Know Before You Go! Part I

This is Part I of the article that I wrote for The Toms River Macaroni Kid!

Disney Mom
We are a Mickey and Mermaid Kinda Family!

Disney Tips!

Know Before You Go – Tips and Tricks from a Disney Mom

Flying off to Disney for Spring Break 2018? Thinking about a fabulous vacay in Florida during the November break? As a Disney fanatic and vacation planner, I have been traveling to Disney World — nearly every time of the year. And as a mom to three princesses, I have polished my own Disney experiences into some magic tips to make ours the best trips EVER!

Here, in no particular order, are a few ideas to get you started!

#10: Ditch the glass slippers: I am the queen of cute shoes. I own more shoes than I am willing to reveal, but in Disney, it’s all about comfort. You will walk…A LOT…Wear shoes that you know you will be comfortable in for a long day — Nothing ruins the magic like aching feet and blisters.
#9: To infinity and beyond: Disney provides complimentary FastPasses and allows three FastPasses per day. You can secure them 60 days before your trip. After you scan your magic band for the third FastPass of the day, you can log into My Disney Experience and snag a fourth. Then there’s rider switch.  This is the best! Missing the height 

Disney Mom
Fairy Godmother!

requirement? Use rider switch.  With rider switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider, while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. When the other adult returns, switch! This is better than pixie dust!

#8: You want thingamabobs, I got 20: Purchase a portable phone charger —when I am in Disney, I am constantly logging into My Disney Experience. The battery gets drained — and fast. Between checking FastPasses, checking memory maker, and snapping my own pictures and videos, having a portable phone charger is essential for those long park days. Disney also has stores where you can purchase “fuel rods”, that are good for one full phone charge. Once that pack is drained, you can switch out for a new one, free of charge. There are also charging stations, but who wants to be tethered to a charger and miss out on all the fun???
#7: There’s a whole new world of Disney merchandise: If you’re like me, you might say yes to every adorable Disney item. Then of course, you probably won’t want to carry your items around the parks, even more so, you don’t want to lose it or forget it somewhere.  Trust me when I tell you that Disney thinks of everything, and so there is the fabulous feature that they will deliver your purchase to your hotel.
#6: Every princess needs a coach & every pirate needs a ship: Even if your kids are older, if you have to ask, “Should I bring a stroller?” The answer is YES! (unless, they are like 10 – no stroller…)  Bring a stroller or rent a stroller. I’ve used Kingdom Stroller my last few trips and they are fabulous. Take advantage of the convenience. Most days you can walk up to 10-12 miles (in those comfortable shoes, see tip #1), so let your kids sit in a stroller, even if they are a bit older. It will make the experience much easier.

Disney Mom
Best Day EVER!


 Here are links to some of my favorite shops to order those adorable matching Disney shirts!

Kingstone Printing

Little Miss Petals

Welcome to Wonderland

My Sports Decals

Check out Kingdom Strollers: Kingdom Strollers

Disclaimer: These are all my personal pictures and my personal experiences. You are entitled to disagree and quite frankly, it doesn’t bother me one Disney bit!

About Me

  1. I’ve been married to my Prince Charming for almost 11 years — (He made me write that). I didn’t think I would survive my first year of marriage, but I am so happy we fought for our happily ever after.

  2.  I have three daughters and their names all start with the letter P. We didn’t do it on purpose. We named our first born, Peyton, and really liked the name, Parker, for our second born, so when we found out a third girl was on the way, we didn’t want her to feel slighted, therefore, we have Piper. I’m barely surviving motherhood with their eye rolls and sass (I have no idea where they learned this). My three peas in a pod certainly keep us on our toes, but we love it and wouldn’t change it for the world.
  3.  My sister lives in Napa, California. She is the head chef of an awesome restaurant, living the wine life out in Napa. I am the only member of my immediate family currently residing in the “beautiful” Garden state.

  4. My parents live in Europe. My mom is the director of a school and is the epitome of a bad ass girl boss. She is my role model and I hope to follow in her footsteps.
  5. I double majored in English and Journalism at Rutgers University and graduated with high honors having made Dean’s list every semester. If you saw my antics in college, you would really wonder how I pulled this off.

  6. I teach high school English & Journalism. I love teaching and I love my students. I’m invested in our country’s future – and those students sitting in those desks are our future.
  7. I was a bartender for over 10 years during the summer months at the Jersey Shore!

  8. I love to run and didn’t start running until I was 25-years old. I also said I would never run a half marathon and yet, I’m currently training for my 4th. I run mostly to keep the crazy away – but also – I really like food and wine – running helps me maintain a healthy balance in life.
  9. I have two dogs — Reese and Ruby — we rescued both dogs and we clearly have a thing for alliteration — Kevin & Casey, Peyton, Parker & Piper, Reese & Ruby.

  10. I have an obsession with Hallmark movies. I actually upgrade my television package during the holiday season to get all the special Hallmark and Lifetime channels. I go into a week-long mourning after the holidays, until I can find a new series to binge watch.
  11. I really want to be a morning person, but I am SO not — I hit snooze at least three times every single morning. I am that person that has to set at least three to four alarms to wake up. It’s a horrible habit, and one I am not proud of, but I love sleep. I would also take a nap every day if I could. I wish my daughters would appreciate sleep and naps as much as their mother…because I’m tired as a mother.

  12. My sister and I have matching dragonfly tattoos. Dragonflies are symbolic to our family. She designed them and I love this tattoo – unlike the not so thought out one I got when I was 19 and was rebelling against my parents (middle-child syndrome).
  13. I’m Disney obsessed — I wish I could go to Disney once a month. I’m in Disney withdrawal —and I am counting the days. See previous Disney posts – I’m also a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations.

  14. I was a cheerleader my entire life, like from the time I was 5-years old until I was a senior in high school. I won National Championships and was an All-American, but had no desire to continue with cheerleading after high school. I also have no desire for my daughters to get involved in cheerleading. As much as I enjoyed it and accomplished much during my years as a rah rah, I want my daughters to try various sports and not commit to just one activity at such a young age. But if you asked me to whip out a heel stretch or spirit fingers, you better watch out!
  15. I enjoy stand up paddle boarding— It gives me a sense of peace to do sunrise paddles and sunset paddles. Irony – I can’t swim. Luckily, I paddle with my friends who are like actual mermaids and will save me when I fall in and I am attacked by baby sharks.

  16. My favorite movies are Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama— I adore Reese Witherspoon – I have been told I resemble her, and I take it as a huge compliment. The bend and snap is a staple in our house and I’ve been known to say the line, “You have a baby…in a bar” from time to time.
  17. I secretly wish I was Joanna Gaines. I love home decor and decorating. I have an eye for remodeling — We just finished our own “Fixer Upper” and I am secretly sad that it’s done. My husband is my Chip and can build, fix, and design pretty much anything. (There’s before and after pictures of our house in the slide show below).

  18. I was in a sorority in college — Alpha Chi Omega— but I also played rugby for a semester. The semester I was being initiated into my sorority and also the rugby program was probably one of the most enjoyable few months of my college experience. I met so many different people and traveled to other colleges and campuses for Rugby games, while Greek life was where I met many of my life-long friends.
  19. I love coffee — if I don’t start my day with at least two cups, you may want to avoid me until the caffeine has been consumed and I’ve had a chance to be a functioning human being. Another reason that I love coffee is that I have three princesses that climb into our bed each evening claiming monsters and aliens are living in their rooms. Coffee equals a happy mommy. No coffee equals scary mommy.

  20. My favorite quote is — “She believed she could, so she did” — I truly believe that if you have the mental strength, passion, and determination to get something done, you can and you will – (this blog is a result of me believing in myself).

About me

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Real. Strong. Women. And Why I Hope My Daughter Becomes a Legacy.

Sorority Life

Since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be in a sorority. I also knew that I would be very selective about the sorority I would join.

I knew I would pick the sorority with the most genuine, the most real, and the most down-to-earth women…women who strive for values, morals, compassion, and genuine friendships.

Fast forward to fall of 2001… Rutgers University Rush Week. I was excited, a little nervous. Mostly, I was really looking forward to the experience, but more so, I wanted to be selected — I wanted to be a part of either Gamma Phi Beta or Alpha Chi Omega.

Sorority Life

At the end of a remarkable week filled with rush parties and meeting countless women, I actually received bids to both sororities — one more popular and larger, the other not as much. I can still remember “Bid Day”. The sorority sisters came cheering and chanting to my dorm room. My fairy god brother, as I called him, came running out of his room. He was SO delighted for me.

You don’t have a lot of time to make a decision and I was torn between the two choices. I was also humbled that I was asked to join my top two choices, which made the selection all the more difficult.

Sorority Life
Some of my sorority sisters at my engagement party.

I didn’t look back and I accepted my bid to Alpha Chi Omega. I knew that I really wanted to get to know all of these women on a personal level. I also knew that I was really passionate about the philanthropy for the smaller sorority.

Sorority life lived up to all my expectations. We had fun, at times maybe too much —but we also had mandatory study hours and formal weekly chapter meetings where important issues were discussed. We volunteered our time helping others, and we participated in numerous fundraisers for various charities and for our philanthropy: domestic violence.

img_1177I wasn’t hazed. I didn’t have to walk around campus in ridiculous outfits or do outlandish and inappropriate things during “hell” week. The week before initiation was far from hell.

I didn’t stay in my dorm that week. I had the privilege of staying in my soon-to-be sorority house. It was during this week that I bonded with the women in my pledge class. We studied the history of our sorority. We studied our founding sisters. We studied all things AXΩ.

I won’t lie…we did go on some fun scavenger hunts that week. We also created lasting memories and took some pictures that need to stay in a vault. FOREVER!!!

Sorority Life

When I look back at college, I remember the bond. I remember the laughter. I remember the tears.

I remember the homecoming games. I remember the bid days. I remember watching new episodes on Sunday nights of “Sex and the City”.

I remember decorating for rush week. I remember the bid days. I remember formals. I remember the Derby Days and Dance Marathons.

These women became my family— and they are still my family to this day.  Even though the years have passed since graduation, there is an unspoken bond that can never be broken.

These women are strong. They are published authors, psychiatrists, editors for prestigious magazines, fitness instructors, lawyers, teachers, and more.

These women are amazing.

These women are my “sisters”.

Shari and Gordon’s engagement Party

I can only hope that when my daughters choose their lifelong friends, or maybe one day, a sorority, that they seek out strong women. Women who support them, no matter what. Women that speak the truth, and not behind their backs. Women that encourage and value strong, healthy friendships.

Women who are just like… my sisters.

Together let us seek the heights

The Alpha Chi Omega Symphony

To see beauty even in the common things of life,
to shed the light of love and friendship round me;
to keep my life in tune with the world that I shall make no discords in the harmony of life;
to strike on the lyre of the universe only the notes of happiness, of joy, of peace;
to appreciate every little service rendered;
to see and appreciate all that is noble in another, be her badge what it may;
and to let my lyre send forth the chords of love, unselfishness, sincerity.
This is to be my symphony.


Disney Tips

  Disney Tips

  • #10 Don’t stress. If you’re overwhelmed with planning, hire a travel agent that specializes in Disney. Most TA’s are paid by Disney and their services are free.
  • #9 Enjoy the experience. There are stressed out parents all around you. Simply accept the fact that your kids are going to melt down at some point. You might even melt down. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re in DISNEY!
  • #8 Don’t parent shame. There is absolutely no parent shaming in Disney- Got it?- If you don’t know what parent shaming is – look it up and just don’t do it. Parenting 101: We are all doing the best we can, especially in Disney with excited, exhausted, and over-stimulated kids.
  • #7 Be flexible. Even the most organized Disney trips don’t go as planned. You might wake up late, the bus system may be off schedule, or it might – wait for it – rain. Contrary to popular belief, there is NO dome over Disney, so please don’t lash out at the cast members if it rains.
  • #6 Get Memory Maker. Don’t forget to stop and take it all in. For some families, Disney is a one and done trip, or a once in a lifetime trip. Don’t try to get the “perfect” picture or take “every” picture – (I am guilty of this) – be in the moment. Memory Maker is worth every single penny.
  • #5 Be respectful. There are people from ALL over the world vacationing at Disney. Every family and person that is there, spent money to be there – like a lot of money – Everyone’s trip is special in their own way – please don’t act like an entitled ass.
  • #4 Respect the cast members. I PROMISE YOU, cast members aren’t trying to ruin your trip by telling you to move your stroller or to exit a certain way. Disney has a system and it works. If you have an issue or concern, address it in a mature manner.
  • #3 Stay hydrated. Florida heat is like NO other. Don’t forget to drink water and make sure your kids are hydrated. If you need to take a mommy or daddy “time out” and grab a beer, there’s plenty of places to do so – just don’t act like a buffoon. (Also it’s an unspoken parent rule, when you see another parent pushing a stroller with a beer in hand, it’s socially acceptable to have a drink). Please read Disney tip #8 titled – “no parent shaming”- sometimes mommy and daddy need a drink.
  • #2 Don’t “expect” Pixie Dust. You will be highly disappointed in your trip if you “expect” Pixie Dust. There will be lines, there will be crowds, and every single second of your trip may not be perfect. If you want a relaxing trip, without kids, don’t go to Disney. Go to an island.
  • #1 PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP. Sometimes Disney leaves bounce back offers. Be sure to ask upon check out or check your room before you leave.


Follow me on Facebook: Casey @ Sunset Magic Travel

Follow me on Instagram: 3Disneyprincesses_

Links to some of my favorite small businesses for custom Disney shirts, bags, sweatshirts, and more.

Kingstone Printing

Little Miss Petals

Welcome to Wonderland

This will be the first of MANY Disney blogs! These are all my personal pictures and my personal experiences. You are entitled to disagree and quite frankly, it doesn’t bother me one Disney bit!