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Disney Backpacks a HOT Back to School Must Have

Disney Backpacks Back to School

Disney is HOT HOT HOT and that is becoming even more apparent as parents and kids go back to school shopping! Disney backpacks are always a popular choice for back to school. Many kids want to carry a bag that features their favorite movie characters! Luckily, there are many choices when it comes to Disney backpacks – most of which can be found on Amazon!

Below are 15 of the hottest Disney backpacks on the market…

1. Minnie Mouse “I Love Minnie” Backpack
2. Disney Fairies Backpack with Lunch Box
3. Frozen Elsa and Anna Backpack
4. Cars Lightning McQueen Backpack
5. Little Mermaid All Over Print Backpack
6. Mickey Mouse Backpack
7. Jake and the Neverland Pirates Backpack
8. Monsters U Rolling Backpack
9. Disney Princesses Backpack
10. Sofia the First Backpack
11. Classic Disney All Over Print Backpack
12. Toy Story Rolling Backpack
13. Rapunzel Backpack
14. Doc McStuffins Backpack
15. Disney Planes Backpack

Shopping on a budget? Check out these 100 cheap backpacks for $25 or less!

cheap backpacks

4 Things to Consider when Traveling with a Dog

Traveling with a Dog

4 Things to Consider when Traveling with a Dog

Are you planning a mid-summer trip? Have you thought about what you are going to do with your dog? Will you let him stay in a dog hotel or kennel or will your family pet be joining you on vacation? If you have plans to do some summer traveling with a dog, then you need to plan ahead. Here are 4 things to consider when traveling with a dog.

Check hotels.

Don’t assume that all hotels will accept a dog. There are some hotels who will gladly allow you to bring your pets, but not all hotels are pet friendly. There are some hotels that not only accept pets, but cater to them. You can do a search at Pets Welcome to find the best hotels for your family and pets.

Plan for extra stops.

If you are traveling on the interstates, there are rest areas located at regular intervals. Most of these rest areas will have designated areas where you can walk your dog and let him take care of his business. Just be kind to other travelers and respect the pet free zones. If you are stopping at other gas stations and restaurants, then of course pick up after your pet when he takes care of business.

Crate or Free?

If you are going to be traveling with a pet, you will need to decide where the dog will ride. Will you crate him while you travel, carry his own bed and blanket or let the dog roam in the vehicle. (Consider using a special dog seatbelt both for his safety and yours.) Whatever you decide, do a local test run to make sure your dog is agreeable to the arrangement. The worst thing you want is a dog that is going to whine the whole time you are traveling.

Carry Food and Water

People like to eat snacks when they travel. Pets are no different. There are some great collapsable bowls that will help your dog be able to say hydrated and fed while on a road trip.

Do you travel with your pet? Got any tips for making a successful road trip with your dog? I’d love to hear!


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Should I Go to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Five things to consider.

Should you go to Disneyland or Walt Disney World

For folks who live on either the East or West Coasts, deciding whether to vacation at Disneyland or Walt Disney World isn’t too hard – they generally go to whichever park is closest.  But for those of us living in the middle of the country, we really can access either park pretty easily which then presents a dilemma: which Disney Park to visit to express our Disney Side???

I grew up on the East Coast in Connecticut, so my first trip to the land of the Mouse was to Walt Disney World and I loved it.  Once I got married, moved to Wisconsin, and started my own family, we started looking at where we might go for vacation and I automatically defaulted to Walt Disney World, since that’s where I had been.  My husband, who spent time at Disneyland when he was stationed in CA with the Marines was excited about seeing a new place, so off we went.

We enjoyed Disney World so much that we returned two more times the following years.  After our first trip, we scheduled two weeks in Florida for the following trips since we had trouble squeezing everything into the one week during our first visit.  This spring, we had the chance to experience Disneyland while attending the Disney Social Media Moms Conference.  This really gave me a great perspective on what unique characteristics each park has.

Having been to both parks, I am often asked by those planning their family vacations which I recommend.  I always reply “It depends” because it really does depend on what you are looking for in your vacation.

First, I should start off by saying that whichever park you visit, your experience will be stellar.  All Disney experiences (and I include the Disney cruises in this statement as well) include top notch customer service, helpful and friendly employees, and all of the small touches that you would never expect but then miss if you go anywhere else.  Both parks offer that signature experience of feeling like you have entered a magical world where anything can happen.

Here are five questions I think can help you narrow down which Disney park you would like to visit.

How much time do you have?

Disneyland is considerably smaller and more compact (Disneyland Park, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and the resort hotels are all in the same area) while Walt Disney World has four separate parks (not counting the two water parks!) and is quite spread out – in fact it is over 47 times larger in square miles than Disneyland.  There are more things to do and more travel time between them at Disney World.  If you just have a few days, I feel like Disneyland is the perfect size.  If you have an extended vacation where you will have time to explore every nuance and corner, then Disney World will provide plenty to keep you busy.

How old are the children you will be bringing?

Both parks offer rides for kids of all ages.  I only consider ages when looking at the amount of walking that is involved in visiting all of the rides you will want to make sure you hit.  I wore my pedometer on both trips and noticed I hit almost triple the daily steps when we were at Walt Disney World than at Disneyland.  Of course, strollers are available at both parks and we actually rented one at Disney World during our first trip, just because it was a lot of walking for our then 3 year old.  (They are the best strollers I’ve ever used and would have bought one if they had been selling them – seriously!)

Will you have transportation?

Of course, the ultimate Disney experience includes staying at a Disney resort hotel.  If that is the case, you don’t have to worry about a thing – Disney will get you where you want to go in style!  But not everyone does stay on property and that is something to consider.  Does your lodging provide transportation to and from the park?  At Disneyland, once you are in the park, you are all set. You can easily walk to wherever you might want to go – both theme parks and Downtown Disney.  If you are visiting Walt Disney World, it might be a little more of a challenge if you want to park-hop or visit Downtown Disney without a vehicle.  It can absolutely be done, but it is something to consider, especially if you have little ones in tow.

Is there a specific movie or ride your family really want to see?

Both parks have some of the signature rides we all think of when we think Disney – Space Mountain, It’s A Small World, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, etc. Of course, if you are big Disney fans like we are, it’s fun to note some of the subtle differences between the same rides at both parks.  But if your son is the world’s biggest Cars fan, you might want to head to Disneyland where Cars Land provides one of the most incredible movie-themed experiences you will ever have.  My son rode the Radiator Springs Racers ride eight times in a row.  It really is that cool.  Now, if you have a die-hard Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fan on your hands, there is new ride at Disney World that you will not want to miss!  I haven’t had the chance to check it out myself yet, but it is on my list!

disneyland radiator springs


Is humidity a concern for you?

I am not going to pretend to knowledgeable about weather beyond my own basic experiences, but I found the weather at Disneyland much more pleasant than at Disney World mainly because I hate humidity.  While neither location can promise perfect weather every day, if you are visiting in the summer (when many families are) keep in mind that Disney World is set in more of a tropical climate where humidity is high and temps can reach upwards of 90 degrees. We visited in November and only had a few hot, humid days. Disneyland has more of a Mediterranean climate where the cool, damp air off of the Pacific can keep temps lower and provide some cloud cover.  We visited Disneyland in mid-April and had very dry, comfortable days.

disneyland welcome mat

Whether you choose to spend your vacation at Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California, you really can’t go wrong.  The differences I’ve pointed out here are really minor when you look at the big picture of the overall experience.  My honest recommendation is visit both parks if you are able – each has its own personality and charm.  And be sure to stop back after your visits and tell me which park you prefer and why!



Best “Let It Go” Covers from Disney’s Frozen

I admit to having blasted Frozen’s hit song “Let It Go” on a few trips down the highway while singing at the top of my lungs.  I’m certainly no Idina Menzel and I’m sure I did the public a service by keeping my windows up!  More than a few people have also sung their own versions of the song and posted them on YouTube – and most are waaaaay better than mine!  Here are a few of the best I have found:

The Mom Version (how many of us can relate to this one??)

This is one of my favorites – kind of like The Lion King meets Frozen.


I’m always in awe of people who can do multiple impersonations as I can’t do, well, ANY.

And lastly, this one had my whole family cracking up and asking to see it over and over. Got to love a news guy with a sense of humor!!

Did I miss a great cover of “Let It Go”?? Link to your favorite in the comments so I can check it out!

Got relatives visiting for the holidays? Win them a free hotel stay!

hampton hotelsWhen we first bought our house, we had visions of relatives and friends finally coming to visit and bunking at our place.  I spent all kinds of time decorating our guest room to feel homey and inviting.  My sister in law had given us a gorgeous blue and white wedding quilt that I used to drive the color scheme and I decked it out to the hilt.

Now, granted my parents did use the guest room a few times when them came to visit and seemed to appreciate my efforts,  But then they bought a house a mile and a half down the road and not only do they not need to crash at our house anymore, all the relatives who visit stay with them!

Our guest room sat empty and sad until one day I finally gave up and converted it into my office.  Now the room is fully converted – no more bed, only a desk, file cabinets, and a closet full of office supplies.  It’s great to have a place to conduct business that is all mine, but what do we do when suddenly someone decides to visit??

We point them toward the nearest Hampton Hotel!

Now, before you start calling me a bad hostess, let me add that I think most of our guests appreciate the chance to escape the ungodly-early antics that start just before 6am at our house every day.  First you have LJ who seems physically unable to sleep past 6 am, no matter how late he has gone to bed.  Add in an early rising dog who wakes up ready to play (and bark) at LJ, and it’s not always the best place to be trying to sleep in.

I’m pretty sure most guests would prefer the nice quiet morning that greets them at a nearby hotel!

hampton inn

So why Hampton? When I first graduated from college, I worked as an admissions recruiter for a year.  The college I worked for was in New Hampshire, but my recruiting territory was Connecticut and Long Island.  I would hit the road Sunday night or early on Monday morning and then spend the week on the road and head back home on Thursday or Friday and this went on for about six months out of the year.  That was a LOT of nights in hotels and I quickly learned which ones I wanted to spend time in and which ones I didn’t.  It didn’t take me long to develop a preference for Hampton Hotels and searching them out wherever I was staying.  I loved that they were always clean and inviting, that the staff was consistently helpful and friendly, and that there was just something about them that felt more like home.

Hampton Hotels has actually put a word to what I was feeling – Hamptonality.

The 5 Tenets of Hamptonality are:

·         Unexpected delight

·         Being anticipatory

·         Sharing a compliment

·         Providing a moment of humor

·         Showing empathy

 If you are looking to provide your holiday guests with a little Hamptonality yourself, entertaining expert Jenny Steffens Hobick has a few tips!

Tip 1: Be the best OFF-SITE host ever…

Let’s be honest. You love your friends and family, but cramming everyone into your house for days at a time can be stressful and add to your already lengthy holiday host to-do list! If you simply don’t have enough room to host all of your holiday guests or you just think everyone would be happier with their own, comfortable space, consider booking them at your local Hampton. With more than 1,900 locations, Hampton is the perfect place to stay no matter where your guests may be traveling from.

Tip 2: Surprise your guests with welcome treats

I always like to make sure my guests know how excited we are to have them for a visit by surprising them with a little treat when they arrive. One of my favorite ways to greet them is with something personalized with their name on it, like a decorated sugar cookie or a festive welcome sign. I love staying at Hampton Hotels because they take a similar approach. They often add a personal touch for a guest’s stay by offering a favorite local snack or fun local item when guests check in.

Tip 3: Be prepared with lots of snacks

We all get a little grouchy when we’re hungry – adults and kids alike!  Anticipate those moments by having snacks planned for afternoons and before dinner to keep everyone happy.  Be sure to include fresh options like fruit and crunchy veggies, along with filling cheeses and more decadent treats so you have something for everyone!

 Want to treat your guests to a night at a Hampton Hotel? One lucky Wisconsin Mommy reader will receive a “Be My Guest” card, which entitles the bearer to (1) free night stay at a Hampton location. (And there are 1,900 locations to choose from!)  Each location offers free, hot breakfast with fresh-baked waffles in addition to free high-speed internet access.



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Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Hampton Hotel via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hampton or Momtrends