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Filtering by Category: Children's Activities

Tips for Doing Disney World in Style

Jordan Rhodes

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There are tons of great blog posts and resources out there on how to conquer Disney World. If you’re reading this post then you love Disney, and have probably read most of them. So I decided to take a different approach and help you feel stylish while doing Disney - because let’s face it, it’s not the place to go to feel cute. You’re sweaty, tired from all the mad dashes into the parks, stressed from screaming kids, surrounded by junk food and crazy people in a rush. It can be a little daunting at times. But read this and hopefully it will be a little easier.

  • Hire a tour guide.

    We love to hire tour guides, either through Michael’s VIP’s or Stone VIP’s. The guides will meet you at the entrance to the parks, get you inside, and lead you around to all the rides, where you never wait in line. How do they do this? Before you arrive they will arrange your initial Fastpasses, then throughout the day they are constantly on their phones checking wait times, adding new Fastpasses, and planning all of your next moves. It is SO worth it to not be on the app trying to figure all of that out on your own, and you’re free to really enjoy the park. Bonus - they will watch the kids who aren’t tall enough for the fun rides. Pricing varies, but minimum is about $800 for 6 hours plus gratuity.


  • Plan Fastpasses in Advance.

    If you do not hire a guide, make sure you pick your allotted three advance Fastpasses so you’re not running like a crazy person towards a popular ride when the park opens. Fastpasses are available 60 days prior to your visit if you’re staying in the park (including at the Four Seasons), or 30 days in advance if staying off property. To book them, download the Disney app, and make sure your tickets are purchased through the app or link physical passes by entering the number into the app (don’t worry, it is very easy to navigate). Here are my suggestions for Fastpasses, based on popularity: at the Magic Kingdom - Peter Pan, Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (my kids’ favorite); at Hollywood Studios - Slinky Dog, the Aerosmith roller coaster, the Tower of Terror; at Animal Kingdom - Avatar, Everest, a safari ride. And voila! Now you’re ready to wake up a little later and ease your way into the park, because those without Fastpasses are running and waiting. Epcot unfortunately is a little different because the Fastpasses work on a Tier system. You can only book one of the popular rides as one of your three, which would either be the Frozen ride, Test Tracks or Soarin’. Soarin’ is my absolute favorite ride of all (as a travel journalist it’s not hard to see why), so I would book that one and run to Test Tracks when the park opens. But if you have little kids, book the Frozen ride in advance and run to Soarin’ when the park opens, whose line moves a little slowly, then be prepared to wait a little bit at Test Tracks. If you do Test Tracks first the Soarin’ line will get very long because it doesn’t move as quickly as the other. For your other two Fastpasses we like Mission: Space and the other Space ride.

    Now don’t forget, once you’ve used your first three passes you are able to book more one by one. So try to book them all as early as possible in the day so you’re not waiting all day to add be able to add a new one.

A view from the Animal Kingdom safari

A view from the Animal Kingdom safari

  • Book the popular restaurants and events in advance.

    Some of these include the Be Our Guest restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Goofy breakfast at the Four Seasons, ‘Ohana at the Polynesian, the luau at the Polynesian, the pirate fireworks cruise at the Contemporary, the Star Wars dessert party at Hollywood Studios, the Princess Tea at the Grand Floridian, Rose and Crown pub for Epcot fireworks, and the rooftop restaurant, Capa, at the Four Seasons for fireworks. Except for those last two which are more for date night, your kids will be over the moon at the rest and thus in better moods.

Happy kids at the Star Wars dessert party

Happy kids at the Star Wars dessert party

  • Speaking of date night…

    if you have young kids, I highly suggest booking a babysitter and doing After Hours at Hollywood Studios and/or the Animal Kingdom. Most of the best rides at the parks are for taller kids, so if you have littles they can’t go on them. After Hours tickets allow a handful of visitors into the parks late at night, and you can do the rides over and over and over. The kids get to bed early and you can really enjoy yourselves.

    The best sitter service is called Kids Nite Out, and we have loved every sitter we’ve hired from them. They are highly reputable and recommended by the Four Seasons, as well as all the Disney hotels.

  • And speaking of the Four Seasons…

    Stay here! It is THE BEST hotel, and I even know people who vacation there and don’t even go to the parks. A more detailed post on it is in the works, so for now just trust me that it can’t be beat.

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  • Pack accordingly

    Everyone I know wears athleisure to the parks because it is basically cardio. So buy some new Lululemon and APL’s and feel a little more stylish. My husband likes to wear shorts with golf shirts so he stays cool. Don’t forget the sunscreen and bring some princess costumes or Star Wars t-shirts for the kids. When going out at night I like to wear white jeans, Golden Goose’s, something like a Figue top and my favorite L’agence jean jacket. Crossbody bags are perfect for day and night.

  • Don’t forget the gear

    We love our Bugaboo for the park because the tires are big and can be navigated easily. We also always pack tracking watches for the older kids. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve wandered off, and with crowds like those it’s easy to lose them. We have the GizmoPal2 which allows us to call the kids, they can call us, and we can see their location. It brings us peace of mind. Another important device is a backup charger, because if you are headed to the parks without a guide you are going to burn lots of battery using the Disney app to check out Wait Times, shows and Fastpasses.

And there you have it, a few ways to feel a little less stressed, therefore a little more stylish. Let us know if you have any specific questions!

A Family-Friendly Guide to New York's Art Gallery Scene

Jordan Rhodes

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By Katharine Earnhardt

The New York gallery scene is one of the best in the world, but it's also SUPER intimidating; there are so many options that aren't always apparent or welcoming, and figuring out a route that's family friendly (i.e. near some snacks) is so tricky.  As the Founder of Mason Lane, a Brooklyn-based art advisory that styles walls nationwide, I'm into art and efficiency, and as a fellow mama I'm always all about family-friendly anything. SO, I wanted to share some ways to approach the New York gallery scene and have your kids enjoy the ride with you.  

 First, some basics:

1. Don't sweat. Galleries can be quiet, stark, and echo-y, and if your kids come in not bathed and making noise, that's OK. The gallery model is a retail one - people come in and out all the time. Some buy and some don't, and despite the moderately awkward and unwelcoming set up, it's totally fine to pop in, make noise, and take pics. 

2. Ask questions. Galleries will always have a staff member and some reading materials at the front desk. Depending on the gallery, it could be a 22 year old receptionist OR the owner. Either way, ask that person to tell you about the show. The answers you get will likely be much more informative and fulfilling than any marketing collateral that you grabbed and will likely never read. 

3. The Two Rules. No touching, and no wet, dripping foods are really the only two rules to follow in the gallery. The second issue is under your control, and the first is straight forward. I do, however, recommend taking snacks on any gallery hop, and Cheerios in those no-spill containers are an all-around win.  

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Next, the gallery hop

The Lower East Side is a great place to take kids and enjoy some art. The galleries are small and manageable, they lack pretension (in general), and there's a wide variety of artworks that would be amusing to people big and small.  Plus, there are retail shops and restaurants everywhere (unlike in the Chelsea gallery district), so taking a break is easy and encouraged. Here's a recommended route: 

1. Rachel Uffner Gallery - A contemporary art gallery, representing an impressive collection of emerging to mid-career artists that are gaining recognition on an international level. 

2. Anastasia Photo - 143 Ludlow Street. One of the city's only true documentary photography galleries that has branched out into mixed media works including collage and painting.

3. Denny Gallery - 261 Broome Street. Specializing in emerging artists that produce compelling, beautiful pieces that are engaged with contemporary issues, materials and technologies.

4, McKenzie Fine Art -55 Orchard Street. A Sizable gallery space showing mid-career artists who work in painting, drawing, and sculpture.

5. Gavin Brown Enterprise - 291 Grand Street. Known for edgy emerging art. 

6. Nathalie Karg Gallery - 291 Grand Street. Showing a colorful mix of abstract contemporary art across various media

7. Canada - 333 Broome Street - One of the most established and largest galleries on the Lower East Side, representing artists with a gritty New York aesthetic

For more on Mason Lane Art Advisory head to www.masonlaneart.com or check out their Instagram at @masonlane_art

Purple Dragon: Private Children's Club in London

Jordan Rhodes

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It's always fun to see guest bloggers on websites, and I'm excited that my first one is reporting from London, my favorite city. Rebecca Thomson moved there in 2010 to pursue her Master's in Contemporary Design from Sotheby's Institute of Art. After working in a London gallery for four years, she is now launching a children's bedding company (I am so excited!) alongside business partner Clara Sheppard, with whom she attended Sotheby's. She and her husband Ben, who owns a bicycle company and a distribution company, live in Wimbledon with their 4 year old daughter Georgia Isabel, and 1 year old daughter Elizabeth Emmet. Today, Rebecca talks about one of her favorite places to take them...

When I moved from Virginia to London 6 years ago, the smaller living spaces and lack of giant backyards wasn't a major concern of mine. Finding the perfect (albeit it tiny) flat in the cutest neighborhood, exploring the plethora of pubs, and going to the newest exhibitions were at the top of my list instead. Fast forward to April 2014 when my daughter Georgia was born, and this all changed!

London has no shortage of beautiful parks, and we are lucky enough to have one of my personal favorites (Wimbledon Common) on our doorstep. But with all the highs of living in what I consider to be the best city in the world comes its biggest and most infamous low: the weather. What was I going to do with my "highly-spirited" 2 year old that loves to run, jump, and be downright WILD during the long winter months and rainy spring days when playing outside just wasn't an option? (To put things into perspective, my Georgie is the child that tries to climb into the shark tanks at the London Aquarium and doesn't think twice about attempting to slide down the 5 flight railing in Knightsbridge tube station.)

Lucky for us, Purple Dragon isn't too far and has been the ultimate lifesaver. Here she can do all of those things within the comforts of Central London- minus the shark tanks- although they do have an aquarium! The Art Room seems to be her personal favorite (she gets it from her Mama!) but other days she can be found jumping on the giant trampoline, playing in the ballpits, or sharing a fresh pasta bolognese with her sister and friends in the restaurant. Added bonus: there's even a full bar menu for the parents to enjoy while their littles are swinging from the rafters. It's a win-win.

For children we’re a place of limitless opportunity, somewhere to roam and have choice, to discover and create, to laugh and learn. State of the art facilities for music, dance, art, design, cooking, sport and imaginative play, which are brought to life by our highly trained play buddies. Fun with a learning by-product. - Purple Dragon
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Purple Dragon is a private member's club for children located in Chelsea, West London. They offer full time, part time, and out of town memberships. Price on Application. For more information, please contact hq@purpledragonplay.com

Photos by Rebecca Thomson