The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

One of the nicest resorts we have been to in a long time, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center was a vacation all in itself. With lovely rooms, several restaurants and dining options right on site, as well as shopping available, and it’s own pool and water park, you won’t need to leave the campus to have a great time. Beautiful gardens with running rivers and waterfalls, fish (including mangrove snappers, redfish, snook, stingrays and tarpon) and koi fish, alligators, turtles, and other aquatica abound in over 360,000 gallons of water, you may forget you are indoors as you [Read more…]

Paddle Boarding in New Smyrna Beach

Tired of the crazy, frenzied, tourist rush? I love theme parks as much as the next gal (maybe more!) but sometimes, you just have to get away. My son, a friend, and I took a day trip out to New Smyrna Beach to paddle board at East Coast Paddle, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Spending the day out in the quietude, in nature, and with only 5 people visible to me (including myself) was a welcome break from the crush of crowds you typically find at most attractions.

vacation in florida

About and hour and a half from Kissimmee, East Coast Paddle is an award winning-company, run by a husband and wife team. Proud parents themselves, they are excellent with children. Mine was smitten with wife, Cheryl, who toured about with him on her board the morning through. Cheryl, who has a doctorate in addition to her company and expert paddle boarder-status (and is a boat captain as well- yes, she makes us all look bad, LOL) also acted as tour guide in the river in New Smyrna for us, and was more then patient as we found our balance (or didn’t) and with my son, who kept dangling his feet in the water (which I am sure did not make steering easy for her!) Her husband, Tim, joined us in the beginning, and gave us our “lessons” on how to properly use the paddles and boards before we got on.

I think I annoyed him mildly, as I was only half paying attention (my son was asking a million questions, and also since he was on a boat and wandering, I was nervous- even though he was standing with Cheryl and I was an arm’s length away, LOL. What can I say, nervous mommy!) When we got on the boards, I found myself not having much of an issue finding my balance or keeping it. As a yoga lover for many years, I think that helped a lot, and did a fondness for kayaking. My son got right on Cheryl’s board, and stayed there, no problem. How she kept her balance with his wiggling is beyond me, though! My friend had a rougher start, but then he found his groove and we were on the way.
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Dining With Al Capone

The Kissimmee area has much to choose from when it comes to dining, but our favorite is dinner and a show. It’s a fun way to experience some local flavor, and who cares if it’s raining?

We ate at Capones Dinner and Show, an interactive experience that is cute for all ages. It was a whole lot of “kitch” and meant to be fun and silly. It reminded me of another restaurant chain’s slogan- “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined”. It for sure fell under that category. One of the running gags of the evening was “Fork You!” while brandishing- you guessed it- a fork.
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The Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure Coming to Theaters August 29th

My Little Man is so super excited for this movie- we got to check out and learn about the Oogieloves at a party about 2 weeks ago, and he had a whole lot of fun playing at Chelsea Piers and hearing all about this new movie. He says the movie will have “giant stuffed people”- so I guess that makes the main characters about as much fun as stuffed animals, haha.
Grab the kids for a visit to LovelyLoveville and join the Oogieloves on their journey to Schluufy’s surprise birthday party! All your favorite characters will be there from Goobie, Zooie and Toofie to J. Edgar, Windy Window and Ruffy. This special celebration is not one to miss so mark your calendars because The Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure is coming to theaters on August 29th, 2012!
The Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure was created to encourage interaction [Read more…]

Top 5 Travel Tips for Large Families

Vacations are meant to be relaxing, but this is not always a reality with a large family
in tow. The entire process can be stressful, from finding spacious accommodations
within your budget to planning activities to satisfy everyone. Follow these simple tips to
avoid the headaches and actually enjoy your vacation.

  1. Plan ahead–Over the years you have packed hundreds of lunches, each one
    specific to each child’s request. You have shuffled the kids to and from school, soccer
    practice and Boy Scouts without skipping a beat, so you probably do not need to be
    told to plan ahead for your family vacation. Regardless, it is crucial to start the process
    months in advance. This way you can ensure your family stays in adjoining hotel rooms.
    Now is your opportunity to negotiate the price, asking for a discount on a second room or
    renting a cot.
  2. Make friends–Once you have used your savvy bartering skills to book an
    affordable hotel stay, make alliances with the staff on your arrival. Tip generously
    and smother them with kindness. Strike up conversation and try to make a personal
    connection with the concierge. This will make a positive first impression, and they might
    be more likely to give you complimentary toiletries, coffee packets or coupons. The staff
    [Read more…]

Lucy The Elephant- Unique New Jersey #FamilyTravel

There are some very unique attractions in NJ. Of course, I mean unique in the kindest of ways. There are Jersey Devils and Vortexes, albinos who attack cars, and of course enough ghosts and aliens for even the most hard-core skeptic to get goose bumps. (Have you ever read an issue of Weird NJ? You totally have to!) Today we are checking out Lucy the Elephant in Margate Beach, NJ. Lucy is a building in the shape of an elephant that you can actually go inside of. Lucy the Elephant is a part of New Jersey history.

Lucy was built by a real estate investor who was trying to drum up interest in the area in hope of pulling in investors, land owners, and tourists. The idea worked and Lucy was first built-in 1881 for the cost of $38,000- which at the time was quite the fortune. Lucy has acted as quite a few humble abodes as well as vacation homes and now a hot [Read more…]

Meet Me at @SesamePlace #ThemePark

One of my son’s summer highlights has been his trip to Sesame Place in Buck’s County, PA. I grew up with Sesame Street, and as a teacher I love the educational, social, and cultural values it helps to instill. As a parent- I love it, too! There are versions of Sesame Street all over the world- from Russia to Mexico. Something about knowing that this sweet, educational show unites kids globally (literally) really touches me- and even more so now that I myself am a mom, teacher, and travel enthusiast. You can’t see the world until you go out and experience it- start young, and make a little global citizen. But I digress!

We had so much fun at the theme park, there are all sorts of fun rides- and for once, they are ALL aimed at little ones.

Do my feet match Big Bird’s?

One of Little Man’s favorite rides was the Flyin’ Fish, which had Elmo faced fish of all kinds- with a unique Sesame twist, of course. After all, what is a catfish without ears and whiskers? LOL Kids can press a button in the ride, and make it rise up and down as it spins (slowly).

We [Read more…]

6 Flags Giveaway and Coupon #WIN

6 Flags Theme Parks are everywhere. Chances are, if you are in the continental United States, you are within driving distance to a 6 Flags. This theme park is a great area-specific destination, from 6 Flags Great Adventure in NJ, to Six Flags Over Texas- keep an eye out and you will find one. There is even a Six Flags Mexico, in Mexico City, Mexico, so even on vacation in another country you can get your thrills and chills. 🙂

We love Six Flags for their varied rides and attractions. You can find everything from Bugs Bunny to Camp Carousel to the Scream Machine- Six Flags has rides for everyone. I was just talking to “daddy” about this, and he remembers the first time he finally got up the nerve to go on a roller coaster. It was when on a day trip with some friends to Great Adventure, way back in the middle school days. At first he didn’t want to go on any roller coasters, but as soon as we entered the park everyone hoped on line for the first coaster they saw. Right away, he says his nerves kicked in and he was frightened to no end. He says he freaked out, and it took every ounce of energy to stand in line and not hop over the line guides and wait at the end. (Ah, my big brave man! LOL) He claims it took about 30-40 minutes in line until it was his turn. Last chance to [Read more…]