Posts filed under Travel

Indiana Dunes State Park #GSLOVESPARKS

Sometimes the spontaneous adventures that are the most memorable.

This past Sunday we had an impromptu trip. In honor of Stranger Things season 3, we packed our bags and headed to Indiana…lol JK but man wasn’t the season finale a tear-jerker? We were looking for some fun to fill our Sunday. Coincidentally, it happened to be Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend!!

This wasn’t a planned out day, especially since we slept in that day. Two hours later, after a quick stop at McDonald’s for on the go breakfast and Subway for afternoon sandwiches, we were packed up and entering the Indiana Dunes State Park and headed towards the beach!!!

The weather was perfect. Although the thermostat read 90, with the breeze off of Lake Michigan, it feel beautiful and relaxing. The beach was packed but there are perks to going later in the afternoon. At that time the early morning peeps started to leave and we found a spot easily right next to the water.

Most importantly, we had a ton of fun. I’m so glad we went. Usually this type of thing needs to be planned at least a day in advance but it turned out to be so much wonderful!!

Did you participate in the Girl Scouts Love State Parks this past weekend? Be sure to follow us along on Instagram!

Camping @ Sleeping Bear Dunes Part 1: Beach and Cherry Republic

The drive took 8 hours from the Chicago area. Google maps says it takes 5.5 but we were towing our camper. We also had a trailer tire blow out when we were just an hour from the campgrounds.

Kids on a Plane - Tips to help you not lose your Sh*t!

Kids on a plane. Seems like it could be a title for a thriller movie kind of like Snakes on a Plane. Not sure which one is worse.

Traveling with kids, especially on a plane, can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. Like with everything else you do with kids, proper preparation can cut down on the craziness.

Floating the Platte River in Northern Michigan

One of the more popular attractions and the biggest hit with our family was floating down the Platte River. Since we stayed at the Platte River Campgrounds, we were right down the road but it took us a couple days to figure out the right spot, for our family with younger children, to put in. 

Devil's Lake Wisconsin Camping Trip!

Last fall, our family took a major step and decided to invest in a travel trailer. I stalked the internet for months trying to find the best deal on a used "starter" camper for our family. Our knowledge of campers, or towing anything in general, was sparse but I'm a firm believer that if you want to do something you just have to pull the trigger and learn through doing.

We Visited the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

I was finally able to finish this video from our trip a couple weeks back. I was up till 3 AM with the final edits because my computer was acting up and I was super paranoid that if I didn't finish it would have all been scrapped! There was a couple of close calls and potty language to say the least.

We went to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis on one of the last weekends of the Doc McStuffins exhibit. We left Penny with the grandparents. We love her so much but she is such an active and independent toddler that I was afraid the entire day would be chasing her around and we really wanted the older kiddos to enjoy the day. 

It is the largest children's museum in the world and it was very interactive and worth the 3 hour road trip from Chicago! Check out our fun below and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Our Top 5 attractions for the under 5 at Walt Disney World

Recently, I've been getting asked for suggestions on the can't miss attractions at Walt Disney World. There are so many things you can do at each of the 4 parks that it can seem overwhelming. This got me thinking and so I asked my daughter, who has been to Disney World several times only at the age of 5. Here is my daughter's top five list!

It's a Small World

-Fantasyland

She has loved this ride since before she was 1 and it's a classic. There is something magical and happy about this ride that opens up their little eyes. It's located in the Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland.

Disney's Electrical Parade

-Fantasyland

This is a can't miss! Seriously, your kids will love this just as mine did. We always plan this one ahead as it's only offered on certain days and at certain times. The sparkly lights at night with the famous Disney characters drive the kids insane! In a good way, that is.

Dumbo 

- Fantasyland

It's a classic and it's fun! They recently revamped this attraction. This is more of an adventurous ride as the height can be intimidating to little little kids. Bella is not a fan of "thrill rides" but still enjoys this one very much.

Kilimanjaro Safari ride 

- Animal Kingdom

This one is such an adventure for young kids. It's so much more than a Zoo and you feel like you are really on a safari in this open atmosphere. We have always had the most luck of seeing the amazing animals if you go right when the park opens. This ride is located at the Animal Kingdom Park.

The Little Mermaid and Nemo Ride

-Fantasyland and Epcot

These are a combo as they are kind of the same but with different movie themes and both are great for young kids. The Little Mermaid ride is at the Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland and the Nemo ride is at Epcot.

Dressing up at the parks

- Anywhere!

Okay, this is actually number 6 and it's not really an attraction but my kids love doing this so I just had to mention. The kids love wearing their costumes at the parks. You can find some pretty affordable princess outfits that wont break the bank ahead of time at Target or Walmart. You can even get a coordinating outfit that resembles a character and the kids will be excited. I would recommend bringing some loose clothes for them to change into just in case they get hot in the dresses.

Have you heard of

Disney Bound

? People, by people I mean adults too, actually dress up like characters in their own interpretations with regular clothes while matching the color palettes of the characters. For a more detailed explanation I found an article

here

 that describes it best. It's pretty cool and I'm sure we will try this on our next visit. You can find some ideas on pinterest by searching 

here

!

Honorable mention: Winnie the Pooh ride at Fantasyland

The ride itself can be a tad outdated but the kids still love the black florescent scenes. The main attraction with this ride is actually waiting in line. They have fun games and activities throughout the line to keep the kids occupied and entertained.

Have you traveled to Disney World with your little one's? What are their favorite attractions? Leave your comments below!

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Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom

One of the things I love most about Disney is that they take every opportunity to plug in the educational factor in almost all that they do. Animal Kingdom is a park that has educational resources everywhere. Since we have been through this park a couple of times, this visit we wanted to try something different.

We came across the Wilderness Explorers upon entrance into the park, just passed the Tree of Life. Wilderness Explorers are dressed up like the scout from the movie UP. You get these cute little handbooks to earn badges/stickers as your travel throughout the park. I was so excited about this idea because it's an introduction for my daughter earning badges for her Daisy Scout year.

After going through the book, I realized that many of the big attractions at the park have an education reference behind them. For example, the Expedition Everest attraction details the aspects of camping in the mountains. As you walk through the line, unless you are fortunate to zip through to the front, you trek on a journey through the Himalayan mountains. One of the badges was specifically related to this as we had to find and check off items one would need to venture out into the wilderness. When we spotted all the items on the list we earned our badge.

Kali River Rapids is another attraction that provides more than just a thrill ride and some scenery. As you walk through this line, you get a little education on the horrors of logging. As you are waiting to board your raft, you are disturbed by the sound of a chainsaw. You think to yourself "why would Disney have such a distraction in their parks?" Once you are on the ride and nearing the end you get a little understanding of where this sound is coming from as your raft through a mock area that is destroyed by logging. It's a can't miss part of the attraction that begs for kids to ask what it's all about.. and they do.

One of my favorite things about this concept is that it opened our family up to areas of the park that we would have normally not have seen otherwise and I'm glad I didn't miss them! This was a great guided way to really dive into the learning experience that the Animal Kingdom has to offer and Bella and Ry loved it! They were also really excited to wear their new safari outfits!

Next time we go we'll be sure to bring along our Wilderness Explorers Handbooks and finish up the badges!!! Have you earned your badges yet with the Wilderness Explorers? 

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Green Kid Crafts Awards

Character Breakfast at the Hollywood and Vine

It seems like every time we visit Disney World we have to do a character breakfast of some sort. This past trip we did 2! We usually do the Cape May character breakfast and buffet at the Beach Club Resort. This year we decided to add a second character breakfast and try out the

Hollywood and Vine Restaurant.

Hollywood and Vine Character 

Breakfast Buffet

It's located in the Hollywood Studios theme park right across from Echo Lake.

The character buffet is also offered for lunch as well, although, breakfast is cheaper at 30 per adult.

We were so excited to dine with the Characters from Disney Jr at the Hollywood Vine Restaurant located in the Hollywood Studios theme park!

I have to say, if you have kids that watch Disney Jr. they will love this character breakfast more than the others!

We decided to do an early breakfast so we could play in the park the rest of the day.

The characters included:

Sofia the First

Doc McStuffins

Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Handy Manny

The Buffet:

It was very good and offered plenty of options for all tastes such as waffles, eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt bar, frittatas.... I could go on but you get the idea. There is also a ice cream sundae bar that the kids will love!

The Scene:

Its set up like a 50's diner with the plastic and sparkly couches. The dining experience also provides some musical entertainment and dancing on the part of the characters in costume. Kids can get up and dance along with their favorite characters.

Overall, I would say we enjoyed this character breakfast the most! The characters are much more familiar to the kids and the food was great!!

Have you tried the Hollywood and Vine before? Have you tried a different character breakfast at Disney World? I'm curious as to what everyone else has tried!

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