are staying at the Yacht Club on our next trip!

The next morning we had breakfast at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort. This is a character breakfast that includes Minnie, Daisy, Donald & Goofy. Food is traditional breakfast buffet. We loved this character meal so much and love the Beach Club Resort!

After breakfast we took the bus from Beach Club to Magic Kingdom and we made it there just in Rome for opening ceremony.

We had dinner at Be Our Guest, the only place at WDW you can meet the Beast! Rhett loves the Beast and of course of little Belle has to have dinner in her castle!

The next morning we had a pre park opening breakfast at Akershus with the Princesses then immediately jumped over to meet Anna & Elsa and ride Frozen before the park opened and the lines got long!

On this day an unexpected shower caught us off guard and we got soaked along with our strollers. We had to buy the kids dry clothes and beach towels to put in their strollers!

This was during Epcot’s Festival of the Arts and Andrew found an amazing painting of Anna and Elsa that reminded us so much of Lorelei and Maggie Mae we just had to get it! We had dinner at our favorite restaurant in all of Disney, Via Napoli, before calling it a day!

Our last full day we had breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno at the Boardwalk Inn Resort. This is called the Bon Voyage character breakfast and includes Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel & Flynn Rider. This was our first time here and I was really excited about it because I knew Rhett would love seeing Prince Eric and Flynn Rider and I was right! He was so excited to see them, it’s a great change up from the endless Princesses. This is also the only place that has Rapunzel regularly. We have seen Rapunzel at Akershus before but she’s not on the regular list there.

We spent our last day at Magic Kingdom catching up on anything we may have missed and closing out our last day with dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the castle.

Magical Express was set to pick us up the next morning at 9:30am so we had a quick breakfast with Mickey and the gang at Topolino’s Terrace in our resort.

Disneyland Paris

It’s no secret that we are huge Disney fans. We visit Walt Disney World 5+ times a year and enjoy every second of it! So one would think that it would be a no brainer for us to visit Disneyland Paris while in town, but that was not our plan! We only had 5 days in Paris and we were sure there was too much to do for us to go out of our way to see Disneyland Paris which we knew would eat up at least an entire day.

If you’ve read my post about our Paris trip in general then you know that we really didn’t care much for Paris and did in fact end up going to DLP. After a couple days in Paris we realized there was not enough in the city to occupy us and we were so disgusted with the city itself we though a a Disney trip would save the day!

The Paris A line train goes from the city center straight to the gates of DLP. It is well marked in the train stations that it’s the Disney train. From the city center it’s about an hour to the DLP gates. We arrived at DLP right at park opening and there was almost no one there. We bought tickets at the information booth right outside the gates and proceeded through security.

DLP has 2 parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. These are the equivalent to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Florida.

We only had one day and the two park entrances are right next to each other, literally 5 steps apart, so we bought park hopper tickets and decided to do both parks.

Once inside Disneyland Park we stopped at the entrance and bought Fastpasses. This is nothing like the WDW system. There’s a thrill ride FASTPASS which gives you a FASTPASS to a couple of the taller height requirement rides and then there’s a family FASTPASS which gives you fastpasses to Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and dumbo. These are the only fastpasses you get though, they aren’t unlimited like at WDW. We chose the family FASTPASS because we figured 3 was better than none.

Next we headed over to the stroller rental place and rented 2 park strollers. They do not have double strollers here, only single strollers. This sucked because 2 of our toddlers had to walk all day. The strollers are a lot nicer than the hard bulky plastic ones at WDW though so that’s a plus. They were $25 each for the entire day.

After hitting up the main street coffee shop we walked down towards the castle which is a beautiful pink castle and caught Elsa and the entire Frozen crew for the opening ceremony and parade. My kids love Frozen so this was a huge highlight for them!

Our first ride stop was Haunted Mansion. This is one of our family’s favorite rides at WDW so we couldn’t wait to see it at DLP! I wasn’t disappointed, the ride was mostly the same with a few changes that I enjoyed. The mansion itself was a lot different on the outside too which was neat!

We spent the rest of the morning wandering around and checking out the different rides. There is not near as many rides here as at WDW, but the ones they do have are similar to the ones at WDW with a few different scenes. There is a Pinocchio ride at DLP than is really cute. 

Inside the castle is a gift shop where we had to buy Christmas ornaments and Mickey riding the carousel I hadn’t seen yet!

For lunch we ate at Captain Jack Sparrow’s and this was such a wonderful experience! Our 4yo Rhett is our only boy and it seems like there just isn’t near as much boy stuff as there is girl stuff so I feel like he always gets less. Rhett loves Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain Jack which is why I chose this restaurant for us, but I didn’t realize until we got there that it’s a character meal and Captain Jack came to see us multiple times! Rhett was over the moon excited and we had a wonderful lunch there!

After lunch we rode a couple more rides including the carousel before we were going to head over to the other park. After riding the carousel we came out to one of our strollers missing. DLP isn’t like WDW in that they don’t have designated stroller parking areas and there aren’t cast members moving strollers around to keep things organized. One of our strollers was exactly where we had left it and the other one that had been parked right beside it was gone. We searched for it but never could find it. We went back to the stroller rental stand to tell them what happened and they said people steal strollers all the time there. We’ve never had anyone mess with our strollers at WDW! Good thing we hadn’t left anything in it!

I was eager to get to Walt Disney Studios park because it has the Ratatouille ride like the new one opening at WDW Epcot next year. The ride was really cute and we enjoyed it! We also had dinner at Ratatouille Remy’s restaurant and the food was wonderful so I can only hope the new Epcot version, Gusteau’s, is just as good or better!

Walt Disney Studios has classic rides like Tower of Terror and a smaller version of Slinky Dog Dash, but our favorite was a ride we had never seen the parachute drop with the toy soldiers for Toy Story. Only our 4yos were y’all enough to ride it but it was so cute and they loved it! My husband rode with them and said it was awesome!

Overall it was really neat to see and experience Disneyland Paris, but it’s nowhere close to as nice as Walt Disney World. One thing I noticed was the lack of cast members. WDW has a cast member helping and directing people pretty much every 5 feet and every ride line queue has multiple cast members but there were no cast members at DLP except for one or two working each ride. The people at DLP were awful too; everyone was really rude and cranky. Besides the fact that some stole our crappy park rental stroller, no one understood the concept of how to form and wait in lines. It was crazy how confused and chaotic the lines were because people couldn’t follow the queue and there were no cast members to direct them. Thankfully it was the middle of January and freezing cold so the parks were not crowded at all! I cannot imagine visiting DLP on a high crowd day because it was kind of a nightmare on a super low crowd day!

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