This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that)

For the last few weeks of school, all anyone can talk about is where your family is headed once that final bell rings. And, inevitably, you’ll answer with your plans to take the kids, uh, wherever the hell it is they’re dragging you this year. (How did they get put in charge of summer vacation anyhow?)

But might I suggest a few types of travel this summer where you ditch the kids at Grandma’s and strike out with only other grownups? No packing more diaper bags than suitcases, no fighting tired toddlers in airports, no obnoxious teenagers taking more pics for Instagram than one could possibly post…

Oh, you’re convinced? Okay, here we go:

The Looooooove Boat

Ryan Gosling Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s the all-important cruise to reconnect with your significant other. Like, reconnect reconnect. You know…reconnect. Yeah, you get it. Plus, you can talk about things other than kids and remember that you are in fact a worthwhile and semi-cool human being even when no one is hanging from your legs crying about a fruit rollup.

The Girls Trip

Parks And Rec Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, you DO have grown up friends still! And you know where you should take them? Disneyland. Now, personally, I’d rather die than stand in eternal lines with trillions of other people, swassing up a real slick storm—hard pass. But apparently there’s really something to hitting the most magical place on earth with your best GFs instead of your whiney kids. Check out the legit evidence here.

The Couples Getaway

Friends Tv Applause GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

An oceanfront cottage in Maine? Maybe a little Airbnb outside Prague. You choose the destination—near or far, but grab your best couple friends and live it up like you’re back in college. Stay out late, be a little reckless—the kids will never have to know!

Mama Goes Solo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Happy Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whether you’re a weekend-at-the-spa kind of mama or a backpack-the-Pacific-Crest-Trail kind, the key is—fly solo. Take hours doing your hair and makeup just to read your book on the hotel balcony, sleep in til noon, go dancing til dawn. Whatever it is you WANT—do that thing. You deserve it, mama. And you deserve to do it without worrying about whether or not you deserve it. Because you do. I promise.

See More on TodaysMama!

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

The post This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that) appeared first on TodaysMama.

This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that)

For the last few weeks of school, all anyone can talk about is where your family is headed once that final bell rings. And, inevitably, you’ll answer with your plans to take the kids, uh, wherever the hell it is they’re dragging you this year. (How did they get put in charge of summer vacation anyhow?)

But might I suggest a few types of travel this summer where you ditch the kids at Grandma’s and strike out with only other grownups? No packing more diaper bags than suitcases, no fighting tired toddlers in airports, no obnoxious teenagers taking more pics for Instagram than one could possibly post…

Oh, you’re convinced? Okay, here we go:

The Looooooove Boat

Ryan Gosling Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s the all-important cruise to reconnect with your significant other. Like, reconnect reconnect. You know…reconnect. Yeah, you get it. Plus, you can talk about things other than kids and remember that you are in fact a worthwhile and semi-cool human being even when no one is hanging from your legs crying about a fruit rollup.

The Girls Trip

Parks And Rec Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, you DO have grown up friends still! And you know where you should take them? Disneyland. Now, personally, I’d rather die than stand in eternal lines with trillions of other people, swassing up a real slick storm—hard pass. But apparently there’s really something to hitting the most magical place on earth with your best GFs instead of your whiney kids. Check out the legit evidence here.

The Couples Getaway

Friends Tv Applause GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

An oceanfront cottage in Maine? Maybe a little Airbnb outside Prague. You choose the destination—near or far, but grab your best couple friends and live it up like you’re back in college. Stay out late, be a little reckless—the kids will never have to know!

Mama Goes Solo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Happy Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whether you’re a weekend-at-the-spa kind of mama or a backpack-the-Pacific-Crest-Trail kind, the key is—fly solo. Take hours doing your hair and makeup just to read your book on the hotel balcony, sleep in til noon, go dancing til dawn. Whatever it is you WANT—do that thing. You deserve it, mama. And you deserve to do it without worrying about whether or not you deserve it. Because you do. I promise.

See More on TodaysMama!

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

The post This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that) appeared first on TodaysMama.

This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that)

For the last few weeks of school, all anyone can talk about is where your family is headed once that final bell rings. And, inevitably, you’ll answer with your plans to take the kids, uh, wherever the hell it is they’re dragging you this year. (How did they get put in charge of summer vacation anyhow?)

But might I suggest a few types of travel this summer where you ditch the kids at Grandma’s and strike out with only other grownups? No packing more diaper bags than suitcases, no fighting tired toddlers in airports, no obnoxious teenagers taking more pics for Instagram than one could possibly post…

Oh, you’re convinced? Okay, here we go:

The Looooooove Boat

Ryan Gosling Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s the all-important cruise to reconnect with your significant other. Like, reconnect reconnect. You know…reconnect. Yeah, you get it. Plus, you can talk about things other than kids and remember that you are in fact a worthwhile and semi-cool human being even when no one is hanging from your legs crying about a fruit rollup.

The Girls Trip

Parks And Rec Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, you DO have grown up friends still! And you know where you should take them? Disneyland. Now, personally, I’d rather die than stand in eternal lines with trillions of other people, swassing up a real slick storm—hard pass. But apparently there’s really something to hitting the most magical place on earth with your best GFs instead of your whiney kids. Check out the legit evidence here.

The Couples Getaway

Friends Tv Applause GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

An oceanfront cottage in Maine? Maybe a little Airbnb outside Prague. You choose the destination—near or far, but grab your best couple friends and live it up like you’re back in college. Stay out late, be a little reckless—the kids will never have to know!

Mama Goes Solo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Happy Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whether you’re a weekend-at-the-spa kind of mama or a backpack-the-Pacific-Crest-Trail kind, the key is—fly solo. Take hours doing your hair and makeup just to read your book on the hotel balcony, sleep in til noon, go dancing til dawn. Whatever it is you WANT—do that thing. You deserve it, mama. And you deserve to do it without worrying about whether or not you deserve it. Because you do. I promise.

See More on TodaysMama!

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

The post This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that) appeared first on TodaysMama.

6 Vacation Supplies You Shouldn’t Pack

The school year is winding down, and Elsa finally let go of this year’s eternal winter, which can only mean one thing—summer vacation is coming!

Independence Day Summer GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Summer vacation means summer vacationing, but I think we can all agree that packing is the worst part of traveling. Packing for an overnight trip or a week seems to be equally terrible. If you’re a mom, it’s even worse because you’re responsible for packing ALL. THE. PEOPLE.

I recently vacationed with some friends and their kids, and they taught me something that blew my mind. Instead of packing all the nitty gritty vacation supplies that weigh down your suitcase or make it necessary to check (hello, extra baggage fees), they made Amazon do the work for them and shipped stuff directly to their hotel. Genius.

Stacks of Amazon Boxes

The Today’s Mama Editorial Team put their heads together, and came up with six vacation supplies you shouldn’t pack. Instead, you can ship these bad boys directly to your destination. I’ve made it even easier by linking directly to some of our favs. Just click, add to cart, ship directly to your hotel, Airbnb, or relative’s house, and you’re done. At the end of your trip you won’t feel guilty leaving these goods behind. Or you can pack them home if you have room. The choice is yours. The world is your oyster. And I can guarantee this will make your vacation at least 9.7% more enjoyable.

 

Baby Supplies

For being so tiny, babies require a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff that takes up a lot of room. Don’t waste precious cargo space with diapers, wipes, formula, swim diapers, or pull ups. You will use most of that stuff completely up on your trip anyway. Pack only what you need for your travel time, and ship the rest to your destination.

 

Beach, Pool, and Other Gear

I’m just thawing out from winter, so I can’t think of a vacation destination that doesn’t involve a beach, pool, or the blazing sun. Pack these things for a trip where the sun shines: Sunscreen spray, face sunscreen stick, and because there’s a 99% chance I will mis-apply sunscreen on myself…after sun gel. You may also want floaties, goggles, sand toys, and a beach bag. If you’re headed somewhere wet, don’t forget the ponchos.

 

Toiletries and Medicine

This is the stuff I hate packing most of all. It’s all the necessities, and the “just in case” stuff you will inevitably need if it’s not on hand.

Grab a toiletry kit for women or toiletry kit for men to get all of the necessities like shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. Or at the very least, send some disposable razors to your destination.

I heard about pre-pasted toothbrushes awhile ago, and they seem perfect for vacation. Use them once and toss them out. No little tubes or bulky toothbrush holders. Grab a 36 count pack or 144 count pack.

You don’t have to pack your entire medicine cabinet, but it is nice to have Infant Tylenol, Children’s Motrin, Zarbee’s Children’s Cough or Baby Cough medicine, Advil travel packs, allergy medicine for adults and for kids, and a first aid kit on hand, depending on what you think you’ll encounter on your trip.

 

Food and Snacks

Why does everyone want to eat all the time? Don’t they know you’re on vacation too?!?! Sure, it’s great to eat out, but doing that for every meal can get pricey. Stock up on some basic snacks and treats like goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, or cracker snack packs, or even bottled water. If you’re gluten free, check out these specialty snacks.

If you have space to cook, order your groceries online from Walmart. They will gather your order and even load it in your car. That means you have more time to enjoy your vacation.

Snack GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Kid’s Entertainment

In a perfect world, kids would stay entertained with the vacation itself, but in reality, you may need some tricks up your sleeve. If you think you’ll need to entertain some kids, ship sidewalk chalk, bubbles, crayon and coloring book sets, or activity books like this one or this one, or this fun kit that’s both a craft and a game.

 

More than Vacation Supplies: Souvenirs, Birthday, and Holiday Gifts

Here’s a pro-tip for you. If you’re headed to Disney, or any other theme park or major attraction, don’t buy your souvenirs at the park. You can save a bundle by getting them on Amazon and having them shipped to you. Things like this Mickey Mouse plush, Minnie Mouse plush, Minnie Mouse headband, Mickey Mouse hat, Disney lanyard, or Disney pins will cost way less when you buy them online instead of at the park.

If you’re vacationing for a child’s birthday, or over Christmas, Easter, or another holiday, Amazon has you covered with toys and games for every age.

That’s our list of ship, don’t pack vacation supplies. Did we miss anything? What would you ship?

(Also, I should probably note that if you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, you should be. There are so many benefits. Sign up today here.)

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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11 Ways To Give Your Kids Experiences, NOT Stuff

 

The post 6 Vacation Supplies You Shouldn’t Pack appeared first on TodaysMama.

4 Simple Tips to Save Money on Travel

Want help with ideas on how to travel cheap? Check out these 4 simple tips to save money on travel. Money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations!

4 simple tips to save money on travel. Money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations! Best ideas for finding cheap flights, travel hacks and more. #travel #disney #savemoney #vacation #livinglocurto #traveltips

Simple Money Saving Tips for Disney, Cheap Flights and More!

We love to travel and have been all over the world! What’s even better is when we can save money on travel, so we can take more trips later. People always ask me for travel tips and ideas for saving money on family vacations, so I am happy to share some ideas with you today. We have used these tips when traveling to beaches, theme parks, national parks, and cities

With so many great online tools to save money these days, travel can always be done on a budget. It just takes a few simple money saving tips and time! I will keep adding helpful websites and tips to save money on travel to this article as discover new ones. For now, here are my favorite tools for traveling cheap along with some time and money saving tips that will make you jump for joy the next time you plan a vacation!

4 simple tips to save money on travel. Money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations! Best ideas for finding cheap flights and more.

1. Be Smarter When Searching for Cheap Flights

Airfare is often the most expensive part of travel, especially if you have a large family. Driving is not an option to many places I like to visit, so flying it is! Here are a few ways I save money on flights:

Plan Ahead

Finding the best deals on travel takes time. I feel like a private detective digging into the internet to find the best deals when I plan our vacations. Now I save a ton of time by using Airfarewatchdog for flights and hotels. It’s super easy to compare airfare prices on various websites all at once with Airfarewatchdog. My favorite feature of this website is you can set a low fare alert to get an email when the prices go down! If you type in your destination and dates, then scroll down the page, you will see suggested dates for the best time to travel.

Money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations! Best ideas for finding cheap flights and more.

 

Airfarewatchdog is awesome and searches for both airfare and hotel sites like Hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz all at once which saves a ton of time. Search for hotel deals and set alerts easily here too!  I also like to search here for the best deal on Disney World Hotels.

Money Saving Tips for Travel. Find Cheap Flights - fly more pay less

 

Be Flexible

Being flexible is a great way to travel cheap! When I feel spontaneous to travel somewhere for a long weekend and not sure where I want to go, I love using Google flights! You can enter your home airport, enter your travel dates, leave the destination blank, then click the map to see what flight prices are for any city on the map! Narrow down your search by stops, price, times, or airline.

When I entered some dates for this summer from Dallas, non-stop under $200 this is what I found. I think the beach is calling me to San Diego or Ft. Lauderdale with these flights!

Google Flights for last minute travel. Money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations! Best ideas for finding cheap flights and more.

 

2. Compare Theme Park Ticket Options

When planning a trip to a theme park, do your research and compare prices for annual passes vs daily tickets. I just got annual passes to Universal Orlando because it saved me money on our 3 day park ticket preferences! We got extra perks such as discounts at stores and restaurants, plus we could be much more flexible on the days we visited the park. It also made sense, because I feel like we are in Orlando several times a year. Now we can pop over to the park anytime we are in town!

 

3. Pack Your Own Drinks and Snacks

I really need to be better at doing this. It’s a no brainer that you will save money at hotels if you have snacks in your room, especially if you travel with teenagers! I have friends who will pack an entire suitcase with food when flying to expensive destinations. Then fill the suitcase with dirty clothes for the trip home! Just remember if you travel to tropical islands or southern states, pack things that won’t melt.

4 simple tips to save money on travel. Pack a suitcase with snacks. Get more money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations!

Another great idea if you can’t get to a grocery store to fill up your mini fridge with drinks and snacks, order online from Amazon Fresh or Instacart. Set the order to be delivered when you arrive.

If you don’t trust your kids to not eat and drink the expensive items in hotel rooms, ask the hotel to remove them before you get there.

Did you know most theme parks let you bring snacks?

Disney Rules say this:

“Guests are allowed to bring food items—such as snacks or foods that do not require heating—into Disney theme parks.” Small ice chests are allowed in Disney Parks, but they have size requirements. Make sure to read the rules before you bring an ice chest with you. I suggest getting a backpack ice chest to easily carry it all.

Don’t buy water at Disney. Both Disneyland and Disney World’s counter service restaurants will give you a free cup of water or a free cup of hot water. Ask for a large cup!

Universal Orlando Rules say this:

Acceptable items: Bottled water (maximum 2 liters), Small snacks, Any food required for special dietary needs, Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements, Baby food/baby formula and Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep.

4. Buy Souvenirs Ahead of Time

We go to theme parks a lot and I save so much money by getting t-shirts, mouse ear hats and trinkets ahead of time online. This way the kids can use their own money however they want when visiting the parks. On our last trip to Universal Orlando, my son used his park money on only food and it saved us arguing about me spending $10 on a cookie!!!

Pack a small bag full of dollar store pencils, stickers, lollipops, light up toys, etc with the park theme to hand out at the hotel when you arrive. Young kids won’t know where you got the gifts and think you bought it for them at the park!

Money saving tips for Disney World and other family vacations!

 

Here is a list of popular parks and their themes to help you shop for souvenir gifts ahead of time…

Universal Orlando

Universal Studios: Minions, Harry Potter, Men in Black, Jimmy Fallon, Shrek, Simpsons, Transformers, Fast & Furious, Revenge of the Mummy, E.T., Sponge Bob, Curious George, Hello Kitty, Scooby Doo

Island of Adventures: Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, Marvel Comics (Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, X-Men, Ant-Man) King Kong, Popeye, Betty Boop

 


Disney Parks

Magic Kingdom: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Disney Princesses, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh

Animal Kingdom: Safari Animals, Dinosaurs, Yeti Monster, Avatar

Hollywood Studios: Star Wars, Toy Story, Muppets, Frozen, Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones, Twilight Zone

Epcot: Frozen, Race Cars, Space, Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, America, Morocco, Canada, United Kingdom

Disneyland: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Disney Princesses, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Star Wars, Peter Pan, Toy Story, Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland

California Adventure: Cars, Toy Story, Black Panther, It’s a Bug’s Life, Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Guardians of the Galaxy

 


Other Theme Parks

Six Flags: DC Comics (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern) and Looney Toons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Porky Pig, Tasmanian Devil)

Sea World: Shamu, Sesame Street and ocean inspired

Busch Gardens: Sesame Street, Madagascar, safari and jungle animals

Legoland: LEGO toys

Silver Dollar City: Old fashion toys and candy, mining, wild west inspired

Dollywood: Old fashion toys and candy, black bears, Smokey Mountains inspired


 

I hope you enjoyed these money saving tips for traveling.

How do you save money on vacations?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

This post contains affiliate referral links to travel partners and Amazon. All come highly recommended by Living Locurto!

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The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip

Pictures this: You head out on a road trip around the incomparable American Southwest. In just one week you can see some of the most gorgeous sights the U.S. has to offer. Here are 12 must-see places on your southwest road trip route from TravelPirates. You can easily start this trip from Los Angeles or Las Vegas, and you can also reverse the order of stops.

 

Stop 1: Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Your first stop is Joshua Tree National Park, famous for its eponymous trees and incredible stargazing. The park is about the size of the entire state of Rhode Island.


Stop 2: Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim), AZ
The Grand Canyon is the second-most visited national park in America, and is probably on the most bucket lists. Spend time at the very accessible South Rim, and consider camping overnight.

Stop 3: Antelope Canyon, AZ
There are actually two sections to Antelope Canyon: upper and lower. Famous for its surreal rock striations and sunbeams, this photographer’s dream can only be accessed on a guided tour. The canyon is also just a 15-minute drive from Horseshoe Bend.

Stop 4: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT
This area is loaded with unique rock formations, like arches, hoodoos, and a petrified forest. It also has historical significance, as both dinosaur bones and petroglyphs have been discovered there.

Stop 5: Monument Valley, AZ/UT
If you’ve ever watched an American Western, then you’ve seen Monument Valley on film. Now, it’s time to see these incredible sandstone buttes, some as tall as 1,000 feet, in real life.

Stop 6: Mesa Verde National Park, CO
While Mesa Verde is home to some impressive landscapes, it is even more famous for the hundreds of cliff dwellings that dot the park, like the 900 year-old Cliff Palace.

Stop 7: Arches National Park, UT
The sandstone arches of this national park are some of the most iconic natural features in America. While visiting, tread carefully: the park is trying to preserve the 2,000 arches that dot the landscape.

Stop 8: Canyonlands National Park, UT
Right next door to Arches is the unique and colorful park that is Canyonlands. Filled with great opportunities for hiking, rafting, and photography, it shouldn’t be missed.

Stop 9: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Bryce Canyon is famous for its fire-colored hoodoos, or rock formations similar to pillars. Consider taking a horseback ride for a unique way to see the parks wonders.

Stop 10: Zion National Park, UT
Home to the stunning 15-mile long Zion Canyon, this park is a great place to stop for a hike. The park also has a shuttle bus system to transport visitors to various popular spots.

Stop 11: Las Vegas, NV
Why not spend a night of your trip in Las Vegas? Whether you’re traveling solo, with a group of friends, or on a family vacation, this colorful city caters to everyone.

Stop 12: Death Valley National Park, CA
The name “Death Valley” may have some negative connotations, but it’s a fascinating place to visit. It contains Badwater Basin the lowest point in North America, and is officially a dark sky park, meaning the stargazing is unbeatable.

Sample Itinerary

  • Day 1: Los Angeles to Joshua Tree (2 hours); drive to Grand Canyon, South Rim (6 hours)
  • Day 2: Morning at Grand Canyon; drive from Grand Canyon to Antelope Canyon (2.5 hours)
  • Day 3: Morning at Antelope Canyon; optional excursion to Grand Staircase-Escalante; drive to Monument Valley (2.5 hours); drive to Mesa Verde (3 hours)
  • Day 4: Morning at Mesa Verde; drive to Arches National Park (3 hours)
  • Day 5: Morning exploring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; drive to Bryce Canyon (4.25 hours)
  • Day 6: Morning at Bryce Canyon; drive to Zion National Park (1.75 hours); drive to Las Vegas (2 hours)
  • Day 7: Depart Vegas for Death Valley National Park (2 hours); return to Los Angeles (4.5 hours)

Total Driving Time: 35 hours | Total Distance: 2,000 miles

TravelPirates is a free-to-use travel search website and app with the largest travel Facebook community in the world (9.4 million likes!), powered by a team of expert deal hunters who find the best travel deals and tricks for seeing the world on a budget.

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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The post The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip appeared first on TodaysMama.

8 NEW Pixar Fest Foods at Disneyland You Can’t Miss!

Disneyland Resort’s first ever Pixar Fest brings the world of Pixar films to life in countless ways. But there’s only way to let your belly join in on the festivities–FOOD!! Sure Disneyland has rides and surreal sights to see, but you need to plan at least one day just to take in all the scrumptious food!  Disneyland Resort Pixar Fest offers fun and delicious eats and treats with a sweet Pixar theme. Pixar Fest arrived at Disneyland Resorts April 13, 2018 and will run for only a limited time. You won’t want to miss these creatively themed food and beverages available only until September 3, 2018.  Here’s our favorites from Pixar Fest (but trust me when I say there’s so much more!)

 

Fried Bologna Sandwich

Inspired by the film “Up”, you can find this yummy fried bologna sandwich on Main Street inside Disneyland, at the Carnation Cafe. (Even the President of Disneyland Resorts was surprised at just how yummy this was!)

 

“Coco” Churro

Inside Disneyland, walk your way over to Frontierland and enjoy a “Coco” inspired chocolate churro! This fried yummy goodness is rolled in rich chocolate powder, vanilla bean and salted cinnamon sugar served with spiced, Mexican chocolate dipping sauce.

 

“Toy Story” Root Beer Boot Float

You can be sure that no snakes are in this boot at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Disneyland.  Served in a souvenir Woody boot, you won’t want to miss checking the bottom for a “Toy Story” memory.

 

“Monsters, Inc.” Chilled Noodle Salad

Use the special sauce to activate these monster noodle colors! With mint, thai basil, shredded daikon and tofu you’ll be happy you stopped at the Lucky Fortune Cookery in Disney California Adventure Park for this cool salad.

 

Pixar Fest Celebration Cake

This vibrant Pixar Fest celebration cake can’t help but bring a bright smile to your face. Found in both parks, you can’t miss this gorgeous treat. If in Disneyland, head over to the Plaza Inn. If visiting Disney California Adventure, visit Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Paradise Garden Grill and Pacific Wharf Cafe.

 

“Toy Story” Alien Macaron

Need I say more? Your kids (or maybe you?!) will be bouncing these little aliens around the table. I’d pay you $5 if you can get through eating them without someone saying “THE CLAW!!”. These cuties will be found in Disneyland at the Alien Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland (along with quite a few other Pixar inspired food such as the Green Star Pesto Pasta and Cheeseburger Pizza).

 

Pixar Themed Cake Pops

Found throughout Disneyland Resort in any bakery or candy kitchen, you’ll be enamored by these adorable cake pops. You’ll want to be sure to stop in every bakery to find your favorite characters. We couldn’t get enough of Nemo and Lightning McQueen.
Disneyland Pixar Fest Cake Pops Nemo

 

“Cars” Habanero Meatball Cone

Drive over to the Cozy Cone Motel in Disney California Adventure Park for some spicy treats! Try this Habanero Meatball cone with turkey meatballs in a habanero derby sauce with a cheese crisp and spiral pasta “smoke stacks”.

 

While these are just a few of our favorites, both Disneyland Resort theme parks have endless Pixar themed food to help you enjoy this special time at Pixar Fest. For a more complete list of all the Pixar Foods, click here. You’ll definitely want to map out your favorites ahead of time. The food is so good, but you won’t be able to eat it all.  Or will you? Challenge accepted?  Share your favorite Disneyland foods by commenting below. 

 

 

The post 8 NEW Pixar Fest Foods at Disneyland You Can’t Miss! appeared first on TodaysMama.

10 Best Broadway Shows for Kids this Spring in NYC

From Disney musicals to shows involving social issues, there has never been a better time to catch a show on Broadway with your child. Whether it’s their first experience or not, Broadway has something special to offer everyone, every single night of the week. With its spectacular sets and costumes, first-rate performers, and a chance to wait at the stage door after a show, Broadway is where it’s at.

So do what you can – clear your schedule, book tickets in advance or look for discounts, and use this handy list of ten Broadway shows we think your kids will love this spring.

 

Frozen

Frozen at the St. James Theatre is the newest and brightest play for kids on Broadway. This movie turned Broadway production is widely anticipated by many and, thankfully, the play is worth the wait and ticket price. It’s the beloved story of a kingdom that gets trapped in perpetual winter due to a spell cast by the Snow Queen and the journey of her sister to save the day. The play faithfully brings Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and the evil Prince to the stage, along with a few new songs, a grand set and, naturally, “Let it Go.” Recommended for kids ages 6 and up – make sure your daughters or granddaughters don their favorite princess costume. They’ll be far from the only ones!

source

 

Come From Away

Come From Away at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is a musical about the incredible true story of 7,000 plane passengers who landed in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 and stayed for a few days, getting to know the natives. The cast of 12 lays a multitude of characters who lived through the experience, and the result is heroic and memorable, along with some completely memorable tunes.. It’s the kind of play that will restore faith in mankind and make you wonder how you never heard about Gander. This show is recommended for kids ages 12 and up….after all, it’s 9/11 and there are dark tragedies that transpired on that dark, dark day.

 

Anastasia

Anastasia at the Broadhurst Theatre is based on the 1997 Disney animated film of the same name. Through music and an intoxicating story, the show is about a brave woman, as we follow her from Russia to Paris, with a huge desire to find out who after losing her family as a young girl. Her journey involves discovering the truth about her royal family’s tragic history. Along the way, she not only encounters danger but also a bit of romance, which ultimately leads her to a new life. The play a grand theatrical experience that will stand out in any child’s memory. It features a book by playwright Terrence McNally. This show is recommended for kids ages 6 and up.

 

The Play that Goes

The Play that Goes Wrong at the Lyceum Theatre comes to NYC after a successful West End run in London. The show is about an accident-prone university drama society performing a play about a murder mystery. As the characters melt down, so does the set, and it ends in total chaos. It’s complete slapstick and the cast incorporates the audience into the show. If you’re looking for a good night out on Broadway that is full of laughter, this show is for you and your kids. This show is recommended for kids ages 10 and up.

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Wicked

Wicked the Musical has been gracing the Broadway stage since 2003, and it’s still popular with audiences. It’s the untold musical story, based on the book by Gregory Maguire, of The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, before Dorothy dropped in. It’s quite a magical journey for any theater goer with its grand set, costumes, and a musical score straight from heaven, and if you make this your child’s first Broadway show, you won’t go wrong. The recommended minimum age is 8 for this show as it is long in length and has a storyline that is a tad complex.

 

Aladdin

Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre is an ideal show for any Disney-obsessed child, of which there are many. Based on the musical film, with music by Alan Menken, it’s the story of a poor man granted three wishes by a genie in a lamp and his affection for Princess Jasmine. Little girls love putting on their best Princess gear for this grand show, and special needs parents should keep an eye out for autism-friendly performances. This show is recommended for kids ages 6 and up.

 

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen at the Music Box Theatre is a show for older kids, preferably teenagers, and it’s sure to blow anyone’s minds with its dazzling songs, relatable plot, and powerful storytelling. It’s a socially conscious show revolving around technology, social media, and bullying. As timely and current as the show is, the actors are equally as compelling. The score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also happened to write the lyrics for “The Greatest Showman,” as well as musical direction by Alex Lacamoire from “Hamilton,” will also floor you. This show is recommended for kids ages 13 and up.

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School of Rock

School of Rock at the Winter Garden Theatre is a play for fans of the film it was based on, as well as

music lovers. Based on the Richard Linklater film starring Jack Black and adapted by “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes. the show is a faithful adaptation with songs composed by the iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber. It offers up a lot of great lessons, including fostering independence, doing what you love, and being accepted for who you are.  Another wonderful possibility is that your special needs child will embrace the play’s sense of familiarity, strong music, and sit through a show for the first time. Our recommendation is that this show is for kids ages 8 and up.

 

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre will make any kid think about what is most important to them with its credo of “You change the world when you change your mind” mantra. Based on a book by Harvey Fierstein, with songs written by Cyndi Lauper, it won six Tony Awards. It’s the true story of English shoe factory owner Charlie Price, who saves his family business by manufacturing shoes for a niche market: Drag queens. The songs are so catchy that kids will go dancing right out of the theater. This show is recommended for kids ages 8 and up.

 

 

Hello Dolly

Hello Dolly at the Shubert Theater is an adaptation of the famous film about Dolly Levi, a New York matchmaker who falls in love with Yonkers merchant Horace Vandergelder. It takes place in the 1880’s and is based on Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker, which debuted on Broadway in 1964. The play features some famous songs, such as ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’ and ‘It Only Takes A Moment’ and it’s a classic theater experience for any child. Bette Midler debuted in the role as Dolly in this version; then the role went to Donna Murphy; and now the legendary and amazing Bernadette Peters has stepped into the role. You can’t go wrong with any of these phenomenal women. This show is recommended for kids ages 10 and up.

 

 

About the Author

Holly Rosen Fink is a full-time marketer and part-time writer living in Larchmont, NY with her husband and two children.

 

 

 

 

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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The post 10 Best Broadway Shows for Kids this Spring in NYC appeared first on TodaysMama.

Where to Stay, What to Do and Where to Dine in Keystone Resort

If you’re looking for the perfect family getaway, with something for everyone to enjoy, there is so much for both kids and adults alike at Keystone Resort. Given its location, just 75 miles from Denver, it’s a very manageable few days away from home (or a week for those who have the time!). It’s also a famous, world-renowned ski resort, offering more than 3K acres of ski terrain, a variety of classes for all levels, and restaurants and hotels for all travel budgets. It’s not just our opinion that Keystone is a top family travel destination – it was ranked in a 2017 list in USA Today and Parents Magazine recently included in a list of top family ski resorts.

In addition, Keystone is owned by Vail Resorts and is one of the best and most famous ski destinations in the world, so that alone should tell you everything you need to know about the resort’s high level of quality. For non-skiers, there is a wide variety of activities to boot during any time of year, from tubing and snowshoeing in the wintertime to hiking and other activities come summertime. Plus, and most importantly for traveling families with young children in tow, there is Kidtopia, and if you haven’t heard about this phenomenal program for kids, listen up! Kidtopia offers activities for kids, many of which are free. From arts and crafts to culinary events, and from fireworks to a parade that runs through the village, the program makes a trip to Keystone Resort not just a special one for everyone, but a slightly easier one for parents.

 

For families visiting Keystone Resort, here’s a quick guide:

 

Where to Stay and Dine.

Hyatt Place Keystone (formerly the Inn at Keystone) is the ultimate hotel for families to stay while visiting Keystone, and it’s brand new. The hotel, which opened in early 2018, is located between Lakeside Village and River Run Village, making it a convenient place to stay (near the ski resort and all the shops and activities). The views from the rooms are telling enough as the hotel overlooks the ski resort, and you can wake up and watch skiing live outside your window. While it is not a ski in/ski out property, there’s a free bus that can take the entire family directly to the slopes.

The hotel really caters to traveling families. It’s not too swanky, but it offers a bit of luxurious casualness in the heart of Keystone, with its modern design and amenities that traveling families need such as free Wifi, a daily hot breakfast, and three hot tubs situated on various floors. Each guest room has a living space with a sofa and table to place food on, coffee makers, and top-of-the-line linens. There is plenty of room in the cupboard for ski equipment in the wintertime. In addition, the front desk has plenty of ideas about things to do, such as tennis, ice-skating, skiing or snowboarding in the wintertime, and in the summertime they might suggest mountain biking, golf and local festivals.

 

A Ski Trip to Keystone: What to See and Where to Dine

In you’re traveling in the wintertime, three days in Keystone is enough to get a good taste of the area. Upon arrival, start with a gondola ride to the top of Dercum Mountain or North Peak to get yourself orientated with the resort. The Kidtopia Snow Fort is is located at the the top, where kids can burn some steam going through mazes and slides. Grab a hot drink at the Summit House or The Outpost and a leisurely dinner down below at Zuma or 9280 Tap House. If time permits, Keystone offers two ice-skating rinks – a 5-acre lake in Lakeside Village, coined as the largest ice-skating rink in North America, and a small rink in River Run Village near Kidtopia Headquarters and utilize the hotel’s hot tub.

The next day, wake up bright and early, and grab a hot breakfast at the Hyatt before taking a Family Private Lesson on the slopes. Family Private Lessons are for up to six persons of similar ability and is an excellent bonding experience and way to get to know the mountain and include lunch. Afterwards, take a rest back in the room and check the day’s Kidtopia schedule for an event that may include bouncing castles, a parade or hands-on-learning activities, and ultimately fireworks. For an exquisite culinary experience, head to Keystone Ranch, a restaurant that pays tribute to the farmers and ranchers who founded the area. The carnivores in your family will devour a piece of steak, and adults will relish their fine wine list.

On your last day, make a reservation to do some Mountain Top Snow Tubing for about an hour. Kids will love zipping down the mountain. Just be sure to have everyone in the family fully decked out in full ski gear. Grab lunch on the mountaintop at an eatery accessed by a gondola ride, the Alpenglow Stube, which sits at 11,444 feet and is a AAA four-star restaurant. Afterwards, top off the night with a Kidtopia event, such as a special culinary demo and dinner or family game night.

 

What to Know Before You Go

Best time to go: Weekdays are definitely less crowded than weekends so try to coordinate your trip so you have a few mixed into your schedule.

Deals for kids: Kids 12 and younger ski and ride free every day, all season long, with just two or more nights of lodging booked through the resort. Keystone also has convenient extras such as free designated family parking and complimentary red wagons for parents to tote gear and tired ones to and from the slopes.

Kidtopia provides free offerings: Don’t miss Keystone’s signature Kidtopia program featuring a variety of free, daily family offerings such as arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, a parade and fireworks, and the world’s largest snow fort.

Book the Epic app: There is an alpine phone app that tracks your vertical skiing, gives you live ski conditions, lift line wait times, shows how your kids are progressing in ski school, where they are on the mountain, and how your race time is compared to Lindsey Vonn.

Epic day lift tickets: Save money booking online in advance.

 

 

About the Author

Holly Rosen Fink is a full-time marketer and part-time writer living in Larchmont, NY with her husband and two children.

 

 

 

 

 

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Planning a Family Vacation – When Should You Begin?

This graph explains how to save a ton of aggravation and money on planning a family vacation. It’s a quick visual of when 60 million students in the US will be out of school and taking family vacations. It’s why you need to plan ahead when planning your next family vacation.

The Right Time for Planning a Family Vacation

Let that number sink in for a moment – 60 million families with kids….all traveling the same weeks of the year.

This is why planning a family vacation is so different from planning say a honeymoon or business trip.

Even if you home school or have little ones not yet in school, knowing how all this works will help you plan your trip dates too.

The peaks here show the most expensive times of the year to take a family vacation. Thanksgiving, December holiday weeks and mid summer you can expect to pay 50-70% more for the same vacation compared to weeks in September or May.

 

Why is it so much more expensive to travel at these peak travel times?

It’s all about supply and demand.  With 60 million families competing for the same flights, accommodations and attractions the price goes up. It’s simple economics 101.  You’ll have much better odds meeting the real Santa Claus in your living room than trying to find a cheap, last minute deal over Christmas.

family travel booking tickets early

By contrast, travel dates at the bottom based line of the chart are when parents can score the best values and prices. Of course, there is a HUGE debate between parents and educators alike about the values and  negative impact caused by taking kids out of school to travel.  This is a personal decision to be left to individual family discussions across the dinner table.  For many families, an affordable vacation only happens with truancy.

Even if budget isn’t an obstacle for your family your vacation plans are still effected by availability.  When you consider about 2 million people fly through U.S. airports on any given day and 60 million kids are out of school the same weeks of the year it means supply simply cannot meet demand.

It’s not just about flights, preferred accommodations are always the first to sell out – preferred locations like ocean view rooms, connecting rooms, multi-bed sleeping arrangements for larger families. Even if price is not an issue, families traveling during peak travel times need to plan early to avoid disappointments.

As a travel agent, my mantra is...“Planning a family vacation is just like planning a family – you need to get started 9 months in advance”  

Actually cruises, resorts and hotels will allow you to make reservations 18 months to a year in advance.  For families on a budget, this allows more time for vacation layaway payments.  Airfare prices and schedules are usually posted about 9 months in advance and can then be added to any existing reservation.  If you’re the type you doesn’t like to be rushed and needs time to make decisions then you my friend need to start a year out.

Some of you might be thinking “more is better”… I’ll plan a big vacation 3 years from now. Sorry…no can do.  Nobody has a crystal ball to know pricing that far in advance and reservations systems aren’t equipped to take your deposits for travel that far into the future.

There is another important key pricing factor tied to availability….pricing increases the closer you get to departure.  As less and less seats become available on a particular flight and as rooms begin to sell at a particular hotel, prices go up on any remaining inventory because that space now is in higher demand.

Once again, planning your family vacation far in advance gives the best options and prices.

 

But what if you MUST book last minute?

If your life only allows for last minute travel planning, then flexibility is key to affordability. You can sometimes score a deal working against seasonality. For example hiking and mountain biking at a ski resort in July. Maybe consider taking one child on vacation at a time.  It’s often far cheaper to book a trip in advance and insure it with “cancel for any reason” insurance than it is to take the “let’s wait and see approach”.

family travel booking airplane tickets

Understanding these core business principles can save inexperienced travelers needless frustration.  They spend hours searching a million different websites convinced they will eventually stumble upon the travel deal of the century. It’s simply not how the business of travel works my friends.  If you do find a deal that costs significantly less, please beware of potential problems. It could end up costing you more in the long run.  Experienced family travel agents not only understand how the travel industry works but will be able to guide you through the many decisions necessary to create a fun memorable vacation for the entire family.

I wish I had some mad animation skills. I would have turned this chart into a flashing neon sign with the catch line “Book Early!!!”  Now that you at least have that visual in your mind, please remember it!!!

 

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