The school year is coming to an end and summer will be here before we know it. It’s been a unique and sometimes challenging year and we could all use a vacation to a place where we don’t have to think about a thing!
From adult only options, to family togetherness, Beaches® and Sandals® Resorts offer just that with more quality inclusions than any other resorts. Get ready for gourmet dining, premium liquors/wine, land and water sports, entertainment, airport transport, gratuities and more!
CURATED TIP: All of these resorts offer elegant accommodations but if you want the ultimate luxury experience, consider adding butler service to your reservation.
The Beaches Resorts are perfect for a family getaway and there are three gorgeous destinations to choose from in the Caribbean. You’ll find everything you need for family fun at each one of them! Water parks, kid’s clubs, Xbox play lounges, teen nightclubs, and multiple pools all included.
Beaches Negril Resort and Spa
Beaches Negril Resort and Spa is a laid back paradise located on famous 7-mile Beach in Jamaica. There’s a pirate themed waterpark at the water’s edge and beachside pools and restaurants. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy time with your loved ones.
Beaches Ocho Rios, A Spa, Golf & Waterpark Resort
How about a little surf and turf? Beaches Ocho Rios offers a huge action-adventure waterpark and championship golf for the whole family. You’ll feel like you’ve truly escaped with twenty-two acres of tropical gardens, a private white sand beach, seven gourmet restaurants, five swimming pools, a dedicated scuba practice pool and an ocean of watersports. There’s so much to explore.
Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa
Turks and Caicos
Featuring villages boasting the ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West, Beaches Turks and Caicos is a one of a kind resort. Located on Grace Bay with access to a huge waterpark, 21 gourmet restaurants, twelve miles of beach and 10 pools, you’ll find there’s endless fun for the entire family.
If you’re looking for an adult-only getaway, Sandals has 15 Luxury Included® Resorts to choose from. Each one offers unique experiences. Every Sandals resort sits on a stunning beach. With six Caribbean islands to choose from, you’ll be sure to find one that has everything you want in a vacation.
CURATED TIP: Over-The-Water Bungalows are available at Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals South Coast and Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica is where you’ll want to go for an exciting and lively vacation full of action. This resort has over 100 pools, 16 restaurants and the first speakeasy in the Caribbean.
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
For a quiet, more intimate experience, check out Sandals Royal Plantation in Jamaica or Sandals Halcyon Beach in Saint Lucia.
Sandals Royal Plantation
If golf is your must-do on vacation, Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort in the Bahamas offers an award-winning golf course recognized as one of the most scenic 18-hole oceanside golf courses in the Caribbean and is renowned for its challenging fairways.
Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort
Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa and Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica have plenty of watersport options to keep you as active as you’d like with beaches and pools ready for relaxing when you are.
Sandals Negril Beach Resort and Spa
CURATED TIP: There are even more amazing Sandals resort options than those listed above. Contact me and we'll find the one that is the perfect fit for you!
Photo Credit: Beaches and Sandals Resorts
Beaches® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., the worldwide representative of Beaches Resorts.
Sandals® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., the worldwide representative of Sandals Resorts.
Summer break is right around the corner and we've got a week at the beach on our minds! If you missed your summer vacation last year, due to COVID, maybe you are feeling the same!
While we LOVE our Disney fix -- this month we've rounded up some of our favorite resorts in Florida, aside from Walt Disney World.
From the Panhandle, all the way down both coasts, to the Keys...we have so many great options!
Where to Stay:
The Henderson - Destin: Located on some of the best beaches in the US, this resort offers 4 restaurants, 2 pools, and lots of activities.
Watercolor Inn - Santa Rosa Beach: a family friendly boutique resort on sugar sand beaches, offering 3 restaurants and 5 pools.
What to Do:
National Naval Aviation Museum - one of the most visited museums in Florida. Features 150 restored aircraft.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park - one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, this is a hotspot for manatees!
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park - historic aquarium with a variety of aquatic animals
Florida Caverns State Park - one of the most unique parks in Florida. Find limestone stalagmites and stalactites here which are millions of years old!
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
Where to Stay:
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point - Bonita Springs: Award-winning tropical resort near Naples, Florida with 5 water slides, 4 refreshing pools, a lazy river, and a secluded private island.
JW Marriott - Marco Island: Situated along three miles of private beach, this resort offers 12 restaurants, 3 pools, and lots of family activities.
What to Do:
Busch Gardens - offering some of Florida's best thrill rides and is also home to more than 200 species of animals.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park - an enchanting spring which offers kayaking, canoeing, a water park, and the legendary live mermaid show.
Crystal River - the only place in North America where you can legally swim with manatees.
Sanibel Island - a unique barrier island which has made it to be known as the shelling capital of the world!
JW Marriott Marco Island
Where to Stay:
Acqualina - Miami: Where the charm of a Mediterranean villa meets a luxury seaside escape - offering 3 restaurants and 3 pools
The Breakers - Palm Beach: Known for its seaside glamour and world-class service, this oceanfront resort offers 9 restaurants and 4 pools
What to Do:
Kennedy Space Center - train like an astronaut, see the Space Shuttle Atlantis and a Mars Rover, and so much more!
Sawgrass Recreation Park - board an airboat to see the wild side of Florida
Venetian Pool - Perhaps the world's most beautiful public pool! Reconstructed from an abandoned rock quarry and opened since 1924.
Everglades National Park - 1.5 million acres of wetland offering boating, biking, hiking, and wildlife viewing
The Breakers Hotel
Hawks Cay Resort
Where to Stay:
Hawks Cay - Duck Key: Recently awarded the #1 family resort in America, offering 5 restaurants, 5 pools, and a swimming with dolphin encounter right on site!
Cheeca Lodge - Islamorada: Tropical escape featuring 3 restaurants, 3 pools, and 1,200 feet of palm tree lined private beach!
What to Do:
Key West Conch Tour Train - 75 minute tour with stops near the Ernest Hemingway House, Key West Lighthouse, Southernmost Point, and Mallory Square
Dry Tortugas National Park - located 70 miles from Key West, this park is only accessible by seaplane or boat. It's a popular snorkeling spot and also home to Fort Jefferson.
Dolphin Research Center- swim with dolphins, watch one of the shows, chat with trainers, or cool off at the spray ground.
Bahia Honda State Park - 400 acres offering snorkeling boat tours, beach equipment rental, concessions, and probably the nicest beach in the Keys
Photo credits: Classic Vacations
While more than 70% of the United States currently has snow on the ground, summer is just around the corner making now the perfect time to plan that summer getaway. Many are opting for destinations that are a drivable distance away. Luckily, there are several incredible resorts located within a 3 hour drive of New York City, making them an easy drive for most living in the Northeast.
Crystal Springs Resort
Sussex County, New Jersey
Photo credit: Crystal Springs
Crystal Springs Resort is described as a 4000 acre playground for all ages. This four season resort truly has it all. The resort boasts indoor and outdoor pools, 6 golf courses, a lake with fishing and non-motorized water sports, nature trails, 2 spas and a sports club with tennis, basketball, and racquetball. In the winter, guests can enjoy skiing, ice skating and snow tubing. The activities are endless. You can even try out goat yoga!
The resort is actually comprised of two hotels. Grand Cascades Lodge is the more luxurious of the two. The Adirondack-style lodge creates the perfect harmony of luxury and connection with the outdoors. Grand Cascades features the Biosphere indoor and outdoor pools, two upscale restaurants and a casual Italian bistro (and the Chef's Garden "garden-to-table" dining experience in the warmer months), an incredible wine cellar and a spa. Minerals Hotel caters to families and those that are young at heart. It features the Minerals Sports Club, Minerals indoor and outdoor pools, family-friendly dining options, and a spa. While generally amenities at either hotel are open to all resort guests, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and New Jersey state restrictions, some access may be suspended so be sure to discuss with your Curated Travel advisor which hotel option best suites your needs.
Photo credit: Crystal Springs
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, New York
Photo Credit: Mohunk Mountain House
Guests at Mohonk Mountain House can experience the luxury of a by-gone era at the Hudson's Valley's most iconic resort. Originally built in 1869, Mohonk Mountain House's Victorian castle is a National Historic Landmark and has hosted 5 presidents throughout its history.
The experience at Mohonk Mountain House is reminiscent of that of the luxury resorts at the turn of the 20th century. Guest rooms are maintained to preserve the unique architecture and character of the Mountain House. The furnishings are timeless antiques and most rooms do not have televisions, but do have wood-burning fireplaces. Three gourmet meals from the resorts awarding-winnings chefs and afternoon tea & cookies (as well as most activities) are included with your stay.
I fell in love with Mohonk Mountain House when it was featured on an episode of Travel Channel's Great Hotels (and have made numerous visit since). The resort is stunningly gorgeous, perched on top of a mountain on the banks of a mountain glacial lake with incredible views of the Hudson Valley. Guests come to Mohonk year-round to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors here. The resort is surrounded by miles of hiking trails and boasts beautiful Victorian gardens. Other outdoor activities, depending on the season, include golf, ice skating, snowshoeing, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, boating, and fishing. There is no outdoor pool but in the summer guests can enjoy a dip in the pristine, glacial lake. Mohonk Mountain House is home to a world-class spa with a gorgeous indoor pool. It's a destination perfect for a family gathering or a romantic weekend away.
Woodloch Pines Resort & The Lodge at Woodloch
Photo credit: Woodloch
Woodloch Pines Resort and the Lodge at Woodloch are two sister properties located in the Lake Region of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Woodloch Pines is an all-inclusive family resort while the Lodge at Woodloch is an adult-only, all-inclusive destination spa.
Woodloch Pines is the perfect destination for a multi-generational family vacation. There are a variety of accommodation types to fit everyone's needs - from traditional hotel rooms to 1- and 2-bedroom suites to private vacation homes large enough to fit the whole family. With a diverse array of activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Woodloch Pines. Indoor and outdoor pools, an indoor splash zone, an indoor playground, go carts, bumper boats, miniature golf, year-round ice skating, lake activities in the summer and snow tubing in a winter are just some of the activities offered.
The Lodge at Woodloch is a 58-room, luxury country estate that is limited to guests age 16 and older. All packages at the Lodge include 3 gourmet meals per day plus an array of activities designed to offer a rejuvenating and stress-releasing experience such as scheduled group fitness classes, cooking and baking demonstrations, group outdoor adventure excursions, a personal spa concierge, and health and fitness amenities. There are package options that include daily spa services as well. The Lodge at Woodloch offers over 35 different classes daily to help guests explore their passions or discover new ones. The Lodge at Woodloch is a place where guests can expand their mind and soothe their soul and is perfect for a couple's or girlfriend's getaway.
Photo Credit: Woodloch
Rocking Horse Ranch
Highland, New York
Photo Credit: Rocking Horse Ranch
When it comes to family resorts and family fun, Rocking Horse Ranch is number one! Take the kids here once and I can promise they will be begging to return.
The entire resort has a western ranch theming. It's a bit kitschy but it works. With only 113 rooms, the resort never feels crowded and the staff is able to provide exceptional service. The food is not fancy but it's good, family friendly and plentiful and the resort is accommodating with allergies or picky eaters.
With a name like Rocking Horse Ranch, you can probably guess that the resort centers on horses and horseback riding. But there is also impressive wide range of family friendly activities beyond the horseback riding. There are indoor and outdoor aquatic complexes (complete with indoor and outdoor waterslides), water sports on the lake in the summer, skiing, snow tubing and ice skating in the winter, daily activities like bingo and trivia games, family friendly nightly entertainment, kids' club, year-round mountain tubing, and even a spa. The best part is almost everything, including meals, are included in the daily rate (notable exceptions are spa treatments, alcoholic beverages and children's programming for kids under 3). Yes, that includes the horseback riding, skiing (including instruction and equipment) and water sports. If you are looking for a destination to provide good, old fashioned, family fun for all ages, Rocking Horse Ranch is the place to go!
What is YOUR favorite family hangout on the east coast -- totally let me know!!!!
As someone who lives outside Chicago, IL --definitely cold and snowy during the winter --- I'm always dreaming of warm sandy beaches and turquoise waters!!
If that is the case, follow along with me as I explore traveling to Mexico; when you're comfortable with travel, you'll totally be ready for a relaxing stress free getaway!!!
CURATED TIP: Some countries require that your passport remain valid for three or even six months past the duration of your stay. I recommend starting the renewal process 6 months prior to expiration to allow time for processing delays.
Best time to visit?
Weather tends to be warm to hot throughout the year in Mexico making it a great year-round beach destination. January tends to be Mexico's high season for visitors who want to flee the cold and snowy weather of their home towns for some fun in the sun. I personally had a great experience traveling there during the month of January. The weather was perfection and the beaches were not over crowded. February is another great time of the year to visit for travelers looking to escape the cold (I say this as I'm looking out the window and watching snow come down!)
As mentioned, there is never really a bad time to visit Mexico however if you are hoping to avoid the crowds you may want to avoid Spring break season. Summers tend to be hot and humid but perfect for a relaxing dip in the pool or splash in the sea.
CURATED TIP: Currently, Mexico does not require a COVID test prior to your visit or upon arrival. Always check current travel requirements a few days prior to departure.
Things to do
If your vacation dream is to lay on the beach and do nothing, you can absolutely do that here. However, if you are looking to incorporate some exciting excursions into your vacation I have some great suggestions for you. Here is just a taste of what Mexico has to offer.
Xcaret- Here you'll find an amazing ecological park where you can get close to nature and wildlife. I love the butterfly garden and aviary located within Xcaret. You can also explore tide pools, float through an underground river, snorkel and. more! You'll also get a good taste of Mexican culture here through several exhibits as well as an amazing nighttime show you can experience.
Xel-Ha-This is an all inclusive park where you can relax and reconnect with nature. You'll find snorkeling, river floating, cenotes, water slides, zip line and ropes games, hiking paths and much more!
Xplore - If you're looking for adventure this is the place! Here you'll be able to experience Two circuits with seven zip-lines each (2.4 mi total distance), which include the tallest in Riviera Maya. Amphibious vehicle to drive through the jungle and flooded caves. Paddling with special hand paddles along an underground river. Stalactite River Swim inside ancient caves and spelunking hike. These are just a few of the included activities.
Chichen Itza - is the 2nd most visited archeological site of Mexico today. In fact, it is. one of the 7 wonders of the world! Here you can experience a taste of Mayan history. It is worth the trip.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving - many vendors offer snorkeling and scuba diving experiences. If you want to swim with sea turtles and a variety of tropical fish this a great opportunity to do this.
Tulum Ruins - The ruins are situated on 39 ft tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya. It is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites and therefore very popular with tourists.
CURATED TIP: You can make planning easy by booking your excursions and transportation with your travel advisor. Just ask for more details on how we can help curate your vacation experience.
The best of ALL worlds?!?!
If you would love to visit Mexico, but want to see a bit more of the area -- another fun possibility would be a cruise!! So many cruise lines offer amazing itineraries!!!
What dream do you see in your future--- adult only All Inclusive -- family friendly resort -- all encompassing cruise -- let me know how I can help :)
It's hard to believe that signs of Christmas are now everywhere. From trees, to lights, to shopping for loved ones, the air is filled with Holiday cheer. If you're looking to add a little sweetness to the final days of 2020, I highly suggest heading to the Hershey, PA, the sweetest place on Earth!
Located just west of the state's Capital City of Harrisburg, Hershey is a an easy weekend getaway from DC and many other major east coast cities. The thrill of the rides, the tastiness of the chocolate, and warmth of this small town will have you adding Hershey to your must do list for years to come.
My Earmate had the pleasure of sampling a taste of HersheyPark Christmas Candylane® and Hershey Sweet Lights® during their opening weekend.
With a chill in the air, they arrived at the Hotel Hershey, which sits high atop a hill overlooking the fun of Hershey Park located right across the street. The 1930's hotel, built by Milton Hershey during the Great Depression to provide employment for his town, has been a recipient of both the Forbes Four-Star Award and the AAA Four-Diamond Award.
Upon arrival, the simple yet elegant lobby invites you, as does the full sized candy bar each guest receives. They also packaged their stay with Cookies From Santa so the kiddos in the group received milk and freshly baked goodies to enjoy before hitting some rides! The package is a fun option and in addition to the yumminess includes accommodations, tickets for Christmas Candylane (including a preview night), Sweet Lights, and admission to both Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story's Museum Experience.
DAY 1: PREVIEW NIGHT!!!
We highly recommend checking in the night prior to your Candylane ticketed day. This is because 2.5 hours prior to Park closing, you are invited to join in the fun with a preview night!
There is a lot to see and do and this is a great way to see all that the Park has to offer and gives you the opportunity to hit up a few rides so that you can maximize your time tomorrow.
CURATED TIP: Be sure to ride the Monorail and Skyview, not only for the beauty of the lights but to get get an overview of the Park and make your list of things you want to ride.
CURATED TIP: We would suggest visiting Santa if that is on your list as well as his reindeer. If you choose to wait until tomorrow the lines will be long, but Santa's line did seem to let up later in the evening.
Dinner: They chose to grab a quick bite in the park at Nathan's Famous (after riding the Tilt-a-While of course). The chicken tenders were delicious and food was plentiful and can easily be shared. There is also the options of Chick-Fil-A and Subway closer to the front of the Park as well.
CURATED TIP: If Chick-Fil-A is your choice, hit up their food truck located in The Hollow. The line was non-existent and this is where the light show set to music is located. So find a park bench and enjoy dinner with the show. There is also a great Christmas tree nearby for family photos.
With Candylane not opening until 2 PM, there is plenty of time to enjoy your Hotel!
DAY 2: POOL TIME!!!
Don't forget your bathing suit! What kid doesn't love to swim? Parents, grab your coffee or your mimosa, because this was just exciting to the kids as the anticipation of riding coasters.
Some of the activities available for kids at Hotel Hershey:
CURATED TIP: If the weather allows, grab lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy at the tables at Harvest Plaza, just a short walk from the main building. There is plenty of seating as well as ping pong and cornhole to entertain the kids!
Check out the beauty of the Gardens nestled right outside the Hotel
This is a great place for the kids to run of some energy (and calories) while the adults relax before hitting the Park.
DAY 2 CONTINUED: PARK TIME!!!!
The crowds were heavy compared to the night prior, so we headed towards the back of the Park and worked our way forward. The nice thing about Hershey is that it is a Park for all ages. Whether you have thrill seekers looking to ride the new Candymonium or littles still excited for the merry-go-round, there is something for everyone.
CURATED TIP: Arrive early! With the temperature check prior to the entrance, allow yourself extra time as the line was long.
CURATED TIP: if you are interested in Zoo America, which is included in your Park admission, check the hours as it does close prior to sunset.
Dinner: If you are a cheesesteak fan, I highly recommend Chickie's & Pete's. A Philadelphia original, this was one of the best I've had! The sandwiches are just as big as they are delicious, so consider sharing. And don't forget an order of Crabfries with cheese sauce for the table!
Sweet Lights: After a fun filled day in the Park, enjoy more than two miles of christmas cheer from the warmth of your car. With over two million lights and 600 animatronics set to music, there is a surprise around every turn and I highly recommend as a the perfect way to end your night.
CURATED TIP: Before leaving the park grab a Starbucks or hot chocolate to sip on while viewing the lights.
DAY 3: HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD
Ever wonder how they make this world famous chocolate? Check out Chocolate World for the behind the scenes tour as you ride through the chocolate process from bean to candy. There is even a sweet yummy surprise at the end. This is also your go to place for a souvenir and any Hershey product you would like to take home with you. I recommend the Reese's peanut butter and the yummy hot cocoa.
CURATED TIP: Be sure to schedule your visit online at tickets.hersheys.com for a timed entry pass.
Lunch: We grabbed a quick bite at the food court before hitting the road. They had soup and sandwiches for the adults and a generous kid's meal. The next time I go however, I'm saving room for the milkshakes! They looked delicious and could totally be a meal itself.
I hope you decide to take a road trip to Hershey for the Holidays. If it's not in the cards this year, keep it in mind for next!
Hershey Christmas Candylane® and Hershey Sweet Lights® are open most nights through January 3, 2021. Please be sure to check the state of Pennsylvania COVID regulations prior to traveling.
If you haven't visited Hershey -- totally let me know when you would love help in booking this "Sweet" getaway!!
If you have visited -- I would love to hear your favorite memory!!!!
As we officially enter the holiday season, what better way to celebrate than by taking a trip back in time! Throughout the fall and winter, the Historic Williamsburg area in Virginia has so much to offer!
Here’s a sample itinerary for you and your family as you plan your, “Picture Perfect Getaway”!!!!
Dinner possibilities: Your arrival evening is the perfect time to try a local favorite for dinner, Second Street American Bistro, if you’re looking for a casual night out.
If you’re excited to try something a bit more upscale and would love to sample the region’s famous seafood dishes, I totally suggest Berret’s Seafood Restaurant. From oysters on the half shell, to steak and lobster – there’s truly something for everyone!
A Day in Historic Williamsburg
Spend your Williamsburg day wandering through the historic town:
- access to all the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area sites
- access to the museums
- use of Historic Area Shuttle buses
- programs throughout the property
* You can even check if the Musket Firing is available (at an extra cost) to add to your ticket for anyone 18, or older.
CURATED TIP: If your travel party would love to visit this area throughout the Fall, I would suggest purchasing the “Fall into Holiday Savings Ticket” available for purchase between now – Oct. 31, 2020. For the price of a regular 3-day ticket, you get unlimited visits until Dec. 31, 2020.
A Day at Busch Gardens
If you’re visiting during the month of October – you can celebrate the Halloween season. At this time, the traditional park is reinvented so that guests can sample special treats and participate in themed activities while still enjoying the thrill of the roller coasters!
This year, contactless trick or treating will take place on select days, to keep in the spirit of this favorite fall activity! Pumpkin carving for all, kid-friendly activities, like the Sesame Street ® Forest of Fun, and in select areas and times, ghosts and ghouls will seek you out – an amazingly fun way to spend your day!
Dinner possibilities: If you’re wanting to stay for the evening shows, eating a quick dinner at Busch Gardens is a great idea. However, if you plan on returning back to your hotel, this might be a night to try a local favorite – either pick up, or delivery – Sal’s Pizza!
A Day in Yorktown or Jamestown
It’s time to round out your “Picture Perfect Getaway” with one last travel through time. Both Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Museum have such fun exhibits and museums, it’s hard to choose which to visit. Each location is a full day’s activity and they’re located a bit apart from one another.
For your “Getaway”, I suggest choosing one and then saving the other for a return visit.
If you’re looking to learn more about the earliest settlers in the Virginia area, Jamestown Settlement is the perfect choice!
With both indoor and outdoor activities, you will learn about the first settlement made as the Virginia Company sailed from England to the “New World”. Your family can participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the museum of the settlement, then move outside to explore re-creations of the colonist’s fort, a Powhatan Indian village, and a re-creation of one of three ships that sailed from England to Virginia.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
This is the location for you, if you are interested in learning about the Revolutionary War! Like Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown has both indoor and outdoor activities. You can start your journey in the museum detailing the battles and strategies of the American colonists through galleries with period artifacts and immersive films.
Then move outside to visit the newly renovated Continental Army encampment and a Revolution-era farm. Here you will learn to write your name with a feather quill to “sign up for the army” and participate in army drills. You can also take part in discussions and demonstrations given by costumed museum guides. As you learn about medical treatments, gardens, crops and 18th century family life -- you might even be given a few chores to do!
CURATED TIP: There are TWO “Yorktown sites” – the actual battlefield and the interactive museum. I totally recommend checking Google to make sure that you are heading to the right location (Um – not that we’ve done that---eeek!!!!)
Dinner possibilities: We always love heading back to the Williamsburg area for our dinners! After your tour through history, this is a great night for a quick bite to eat at The Cheese Shop. They will custom make sandwiches (I love the chicken salad sandwich) and you can dine al fresco – a perfect way to end your stay!!!
You’ve had a chance to read about our “Picture Perfect Getaway” – I can’t wait to hear about your recommendations when you return!
Let me know how I can Curate the perfect getaway for you!!!
EARS TIP: While relaxation, coupled with spontaneity, are the norm for our Hawaiian adventures, we totally recommend having reservations for these restaurant experiences BEFORE you arrive!
Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at Makahiki
Breakfast seating starts as early as 7:45 am and continues through 11am.
***Be sure to make your reservation during this time frame; although the buffet continues throughout 12:00pm, reservations are not accepted past 11:15am.
When you arrive, you are taken on the lanai (if the weather is cooperating!) for character pictures! While characters vary, many times this can be an awesome time to see Mickey!!!
After pictures, you are seated and able to hit the buffet!!! Your server will take drink orders (including any fun specialty drinks that the over 21 group members might love!!) and you’re free to enjoy the amazing food. The buffet is spread over one entire wall of the restaurant and includes cold offerings (fruits and yogurts), as well as hot breakfast items: waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. The choices don’t stop there – as there is even a “make your own omelet” station and offerings with an Asian flair!
Throughout your meal, traditional characters will visit your table, interacting with everyone and posing for pictures! Be prepared for your “keiki” (little ones) to be up and moving, as there are character parades, and games throughout the breakfast!
Typically, this Character buffet is offered on the following days: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with seating starting as early as 4:00pm and ending at 7:30pm. While the buffet continues past 7:30, the restaurant stops taking reservations at this time.
Again, when you check in, you’ll have a character photo opportunity – characters vary, but many times you will see the more traditional Disney characters. We were lucky enough to see Donald!!
EARS TIP: For Large groups dining together- I totally recommend having a photo “game plan” before your Character picture. The process is quick and it’s good to know who’s standing next to whom beforehand!
During the meal, “Uncle” will weave a story about the Menehuene (the island’s spirit mischief makers), inviting the children in the audience to join in the fun. There are musical instruments, Hawaiian games and of course—a character parade throughout the restaurant!
This is an open air restaurant that specializes in fresh fish and seafood, as well as amazing steak offerings! Of course, we had to try ALL the options – from appetizers and salads to main courses with shareable sides, we almost didn’t save room for dessert (almost!)
EARS TIP: When making a dinner reservation – take a look at when the sun traditionally sets in Hawaii during your stay (I can totally help with this)!! We were able to enjoy a sunset meal on our last night in Aulani!
We had the best vacation in Aulani -- CANNOT wait for you to go!!!
“On the road, again – I just can’t wait to get on the road again!”
If you’re looking for an amazing adventure, and see Walt Disney World through a whole new lens—I totally recommend a visit to Fort Wilderness!! With so many options, Fort Wilderness is truly a community in itself – it’s a culture within itself, it’s Disney – a different way!
Checking in and setting up
No matter what type of camper you are – pop up tent, RV, or even a Cabin – there's a place for you at Walt Disney World's Fort Wilderness Campsites!!!
PRO TIP: Don’t forget your Magic Bands if you run to the bathroom in the middle of the night; both the Comfort Station and Laundry Facilities require Magic Band access – added security in the middle of the night!
How to Spend your Days?
While visiting the theme parks is often people’s #1 reason to visit Disney – a “Fort Wilderness” Disney trip adds so much more!
PRO TIP: If you're thinking of visiting Fort Wilderness at the holidays, be sure to reserve your campsite WELL in advance. These are very popular locations – regular campers love to set up their area for a month to enjoy their time!
With so many magical activities at Walt Disney World – Fort Wilderness is a way to slow down and enjoy them all at your own pace!
So much love to the Hatch Family for sharing their most magical memories of their stays at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness!!!
This year’s dates are: Aug. 29th – Nov. 23rd, 2019. Here’s a brief overview of the best that EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival have to offer!!
In each of the EPCOT pavilions there are kiosks set up with amazing foods to try. During this festival – you will even see EXTRA kiosks pop up that are associated with each Pavilion. NEW this year are tastes from “The Alps”, and “The Donut Box”, along with returning favorites, like “The Chocolate Studio”!!!
In each kiosk, you can find small portions to nibble, which often range between $4.00 - $8.00. You are also able to use Dining Plan snack credits – depending on the location and the sizes of the portions you are purchasing.
As you are eating your way around the world, and have dietary needs, or even picky eaters, you can totally look for symbols that help your food choices. Next to each menu item, you will see (GF) Gluten Friendly, (V) Vegetarian and (KA) which indicates Kid Approved – samples that have been created to cater to children’s tastes!
In addition to the food kiosks, there are a variety of beverage stands around the World Showcase. Each beverage reflects the theming of the lands – anything from Sake in Japan and Guinness Beer in Germany --- to the Kir a la Grenade in France (Sparkling wine and pomegranate juice) and a Pear Cider in England!
Soooo many options to choose from!!!
EARS TIP: I recommend having a game plan before you try to drink your way around the World Showcase; try to split up your “beverages” with rides, shows and WATER!!! If you’re with a partner—a great way to try it all is to get one drink in each “pavilion” to split.
…AND BE MERRY!!!
Not only will you encounter amazing food and beverage choices, you could also attend different demonstrations, tastings, seminars and classes during the Food and Wine Festival.
These options are usually for an additional cost and have age requirements. Prices range from $19.00 per guest (culinary demonstrations with gourmet chefs), to $90.00 per guest (seminars with a fromger). There are even kid-friendly choices – like the Candy Sushi class!!!
Food and Wine is ALWAYS best when shared with friends and family. CANNOT wait for our Girls Trip next year!!!!
Totally let me know your favorite Food and Wine stories and tips!
Trials of the Temple
If your child has ever wanted to experience what it’s like to interact with the Star Wars characters – then Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple ©Disney/Lucasfilm, Ltd. is a TOTALLY a must do!!!
EARS TIP: I recommend getting to the park early and making your way to the sign up area right away. In our Ears of Experience packet, we will give you suggestions for exactly what to do here!!!
Once you sign your “young-ling” up at the Indiana Adventure Outpost area – you will receive a return time slip for your child to complete their “Jedi Training”; they will learn to use the Force and light sabers. Once the training is complete – all young-lings will march to the show stage and prepare to battle the forces of darkness – at the time of this posting, the villains that your child could come face-to-face with would be either the Seventh Sister, or Darth Vader!!!
Kara and Lucas battling the "Dark Side"!!
Star Wars Launch Bay
A great way to spend the hot hours of the day, or a mid-afternoon rain shower, would be to explore Star Wars Launch Bay. This is located in the Animation Courtyard – really close to the Disney, Jr. show. If you have a group with mixed ages – this is a great time to split up and have the “littles” go to the Disney, Jr. Dance Party, while older siblings and friends visit the Star Wars area. The Launch Bay is a museum like setting with exhibits, models, costumes and replicas from the Star Wars films, including “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.
While you are there – take a photo minute for Character Meet and Greets! As of this posting, both Chewbaca and Kylo Ren are available for pictures and you can even say Hi! to BB-8 (be prepared – the droid is a quite a bit smaller than the one seen on screen!). And of course – there are tons of merchandise memorabilia to be purchased while you roam and explore!!!
EARS TIP: Before you enter the simulator – have a talk with your littles about who they would like to sit next to --have the order of your family ready before you enter. The seat belts can sometimes be a bit tricky – so I would recommend having smaller children next to an adult.
EARS TIP: Be sure to prep everyone for the long line that could be at the Build your own light saber station! My son LOVED light sabers – so we went through this process 4 times in one trip – I have definitely learned my souvenir lesson!!!
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular -As your evening draws to an end- get ready for a combination of: lighting, lasers, special effects and fireworks. The entire show will be centered around Star Wars scenes and set to your favorite Star Wars music! The scenes will be projected onto the Chinese theater with the fireworks surrounding and enhancing the projections.
Star Wars Guided tour
If you’re going to Hollywood Studios to fully immerse yourself in the Star Wars experience – you might think about taking a full day for Star Wars themed attractions! Disney offers an All Access Tour that incorporates VIP access / preferred viewing for some of the most coveted Star Wars attractions, Meet and Greets and shows, a lunch at the Back Lot Express, as well as a sign up for the Jedi Training!
Let me know what you are MOST excited about as Star Wars, Galaxy's Edge is ready to open!!!
Monica Clark, your