A Once Upon A Toy Rope Drop

Rope drop (verb) – to arrive on time or early to the opening of a specific location. “I can ride most of the rides in Fantasyland in one hour if I rope drop the Magic Kingdom.” 

Rope drop is a term that is used quite often in the Elrods Go Disney vocabulary. We are firm believers in rope dropping. We’ve visited Disney in busy times and down times and each time we have been able to accomplish much if we just get there on time! And that’s with three kids four and under.

Last September, we discovered a new spot to rope drop! The Once Upon A Toy store at the Marketplace in Downtown Disney.

IMG_6032We are obviously early-risers, considering the ages of our children, so we were up and at ’em, had eaten breakfast, and were at Downtown Disney before many of the stores were open. The weather was cool, the crowds were sparse, and for a melancholy me, it was the perfect peaceful morning; slowly strolling the streets of one of my most favorite places on Earth with my awesome ohana.

As we walked past Once Upon A Toy, the woman on the far left of this picture approached us and asked if we would like to be their family of the day {or something like that}. She said our picture would be posted somewhere online {I can’t remember where, we never did seek it out}, and our boys could do the honors of turning on the toys and trains for the day. We excitedly accepted. Duh!

Luckily, Tim captured the happy moment on his iPhone. After performing the store-opening duties, Jack and Cole each received a certificate and small toy for their job well done. So. fun. Check it out! {To see the whole WDW Trip 2013 video, click here.}

While there, the boys also spent their souvenir money from their great-grandmother, MeMama. They got the Walt Disney World Railroad model train. Can you say spoiled rotten?

IMG_5977I think our boys would agree that this was one rope drop that was well worth the trip. We hope to do it again someday!

With love, Malorie

VIDEO: WDW Trip 2013

We’ve officially been home from WDW for a week, and I have only had one day where I wanted to cry.

I think that’s a success, yes?

Part of the reason I haven’t slunk into deep PDD {Post-Disney Depression} is because we are already planning and booking meal reservations for our trip in March. The other part is because I have been working on a video montage of our trip, and being able to look back on all of our fun times and live vicariously through our memories captured via iPhone has somehow curbed the pains of withdrawal. I finished it a couple of days ago, but because I am not very computer program and technology savvy, I had to seek help from Tim in figuring out how to export it. He finally found the time today, and I am so excited to share it with you.

I know it’s amateur, but I am still quite proud, considering this was my first time ever attempting a project such as this. I pretty obsessed with it and plan on making one for each trip now. So get ready for that.

Without further ado and rambling {for which I am infamous}, here is our WDW Trip 2013. 

With love, Malorie

Five Things To Do on a Rainy Day in WDW

My oh my, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine, just as the song says, is streaming through our living room window and the warmth it brings is a marvelous thing. We couldn’t say so a week ago. For about a week and a half we were all but drowning here in the south Atlanta burbs. And the wind! And the cold! Awful. It definitely didn’t feel like your typical Georgia May weather.

I’m really glad we are on an upswing, but all that dreary rain did was keep us longing for our trips to Disney. One morning, Tim and I even discussed our favorite things to do in WDW on a rainy day. “That,” I thought, “is a good thing to post about.” Especially for people that would not call themselves Disney goers, and would think it’s a waste of a day to have rain in Disney World.

So here are the Elrods’ top five things to do if it rains in WDW:

5. Stay in the parks! If you’ve got the proper gear {i.e.. warm jacket if it’s chilly, a raincoat/poncho, and shoes that can withstand the wetness}, and the gung-ho to stick it out, I say do it! The rain clouds will send the crowds a-runnin’ for gift shops and the transporation center, leaving lines short for the taking. And since many attractions are indoors {as are many of the queues}, the fun doesn’t shut down just because of a little precipitation. The show must go on! 25057_10151360525690630_1488896517_n

4. Try out Disney Quest. Personally, we have never gone to Disney Quest, but one of my besties just got back from a WDW vacation this March and she and her husband had great things to say about. Lots to do, tons of entertainment, and every single bit of it indoors!

3. Catch a movie. I know it may not be something special that you can only do in Disney, but when you’re stuck indoors, why not catch a flick? I saw a movie there when I was a teen with my other best friend, Stacey. It was a great theater. It has since been updated and even offers some Fork & Screen showings, as well. Check it out.

2. Go bowling! Aw man, we haven’t bowled a game there yet, but the new Splitsville is amazing. Tim and I gave it a walk-through when we were there in December and really wished that the wait time for a lane wasn’t so long. Which brings me to a heads up! You may want to call ahead to see if you can reserve a lane or get on a waiting list, because when it rains, this may be a popular destination. But once you’re there, you’re sure to have a fun distraction from the lousy weather. 553533_10151358694775630_567034760_n 188733_10151358694615630_1410275144_n

1. Enjoy. Your. Resort. I don’t think I can reiterate this enough. Enjoy. Your. Resort! Even if you are staying at an All-Star. Look, Tim and I know as well as anybody that staying on property at a WDW resort is expensive. That’s why we made the jump to Disney’s DVC. But we truly believe it is worth the price, because the resorts are nice and there are plenty of activities right there to keep you busy and making memories.

At the All-Stars, we have had many a fun night in, ordering pizza, sitting in the food court playing board games and dominos, while my dad and sister got filthy rich in yellow, paper tickets from the arcade. Some of those memories have bonded us the most. I’ll never forget playing dominos with my folks in the food court of Pop Century, when up walked Tim to surprise me. I had tagged along spontaneously with my parents on their quick-trip February getaway. Tim surprised me by taking a couple days off work and drove down to be with us. These were our kid-free days. Wow, to only imagine being so spontaneous these days. Ha!329_41522195629_7908_n 329_41766850629_1147_n

During these past few days of pouring down rain, Tim and I would daydream about being back at our beloved Wilderness Lodge, sitting in rocking chairs in front of the gigantic fireplace, watching the rain come down outside. All of the deluxe resorts have children and recreation rooms. Tim borrowed a board game from the Cubs Den at the Wilderness Lodge that we enjoyed, my sister and I colored and made refrigerator magnets at Bay Lake Tower, and the boys colored pictures while my sister made a drawstring backpack at Old Key West!  No, these aren’t considered five star entertainment ideas, but they are fun and relaxing, and a great alternative to sitting in your room, imitating Grumpy while you wish the rain away. However, if you do choose to sit cooped up in your room, at least turn on Stacey! There isn’t a trip where we don’t have on our list of things to do – Watch Stacey’s Top 7 Must See’s and her WDW “Must Do’s” from top to bottom at least one time through! {Elrod WDW Tip: This is the perfect thing to have on the TV while you’re unpacking to get you super excited that you’ve finally arrived!}IMG_4365

Well, there you go! Don’t be a downer if the rain sets in, try one of our five ideas to weather the storms in WDW. And hey, fellow Disney goers, what are some of your favorite ways to beat the rain?

With love, Malorie

Sick. Just Sick.

Guys. I’m sick. Just sick.

Homesick, that is. We are still waiting on our membership number and packet in the mail. The boys are sleeping and I’m looking at old WDW pictures and listening to music loops from the parks. I’ve already listened to the MK loop, Illuminations, Muppet*Vision 3D queue, and now I’m riding Splash Mountain…well pretending to, anyway.

Since misery loves company, here’s some lots of pictures from previous trips to make you cry and wish you were there. Enjoy!


DSCF0983 DSCF1022 DSCF1075 DSCF1088 DSCF1134 DSCF1151 DSCF1162 DSCF1198 DSCF1241 DSCF1252 DSCF1256_2 IMG_3576 IMG_3629 IMG_1449 IMG_1577 IMG_1618IMG_0618 IMG_0627 IMG_0741 IMG_0812 IMG_0828 IMG_0857 IMG_0936 IMG_1019 IMG_1081 IMG_1128 IMG_1143 IMG_1227 IMG_1245 IMG_1394 IMG_1423 IMG_1432 IMG_1443 IMG_1584 IMG_1587 IMG_1649 IMG_1653 IMG_1678 IMG_1710 IMG_1717 IMG_1767 IMG_5593 IMG_5607 IMG_5613 IMG_5670 IMG_5721 IMG_5730 IMG_4341 IMG_5903 IMG_5927 IMG_5954 IMG_5978 IMG_5991 IMG_6009 IMG_6030 IMG_6162 IMG_6173 IMG_6192 IMG_4360 IMG_6198 IMG_6272 IMG_6284 247995_10151225432075630_383336801_nAre you just sick?

Yeah…me too.

With love, Malorie

Here’s What We Think: Our WDW Favorites

This is a post for all of the people that ask us, “It’s our first time going to to WDW! What’s your favorite restaurant?” or “Where’s your favorite place to stay?” At which point Tim and I look at each other and shrug. That is such a hard question for us because we tend to want to answer according to your needs; like those annoying teachers that would answer your questions by asking you another question.

“Well…..what price point are you looking at? Are you asking us what our favorite value resort is or our favorite deluxe resort? What kind of food are you looking for? Are you asking us what our favorite sit down restaurant is, or do you want only quick meals?”

In essence, we try to answer people’s Disney questions by probing to find out what is going to be perfect for them for their trip, and we end up not answering the original question that they asked at all! What is our favorite? So here it is. Everything posted here is our own official Elrod opinion. These are our favorites when it comes to resorts and restaurants. Take it or leave it.

Our Favorite Resort

The Wilderness Lodge.

Our favorite Restaurant

This is where it gets tricky. This is where it get choppy. Let’s break it down.

By Location

Magic Kingdom: Table service – Liberty Tree Tavern  Quick service – Casey’s Corner  Snack – Main Street Bakery

EPCOT: Table service – Via Napoli  Quick service – Cantina de San Angel  Countries to get a snack – Germany and Japan

Hollywood Studios: Table service – Mama Melrose  Quick Service – ABC Commissary  Snack – The Writer’s Shop

Animal Kingdom: We mainly just eat snacks – Harambe Fruit Market

Downtown Disney/Marketplace: Table service – T-Rex  Quick service – Earl of Sandwich  Snack – Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop

Breaking it down a bit further for resorts


Table service: – Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kona at the Polynesian, & The Wave at the Contemporary

Quick service: Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge


Table service: Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary

Quick service: Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge, the Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge, & surprisingly the All-Stars for their variety and nacho bars

And there you have it! Easy as that. We still have many places we’d like to try that we never have before, so these may change. We’ll keep ya on the up ‘n up if they do.

With love, Malorie

Trip Report: Christmas Surprise Day 1

Ooo! Look at that! Another post that took me days to write to completion! You might want to refresh yourself on the backstory of this trip. All caught up? Okay great, let’s begin.

Well, Thursday rolled around very quickly. With Christmas being booked full of our usual family parties and traditions, we were left with only Wednesday to prepare for our trip. We went last minute shopping to make sure we had the house stocked with diapers and food for the boys, and bottled water, snacks, and the like to take with us on our trip.

We’ve got leaving for WDW down pat. It’s like a well-oiled machine.

Night before departure:

Fill up gas tank. Load the car of all luggage, minus the bathroom bag {we do still take the time to brush away our dragon breath in the morning}. Pre-set coffee maker. Set alarm for 4:30am, at the latest.

Morning of departure:

Tim’s alarm goes off. He jumps out of bed and readies himself. I roll around and moan, but not for as long as usual since we are going to WDW. After Tim finishes up his quick morning routine, I mosey to the bathroom and make myself presentable while he gathers last minute items {phone chargers, pillows, etc.} and pours our mugs of coffee. By the time he’s done, I’m done. And voila! {Wow. When I tell that story I sound like a real slug. And my husband sounds like a superhero. Eh. I guess that’s pretty accurate.}

Usually we have the boys to get up, as well, which we usually do last minute to encourage continued sleeping in the car {just change their diaper and carry them across the house in their jams to the carseat like you are carrying an egg on a spoon}, but this morning was nice because it was just the two of us. We were up and out of there in no time!

We arrived at our destination at about 11:30am. We unloaded the car, changed out of our comfy travel clothes and put on something a little more Date-Day worthy. Tim had Downtown Disney and resort hopping on the agenda for the day.

We started out with resort hopping. Since we are planning on buying in to DVC within the next few months, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Saratoga Springs were on the top of our list to visit because those are the only two DVC resorts we had yet to see. {Clarification: we have been to Animal Kingdom Lodge several times, but had never been over to Kidani Village to see the DVC area.}29601_10151358696410630_648119087_n 15427_10151358696300630_963819966_nWe started out there because we were hungry for lunch and decided a stop by The Mara at the Jambo House for a yummy bite to eat. We ordered the half chicken dinner with cous cous and vegetable stew to share. The veggie stew was sooo yummy. I could have just eaten a big bowl of that over cous cous and been perfectly happy. 530349_10151358918230630_239533904_nAfter eating, we headed over to Kidani Village to look around. We loved it. It was gorgeous; a little mini-Jambo House, with great views of the Savannah. We also browsed the gift shop {I picked up some trading pins for my little sister’s 13th birthday}, and stepped inside Sanaa for a sniff and peek. Consensus: smelled and looked good!525977_10151358696090630_589001126_n 407434_10151358695835630_609078105_n

We really enjoyed what little time we spent at Kidani Village, but we came to the conclusion that although the atmosphere is top notch and the boys would love it, we think the Animal Kingdom Lodge is going to remain a fun place to visit instead of a place to stay. Since staying at Bay Lake Tower and Wilderness Lodge, we have become the biggest of snobs when it comes to location. At this age and stage of our lives, Magic Kingdom is just the place we want to be, so staying close and at a resort that provides better transportation than lugging a double stroller and two kids two and under on to a lengthy bus ride is the way we want to go. So sorry, AKL. We love your restaurants and sweeping Savannah views, but as far the Elrods go, that’s probably the deepest we’ll venture into the South African wildlife.

Next we hit up the Art of Animation. Although, we know we will most likely never stay there either, we have been really excited to just take a look around. It was so great! Colorful, bright, excellently themed, and perfect for families with little ones that don’t fit the standard family-o-four room. Tim and I had fun just walking around, so I can’t imagine how excited Jack and Cole would be there. The food court was also pretty cool, and had many options that the other value resorts don’t offer. We were pretty tempted by a few items, but decided to save our snacketite for later. 1532_10151358695620630_183500229_n164675_10151358695720630_1159742274_n282923_10151358695250630_1464492533_n734638_10151358695115630_2125760763_n

Later turned out to be the next stop, which was Saratoga Springs. We walked through the main lobby, made the quick walk-through the gift shop/quick service stop {the set up there was a bit confusing to us…}, admired a mug we were tempted to buy, and grabbed an order of their house-made potato chips. Elrod WDW Tip: Those house-made chips {that you can get at several resorts and locations} taste super yummy dipped in ranch dressing or BBQ sauce. Just sayin’. 397589_10151358694990630_405584907_n400150_10151358919320630_224195795_n564768_10151358694845630_1487085791_n

Incase you haven’t noticed the poor quality of these pictures yet, the reason why they look so pixely is because we decided that on this trip we were going to have fun focusing on us. Each other. So we left the fancy-schmancy camera home and took what we felt compelled to capture via our crack-screened iPhone 4’s.

We had a nice time bumming around Saratoga Springs. We sat in the quick-service area for a while, dreaming and talking about DVC and missing our boys but not missing our boys all at the same time. We also at that time came to the conclusion that we felt similar feelings toward Saratoga Springs as we did toward AKL. Nice, but not our “home”. We definitely felt the lead to buy in at the Wilderness Lodge and make the “seven month switch” to Bay Lake Tower some years, if it’s available. DVC insiders, you know what we mean.

That being decided, we stood up, dusted the last few chip crumbs from our laps, and headed to Downtown Disney, feeling better bonded and more lovey-dovey than we had in a while. Dreaming with your spouse will do that to you. We are definitely advocates of spousal future dreaming.

Due to the fact that it was two days after Christmas, Downtown Disney was crowded! We had a little bit of trouble finding parking, but eventually found a place near Planet Hollywood. It was pretty tough getting around, but we were in heaven simply because we didn’t have a double stroller to, “Excuse me, excuse meeee..” through. We kept commenting to each other how we didn’t even care it was crowded because we didn’t have the boys to worry about. We were like two little mice, slipping in and out of flocks of strangers. We know where everything is and even short cuts here and there, so were unaffected by how many people were there.

We went in shops, got a mocha and biscotti from Ghirardelli, and snooped around the brand-spanking-new Splitsville. And let me just say, for those of you who rolled your eyes at the thought of a bowling alley in WDW, I say “Bah humbug!” That place was amazing! We are totally looking forward to knocking down some pins there in the near future.430804_10151358694435630_1846793425_n553533_10151358694775630_567034760_nAfter a while wandering around Downtown Disney, we were beat. Although adrenaline goes a long way, waking up at 4:30am can still take it’s toll on a body. We headed back to our place of stay, the same we stayed at on our Christmas trip in 2010, owned by an amazing and generous family we are blessed to know. Get this guys. We. took. a. nap!

Whaaa? I know. Two adults that have two toddlers got to take a nap. And it was glorious. One of those naps where you sleep so hard you don’t move so you wake up with lines imprinted on your face and arms. Yeah. So good.

We woke up, stretched, and surveyed the time. Late. Way past our dinnertime. Like 6:00! Woah!

Hey. We eat on toddler time. Dinner occurs in our house between 4:30 and 5:00 everyday. The fact that we wouldn’t eat dinner until 7:00ish made us feel even more footloose and fancy-free. We were walking on the wild side, I tell ya!

We chose Chevy’s. We had eaten there a couple years back with some of our best friends on a Braves Spring Training trip, and Tim had been salivating over the potential of eating there again ever since. Since we weren’t staying on property, it was an excellent opportunity. 557424_10151358918145630_1466200092_n

Once we’d finished our tacos and licked the cheese dip bowl clean, we did what all old farts do; headed back to the town home to turn in early. Ahhhh….Tim and I are going to make the best old people. And I can’t wait. But to our credit, we did want to get in bed on time because the next day was our one and only day in Magic Kingdom and we wanted to give it all we had.

Eeee! Just saying, “day in Magic Kingdom” gets me giddy. A sure sign of a Disney maniac, yes?

With love, Malorie