10 Reasons Everything Is Awesome at the LEGOLAND Hotel

Our five-year-old's birthday wish was to spend the night at the new Florida LEGOLAND® Hotel. And quite honestly, I was pretty pumped to check it out myself. We took advantage of the Florida resident rate (35% off) and were set. There are always extra deals and promos here. I Read more

Park City, Utah Skiing With The Family

It's been awhile since the entire family went west, but it was time! I had a few snickers when I announced our plans to embark on a ski adventure with the entire family to Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. But, then again places that people don't Read more

The Newest Vacation Rental in Orlando

I'm so excited to share my most recent article in PLAYGROUND magazine. Friends from my hometown in Pennsylvania have created the most amazing vacation rental space here in Orlando. Click through to read about the inspiration behind this awesome home and how you can book your stay.   Follow our family Read more

Family Getaway Postcard Inn St. Pete Beach

A few weeks ago, our family, along with two other Orlando families,ventured to St. Pete beach on the Gulf Coast to celebrate a little friend's 8th birthday at the Postcard Inn. I was attracted to the aesthetics of this trendy spot since it was transformed from a Travelodge in Read more

Best Play Spots in Paris

It's almost three weeks since we returned from Europe, and I've finally sifted through my photos. I felt like my first post should talk about the fun playgrounds/parks in Paris. What an awesome experience to see the girls jumping right into the mix at playgrounds many miles from their Read more

Family Travel

Chicago – The Urban Family Vacay

A few years back we ventured to Chicago for a long weekend over the 4th of July. At first, the thought of galavanting around in cabs in the city with my then one-year-old frightened me. I myself had no travel reservations, but this was a whole new ball of kiddie wax. In the end, I decided to escape the Orlando humidity for the crisp summer breeze in Chicago.

Check out my travel feature in the summer issue of PLAYGROUND magazine. You can read the online issue (by clicking through below) or stop by one of the Central Florida distribution points for your very own copy.

Once you read this, you too will be ready for your urban family vacation!

 

Click to read the article online (page 40-41)

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Travel Leave a comment

Make The Most of Your Disney Dream!

Back from our long awaited Disney Dream cruise and so excited to share tips!

Me & Charli with Mickey & Minnie

Our famly decided to embark on the three day cruise out of Port Canaveral (close to our home in Orlando) taking us to Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private Caribbean island.

It’s no secret Disney’s cruises are not cheap. Hopefully some of these tips will help you make the most of your Disney Dream.

Use a travel agent. We used an amazing travel agent here in town. This trip was a big deal to us and I couldn’t risk going through a travel booking site where you didn’t have a dedicated person helping you along. Our agent was able to answer all questions ahead of time and had us set up with exactly what we needed for our multi-dimensional family.

Mia & Her Buds At The Sail Away Party

No crowds for me.  When first on board you WILL feel a little crowded. Do not despair. This is the ONLY time EVERYONE on the ship is doing the SAME thing at the SAME time. We  skipped getting off the ship in Nassau. It was better to stay on board while the rest of the ship ventured off to the straw markets. (Been there done that) View Atlantis and Nassau from the ship! You’ll be thankful for this advice once you get to Castaway Cay. On your day at Castaway Cay, don’t rush to get to the beach in the morning. Hold off, enjoy the empty pool deck and head over after lunch when the crowds are heading back. You don’t have to be back on the ship until 4:30 pm so going at noon will give you plenty of time to enjoy the amazing island.

Ride the Aquaduck – See characters. The Aquaduck is the highly sought after waterslide that takes cruisers above the ship and over the ocean. There can be a wait at times. Same story with getting a picture with the characters who appear on the first floor of the ship. Best times to ride the Aquaduck are around 6:30 pm when the first diners are headed to dinner, when others are on shore excursions or on the final days of your voyage. Best times to see characters are early morning or mid-day when others are on excursions or pool side.

Mia & Madi Snorkeling Castaway Cay

It’s a “family” vacation. Yeah it is, but let it go. My other half was focused on the family spending non-stop time together, but as it turns out we were much happier together when we could spend a little time doing our own thing. Mia was obsessed with the Oceaneers Club, Madi love the tween area and Charli was perfectly content at It’s A Small World. The Disney cast members who interact with the kids are amazing. Plus, you have two phones (provided by Disney) that work on board so you can be reached at any time by the kids clubs. Or, if you have a tween, they can take the other phone to check in.

Did I mention the “adult” time? Yes that’s me on the raft floating off into the sunset!

A good morning. There’s a room service breakfast order form in your desk drawer. No one will tell you about this, but it is there. Use it! (A big thank you to The Theme Park Mom for this tip) Even if you plan to go to one of the restaurants for breakfast, you can enjoy your coffee, fruit and bagels on the balcony before you ready to head out. (Oh yeah, get a room with a balcony!! It’s worth the extra money for sure.) 

Not just for kids. It’s no lie, I would totally embark on the Dream without kids. There’s an adult pool area and an entire  part of the ship that caters to adult nightlife. Adults can eat at the adults only restaurants for an additional charge. Castaway Cay has an entire section dedicated to “us big kids” with yoga, private lagoon, sand bars and eateries.

Travel with a fun group!

 

 

Lastly, we traveled with two other families, which added to our fun. Highly recommended to travel in a group! I could go on and on about this perfect family vacation, but I’ll stop my novel here. If you are planning a Disney cruise, please feel free to comment and I’ll answer your questions the best I can. I absorbed all I could onboard and am already thinking about how/when we can ship off again!

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Travel 1 Comment

Dream A Little Disney Dream

Our Disney Dream Savings

After one year, two family yard sales, two lemonade stands, daily change contributions by daddy and the sacrifice of forking over birthday and holiday monetary gifts, we will set sail on our Disney Cruise this Thursday!

About a year and a half ago Mia expressed her desire to embark on Disney’s newest ship, The Dream.

This cruise meant pirate parties, princesses, a plexiglass waterslide and an adventure on Disney’s private island. This also meant a chunk of change for our family. We created a “cruise fund” complete with an image of the ship and began our saving mission.

One year of nickels, dimes and the occasional one dollar bills brought us to a grand total of about $250. This in no way shape or form is going to cover our  cruise. However, it will cover most of our on board tips, activities etc. (I hope).

Mia’s All Packed & Ready To Go!

Mia has been observing this jar and working towards a goal for one year. Part of my joy in taking this cruise is the fact that she truly understands what it means to save and watch the savings accumulate over a year.

Stay tuned for posts on our Disney Cruise experience!

 

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Travel 1 Comment

Top 10 Reasons To Love LEGOLAND Florida

LEGOLAND Florida

After months of living just an hour from the new LEGOLAND Florida, we finally had a free day to venture over to the new park. Apparently, I’ve been depriving my children of some serious fun! LEGOLAND was built on the former site of Cypress Gardens  (Florida’s first “theme park”). The park does a great job of combining old and new preserving some of the old Florida style of Cypress Gardens.

And now, the top 10 reasons to love this place!

1)  Tons of shady spaces to relax and let toddlers run around.

2)  Fun rides (I mean really fun) and attractions perfect for kids 2-12.

DUPLO play area

3)  Big, clean bathrooms with lots of changing stations.

4)  You won’t break the bank feeding the family at LEGOLAND.

5)  While considered a Florida theme park, it still feels small – in a good way.

6)  We were there on a holiday (President’s Day) with a lot of other people off of school and work. It never felt crowded.

7)  Not once did I look at my watch and wonder… How can I bribe them to leave. No lie. I had a ton of fun.

8)  Lots of toddler/preschooler play areas near “big kid” rides for parents waiting with little ones.

9)  There aren’t souvenir stands around every corner, but cools shops if you want to pick up a LEGO memory.

New York City recreated out of Legos in Miniland USA

10)  You don’t have to be a LEGO lover to love LEGOLAND. I can vouch for that!

Attention to detail is the theme at LEGOLAND. It shines through in all attractions, rides, exhibits and even the staff . This is definitely a great day trip from Orlando and a must visit attraction for visitors to the Sunshine State.

For ticket prices and park hours visit the LEGOLAND Florida website. Kids under three are free!

I received complimentary tickets from LEGOLAND for our visit. However, as you all know, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Featured, Orlando, Travel 7 Comments

Holiday Travel Must Haves

Harajuku Mini

Everyone knows I love great products (travel specifically.) Making travel easy, stylish and fun is oh so important. Here are a few travel must haves for your holiday journeys!

The Text Hook

Cutest kids suitcase ever! Being comfortable while traveling is important, but never sacrifice style. Words to live by for sure. My daughter Mia is swooning over this travel accessory. We’ll see if Santa delivers! It’s Harajaku Mini, Gwen Stefani’s line, which is now carried by Target.

I have to talk about one of my favorite products again. The Text Hook is amazing for travel. It secures your smart phone to your stroller (or other travel item with a bar) for easy hands free use. Kids will stay occupied at your departure gate watching their fav movie while your smart phone is perfectly positioned. No holding necessary.

Kiddie Headphones

Super cute DJ style headphones for kids! Mia has the panda bear headphones and loves them. Several websites carry these headphones so shop around for the best prices.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Holiday Travel Series, Travel Leave a comment

Hey Kids! Please Touch! – guest post by Abbey

There’s someone in this world who ranks pretty high on my special list… And, she just happens to be my sister. While most days you’ll find my sister Abbey writing scientific documents with facts and figures, she took a step away to write this post on her recent trip to the Philadelphia Please Touch Museum with my fabulous nephew. Enjoy!

While looking for things to do on a recent weekend trip to Philly with my almost two year old son, I came across info on the Please Touch Museum. From the website, it seemed appropriate for a wide range of ages so I figured it would be something my son, the friend I was visiting, and I could all do together.

Once inside, Keefer started out cruising in the stroller but that was soon a lost cause. It is the “please touch” museum afterall! Keefer loved the grocery store. (Go figure) He grabbed a shopping cart and headed straight for the produce section where he stocked up on cauliflower, multiple heads of lettuce, and a few tomatoes (all plastic of course). During the shopping excursion, he also grabbed a few boxes of cake mix and a giant plastic turkey.  He knew exactly what to do when he went to the register and another young museum-goer scanned his items.

There was a “garage” where kids could play on cars, fill up tanks, drive a bus, or play on a model monorail.  Some other cool things were the Wonderland area, where we ran through a maze and were able to sit down for tea with some lifesize replicas of the Alice in Wonderland characters, River Adventures, and Rainforest Rhythm.

My friend and I had as much fun playing as Keefer did! The only dissapointing thing about our visit was the museum closed at 5 and we didn’t get there until 3 due to our lengthy drive from the Pittsburgh area. It would be nice if they had at least one day where evening hours are offered to accomodate those parents who work during the day (like myself.) The Museum is open 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am – 5 pm Sunday. The price tag seemed a bit steep for our short visit but would be worth it for a whole day of fun. Admission is $15 per person – one flat rate and kids under one are free.

Check out  Please Touch online for more details!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Guest bloggers, Travel Leave a comment

Summer Time Is Water Park Time!

We love pools, we love water and we loooove water parks! This weekend we took part in a little “staycation” of our own at Orlando’s newest water park attraction, CoCo Key Water Park Resort. I’ve noticed the new attraction several times from I-4 and was possibly more excited than Mia to check it out.

CoCo Key Water Park

The water park is perfect for kids and the water park caps off admittance at around 650. (I’m not a crowd person so this was paradise) We had Mia and Madi with us so I was able to see the fun factor from a four-year-old and ten-year-old point of view. The girls raced from slide to slide. I could keep a constant eye on both girls from the comfort of my lounge chair. I even had some fun on the slides myself.

The Minnow Lagoon is covered and shielded from the FL sun. Lots of interactive water fun in the shade!

Minnow Lagoon

Parrots Perch

The rooms at the resort are very modern and cozy. If you are hungry there are multiple choices for snacks or a meal. Besides the water park, there’s a large arcade, fun kids lounge in the lobby, resort pool for more water fun after the park closes and a small sand area for building castles.

Opening rates start at $89/night for a limited time. I know where I’m taking my mom on her next visit to Orlando! Water park access is $19 per room, per day for resort guests and $19.95 per person for day guests. The FL resident day pass is $14.95. If you are headed to the other local theme parks, the resort offers a free shuttle service!

Tip: If you are purchasing a day pass, book online. The park is popular and has been selling out quickly!

Let me know when you are planning your trip. We’ll meet you there!

And, in case you need directions… Just follow the tropical red bird in the inner tube.

Disclosure: Our family visited CoCo Key as guests of the new resort. The previous post contains my honest opinion on my family’s experience.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Travel 3 Comments

Day 3/4 San Diego

Yesterday we ventured to Coronado for breakfast and then made the two hour trek to Big Bear. The weather was beautiful. We decided not to ski due to lack of time, but did partake in some snow tubing. Seriously, I’m talking Mia on my back flying down a giant hill of snow! Our little rustic hotel, Frontier Lodge, sat right on Big Bear lake. We spent time soaking in the beauty of the lake and skipping rocks on the water. This was a side of California I have never seen, and one that Mia really enjoyed.

Getting ready to tube at Big Bear Mountain

Today was a lazy day back in San Diego…. Right after sleeping through the 5.5 earthquake aftershock, we laid by our bay front pool and soaked in the rays. This evening, we went to La Jolla for a casual dinner at Bubba’s Smokehouse and spent some time with the seals. After dinner it was back to the Hilton to hang by the giant fire pit by the bay.

La Jolla

We head back to Florida tomorrow, but this trip was definitely refreshing for my soul. Maybe we can “accidentally” miss our flight. Don’t test me… I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It’s been a great trip and I hate to see it end. Catch you all back on the other coast!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Travel 3 Comments

Day 2 San Diego

The high today was 65 with a low of 47. Kind of cold for my taste. We woke up early due to our EST internal clocks and headed to MaryJanes at the Hard Rock for breakfast. Breakfast was yummy, but if you ever venture to MaryJanes, beware of the $5 orange juice and $3 split fees. Signature hash browns are to die for, and overshadow all the extra charges. Get it… hash browns at MaryJanes… um, maybe it’s just me.  Anyway, they are to die for!

Played around at PetCo Park’s mini ball field and spent some time at the pool. Yes, the pool in 65 degree weather. Thank goodness for the awesome pool at our hotel… heated saltwater pool situated in direct sunlight all day. The only set back today was when Mia exited the pool to tell me she was going to throw up and promptly did so in a drainage gate. She’s like her mom… always has to liven things up a bit.

Running the bases at PetCo Park

We spent the afternoon and early evening at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Lots of fun, but very crowded due to spring break. We waited over an hour to go on the Journey Through Africa Safari. It was awesome once we finally made it onto the safari. Totally worth the wait!

Finally on the safari…

Heading to Big Bear tomorrow for the day and night to do some snow tubing…. Maybe skiing. Hoping for a connection to post, but can’t promise anything.

I’ll finally adjust to this time change and it will be time to head back to FL! Maybe we should just stay…

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Travel 1 Comment
« Previous   1 2 3  
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed