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Filtering by Category: Kids

Tips for Doing Disney World in Style

Jordan Rhodes


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.


  • 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!

Tips for Dining in Nice Restaurants with Young Kids

Jordan Rhodes


When I became pregnant with my daughter over six years ago, one of the millions of things that crossed my mind was, “where are we going to eat now?” I wasn’t about to sacrifice the stylish restaurants I loved for fast food, or becoming a hermit just because kids are boisterous, so I set out to find which restaurants in my area (Greenwich, CT and New York City) were cool yet kid-friendly. Fast forward a couple of years and Glimpse Guides was born – our family loves to travel and friends were always asking where we took our kids in other cities, so I decided to start creating guides. The restaurants we visit are the same ones my husband and I would visit even if my kids weren’t with us. They’re the fashionable spots, and they are also totally fine for toddlers – if you’re prepared. Here are a few tips I’ve come up with for enjoying yourselves while trying to stay au courant:

1) Preview the menu
The second you sit down at the table, place an order for the kids. They need to be doing something at all times – preferably eating. I like to look at the menu ahead of time so if there’s no kids menu, I’ll already know that they’ll eat the pasta.

2) Bring activities
I start with crayons and paper and then move onto books. My kids aren’t too into coloring so we usually move on quickly (Where’s Waldo? is a great book that keeps them busy forever.) I also bring their iPads if all else fails – trust me, it will bother no one if they’re just sitting there well-behaved (although of course you’ll get the random judgey stare – just remember those people probably don’t have kids, so who cares?).


3) Try not to let them out of their seats
Wanting to get down and walk around can become a bad habit. But if you’re desperate, take a walk to the restroom and come right back. If you choose a particularly lively spot, which most of our choices are, you won’t disturb anyone by making a long loop. You do not want this to happen:

4) Eat early
You’ll avoid the crowds and have the place to yourselves for most of the time. Plus, who wants a toddler staying up past their bedtime anyway? Bonus - you'll lose weight by eating early.

5) Look good
I like to dress my kids up in their cutest outfits, so they might have a chance of charming other patrons into thinking they’re adorable little angels.

6) Bribery
I’m sorry, but who do you know who has honestly never bribed their kids? Offer up dessert if they are well-behaved, and keep mentioning it throughout the meal. Works like a charm.


A Truly Great Parenting Book

Jordan Rhodes


Since I was a little girl the thing I’ve always loved to do most is read books. To me nothing is more exciting than starting a new one that you just can’t put down, one that transports you to another place or another time. I also love books about parenting because let’s face it, I definitely need tons of help in this department. So when my sister-in-law Betsy sent me Love That Boy by Ron Fournier after raving about it, I knew it was a must-read because not only is she a parent, she is also an avid reader, as well. And she was spot-on with this recommendation – I devoured it. Fournier is a well-known political columnist who began his career under Bill Clinton in my home-town of Little Rock, Arkansas, then spent many subsequent years in Washington covering the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. It was fascinating to gain insight into this world, but the bulk of the memoir is about his youngest child, Tyler, who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. At the beginning of the diagnosis Fournier struggles with things like popularity, athleticism and acceptance for his child, but as he embarks on this journey to understand his son, he realizes, (largely from encounters with these former presidents as well as fellow parents of children with autism), that parents need to shift their focus more to things like character and kindness. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to do things differently than other kids. The smiles and tears I felt page after page made me want to write down several of the sentiments, as well as important statistics, which I’ve shared below, but I hope all of you will go out and buy this book because I in no way listed everything I learned. And you do not need to have a child on the autism spectrum to benefit from the parenting points Fournier makes:

“We should measure our children not by the mountains they conquer but by their efforts to climb."

"The next parent who Googles ‘Is my 2-year-old gifted?’ should get a curt response: ‘Your 2-year-old is a gift.'”

A 2014 University of Virginia study lead by Joseph Allen “found that…’cool’ teens had a 45 percent greater rate of problems due to substance use by age 22, and a 22 percent greater rate of criminal behavior, compared with the average teen in the study…(and) they never developed the skills needed for deep, durable friendships.” Fournier also reports Allen saying “there is a quiet majority of adolescents who are destined to be far more socially functional at an older age than their in-crowd peers.”

“One of every five 18-year-olds has suffered major depression, and nearly 9 percent of adolescents have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder…the consensus of experts is that the rise is strongly linked to parental expectations.”

“Modern child behaviorists are united in the belief that parents should embrace the fact that a child’s future depends chiefly on the child. Focus on the moment, build a loving relationship, and redefine the perfect outcome. Don’t limit yourself to standard measures of a child’s success, such as grades, trophies, and acceptance letters from elite preschools and graduate schools. And don’t swaddle your kids in praise and privilege.”

“Privileged kids are more likely to develop stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety (etc)…You might think you’re avoiding this trap by praising your kids – telling them they’re the smartest, funniest, and best-looking of all children – or by shielding them from failure and responsibility. You would be wrong. Praise begets pressure. And it can be counterproductive.”

“The best approach, according to decades of studies, is to be what child development experts call an ‘authoritative parent.’ These mothers and fathers are involved and responsive. They set high expectations but respect their kids’ autonomy. They are the Goldilocks of parenting – not too hard (clinically defined as “authoritarian”) or too soft (“permissive”) – and they tend to raise children who do better academically, psychologically, and socially than their peers. The children of Goldilocks parents don’t get trophies just for showing up. They’re allowed to fail. A Goldilocks mother would never declare, ‘You’re going to an Ivy League school,’ nor would she shrug and say, ‘I don’t care if you go to college.’ A Goldilocks father doesn’t second-guess his daughter’s academic and career choices, doesn’t push his son into sports, and doesn’t fret over his daughter’s choice for a husband.”

“People who focus on living with a sense of purpose are more likely to remain healthy and intellectually sound and even to live longer than people who focus on achieving feelings of “happiness” via pleasure…Raising kids, working through marriage troubles, and volunteering at a soup kitchen may be less pleasurable (than a fun meal or night out), but these pursuits provide fulfillment – a sense that you’re the best person you can be. Researchers call this “hedonic well-being” and link it directly to lower levels of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other maladies. The research appears consistent at every income and education level, and among all races.”

Fournier then sums up parenting with some final thoughts (and make sure you buy the book because he goes into further detail):
• Don’t parent for the future; parent for today
• Guide, don’t push
• Don’t beat yourself up
• Celebrate all victories
• Slow down
• Make different cool
• Be a spouse first, a parent second
• Share even the bad news
• Fight for your kids
• Channel your inner Aspie (some traits include loyalty, honesty, wittiness, dependability, integrity)

“In his or her own way, every child is lucky enough to be different.”



Tips for Flying with Kids

Jordan Rhodes


I'm not going to lie. I dread flights with my kids. They cry, throw food, kick the seats in front of them, stare awkwardly at the people behind them. During boarding, I literally run down the aisle to our seats and avoid all eye contact with my fellow passengers, because I know, at some point, they are going to hate me, and I can't bear any type of interaction beforehand or I begin to feel guilt (okay, I'm being a bit dramatic - there are always a few tolerant, helpful passengers who are, themselves, parents, and to them, I could not be more grateful. But I emphasize the word "few.") Even when traveling on a private plane a parent does not have the luxury of taking it easy.
However, that is not going to stop me from traveling with my family. Because to me, exploring the world, learning about other cultures, giving my children life experiences, and teaching them at an early age that they are blessed, is one of the most important things my husband and I can do for them. So, in an effort to help other parents view it the same way, I have compiled a list of helpful tips for airplane travel, for both commercial and private flights. Read it with an open mind and a glass of wine for courage.

1) Book flights as early as possible
This way you can pick seats close to the bathroom if you are in the toddler phase, and you will be able to reserve a coveted bassinet on longhaul flights if traveling with infants - typically only a handful are available, and allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. Plus, needless-to-say, tickets booked early tend to be cheaper.

2) Try to book domestic flights in the middle of the day
This way kids will not have to get up extra early or stay up late, thus disturbing that ever important necessity we parents call a schedule. And if your kids still nap, hopefully they will do it on the plane.

3) For red-eye flights, comfort is key
Pack a pillow, blanket, pajamas, loveys - whatever will help them get into a semblance of their nighttime routine. Never forget a swaddling blanket for newborns or a beloved stuffed animal for toddlers.

4) Get to the airport early
There is nothing worse than being late for a flight and having to rush. We all know how slow kids are - they're doing this on purpose, aren't they?? - and ample time will be needed to get them through security (especially if strollers are involved,) stop for juice, milk or forgotten snacks, make them use the restroom one more time in case taxiing to the runway takes a while, and get them situated on board. Rushed parents and kids equals stress.

5) Bring a carry-on full of surprises
The biggest issue we face flying with kids is boredom. I like to bring a variety of brand-new toys and simple objects, and pull out a different one each time I start to see movement. These can range from iPads loaded with movies and games, to coloring books and crayons, to thin, paperback picture books or stories. Even completely random items will do the trick, like a mirror from your handbag or a calculator from dads briefcase. Kids will take anything they think is a "present."

6) Snacks, snacks, snacks
A well-fed kid is a happy kid. So I have NO problem whatsoever plying them with goldfish, fruit pouches, pretzels, you name it. Plus there's the chance they will pass out after a meal.

7) When all else fails? Benadryl
Controversial? Perhaps. A desperate solution? Absolutely. Many parents swear by it - I'm merely suggesting what I've heard (promise...)

On a serious note, here is one final, helpful piece of information. I have traveled with my kids dozens of times, overseas and back, and I promise that once the flight is over and they have had one night adjusting to a new time zone, they will bounce back to the delightful kids you once knew, and you will immediately begin to enjoy your vacation. It's getting through the flight that is the hard part. Don't let that stop you. They serve wine.