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

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 2012: Day 6

“Good morning, Disney Wooooooooorld!” I might have actually woke up less grouchy that morning. Waking up six days in a row in WDW does something to your soul. Jack and Tim were getting used to their morning “walks” down to Roaring Fork every morning, too. Whenever one of us would try to bring up the fact that the next day was our last full day, the other would “Shhh!” the said Debbie Downer immediately. “I’m trying not to think about it!”

{Taken from Tim’s phone coming back to the room after the NMR bottle warming. Love this resort. So peaceful and calming.}

We had it on the original agenda to spend this morning bumming around the resort and enjoying a little more pool time, but last minute Tim decided that {since it was literally dirt cheap to add} it would be better to add one more day of park tickets to our package and go into Magic Kingdom again.

So we did. We got up, packed up the stroller, and took a cruise across the Seven Seas Lagoon to MK. Once again, we made it in time to watch the opening ceremonies…after I spilled my whole mug of coffee in the bag check line. Ugh. The security guard was so nice, though, and helped me clean up the mess and gave me a towel to dry our belongings, as well. 

We didn’t get too crazy or go too fast. We took our time. We hit up some of Jack’s favorite rides and added in a few new ones {Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, the People Mover — ahem! the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, excuse me!, the train, etc}.We even had time to watch Dream Along with Mickey again, which Jack was thrilled about. This time, though, instead of breaking out our pre-packed snacks, we got a turkey leg! Whoooo!Y’all. We’ve been trying to get a turkey leg for how many years now? Well, we finally broke down and bought one. We usually end up not getting one because we are on the dining plan and the turkey leg doesn’t fall under that unless you use a whole quick-service credit. {When using a quick-service credit to get a turkey leg, you will also get a drink, chips, and a cookie.} It was totally worth it. Totally yummy! And I am the type of girl that is totally picky with her meat. {Like, can I totally say totally again?} I don’t do veins, fat, gristle, skin…so you can see why it would be a big deal for me to say that it was yummy. The only negative thing we had to say about it was that it was piping hot! Which is good, unless you are sitting in direct sunlight watching a show for the second time. It was hot, we were hot, Jack and Cole were happily watching Mickey sing and dance…we were trapped in a hot, sweaty, turkey-flavored mess. At least it tasted good.

After browsing the gift shop and catching the tail-end of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! parade, we headed out for naps.

Incase you were wondering, my folks had decided to spend that morning in Animal Kingdom. They said they had a blast. My dad {being the only thrill-seeker out of their small party} got to walk on Expedition Everest five times in a row using the single rider line!

The boys took a really long nap that day. Tim and I enjoyed our time together out on the balcony. We did a lot of Disney dreamin’ over cups of coffee, and even played Buzz Lightyear Operation, a game Tim had borrowed from the Cub’s Den.

{How’d ya like those terrible pictures Tim took? I have no shame. Oh, and Tim beat me.}

After the kiddos woke up we got dressed for dinner in Downtown Disney. We had a reservation at T-Rex. We had never eaten there before, so I was half-excited/half-nervous about the boys reactions to the restaurant. Before we headed out, we stopped for their “growth chart” pictures by the gift shop totem pole. 

I just love that we do this! Look how much Jack had grown since last year!So fun.

Finally, we made the trek over to Downtown Disney’s Marketplace and bummed around there a bit before meeting up with my parents outside of T-Rex. For those of you that don’t know, T-Rex is a dinosaur version of the Rainforest Cafe. There are five different “dining rooms” {they are all connected and you can kind of lose where one ends and the next begins}, and every fifteen to twenty minutes a meteor shower takes place. During the meteor shower, the life-sized dinos come to life by moving, growling, and roaring, lights flash and dim, and the ice-aged room changes colors. Jack seemed okay with the dinosaurs, but he was not a fan of the meteor showers. Every time one would start, we would coach him through it saying, “Ooo! Isn’t this cool? Don’t worry, it’s almost over.” When it was over we would cheer. 

I enjoyed the food, however it is very similar to your average Hard Rock/Planet Hollywood kind of menu. But when traveling with a larger group, this is nice because there is usually something for everybody on the menu. Our waitress was great! She explained the menu and how our dining plan worked in their restaurant thoroughly, and was very attentive to our needs; even when it came to heating a bottle for Cole.

My mom and Tim shared the sampler appetizer {which did count as an entree on the dining plan} and the nachos. My dad got a steak, Hannah ordered a hamburger, and I got a chicken salad sandwich. 

It was a good thing our waitress was so explanatory, because dessert worked a little strange there, too. There were a couple of desserts that counted for one person’s dessert credit on their meal plan, and then a few that counted for two to four people’s credits. For example, the Meteor Bites would have to be shared by two people, and the Chocolate Extinction by four. It felt a little bit like playing Tetris, trying to figure out what everyone wanted, along with making sure it fit within the meal credits. My dad ended up being the one a bit unsatisfied. He wanted the Chocolate Extinction, but Tim and I had already decided to share the Meteor Bites, my mom wanted the Cosmic Key Lime Pie, and my sis wanted plain ol’ ice cream, so he had no one to share it with. I think he may have ended up settling on the Ice Aged Indulgence, but the hit of the table was definitely the Meteor Bites.Ohmigoodness, these were sooo good! Imagine warm, soft, fresh vanilla and chocolate Munchkin doughnuts, rolled in powdered sugar with a caramel and chocolate dipping sauce on the side. Oh my watering mouth; I could eat some right now! There were so many of them that the whole table shared. Tim and I decided that we would definitely go back just for those in the future.

After dinner we shopped and strolled for a bit before heading back to the Wilderness Lodge for baths and bed. [Sigh] The next day would be our last full day in WDW {I know! Don’t think about it!}, and we wanted to be sure it was the best day yet!

With love, Malorie

Trip Report 2012: Day 5

Day 5! Day 5, Day 5, Day 5!

Day 5 started out much the same as every other. After completing our NMR and grabbing a quick bite to eat {I’m pretty sure I had another cream cheese danish}, we headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Personally, I love DHS. The performer in me loves seeing all of the shows, with a Disneyfied snack in hand; all of them are great in their own way. I also love the rides that DHS has to offer. If Tim and I were still a kidless couple, I could probably spend a whole day there, taking a good hour somewhere in the middle to sit back and relax in the Writers Shop over a cup of coffee and oversized muffin. However, with two kids two and under, sitting and watching show after show is not necessarily a personal interest of theirs. Although the Animation Courtyard {the area where the Disney Jr. show is} is a big hit, it can be done very quickly, leaving only the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, Muppet Vision 3D show, and Toy Story Mania to peak their interest. Until the kids get a little older, Tim and I have decided to keep DHS a half-day park for us.

We beat down the gate of DHS at 9:00am, and ran straight back with everyone else to Toy Story Mania. Man this ride is popular! I got the whole family FASTPASSES, while a cast member standing in the distribution center yelled out over the crowd like it was the end of the world. “Be sure to LOOK at the time on your FASTPASS! You will NOT be permitted to ride Toy Story Mania outside of that time window! Not one minute before, not one minute after. Think ahead to any meal reservations you may have. I repeat! You will not be able to ride the ride outside of the time printed on your FASTPASS!…”

Geez louise.

We snagged our FASTPASSES and then hopped in line since the wait had only gotten up to twenty minutes in the five minutes the park had been opened. {Did I mention that people were running frantically like it was the end times and Toy Story Mania was the only safe haven?}

The twenty minute wait went by very quickly. It honestly wasn’t that long. I love how Disney does that. Over guesstimate. Under promise, over deliver. This is a motto other {ahem! Universal! What?} theme parks could benefit from following. Under promise. Over deliver. Not visa versa.

Tim rode with Cole, I rode with Jack. Jack enjoyed it mildly. I think it was a little too jerky for him, and since he is at an age where he doesn’t dig wearing 3D glasses, the screens just looked blurry to him and shooting the targets wasn’t as cool. Tim said Cole cried off and on. Our little scaredy cat, Cole.

After comparing scores, and Tim justifying that I only beat him because he had Cole in his lap {which, let’s face it, is probably true}, we headed over to Animation Courtyard to catch the Disney Jr. show. Jack, of course, loved it. Cole liked it too!

So…incase you hadn’t caught it yet, my kids are eighteen months apart. That means that over a twenty seven month period, I was pregnant eighteen of them! That being said, our past few Disney trips I have been pregnant, or in the case of right after Jack was born, I was healing from a broken tailbone. Eck! Thus, I was unable to partake in a few rides; one of those being Star Tours, which I happen to love. Even worse! I was pregnant during the time that they made all of the updates {it’s now 3D and has a variety of scenarios so that you can ride it several times and it never be the same}!

I know. So sad. But this year I was not pregnant, so I was set on getting my Star Tours fix! {Fun Fact: I went through a Star Wars addiction somewhere during my middle school years. I read through books 7, 8, and 9, could identify droids, and knew every word to Weird Al’s “The Saga Begins”.} After the Disney Jr. show, my dad and I decided that we would run over to Star Tours while my mom and sis did the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show, and while Tim and Jack met Jake and Handy Manny. Tim and my mom get motion sickness really easily, so they weren’t interested, and Hannah…well, we already covered her distaste for thrill rides.

{Another kid wearing the same pre-bought Target Disney shirt! They must have read our Buy Now, Save Later post! Heh. Right!}

Star Tours was awesome. The wait was a whopping zero minutes {I guess the world was still ending over in Pixar Place}, so we actually got to ride it twice! The first time I was pegged as the “spy onboard” {they take a picture of a random rider and it pops up on the screen!} and we flew through a pod race on Tatooine in a malfunctioning ship. The second time around, Darth Vader tried to stop our ship before take off, ordering us to release the “spy” to him. We escaped, but that just spurred on a lightspeed chase through space, ending in a rocky landing and run-in with another aircraft.

I would have totally ridden it a third time, but we were getting calls by then from the rest of the fam wondering what was next. We met them back in the Animation Courtyard at The Magic of Disney Animation. Tim and Jack were just about to the front of the line at a Winnie the Pooh meet ‘n greet, so I joined in the fun. {Sidenote on the cowboy boots: I, in true girly-girl fashion, packed a few pairs of shoes, including my “walking” shoes. However, my trusty cowboy boots turned out to be more comfortable than my made-for-walkin’ “walking” shoes! I guess the cowboys that wear them all day working in the fields wear them for a reason, eh? Go figure.}

After snuggling that silly ol’ bear, we doodled around on an animation computer while my sister finished up a drawing class. She drew Stitch and did a really great job! She really enjoyed the class and said the teacher was actually the original creator of the Stitch character. Cool, huh?

At this point, the boys in our party were getting hungry. On our way to get food we looked down at our Toy Story Mania FASTPASSES and realized that we had approximately two minutes to get to that line! A familiar screaming voice filled my mind, “I repeat! You will not be able to ride the ride outside of the time printed on your FASTPASS!…” 

My sister and I looked at each other, grabbed up two FASTPASSES and took off in a sprint toward Pixar Place. “Waaaaaaait!!” yelled Tim, “You don’t have your phone!”

Ugh! Story of my life. I hate that thing.

A hand-off worthy of an Olympic relay race took place, and Hannah and I continued to book it. She said I sounded like a horse running in my cowboy boots, and she was right. People were staring. BUT DIDN’T THEY KNOW!?! ONE MINUTE LATE AND THE WORLD WOULD END!! TOY STORY MANIA IS THE ONLY SAFE PLACE!!!

Whew. We made it. And Hannah still had her shorts on. She’s always pulling on those things. Somebody get that girl a belt! And somebody get this girl a trophy! I beat her hiney by a few thousand points. [Dusts off shoulder] I’m still getting muscle cramps in my right forearm from the epicness that ensued.

Once we were done gaming it up, we called the rest of the party to see where they decided to eat lunch. I guess the phone did come in handy. They had decided on the ABC Commissary. We had hamburgers and chicken fingers and all things American.

Yawn. Stretch. Pitch a fit. Take your pick. It was time for a nap. The Elrods loaded up and headed out while the Burketts stayed behind. The boys slept, we rested. It was nice. Afterward, the boys and I headed to Downtown Disney to waste a little time before our dinner reservations at Olivia’s. This actually ended up being a life saver because due to the crowds in Pixar Place at DHS, we were unable to meet ‘n greet Buzz and Woody. The line to just get a quick hug and a picture was forty minutes, for crying out loud! BUT! Downtown Disney just happens to have a life-sized Buzz statue right outside of the toy store.

Sneaky, sneaky! Two-year-olds don’t know the difference! Even better, there was a family taking their picture with him in front of us, so we even had to “wait in line” to meet him. I know it wasn’t the same, but honestly, I don’t think he really noticed the difference. Well, we browsed Once Upon a Toy {Jack ended up entertaining a cast member that was demonstrating a remote-controlled car by chasing it around the store as she drove it}, smelled lots of soaps in Basin, got spit on by Stitch outside of World of Disney, and rode the train by Disney Pin Traders. Yes, we squeezed in tons of fun before heading over to Old Key West for dinner.

We met my parents and sister at the resort. We still had some time to kill before dinner, so we went into one of their activity centers and talked to the cast members about why they love DVC while Hannah colored and Jack played. They were super nice and had been DVC members, as well as cast members, for twenty years. Pretty much since inception. So cool. I’m sure they’ve definitely gotten their money’s worth. Ha!

Finally it was time for dinner. YUM! We had a fantastic waitress, who was honest with us in her opinions about the food {we always appreciate that; Tim likes to ask waiters for suggestions}, and the food lived up to our expectations. Even though appetizers were not included in the free meal plan we were on, Tim had read that the onion ring appetizer was great, so we splurged and got them. They were quite yummy! The kicker was really the dipping sauces. The rings were served with a mango ketchup and a key lime mustard. I liked them both, but the key lime mustard was the unanimous favorite of the table.

While waiting for our entrées, Tim decided to entertain himself by taking terrible pictures of us. Here are just a few.As far as food goes, he got the ribs while I got the pork chop.

Next was dessert!…everyone’s favorite part of a meal. I got the lemon pound cake and Tim reverted back to his childlike self and got vanilla ice cream again. Only this time, they did him up right! Sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and M&M’s!Although being at Old Key West didn’t make us want to necessarily buy in or stay there, it did give us a confirmation in our soul about our future as DVC members. How dramatic of a statement is that? Ha!

Look. We just love WDW. It’s a place where we can always count on having a great time while making the best memories with our family. Memories we will treasure for a lifetime. Memories that bring us closer as a family unit; and to us, that means so much. 

With love, Malorie


Walt Disney World at Fifteen Months

Tim and I have been to Disney way too many times to count, but this September’s trip was so different having Jack with us. It was a learning experience and very eye-opening to what our future trips are now going to look like. And you know what? We loved it. Doing Disney through the eyes of your fifteen-month-old is so much fun!

Today I wanted to share our trip through Jack’s eyes; the things that Jack enjoyed the most!

By far his favorite part of the vacation was the characters. He loved every meet ‘n greet, every character dinner, you name it. I thought he would like the characters, but I didn’t predict the bouncy, giggly, silly, head-bobbing, dancing boy he would become when he was around them. This is definitely going to affect the way we plan our future trips. Bring on the character dinners for the Elrods!

Up next, rides. But more specifically, boat rides. The two rides he came alive on the most were It’s A Small World and (oh my goodness, the excitement that was had!) The Three Caballeros in Mexico in EPCOT. Who knew, right? The rest of the attractions he seemed mildly entertained; more often than not, he would just sit in stunned silence, taking in what was going on. However, we were just glad that he enjoyed them. We had no crying fits. Not one. Not even on Pirates of the Caribbean, which is fairly dark in most of it, and contains a short drop in the dark. His heart was racing after the drop, but his face remained calm, thumb in mouth.

Another high-ranking activity was walking through the interactive queues at a few of the rides. His favorite was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I think he enjoyed the queue (or line) more than the actual attraction. We rode this ride more than one time, and each time the line was never longer than five or ten minutes. However, we would just take our time and let others come around us as Jack played in Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot, drummed on pumpkins in Rabbit’s garden, walked through Eeyore’s house, and watching the gofers pop up out of the ground. There was also the interactive wall of honey that you can draw on, but he wasn’t as entertained by that.

Playgrounds. What kid doesn’t like playgrounds? We had a playground at our resort that he loved running out some energy on, but the playground that took the cake was Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He ran and climbed while Tim ran and climbed after him. Bless that man. He probably could have spent all day there. I look forward to breaks there in the future when our kids are old enough to run around without one of us having to trail behind their every step.

Something else that Jack loved was water features. Oh, fifteen-month-old’s…so easy to entertain. He could sit and watch any fountain we passed for as long as we’d allow, not to mention the ones he could actually play in. Among these were the water features in the Marketplace, the squirting totem poles in Adventureland in Magic Kingdom, the random water features in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, and the gun-squirting Three Caballeros at our pool back at the resort. Which brings us to Jack’s next vacation love…

…swimming! Need I say more? Kids, young and old, love to swim…or float in Jack’s case, I guess.

His next favorite thing was a bit of a surprise to me. Shows! I expected him to be mildly entertained by the shows in Hollywood Studios, namely the Disney Junior Show, but I didn’t expect it to keep his attention the whole time! He squealed and danced and clapped. He even sat through The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and stared in amazement at the opening Under the Sea performance of black light fish. Another show he loved was the short, park-opening performance that happens daily at Magic Kingdom.

Parades! Of course he loved the parades! Especially since we had a great spot at the parade that we saw in Magic Kingdom, where many of the characters came right up to us! He also loved the lights of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and I would deem these must do’s with young kids.

Last, but not least, the Monorail. Jack loved the monorail. He would point and “Ooo!” every time it slid smoothly by us, and he enjoyed riding it just as much. He would turn into a ham and entertain the people in our car with games of peek-a-boo, or silly faces.

All that to be said, doing Disney with a fifteen-month-old was not only doable, it was fun! We made sure to keep at Jack’s pace. We did most of our activities in the morning and evening during his happy times, most days we went back to the resort for mid-day naps (which ended up being nice breaks for Tim and I), and didn’t stray too far from his 8:oo-ish bedtime at night. Like I said, it was much different than our sun-up-to-sun-down trips we took previously, but we really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend it to any willing parent!

Fun Facts ‘n Trivia: Where Is It?

Happy Friday, friends!

The Elrods are still in Walt Disney World, having a blast, but sadly it is our last day. However, we have had so much fun this week, and look forward to getting back and blogging all about our 4th Annual Wedding Anniversary Trip!

Today though, I thought it would be fun to do another Where Is It post, where I post a picture of something on Disney property and you tell me where it is! Are you ready? Okay!

Surprise, surprise! It’s another Peter Pan find!

Where on Disney property can you spot this soaring Peter Pan?

If you guess the Marketplace’s Once Upon A Toy, you are right!

Peter Pan can be seen flying around and around in Once Upon A Toy, where you can get almost any Disney toy you can imagine! I am scared to death of future trips we will make into this store with Jack and Cole. I’m sure trips inside will result in our pockets becoming much lighter and our sons’ rooms becoming much more cluttered.

Ah well, the life of a parent, eh? And what am I saying…we decided to pre-plan our souvenir spending, right?

Java Talk


Another missed Tuesday. [womp womp.]

Blogging yesterday was just not in the cards. It was a crazy busy day that ended in a Rainbow Vac demonstration (no we did not buy, although I reeeeally wanted to) and a late night of hanging out with one of my best friends, Julie.

Needless to say, this morning the first thing I wanted to grab for was my morning cup of coffee.

Just so you know, my husband and I


coffee! We never go a day without atleast one cup. When we are in Disney, it is especially true. However, a good cup of coffee in Walt Disney World is not as easy to find as you may think.

Most of the coffee you will find in Disney, like at the resorts, parks, and in a lot of restaurants and hot spots, is going to be Nestle Nescafe that is made from a coffee concentrate. I can stand it if it’s all I got and my demand for caffeine is high enough, but if the hubby and I are looking for a great tasting cup of coffee, our first stop is usually Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Kona serves 100% Kona coffee along with a variety of espresso drinks. If you’re on the go and don’t have time to sit down, they also have a Kona Island Cafe Coffee Bar right outside the restaurant for your convenience!

Mmm…I’ll take a steamy mug full right now, please!

Most of the nice sit down restaurants also have great coffee. We had an amazing french press at Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian on our second wedding anniversary.

If you like a good latte or espresso, hop on the monorail and cruise over to Contemporary Grounds in the lobby of the Contemporary. Also, check out the java brewing at the Marketplace! You can get a great cup of Kona coffee at the Earl of Sandwich, or even better, the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop! Okay, maybe a hot chocolate or milk shake will be calling your name at Ghirardelli…but I’ve gotten coffee there in the past as well.

Elrod WDW Tip: It seems that if you are looking for your caffeine fix in a theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is going to be your best bet. If you are a Starbucks fiend, like Tim and I, you’re going to have to venture to some on-property resorts (the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Regal Sun and Hilton Walt Disney World, and the Shades of Green to be exact) to get your fix.

Welp. I think I’ll go have my second cup of coffee for the day after all this java talk.

See ya Friday with new Fun Facts ‘n Trivia!

A Very Merry Jolly Holiday: DAY 1

Welp! A Merry Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas, and Prosperous New Year to you all!

It has been quite a while since my last post, over a month to be exact. [Insert sad face here.] It is mostly due to the wonderful hustle and bustle of the holidays…but also a bit of the blame does need to go to my self-sabotaging tendencies to put things off until later. But it’s a new year, and a new me (sort of) and I am going to hold myself accountable! No more Scarlet O’Hara “fiddle dee-dee”s for me. Why put off for tomorrow what you can blog about today??

Now that I have that huge revelation out of the way, I wanted to let you know just how great our Christmas was! It was absolutely wonderful, and I’ll tell you why…

The Elrods went Disney for Christmas!!

Yay! Yes indeedy, we did! Although Tim and I have been to Disney more times than we could count, neither one of us had ever been at Christmas. Crazy, I know. So this September we decided that 2010 seemed like a perfect year to go. We started hightailing it down to Disney at 8:00pm on December 12th and arrived somewhere around 3:00am on December 13th.  (Driving through the night was quite gruesome for us, but lovely for our 6-month-old son. Pros and cons have yet to be weighed, but that is a different blog post altogether.) Because our trip was so fun-filled and action packed, I have decided to split our story into four posts…one for each day of our trip. I just didn’t want to skip any details. And lets face it, who has the patience to read a super long post?? This one is getting long enough as it is, so lets jump right in shall we??


The day we arrived we slept in a little later than usual to make up for the drive through the night and hung out at the town home that we were staying in. Although Tim and I are complete advocates for staying on property, we skipped that route this go around since we knew we wouldn’t be purchasing the meal plan. We wanted to be as thrifty as possible this trip. Lucky for us, an amazing family from our church whom we are blessed to know, allowed us to stay in the town home they own in Celebration.

Later that day we went to Disney’s Marketplace for a late lunch.
We ate at the new Pollo Campero that is located where the McDonalds used to be…right next to the Lego store. It was so good! Tim got the Signature Fried Chicken with black beans and rice, and I was feeling a little wild ‘n crazy, so I went for the chicken fingers. 😉 They were delicious! Had a bit of a kick and were super tasty when dipped in the house chipotle honey mustard. Mmmm!  You gotta try it!

Next, we walked around and shopped a bit, but not for long because I had one goal in mind. Getting Jack’s first ever picture with Santa! Oh, I was so excited! We had heard that you could get your picture with Santa in the Marketplace and that the wait was never long. Slightly skeptical about the waiting part, we decided it was worth the try. And boy was it! We seriously only waited 5 minutes…if that! Santa had his own little “Christmas Chalet” in the Marketplace, between TrenD and the Once Upon a Toy Store. It was stroller friendly and the cast members were super nice. Jack could really care less that he was sitting on Santa’s lap…but I found it just thrilling.  We retrieved our PhotoPass card (you were allowed to take pictures with your own camera for free as well), took it to the nearby PhotoPass center and within minutes had prints of our little man at his first visit to Santa Claus! Hooray!

The first Disney Christmas check-list goal was complete!

That night we went back to the town home and made dinner there. Around 7:00pm we bundled Jack up and walked down the street to see it snow in Celebration. It was pretty cool, but only a taste of what was to come. 😉

Hopefully this post was too! Come back soon for DAY 2…Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!!