Enjoying a Disney Vacation

It’s hard for people to understand how visiting Walt Disney World could be a vacation. There’s so much to do and see, it seems as if you would have to be on the go the whole time, leaving no room for relaxing. That’s why it’s so important to make time in that crazy itinerary to just chill.

When you have been planning a trip like this for years and you’re not sure when you’ll be back, it’s so hard to imagine not trying to see as much as possible. I totally get that. There’s also the fact that you’re spending a lot of money to be there and you want to make sure it counts.

For me, there are a few key factors when visiting Disney to make it feel like a vacation, especially now that I am traveling with kids. The first and most important thing:

Do Not Keep Them Out All Day Long!

This will definitely result in meltdowns, exhaustion and feeling as though your trip was a waste of money! Take some time in your day. Maybe have a nice breakfast and a leisurely morning at the hotel, head to the parks in the afternoon or vice versa. Or you could have the best of both worlds. Head to the parks in the morning, come back to the hotel for a nap and/or some swimming and head back to the parks at night.

The second thing I like to do to feel in vacation mode:

Indulge in some good food!

It’s hard to have a bad experience in Disney when it comes to food. However, there are definitely a few spots where you can step it up to the next level. If you have it in the budget, have at least one meal splurge (if not more). It’s not something we tend to do on a regular basis, so it makes it more fun doing it while on vacation!

The third, and for now, final thing I like to do to feel in vacation mode:

Talk to the Cast Members!

The Cast Members are fantastic. Their customer service is on point and they are there to make sure you have a magical experience. Ask questions, ask for help if you need it, or just learn about them. Cast Members are from all of the country and sometimes the world. They all have their own stories to tell and can teach you so much in a short conversation. It’s hard for most to get that experience in day to day life.

When I’m on vacation, feeling taken care of by the Cast Members helps me to relax. You should never feel stressed on vacation and they are there to make sure it doesn’t happen!

There are so many ways to enjoy a Disney vacation. Find what works best for you, take some deep breaths and experience the magic!

*If you’d like to hear more on what Dillo’s Diz thinks about Disney’s service, check out our latest podcast by clicking here.


Sister Dillo




Moa-mmy Moments 

I’ve recently been watching Moana with my 2 year old son. Truth be told I have yet to make it to the end since we’ve been watching leading up to bedtime. So far I like what I see: the music, the look and the fact that it makes me want to stay at the Polynesian (as if I don’t want to do that everyday anyway). But – this isn’t a blog to review the movie.
I’m having a mommy moment. I’m watching a new Disney movie with my kids (my younger one is almost 8 weeks old so she’s not watching, just in the room). Aside from Pixar, this is the first Disney movie my 2 year old has been sitting through. It’s all crazy to me. Crazy that I’m at this stage of my life. Crazy to see my son act out scenes. Crazy to be able to see the Disney DNA running through his veins.

Sidenote: Not that I don’t enjoy hearing well known celebrities behind many animated films, but it wasn’t like that in my day. I’m happy that Moana is played by 16 year old Auli’i Cravalho in her acting debut. By having an unknown talent, it brings back that feeling that anyone can be a Disney princess and they’re not reserved to famous actresses. The same feeling girls felt while singing ‘Part of Your World’ during recess…um or so I’d assume. 

So far this movie is providing an ode to some of the older Disney movies mixed with a feel of the Polynesian and of course the modern music of Lin-Manuel Miranda. This all equates to major points in my book. 

I love the fact that I get to enjoy Disney movies with my kids, it’s a new level of awesome. 

Sister Dillo

Diz Paris: One Year Later, part one

I admit it. I have slacked on the blogging. We did WDW over New Year’s. My wife was in a boot. I had to push her around in a wheelchair. This should have made for epic blogging.

No blogs.

It’s worse than that. Last summer, I visited my first Disney park outside of Orlando, Florida – don’t get me started on how I have never been to Disneyland (or how I’ve never been to California for that matter). We spent a day in Disneyland Paris. This should have made for epic blogging.

No blogs.

That changes… Right now!

diz paris one Continue reading

The Dillos Review ‘Inside Out’

Before we begin, a couple disclaimers:

1. This blog contains spoilers. If you have not seen the movie and hate spoilers, do not continue reading. If you are reading, we assume you know the backstory.

2. Our blogs are often wrote by either Brother OR Sista Dillo. This blog has both of our reviews. HOWever, we have not read each other’s reviews before posting. Some views may go against each other or we may repeat the same feelings.

Sista Dillo’s Review

I really enjoyed this movie and look forward to seeing it again. Wow! What a great review, right? Ha! I kid, let me continue.

I think Pixar nailed the “tugging of the heart strings” as they do in all of their movies. I’m not sure where I would rank this in my Pixar favs just yet. I think another viewing has to happen before that. I do know it’s definitely above Cars 2, Monsters University and Ratatouille for me.

The Emotions

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.

All the emotions grew up with Riley. Joy is her leader.

An example of the emotions growing with Riley: Disgust. Disgust starts off in Riley’s mind to keep her away from gross things that most kids don’t enjoy-like Broccoli. However, as Riley matured, so did Disgust. Instead of keeping Riley from things that would gross her out, she now provided Riley with her sarcastic side. The ‘snippy’ side that most 11 year olds develop (let alone an 11 year old that has moved from her home and friends), that’s Disgust.

I think it was interesting how PIxar matured the emotions, because it’s what happens to all of us. We all deal with emotions in different ways at different stages in our life.

There was a small peak into Mom and Dad’s minds as well – each having a different leader.

In the end, we see how a balance of all emotions are needed. Of course Joy wanted Riley to be happy all the time. But sometimes you have to go through sadness or any other emotion in order to return to Joy.

Running Away

A good example of a spoiler. While Joy and Sadness are lost in the depths of Riley’s mind, Anger decides Riley is going to run away and return home to Minnesota in order to find her happiness again.

As she gets closer to running away, the Islands of her personality start to disappear, the console that her emotions control turns dark.

Decisions you make can wipe you of your emotions, who you are as a person and your memories. One decision can change everything.

Luckily, Riley returns home, lets her parents know how sad she is from missing home and is able to find Joy in her parents’ arms.

The World of Riley’s Mind and Imaginary Friends

I thought all of this was cool.

*Memories being stored into long term memories.

*Some memories that fade forever.

*What is working to store memories or create new ones vs what doesn’t while Riley sleeps.

*Your dreams being a complete movie studio where random characters are able to act out scenes in your dreams with a filter.

*A new place for your Imaginary Friend.

<sigh> Bing Bong. Bing Bong is Riley’s imaginary friend and what got me crying in this movie. Before he fades forever, he helps Joy get back on her journey to Headquarters. For those who have or have not had imaginary friends, the basic idea of them is the same. They are created from a child’s mind of their ideals. Someone a child can escape with into a land of imagination. And in the end, even when that Imaginary Friend is just a memory, they will never be selfish and always have your best interest at heart.

To Sum Up

Much like how Toy Story was able to tug at heart strings by exploring the world of a child, I feel this movie did the same. It tapped into childhood memories, emotions, and imaginations and how important it is to keep some forever.

I think the credits of the movie summed it up best:

“Dedicated to our children. Don’t grow up. Ever.”

P.S. I highly recommend reading the Trivia on IMDB regarding this movie. A lot fun facts and easter eggs there!

And now….

Brother Dillo’s Review

(The following review is marred by the irresponsible parent who refused to take their screaming toddler out of the theater for the final 25 minutes of this film)

*Please note: Sista Dillo was able to tune out screaming toddler and zone in on the movie.

To me, the execution of a concept is key. There are plenty of great ideas out there. Even in the things you hate, you may sometimes say “I know what they were going for, but…”

I found myself in this place with ‘Inside Out’, which is unfortunate because it’s still a superior movie to the abundance of mediocrity we see today. In the line of Pixar movies, I find it aligned with ‘Monsters Inc.’ & ‘Up’ in ranking – not quite breaking through what I consider the upper echelon: ‘WALL-E’, ‘Finding Nemo’, & anything with the words ‘Toy’ & ‘Story’ in the title.

The concept, as to be expected with every Pixar film, is brilliant. We all have Joy, Disgust, Fear, Anger, and Sadness within us, and to see that translated into the first crisis of a displaced eleven year old is fascinating. At first, I found such scenes as speaking in front of your class on your first day cliche (mainly because I’ve never experienced a new kid in any class doing that – ever), but it’s the best way to show off the Emotions/Characters. And while Joy & Sadness take the pilot & co-pilot seats in driving this story, I found myself wanting to see much more from Fear – and that’s because I see Fear as the driving force in so many people’s lives… ‘Inside Out’ wasn’t about all these people I know, this is about eleven year old Riley.

The highlights for me included the voice work. Amy Poehler & Bill Hader shine. That shouldn’t be a surprise – and you also shouldn’t be surprised if there’s Oscar buzz for Richard Kind’s work. If you have not yet seen the film, I will not post a spoiler.

‘Lava’ was an appropriate opening short. Whenever Pixar explores the basic needs of humans/animals/inanimate objects, the studio is at its best. At first I was hesitant at another Pixar hook presented in ‘Inside Out’, ‘the journey back home’, but this was the best way to explore the labyrinth of archives, the various islands of one’s most important qualities, the explorations of both dreams and imagination. As one who prides himself on memory recall, this examination, and sometimes textual regurgitation, was awesome.

Current (but not Official) Personal Pixar rankings:

1) Toy Story, 2) WALL-E, 3) Finding Nemo, 4) Toy Story 3, 5) Toy Story 2, 6) Monsters Inc., 7) Up, 8) Inside Out, 9) Ratatouille, 10) The Incredibles, 11) Monsters University, 12) Cars, 13) A Bug’s Life, 14) Cars 2

Brother and Sista Dillo

The Waterfall


“The resort is organized around a central building named the Great Ceremonial House, itself designed after a Tahitian royal assembly lodge. The Great Ceremonial House houses guest services and most of the resort’s dining and merchandise locations. From its opening until 2014, the Great Ceremonial House also featured an expansive tropical waterfall feature in its atrium, with over 75 species of plant life. The waterfall and foliage were removed and replaced, however, during extensive resort renovations due to health and safety concerns and to reimagine the lobby as a social space.” -Courtesy of Wikipedia

The removal of the waterfall and foliage is a tough change for the Dillos, especially after seeing it in person. This grand feature was the welcome you received when walking into the Polynesian. It created a rainforest smell in the lobby. It offered a soothing soundtrack to start your vacation. Along with the air conditioning you felt as the doors to the lobby opened, this feature was the thing that hit you and made you take a deep breath as you felt like you were home. And now, it’s gone.

The Dillos took many pictures in front of the waterfall over our many stays at the Polynesian. Something our kids will never get to do. A piece of nostalgia is missing from the Diz…you know how the Dillos heart nostalgia.

Yes, I understand it opens up the lobby, creates more seating and a more open environment. I get it. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.


One of our many pictures in front of The Waterfall

Sista Dillo

Someone I Know is Always in Disney

Thanks to social media – everyone lets you know where they are every minute of the day.

Awhile back I realized that everyday someone I know is in Disney (either World or Land). Pictures are posted, discussions are had. They’re just going about their day sharing the magic. It always gives me mixed feelings. There’s the “oh how fun!” followed by “<sigh> I wish I was there” followed by “UGH! Why can’t I just be there!”

Either way, it’s nice to see Disney present in so many lives of those I know. And unless I’m there, I will wish I am in Disney daily.

Sista Dillo

Riff Raff…Street Rat…Cause I Didn’t Buy That

Have you been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?

Snow falling on Main Street. Christmas music playing. A special Christmas Wishes. Why wouldn’t you attend such a party? Perhaps because you don’t want to spend the money…at least this year. Just be warned that if you don’t, you may end up feeling a little bit like riff raff.

There I was with my family, enjoying Dole Whip and waiting for Wishes. Oh wait…they don’t do Wishes for the regular folk on party night. This made me sad since this was the only night of my trip I could have seen one of my favorite things. Since it was getting close to 7PM, we had to start making our way towards the exit. We didn’t have the special bracelets in order to stay (since we didn’t purchase tix to the party) and couldn’t upgrade even if we wanted to since they were sold out.

We started our walk out of the park in one lane of Main Street, with those entering the park in the other, just as the snow started falling and the music started playing.

Oooo maybe we can take a photo pass picture since the castle is all lit up! Nope. We can’t. Photo Pass Castmembers are not taking pictures at that time since they are assisting clearing the riff raff out of the park.

I’m always sad anytime I leave Magic Kingdom, but only because I hate leaving Disney in general. This time I was sad because I felt like I wasn’t welcome…sorta.

Let me say-I’m half joking about all of this and not actually complaining. I get the upgrade/perks of the Christmas Party. I get making it a special experience for those that paid extra. I get making sure no one is enjoying a free ride. Whether or not DIsney actually needs that extra money is another story. But – in no way were the Castmembers mean or did anything they weren’t supposed to. I was just sad and bitter having to leave.

And now for some humor: Here is an awkward Dillo Family Photo from way back when at the Very Merry Christmas Party:


Sista Dillo

Meeting Mickey Mouse

When I first saw Talking Mickey in some YouTube home videos, I’ll admit I was skeptical.

Dillos don’t love change.

Having met non-verbal Mickey so long ago, it was hard to imagine that verbal Mickey would be seen as normal. Then again for kids today, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (a daily occurrence in my house), Mickey himself is living in a whole new world from when I watched him.

I’ve discussed in previous posts how sad I am that meeting characters is such a production now. There are 500 minute waits for Elsa and Anna, yet I used to dance with Chip ‘n Dale!

I digress.

If you want to meet talking Mickey Mouse, visit Town Square Theater in the Magic Kingdom. I was there in November and went during a parade so my wait time was about 10 minutes (which was good since again, I don’t love a long wait for a character). Once in the room with Mickey, I was already thinking “ok this is cooler than I thought.”  Mickey walks up to your family to greet them, says Hello, takes the hands of the kids and interacts with them. For those few minutes, a visit with Mickey is one on one, away from theme park madness and creating a memory.

Mickey Mouse…talking in Magic Kingdom…without anyone pushing their way in front of you – Nicely done Disney. I don’t love change, but this one is pretty good.

I’ll be taking Baby Dillo back when he’s older and I can’t wait to see what he has to say about what Mickey had to ‘say.’

And now a look back to one of my visits with Minnie…

Sista Dillo

A Disney Baptism

A cleansing of the soul.

Liquid Nostalgia.

The true form of relaxation.

All of these terms describe one thing among the Dillos: The Beach Club Quiet Pool.

We’ve talked about why you should make time for the pool or a nap, including a picture of myself back in the day enjoying the Quiet Pool. And you know by now the Dillos are big on the cleansing of the Quiet Pool and from Disney in general. So why wouldn’t I choose the Quiet Pool to Baptise my son?

This Baptism (non-religious) was of course just overseen by my husband and myself back in November. We dipped his feet in as his first experience with the Quiet Pool. His first experience of the cleanse. His first experience of the relaxation, after all-it’s tough being a 5 month old!

If we are lucky enough to raise him and hopefully one day a sibling for him, the same way the Dillos were raised – his feet will be in that pool many more times!


Sista Dillo