Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Disney World in 3 Days

Adora can't wait

We surprised them with a 5 day countdown to Disney by making Mickey Mouse pancakes for dinner and presenting them mouse ears.

Many of you have told me about your plans to visit Disney and wanted to know about the trip. We had a great time, packing a whole lot into three days. After you get your tickets be sure to make your account online at “my disney experience” and download the app. This is gonna be your go-to place for all your reservations and activities. Your “memory maker” will be linked here too. Memory maker holds all the pics photographers in the parks take during your visit. I highly suggest it but also think you should take your own pics too because quality/shots may not always turn out like you expect.

If you have small kids, in my experience staying at one of the resorts with access to the monorail is a good bet. If you plan on taking Disney train, busses, boats expect it to take at least 45 minutes to get there. You always have the option to cab it to a park too- which is obviously faster.

The big thing to know off the bat is 180 days out from your visit you can begin booking events, restaurants etc. Disney Dining Buddy was recently DISNEY Cshut down and honestly it’s what I used to secure some hard to get reservations for this last trip. If you wanna really eat at Cinderella’s Castle or Be Our Guest I’m not kidding when I say you need try to book when that clock strikes 12 at your 180 day out mark.

This year we visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. There is so much to do and it can be overwhelming. I’ll share our itinerary to give you an idea of what we got done in a day with a 4 and 2 year old.

Upon Arrival: Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian

This was a fun way to start our trip after arriving in Orlando in the afternoon. The dinner show started around 8pm and was interactive. Adora loved being able to take part in dancing on the stage. The fire dancer and performer was the best. I do think it could have been 15 to 20 minutes shorter. The kids got tired early and traditional dance wasn’t enough to keep them entertained until the very end. The island food was plentiful and satisfying and I’m a big fan of the family style meal presentation.

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During the show people are encouraged to get up and dance

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Pineapple Bread Pudding!

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Memory Maker photo with the fam!

Day 1: Animal Kingdom & Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

We started the day back at the Polynesian for a character breakfast at Ohana. This was a chance to see Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey himself. The food and service was tasty! We headed to Animal Kingdom from there. The tree of life is something else. Definitely get your pic in front of it. It was cool seeing a walking tree on the way in. Our first stop was in DinoLand and the Boneyard. We took the DINOSAUR ride and I’m not sure who was more scared Adora or Robert! It was frightening but very cool. Definitely for a kid older than 5 since it appears you could be eaten by a T Rex at any moment. We toned it down with a milder Triceratop spin and then headed for the Kilamanjaro Safari ride. This is a must-do and definitely use your fast pass for this. We ate lunch on the go at the BBQ pit by DinoLand and then enjoyed the Festival of the Lion King indoors. Next time I hope to do Everest!

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At age 2, Bob is still warming up to the characters

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DINOSAUR: Scariest ride ever. Adora was horrified lol

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It’s a tree woman walking!

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The Kilimanjaro Safari rocks

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From there it was off to nap before heading to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! They shut down the park for this.  Adora was Pinocchio and Bob was Jiminy Cricket. During the Halloween Parade Pinocchio spotted Adora and came over to give her a hug. I found it was a good time to go to the Town Square Theater and meet Tinkerbell and Mickey. There were no lines. This Mickey is cool because he speaks and interacts with the kiddos.

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Meet Tink and other characters in the Town Square Theater.

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Parade Tip: There’s good open space to view it near the Barber Shop in Town Square.

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At California Grill (The Contemporary) Bob’s outfit was a hit and he knew it. He worked the room like no other and stopped so people could snap photos of him. It was hilarious.

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Day 2: Magic Kingdom and Parents Night Out

We began the day at a character breakfast inside our resort. The kids met Alice, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie and Tigger too. I find eating where you stay is a great time saver. We’re fans of buffets.. they speed things up.

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Comparing mary janes with Alice.

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Then it was back to Magic Kingdom for a morning filled with kid friendly rides. Aladdin’s magic carpet, Toy Story ride, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, It’s a Small world and Pirates of the Caribbean were age appropriate. Adora is 4 and really liked Thunder Mountain and so it’s a good roller coaster for starters.  My fave was the Jungle Cruise! The tour guides tell bad jokes the whole time and they really make you laugh. Next year.. we try Space Mountain! We had lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle and met the princess herself. Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White and Aurora all made appearances at the lunch. Afterwards, we saw Elsa and Anna at Fairytale Hall . Adora was thrilled can’t you tell? 🙂 We wrapped things up around 3pm with the Parade. It was perfect.

Let it Go: having some issues upon meeting the real Ice Queen. Bob was smitten with the princesses and Adora finally chilled out.

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Sign Here: Don’t forget to take your autograph books everywhere and have it opened when you meet the princesses and characters.

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disney mk1The resorts have an in-house babysitting service so we scheduled coverage so that we grown ups could go out to a nice dinner at Victoria and Albert’s. This is another place you have to schedule way ahead of time. There’s a 7 course or 10 course option. We did the 7 and it was more than enough. The food was wonderful quality and a nice twist on American cuisine. A+ for presentation and service. Guys wear a jacket.

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At the end of dinner they give you a rose. Robert brought it back for Adora and she lit up.

Day 3: Epcot, Downtown Disney & Hollywood Studios epcot1

On Day 3 we had breakfast scheduled at Akershu’s Royal Banquet Hall for the Princess character buffet but I canceled since we had already met a lot of royalty. The restaurant is a cool castle located at Epcot. It’s a bit of a walk but a good way to meet Belle and a lot of the princesses. We still headed to Epcot to do Spaceship Earth in the main dome. It’s a nice way to travel back in time and even though it’s in the dark it’s not scary for kids. Some other attractions to use your fast pass for would be Soarin’  (feel like you’re flying) and Mission Space.

From Epcot it was off to Downtown Disney where crews continue to do lots of construction. It’s actually has a new name too: Disney Springs. There we filled up at an animated lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and then Adora had her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover. Getting reservations at the boutique in Cinderella’s castle is tough so this is a good alternative location. Adora decided she wanted to be Rapunzel. Check out her ombre hair lol.

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While they turn this into Disney Springs expect construction and extra time to park and walk.

Rainforest Cafe: It rains, storms inside while you're eating.

Rainforest Cafe: It rains, storms inside while you’re eating.

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Didn’t realize but you can do a Prince makeover too!

 

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downtown disney rapunzelNext up, Hollywood Studios to see Frozen: Sing Along Celebration.  The kids loved it when it started snowing in the theater- great effect! They also had a blast checking out the fake movie sets and playing in the Muppet fountain. We had Italian dinner at Mama’s Melrose Ristorante. The meatballs were huge. Next year we’ll try to make the Little Mermaid Show. hollywoodstudios

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Fake sets all over!

Last Night: Fireworks cruise

boatSo I was too late booking the Pirate cruise with Peter Pan and Hook but there were still pontoon cruises available that leave the Grand Floridian resort. The kids in their Wendy and Pirate pjs strapped on their life jackets and took a boat with us out onto Buena Vista lake. Our guide Paul was fantastic, giving us a lot of history on the resorts and different parks. At one point they park you so you can see the nightly light show (video below). Then they eventually get you a good view of the castle to watch the fireworks. The show is narrated by Jiminy Cricket and really is magical. Adora couldn’t stop talking about all the shooting stars she saw!fireworks4

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Both got their first trading pins!

Here’s the light show in action:

The End:

After a fun filled few days it was back to reality. We fueled up, headed out and in the words of the Mickey Mouse Club we’ll “See ya real soon!”.

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On the way to the airport Adora took this photo. She wanted to capture the sunrise.

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Headphones, movies and lollipops= flying life savers

Happy Labor Day

Hey, hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend. I went down to Irvington Virginia for a relaxing visit to Tides Inn. The little Chesapeake Bay resort is a good quick getaway. We overlooked the marina and met some really nice people from Newport News to Vienna. The weather was picture perfect, ate most of our meals outside. We were next to a small town I’m quite fond of.. Kilmarnock. A little more than a year ago I stayed in the town’s Inn. I seriously felt like I was in a movie back in colonial times. I just love this stuff. True little old town America.

View from our room

Fun games on site… even to entertain baby
On the terrace following breakfast
There was a show with local artists going on all weekend
Perfect weather for swimming

A road trip is never complete without something odd

 

Irene… I’m ready

Someone is leg’d and ready for Irene!

Irene messing up your weekend? We know that the rain or shine rule regarding the MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication is now out the door. The ceremony has been postponed indefinitely. In Maryland, Ocean City is under evacuation orders. Irene could hit the resort Saturday. In Virginia, the place I was headed for a little vaca called to say they’ll be closed this weekend.

MORE: Track the storm’s path

Tourists and travelers are being impacted all over. My husband’s flight from SC was cancelled Thursday, the airline saying because of the storm.  On the way home I saw a guy in the elevator carrying a bulk supply of water and adult beverages. As he struggled to hold it all up against the wall he exclaimed “I’m ready!”

On facebook,  my radio pal Tommy McFly who lives in DC posted this saying “Hurricane mania! Lines halfway down the aisles at the Social Safeway. Too much? I just wanted hummus.”

Then there is food writer Jordan Wright who has perhaps the most beautiful preparations I have ever heard of. She writes “Irene Storm Prep 101 – Jar of hibiscus flowers, anchovy stuffed olives, pickled ramps and fiddlehead ferns, bottle of Alaskan birch syrup and ten cans of coconut water – Rigaud candles and a fine Pomerol.”

 

A storybook storyboard…

The dream is over. We survived the sun blistering weekend down south at the Magical Kingdom.

We played the part…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at times the excitement was too much

but we met some friendly mice

Some were not impressed by Cindy’s castle

Waited 40 minutes for the happiest cruise that ever sailed.

Adora sees It’s a Small World.. sort of

Afterwards, we continued our doll hunt for Mulan

No luck.. so we settled for some silly ears.

And flew back to DC leaving the party at the happiest place.. behind.

Where in the world are we…

a land far far away.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: We'll be back in 2 1/2 years

Ok, not that far but in Florida. It’s our first trip to Disney World and the baby is loving it. She’s already been Minnie, a Princess, 400 feet high in a hot air balloon and denied entrance to her first Disney attraction. You have to be 3 to get a Princess Makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. No biggie, as one Facebook friend noted– she won’t even remember 🙂 As I reflect, maybe it wasn’t a good idea afterall. The princesses I saw walking out of the place reminded me of an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras gone awry. Maybe I’ll stick to doing the makeovers.

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Dessert at Fulton’s Crabhouse at Downtown Disney

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Staycation: Our visit to West Virginia

In our suite we arrived to fresh baked desserts, free bottled water and coffee.

As you may have seen from my previous post, Little Goff and I went on a little staycation in West Virginia. I highly recommend doing so to anyone who’s just itching to get out of town but really doesn’t have the time to take a week or even a weekend off for travel. It took us about an hour to get to the Hillbrook Inn Bed & Breakfast nestled in the rolling hills of Charles Town. Upon arrival at the European style country home estate we were hooked. Within seconds you realize this is a quiet place that is loud with history.. some of the English Tudor inn was constructed starting in the 1700’s. In fact George Washington use to own this land.

EXTRA: Travel for Busy Moms & Their Brood

What we found so refreshing is that among the antiques, aging books, dark wood and even an old water closet was a touch of today. We were impressed to find out that all the 6 unique rooms (we stayed in The Bamford) and 4 cottage suites had an iPad 2 in them. The Wi-Fi connection was very strong too— hence my real-time (and real funny) post on the wedding we witnessed from our patio. As for the food? The filet mignon was so tender– they only give you a butter knife to cut it. The dessert was creative. Ever had chocolate pate’? With the overnight stay you get free breakfast on the porch. I commented during breakfast that I could taste the difference in the tomatoes. They were definitely garden fresh– come to learn their produce comes from a local farm. The whole experience was more than up to our taste- it was great enough that we actually bought a gift certificate for our parents who so deserve a nice getaway!

SaraBeth’s, Magnolia.. must stop eating

What a Sunday in NYC. We started with navigating our way through the annual Puerto Rican Parade. We finally found entrance to the famous Sarabeth’s in Central Park where we wanted to brunch. Sarabeth’s can be argued the best brunch in the city and we were not disappointed. A must order– a basket of her signature muffins and preserves. As if that wasn’t enough.. we decided to eat cupcakes at Rockefeller Center. Where from? Magnolia of course. Later that evening I stopped by CBS studios on W. 57th to visit Russ Mitchell before he did the evening news. All in all a great day in the city.

Another elevator…. really?

Flight #2 was a success but man talk about exhausting. At Dulles Airport you have to take 6 elevators (and a train!) to get to your gate. I think I spent more time in the terminal than in the air. As you can see by the time we got to the gate.. little miss passed out. I guess when it comes to traveling + 0.5 that’s considered a good thing.

Royal Wedding: Local Viewing Parties to London Deals

I love it: Capitalizing off the the Royal ‘I Dos’ across the pond. There are a couple local events going on in celebration of Prince William & Kate Middleton’s big day. For the more adventurous andfortunate– we’ve got the inside skinny on how you can partake in the celebration in England.

DC Royal Wedding Events

Prelude to the Royal Wedding at Peacock Cafe’, Georgetown:

April 28th, 6:30 pm. Get dressed to the nines and join D.C’s elite in anticipation of the British social event of the decade! Mingle with British-inspired drinks on the eve of Prince William’s Royal Wedding to Kate Middleton. The night will raise money for Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC). Walter Grio, founder of Shoot for Change, will be snapping photographs of you in your finest attire! Tickets will be $40. Watch Facebook for updates.

Royal Wedding Watch Party at Ritz- Carlton Washington DC:

April 29th: Forget March Madness… it’s all about April Anticipation.. the gown, the cake, the Queen oh my! The Ritz in DC is hosting a Viewing Party and breakfast at the hotel the morning of the wedding. Enjoy the big day on 60 inch flat screen TVs in the Lobby Cafe. A full breakfast bufft will include English specialties . There will even be a Royal Wedding Hat contest!  The Ritz-Carlton Washington DC is located at 1150 22nd Street, NW.

Getting Married?:

See how local couples can recreate their dream day totally inspired by the Royal Wedding. To see how you can get the ultimate Royal Wedding Experience Click here

London Weekend Celebration & Royal Tour:

April 2011: The weekend will be hosted by founder of The English Manner, Alexandra Messervy, formerly of The Royal Household of Her Majesty The Queen.

This tour programme will include…

  • Accommodation at a four star hotel in central London or a very special private members’ Club
  • Welcome brunch with invited guests
  • MasterClass and wedding flower demonstration with celebrated international florist, Judith Blacklock, with afternoon tea
  • Visit to Kensington Palace and the new restoration project of Kensington Palace Gardens, overseen by Royal Gardens Historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan
  • A Tour of Royal St James’s with a MasterClass on etiquette, style and the Royal Wedding with television expert DianaMather
  • A Private visit to some of Her Majesty’s Royal Warrant Holders
  • A Bird’s Eye View of the Royal Procession on Friday 29th April and the opportunity to join in the fun on the streets as celebratory parties take hold, an official balcony appearance and fly past Buckingham Palace for the Royal Couple
  • A Champagne Celebratory Dinner joined by specially invited guests and commentators on the Day
  • A special visit to Westminster Abbey to view the decorations and flowers for the Wedding Day
  • A Private tour of the Gardens of Hampton Court Palace and a visit to the magnificent Loseley Park, with a Celebratory Afternoon Tea

Private transport throughout, superb accommodation, and commemorative gifts, the cost of this tour is just £1,850 per person  or about $2,990

First Family Road Trip

I’m writing this post from the road in a minivan.. Yes a MINIVAN! I never thought this day would come. It is only temporary… we rented it for our road trip to South Carolina. So far we’re not off to the best start.. We were suppose to leave at 6 am…. um it was 11:34 when we finally pulled out. Just a little 5 hour delay. Adora slept 8 hours last night again so she’s well rested and ready to go. Nana and Papa Goff were sad to see her leave..but we’ll be back.
We call this ‘the MANivan!

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