Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Disney World in 3 Days

Adora can't wait

We surprised them with a 5 day countdown to Disney by making Mickey Mouse pancakes for dinner and presenting them mouse ears.

Many of you have told me about your plans to visit Disney and wanted to know about the trip. We had a great time, packing a whole lot into three days. After you get your tickets be sure to make your account online at “my disney experience” and download the app. This is gonna be your go-to place for all your reservations and activities. Your “memory maker” will be linked here too. Memory maker holds all the pics photographers in the parks take during your visit. I highly suggest it but also think you should take your own pics too because quality/shots may not always turn out like you expect.

If you have small kids, in my experience staying at one of the resorts with access to the monorail is a good bet. If you plan on taking Disney train, busses, boats expect it to take at least 45 minutes to get there. You always have the option to cab it to a park too- which is obviously faster.

The big thing to know off the bat is 180 days out from your visit you can begin booking events, restaurants etc. Disney Dining Buddy was recently DISNEY Cshut down and honestly it’s what I used to secure some hard to get reservations for this last trip. If you wanna really eat at Cinderella’s Castle or Be Our Guest I’m not kidding when I say you need try to book when that clock strikes 12 at your 180 day out mark.

This year we visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. There is so much to do and it can be overwhelming. I’ll share our itinerary to give you an idea of what we got done in a day with a 4 and 2 year old.

Upon Arrival: Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian

This was a fun way to start our trip after arriving in Orlando in the afternoon. The dinner show started around 8pm and was interactive. Adora loved being able to take part in dancing on the stage. The fire dancer and performer was the best. I do think it could have been 15 to 20 minutes shorter. The kids got tired early and traditional dance wasn’t enough to keep them entertained until the very end. The island food was plentiful and satisfying and I’m a big fan of the family style meal presentation.


During the show people are encouraged to get up and dance


Pineapple Bread Pudding!


Memory Maker photo with the fam!

Day 1: Animal Kingdom & Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

We started the day back at the Polynesian for a character breakfast at Ohana. This was a chance to see Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey himself. The food and service was tasty! We headed to Animal Kingdom from there. The tree of life is something else. Definitely get your pic in front of it. It was cool seeing a walking tree on the way in. Our first stop was in DinoLand and the Boneyard. We took the DINOSAUR ride and I’m not sure who was more scared Adora or Robert! It was frightening but very cool. Definitely for a kid older than 5 since it appears you could be eaten by a T Rex at any moment. We toned it down with a milder Triceratop spin and then headed for the Kilamanjaro Safari ride. This is a must-do and definitely use your fast pass for this. We ate lunch on the go at the BBQ pit by DinoLand and then enjoyed the Festival of the Lion King indoors. Next time I hope to do Everest!

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At age 2, Bob is still warming up to the characters

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DINOSAUR: Scariest ride ever. Adora was horrified lol

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It’s a tree woman walking!

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The Kilimanjaro Safari rocks

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From there it was off to nap before heading to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! They shut down the park for this.  Adora was Pinocchio and Bob was Jiminy Cricket. During the Halloween Parade Pinocchio spotted Adora and came over to give her a hug. I found it was a good time to go to the Town Square Theater and meet Tinkerbell and Mickey. There were no lines. This Mickey is cool because he speaks and interacts with the kiddos.

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Meet Tink and other characters in the Town Square Theater.

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Parade Tip: There’s good open space to view it near the Barber Shop in Town Square.

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At California Grill (The Contemporary) Bob’s outfit was a hit and he knew it. He worked the room like no other and stopped so people could snap photos of him. It was hilarious.

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Day 2: Magic Kingdom and Parents Night Out

We began the day at a character breakfast inside our resort. The kids met Alice, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie and Tigger too. I find eating where you stay is a great time saver. We’re fans of buffets.. they speed things up.

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Comparing mary janes with Alice.

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Then it was back to Magic Kingdom for a morning filled with kid friendly rides. Aladdin’s magic carpet, Toy Story ride, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, It’s a Small world and Pirates of the Caribbean were age appropriate. Adora is 4 and really liked Thunder Mountain and so it’s a good roller coaster for starters.  My fave was the Jungle Cruise! The tour guides tell bad jokes the whole time and they really make you laugh. Next year.. we try Space Mountain! We had lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle and met the princess herself. Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White and Aurora all made appearances at the lunch. Afterwards, we saw Elsa and Anna at Fairytale Hall . Adora was thrilled can’t you tell? :) We wrapped things up around 3pm with the Parade. It was perfect.

Let it Go: having some issues upon meeting the real Ice Queen. Bob was smitten with the princesses and Adora finally chilled out.

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Sign Here: Don’t forget to take your autograph books everywhere and have it opened when you meet the princesses and characters.

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disney mk1The resorts have an in-house babysitting service so we scheduled coverage so that we grown ups could go out to a nice dinner at Victoria and Albert’s. This is another place you have to schedule way ahead of time. There’s a 7 course or 10 course option. We did the 7 and it was more than enough. The food was wonderful quality and a nice twist on American cuisine. A+ for presentation and service. Guys wear a jacket.


At the end of dinner they give you a rose. Robert brought it back for Adora and she lit up.

Day 3: Epcot, Downtown Disney & Hollywood Studios epcot1

On Day 3 we had breakfast scheduled at Akershu’s Royal Banquet Hall for the Princess character buffet but I canceled since we had already met a lot of royalty. The restaurant is a cool castle located at Epcot. It’s a bit of a walk but a good way to meet Belle and a lot of the princesses. We still headed to Epcot to do Spaceship Earth in the main dome. It’s a nice way to travel back in time and even though it’s in the dark it’s not scary for kids. Some other attractions to use your fast pass for would be Soarin’  (feel like you’re flying) and Mission Space.

From Epcot it was off to Downtown Disney where crews continue to do lots of construction. It’s actually has a new name too: Disney Springs. There we filled up at an animated lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and then Adora had her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover. Getting reservations at the boutique in Cinderella’s castle is tough so this is a good alternative location. Adora decided she wanted to be Rapunzel. Check out her ombre hair lol.

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While they turn this into Disney Springs expect construction and extra time to park and walk.

Rainforest Cafe: It rains, storms inside while you're eating.

Rainforest Cafe: It rains, storms inside while you’re eating.

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Didn’t realize but you can do a Prince makeover too!


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downtown disney rapunzelNext up, Hollywood Studios to see Frozen: Sing Along Celebration.  The kids loved it when it started snowing in the theater- great effect! They also had a blast checking out the fake movie sets and playing in the Muppet fountain. We had Italian dinner at Mama’s Melrose Ristorante. The meatballs were huge. Next year we’ll try to make the Little Mermaid Show. hollywoodstudios


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Fake sets all over!

Last Night: Fireworks cruise

boatSo I was too late booking the Pirate cruise with Peter Pan and Hook but there were still pontoon cruises available that leave the Grand Floridian resort. The kids in their Wendy and Pirate pjs strapped on their life jackets and took a boat with us out onto Buena Vista lake. Our guide Paul was fantastic, giving us a lot of history on the resorts and different parks. At one point they park you so you can see the nightly light show (video below). Then they eventually get you a good view of the castle to watch the fireworks. The show is narrated by Jiminy Cricket and really is magical. Adora couldn’t stop talking about all the shooting stars she saw!fireworks4



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Both got their first trading pins!

Here’s the light show in action:

The End:

After a fun filled few days it was back to reality. We fueled up, headed out and in the words of the Mickey Mouse Club we’ll “See ya real soon!”.

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On the way to the airport Adora took this photo. She wanted to capture the sunrise.

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Headphones, movies and lollipops= flying life savers

NBC4’s Education Nation Special

Thanks for all who made News4’s Education Special with Aaron Gilchrist a success. There was a range of important topics covered. One issue involved just how big of a wake-up call college is for most high school students. I went back to college to find out the secrets to success and will be sharing them on News4 at 5PM Tuesday Oct 28th. I hope you can tune in.

Avoid Flight Delays and Cancellations

When bad weather hits.. we often say call your airline ahead of time to check on your flight.. but what does that really mean.

MORE: Tuesday Commute Could Get Messy

There are things you should ask and tools you can use to avoid being a victim of cancellations and delays., a website that tracks airline traffic unvelied its “misery map.” Hub airports like Chicago’s O’Hare, Denver and DC showed the most red for misery on the map Monday– after 600 flights were canceled.
When you call ahead.. don’t ask simply if your flight is delayed.
You need to have your flight number and ask the attendant for the aircraft number assigned to your flight. Then ask where that tail number is right now. That is the best indicator of whether you’re gonna be delayed or even canceled.
A couple websites to help you out. predicts flight delays..sometimes hours before airlines figure it out. lists upcoming flights in case yours gets cancelled.
And there’s APPS like flightstats or flighttrack pro which track your flight in real time.

Potty training tips?

I’m very active on social media and include my daughter ever so often but I do my best not overshare when it comes to certain stuff. I am gonna ask you about potty training though. At 22 months I know she knows what a potty is for and she’s actually gone a couple times. For the most part she tells me she has to go by signaling with a pat on her bum or waistline. By the time I get her there it’s always too late. I found this Potty Training Doll that eats and pees. I figured the more she saw how it works the more she’d be inspired. The only problem is… she’s now obsessed with feeding the doll ALL DAY and it’s becoming a big wet mess all over the place and now I wanna put a real diaper on this doll!  Tips appreciated.

Healthy teeth tips and spots to avoid

Dr. Alex Naini stopped by News4 to talk about the importance of brushing, flossing and avoiding cavity causing culprits! Dr. Alex says if you can’t brush after a meal.. chew gum. She also suggest parents buy water with fluoride for the kids. It’s often hidden at the store.. but she says it’s there. Check out more great tips to keep the mouths happy in our interview below. You can follow Dr. Alex on twitter too.

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How to grow your business in DC

Tech insider Evan Burfield, Founder joined me in studio to share tips on getting your startup business off the ground. Evan talked about ways to build a high growth company and offered some great resources available to people right here.


DC has a big startup community and networking opportunities like the upcoming Entreprelooza 2012 will be a big deal.  The event will include the east coast premiere of startup documentary CTRL, ALT .. .Compete and a date auction where DC’s biggest tech geeks will be up for grabs. The event benefits NFTE.

Entreprelooza 2012
March 6, 2012
18th & L Street, NW DC

View more videos at:

Increase your following on Facebook, Twitter

Social media strategist Peter Corbett joined me in studio to talk Social Media Week and how to grow your following for your brand whatever it is online. See our interview below. Get more tips from Peter here at Don’t forget to join us for Social Media Week DC February 13- 17th!

View more videos at:


Gingerbread Houses To-Go

For the cooking challenged like me… this is holiday gold! The Ritz-Carlton is offering Gingerbread Houses-to-Go. Head pastry chef Daniel Mangione along with my star decorators 9 year olds Claire and Audrey joined me in studio to show how EASY this really is. For $65 you get a plain gourmet gingerbread house… three tubes of delicious icing and sugar galore!Get your kit to go at the Ritz-Carlton 1150 22nd Street, N.W. Or email Audrey at

Can’t leave without mentioning the chocolate buffet going on every Saturday through December at the Ritz:
Chocolate Decadence
Saturdays, December 10, 17, 24, 2011 8-11PM
Enjoy a buffet of sumptuous chocolate and candy desserts, including a Candy Cane Bar and Champagne cocktails from the Champagne Sommelier in the Lobby Café & Bar.

View more videos at:

Clothes Purging: Tips to let go

Here’s round #3 of my great closet clean-out. Today it was about tackling the blazers. Here’s my latest stack that includes a black leather jacket. I’ve decided to send this stack to Dress for Success DC…. since they give interview appropriate clothes to women in need applying for jobs.

MORE: 100 pairs of shoes giveaway

I found this article helpful in finding ways to part with my stuff. Below are some questions you can ask yourself if you feel inspired to purge your clothes in time for Fall!

Org Junkie’s Tips for Parting With Your Clothes

1.  If you haven’t worn something in a year then out it goes regardless of condition, price or size.  Why a year?  Because you cover every season in that period of time.  If you haven’t worn it during the year, you probably never will.

2.  If you have a piece of clothing that you wear but are annoyed with it every time you do, seriously stop it.

3.  If it’s waiting to be mended and it’s been waiting for a long time then enough is enough already.

4.  If you hate to iron and your ironing pile sits there totally neglected while you wear all your favorite clothing over and over again, why do you still have an ironing pile?

5.  I’m not opposed to keeping your “skinny” clothes (and I know we all do it) but for goodness sakes you don’t need to keep all of it.  Styles change, your tastes change, your body shape changes so chances are good that when you get back to that size you’re going to want new stuff anyway.

6.  If you absolutely love a shirt but never wear it because you have nothing to wear it with, well guess what, a mate isn’t going to magically appear in the night.  Follow the one year rule.

7.  Sentimental clothes that you aren’t wearing shouldn’t reside in your closet.   Either take a picture of it and preserve the memory or limit yourself to one tote of “clothes to show my kids so they can laugh their heads off at me someday”.

8.  Don’t hang onto something that is “just alright” because you don’t have something better yet to replace it.  Let it go now unless it means you go naked, that wouldn’t be right.

9.  You don’t have to do it all at once.  Like I did try it in stages and be motivated by your success.  One day you could do shirts, the next day shorts, etc..

10.  Try everything on.  This one I can’t stress enough.  Do not hold something up and say oh this is so beautiful I’m going to keep it.  That’s too easy and what you might not remember is that, although it’s beautiful, the buttons gape at the front showing off your woman parts.  Nope we don’t want that now do we.  Get rid of it.

11.  You only have the space that you do.  Jamming your clothes into the closet and fighting with them every single day to find what you need won’t make your closet grow in the night.  It will only make you grumpy…every single day.  It’s not worth it.

Steve Case gives DC Startups Pep talk

AOL co-founder and billionaire Steve Case dropped by Tech Cocktail Startup Mixology Conference as guest speaker. Case motivated the crowd and gave a pep talk to DC’s startup and early stage companies, sharing insight and personal experience on reaching success with a new business.

MORE: Top Financial and Accounting Tips for startups from Tech Cocktail

Case spoke, ‘I’m motivated by helping entrepreneurs build their dreams and create a company help change the world.’

Mixology Conference on WUSA9 Below


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