Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Top 5 Memorable Family Vacations

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Ohana at Disney World

The kids are out of school and you are looking for a family vacation that will make lasting memories. You know the kind, the ones you will talk about at Thanksgiving 20+ years from now.  Over the past decade, since my son was 4 years old, our family has been blessed to visit many memorable places during our travels. Read on to learn about our family’s top 5 memorable family vacations. 

How to Make Your Trips With Kids Fun and Stress-Free

We have a special post for you today. This post comes from If you have the time then please go checkout his travel blog . We appreciate the contribution to our blog.

How to Make Your Trips With Kids Fun and Stress-Free

Travel is such a wonderful way for children to explore and learn about the world around them.

Disneyland Tip 6

FREE or Really Cheap Souvenirs:

Did you know you can get a FREE button at Disneyland's City Hall & California Adventure's Chamber of Commerce? Yep, they give away birthday buttons, anniversary buttons, "I'm Celebrating" buttons etc... Stop by either location & pick up your FREE souvenir.  Make sure you wear your button because sometimes you get a surprise FREE Dole Whip like I did on my birthday one year at Disney World. 

Make sure you bring pennies & fifty cents so you can collect pressed pennies from around the theme parks.  These souvenirs take up little space and will last forever, much like your Disneyland memories. 

Disneyland Tip 5

A FREE souvenir is available at California Adventure.  Take time away from the crowds & the rides by attending a drawing class at the Animation Academy. This 30 minute tutorial will teach you how to draw a Disney character.  You will leave with your drawing.  Make sure you bring something to store the drawings in such as a paper towel roll to help protect the drawing during your day at the park. 

Disneyland Tip 4

The FastPass for Disneyland Fantasmic is separate from the rest of the theme park FastPass system. If you want to make sure you have a spot for the Fantasmic performance, make sure you head to the FastPass kiosk located in Frontierland near Frontier Landing early in the day. The Fantasmic FastPass go pretty fast & once they are all gone, they are gone! 

Disneyland Tip 3

With Disney MaxPass you can only select FastPass options the day you visit Disneyland Resort. You can only select one FastPass at a time.  You CAN reserve a Disney California Adventure ride while in Disneyland and vice versa. For those of us who like the Magic Band at Disney World this will be quite the adjustment... You mean I actually have to wait until I enter the park to choose my FastPass options? I will be interested to see if I like MaxPass as well or better than the Magic Band at Disney World...

Update After Disneyland Trip:
After our trip to Disneyland we decided we liked Disney MaxPass.  The system worked flawlessly for us.  It was simple to use, we just accessed the app & began making FastPass selections as soon as we entered the park. Make sure you take portable battery chargers so you can keep your cell phone charged for making MaxPass selections.

NOTE: Your admission ticket must be scanned for you to be able to begin making selections.  I tried making selections while in line to get in. It would not allow me to do so until I had my ticket scanned. Once scanned it worked anywhere between Disneyland and California Adventure as long as you have park hopper tickets. 

The cost was $10 per person per day & it was well worth it! An added bonus was you had access to the Disney PhotoPass for FREE! You just go up to a Disney photographer located throughout the parks & have them take your picture.  You then can download the photos from the app for FREE! You even have download access to the pictures taken while riding certain rides (Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Radiator Racers, etc.) that have a camera. 

For those of you who decide MaxPass is not something you need, don't worry you can still get FastPasses for free using the old ticket system. Just be sure to wear your running shoes as you will be running from ticket kiosk to ticket kiosk throughout the parks. 

Disneyland Tip 2

Disneyland Week 2 Tip:
When booking your hotel for your Disneyland vacation, consider staying at a non-Disney hotel.  Some of the "other" brand hotels are closer to the theme park than the Disney hotels.  If you are visiting Disneyland on a budget, the "other" hotels will certainly help keep you on a budget. You can save a considerable amount of money over Disney hotels.  Keep in mind though, you will lose the Disney magic of not staying in the Disney themed hotel.  The BIGGEST drawback is you will not have access to Magic Morning hours at California Adventure.  ONLY Disney hotel resort guests have early admission to California Adventure...
Happy Planning!

Disneyland Tip 1

Week 1 Tip: Save money on your Disneyland trip by purchasing Disney gift cards from Sam's Club.  Use the gift cards to purchase your tickets, souvenirs, etc. I saved about $150 on my trip!

Southwest Airlines Flight Travel Tips

Southwest Airlines flight from Portland, OR offered a beautiful view of Mt. Hood!
The more I fly Southwest Airlines, the more I learn about how to have the best flight experience possible.  This week I want to share with my readers some tips I recently learned. 

Great Smoky Mountain - Eating Out

When you are on vacation you are on vacation, right? I venture to guess that NO ONE wants to cook while on vacation.  Therefore, your family will eat out most of the meals. For the budget conscious family this can be a deal breaker on whether or not you go on vacation this year. Below I have some tips to help you save money on food while on your family vacation:

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Gatlinburg TN
where the food is good but PRICEY!
  • Eat breakfast in your room - Make sure your lodging accommodations have a refrigerator in your room.  This can save you lots of money because you can keep breakfast foods in it. Better yet, if you can find an affordable hotel/motel that offers FREE breakfast stay there. As you leave for the day grab some non-perishable fruits and cereals to take with you that day to snack on. 
  • Join every restaurant club you can - Most chain restaurants have loyalty programs where they reward you for being a member with free food on your birthday. When you sign up for the club, state that your birthday is around the days you will be travelling. About 1 week prior to your "birthday" you will get free food that you can use while on the trip. 
  • Stay AWAY from the tourist spots for food - In Gatlinburg we quickly learned that if we ate on the main strip through town we would pay 2 to 3 times the cost of a meal off the main drag.  Eat where the locals eat.  Some of our favorites in Gatlinburg include Mountain Lodge Restaurant (our favorite with great lunch specials) & Hungry Bear BBQ. Both are locally owned and operated and serve good, reasonably priced food. We also enjoyed the Texas Roadhouse on the main strip but that was the ONLY restaurant we enjoyed on the main strip. 
  • The days you plan to hike, take a lunch - We stopped at Subway & picked up sandwiches for our hike before heading out each day.  You can also go to the grocery store and get beef jerky, bagels, nuts, or other non-perishable high protein foods to give you the energy to make it until dinner.  Make sure you take plenty of water to avoid dehydrating.\
  • If you have the option of eating out at lunch or dinner - CHOOSE LUNCH.  At sit down restaurants the cost of eating out increases by as much as 35% from lunch to dinner. Therefore if you are going to eat out at a sit down restaurant, CHOOSE LUNCH it's less expensive.
  • Drink water instead of sodas/tea - The average cost of a soda or tea in a restaurant today is $2.80 per glass.  For a family of 4 that is an additional $11.20 added to your meal price just for drinks.  If you drink alcoholic beverages you will spend even more! If you want to save money, opt for water.  If you do not like the taste of plain water ask for a lemon wedge to place in it. 
  • Do NOT order appetizers or desserts - In many sit down restaurants the cost of an appetizer is almost the same cost as a meal. Forgo the appetizer unless it is a meal for one of your family members. If you MUST get a dessert, share it with multiple people in your party.
  • Order kids meals for any members of your family - Fast food restaurants do not ask to see the child before handing you the kids meal.  If you don't need a full meal then order the kids meal at fast food restaurants.  Sit down restaurants tend to have strict guidelines on who can order from the kids meal. However, you can ask for a smaller portion and save money that way. 
  • Use coupons -  Go to the chamber of commerce (website or actual location) for the town you are visiting and ask for vacation booklets.  Often times there will be coupons for area restaurants. You can also find coupon books at area hotels too.