DIY Laundry Room Sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

The summer after my husband and I got married, we drove out to Buffalo, NY, where he sold security systems.  Towards the end of the summer, his office got moved to Philadelphia, PA.  Thankfully, there were many wives who were out with their husbands so we became good friends and did some sightseeing here and there.  While in Philadelphia, we decided to drive out to a little amish town and do some exploring.  In one of the little shops we visited, I found a laundry room sign.  This sign has been with us for almost 9 years and when I first bought it, I thought it was the cutest thing, but as I’ve grown into my own personal style of decorating, I found that it just wasn’t working anymore.  So I decided to do a little DIY laundry room sign makeover and share this easy tutorial with you!

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So this is what the sign looked like before I painted it.  A little sad, a little dated, but still in great shape.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Supplies needed:

First, prep your surface.  Since my board was already cut down to size, all I needed to do was wipe it off to remove dust and dirt.  There was probably a really thin coat of finish on top, but not enough for me to worry about sanding it before painting.  I also removed the wire that was originally holding the board up on the hook.

Next, paint your surface.  I did two coats of paint (in charcoal) to make sure I covered the original color and letters really well and then let it dry completely.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

While the board is drying, I created my design.  I use my Silhouette Design Studio for my Silhouette Cameo to do this and it made everything SO easy.  I changed the size of my design page to the size of my board (16×6) so I could get a really accurate representation of how everything would fit.  I used the font Magnolia Sky for ‘Laundry Room’ and Bebas for ‘wash dry fold repeat’.  Both fonts are free.  Get Magnolia Sky HERE and Bebas HERE.  (Also, check out my tutorial for installing fonts HERE.)  

Once I had everything the size I wanted, I opened a New Drawing (blank page) and changed the design page back to 12×12 since that is the size of my cutting mat.  I copied the text and pasted it, then put it on the page to minimize the amount of vinyl I’d need to use to cut everything I needed.  Then I sent it to cut.

I removed the vinyl from the machine and then used my weeding tool to pull out the smaller pieces of vinyl.  Then I pulled off the remaining vinyl around the letters, so that when I was done, all I was left with was the words on my backing.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Next, I arranged the words on my board so they were close to where I ultimately wanted them.  (You could skip this part if you’re really confident about where everything is going, but I always like to do this first so I can visualize the final product easier.)

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Then I peeled the backing off of the transfer paper and laid the sticky, clear part on top of the words.  After doing all the words, I used this little vinyl application tool I got a long time ago that has a hard plastic edge to it to rub the vinyl underneath the transfer paper and smooth out bubbles.  I’ve seen people use credit cards for this too.  (This helps it adhere to the transfer paper so when you pull the backing off the vinyl, it sticks to the transfer paper more easily.)

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Now, I slowly pulled the backing off of my vinyl.  Try to pull in the direction of the curve so you don’t risk stretching or ripping the vinyl.

Next, very carefully place the words on the board.  You don’t want to press down just yet because if you need to move the words you want it to come up easily.  When everything was where I wanted it, I pressed down on the vinyl to keep it in place, then used my hard plastic edged tool to rub on top of all the letters.  Then, I removed the transfer paper slowly in case any part of the word was still sticking to it.

*Tip: You can reuse transfer paper.  Just put the backing from the transfer paper back onto the clear transfer paper and store it away until next time.  This is a huge money saver!

(If you used the color of vinyl you wanted, then you are done and can admire your work!  But if you want to paint over the top of your words like I did, keep following along.)

After pulling the transfer tape off, I inspected the edges of the vinyl to make sure there weren’t any bubbles or anything preventing it from adhering to the surface.  You want a really good seal.  Once this was done, I grabbed my white paint and did two coats. 

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

I let it dry for about 5 minutes, then grabbed my weeding tool and carefully used it to snag the beginning of the word.  Once I had a piece big enough to hold onto, I used my fingers to pull the vinyl off, going slowly and trying to pull in the direction of the curve. 

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

If you happen to wait a little too long before pulling the letters off, you might end up with some edges that aren’t totally smooth (which is what happened to me).  For me, I didn’t worry about this because I knew I wanted to sand the sign and distress it a little and once I did that, you couldn’t tell.

Allow the paint to finish drying completely.  You can either end here and hang up your amazing sign, or you can use some sandpaper and distress the edges and top a bit to let the bottom paint color come through.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

And that’s it!  I hope this tutorial gave you a little bit of inspiration to add something cute to your laundry room.

Happy crafting!

5 Reasons I Didn’t Say Anything About My Miscarriage

Why I didn't tell anyone about my miscarriages for so long and how you can help those who have had one feel love and support.

A few months ago, I wrote about my experience with miscarriage.  It was a hard post to write, as I felt like I was reliving each one of my three miscarriages all over again.  I cried.  I was mad.  I doubted.  I felt hope.  And then, healing begin to happen.  I received text messages, phone calls, messages on Facebook, comments on my post and notes from both friends and people I’ve never actually met in real life.  It was truly amazing how sharing something so personal and vulnerable made me feel so much love.  Since my most recent miscarriage in January of this year, I’ve talked to a lot of women about it.  Some expressed their sympathy but couldn’t relate having never gone through it.  Others opened up to me about their own experience.  We’ve hugged, cried and bonded over our losses.  And almost everyone I talked to about it asked me the same question: Why didn’t you say something?

Ever since writing that post, this one question has been echoing in my mind.  Knowing there were other women who had experienced the same thing as me, why didn’t I reach out to them?  I was hurting, confused, frustrated and full of pain and sadness, as I’m sure they were.  So why didn’t I say something?

As I’ve thought about it (and I’ve thought a lot about it) and talked to others about it, I’ve had some insights come to my mind.  I feel fairly safe saying that I think many women who have experienced a miscarriage have felt these feelings and had these thoughts and each one or a combination of them is why they don’t say something: shame, disappointment, rationalization, pressure and confusion.

Shame
I can say that I definitely felt shame and embarrassment when I went through my miscarriages.  These are some of the thoughts that went through my mind:

  • I have two healthy kids and had no major problems getting pregnant or during pregnancy, so what in the world was the problem?  
  • A woman’s body is supposed to know how to do this, right?  
  • I don’t want people to think that there is something wrong with me.

If you’ve had a miscarriage, you know that this thinking is irrational, but in the moment, it is your reality.  You are trying to come up with some reason why things didn’t work out the way you hoped or wanted and as a result, you feel shame.  If you haven’t had a miscarriage, please don’t discount how women could be feeling this way.  We know it doesn’t make sense and we don’t want to feel this way, but we do and all we really need is a hug.

Disappointment
In my case, and in so many cases, a baby is what we had been hoping and praying for.  Getting that positive pregnancy test is a moment of wonder and awe and excitement.  When you get that positive test, you start to hope and plan for your unborn child’s future.  You wonder if it’s a boy or a girl and what they’ll look like.  Going to the doctor and not hearing a heartbeat or starting to bleed unexpectedly is one of the absolute worst feelings in the world.  Having those hopes and dreams crushed can cause a disappointment so deep that it’s hard to share with others, even if they know how it feels.  For me, I felt a little like if I could keep it inside and not say anything, that maybe it wouldn’t feel so real and heartbreaking.

Rationalization
My husband and I have two beautiful kids.  They bring us happiness and joy and make life worth living.  When I went through each of my miscarriages, I tried to rationalize my feelings by telling myself things like:

  • Well, at least I have two kids.
  • Other people have suffered worse than me.
  • I should be happy that I wasn’t farther along than I was.

I thought that by trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t be feeling the things I was feeling, that somehow that would make me feel better.  But I have to tell you something: when you are going through a miscarriage, you’re not thinking rationally.  You are trying to think of something, anything, to help you cope.  To try and work through the pain.  You might decide that saying something to someone will cause them to think poorly of you, so it’s better not to say anything at all and just try to work through it yourself.

Pressure
Choosing when to start a family or add to it is a hugely personal decision.  But for some reason, many people think it’s a question that is free game.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, friends, co-workers and random acquaintances think they should be able to ask this question and you shouldn’t feel intruded upon.  As though it’s a question that maybe you’ve never considered before (insert sarcasm here).  For me, I am the oldest child and grandchild.  I was the first to get married, the first to have a baby and the first to get pregnant with our second child.  I knew people were wondering when we were going to be adding to our family.  Even if they weren’t saying something, I knew they were thinking it.  Whether the pressure you feel is real or perceived, it definitely has an effect on if you feel safe saying something to people when you experience a miscarriage.

Confusion
I had my first miscarriage in November 2015, another in February 2016 and another in January 2017.  While I don’t claim to have all my feelings sorted out, I do know that it’s taken some time to try and work through everything.  I am someone who likes to have all, or as many of, the answers as possible when explaining or sharing something.  Because I had so much going on inside my mind, I didn’t feel like anything I said to anyone was going to make any sense.  I didn’t know how to process everything because I had no frame of reference.  So I kept it to myself and didn’t say anything.

What changed my mind?
Ultimately, I found that sharing my experience was like a breath of fresh air.  Keeping everything inside was hurting me and those around me.  I truly felt like I’d been holding my breath, trying to convince myself that I was fine, all the while I was drowning.  Until I said something to one person.  And then another.  And another.  And then I started typing the words into my computer.  Letting go of everything inside me and sharing the burden with others started the healing process.  Telling people about my miscarriages has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. One friend said to me, “We are part of a club of women we never wanted to be a part of.”  But thank goodness we can be there for each other.  To hope and pray for each other.  To hold and cry with each other.  To be a source of strength and hope to each other.

Why I didn't tell anyone about my miscarriages for so long and how you can help those who have had one feel love and support.

To you who have gone through a miscarriage, I’m so sorry.  I know how it feels.  I am here for you.  The pain will probably never go away completely but the ability to bear it will increase.  You are strong.  You are brave.  And if you don’t feel like there’s anyone you can talk to about it, please contact me, whether we know each other in person or not.  Everyone needs someone to talk to.  Hard things become so much easier to go through when you know there’s someone in your court, cheering you on or holding your hand when things don’t go as planned.

To you who haven’t experienced this, please know that I’m not bitter or upset at you.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt sometimes when I see you with your newborn baby or pregnant belly, or when you unknowingly make a comment about “being lucky”.  All I ask is that when you come across someone who’s had a miscarriage, that you don’t try to brush over it with trite phrases or meaningless words.  We know you’re trying to help, but most often, all we really need is for you to say “This sucks and I’m here for you.”  Often, hearing “I’m sorry” is enough.

To everyone reading this, I hope–really, really, hope–that we can start today in our efforts to stop the stigma surrounding miscarriage.  I don’t understand why, but it’s become a taboo.  No one should be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed because of a miscarriage.  It’s not an easy or comfortable subject to talk about.  I get it.  But I think recognizing that is a good first step.  Awareness and resources for how to talk about it is the next. 

I know this was a long post, so thank you for sticking with me to the end.  Obviously, I feel very strongly about this topic and I hope that something I said helped you see things in a different light, no matter which side you find yourself on.  Because as cheesy as it sounds, we’re all in this together.  We women have a voice and we can use it to uplift and strengthen each other throughout all facets of life.

Parenting Lessons From Moana’s Mother

Moana's mother teaches important lessons on how to love, teach and let our children grow

If you have kids, you’ve probably watched the movie Moana, seen clips or heard the music.  I took my daughter to see it in the theaters not long after it came out and I loved it.  We’ve watched it a few times since then and it’s a movie that we can all enjoy together as a family.  Soon after the movie came out, I started seeing different people post about their favorite scenes or lessons from the movie.  And each one I read never mentioned the one thing that struck me most as a parent: Moana’s mom.

When I was growing up and watching all the classic animated Disney movies, I never really paid much attention to the fact that so many of them, especially the princess movies, didn’t have mothers: Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White and Belle (just to name a few).  It wasn’t until I had kids of my own and started watching these movies with my kids that I became more bothered by it and question it: How different would these movies have been had the main characters had their mother in their life?  Would they have even come into existence?  Why is it the mother that so often dies?  Obviously, there are Disney movies where the mother is present and these always touch my heart, such as Mulan, Rapunzel and now, Moana.

From the beginning of the movie, Moana’s mother, Sina, is a constant figure in her life.  She encourages her to fulfill her responsibilities, teaches her the necessary skills and is a listening ear and voice of comfort when Moana becomes frustrated.  She sees her daughter’s struggles and desire to be on the water and does her best to help ease the pain.  As her mother, she also wants to protect her daughter from the dangers beyond the reef.  Sina is playful, smart and strong-willed, much like her daughter.

Moana's mother teaches important lessons on how to love, teach and let our children grow

Moana's mother teaches important lessons on how to love, teach and let our children grow

I see myself in Sina and I see my daughter in Moana.

There are two scenes that always get me when it comes to Moana’s mother.  They are brief but make an impact on me and I love how Disney portrayed them.

The first is when Moana’s grandmother is ill and she tells Moana she needs to leave and take the heart to Maui and return it to Te Fiti.  The rest of her family is preoccupied with the grandmother and no one seems to notice her rush out the door and to her family’s hut to pack supplies for her trip.  But then, right in the middle of her packing, her mom appears in the doorway, out of breath and with a look of confusion when she sees what Moana is doing, and then realization hits her and she knows exactly what Moana is doing.  Rather than stop her or scold her, she kneels down and helps her gather the rest of what she needs for her journey.  She recognizes that as much as she doesn’t want Moana to go, that this is something she has to do.

Moana's mother teaches important lessons on how to love, teach and let our children grow

Moana and Sina hug and the final look shared between mother and daughter always brings tears to my eyes because so much is conveyed by that one look: fear, hope, determination.  I imagine myself and my daughter and even my son.  My kids are only 5 and 3, but they are becoming their own individual people with their own personalities.  As they grow, they will be faced with hard things and I won’t be able to shield them from everything that comes their way.  I can only do my best to teach them and prepare them and build a strong relationship with them so that when they need someone to talk to, they know they can come to me for love, help and support.

The second scene is at the very end when Moana returns home.  Sina is the first one to turn and see Moana’s boat and she’s up and running toward the beach with her husband behind her.  Moana rushes into her mother’s arms a split second before her father comes up and hugs both of them.  It’s such a short scene but you can see the relief and pride and happiness so clearly.  I’ve felt these same feelings with my own kids when they do something that makes me a little nervous that they might fail, but then seeing them succeed and being filled with joy.

Moana's mother teaches important lessons on how to love, teach and let our children grow

On this parenting journey, we are going to experience (and have experienced) happiness, joy, heartache, worry, sadness and so many other emotions.  I’m so grateful for these beautiful reminders that as parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children to the best of our abilities and then trust them as they try out their wings.  They are going to fall.  They are going to fail.  But they are also going to succeed.  And I want to be there when they come running.

Why You Should Start A Joy Journal

Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m caught in a rut.  The day to day routine of life has been getting to me.  My kids have been driving me up the wall and I find myself annoyed by my own voice some days.  By the time my husband comes home, all I want to do is push the kids towards him and lock myself in a room.  Little things the kids do that might have been funny if I were in a better mood just come across as irritating.  I haven’t liked the grumpy person that’s been taking over my life and I came to the realization the other day that I needed to do something to stop the cycle.  No one else was going to be able to change my attitude.

Chances are, you’ve heard of a gratitude journal.  Maybe you even have one.  Or maybe you started one a while back and haven’t written in it in a while.  As for me, I have one that I started a few years ago, did great for a while, stopped for a bit, picked it back up again, stopped, and the cycle continues.  Over and over I’ve heard the benefits of writing down the things you’re grateful for and how it helps you become more grateful.  But in my case, trying to write down 3-5 things I’m grateful for each day felt more like a chore.  It felt repetitive.  Even in the times that I had a whole list of things to choose from to write down, it still felt a little insincere to simply write a few words to try and convey my gratitude. 

Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.

To help improve my overall attitude, I thought about picking up my gratitude journal again, but it just didn’t feel like quite the right solution, especially knowing how my attempts to maintain a gratitude journal never seemed to stick.  That’s when the thought came to me that I needed to focus on joy rather than gratitude.  Both are connected to each other, but I felt that by focusing on joy that I would be better able to focus on moments of my day that brought me joy.  As many of you can probably agree, the days where everything is wonderful and full of happiness and joy are few and far between.  Most days are just normal days with sunshine scattered throughout it.  Those pieces of sunshine are what I wanted to think about.  At the end of the day, I wanted to write down those moments that brought me joy.

When I was at the store earlier this week, I happened to pass by a little aisle stand that had some journals on it.  One that caught my eye said “Make something good today”.  I picked it up and put it in my cart.  That night before climbing into bed, I wrote a little paragraph on the first page about the purpose of the journal and what I hoped to gain from it.  Earlier that day, I’d found a quote that said, “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”  I knew that if I could commit myself to writing at least three things each day that brought me joy and why I was thankful for those things, that eventually I would feel more gratitude and my overall attitude would improve.

Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.

I’m only on day 3 of writing in my joy journal, but I can already tell that it’s making a difference.  By treating each moment of joy as a separate experience in the day, I can basically write a mini-story about each joyful moment.  This is so much more effective for me than simply writing a list of what I’m grateful for.  I get to share a piece of my day with a focus on joy, which in turn, makes me feel more grateful.  Additionally, I’m either looking for joyful things during the day to include in my joy journal, or I make an effort to create joy so that I have something to write about.

So why should you start a joy journal?  Or maybe the better question is, what do you have to lose by starting a joy journal?  I don’t care who you are, you will have days, weeks, months or maybe even longer when life just isn’t going the way you wanted or hoped it would.  The only thing you have control over is your attitude and what you choose to focus on. 

I encourage you to take a few minutes at some point during your day and just pause.  Think about what has brought you joy and write it down.  Write it in a journal.  Send someone a card or leave a note.  Write down and record the joy and on the days when you need a little boost, go back to the things you’ve written down and read them.  Take a step back from whatever hard thing you are facing and remember the joy.  Use it to encourage and uplift you and those around you.  Joy is meant to be shared.  And don’t we all need a little more joy in our lives?

8 Colorful Hands On Activities for Kids

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

If your kids are anything like mine, they are very hands-on.  They love to do whatever I’m doing, whether it’s gardening, baking, crafting, building, etc.  This is why I try to come up with activities that they can do most, or all of it, by themselves.  It’s exciting for them to create something and it builds autonomy which is an important skill as they get older and need to figure out problems for themselves.  Over the last couple of years since my kids were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it, I’ve done a handful of really fun and colorful activities.  These are tried and true and my kids ask to do them over and over again.

Elephant Toothpaste
We did this activity last summer and my kids went crazy over it!  The reaction is pretty amazing and we’ll definitely be doing it again soon.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Color Explosions
This activity is super simple and you probably already have the ingredients on hand!  You can do this one over and over again for really inexpensive.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Glow in the Dark Bath Paint
This is a great activity to do with your kids once your sure they won’t try and eat everything they can get their hands on.  A black light and glow in the dark paint make this activity great for those days when you’re stuck inside.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Dancing Rice
Using basic ingredients, you can do a little science experiment with your kids and show them how air bubbles carry the rice up to the top of a glass, making them look like they’re dancing.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Gak
Gak is one of those really fun things to play with no matter your age!  We did this one as a family activity one night and everyone got in on it.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Bouncy Ball
This activity was one of the first posts I did on my blog and I still get people coming back to it.  It makes for a fun afternoon activity at home or preschool activity.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Water Beads
If you’ve never heard of water beads, you are missing out!  We pull these out once every few months or so and the kids will play with them forever.  They are really inexpensive and you get hours of fun!

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

3 Ways to Paint with a Toddler or Preschooler
One of my most popular kid activities post!  If you have toddlers or preschoolers, this one is for you.  I’ve included 3 different ways you can let your preschooler or toddler paint (adult supervision still required of course).

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

And there you have it!  I hope you have fun trying these activities out with your kids!

Font Friday: 10 {Free} Spring Fonts

Font Friday: Spring and Easter fonts (all free!)

Happy Friday!  I hope the end of the week finds you well and ready for Easter weekend.  I always look forward to spring and Easter and what it represents to me.  Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays and having kids to celebrate it with makes it even more special.  And springtime is always a wonderful time of year, even if the weather is a bit fickle.  At least there’s no snow, right? *wink*

It’s been a while since I did a Font Friday and I wanted to share some fun new fonts with you as you head into the weekend.  If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of downloading and installing fonts on your computer, don’t be intimidated!  It’s really easy and once you know how to do it, you’ll be installing new fonts left and right. 

You can visit my tutorial HERE to learn how to download and install fonts.

All fonts listed below are free to download for personal use.  Click on the name of the font to be taken to a link where you can download it.

Font Friday: 10 Spring and Easter fonts (all free!)

Janda Flower Doodles (images only)
Easter Art (images only)
LP Rabbits 1 (images only) 

Planning a Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Tips for planning a great day at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus the top 5 best attractions)

When my husband and I were planning our trip to Orlando, almost everyone we talked to asked us the same question, “Which park are you going to?”  I would have loved to hit up all of them, but time didn’t allow for that so we had to choose just one park.  If you didn’t know the title of this post, you might guess that we went to Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios. *wink*  But instead, we chose Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Why Hollywood Studios?

The biggest reason was because it was literally right next to our hotel, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.  We didn’t have a car and the option to take a water taxi or walk the 10 minutes to the park was very appealing to us.  Plus, with only one day to take in an entire park, one of the larger parks would have been harder to get through and Hollywood Studios is the smallest of the Disney parks in Orlando.

Pre-Planning for a Day at the Park

We bought our tickets to the park before we left for our trip.  Ticket prices went up at the beginning of March and we didn’t want to pay the extra money.  Plus, it was really convenient to go to the Disney Planning Station at our hotel and have them give us our tickets there rather than waiting in line at the park.  A perk of buying your tickets ahead of time is that you can actually sign up for fast passes through your My Disney Experience website.  The catch is that you can only sign up for three fast passes and then you have to use all of them up before you can reserve more.  So we got fast passes for Tower of Terror, Star Tours and Toy Story Mania.  Fast passes go quickly, especially if you’re trying to get them the day you are in the park, or you might not get any at all.  Keep checking your My Disney Experience app to see if times happen to open up and you might get lucky.

Tips for planning a great day at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus the top 5 best attractions)

Planning for Weather

We visited the park in late March.  I checked the forecast before our trip and it showed an average of 80 degrees and partly cloudy.  The day we went to the park, it opened at 9am and it was still a little cool for my liking.  I wore a short sleeve shirt, capris and tennis shoes.  We brought water bottles and filled them up throughout the day to stay hydrated.  We walked a total of 9.5 miles, including back to the hotel for dinner and then back to the park in the evening.  I changed into pants and brought a sweatshirt with me that I got from Rad Swim.  They have the cutest swimsuits and coverups!  You can check out their website HERE.  (Note: I received the sweatshirt at no cost from Rad Swim but all opinions are 100% mine.)

Tips for planning a great day at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus the top 5 best attractions)

My Favorite Rides and Shows

Hollywood Studios is a pretty even balance between rides and shows.  This makes it fairly easy to switch between the two and fill up the time in between any of your fast passes with other rides or shows.  The longest we waited in line for anything we didn’t have a fast pass for was about 30 minutes which isn’t long at all.  I’ve listed my top 5 favorite rides and shows below (in no particular order):

A list of the top 5 attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus great tips on how to plan your day)

Tower of Terror – This was the very first ride we went on using our fast passes.  We only waited for about 20 minutes before we were loaded into the ride.  I went to Hollywood Studios for the first time back in high school when it was still called MGM Hollywood Studios and we rode the Tower of Terror then.  Everything was exactly as I remembered it, except I could have sworn the ride lasted for longer than a minute.  Also, Hollywood Studios is the only Disney park in the United States that has this ride, since the one at Disney’s California Adventure is being turned in a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.

A list of the top 5 attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus great tips on how to plan your day)

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (starring Aerosmith) – If there is one roller coaster ride that has been ingrained into my memory for how fun and fast it is, it’s the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  I wish we’d gotten a fast pass for this one instead of Star Tours because I would have like to ride it more than once.  It was the last ride we did before the fireworks show at the end of the night.  The roller coaster shoots you forward from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and you experience 4.5 G as you enter the first turn (which is more than an astronaut experiences being from a shuttle launch).  I absolutely cannot help but smile and scream the entire time.

A list of the top 5 attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus great tips on how to plan your day)

Toy Story Mania – We didn’t have time to do the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland when we went a couple years ago, so I was excited to do Toy Story Mania this time around.  To be completely honest, I didn’t exactly know what to expect but it didn’t take long to figure it out.  My husband and I rode in a car together so we played against each other.  The only bummer was that they had some technical difficulties a couple of times during our ride so we had to sit and wait for them to fix it before we could move onto the next game.  My kids would absolutely love this ride and I can’t wait to do it at Disneyland the next time we go.

A list of the top 5 attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus great tips on how to plan your day)

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – While waiting to use our Toy Story Mania fast pass, we decided to get in the stand-by line for the Indiana Jones stunt show.  Having seen the show during my first visit to the park in high school, I knew what to expect because the show hasn’t been changed since they opened the park.  It is a huge set and it’s pretty amazing everything that goes on during the show.  They recreate scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark, complete with stunts and pyrotechnics.  It’s a really entertaining show and a fun way to get a glimpse into what a real movie scene might be like.

A list of the top 5 attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus great tips on how to plan your day)

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (a fireworks show) – Originally, I had been looking forward to watching Fantasmic, but instead we got to see a combination fireworks and projection show.  They project parts of all the Star Wars movie onto the side of The Great Movie Ride.  There are lasers, fireworks, fog, searchlights and of course, the iconic soundtrack.  I asked a cast member what the best spot was to view the show and he told me on the corner of Sunset and Hollywood Blvd.  It was a great way to end the night.

A list of the top 5 attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus great tips on how to plan your day)

Have you been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios?  What are your favorite rides, shows and food?